Poor Souls in Purgatory

Christine the Admirable,Victim Soul for the Holy Souls In Purgatory

St. Christine the Admirable lived in Belgium at the close of the twelfth century, and her body is preserved today in St. Trond, in the church of the Redemptorist Fathers. The Life of this illustrious virgin was, written by Thomas de Cantimpre, a Religious of the Order of St. Dominic, an author worthy of credit and contemporary with the saint. Cardinal James deVitry, in the preface to the Life of Maria d’Ognies, speaks of a great number of holy women and illustrious virgins ;but the one whom he admires above all others is St.Christine.

This servant of God, having passed the first years of her life in humility and patience, died at the age of thirty-two.When she was about to be buried, and the body was already in the church resting in an open coffin, according to the custom of the time, she arose full of vigour, stupefying with amazement the whole city of St. Trond, which had witnessed this wonder. The astonishment increased when they learned from her own mouth what had happened to her after her death. Let us hear her own account of it.

“As soon,” said she, “as my soul was separated from my body, it was received by angels, who conducted it to a very gloomy place, entirely filled with souls. The torments which they there endured appeared to me so excessive,that it is impossible for me to give any idea of their rigour.I saw among them many of my acquaintances, and, deeply touched by their sad condition, I asked what place it was,for I believed it to be Hell. My guide answered me that it was Purgatory, where sinners were punished who, before death, had repented of their faults, but had not made worthy satisfaction to God. From thence I was conducted into Hell, and there also I recognised among the reprobates some whom I had formerly known.

The angels then transported me into Heaven, even to the throne of the Divine Majesty. The Lord regarded me with a favourable eye, and I experienced an extreme joy,because I thought to obtain the grace of dwelling eternally with Him. But my Heavenly Father, seeing what passed in my heart, said to me these words : “Assuredly, my dear daughter, you will one day be with Me. Now, however, I allow you to choose, either to remain with Me henceforth from this time, or to return again to earth to accomplish a mission of charity and suffering. In order to deliver from the flames of Purgatory those souls which have inspired you with so much compassion, you shall suffer for them upon earth; you shall endure great torments, without, however dying from their effects. And not only will you relieve the departed, but the example which you will give to the living,and your life of continual suffering, will lead sinners to be converted and to expiate their crimes. After having ended this new life, you shall return here laden with merits.”

” At these words, seeing the great advantages offeredme for souls, I replied, without hesitation, that I would return to life, and I arose at that same instant. It is for this sole object, the relief of the departed and the conversion of sinners, that I have returned to this world. Therefore be not astonished at the penances that I shall practise,nor at the life that you will see me lead from henceforward.It will be so extraordinary that nothing like to it has ever been seen “

All this was related by the saint herself; let us now see what the biographer adds in the different chapters of her life. ” Christine immediately commenced the work for which she had been sent by God. Renouncing all the comforts of life, and reduced to extreme destitution, she lived without house or fire, more miserable than the birds-of the air, which have a nest to shelter them. Not content with these privations, she eagerly sought all that could cause her suffering. She threw herself into burning furnaces, and there suffering so great torture that she could no longer bear it, she uttered the most frightful cries. She remained for a long time in the fire, and yet, on coming forth, no sign of burning was found upon her body. In winter, when the Meuse was frozen, she plunged herself into it, staying in that cold river not only hours and days, but for entire weeks, all the while praying to God and imploring His mercy. Sometimes, whilst praying in the icy waters, sheallowed herself to be carried by the current down to a mill,the wheel of which whirled her round in a manner frightful today behold, yet without breaking or dislocating one of herbones. On other occasions, followed by dogs, which bit and tore her flesh, she ran, enticing them into the thickets and among the thorns, until she was covered with blood ;nevertheless, on her return, no wound or scar was to be seen.”

Such are the works of admirable penance described bythe author of the Life of St. Christine. This writer was a Bishop, a suffragan of the Archbishop of Cambray; ” and we have,” says Beilarmine, ” reason for believing his testimony, since he has for guarantee another grave author,James de Vitry, Bishop and Cardinal, and because he relates what happened in his own time, and even in the province where he lived. Besides, the sufferings of this admirable virgin were not hidden. Every one could see that she was in the midst of the flames without being consumed, and covered with wounds, every trace of which disappeared a few moments afterwards. But more than this was the marvellous life she led for forty-two years after she was raised from the dead, God clearly showing that the wonders wrought in her were by virtue from on high. The striking conversions which she effected, and the evident miracles which occurred after her death, manifestly proved the finger of God, and the truth of that which, after her resurrection, she had revealed concerning the other life.

Thus, argues Bellarmine, “God willed to silence those libertines who make open profession of believing in nothing,and who have the audacity to ask in scorn, ‘ Who has returned from the other world? Who has ever seen the torments of Hell or Purgatory ?’ Behold the witnesses.They assure us that they have seen them, and that they are dreadful. What follows, then, if not that the incredulousare inexcusable, and that those who believe and nevertheless neglect to do penance are still more to be condemned ?

~Excerpted from “Purgatory” by Rev.F.X.Schouppe

Indulgences, January Feast Days, Pious Devotions, Poor Souls in Purgatory

New Years Plenary Indulgence

A plenary indulgence may be gained by reciting or singing the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus on the first day of the year. This hymn is traditionally sung for beginnings of things, calling on the Holy Spirit before endeavoring something new.

VENI, Creator Spiritus,

mentes tuorum visita,

imple superna gratia

quae tu creasti pectora.

COME, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,

and in our souls take up Thy rest;

come with Thy grace and heavenly aid

to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

Qui diceris Paraclitus,

altissimi donum Dei,

fons vivus, ignis, caritas,

et spiritalis unctio.

O comforter, to Thee we cry,

O heavenly gift of God Most High,

O fount of life and fire of love,

and sweet anointing from above.

Tu, septiformis munere,

digitus paternae dexterae,

Tu rite promissum Patris,

sermone ditans guttura.

Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;

Thou, finger of God’s hand we own;

Thou, promise of the Father, Thou

Who dost the tongue with power imbue.

Accende lumen sensibus:

infunde amorem cordibus:

infirma nostri corporis

virtute firmans perpeti.

Kindle our sense from above,

and make our hearts o’erflow with love;

with patience firm and virtue high

the weakness of our flesh supply.

Hostem repellas longius,

pacemque dones protinus:

ductore sic te praevio

vitemus omne noxium.

Far from us drive the foe we dread,

and grant us Thy peace instead;

so shall we not, with Thee for guide,

turn from the path of life aside.

Per te sciamus da Patrem,

noscamus atque Filium;

Teque utriusque Spiritum

credamus omni tempore.

Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow

the Father and the Son to know;

and Thee, through endless times confessed,

of both the eternal Spirit blest.

Deo Patri sit gloria,

et Filio, qui a mortuis

surrexit, ac Paraclito,

in saeculorum saecula.Amen.

Now to the Father and the Son,

Who rose from death, be glory given,

with Thou, O Holy Comforter,

henceforth by all in earth and heaven.

Amen.

There are a few conditions that must be met in order to gain a plenary indulgence:

+ Be in the state of grace

+Make a sacramental confession within 20 days

+Receive Communion

+Pray for the Pope’s intentions

+Have no attachment to sin, even venial sin (this can involve resolving to love God and reject sin).

Poor Souls in Purgatory

The Pains and Consolations of the Souls In Purgatory

There is in Purgatory, as in Hell, a double pain the pain of loss and the pain of sense.

The pain of loss consists in being deprived for a time of the sight of God, who is the Supreme Good, the beatific end for which our souls are made, as our eyes are for the light.

It is a moral thirst which torments the soul. The pain of sense, or sensible suffering, is the same as that which we experience in our flesh. Its nature is not defined by faith, but it is the common opinion of the Doctors that it consists in fire and other species of suffering. The fire of Purgatory, say the Fathers, is that of Hell, of which the rich glutton speaks, Quia cruder in hac flamma, “I suffer”,he says, cruelly in these flames”.

As regards the severity of these pains, since they are inflicted by Infinite Justice, they are proportioned to the nature, gravity, and number of sins committed. Each one receives according to his works, each one must acquit him self of the debts with which he sees himself charged before God. Now these debts differ greatly in quality. Some, which have accumulated during a long life, have reached the ten thousand talents of the Gospel, that is to say,millions and ten of millions ; whilst others are reduced to a few farthings, the trifling remainder of that which has not been expiated on earth. It follows from this that the souls undergo various kinds of sufferings, that there are innumerable degrees of expiation in Purgatory, and that some are incomparably more severe than others. However, speaking in general, the doctors agree in saying that the pains are most excruciating. “The same fire,” says St. Gregory, “torments the damned and purifies the elect. “Almost all theologians”says Bellarmine,”teach that the reprobate and the souls in Purgatory suffer the action of the same fire.”

It must be held as certain, writes the same Bellarmine,that there is no proportion between the sufferings of this life and those of Purgatory. St. Augustine declares precisely the same in his commentary on Psalm xxxi. : “Lord,” he says, “chastise me not in Thy wrath, and reject me not with those to whom Thou hast said, Go into eternal fire ; but chastise me not in Thine anger : purify me rather in such manner in this life that I need not to be purified by fire in the next. Yes, I fear that fire which has been en kindled for those who will be saved, it is true, but yet so as by fire.They will be saved, no doubt, after the trial of fire, but that trial will be terrible, that torment will be more intolerable than all the most excruciating sufferings in this world.”

Behold what St. Augustine says, and what St. Gregory, Venerable Bede, St. Anselm, and St. Bernard have said after him. St. Thomas goes even further ; he maintains that the least pain of Purgatory surpasses all the sufferings of this life, whatsoever they may be. Pain, says B. Peter Lefevre, is deeper and more acute when it directly attacks the soul and the mind than when it reaches them only through the medium of the body. The mortal body, and the senses themselves, absorb and intercept a part of the physical and even moral pain.

fire.

The author of the imitation explains this doctrine by a practical and striking sentence. Speaking in general of the sufferings of the other life : There, he says, one hour of torment will be more terrible than a hundred years of rigorous penance done here.To prove this doctrine, it is affirmed that all the souls in Purgatory suffer the pain of loss. Now this pain surpasses the keenest suffering. But to speak of the pain of sense alone, we know what a terrible thing fire is, how feeble so ever the flame which we enkindle in our houses, and what pain is caused by the slightest burn ; how much more terrible must be that fire which is fed neither with wood nor oil, and which can never be extinguished ! Enkindled by the breath of God to be the instrument of His Justice, it seizes upon souls and torments them with incomparable activity. That which we have already said, and what we have still to say, is well qualified to inspire us with that salutary fear recommended to us by Jesus Christ, But, lest certain readers, forgetful of the Christian confidence which must temper our fears, should give themselves up to excessive fear, let us modify the preceding doctrine by that of another Doctor of the Church, St. Francis of Sales, who presents the sufferings of Purgatory soothed by the consolations which accompany them.

“We may,”says this holy amiable director of souls,”draw from the thought of Purgatory more consolation than apprehension.”The greater part of those who dread Purgatory so much think more of their own interests than of the interests of God’s glory ; this proceeds from the fact that they think only of the sufferings without considering the peace and happiness which are there enjoyed by the holy souls. It is true that the torments are so great that the most acute sufferings of this life bear no comparison to them ; but the interior satisfaction which is there enjoyed is such that no prosperity nor contentment upon earth can equal it.

The souls are in a continual union with God. They Are perfectly resigned to His will, or rather their will is so transformed into that of God that they cannot will but what God wills so that if Paradise were to be opened to them, they would precipitate themselves into Hell rather than appear before God with the stains with which they see themselves disfigured. They purify themselves willingly and lovingly, because such is the Divine good pleasure.

They wish to be there in the state wherein God pleases, and as long as it shall please Him. They cannot sin, nor can they experience the least movement of impatience, nor commit the slightest imperfection. They love God more than they love themselves, and more than all things else ; they love Him with a perfect, pure, and disinterested love.ested love. They are consoled by angels. They are assured of their eternal salvation, and filled with a hope that can never be disappointed in its expectations.

Their bitterest anguish is soothed by a certain profound peace. It is a species of Hell as regards the suffering ; it is a Paradise as regards the delight infused into their hearts by charity,Charity, stronger than death and more powerful than Hell;Charity, whose lamps are all fire and flame(Cantic. viii.).”Happy State” continues the Holy Bishop “more desirable than appalling since its flames are flames of love and charity.”

Such are the teachings of the doctors, from which it follows that if the pains of Purgatory are rigorous, they are not without consolation. Wnen imposing His cross upon us in this life, God pours upon it the unction of His grace, and in purifying the souls in Purgatory like gold in the crucible.He tempers their flames with ineffable consolations.We must not lose sight of this consoling element, this bright side of the often gloomy picture which we are going to examine.

~Source:”Purgatory:Illustrated by the Lives and Legends of the Saints”

Poor Souls in Purgatory, Visions of the Saints

St. Lidwina of Schiedam’s Visions of Purgatory

Let us narrate a third vision relating to the interior of Purgatory, that of St. Lidwina of Schiedam, who died in April 1433, and whose history, written by a contempo- rary priest, has the most perfect authenticity.

This admirable virgin, a true prodigy of Christian patience, was a prey to all the pains of the most cruel maladies for the period of thirty eight years. Her sufferings rendering sleep impossible to her, she passed long nights in prayer, and then, frequently rapt in spirit, she was conducted by her angel guardian into the mysterious regions of Purgatory dwellings, prisons, divers dungeons, one more dismal than the other ; she met, too, souls that she knew, and she was shown their various punishments.

It may be asked, ” What was the nature of those ecstatic journeys ? ” and it is difficult to explain ; but we may con- clude from certain other circumstances that there was more reality in them than we might be led to believe. The holy invalid made similar journeys and pilgrimages upon earth, to the holy places in Palestine, to the churches of Rome, and to monasteries in the vicinity. She had an exact knowledge of the places which she had thus traversed. A

Religious of the monastery of St. Elizabeth, conversing one day with her, and speaking of the cells, of the chapter-room, of the refectory, and of his community, she gave him as exact and detailed a description of his house as though she had passed her life there. The Religious having expressed his surprise, ” Know, Father,” said she, ” that I have been through your monastery ; I have visited the cells, I have seen the angel guardians of all those who occupy them.”

One of the journeys which our saint made to Purgatory occurred as follows :

An unfortunate sinner, entangled in the corruptions of theworld,wasfinallyconverted. Thanks to the prayers and urgent exhortations of Lidwina, he made a sincere con- fession of all his sins and received absolution, but had little time to practise penance, for shortly after he died of the plague.

The saint offered up many prayers and sufferings for his soul ; and some time afterwards, having been taken by her angel guardian into Purgatory, she desired to know if he was still there, and in what condition. ” He is there,” said her angel, “and he suffers much. Would you be willing to endure some pain in order to diminish his?” Certainly,” she replied, ” I am ready to suffer anything to assist him.” Instantly her angel conducted her into a place of frightful torture. “Is this, then, Hell, my brother?” asked the holy maiden, seized with horror. ” No, sister,” answered the angel, “but this part of Purgatory is bordering upon Hell.” Looking around on all sides, she saw what resembled an immense prison, surrounded with walls of a prodigious height, the blackness of which, together with the monstrous stones, inspired her with horror. Approaching this dismal enclosure, she heard a confused noise of lamenting voices, cries of fury, chains, instruments of torture, violent blows which the executioners discharged upon their victims. This noise was such that all the tumult of the world, in tempest or battle, could bear no comparison to it. “What, then, is that horrible place?” asked St. Lidwina of her good angel. ” Do you wish me to show it to you?” ” No, I beseech you,” said she, recoiling with terror ; ” the noise which I hear is so frightful that I can no longer bear it;how, then, could I endure the sight of those horrors?”Continuing her mysterious route, she saw an angel seated sadly on the curb of a well. “Who is that angel? ” she asked of her guide. ” It is,” he replied, “the angel guardian of the sinner in whose lot you are interested. His soul is in this well, where it has a special Purgatory.” At these words, Lidwina cast an inquiring glance at her angel ; she desired to see that soul which was dear to her, and endeavour to release it from that frightful pit. Her angel, who understood her, having taken off the cover of the well, a cloud of flames, together with the most plaintive cries, came forth.

” Do you recognise that voice ? ” said the angel to her. ” Alas ! yes,” answered the servant of God. ” Do you desire to see that soul ? ” he continued. On her replying in the affirmative, he called him by his name ; and immediately our virgin saw appear at the mouth of the pit a spirit all on fire, resembling incandescent metal, which said to her in a voice scarcely audible, ” O Lidwina, servant of God, who will give me to contemplate the face of the Most High?”

The sight of this soul, a prey to the most terrible torment of fire, gave our saint such a shock that the cincture which she wore around her body was rent in twain ; and, no longer able to endure the sight, she awoke suddenly from her ecstasy.

The persons present, perceiving her fear, asked her its cause. ” Alas !” she replied, ” how frightful are the prisons of Purgatory ! It was to assist the souls that I consented to descend thither. Without this motive, if the whole world were given to me, I would not undergo the terror which that horrible spectacle inspired.”

Some days later, the same angel whom she had seen so dejected appeared to her with a joyful countenance;told her that the soul of his protege had left the pit and passed into the ordinary purgatory. This partial alleviation did not suffice the charity of Lidwina; she continued to pray for the poor patient, and to apply to him the merits of her sufferings, until she saw the gates of Heaven opened to him.

~Source:”Purgatory:Illustrated by the Lives and Legends of the Saints”

Poor Souls in Purgatory

This is the Sound of a Lost Soul

One January night seven years ago, I wasn’t able to sleep because I heard loud train whistles all night. I have never heard so many trains in my life. It was constant. And what was really odd is that it was winter, and all the windows were shut. But the trains were so LOUD! I kept thinking, “What’s with all the trains?” At 3 a.m., I got on my knees and prayed the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy. I always pray it for someone in the world who is dying and needs mercy. After I got back into bed, I continued to hear trains until morning.

Later that day, I called a friend of mine, and she asked me if I would pray for a girl she knew of who had thrown herself in front of a train the night before and killed herself. I was dumbfounded. In that moment I knew why I had heard the trains all night.

Ever since that night, whenever I hear the whistle of a train, no matter where I am, I pray the “Eternal rest” prayer for the souls who may be in Purgatory for taking their own lives.

Now … flash forward to Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010, which was the 15th anniversary of my father-in-law’s suicide. A priest called me that night to ask me if I had a devotion to St. Anthony of Padua. I said I did. Then he told me that he had been prompted to lend me his first-class relic of St. Anthony until Christmas. He had no idea why. I did not know at the time, but later realized that St. Anthony is the Patron of Lost Souls. He gave me the relic the next morning. That evening, a lady waited outside our Adoration chapel to talk to me. She had prayed that she would run into me because she needed to talk. I asked her if she wanted to pray with the St. Anthony relic and she did. She told me that her cousin, who had recently committed suicide, had a devotion to St. Anthony, so she was consoled in praying with the relic. St. Anthony was already at work.

Two days later, I was off work and it was a sunny and pleasant day, so I went to the outdoor Stations of the Cross near our seminary. As I was praying the Stations, I began to hear train whistles — constant again, just like before. It was eerie. After I finished, I went to the nearby Carmelite Monastery, took the St. Anthony relic, and prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet for the dying.

The next day, Saturday, Nov. 13, was another beautiful day. While I was working outside, I began to hear the train whistles again. Later, I took my camera and went to the beach. The train whistles continued. I took a video, hoping to capture the sound of the trains in the background, but the train sounds did not come out on the video. I knew for certain then that those whistles were meant for me. I started getting sick to my stomach and crying, because I knew in my heart that someone was committing, or had committed, suicide. I prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet several times and prayed with a first-class relic of St. Anthony of Padua for the person.

The next evening, Sunday, I read in the paper that a young man had shot and killed his girlfriend and two of their children and then himself. THAT IS WHY I HEARD ALL THE TRAINS!

As the week went on, I could not stop thinking about the trains and the murder-suicide. I wondered if the young man had been saved. Most people would find it hard to believe that he would have been saved after committing such a heinous crime, but Jesus told St. Faustina that when the Chaplet is prayed for the dying, He will stand between the Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge, but as the merciful Savior (see Diary of St. Faustina, 1541). Saint Faustina wrote in her Diary, “My prayer reaches out even there where I cannot reach physically” (163). Because of this powerful prayer, at the last minute, he could have repented. Saint Padre Pio told a woman whose husband jumped off a bridge to his demise, that on the way down he repented, so he was saved. So who are we to judge? Also, this young man had admitted himself to the hospital the week before for mental health issues, so the Lord would probably deem him less responsible. (How unfortunate that the hospital discharged him the following day, against the wishes of his family.)

Three days later, while on my way to pray in our Adoration chapel, I ran into a woman who mentioned to me that the bereavement luncheon for the families of the murder-suicide would be at our church the following day. I could not believe the coincidence that this luncheon was at my church. I wanted to tell the family about the trains and how I thought that the young man was saved, but I didn’t know if he was or not. My prayers are so poor. But then I remembered that I had asked St. Anthony to pray with me, and his prayers are perfect. He is the “Patron of Lost Souls.” He is also called the “Miracle Worker.”

On the way home, I rode by the apartment where the couple had lived. There were teddy bears hanging on the fence as a memorial of the children. I cried. Then I asked God to give me a sign that the young man was saved. I did not ask for anything specific, just something that would show how merciful God is. God “wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4).

When I got home and checked my e-mail, someone from my Internet prayer group, whom I did not know, had sent a note that said in the subject line: “Suicide and the Power of Prayer!” I took this to be my sign from God. I put aside everything I had to do that night and invoked the help of St. Anthony to help me “find” the right words to write the family a letter of consolation and tell them my story. I had no idea if they were Catholic, Christian, or any religion, but prayed that they would be open to what I was about to tell them.

The following morning, I went to 7 a.m. Mass. Before Mass, I began to have doubts about giving the family the letter I wrote. I opened the Bible at random to Wisdom 11:23, which says, “But You have mercy on all, because You can do all things; and You overlook the sins of men that they may repent.” No longer did I doubt. I wrote this passage down, to also console the family. I offered my Communion that the family would be open to what I wrote in the letter.

When I went into the church office to drop off the letter, the secretary told me that one of our parishioners — a lady I know — was in the Adoration chapel sobbing. It turns out that she was the young man’s aunt! I had no idea that anyone I knew was related to him. I showed the Wisdom passage to the secretary, and she told me to take the passage and the letter into the chapel to give to the aunt. I went in and hugged her and gave her the letter, whispered my condolences and that I had no idea that she was related.

When I left, the secretary waved me into the office to talk. I told my story to her and two other women who work there. They were in awe. When I got to the part about praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, they said that they got chills. It turns out that my pastor had done the service at the funeral home for the young man the day before, and had talked about Divine Mercy!

He even had special prayercards made up to give the family that had the image of The Divine Mercy on the front and the Divine Mercy Chaplet on the back, with the young man’s name inserted in the place of the pronouns — so the family could pray it for him. Wow! How could one miss the hand of God amidst this tragedy?

I continue to pray for this young man and all the souls who may be in Purgatory who have committed suicide. These souls could be the most neglected souls in Purgatory because many people think there is no salvation for someone who commits suicide. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “Suicide is seriously contrary to justice, hope, and charity. It is forbidden by the fifth commandment” (2325).

When my mother-in-law took her own life, my son, who was only in fifth grade at the time, asked, “Did Grandma go to hell?” The Catechism states: “Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide” (2282). It goes on to say, “We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to Him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives” (2283).

I still, at times, hear train whistles like I heard those two days in November. It is very draining when I hear persistent trains, because I know in my heart that someone is taking his or her own life. When I shared my story with a friend at work, she asked me if I had heard trains on Nov. 17, because she knew a lady who had died that day from an intentional overdose. When I looked on my computer, I found that I did hear trains the night before, which was most likely when she would have taken the pills. Saint Anthony and I had prayed so hard.

~Source:thedivinemercy.org

Poor Souls in Purgatory

Why We Should Always Remember the Souls in Purgatory

Why St.Padre Pio Always Remembered the Souls in Purgatory

Padre Pio told this story to padre Anastasio. “One evening, while I was alone in choir to pray, I heard the rustle of a suit and I saw a young monk that stirred next to the High altar. It seemed that the young monk was dusting the candelabra and straightening the flower vases. I thought he was Padre Leone rearranging the altar, and, since it was supper time, I went to him and I told him: “Padre Leone, go to dine, this is not the time to dust and to straighten the altar”. But a voice, that was not Father Leone’s answered me”: “I am not Padre Leone”, “and who are you? “, I asked him. “I am a brother of yours that made the noviciate here. I was ordered to clean the altar during the year of the noviciate.

Unfortunately many times I didn’t reverence Jesus while passing in front of the altar, thus causing the Holy Sacrament that was preserved in the tabernacle to be disrespected. For this serious carelessness, I am still in Purgatory. Now, God, with his endless goodness, sent me here so that you may quicken the time I will enjoy Paradise. Take care of me.” I believed to be generous to that suffering soul, so I exclaimed: “you will be in Paradise tomorrow morning, when I will celebrate Holy Mass”. That soul cried: “Cruel!” Then he wept and disappeared. That complaint produced in me a wound to the heart that I have felt and I will feel my whole life. In fact I would have been able to immediately send that soul to Heaven but I condemned him to remain another night in the flames of Purgatory.”

The Suffering of the Sick Man and Purgatory

Saint Anthony tells the story of a sick person who suffered so atrociously that he considered it beyond human nature and thus continually prayed for death. One day, an angel appeared to him and said, “God sent me here to offer you a choice. You can spend one year of suffering on earth, or one day in Purgatory.” Choosing the latter, he died and went to Purgatory.

When the angel went to console him, he was greeted with this groan of pain, “Deceitful angel! At least twenty years ago, you said that I would spend only one day in Purgatory . . . My God, how I suffer!”

To this the Angel responded, “Poor deluded soul, your body is not even buried yet.”

A Holy Religious Even Suffers Greatly

In 1870, Belgium fought as an ally with France against Germany. In September of that year, Sister Maria Serafina, a Redemptorist nun in Malines, Belgium, was suddenly seized with inexplicable sadness. Soon after, she received the news that her father had died in that war. From that day on, Sister Maria repeatedly heard distressing groans and a voice saying, “My dear daughter, have mercy on me!” Subsequently, she was besieged with torments, which included unbearable headaches. While laying down one day, she saw her father surrounded with flames and immersed in profound sadness. He was suffering in Purgatory and had received permission from God to beseech prayers from his daughter and relate Purgatory’s suffering to her. Thus he said: I want you to have Masses, prayers and indulgences said on my behalf. Look how I am immersed in this fire-filled hole! Oh! If people knew what Purgatory is, they would suffer anything to avoid it and alleviate the suffering of souls here. Be very holy, my daughter, and observe the Holy Rule, even in its most insignificant points. Purgatory for religious is a terrible thing! Sister Maria saw a pit full of flames, spewing black clouds of smoke. Her father was immersed in the pit where he was burning, horribly suffocated and thirsty. Opening his mouth she saw that his tongue was entirely shriveled. “I am thirsty, my daughter, I am thirsty.” The next day, her father visited her again saying, “My daughter, it has been a long time since I saw you last.” “My father, it was just yesterday . . .” “Oh! It seems like an eternity to me. If I stay in Purgatory three months, it will be an eternity. I was condemned for many years, but, due to Our Lady’s intercession, my sentence was reduced to only a few months.” The grace of coming to earth was granted to him through his good works during his life and because he had been devoted to Our Lady receiving communion on all her feast days. During these visions, Sister Maria Serafina asked her father several questions: “Do souls in Purgatory know who is praying for them, and can they pray for us?” “Yes, my daughter.” “Do these souls suffer, knowing that God is offended in their families and in the world?” “Yes.” Directed by her confessor and her superior, she continued to question her father: “Is it true that the sufferings of Purgatory are much greater than all the torments of earth and even of the martyrs?” “Yes, my daughter, all this is very true.” Sister Serafina then asked if everyone who belongs to the Scapular Confraternity of Carmel (those who wear the scapular), is freed from Purgatory on the first Saturday after death: “Yes,” he answered, “but only if they are faithful to the Confraternity’s obligations.” “Is it true that some souls must stay in Purgatory for as long as five hundred years?” “Yes. Some are condemned until the end of the world. These souls are very guilty and entirely abandoned.” “Three main things draw God’s malediction over men: failure to observe the Lord’s Day through work, the very widespread vice of impurity, and blasphemy. Oh my daughter, how these blasphemies provoke the wrath of God!” For over three months, Sister Serafina and her community prayed and offered penance for the soul of her tormented father who often appeared to her. During the elevation of the Host at Christmas Mass, Sister Maria saw her father shining like a sun with matchless beauty. “I finished my sentence, and have come to thank you and your sisters for your prayers and pious exercises. I will pray for you in Heaven.” If Purgatory did not exist to remove the stain of sin from imperfect souls, the only alternative would be Hell. Therefore, Purgatory is a necessary place of expiation. All personal sin carries two consequences: blame (which, in the case of mortal sin, destroys sanctifying grace and leads to Hell) and temporal punishment warranted by the offense to God. Although Confession frees us from blame and part of the punishment, we must still make additional reparation to God. In this life, this can be done through prayer, Mass intentions, alms, penance and acquiring indulgences. One who dies in a state of venial sin or without sufficient reparation goes to Purgatory.

WHAT HAPPENS TO THOSE WHO ARE NEGLECTFUL OF THE HOLY SOULS?

ST. ANTONINUS AND HIS FRIEND

St. Antoninus, the illustrious Archbishop of Florence, relates that a pious gentleman had died, who was a great friend of the Dominican Convent in which the Saint resided. Many Masses and suffrages were offered for his soul. The Saint was very much afflicted when, after the lapse of a long time, the soul of the poor gentleman appeared to him, suffering excruciating pains.

“Oh, my Dear Friend, ” exclaimed the Archbishop, “are you still in Purgatory, you who led such a pious and devout life?”

“Yes, and I shall remain there still for a long time, ” replied the poor sufferer, “for when on Earth I neglected to offer suffrages for the souls in Purgatory. Now, God by a just judgment has applied the suffrages which have been offered for me to those souls for whom I should have prayed. ”

“But God, too, in His Justice, will give me all the merits of my good works when I enter Heaven; but first of all, I have to expiate my grave neglect in regard to others. ”

So true are the words of Our Lord: “By that measure with which you measure, it will be measured to you again. ”

A Prayer for the Souls in Purgatory

O gentle Heart of Jesus, ever present in the Blessed Sacrament, ever consumed with burning love for the poor captive souls in Purgatory, have mercy on them. Be not severe in Your judgments, but let some drops of Your Precious Blood fall upon the devouring flames. And, Merciful Savior, send Your angels to conduct them to a place of refreshment, light and peace. Amen.

OFFERING OF DAILY ACTIONS FOR THE HOLY SOULS

We Should Do This at Least Once a Week for The Holy Souls

ETERNAL Father, by virtue of Thine generosity and love, I ask that

Thou accept all my actions, and that Thou dost multiply their value in favor of every soul in Purgatory. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

FOR THOSE WHO REALLY WANT TO GO ALL THE WAY FOR THE HOLY SOULS

THE HEROIC ACT IN FAVOR OF THE SOULS IN PURGATORY

O MY GOD! for Your greater glory, and to imitate as closely as possible the generous Heart of Jesus, my Redeemer, and also to testify my devotion to the Blessed Virgin, my Mother, who is also the Mother of the Souls in Purgatory, I place in her hands all my satisfactory works, as well as the fruit of all those which may be offered for my intention after my death, that she may apply them to the Souls in Purgatory according to her wisdom and good pleasure. Amen.

This Heroic Act of Charity is the completely unselfish offering to God of all the satisfactory value of one’s prayers and good works — plus the value of any that might be offered for one after one’s death — for the benefit of the Souls in Purgatory, rather than for oneself. The “satisfactory value” of a good work is its value with regard to making up for our sins and reducing our stay in Purgatory. However, the “meritorious value” of our good works is inalienable, i.e., our merits, which give us a right to an increase of glory in Heaven, cannot be applied to anyone else. Moreover, a person who has made the Heroic Act may still pray for himself, friends and other intentions.

The Heroic Act is revocable at will and is not a vow. Its actual ratification depends on the will of God. By making this act with purity of intention, one is relying upon the mercy of God and the prayers of the Communion of Saints to assist his soul after death. The Heroic Act was approved and encouraged by Pope Benedict XIII [1724-1730].

According to the Raccolta of 1932: The faithful who make the Heroic Act in favor of the Souls detained in Purgatory, may gain an indulgence.” At the time this was a plenary indulgence with special conditions attached , such as attending Mass, receiving Holy Communion in supplication for the Holy Souls, etc.

His Holiness, Leo XIII, Jan. 17, 1888, granted to the faithful who shall perform some pious practice for the relief of the Souls in Purgatory, every day during the whole month of November, whether in public or in private, an indulgence of seven years and as many quarantines on each day of the month; a plenary indulgence, once during the same month, on any day of the month, on the usual conditions: confession and communion, and a visit to a church or public oratory, and there praying for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

Hell, Poor Souls in Purgatory

St.Veronica Giuliani Saves a Sister from Hell and Sees a Vision of Purgatory

Saint Veronica recieved an extra Gurdian Angel from Jesus after being continuously attacked by the devil. Her angels accompanied her on her visits to hell. God revealed to Veronica that upon the election of a new Pope, Heaven appoints to him an additional ten guardian angels to assist him. At one point in Saint Veronica’s Life, she took great care of her fellow Sister, Sister Angelica Berioli during her last illness. According to the accounts of the convent, Sister Angelica was not very observant of the rules and had always been Veronica’s adversary. However, Veronica offered many prayers and penances for the salvation her soul and prayed at her bedside day and night saying, “My Lord, Your Most Precious Blood and Your infinite merits can obtain this grace.”

One day, when Sister Angelica was still semiconscious, Veronica told her: “Before I go, I want you to tell me something, and I want you to call on Jesus and not on the devil as you do.” Sister Angelica listened to her and promised she would do it and asked Veronica not to abandon her. After this incident, Sister Angelica lost the use of reason for the most part and only once in a while would be heard saying the name of Jesus. The devil was not happy that Veronica was taking this soul from him and tried to prevent her many times from praying. Saint Veronica wrote “On two occasions the devil gave me many blows and told me I would pay for this. One night while I was watching over this sister, he appeared under the form of a cat, and he wanted to jump unto her bed. I tried to shoo him away, and he came close to me as when he tried to jump on me, more and more I would visibly see the demons here around her bed and they would threaten to make me pay for this.”

On the evening that Sister Angelica died, June 21, 1701, Veronica saw how four demons were tempting the dying sister, telling her there was no hope for her. Veronica was made to understand; however, that the demons had lost. When she realized that Sister Angelica was about to die, Veronica asked permission to her Confessor to visit the Blessed Sacrament. On her way to the Chapel, the devil appeared to her under the form of a cat and jumped on her. She had to fight the cat off up to the door of the chapel, whereupon he disappeared, saying, “You won, but you will pay for it.” After Veronica prayed before the Blessed Sacrament, she understood that she needed to go back to Sister Angelica who would soon expire, and it did happen that way. Then, the Lord let her know that Sister Angelica had been saved but that she would be in Purgatory for a long time and showed Veronica the place of expiation. Veronica commented, “A very dark and scary place.” Then, Veronica had a vision of this soul who had turned into “a terrifying animal.”

Sister Angelica appeared to Veronica the following night and told her: “This is not diabolical. It is true that I suffer. If you understood my suffering, you would die of pain.”

On another occasion, Veronica saw the place where she was in purgatory: “I saw a place so terrible and full of torment that I thought it was hell. I can’t explain it in writing but it struck me with fear and terror. It seemed to me that I saw all sorts of tortures that tormented many souls at the same time. One soul, among the others, suffered more than the others and I seem to understand that it was this soul (Sister Angelica).”

Veronica understood, however, that this soul could not benefit from the prayers said for her because during her life she had not prayed for the requests of others. The penances and prayers that Veronica was offering for this soul were being applied to other souls in purgatory. The second time that this soul appeared to Veronica, she told her, “I can’t and I shouldn’t” Veronica understood that ‘can’t’ referred to ‘what she was suffering’ and ‘shouldn’t referred to ‘why she was suffering’. But then the soul of Angelica said, “It is up to you to get me out of this great suffering. I will not forget (your help).”

Even though the Lord made Veronica understand that this soul should have remained in purgatory until the Final Judgement, He also was willing to accept for Love of Veronica, sacrifices for this soul. Veronica suffered greatly and even experienced her own personal judgment in atonement for this soul, which she was finally able to release from purgatory. Sister Angelica was only one of many souls that Veronica got out of purgatory by taking upon herself the expiation they required to enter into Heaven, often telling these souls, “Go on to Heaven, I will remain here in order to atone for your sins.” In expiation, she had even suffered her own final judgement, and to inflame her with a desire for the salvation of souls God had allowed her to see, hell and also purgatory. She often visited purgatory: “I spent tonight as usual in Purgatory, in the midst of fire and ice, sorrows and sufferings, in complete abandonment and without any one’s help. May the Will of God be praised.”

It seems that her confessors abused her charity by making her expiate for many souls. Among the souls she atoned for are the soul of her father, Francesco Giuliani, Pope Clement XI, some of her confessors and many sisters such as sister Angelica.