Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Fifteenth Day of June

Fourth Desire of the Heart of Jesus: the Relief of the Souls in Purgatory.

The Heart of Jesus cannot be indifferent to the sufferings of these poor souls; they are His elect, His favored children, the heirs of His glory, called to bless Him eternally in heaven, His spouses whom He tenderly loves. If He could suffer, He would again offer His life to pay their debts and open heaven for them. To restrain the force of His love, it needs all the wisdom and all the merciful justice of a God who has a horror of the least stain. He can no longer suffer, He can not die again; but from the Tabernacle, where love keeps Him a prisoner, He urges all the faithful on earth to think of the souls in Purgatory, and by their prayers and sacrifices to obtain refreshment and peace for all who are in that abode of expiation. One day He said to St. Gertrude: "Each time that you deliver a soul by the offering of the Holy Sacrifice, it is as pleasing to me as though you redeemed me from captivity, and I shall know how to reward you." On the altar, where He immolates Himself, Jesus prays for them. He wills that each time this sacrifice is offered, His suffering Church should, in the Memento for the Dead, experience its effects. Further, still, and oh! how admirable are the holy inventions of the Heart of Jesus; He unites in one vast treasury all His merits, all those of His holy Mother, and the saints; and He desires that the faithful should draw liberally from this source, so as to pay the debts of these captive souls. As soon as they are freed, He Himself comes to seek them, conducts them into the heavenly Jerusalem, and inundates them with a torrent of delights. Then, clothed with the nuptial garment, they can follow the Lamb and unite with the choir of the elect in saying: "To Him that sitteth on the throne and to the Lamb, benediction and honor and glory and power for ever and ever" (Apoc. v. 13).

Can, then, our hearts remain indifferent to the sufferings of the souls in Purgatory? Can we close them to the supplications of these prisoners who implore their liberty, these poor exiles who demand their country? From the depths of that burning abyss, they cry out to us: "Have pity on us, at least you our friends" (Job. xix. 21). Let us not forget that it is a father or mother who is, perhaps, suffering for having loved us too much. It is a brother, it is a sister, whom we have sworn never to forget. It is a friend who has loved us much, and whose only hope is in us. Let us hasten to satisfy divine justice for them by our prayers, by our good works, by the offering of the Holy Sacrifice, by our communions, and by gaining indulgences. When, through our suffrages, they are admitted into heaven, they will become our most powerful intercessors. "It is, therefore, a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins" (2 Mach. xii. 46). Heart of Jesus give them eternal rest!


Father Lacordaire, in a letter addressed to a lady of the world, relates that a Polish peasant was, at his death, condemned by the justice of God to the expiatory flames of Purgatory. His devoted wife ceased not to pray for the repose of his soul; but thinking that her prayers were not sufficiently powerful, she wished to have recourse to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and have Mass celebrated for the deliverance of him whom she mourned. Being poor, and not having wherewith to make the offering, which is customary, towards the support of the priest who says the Mass, she went to a rich person, who was not only a philosopher, but an unbeliever, and humbly asked him to help her; the gentleman felt compassion for her and gave her some money. The widow lost no time in having Mass offered for the soul of her husband in the chapel of the Sacred Heart, and with great fervor received Communion for the same intention. A few days after, God permitted that the deceased peasant should appear to the rich man and say: "I thank you for the alms you gave towards the offering of the Holy Sacrifice; this Mass has delivered my soul from Purgatory, where it was detained, and now, in gratitude for your charity, I am sent by our Lord to tell you that your death is near, and that you should be reconciled to God." The rich man profited by the warning, was converted and died shortly after, in the most edifying dispositions. Let us often recall those words of Scripture: "It is a good and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins."


O Lord Jesus! these poor souls belong to Thee; they loved Thee on earth, they still love Thee amidst the flames of Purgatory; by the merits of Thy cross and Thy divine Heart, deliver them from that abode of expiation. Above all, deliver the souls of my relations my friends and benefactors, so that, united to the choirs of angels, they may praise and bless Thee through all eternity, Amen.


Regularly have Masses offered for those who have died, especially family members and those who have no one to pray for them. Do not succumb to the false and ungrateful idea that the dead are not in need of our prayers. If by chance the souls of those for whom we have Masses offered have gone to heaven, the Masses will be applied to those who need them most.

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