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Conclusion on devotion to souls in Purgatory

Friday, November 26, 2021

Conclusion on devotion to souls in Purgatory

So, it is a saint, a salutary thought to pray for the dead! (Mach. XII, 46)

May this collection of examples excite in several, and renew in others, the piety towards those who preceded us at the tribunal of GOD! The variety of these facts, the authority given to them by the serious authors from whom we have borrowed them, offer ample material for our reflections, and it will not be that they do not lead us to a great feeling of compassion for the souls who moan in atonement. That if the highest degree of Christian perfection resides in charity towards GOD and towards neighbor, and if on these two loves, as on the two poles of the world, turns the sky of accomplished virtue, in what esteem should not to be with every Christian zeal for the deliverance of these poor souls!
First, the votes by which we work on it show a great love for GOD himself, whose most admirable attribute is to imitate, that of mercy. Did our Lord not say (Luke, VI, 36): “Be merciful as your Father is merciful: Estote misericordes sicut and Pater vester misericors est? (hic)"Text about which Saint Gregory wrote this reflection:" Make sure you are like a God to the one who suffers, imitating the mercy of GOD. Now, to whom would this mercy be best shown than towards souls destitute of all help, souls moreover extremely dear to the Lord, his daughters, his wives, the heirs of his kingdom, to the possession of which they aspire? legitimately? Didn't the great doctor Saint Thomas Aquinas firmly establish that acts of spiritual mercy far outweigh purely bodily mercy? If, then, the food given to the hungry, the clothing to the naked, the visitation made to a prisoner, are things pleasing to the Sovereign Master, how much more will he consider the act which has for object of?
It is, secondly, a great love for one's neighbor. If St. Peter Nolasque deserves like Jeremiah the beautiful title of friend of his brothers, ( fratrum amator), because he devoted his person, his time and his goods to breaking the chains of Christian slaves on the Barbary coasts, will not this magnificent title belong, even better still, to the faithful whose alms, prayers, mortifications, open to his moaning brothers the door of the horrible dungeon to send them to the joys of perfect and eternal freedom? Certainly, it is a worthy and holy concern to alleviate the various miseries with which we are everywhere surrounded here below, in the poor, the sick, the afflicted; but, evidently, it is still more perfect to constitute oneself the benefactor of those who are much otherwise tortured, and without any power for themselves. This is the order of true charity. Charity is essentially ordered and regulated, according to the Sage:Ordinavit in me charitatem . Well ! the doctors teach us, this order requires that we consider in charity: 1 ° where is the greatest obligation; 2 ° where is the most pressing need; 3 ° the greatest merit of the persons who are the object of it; and other similar circumstances.
Now, what greater obligation than to provide for a necessityextreme, such as the need for those cruelly tormented souls in consuming flames? What greater merit than that of these chosen souls, confirmed in grace despite their past imperfections, and ready to ascend to heaven to enter into possession of heavenly glory? What act of mercy more generous than to use all our power to procure for them a good above all good?
Finally, if it is our own interest that we are considering, there can be no act which is more profitable to us and which attracts us more graces. GOD ordinarily rewards this charity from the present life with great advantages, by temporal and spiritual favors, a constant increase in faith, a more present and lively hope, a more ardent, more fruitful charity, interior consolation in sorrows. , special protection in perils: there is no longer any pretext to doubt it, after reading the preceding pages, and in which we have collected only a few of the features recorded in ecclesiastical writers. Let us remember, for example, the miraculous protection granted to Judas Machabée as a reward for his piety towards the dead. VS' is after his dedication to the temple of Jerusalem that the Lord sent him a sword with which he was to be victorious in the battles; and, so that there would be no doubt that it was the price of his pious remembrance of the dead, he had it presented to him by two dead, the high priest Onias and the prophet Jeremiah. The latter said to him: "Receive this holy sword, a gift from the Lord, by which you will overthrow the enemies of my people of Israel:Accipe sanctum gladium, munus à Deo, in quo dejicies adversarios populi mei Israel . (II Mach., XV, 16) Which he promptly proved brilliant, killing 35,000 enemies with a small army of the faithful. If, then, we imitate this religious captain, could we not, like him, be favored with special graces against our spiritual enemies, in the incessant and treacherous war which they give us all our lives?
We could not finish better than with the pious words of Saint Bernard: - “Arise therefore to the help of souls; intercede with your groans, conjure with your sighs, multiply your prayers, offer the satisfaction of the august sacrifice. Courage, Christians! may your prayers, your fasts, your alms, your fervor at the foot of the altar and while the holy Victim is being sacrificed, come to the aid of poor souls: and in their turn they will run to the bedside of your agony, to support you , to animate you, to suggest to you the feelings which prepare to appear before Our Lord; and finally, if GOD grants you the grace, introduce you themselves into the assembly of the blessed of the Father. Could you question their loyalty, their gratitude, their power, their affection for who loves them? No, it can't be, and the simplest Christian notions oppose it. The inspired book of the Ecclesiasticus addresses this lesson to you which will close all ours: “Benefac justo, et invenies retributionem magnam : Just do good, and your reward will be great! "

( The Divine Wonders in the Souls in Purgatory , by the PG Rossignoli, of the Society of Jesus)

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