Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Reflections on Purgatory: Our Obligations to the Holy Souls in Purgatory (On Recommending to God the Souls in Purgatory and Gain Great Merit)

Our Obligations to the Holy Souls in Purgatory

The following reflections are taken from The Purgatorian Manual, published by the Redemptorists (Imprimatur: Cardinal Spellman, 1946).

According to St. Alphonsus Liguori, founder of the Redemptorists, “The practice of recommending to God the souls in Purgatory, that He may mitigate the great pains which they suffer, and that He may soon bring them to His glory, is most pleasing to the Lord and most profitable to us. For these blessed souls are His eternal spouses, and most grateful are they to those who obtain their deliverance from prison, or even a mitigation of their torments.

When, therefore, they arrive in Heaven, they will be sure to remember all who have prayed for them. It is a pious belief that God manifests to them our prayers in their behalf, that they may also pray for us. These blessed souls are not in a state to pray for themselves, because they are, so to speak, criminals atoning for their faults. However, because they are very dear to God, they can pray for us.

But if we wish for the aid of their prayers, it is just, it is even a duty, to relieve them by our suffrages. I say it is even a duty, for Christian charity commands us to relieve our neighbours who stand in need of our assistance. But who among all our neighbours have so great a need of our help as those holy prisoners? They are continually in that fire which torments more severely than any earthly fire. They are deprived of the sight of God, a torment more excruciating than all other pains. Among these suffering souls are relations and friends, who look to us for succour.

Being in the condition of debtors for their sins, they cannot assist themselves. This thought should urge us forward to relieve them to the best of our ability. By assisting them [the souls in purgatory] we shall not only give great pleasure to God, but will acquire also great merit for ourselves. And, in return for our suffrages, these blessed souls will not neglect to obtain for us many graces, but particularly the grace of eternal life.”

The holy Doctor urges the faithful to do all in their power to relieve and liberate these blessed souls, by procuring Masses to be said for them, by alms, and by their own fervent prayers.

It has always been the belief of Holy Church that the faithful, united in the Communion of Saints, can mutually assist each other. As the Saints in Heaven pray for us, so must we also offer our petitions for the suffering souls in Purgatory, that God, in His goodness and mercy, may shorten their punishment, and hasten their entrance into Heaven. It is the doctrine of the Church that the faithful upon earth are able to relieve the temporal punishment of the holy souls in Purgatory.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matt. 5:7). Charity towards the holy souls is a mark of predestination. Those who bestow mercy upon the suffering souls shall themselves find great assistance in Purgatory. The assistance of the holy souls is also experienced in temporal wants.

With what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matt. 7:2). Cardinal Cajetan says: “Those who forget the departed will be deprived in Purgatory of all participation in good works and devout prayers, though ever so many be offered for them, for Divine Justice is wont in this manner to punish their hardness of heart.” The faithful who do not forget the suffering souls completely, but seldom think of them, will not be deprived of intercessors entirely, but will derive very little help. Their complaints will be answered by St. Paul’s words: “He who soweth sparingly, shall also reap sparingly” (2 Cor. 9:6).

The commemoration of “All Souls” (November 2nd) was instituted by the Church as a day of special prayer for the faithful departed who are as yet deprived of the blissful contemplation of God. These holy souls endure agonizing torments, and count the lingering moments of time, while awaiting release from prison, or at least some relief in their intense pain. They have special confidence in their friends and relatives upon earth, hoping to be lovingly cherished in their memory and aided by their fervent prayers. The anniversary of All Souls should serve to revive our devotion in behalf of the suffering souls, and induce us to make ample amends for our neglect of this duty during the year.

Related articles:
HOW TO AVOID PURGATORY: It is not impossible for the ordinary Christian to avoid or notably shorten their period of expiation in Purgatory

How to Easily Help Souls in Purgatory, and hence gain Merit and their Prayers!

A TREASURE FOR ETERNAL MERIT: The Offering of the Blood of Jesus

JESUS, MARY, JOSEPH! (ejaculation with a seven years indulgence for each recital!)

Prayers 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.


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.

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.

O my God, I offer Thee the Precious Blood and Tears shed by Thine only-begotten Son on Calvary, and the Sorrows and Tears of His Blessed Mother, for the remission of our sins, the deliverance of the souls in Purgatory, for our Holy Mother Church, and for the conversion of sinners. Amen.

Most merciful Jesus, by the merits of Thy Holy Childhood, hasten to deliver from the pains of Purgatory the souls suffering there, particularly the soul longest in paying the debt exacted for his earthly transgressions. Graciously take him today to Paradise that he may join the heavenly choir in praising Thee, and will intercede for me in the hour of need. Amen.

Most merciful Jesus, by Thy Nativity and Holy Childhood, hasten to deliver from Purgatory the Poor Souls confined there, particularly the soul of the youngest to incur Thy displeasure, because of youthful carelessness. Graciously take him today to Thy Heavenly Throne, that he may evermore praise and glorify Thee, and will intercede for me in the hour of need. Amen.

Most 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 the souls of the faithful departed. Be not severe in Thy judgments, but let some drops of Thy Most Precious Blood fall upon the devouring flames, and do Thou, O merciful Savior, send Thy Angels to conduct them into a place of refreshment, light and peace. Amen.

Crucified Lord Jesus, have mercy on us! And help the suffering souls in Purgatory.


Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice.
Let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.
If Thou, O Lord, shalt mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
For there is forgiveness with Thee: because of Thy law, I have waited for Thee, O Lord.
My soul hath waited on His word: my soul hath hoped in the Lord.
From the morning watch even until night, let Israel hope in the Lord.
For with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him plenteous redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
O Lord, grant them eternal rest,

And let the everlasting light shine upon them.

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