READ ME OR RUE IT Purgatory Revealed

“Have pity on me, have pity on me at least you my friends for the hand of the Lord is heavy upon me.”
   
This is the touching prayer that the poor souls in Purgatory address their friends on Earth, begging, imploring their help, in accents of the deepest anguish.  Alas! many are deaf to their prayers.

It is incomprehensible how some Catholics, even those who are otherwise devout, shamefully neglect the souls in Purgatory.  It would almost seem that they do not believe in Purgatory.
Days and weeks and months pass without their having a Mass said for the holy souls!  Seldom too, do they hear Mass for them, seldom do they pray for them, seldom do they think of them! Whilst they are enjoying the fullness of health and happiness, busy with their work, engrossed with their amusements, the poor souls are suffering unutterable agonies on their beds of flame.
What is the cause of this awful callousness?  Ignorance, gross, inexplicable ignorance.


People do not realize what Purgatory is.  They have no conception of its dreadful pains and they have no idea of the long years that souls are detained in these awful fires.  As a result they take little, or no care to avoid Purgatory themselves, and worse still, they cruelly neglect the poor souls who are already there and who depend entirely on them for help.

Dear Reader, peruse this little book with care and you will bless the day that it fell into your hands.

WHAT IS PURGATORY? 
It is a prison of fire in which nearly all souls are plunged after death and in which they suffer the most intense pain.

Here is what the great Doctors of the Church tell us of Purgatory: So grievous is their suffering that one minute in this awful fire seems like a century.

St. Thomas of Aquinas, the Prince of Theologians, says that the fire of Purgatory is equal in intensity of the fire of Hell, and that the slightest contact with it is more dreadful than all the possible sufferings of this Earth.

St. Augustine, the greatest of the Holy Doctors, teaches that to be purified of their faults prior to being admitted to Heaven, souls after death are subjected to a fire more penetrating, more dreadful than anything we can see, or feel, or conceive in this life.

“Though this fire is destined to cleanse and purify the souls”, adds the Holy Doctor, “still it is more acute than anything we can possibly endure on Earth.”

St. Cyril of Alexandria does not hesitate to say: “that it would be preferable to suffer all the possible formats of Earth until Judgment day, than pass one day in Purgatory.”


Another great Saint says: “Our fire, in comparison with the fire of Purgatory is a refreshing breeze.”

The other Holy Writers speak in identical terms of this awful fire.

HOW IS IT THAT THE PAINS OF PURGATORY ARE SO SEVERE?
1st. The fire we see on Earth was made by the goodness of God for our comfort and well being.  Still, when used as a torment, it is the most dreadful one we can imagine.

2nd. The fire of Purgatory, on the contrary, was made by the justice of God to punish and purify us and is, therefore, incomparably more severe.

3rd. Our fire, at most, burns this gross body of ours, made of clay, whereas the fire of Purgatory acts on the spiritual soul, which is unspeakably more sensitive to pain.

4th. The more intense our fire the more speedily it destroys its victim who, therefore, ceases to suffer, whereas the fire of Purgatory inflicts the keenest, most violent pain but never kills the soul nor lessens its sensibility.

5th. “Unsurpassingly severe is the fire of Purgatory. The pain of loss or separation from God, which the souls also suffer in Purgatory, is far more severe.”  The soul separated from the body craves with all the intensity of its spiritual nature for God.  It is consumed with an intense desire to fly to Him.  Yet it is held back.  No words can describe the anguish of this unsatisfied craving.
What madness, therefore, it is for intelligent beings to neglect taking every possible precaution to avoid such a dreadful fate.

It is puerile to say that it can’t be so, that we cannot understand it, that it is better not to think, or speak of it. The fact remains always the same, whether we believe it or whether we don’t, that the pains of Purgatory are beyond everything we can imagine or conceive. These are the words of St. Augustine.

CAN ALL THIS BE TRUE? 
The existence of Purgatory is so certain that no Catholic has ever entertained a doubt of it.  It was taught from the earliest days of the Church and was accepted with undoubting faith wherever the Gospel was preached.

The doctrine is revealed in Holy Scripture, and has been handed down by  Tradition, taught by the infallible  Church and believed by the millions and millions of faithful of all times.
Yet, as we have remarked, the ideas of many are vague and superficial on this most important subject.  They are like a person who closes his eyes and walks deliberately over the edge of a yawning precipice.

They would do well to remember that the best means of lessening our term in Purgatory, or of avoiding it altogether, is to have clear ideas of it, to think well on it and to adopt the means God offers for avoiding it.

Not to think of it is fatal. It is nothing else than preparing for themselves a fearfully long and rigorous Purgatory.
 
The Polish Prince 
A Polish Prince, who, for some political reason, had been exiled from his native country, bought a beautiful castle and property in France.

Unfortunately he had lost the faith of his childhood and was at the time of our story engaged in writing a book against God and the existence of a future life.

Strolling one evening in his garden he came on a poor woman weeping bitterly.  He questioned her as to the cause of her grief.

“Ah! Prince”, she replied, “ I am the wife, of Jean Marie, your former steward, who died two days ago.  He was a good husband to me and a faithful servant to your Highness.  His sickness was long and I spend all our savings on the doctors and now I have nothing left to get Masses said for his soul.”

The Prince, touched by her grief, said a few kind words and, though professing to no longer believe in a future life, gave her some gold coins to have Masses said for her husband’s soul.
Some time after, it was again evening, and the Prince was in his study working feverishly at his book.

He heard a loud rap at the door and, without looking up, called out to the visitor to come in.  The door slowly  opened and a man entered and stood facing the Prince’s writing table.

On glancing up, to the Prince’s amazement, he saw Jean Marie, his dead steward, looking at him with a sweet smile.

“Prince”, he said, “ I come to thank you for the Masses you enabled my wife to have said for my soul.  Thanks to the saving Blood of Christ, which was offered for me. I am now going to Heaven, but God has allowed me to come and thank you for your generous alms.”

He then added impressively: “Prince there is a God, a future life, a Heaven and a Hell.”

Having said these words he disappeared.


The Prince fell on his knees and poured forth a fervent “Credo”. 

St. Antoninus and his friend 
Here is a narrative of a different kind but not less instructive.

St. Antoninus, the illustrious Archbishop of Florence, relates that a pious gentleman and a great friend of the Dominican Convent in which the Saint resided, died.  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.”

Remember, you who read these lines, that the terrible fate of this pious gentleman will be the fate of all those who neglect to pray for and refuse to help the holy souls.

HOW LONG DO SOULS REMAIN IN PURGATORY
The length of time souls are detained in Purgatory depends on:
a)   the number of their faults;
b)   on the malice and deliberation with which these have been committed;
c)   on the penance done, or not done, the satisfaction made, or not made for sins during life;
d)   Much, too, depend on the suffrages offered for them after death.
What can be safely said is that the time souls spend in Purgatory, as a rule, is very much longer than people commonly imagine.

We will quote a few of the many instances which are recounted in the lives and revelations of the Saints.

St. Louis Bertrand’s father was an exemplary Christian, as we should naturally expect, being the father of so great a Saint.  He had even wished to become a Carthusian monk until he learned that it was not God’s will for him.

When he died, after long years spend in the practice of every Christian virtue, his saintly son fully aware of the rigours of God’s justice, offered many Masses and poured forth  the most fervent supplications for the souls he so dearly loved.

A vision of his father still in Purgatory forced him to intensify a hundred fold his suffrages.  He added most severe penances and long fasts to his Masses and prayers.  Yet eight whole years passed before he obtained the release of his father.    
       
St. Malachy’s sister was detained in Purgatory for a very long time despite the masses, prayers and heroic mortifications the Saint offered for her!

It was related to a holy nun in Famphluna, who succeeded  in releasing many Carmelite nuns from Purgatory that most of these had spent their terms of from thirty and sixty years!

Carmelite nuns in Purgatory for forty, fifty and sixty years!  What will it be for those living amidst the temptations of the world and with all their hundreds of weaknesses?

St. Vincent Ferrer, after the death of his sister, prayed with incredible fervour for her soul and offered many masses for her release.  She appeared to him at length and told him that, had it not been for his powerful intercession with God, she should have remained an interminable time in Purgatory.

In the Dominican Order, it is the rule to pray for the Master Generals by name on their anniversaries.  Many of these have been dead several hundred years!  They were men especially eminent for piety and learning.  This rule would not be approved by the Church were it not necessary and prudent.

We do not mean to imply that all souls are detained equally long periods in the expiatory fires.  Many have committed lesser faults and have done more penance. Therefore their punishment will be much less severe.

Still the instances we have quoted are very much to the point, for if these souls who enjoyed the intimacy, who saw the example and shared in the intercession of great saints during their lives and who, after death, were aided by their most efficacious suffrages, yet were detained for such a length of time in Purgatory what more will happen to us who enjoy none of these wonderful privileges?

Why such lengthy expiation?
The reasons are not difficult to find.

1st. The malice of sin is very great.  What appears to us as small faults are in reality serious offenses against the infinite goodness of God.  It is enough to see how the saints wept over their faults.

We are weak, it may be urged.  That is true , but then God offers us abundant graces to strengthen our weakness, gives us light to see the gravity of our faults and the necessary force to conquer temptation.  If we are still weak the fault is all our own.  We do not use the light and strength He so generously offers us.  We do not pray, we do not receive the sacraments, as we should.

2nd. An eminent Theologian wisely remarks that if souls are condemned to Hell because of one mortal sin for all eternity,  it is not to be wondered at that other souls should be detained for long years in Purgatory who have committed countless deliberate venial sins, some of which are so grave that at the time of their commission the sinner scarcely knows if they are mortal or venial.  They may have committed, too, many mortal sins for which they have had little sorrow and done little or no penance.  The guilt has been remitted by absolution, but the pain due to the sins will have to be paid in Purgatory.

Our Lord tells us that we shall have to render an account for each  and every  idle word we say and that we may not leave our prison until we shall have paid the last farthing.

The saints committed few and slight sins and still they grieved much and did severe penances.  We commit many and grave sins and we grieve little and do little or no penance.

Venial sins
It would be difficult to calculate the immense number of venial sins that any Catholic commits.
a)   There are an infinite number of faults of self love, selfishness, thoughts, words, and acts of sensuality in a hundred forms; faults of charity in thought, word and deed; laziness, vanity, jealously, tepidity and innumerable other faults.
 b)  There are sins of omission which we pay so little heed to.  We love God so little yet He has a thousand claims on our love.  We treat Him with coldness, indifference and base ingratitude!
He died for each one of us. Do we ever thank him as we ought? He remains day and night in the altar waiting for our visits, anxious to help us. how seldom we go to Him! He longs to come into our hearts in Holy Communion and we refuse Him entrance. He dies for us on the Altar every morning at Mass and gives oceans of graces to those who assist at the Great Sacrifice. Yet many are too lazy to go to this Calvary! What an abuse of grace!
c)   Our hearts are mean and hard, full of self love.  We have happy homes, splendid food, warm clothing, an abundance of all good things.  Many around us live in hunger and misery and we give them so little while we spend lavishly and needlessly on ourselves.
d)  Life is given us to serve God, to save our souls. Most Christians, however, are satisfied to give God five minutes of prayer in the morning, five minutes at night.  The rest of the 24 hours is given to work, rest and pleasure.  Ten minutes to God, to our immortal souls, to the great work we have to do, viz-a-viz, our salvation.  Twenty three hours and fifty minutes to this transitory life!  Is it fair to God?
It may be alleged that our work, our rest, our sufferings are done for God!
They should be and then our merits would be, indeed, great.  The truth is that many scarcely ever think of God during the day.  The one engrossing object of their thoughts is self.  They think and labour and rest and sleep to satisfy self.  God gets a very little place in their day and in their  minds.  This is an outrage to His loving heart which is ever thinking of us.
Now to come to mortal sins
e)   Many Christians unfortunately commit mortal sins during their lives, but though they confess them they make no due satisfaction for them, as we have already said.
The Venerable Bede appears to be of the opinion that those who pass a great part of their lives in the commission of grave sins and confess them on their death bed may be detained in Purgatory until even the last day.
St. Gertrude in her revelations states that those who have committed many grave sins and have not done due penance, may not share in the ordinary suffrages of the Church for a very considerable time!
Conclusion
All those sins, mortal and venial, are accumulating for the 20, 30, 40, 60 years of our lives.  Each and every one has to be atoned for after death.
Is it then any wonder that souls have to remain so long in Purgatory?

WHY PRAY FOR THE POOR SOULS?
Our Lord’s great law is that we must love one another, genuinely and sincerely.  The first great commandment is to love God with all our heart and soul.  The second, or rather a part of the first, is to love our neighbor as ourselves.  This is not a counsel or a mere wish of the Almighty. It is His great commandment, the very base and essence of His law.  So true is it that He takes as done to Himself what we do for our neighbor, and refused to Him what we refuse to our neighbor.

We read in the Gospel of St. Matthew 25:34-46 the words that Christ will address the just on Judgment day.  


34   Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
35   For I was hungry, and you gave Me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me to drink; I was a stranger,
36   Naked and you covered Me; sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.
37   Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see Thee hungry, and fed Thee; thirsty, and gave Thee drink?
38   And when did we see Thee a stranger, and took Thee in; or naked, and covered Thee?
39   Or when did we see Thee sick or in prison, and came to Thee?
40.  And the king (God) answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my  least brethren, you did it to Me.
41. Then He shall say to them also those that shall be on His Left hand:  Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels.
42   For I was hungry, and you gave Me not to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me not to drink.
43   I was a stranger, and you took Me not in; naked and you covered Me not; sick and in prison, and you did not visit Me.
44   Then they also shall answer Him saying: Lord when did we see Thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to Thee?
45   Then He shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you as long as you did it not to one of these, neither did you do it to Me.
46   And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.
Some Catholics seem to think that this law has fallen into abeyance in these days of self assertion and selfishness, when every one thinks only of himself and his personal aggrandizement.  “It is useless to urge the law of love nowadays” they say “every one has to fend for himself, or go under.”

No such thing.  God’s great law is still and will ever be in full force.  It is more than ever necessary, more than ever our duty and more than ever for our own best interest. 

We are bound to pray for the Holy Souls
We are always bound to love and help each other but the greater the need of our neighbor, the more stringent and the more urgent this obligation is.  It is not a favour that we may do or leave undone. It is our duty, we must help each other.

It would be a monstrous crime for instance to refuse the poor and destitute the food necessary to keep them alive.  It would be appalling to refuse and, to one in dire need,  to pass by and not extend a hand to save a drowning man.  Not only must we help others when it is easy and convenient but we must make every sacrifice,  when need be, to help our brother in distress.
Now who can be in more urgent need of our charity than the souls in Purgatory?  What hunger, or thirst, or dire sufferings on this Earth can compare to their dreadful torments?  Neither the poor, nor the sick, nor the suffering, we see around us,  have any such urgent need of our help.  Yet we find many good hearted people who interest themselves in every other type of suffering, but alas!  scarcely one who works for the Holy Souls.

Who can have more claim on us?  Among them too, there may be our mothers and fathers, our friends and nearest of kin.

God wishes us to help them
In any event, they are God’s dearest friends.  He longs to help them.  He desires most earnestly to have them in Heaven.  They can never again offend Him and they are destined to be with Him for all Eternity.  True, God’s justice demands expiation of their sins, but by an amazing dispensation of His Providence He places in our hands the means of assisting them.  He gives us the power to relieve and even release them.  Nothing pleases Him more than when we help them.  He is as grateful to us, as if we helped Himself.

Our Lady wants us to help them
Never did a Mother of this Earth love so tenderly a dying child, never did she strive so earnestly to soothe its pains, as Mary seeks to console her suffering children in Purgatory, to have them with her in Heaven.  We give her unbounded joy each time we take a soul out of Purgatory. 

The Holy Souls will repay us a thousand times over
But what shall we say of the feelings of the Holy Souls themselves?  It would be utterly impossible to describe their unbounded gratitude to those who help them!  Filled with an immense desire to repay the favours done them, they pray for their benefactors with a fervour so great, so intense, so constant that God can refuse them nothing. St. Catherine of Bologna says: “I received many and very great favours from the Saints but still greater favours from the Holy Souls.”

Then they are finally released from their pains and enjoy the beatitude of Heaven, far from forgetting their friends on earth, their gratitude knows no bounds.  Prostrate before the Throne of God they never cease to pray for those who helped them.  By their prayers they shield their friends from the dangers and protect them from the evils that threaten them.

They will never cease these prayers until they see their benefactors safely in Heaven and will be forever their dearest, sincerest and best friends.

If Catholics only know what powerful protectors they secure by helping the Holy Souls they would not be so remiss in praying for them.

The Holy Souls will lessen our Purgatory
Another great grace that they obtain for their helpers is a short and easy Purgatory, or possibly its complete remission.

Blessed John of Messias, the Dominican lay brother, had a wonderful devotion to the souls in Purgatory.  He obtained by his prayers,  (chiefly by the recitation of the Rosary), the liberation of one million four hundred thousand souls!

In return they obtained for him the most abundant and extraordinary graces and came at the hour of his death to help and console him and accompany him to Heaven.

This fact is so certain that it is inserted by the Church in the Bull of his Beatification.
The learned Cardinal Baronius, recounts a similar incident.

He was himself called to assist a dying gentleman.  Suddenly a host of blessed spirits appeared in the chamber of death, consoled the dying man and chased away the devils who sought by a last desperate effort to cause his ruin.

When asked who they were, they answered that they were eight thousand souls whom he had released from Purgatory by his prayers and good works.  They were sent by God, so they said, to take him to Heaven without his passing one moment n Purgatory.

St. Gertrude was fiercely tempted by the devil when she came to die.  The evil spirit reserves a dangerous and subtle temptation for our last moments.  As he could find no other ruse sufficiently clever with which to assail the Saint,  he thought to disturb her beautiful peace of soul by suggesting that she would surely remain long years in the awful fires of Purgatory since, he reminded her, she had made over long ago all her suffrages to other souls.  Our Blessed Lord, not content with sending His angels and the thousand of souls she had released, to assist her, came Himself in person to drive Satan away and comfort His dear Saint.  He told her that in exchange for all she had done for the Holy Souls He would take her straight to Heaven and would multiply a hundred fold all her merits.

Blessed Henry Suso, of the Dominican Order, made a compact with a fellow religious to the effect that when one of the two died the survivor would offer two Masses each week for his soul and other prayers as well.

It so happened that his companion died first and Blessed Henry commence immediately to offer the promised masses.  These he continued to say for a long time.  At last quite sure that the soul of his saintly friend had reached Heaven, he ceased offering the masses.

Great was his sorrow and consternation when the soul of the dead Brother appeared to him suffering intensely and chiding him for not celebrating the promised masses.

He replied with deep regret that he had not continued the mass believing that his friend must be enjoying the Beatific Vision and added that he had never remembered him in prayer.

“O dear Brother Henry please give me  the masses, for it is the Precious Blood of Jesus that I most need”, cried out the suffering soul.

Blessed Henry began anew and, with redoubled fervour, offered masses and prayers for his friend until he received absolute certitude of his delivery.

Then it was his turn to receive graces and blessings of all kinds from the dear brother he had relieved, and very many times more than he could have expected.

HOW WE CAN HELP THE HOLY SOULS?
I. The first means is by joining an association involved in helping the Holy Souls in Purgatory.  The conditions are easy:
a)   Say a prayer everyday for the Holy Souls.
b)   Offer all the good works, prayers, sufferings and indulgences, of one day in each week, preferably Sunday, for them.  There is no necessity to do anything new or extraordinary but just offer what one is accustomed to do on that day.
c)   Give alms to the Association;
d)   Get as many people as possible to join the Association.
Those who wish to join, can send their names, addresses and the alms to  the “Prayer Warriors of the Holy Souls”  c/o P.O. Box 220, Greenhills, Metro Manila, Philippines. Tel. Nos. 531-2157 or 531-0394 loc. 101; E-Mail: info@pwhs-mfi.org ; Website: www.pwhs-mfi.org ; Hotline Text No.: +63918-9290603
II. A second means of helping the Holy Souls is by having masses offered for them.  This is certainly the most efficacious way of relieving them.
III. Those who cannot get many masses offered, owing to want of means, ought to attend, as many masses as possible for this intention.
A young man, who was earning a very modest salary, told the writer: “My wife died a few years ago.  I got to have masses said for her.  I could not possibly do more but attend 1000 for her dear soul.”
IV. The recital of the Rosary with its innumerable indulgences, the Way of the Cross, which is also richly indulgenced, are excellent means of helping the Holy Souls.
Blessed John of Messias, as we saw, released from Purgatory more than a million souls, chiefly by reciting the Rosary and offering its innumerable indulgences for them.
V.  Another easy and efficacious way is by the constant repetition of short indulgenced prayers.  Many people have the custom of saying 500, or 1,000 times each day the little ejaculation “Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in Thee”  or the one word “Jesus”.  These are most consoling devotions and bring oceans of graces to those who practice them and give immense relief to the Holy Souls.
Those who say the ejaculations 1,000 times a day gain 300,000 days Indulgence!  What a multitude of souls they can thus relieve!  What will it not be at the end of a month, a year, 50 years? And if they do not say the ejaculations what an immense number of graces and favours they shall have lost.  It is quite possible and even easy to say these ejaculations 1,000 times a day.  But if one does not say them 1,000 times let him say them 500 or 200 times.
VI.  Still another powerful prayer is:  “Eternal Father I offer you the most Precious Blood of Jesus with all the Masses being said this day all over the world for the Souls in Purgatory”.
Our Lord showed St. Gertrude a vast number of souls leaving Purgatory and going to Heaven as a result of this prayer which the Saint was accustomed to say frequently during the day.
VII. The Heroic Act, consists in offering to God in favour of the Souls in Purgatory all the works of satisfaction we practice during life and all the suffrages that will be offered for us after death.  If God rewards so abundantly the most trifling alms given to a poor man in His name what an immense reward will He give to those who offer all their works of satisfaction in life and death for the Souls He loves so dearly.

This Act does not prevent priests from offering masses for the intentions they wish, or lay-people from praying for any person or other intentions they desire.  We counsel every one to make this act.

Alms help the Holy Souls
St. Martin gave half of his cloak to a poor beggar to find afterwards that it was to Christ he had given it.  Our Lord appeared to him and thanked him.

Blessed Jordan of the Dominican Order could never refuse to give alms when it was asked in the name of God.  One day he had forgotten his purse.  A poor man implored for alms for the love of God.  Rather than refuse him, Jordan, who was then a student, gave his most precious girdle which he prized dearly.  Shortly after, he entered a church and found his girdle encircling the waist of Christ Crucified.  He, too, had given his alms to Christ.  We all give our alms to Christ.


Resolution
a)     Let us give all the alms we can afford;
b)     Let us have said all the Masses in our power;
c)     Let us hear as many more as it is possible;
d)     Let us offer all our pains, and sufferings for the relief of Holy Souls
We shall thus deliver countless Souls from Purgatory, who will repay us ten thousand times over.

WHAT THE HOLY SOULS DO FOR THOSE WHO HELP THEM 
    St. Alphonsus Liguori says that though the Holy Souls cannot merit for themselves, they can obtain for us great graces.  They are not, formally speaking, intercessors as the Saints are but, through the sweet Providence of God, they can obtain for us astounding favours and deliver us from evils, sickness and dangers of every kind.
                                             
How a Girl found her Mother
    A poor servant girl in France once heard a sermon on the Holy Souls which made an indelible impression on her mind.  She was deeply moved by the thought of the intense and unceasing sufferings the souls endure and horrified to see how cruelly they are neglected and forgotten by their friends on Earth.

    Among other things the preacher stressed was, that many souls who are in reality near to their release - one Mass might suffice to set them free - are oftentimes long detained, it may be for years, just because the last needful suffrage has been withheld, or forgotten or neglected!
    With her simple faith, Jeanne Marie resolved that whatever it might cost, she would have a mass said for them, every month, especially for the soul nearest to Heaven.  She earned little and it was sometimes difficult to keep her promise, but she never failed.

    On one occasion she went to Paris with her mistress and there fell ill so that she was obliged to go to the hospital. Unfortunately, the illness proved to be a long one and her mistress had to return home, hoping that her maid would soon rejoin her.  When at last the poor servant was able to leave the hospital, all she had left of her scanty earnings was one franc!

    What was she to do?  Where to turn?  Suddenly the thought flashed across her mind that she had not had her usual monthly mass offered for the Holy Souls.  But she had only one franc! That was little enough to buy her food.  Yet her confidence that the Holy Souls would not fail her triumphed.  She made her way into a Church and asked a priest,  just about to say mass,  if he would offer it for the Holy Souls.  He consented to do so, never dreaming that the modest alms offered was the only money the poor girl possessed.

    At the conclusion of the Holy Sacrifice, our heroine left the Church.  A wave of sadness clouded her face, she felt utterly bewildered.

    A young gentleman,  touched by her evident distress, asked her if she was in in trouble and if he could help her. She told her story briefly and ended by saying how much she desired work.
    Somehow she felt consoled at the kind way in which the young man listened to what she said and fully recovered her confidence.

    “I am delighted beyond measure” he said “to help you.  I know a lady who is even now looking for a servant.  Come with me” and so saying he led her to a house not far distant and bade her ring the bell, assuring her that she would find work.

    In answer to her ring the lady of the house herself opened the door and inquired what she required.  “Madam”, she said “I have been told that you are looking for a servant.  I have no work and would be glad to get the place.”

    The lady was amazed and replied:  “Who could have told you that I needed a servant.  It was only a few minutes ago, that I needed a servant.  It was only a few minutes ago, that I had to dismiss my maid and that at a moment’s notice.  You did not meet her?”

    “No, Madam, the person that informed me that you required a servant was a young gentleman.”
    “Impossible, exclaimed the lady “ no young man, in fact no one at all, could have known that I needed a servant.”
    “But, Madam”, the girl answered excitedly “that is the young man who told me”  pointing to a picture on the wall.
    “Why, child, this is my only son who has been dead for more than a year.”
    “Dead or not”, asserted the girl with deep conviction in her voice, “it was he who told me to come to you and he even led me to the door.  See the scar over his eye, I would know him anywhere.”

    Then followed the full story of how she had mass offered with her last franc for the Holy souls, especially for the one nearest to Heaven.

    Convinced at last of the truth of what Jeanne Marie told her the lady received her with open arms. “ Come she said but not as my servant but as my dear daughter. You have sent my darling boy to Heaven.  I have no doubt that it was he who brought you to me.”

How a poor boy became a Bishop, a Cardinal, and a Saint
    Peter Damian lost both Father and Mother shortly after his birth.  One of his brothers adopted him but treated him with unnatural harshness, forcing him to work hard and giving him poor food and scant clothing. 

    One day, Peter found a silver piece which represented to him a small fortune.  A friend told him that he could conscientiously use it for himself as the owner could not be found.
    The only difficulty Peter had was to choose what it was he most needed, for  he was in sore need of many things.

While turning the matter over in his young mind it struck him that he could do a still better thing,  i.e, have a mass said for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, especially for the souls of his dear parents.  At the cost of a great sacrifice he put this thought into effect and had the Mass offered.

    The Holy Souls repaid his sacrifice most generously.  From that day forward a complete change became noticeable in his fortunes.

    His eldest brother called at the house where he lived and, horrified at the brutal hardships the little fellow was subjected to, arranged that he be handed over to his own care.  He clad him and fed him as his own child,  educated and cared for him most affectionately.  Blessing followed blessing.  Peter’s wonderful talents became known and he was rapidly promoted to the priesthood. Sometime  after, he was raised to the episcopacy and finally created Cardinal.  Miracles attested his great sanctity so that after death he was canonized and made Doctor of the Church.

    These wonderful graces came to him after that one mass said for the Holy Souls.

An Adventure in the Appenines
    A group of priests were called to Rome to attend to a business matter.  They were bearers of important documents and a large sum of money was entrusted to them for the Holy Father.  Aware that the Appenines, over which they had to pass, were infested by daring bandits, they chose a trusty driver.  There was no tunnel through the mountains nor trains in those days.

    They placed themselves under the protection of the Holy Souls and decided to say a De profundis every hour for them.  Then right in the heart of the mountains, the driver gave the alarm and, at the same time, lashed the horses into a furious gallop.  Looking around, the priests saw fierce bandits at each side of the road with fixed rifles ready to fire.  They were amazed that no shot rang out.  They were completely at the mercy of the bandits.

    After an hour’s headlong flight the driver stopped and looking at the priests said:  “I cannot understand how we escaped.  These desperadoes never spare anyone.”

    The Fathers were convinced that they owed their safety to the Holy Souls; a fact that was afterwards confirmed beyond doubt.

    When their business was concluded in Rome  one of their members was detained in the Eternal City, where he was appointed chaplain to a Prison.  Not long after, one of the fiercest brigands in Italy was captured, condemned to death for a long series of murders and awaited execution in this prison.  Anxious to gain his confidence, the Chaplain told him of several adventures he himself had and, finally, of his recent escape in the Appenines.  The criminal manifested the greatest interest in the story.  When it was ended, he exclaimed:  “I was the leader of that band.  We thought that you had money and we were determined to rob and murder you.   An invisible force prevented each and all of us from firing as we assuredly would have done had we been able.”

    The chaplain then told him of how they had placed themselves under the protection of the Holy Souls and that they ascribed their deliverance to their protection.
    The bandit found no difficulty in believing it;  in fact it made his conversion easier.  He died full of repentance.

How Pius IX Cured a Bad Memory
    The venerable Pontiff Pius IX appointed a holy and prudent religious Bishop of a diocese.  The priest alarmed at the responsibility put on him begged earnestly to be excused.
    His protests were in vain.  The Holy Father knew his merits. Overcome with apprehension, the humble religious solicited an audience with the Pope, who received him most graciously.  Once more he pleaded earnestly to be excused but the Pope was immovable.
    As a last recourse, Padre Tomaso told the Holy Father that he had a very bad memory which would naturally  proved to be a grave impediment in the high office put on him.
    Pius IX answered with a smile:  “Your diocese is very small in comparison with the Universal Church, which I carry on my shoulders.  Your cares will be very light in comparison with mine.
    I, too suffered from a grave defect of memory but I promised to say a fervent prayer daily for the Holy Souls, who, in return, have obtained for me an excellent memory.  You do likewise, dear Father, and you will have cause to rejoice.”

The More We Give, The More We Get
    A businessman in Boston joined the Association of the Holy Souls and gave a large sum of money annually that prayers and masses might be said for them.

    The Director of the Association was surprised at the gentleman’s generosity for he knew that he was not a rich man.  He asked kindly one day if the alms he so generously gave was his own offering, or, donations which he gathered from others.


    “What I offer, dear father,” he said, “is my own offering.  Be not alarmed. I am not a very rich man and you may think that I give more than I am able to do.  It is not so, for far from losing by my charity the Holy Souls see to it that I gain considerably more than I give.  They are second to none in generosity.”

The Printer of Cologne
    The celebrated printer of Cologne, William Freyssen, gives us the following account of how his child and wife were restored to health by the Holy Souls.
    William Freyssen got the order to print a little work on Purgatory.  Correcting the proofs, his attention was caught by the facts narrated in the book.  He learned for the first time what wonders the Holy Souls can work for their friends.

    Just at the time his son fell grievously ill and soon the case became desperate.  Remembering that he had read about the power of the Holy Souls,  Freyssen at once promised to spread, at his own expense, a hundred copies of the book which his firm was printing.  To make the promise more solemn he went to the Church and there made his vow.  At once, a sense of peace and confidence filled his soul.  On his return home, the boy, who had been unable to swallow a drop of water, asked for food.  Next day he was out of danger and soon completely cured.

    At once Freyssen ordered the books on Purgatory to be distributed, feeling sure that it was the best way to obtain help for the suffering souls, by interesting a hundred people in them.  No one who knows what they suffer can refuse to pray for them.

    Time passed and a new sorrow fell to the family of the printer.  This time his dear wife was stricken down and, despite every care grew worse daily.  She lost the use of her mind and was almost completely paralyzed, so that the doctor gave up all hope.

    The husband, remembering what the Holy Souls had done for his boy, again ran to the Church and promised to distribute 200 of the books on Purgatory, begging in exchange the urgent succor of the Holy Souls.

    In wonder he related, the mental aberration ceased, his wife’s mind became normal, she recovered the use of her limbs and tongue.  In a short time she was perfectly restored to health.

The Cure of a Cancer
    D. Jana de Menezes thus tells of her cure. She was suffering severely from a cancerous growth in the leg and was plunged in grief.

    Remembering what she had heard of the power of the Souls in Purgatory, she resolved to place all her confidence in them and had nine masses offered for them.  She promised, moreover, to publish her cure if it were granted.

    Gradually the swelling went down and the tumor and cancer disappeared.

An Escape from Brigands
    Father Louis Manaci, zealous Missionary, had great devotion to the Souls in Purgatory.  He found himself obliged to set out on a dangerous journey but confidently asked the Holy Souls to protect him in the dangers that he was likely to meet with. His road lay through a vast desert which he knew to be infested by brigands.  Whilst plodding along, saying the Rosary for the Holy Souls, what was to his surprise, on looking around, to find himself surrounded as by a bodyguard of blessed spirits.  Soon he discovered the reason.  He had fallen into an ambuscade of brigands;  but the Holy Souls at once surrounded him and drove off the miscreants who sought his life.  The Holy Souls did not abandon him until he was well out of danger.

A Return to Life
    The Prior of Cirrontaines gives us his story:
    A young man of my parish fell dangerously ill with a typhoid fever.  His parents were overcome with grief and asked me to recommend him to the prayers of the members of the Association of the Holy Souls.

    It was Saturday.  The boy was at death’s door.  The doctors had recourse to every remedy.  All in vain.  They could think of nothing more, they were in despair.
    I was the only one who had hope.  I knew the power of the Holy Souls, for I had already seen what they could do.

On Sunday, I begged the “Prayer Warriors of the Holy Souls” to pray fervently for our sick friend.

“HOW TO AVOID PURGATORY” by: E. D. M
    This precious little booklet should be read by everyone desirous  of a happy death and of avoiding the awful fires of Purgatory.     The book is eminently practical and the means it suggests for avoiding Purgatory are  easy and within the reach of everyone.     Many souls, we dare say, go to Purgatory after death simply because they never heard how easy it is to avoid these dreadful fires, or at least to lessen notably the time and the pains which otherwise will be so long and so intense.  This beautiful booklet “How to Avoid Purgatory”, makes this very clear. Dear reader, be sure to read it right here.

NOVENA OF PRAYER FOR THE POOR SOULS

Nihil Obstat:
MONS. JUSTINO C. ORTIZ 
Imprimatur:
MSGR. JOSE N. JOVELLANOS Vicar General

PREFACE
In the prayer and set of fundamental beliefs which we call:  “Apostles Creed”, mention is made of the Communion of Saints. This means that the faithful on earth, the blessed in heaven, and the souls in purgatory are united in one Mystical Body with Christ as the Head. 
Those in heaven compose the Church Triumphant; those on earth, the Church Militant; and those in purgatory, the Church Suffering. All of them make one family and share in the spiritual treasures of the Church.  By prayers, they help one another.
The faithful on earth can relieve the sufferings of the souls in purgatory by prayers, fasting and other good works.  The bible says (2 Maccabees 12:46): “It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be pardoned of their sins.”  St. Augustine says:  “Prayer is the key by which we open the gates of heaven to the suffering souls.”  At every Mass, there is always a memento or remembrance of the faithful departed.
The souls in purgatory suffer from a great longing to be united to God and be delivered from other great pains.  They are yet deprived of the beatific Vision and therefore need the help of those who can.  We should pray for the poor souls. God does not regard so much the length of the prayer as the love in the heart of the one who prays.  This short novena has been composed along that line:  Love.

NOVENA OF PRAYER FOR THE POOR SOULS
 FIRST DAY
Act of Contrition
    O Holy Spirit, come into my soul, that I may discover all the sins I have committed and grant me the grace to be sorry for them in all humility and contriteness of heart.
    O my God, at the moment of my appearance before You this day, I sincerely confess before Your divine majesty and before the whole court of heaven, that I have offended You by thought, word and deed.  By my sins I have contributed to the death of Jesus on the cross but You have forgiven me, washing my soul in the Blood of your Son and clothing it with the wedding garment of Your grace.
    I come, therefore, contrite and repentant, but with a heart overflowing with boundless gratitude, to your holy presence which You deigned to grant to a prodigal child like me.
    What shall I render to You for all the good You have done to Me?  Lord, I am sorry for all my sins.  I promise not to sin again, for I love You.  Amen.
Daily Prayer
    O God, by whose mercy the souls of the faithful departed find rest, vouchsafe to grant them eternal rest in the hope that You will not deliver them into the hands of the enemy nor forget them forever,  but that You command them to be taken up by Your holy angels and borne to their true home in paradise.  We pray to You that they whom You already called from this world, having put their love and trust in You, may not undergo the pains of hell, but may come to the possession of eternal joys.
    Be merciful, O Lord, to the faithful departed and deliver them from the deep pit and from the lion’s mouth so that hell may not swallow them up, and may they not fall into darkness, but may Your holy standard bearer, Michael, lead them into the holy light which  You have promised to Abraham and his seed.  We offer you, O Lord, sacrifices and prayers; do receive them in behalf of the souls for whom we are dedicating this novena; grant them to pass from death to life.  Amen.

Special Prayer for the First Day
    O my God, deign to accept the offering of masses and prayers along with sacrifices that I will make in behalf of the Poor Souls, and grant that by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the saints in heaven, they may deserve the grace to be cleansed of all punishment for their sins so that they may be worthy to enjoy Your Beatific Vision in the company of angels.
    I humbly ask, dear Lord, to extend to me the favor of living a life attuned to Your holy will in the service of my fellowmen and for my own salvation so that in the end, I may have a good, happy death and enjoy eternal love in heaven.
    Grant me also the grace to lead a holy life that I may fulfill my duties in the state of life which I have chosen, and I ask You in all humility the special favor which I now seek to obtain,  if it be for the greater glory of God, the salvation of souls and the deliverance of the faithful departed from sufferings.  Amen.
    (Now pray three Glory Be in thanksgiving for the grace of this novena and three Hail Mary for the Poor Souls.  Add one Our Father, one Hail Mary and this invocation:
    Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord.
    And let Perpetual light shine upon them.
    May they rest in peace. Amen.)

THE LITANY OF THE SAINTS
For the Poor Souls
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the World, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Holy, Mary,* Pray for the faithful departed.
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of Virgins,
St. Michael,
St. Gabriel,
St. Raphael,
All ye holy angels and archangels,
All ye holy orders of blessed spirits,
St. John the Baptist,
St. Joseph,
All ye holy Patriarchs and Prophets,
St. Peter.
St. Paul,
St. Andrew,
St. John,
All ye holy Apostles and Evangelists,
All ye holy Disciples of our Lord,
All ye holy Innocents,
St. Stephen,
St. Laurence,
St. Vincent,
All ye Holy Martyrs,
St. Sylvester,
St. Gregory,
St. Augustine,
All ye holy bishops and confessors,
All ye holy doctors,
St. Anthony,
St. Benedict,
St. Dominic,
St. Francis,
All ye holy priests and levites,
All ye holy monks and hermits,
St. Mary Magdalene,
St. Agatha,
St. Lucy,
St. Agnes,
St. Cecilia,
St. Anastacia,
All ye holy Virgins and Widows,
All ye holy men and women, Saints of God.
Christ, hear us,
Christ, graciously hear us,
Lord, have mercy on us,
Christ, have mercy on us,
Lord, have mercy on us,
Pray for us, all ye saints of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let Us Pray
    O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the souls of Your departed servants the remission of all their sins, that through our devout prayers, they may obtain the pardon which they have always desired.  You Who grant forgiveness and desire thee salvation of mankind,  we beseech in Your mercy to grant to them who have passed out of this life, the grace to partake of everlasting bliss by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all Your saints.  Amen.
Closing Prayer
    Enter not, O Lord, into judgment with Your servants and handmaids, for in Your sight shall no man be justified, save You grant him remission of all his sins.
    Therefore, let not, we beseech You, the sentence of judgment be pronounced nor let it fall heavily upon them whom the faithful prayer of Your Christian people commends to You, but rather by the help of Your grace, may they be found worthy to escape the judgment of condemnation, who in their lifetime were signed with the seal of the Blessed Trinity.
    Receive our prayers on behalf of the Poor Souls and grant that they may deserve the place of eternal rest, happiness and the glory of Your light.  Amen.

Special Prayer for the Second Day 
Recite the prayers as of the First Day
    O most merciful Lord,  thou Who hast always shown mercy upon those who invoke Thy protection, I prostrate myself before Thee and humbly ask the liberation of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, especially of those for whom I offer this novena, through the merits of Thy Mother who stood by Thy Son during His agony on the Cross. 
    May thy servants and handmaids suffering in the place of purgation, deserve to receive the indulgences for the remission of punishments due to their sins, so that in due time they may merit to enter Thy kingdom of justice and love.  I also beg of Thee to grant my petition in this novena if it be for Thy greater glory and the salvation of souls.  Amen.

Special Prayer for the Third Day
Recite the prayers as of the First Day
    O most powerful Lord, my God and Father, thou Who hast never refused to hear the supplications of Thy servants and handmaids, grant to the Holy Souls the strength to overcome their sufferings with the firm hope of seeing Thee face to face in  heaven,  through  the  merits  of  the Blessed  Virgin  and St. Joseph who suffered much for our redemption in the days of Nazareth and unto the hour of Calvary.
    I humbly ask of Thee to remember those who are still in the state of cleansing especially those for whom I offer this novena, and Lord, please grant me the favor which I seek to obtain,  if it be for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls.   Amen.

Special Prayer for the Fourth Day
Recite the prayers as of the First Day
    O God most high,  Thou whose mercy didst make saints who are now in Thy presence,  I beseech Thee, through the intercession of St. Joachim and St. Anne, the parents of the Blessed Virgin, to look with merciful eyes on the Holy Souls who have found grace with Thee upon their death.
    Be mindful, O Lord, of Thy servants and handmaids for whom I make this novena, so that they may be pardoned of their sins and cleansed of punishments.  May they be reached by Thy hand of mercy in order that they may merit and also receive from Thy bounty the special favor which I ask, if it be for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls.  Amen.

Special Prayer for the Fifth Day 
Recite the prayers as of the First Day
    O Infinite Lord.  whose mercy knows no bounds, through the merits of the Archangel Michael and in remembrance of the sorrows borne with love by the Blessed Mother when the breast of Thy Son was pierced with a lance at Mt. Calvary and when her own heart was rent by the sword of man’s ingratitude, deign,  I beseech Thee, to grant eternal glory to the suffering souls in purgatory.
    Have mercy on poor sinners,  O God, and extend Thy mantle of protection upon me so that my prayers for the Holy Souls will be granted.  And I humbly beg Thee to grant my petition in this novena, if it be for Thy greater glory and the salvation of souls.  Amen.

Special Prayer for the Sixth Day
Recite the prayers as of the First Day
    O most sweet Jesus, King of all hearts, extend Thy loving care and grant peace to the souls in purgatory so that, through the merits of the glorious St. Lawrence and the dolors of the Blessed Virgin who was filled with anguish at the sight of nails on the hands of Thy son, they may deserve to have a mansion in Thy kingdom of love.
    Deliver Thy servants and handmaids who are now going through a cleansing trail, out of the prison of purgatory and remember with love and mercy those for whom I make this novena.  I pray Thee to hear my cry for favor which I seek to receive, if it be for Thy greater glory and the salvation of souls.  Amen.

Special Prayer of the Seventh Day
Recite the prayers as of the First Day
    O most compassionate Lord,  through the merits of Thy angels and in remembrance of the suffering of the Blessed Mother when she took Thy Son lifeless on her lap in Calvary, I beseech Thee to give ear to my petition in behalf of the Holy Souls, so that they may be taken up to their true home in heaven and come to the possession of eternal joys.
    Eternal rest give unto Thy servants and handmaids who have passed out of this world, especially those dear to my heart, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  Lord, come to my assistance and grant the special grace which I ask in this Novena,  if it be for Thy greater glory and the salvation of souls.  Amen.

Special Prayer for the Eight Day
Recite the prayers as of the First Day
    O most loving and the merciful Lord Jesus, through the merits of St. Francis of Assisi and the glorious St. Nicholas of Tolentino,  I beseech Thee to absolve the souls of all the faithful departed from every bond of sin and may the Holy Souls, aided by the sufferings of Mary who saw the Body of her Son wrapped in the  white  shroud,  be enabled to  escape  the judgment of Thy justice. And may thy servants and handmaids who departed from this life be led in the everlasting light and peace.
    Grant them, O Lord, to pass from death to life, and may this novena which I make help them in their sufferings.  I also ask Thee to grant my petition, if it be for Thy greater glory and the salvation of souls.  Amen.

Special Prayer for the Ninth Day
Recite the prayers as of the First Day
    O Divine Majesty, our Lord and Creator, be merciful to the faithful departed for whom I offer this novena, especially to those who on earth had done me favors, and may they attain everlasting rest, through the merits of the Virgin Mother who was filled with sorrow upon seeing her Son taken into the sepulcher.  Grant that they may be purified by indulgences which I wish to obtain in their behalf so that they may receive forgiveness and unending peace.
    Vouchsafe, O Lord, to release the Holy Souls from every bond of sin and may they rejoice with Thy saints forever.  Grant also, I beg of Thee, the favor which I ask during this novena, if it be for Thy greater glory and the salvation of souls.  Amen.

Other Intercessory Prayers for the Poor Souls

The Canticles of Zachary (Benedictus)
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, because He has visited and wrought the redemption of His people.
And He has raised up the horn of salvation to us, in the house of David, His servant.
As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who are from the beginning.
Salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us.
To work mercy with our fathers, and remember His holy testament.
The oath which He swore to Abraham our father, that He would grant us.
That being delivered from the hand of our enemies, we may serve Him without fear.
In holiness and justice before Him all our days.
And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Highest, for you shall go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways.
To give the knowledge of salvation of His people, unto the remission of their sins.
Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which the orient from on high has visited us.
To enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death; to direct our feet in the way of people.
Eternal rest grant, O Lord, to the faithful departed.
And let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace. Amen.
Let us pray.  Grant O Lord, we beseech you, to Your servants and handmaids departed, mercy, that they who prayed that Your will might be done on earth as in heaven, may not receive punishment for their misdeeds but that even here below the true faith united them to the ranks of the faithful, so that in heaven by Your mercy they may have fellowship with the choirs of angels. Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The Libera Me
Deliver me, O Lord, from eternal death in that awful day:
When the heavens and the earth shall be moved.
When You shall come to judge the world by fire.
Dread and trembling have laid hold on me, and I fear exceedingly because of the judgment and the wrath to come.
When the heavens and the earth shall be shaken.
On that day, that day of wrath, of sore distress and of all wretchedness, that great and exceeding bitter day,
When You shall come to judge the world by fire.
Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace.  Amen.

Private Litany for the Poor Souls
Leader:  God almighty, Father of goodness and love, have mercy on the poor suffering souls and grant Your aid:
To my dear parents and ancestors,*Jesus, Mary, Joseph, have mercy on the Poor Souls.
To my brothers and sisters and other relatives,
To my spiritual and temporal benefactors,
To my former friends and subjects,
To all for whom love or duty bids me pray,
To those who have suffered disadvantage or harm through  me,
To those who have offended me,
To those who are especially beloved by You,
To those whose release is near at hand,
To those who endure the greatest sufferings,
To those whose release is most remote,
To those who are least remembered,
To those who are most deserving on account of their services to the Church,
To the rich who are now the most destitute,
To the mighty who are now lowly servants,
To the blind who now see their folly,
To the frivolous who spent their time in idleness,
To the poor who did not seek the treasures of heaven,
To the tepid who devoted little time to prayer,
To the indolent who neglected to do good works,
To those of little faith who neglected the reception of the sacraments,
To the habitual sinners, who owe their salvation to a miracle of grace,
To parents who failed to watch over their children,
To superiors who were not solicitous for the salvation of those entrusted to them,
To the souls who strove for nothing but riches and pleasures,
To the worldly-minded who failed to use their wealth and talents in the service of God,
To those who witnessed the death of others but would not think of their own death,
To those who did not provide for the great journey to the next life,
To those whose responsibility on earth was grave and severe,
To popes, kings and princes,
To bishops and the clergy,
To teachers and spiritual advisers,
To those who died in times of peace and of war,
To those who died within or outside the bosom of the Church,
To all believers and non-believers in Christ,
To my own poor soul when I shall appear before Your judgment seat,
 May all the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen. 
*Jesus, Mary, Joseph, have mercy on the Poor Souls.

HOLY WATER   A Spiritual Treasure 

THE DEVIL HATES IT
    Holy Water is a powerful spiritual armor in times of temptations.  St. Teresa of Avila, whose temptations were as terrible as anyone’s, has left us these wise words of counsel:
    “I have found by experience that there is nothing from which the devils fly more quickly than from Holy Water.  They also fly from the Cross, but they return almost immediately.  Certainly, the power of Holy Water must be great; for my part, my soul feels particular comfort in taking it, and very generally a refreshment and interior delight which I cannot express.”
    Long before St. Teresa of Avila, Holy Water was a sacramental in the Catholic Church.  Water, which as a symbol of purification held a high place in biblical times, has retained its rich symbolism.

EARLY USE
    According to the Apostolic Constitutions, a document dating back well over 15 centuries, the use of Holy Water is attributed to a recommendation issued by St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist.
    The lives of the saints are packed with instances of heavenly protection and blessing secured through the reverent use of Holy Water. 

KNEW IT FOR A GOOD THING
    The saints knew, as we know by faith, that Holy Water is sanctified by the blessing of the Church, that it benefits the faithful by obtaining actual grace and the remission of temporal punishment; that  it is a most effective aid in all conflicts with the powers of Hell.
    A calm and reverent tracing of the Sign of the Cross with Holy Water upon oneself will often prove most helpful in subduing  a temptation.

IN THE HOME
    Take an empty bottle to the parish church, fill it with Holy Water and bring it back home for the spiritual and temporal protection of the family.  It should not be tucked away in a remote corner but be made available to all.
    Holy Water is a sacramental that helps us to be sorry for our sin.  Because of the blessing attached to it, the Holy Church strongly urges its use upon Her children; especially when dangers threaten such as fire, storms, sickness and other calamities.  Every home should always have a supply of Holy Water in it.
    Holy Water has its great power and efficacy from the prayers of the Church which its Divine Founder always accepts with readiness.     

THESE ARE SOME OF THE PETITIONS  THE PRIEST MAKES TO GOD WHEN HE BLESSES WATER
    May this, your creature, become an agent of divine grace in the service of your mysteries, to drive away evil spirits and dispel sickness, so that everything in the homes and other places where your faithful gather that are sprinkled with this water may be freed of all uncleanness and delivered from every harm  (Let no breath of infection, no disease bearing air remain in these places). May the wiles of the lurking enemy prove of no avail.  Let whatever might menace the safety and peace of those who live here be put to flight by the sprinkling of this water so that the health obtained by calling on your Holy Name may be made secure against all attack.  Through Christ Our Lord.  Amen. 

DISPOSES US TO BE SORRY FOR OUR SIN
    Because Holy Water is one of the Church’s sacramentals, it disposes us to be sorry for our sin.  Keep your soul beautifully pure in God’ sight by making the Sign of the Cross  reverently while saying:
“By this Holy Water and by Thy Precious Blood wash away  all my sins, O Lord.” 

DISPELS THE DEVIL
    The devil hates Holy Water because of its power over him.  He cannot long abide in a place or near a person that is often sprinkled with this blessed water.
    In case after case of possession, both exorcist and onlookers are in complete agreement on this particular point:  it is impossible to sprinkle Holy Water on any man or woman in a state of possession without deadly effect on the possessing spirit. “You are burning me, you are burning me!”  he cries.  There is thus an active power in the Holy Water which cancels out hidden demonic activities. 

DO YOUR DEAR ONES LIVE AT A DISTANCE?
    Holy Water, sprinkled with faith and piety, can move the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to bless your loved ones and protect them from all harm of soul and body.  When worry and fear take possession of your heart, hasten to your Holy Water font, and give your dear ones the benefit of the Church’s prayers.

THE HOLY SOULS LONG FOR IT
    Only in Purgatory can one understand ardently the poor souls longing for Holy Water.  If we desire to make a host of intercessors for ourselves,  let us try to realize now some of their yearnings, and never forget them at the Holy Water font.
When sprinkling Holy Water for your loved ones, your friends, etc., do not forget the priests, especially those of your own parish, who have served the sacraments and holy masses. In gratitude, you should give them sprinkling of Holy Water several times daily and have Masses offered up for the repose of their souls.
    Sprinkle a few drops of Holy Water and pray fervently: “O God, in Your Mercy multiply these drops into as many drops of Holy Water as there are souls in Purgatory, and allow them not to fear the pains of Purgatory, as long as the moisture of Holy Water is present.” 

WHAT SOME PARENTS DO
    Some parents make it a regular routine to sprinkle their sleeping children with Holy Water.  Others install Holy Water fonts in all the bedrooms and encourage all the members of the family to bless themselves, morning and night and during the day.
    Whenever the faithful make the Sign of the Cross devoutly with Holy Water and pray: “ In the Name of the Father, etc.” they gain a partial indulgence.

PRAYERS  SAVE A SOUL FROM HELL IN THREE SECONDS         
    Every time you pray the prayer below, you will prevent a person from going to eternal damnation.  you can save sixty souls from Hell in the time it takes to boil a three-minute egg. 
Incredible, but true.  Such is the power of the names of Jesus and Mary.  Such is the power of Love. Many souls go to Hell because no one prays for them.  Here is the prayer:
“Jesus, Mary, I love you, save souls.”

PRAYER OF ST. GERTRUDE, THE GREAT 
   A PRAYER WHICH WOULD RELEASE 1000 SOULS FROM PURGATORY EACH TIME IT IS PRAYED.
Our Lord told St. Gertrude, The Great, that the following prayer would release 1000 souls from Purgatory each time it is said.  The prayer was later extended to include living sinners as well.  The Approval and Recommendation below does NOT include this extension.
    “ETERNAL FATHER, I OFFER THEE THE MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD OF THY DIVINE SON, JESUS, IN UNION WITH THE MASSES SAID THROUGHOUT THE WORLD TODAY, FOR ALL THE HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY, FOR SINNERS EVERYWHERE, FOR SINNERS IN THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH, THOSE IN MY OWN HOME AND WITHIN MY FAMILY. AMEN.”

PRAYER FOR ABORTED INFANTS  
    Dear little infant Jesus, in honor of thy Holy Birth and through thy Holy Mother, I pray that the innocents who will this day be murdered may find refuge and eternal glory before the throne of our Heavenly Father.
SPIRITUAL BAPTISM OF THE UNBORN:  I believe in God... (Here you should recite the Apostles Creed, continuing with...)  That all who were born dead this day may reach everlasting life through Jesus Christ, Mary, Joseph, John and (Saint of the Day) ___________________________________.   I baptize you if God so wills (Sprinkle Holy Water to the north, south, east and west of your home or church)  “IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.”
    Say one Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be. 
   
THE POWERFUL IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY GREEN SCAPULAR BADGE AND PRAYER JUST GIVEN TO YOU WAS FIRST ENTRUSTED TO THE WORLD BY MARY, THE MOTHER OF GOD, IN THE YEAR 1840.  IT HAS BEEN BLESSED, AND MAY BE WORN, CARRIED IN A WALLET, OR PLACED IN THE ROOM OF ONE WHO IS IN NEED. THE POWERFUL PRAYER:  “Immaculate Heart of Mary Pray for us now and at the hour of our death”
    INSCRIBED ON THE BACK OF THE BADGE SHOULD BE SAID DAILY FOR YOURSELF AND OTHERS  AS MANY HAVE RECEIVED COUNTLESS PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS AS WELL AS ANSWERS TO MANY PROBLEMS DEPENDING ON THE FAITH OF THE ONE WHO PRAYS.
    Make the sign of the Cross over your affliction with your blessed Green Scapular Badge and say:  DEAR BLESSED MOTHER, INTERCEDE FOR MY HEALING, AND FROM THIS HEALING, I RECEIVED THROUGH YOUR INTERCESSION, MAY ALL HEARTS LOVE YOUR PRECIOUS SON,  JESUS CHRIST.  AMEN.

CONSECRATION PRAYER TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY 
    O Mary, my Mother, I consecrate myself to Your IMMACULATE HEART. I am all Yours and all I have is Yours.  Keep me under Your Mantle of Mercy.  Protect me as your child, and lead my soul safely to Jesus in Heaven.  Purify all that I give You and take it to JESUS, that He may use it to help Save the World and Souls.  AMEN.
    “Immaculate Mary, Meek and Humble of Heart, make our Heart like unto the Heart of Jesus.”
    As a sign of our Consecration to Her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, The Blessed Mother asked at Fatima that we:  Pray the ROSARY daily; wear the BROWN SCAPULAR (we can send these both to you); and offer PENANCE and REPARATION for sin.

A WEEK OF PRAYERS  FOR THE HOLY SOULS
 SUNDAY:
    O Lord, God Almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Blood which Thy Divine Son Jesus shed in the garden, deliver the souls in purgatory and especially that soul amongst them all which is most destitute of spiritual aid; and vouchsafe to bring it to thy glory, there to praise and bless Thee forever. Amen.
    Our Father, Hail Mary. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  May they rest in peace.  Amen.
MONDAY:
    O Lord, God Almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Blood which Thy Divine Son Jesus shed in His cruel scourging, deliver the souls in purgatory and especially that soul amongst them all which is nearest to its entrance into Thy glory; so that it may forthwith begin to praise and bless Thee forever. Amen. 
    Our Father, Hail Mary. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  May they rest in peace.  Amen.
TUESDAY:
    O Lord, God Almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Blood which Thy Divine Son Jesus shed in His bitter crowning with thorns, deliver the souls in purgatory, and in particular that one amongst them all which would be last to depart out of those pains, that it may not tarry so long a time before it comes to praise Thee in Thy glory and bless Thee forever.  Amen.
    Our Father, Hail Mary. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  May they rest in peace.   Amen.
  WEDNESDAY:
    O Lord, God Almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Blood which Thy Divine Son Jesus shed in the streets of Jerusalem, when He carried the Cross upon His sacred shoulders, deliver the souls in purgatory, and especially that soul which is richest in merits in Your sight, so that having soon attained the high place in glory to which he is destined, he may praise You triumphantly and bless You forever.  Amen. 
    Our Father, Hail Mary. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  May they rest in peace.  Amen.
 THURSDAY:
    O Lord, God Almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Body and Blood of Thy Divine Son Jesus which He gave with His own hands upon the eve of His Passion to His beloved Apostles to be their meat and drink, and which He left to His whole Church to be a perpetual sacrifice and the life-giving food of His own faithful people, deliver the souls in purgatory, and especially that one which was most devoted to this mystery of infinite love, that it may with Thy Divine Son, and the Holy Spirit, ever praise Thee for Thy love therein in eternal glory. Amen.
    Our Father, Hail Mary. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  May they rest in peace.  Amen.
  FRIDAY:
    O Lord, God Almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Blood which thy Divine Son shed on this day upon the wood of the Cross, especially from His most sacred hands and feet, deliver the souls in purgatory, and in particular that soul for which I am most bound to pray,  that no neglect of mine may hinder it from praising Thee in Thy glory and blessing Thee forever.  Amen.
    Our Father, Hail Mary. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  Ma y they rest in peace.  Amen.
  SATURDAY:
    O Lord, God Almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Blood which gushed forth from the side of Thy Divine Son Jesus, in the sight and to the extreme pain of His most Holy Mother, deliver the souls in purgatory, and especially that one amongst them all which was the most devout to her that it praise Thee in her, and her in Thee, world without end.  Amen.
    Our Father, Hail Mary. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  May they rest in peace.  Amen.

 THE HEROIC ACT
    The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hero as “a mythological or legendary figure of great strength and ability; or a man admired for his achievements and qualities.  “A hero goes above and beyond the call of duty to help others.  It is someone who has made a sacrifice for the benefit of those who could not help themselves.
    There are  heroes in the Catholic Church.  They are the canonized saints.  It is true, that all people who enter Heaven are saints, but the canonized saints have done something that is extraordinary and have been made role models for future generations of Christians.
   All of us can become heroes while on earth.  It won’t necessarily lead to our canonization, but it would definitely help those in need and also bring us closer to Jesus.  An opportunity has been given to us by the Church to help the souls in Purgatory.  It is the Heroic Act of Charity.
    Through the Heroic Act, we give all of the Indulgences from our prayers, our sufferings, and our works of charity for the benefit of the souls in Purgatory.  Also, the indulgences from the prayers offered after your death will go to the souls in Purgatory.  Even though we give the holy souls the value of our indulgences acts, we still keep the blessings of what we have done which will bring us glory in Heaven.
    The Heroic Act of Charity has been approved by Popes Benedict XIII (1728), Pius VI (1788), and Pius XI (1852). The Sacred Congregation of Indulgences made a decree regarding it on December 18, 1885 and it was confirmed by Pope Leo XIII the next day:
    The Heroic Act of Charity in favour of the souls detained in purgatory consists in this:  that a member of the Church militant (Christifidelis), either using a set, offers to God for the souls in purgatory all the satisfactory works which he will perform during his lifetime, and also all the suffrages which may accrue to him after his death.  Many Christians devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, acting on the advice of the Theatine Regular Cleric Father Gaspar Olider, of blessed memory, make  it a practice to deposit the said merits and suffrages as it were into the hands of the Blessed Virgin that she may distribute these favours to the souls in Purgatory according to her own merciful pleasure.
    Now, you might be thinking, “What a great idea, but what will happen to me when I die and I don’t have any indulgences to get me out of Purgatory?  Will I suffer enormously there because of the Heroic Act?”  This objection is not taking into account God’s love and mercy for us:
    If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me.  “Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it;  but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24.25
   We would be blessed by God for making this sacrifice. St. Gertrude the Great (who has revealed the prayer to release 1000 souls from Purgatory) made this heroic act.  When she was close to death, the sins she had committed came to her mind along with the fact that she gave all of her indulgences to the souls in Purgatory.  The devil tormented her by showing that she would suffer a great deal in Purgatory because she didn’t have anything to help her get out sooner.  At that point, Jesus appeared to her and said, “Be assured, My daughter, your charity towards the departed will be no detriment to you.  Know that the generous donation you have made of all your  works to the holy souls has been singularly pleasing to Me; and to give you a proof thereof, I declare to you that all the pains you would have had to endure in the other life are now remitted; moreover, in recompense for your generous charity I will so enhance the value of the merits of your works as to give you a great increase of glory in Heaven.”
    In the past, there was a series of indulgences that benefited those who made the Heroic Act of Charity, but these indulgences have not been mentioned in the Enchiridion of Indulgences (Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary; June 29, 1968) so they may not be in effect at this time.  This should not in any way prevent us from performing this Act.  The goal here is to help the souls in Purgatory any way we can.
    If you would like to make the Heroic Act, you can in your own words offer the indulgences of all your prayers, your works of charity, and your sufferings for the benefit of the souls in Purgatory. This includes the benefits of all of the prayers said for you after death.  If you have a problem with saying this in your own words, use the following prayer:
    Lord Jesus, King of infinite Mercy, I give all of the Indulgences that would have been mine through my prayers, acts of charity, my own sufferings, and for the prayers said for me when I pass into eternity to free my brothers and sisters from the pains of Purgatory. Have mercy on them and bring them into glory in Your eternal presence in Heaven.  Amen.
    Praying for the dead is a spiritual work of mercy.  With the Heroic Act of Charity, we can help the poor souls in a much more effective way.  We highly recommend that all Catholics who love the souls in Purgatory do this act of mercy.  (From Holy Souls online, Jul-Aug-Sept. 1999) 

ROSARY OF THE HOLY WOUNDS
    There are many uses of rosary beads.  The greatest of course, is the Marian rosary, but there have been many other devotions that use these beads.  One of them is the Rosary of the Holy Wounds.  It has been given to us by Jesus, according to Sister Mary Martha Chambon (1841-1907) .  She was a nun at the Monastery of the Visitation of Chambery in France.  The cause for her canonization as a saint began in 1937. 
    Jesus made many promises to those who would honor His Holy Wounds by praying this rosary.  Some of them are: 
•      At each word that you pronounce of the Chaplet of the Holy Wounds, I allow a drop of My Blood to fall upon the soul of a sinner.
•      I will grant all that is asked of Me through the invocation of My Holy Wounds. You will obtain everything, because it is through the merit of My Blood, which is of infinite price.  With My Wound and My Divine Heart, everything can be obtained.
•      My Wounds will repair yours, My Wounds will cover all your faults.  Those who honor them will have a true knowledge of Jesus Christ.  In meditation on them, you will always find a new love. My Wounds will cover all your sins.
•      When you have some trouble , something to suffer, quickly place it in My Wounds, and the pain will be alleviated.
•      There will be no death for the soul that expires in My Holy Wounds; they give true life.
•      Those who pray with humility and who meditate on My Passion will one day participate in the glory of My Divine Wounds.
•      The soul who during life has honored the Wounds of our Lord Jesus Christ and has offered them to the Eternal Father for the Souls in Purgatory, will be accompanied at the moment of death by the Holy Virgin and the angels; and Our Lord on the Cross, all brilliant in glory, will receive her and crown her.
    Our Lord also made a promise to St. Gertrude for those who honor His Holy Wounds.  She had a vision of Jesus after finishing her prayers for His wounds at one time.  There were golden roses on top of His wounds.  Jesus then said, "Behold, I will appear to you in this radiant form at the hour of your death, and I will cover all your sins, and adorn you with a glory like that with which you have adorned My Wounds by your salutations.  All who do so shall receive the like favor.”
    The method of praying this rosary is as follows. You begin with:
    O Jesus, Divine Redeemer, be merciful to us and to the whole world.  Amen.  Strong God, Holy God, Immortal God, have mercy on us and the world. Amen.
    Grace and Mercy, O my Jesus.  During present dangers cover us with Your Precious Blood. Amen.
    Eternal Father, grant us mercy through the Blood of Jesus Christ, Your only Son. Grant us mercy, we beseech You.   Amen.
    On the “Our Father” beads (the larger ones) you pray, Eternal Father, I offer you the Wounds of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, to heal the wounds of our souls.
    And the smaller “Hail Mary” beads you pray:
    My Jesus, pardon and mercy, through the merits of Your Holy Wounds.
    At the very end of the rosary, at the “Hail, Holy Queen” part, conclude by praying the following three times:
    Eternal Father, I offer You the Wounds of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, to heal the wounds of our souls. 
Source: Association of the Holy Souls Online.

NOVENA FOR THE SOULS IN PURGATORY 
OPENING PRAYER
Please kneel
    O Eternal Father. I offer You the Most Precious Blood of Your Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory and for sinners everywhere - for sinners in the Universal church, for those in my own home and for those within my family. Amen.
    Most loving Jesus, I humbly beseech You to offer to Your Eternal Father, on behalf of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, Your Most Precious Blood, which poured forth from the Sacred Wounds of Your adorable body, together with Your agony and death.
    O Sorrowful Virgin Mary, do present to the Heavenly Father, together with the sorrowful passion of Your Son, Your own sighs and tears and all the sorrows You did suffer in communion with Him, in order that refreshment may be granted to the souls now suffering in the fiery torments of purgatory, so that, being delivered from that painful prison, they may be clothed with glory in Heaven, there to sing the mercies of God for ever and ever. Amen. 
  SCRIPTURAL READING AND MEDITATION FOR THE DAY
 NOVENA PRAYER
    Merciful Father, in union with the Saints in heaven, we beg You to have mercy on the souls in purgatory. Be mindful of Your eternal love for them and show them Your mercy because of the boundless merits of Your Beloved Son. Be pleased to free them from pain and sorrow that they may soon enjoy eternal peace and happiness.
    Loving Redeemer, Jesus Christ, You are the King of kings in the land of bliss. We beg You, in Your mercy, hear our prayer and set free the holy souls in purgatory. Lead them from the prison of darkness to the light and freedom of the children of God in the Kingdom of Your glory. Redeem them with Your Precious Blood and save them from eternal death.
    Holy Spirit, Lord of Light, enkindle in us the flames of charity that we might be able to offer up our prayers and sacrifices for the suffering souls in purgatory. We wish to apply the merits of this devotion to the entire Church Suffering, but especially to our departed loved ones. Hear our prayers that we may be united with them in the kingdom of Your glory, Father, Son and Holy Spirit forever. Amen.
 
LITANY OF THE HOLY SOULS
Almighty God, Father of goodness and love, have mercy on the poor suffering souls and grant them Your aid:
To our parents and ancestors;* Lord have mercy.
To our brothers and sisters and relatives;*
To our spiritual and temporal benefactors;*
To our former friends and subordinates;*
To all for whom love or duty bids us to pray;*
To those who suffered disadvantage or harm through us;*
To those who have offended us;*
To all those who are especially beloved by You;*
To those whose release is at hand;*
To those who desire most to be united with You;*
To those who endure the greatest suffering;*
To those whose release is most remote;*
To those who are least remembered;*
To those who are most deserving on account of their services to the Church;*
To the rich, who are now the most destitute;*
To the mighty, who are now as lowly servants;*
To the blind, who now see their folly;*
To the frivolous, who spent their time in idleness;*
To the poor, who did not seek the treasures of Heaven;*
To the tepid, who devoted little time in prayer;*
To the indolent, who were negligent in performing good     works;*
To those of little faith, who neglected the frequent reception of sacraments;*
To the habitual sinners, who owe their salvation to a miracle of grace;*
To parents, who failed to watch over their children;*
To superiors, who were not solicitous for the salvation of those entrusted to them;*
To the souls of those who strove for hardly anything but riches and pleasures;*
To the worldly minded, who failed to use their wealth and talents in the service of God;*
To those who witnessed the death of others, but would not think of their own;*
To those who did not provide for the great journey beyond and the days of tribulation;*
To those whose judgment is so severe because of the great things entrusted to them;*
To the popes, rulers, kings and princes;*
To the bishops and their counselors;*
To teachers and advisors;*
To the deceased priests of this diocese;*
To the priest and religious of the whole Church;*
To the defenders of the Holy Faith;*
To those who died in the battlefield;*
To those who are buried at sea;*
To those who died suddenly;*
To those who died without the last rites of the Church;*
To those who will die within the next twenty-four hours;*
To my own poor soul when I shall have to appear before Your judgment seat;*
L: Eternal rest grant unto all those souls of the faithful departed,  Lord
A: And let perpetual light shine upon them.
L: May they rest in peace
A: Amen

SCRIPTURAL READINGS / MEDITATIONS
First Day
    "If he had not believed that the dead would be raised, it would have been foolish and useless to pray for them. In his firm and devout conviction that all of God’s faithful people would receive a wonderful reward, Judas (Maccabaeus) made provision for a sin offering to set free from their sin those who had died." 2 Maccabees 12:44-45 
    Sin is the one thing that holds back the progress of men and women. True progress is man’s ascent to God. Only sin blocks this path.
    Vice and crime throw away human being to animal levels when they should be mounting towards the Angels. 
Death in mortal sin means the complete failure that is hell. It flings man, who is destined for eternal happiness, into eternal loss and pain.
    Death in venial sin or with the punishment due to sin still on the souls, means a half in the progress toward heaven. The poor souls - poor indeed in his eagerness to reach God and the painful and tedious delay that keeps him from God - must linger in this prison house.
    This is purgatory, a place of anxious, almost impatient waiting.
Second Day
    "Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting? Now the sting of death is sin, and sin gets its power from the law. So let us thank God for giving us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Cor. 15:55-57
    Nothing else is humanly harder to bear than painful waiting. All the souls in Purgatory are sure one day to reach Heaven. They know how wonderful heaven is and how desirable God is. But they cannot follow the violent impulse which drives them towards their happiness. They must hunger for God and still be withheld from the possession of Him.
    In hell, there is only bleak and hopeless despair. In purgatory, there is hope and certainty, love and eagerness - and long period of waiting, waiting, waiting.
    There is suffering, too, in purgatory, the suffering that washes away in flame the stains of guilt and cleanses as with fire the souls will eventually enter into the presence of the all-holy God. But the real pain in purgatory is that of awful eagerness for God, who is just out of reach, and that longing to go home to heaven, which is almost seen but as yet unattainable.
    Nothing defiled can ever enter heaven. So purgatory is the place where defilement is removed, where the souls that are destined for glory are prepared by punishment and tedious delay for their homecoming with God.
Third Day
    "If Christ lives in you, then although the body be a dead thing in virtue of our guilt, the spirit is a living thing, by virtue of our justification. And if the Spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead will give life to your perishable bodies too, for the sake of his Spirit who dwells in you." Rom 8:10-11
    This life on earth is a time of merit. When through the Church’s indulgences we avail ourselves of the merits of Christ and of the Saints, we can wipe away the guilt of forgiven sins and eliminate the punishment due to venial sins, as we can also do through penance and deeds of charity.
    But once the souls enter purgatory, the time for that soul to gain merit has ended.
    When we suffer on earth, we can offer our sufferings to God, increasing thereby our future happiness in heaven and canceling out the pains of purgatory. When a soul suffers in purgatory, he slowly and tediously cancels the debts of sin but gains no further merit for heaven. There are no indulgences in purgatory, nor fresh use of the merits of Christ, of His Mother or of the Saints.
    Thanks, however, to our union in the Mystical Body of Christ, thanks to the communion of Saints, we can gain merit for the suffering souls. We can win indulgences and apply them to their period of waiting. We can cut their sufferings and speed their entry into heaven by whatever good we offer for them on earth.
Fourth Day
    "If we have died with Christ, we have faith to believe that we shall share his life. We know that Christ, now he has risen from the dead, cannot die any more; death has no more power over him; the death he died was a death, once for all, to sin; the life he now lives is a life that looks towards God. And you, too, must think of yourselves as dead to sin, and alive with a life that looks towards God, through Christ Jesus our Lord." Rom 6:8-11
    Swiftly the memory even of the dear departed seem to pass from human minds. Memory is like tears in a coffin, swiftly evaporated, quickly dried.
    The rush of the days fills the minds and hands of the living. The press of old associations and the establishment of new friends help supplant and elbow into dusty corners of our minds the friends now hidden in God’s penitentiary. But these prisoners do not forget us.
    In the slow, painful dragging of the days, they have time to remember. They are so hungry for God that they have little heart for new companions. They are made sensitive, as pain always makes us sensitive, to memory, to neglect, to hope for deliverance, to the knowledge that those who once cried aloud their love have swiftly forgotten.
    With gratitude, they do think of those who remember them. With sorrow, they think of those who have swiftly dropped them. They pray to God, who loves them even in their exile, the thoughtful and the mindful. They beg that those who have pushed them away for the near and the living will drop in their prison house a thought, a prayer, a good deed in ransom.
Fifth Day
    "Remember the Good News that I care; ‘Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, sprung from the race of David.’ Here is a saying that you can rely on: If you have died with him, then we shall live with him. If we hold firm, then we shall reign with him. If we disown him, then he will disown us. We may be unfaithful, but he is always faithful, for he cannot disown his own self." 2 Tim 2:8,11-13
    Those in purgatory are friends of God. These souls are saved. Their crowns are awaiting them, their thrones prepared, their mansions ready.
    God loves them deeply, as He loves all those faithful sons and daughters who fought the good fight. Their prayers for others come straight to His throne. They can no longer pray for themselves; their time of merit is over. They can pray and they do pray for those on earth whom they love. That loving mother in purgatory is interceding for her children. That devoted father is now more devoted. Those friends have not forgotten the value of their friendship. Those relatives are bound to us with ties much closer than blood.
    Most of all, the holy souls pray for their benefactors. Our slight remembering of them wins for us a great measure of intercession from them. We pray thoughtlessly; they pray with the intensity of souls who are coming ever closer to God. We ask for deliverance for them; they beg God for a thousand blessings for us.
Sixth Day
    "Christ himself, innocent though he was, died once for sins, died for the guilty, to lead us to God. In the body, he was put to death, in the spirit he was raised to life. He has entered heaven and is at God’s right hand, now that he has made the angels and Dominations and Power his subjects."  1Pet 3:18,22
    Our souls hunger for God with far more intensity than a body hungers for food. Here in this world we are distracted by the pleasure of life about us. In purgatory, there are no distractions. Their eyes fixed on the closed gates of heaven, the holy souls long for God, yearn for God, hunger and thirst for God.
    The terms of their sentences ring in their ears: "thus and thus long shall you remain separated from your joy, until these sins, misdeeds, stains and blemishes have been atoned for."
    Balanced against their consuming hunger for God is their certainty that they would not dare enter His presence with the slightest stain upon them. They almost wished that the fires burned more fiercely and more rapidly so that the pain could be at once more intense and more cleansing.
    Imagine then their gratitude for every prayer or good deed by which we help them cleanse their soul and speed them on their way to God. Imagine the leaping joy with which they welcome any act by which we cut their sentence, shorten their stay in purgatory, and hasten their entrance into heaven. 
Seventh Day
    "None of us lives for himself only, none of us dies for himself only. If we live, it is for the Lord that we live, and if we die, it is for the Lord that we die. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For Christ died and rose to life in order to be the Lord of the living and of the dead." Rom 14:7-9
    What food is to the starving, what drink is to the parched throat, what light is to a man long blind, what restored health is to the patient invalid, what freedom is to the prisoner, all this and far more is release from purgatory of a holy soul.
    And when food, health and freedom come suddenly and unexpectedly, the human heart leaps and bounds, and  the souls know the sharp ecstasy of joy.
    So it is with each prayer that we say for the beseeching souls in purgatory. Our prayer is bread and water, light and health; it is a reprieve and a release, freedom and homecoming. It is the cutting of bonds, the lessening of weary waiting, the termination of exile, the sudden glorious lift that picks them up and seems almost to shoot them towards the center of their joy, God Himself.
    For us, that prayer is an almost careless gesture, a routine act of charity. Prayers, alms, a bit of fasting, a good deed done… all forgotten in the long doing. For them, however, such are beyond price and measure, something for which they can repay us only in the immortal coin of eternity.
Eighth Day
    "They will see the Lord face to face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. It will never be night again and they will not need lamplight or sunlight, because the Lord God will be shining  on   them. They will reign forever and ever." Rev. 22:4-5
    Then, a happy day of release comes. Perhaps, for those whose friends on earth forgot and for those because of some valid reason did not receive any special consideration from God, that release comes only at the end of long and bitter centuries. Perhaps, it comes far sooner than they have dared to hope. Their friends have remembered them, prayers poured in upon them and God has accepted these in part or full payment of their debt.
    But late or soon, the release comes, the sentence is finished, the grim gates of purgatory swing open. Ahead are the white and shining portals of the Eternal City. Like the rush of light, the released soul sweep upward toward God. Fierce winds have now the fierce intensity, which marks this flight of a soul from exile to the happiness for which God destined it.
    Then, in the presence of God, there is the moment of triumph, the welcome by the Trinity, the entrance into the heavenly mansion, the enthronement of another saint. At that moment shall begin for that soul an eternity of bliss and incomparable happiness that shall be without flaw, never to be marred by uncertainty or disillusionment. For, then, the souls shall possess God for all eternity.
Ninth Day
    "Everyone whom my Father gives me will come to me. I will never turn away anyone who comes to me, because I have come down from heaven to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me. And it is the will of him who sent me that I should not lose any of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them all to life on the last day. For what my Father wants is that all who see the Son and believe in him should have eternal life. And I will raise them on the last day." John 6:37-40
    Joy does not cause the souls in heaven to forget. On the contrary, joy makes them more alive to memory. The soul that has entered into bliss does not, for a second, forget the generous friends on earth who helped him reach God and glory.
    Now a saint in heaven, he uses to the full his power of intercession. He prays to God to be merciful and generous. By name he mentions to Christ and to Mary those who mentioned his name when he was helpless to help himself. He speaks to the Trinity about his friends.
    He becomes, in effect, a mighty benefactor, persuasively beseeching God to extend mercy and grant favors to those who remembered him in purgatory. He prays with the fervor of new-found joy that their passage through life will be safe, their stay in purgatory be brief, their entrance into heaven swift and triumphant. He prays that one day, they too might behold the beatific vision and see God face to face through the endlessness of eternity. It is their unselfish urge to share so great a bliss that we ask them to send us. 
Source:       MEDITATION from Daniel A. Lord, SJ
Nihil Obstat:      Fr. Rufino C. Sescon. Jr. Censor ad Hoc
Imprimatur:       Jaime Cardinal L. Sin, D.D. Archbishop of Manila

INFORMATION SHEET
THE PRAYER WARRIORS OF THE HOLY SOULS (PWHS) is an apostolate of the MONFORT FOUNDATION, INC., a non-stock, non-profit foundation, whose Founding-President is Dr. Narciso D. Monfort, M.D.
VISION STATEMENT: The PWHS is a Catholic Apostolate of committed, prayerful members involved in activities to uplift suffering souls and to assist the living on how to avoid purgatory.
MISSION STATEMENT: To create and spread global awareness on the plight of the holy souls in purgatory thru sustainable efforts; to pray for the holy souls; to strengthen the faith and longing for holiness of the Prayer Warriors; and to tap resources to sustain the apostolate.
The PRAYER WARRIORS of the HOLY SOULS is composed of dedicated individuals who pray, offer masses, do works of mercy for the intentions of the holy souls, and recruit members who will identify with the cause of assisting the holy souls reach their state of perfection so as to be able to enter the Kingdom of God, in an accelerated pace.
The PWHS, which was organized in July 29, 1992, is recognized by the Association of the Holy Souls (AHS) as the official organization in the Philippines that shares its objectives. The AHS is under the care of the MONASTERY PIUS XII based in Fatima, Portugal.
The Deputy Executive Director of the PWHS is Carlos Oda, and the Executive Director is Chita G. Monfort, who is also the Editor-in-chief of the PWHS quarterly publication “Fore & Aft”.
(as of June 2005)

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