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AT THE HOUR OF DEATH THE MASSES YOU HAVE HEARD WILL BE YOUR GREATEST CONSOLATION

AT THE HOUR OF DEATH THE MASSES YOU HAVE HEARD WILL BE YOUR GREATEST CONSOLATION

THE HOLY MASS

At the hour of death the Masses you have heard will be your greatest consolation. Every Mass will go with you to judgment and plead for pardon.

At every Mass you can diminish the temporal punishment due to your sins, more or less according to your fervour.

Assisting devoutly at Mass you render to the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord the greatest homage. You afford to the souls in Purgatory the greatest possible relief.

You are preserved from many dangers and misfortunes which would otherwise have befallen you.

You shorten your Purgatory by every Mass.

Every Mass wins you a higher degree of sanctifying grace here, and glory in heaven hereafter.

You are blessed in your temporal goods and affairs.

When you hear Mass and offer the Holy Sacrifice in honour of any particular Saint or Angel, thank God for the favour bestowed on him, etc., etc.

One Mass heard during your life will be of more benefit to you than many heard for you after your death. Therefore, try to hear Mass every day.

– From: St Anthony’s Treasury, 1916

 

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BEADS OF THE DEAD

BEADS OF THE DEAD

Consisting of four decades, in memory of the Forty Hours which Our Lord passed in Limbo.

Begin with the “De Profundis”or with an “Our Father”  and “Hail Mary”.   “

Say on the large beads the Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity. – “O my God, I believe in thee, because thou art Truth itself. Amen. I hope in thee, because thou art merciful. Amen. I love thee, because thou art good: and my neighbour as myself for love of thee. I am very sorry that I have sinned against thee, because thou art so good, and with thy grace, I will not sin again. Amen.”

On each small bead repeat: “Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation.” [300 days’ indulgence.]

End each decade with: “Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen. [300 days, each time, applicable to the souls in Purgatory.]

[Numerous indulgences are granted for saying these prayers with or without Rosary beads.]

– St Anthony’s Treasury, 1916

 

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ARCHANGEL MICHAEL, CONSOLER OF THE POOR SOULS

In her beautiful prayers in the Mass for the Dead, the Church with maternal solicitude places the souls of her departed children in the hands of St Michael, that he may lead them into the kingdom of everlasting light. If St Michael is so solicitous for the welfare of souls during their lifetime on earth and at the hour of death, we may be certain that he will also befriend them during their stay in Purgatory and will hasten to bring them consolation.

St Michael helps the Holy Souls in Purgatory

A Cistercian monk appeared to a priest friend soon after his death and told him he would be delivered from Purgatory if during Holy Mass the priest would recommend his soul to St Michael. The priest complied with this desire, and he, together with others who were present, had the consolation of seeing the soul of his friend taken to Heaven by the Archangel.

It is related that a certain priest, one day while offering the Holy Sacrifice for the dead, recommended some souls in a particular manner when pronouncing the words: “May the Prince of Angels, St Michael, lead them into the glory of Heaven.” At the same time he saw the glorious Archangel descend from Heaven into Purgatory to deliver those souls and to conduct them into Paradise.

St Michael conducted the Holy Souls into Paradise

“The prince of the heavenly militia,” says St Anselm, “is all-powerful in Purgatory, and he can assist the Poor Souls whom the justice and sanctity of the Almighty retain in this place of punishment.” “It is incontestably recognised since the foundation of Christianity,” declares St Robert Bellarmine, “that the souls of the Faithful Departed are delivered from Purgatory  through the intercession of St Michael the Archangel.” Let us add to these authorities the words of St Alphonsus Liguori: “St Michael has received the care of consoling and helping the souls in Purgatory.”

– From: ‘Neath St Michael’s Shield, Fifth Edition, 1962

 

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READ ME OR RUE IT

Help, help, they suffer so much!

I. We can never understand too clearly that every alms, small or great, which we give to the poor we give to God.

He accepts it and rewards it as given to Himself. Therefore all we do for the Holy Souls God accepts as done to Himself. It is as if we relieved or released Him from Purgatory.

What a thought! How He will repay us!

II. As there is no hunger, no thirst, no poverty, no need, no pain, no suffering compared in the Church with what the Souls in Purgatory endure there is no alms more deserving, none more pleasing to God, none more meritorious for us than the alms, the prayers, the Masses we give to the Holy Souls.

III. It is very possible that some of our own nearest and dearest ones are still suffering the excruciating pains of Purgatory and calling us piteously for help and relief.

Is it not dreadful that we are so hardened as not to think more about them, that we are so cruel as to deliberately forget them!

For the dear Christ’s sake let us do all, but all, we can for them.

Approval of His Eminence the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon

We approve and recommend with all our heart the beautiful little book “Read Me or Rue It” by E.R.M. Although small it is destined to do great good among Catholics, many of whom are incredibly ignorant of the great doctrine of Purgatory. As a consequence they do little or nothing to avoid it themselves and little to help the poor souls who are suffering there so intensely, waiting for the Masses and prayers which should be offered for them. It is our earnest desire that every Catholic should read this little book and spread it about as widely as possible. 4/6/1936 (signed by His Eminence the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon)

“READ ME OR RUE IT”

Foreword

This title is somewhat startling, yet, dear Reader, if you peruse the little book you will see for yourself how well deserved it is.

The book tells us how to save ourselves and how to save others from untold suffering.

Some books are good and may be read with great profit. Others are better and should be read without fail.

There are, however, books of such sterling worth by reason of the counsels they suggest, the conviction they carry with them, the urge to action they give us that it would be sheer folly not to read them.

“Read Me or Rue It” belongs to this class.

It is for your best interest, dear friend, to read it and re-read it, to ponder well and deeply on its contents. You will never regret it, rather great and poignant will be your regret if you fail to study its few but pregnant pages.

 

Index

[The little book can be read by navigating via the “next chapter” link at the bottom of each chapter to “turn the page”. Please click here to begin reading Chapter I. In addition, you can find the chapters listed below as arranged in the booklet]

I. “Have Pity On Me, At Least You, My Friends!”

II. Purgatory: The Soul Craves With All Intensity For God

III. Deliberately Not To Think Of Purgatory Is Asking For A Long Purgatory

IV. Case Studies: The Atheist Author-To-Be

V. “I Neglected To Offer Suffrages For The Souls In Purgatory”

VI. How Long Do Souls Remain In Purgatory?

VII. …Until We Shall Have Paid The Last Farthing

VIII. Worldly Attachment: “Many Around Us Live In Hunger And Misery While We Spent Lavishly And Needlessly On Ourselves”

IX. Who Can Have More Claim On Us?

X. Why Pray For The Souls In Purgatory?

XI. The Holy Souls Will Repay Us A Thousand Times Over

XII. How We Can Help The Holy Souls In Purgatory

XIII. What The Holy Souls Do For Those Who Help Them

XIV. Further Examples Of The Most Amazing Help Afforded By The Holy Souls

XV. The Holy Souls Are Second To None In Generosity

 

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HOW LONG DO SOULS REMAIN IN PURGATORY?

Previous chapter

The length of time souls are detained in Purgatory depends on:

  1. the number of their attachments to temporal things/their faults
  2. on the malice and deliberation with which these have been committed;
  3. on the penance done, or not done, the satisfaction made, or not made, for sins during life;
  4. Much, too, depends 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 in the lives and revelations of the Saints.

St Louis’ father

St Louis Bertrant’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 spent 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 soul he so dearly loved.

A vision of his father still in Purgatory forced him to intensify a hundredfold 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

St Malchy’s sister was detained in Purgatory for a very long time despite the Masses, prayers and heroic mortifications the Saint offered for her!

Other pious people

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

Carmelite nuns in Purgatory for forty, fifty and sixty years! What will it be for those living midst 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 indeterminable time in Purgatory.

Necessary and prudent

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 been approved by the Church were it not necessary and prudent.

The time varies

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 may not happen to us who enjoy none of these wonderful privileges?

Next chapter

– From: Read Me or Rue It, by E.D.M., approved of His Eminence the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon 4/6/1936, printed by Kerryman, Co Kerry, Ireland

 

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“I NEGLECTED TO OFFER SUFFRAGES FOR THE SOULS IN PURGATORY”

Previous chapter

St Antonius and his friend

Here is a narrative of a different kind but not less instructive.

St Antonius, 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 soul of the gentleman appeared to him

The Saint was very much afflicted when, after a lapse of a very 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 judgement, has applied those 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.”

God is just

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.

– From: Read Me or Rue It, by E.D.M., approved of His Eminence the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon 4/6/1936, printed by Kerryman, Co Kerry, Ireland

Next chapter

 

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HOW CAN HOLY SOULS BOXES HELP THE DECEASED, SINCE THE LATTER DON’T NEED TO EAT OR PAY BILLS ANY MORE?

“QUESTION: At the back of the Church is a box for the Holy Souls. How can our offerings help people who are no longer alive?

ANSWER: Offerings put in the Holy Souls box are given as stipends to priests to offer Masses for the Holy Souls. [Bricklayers, teachers, labourers etc. can’t give all their time entirely “for free” either, even if they wanted to, since, after all, they need to eat.] Our Lord is the One who chiefly offers the Mass, and its fruits are infinite, but the Church is also actively involved in the offering, and our capacity to receive the fruits of the Mass is limited.

Hence from earliest times, Christians have offered Mass frequently for their loved ones who have died, especially on the occasion of their anniversary, to pray for them, to ask forgiveness for their sins, and to offer satisfaction for them. Every Mass is offered for all the living and the dead, as all the Eucharistic Prayers make plain.

However, those who participate in the Mass make their own prayers of offering for particular intentions. The priest may do so as well, applying the fruits of his own offering of the Mass, either at his own choice, or at the request of others. The stipend was originally the means of his upkeep so that he didn’t have to take another job but could devote himself exclusively to the priestly ministry (rather like the portion of the sacrifice given to the Levite in the Old Testament). Nowadays it forms only a part, though sometimes a significant one, of the priest’s income. Holy Souls offerings are often sent from parishes to priests elsewhere who are struggling financially.

The Masses offered for the Holy Souls in general are an act of charity whereby we help those who are forgotten and have nobody to pray for them, and those many in our time who are remembered but for whom nobody actually prays, because many people do not believe in purgatory. Incidentally, they are also a way for people to contribute to the upkeep of their pastors, a duty which the Church reminds us of in her precepts. In these different ways, the Holy Souls box is a small practical way of expression of our communion with one another in Christ.”
– This article by Fr Tim Finigan is part of the feature “Catholic Dilemmas”; it was published in “The Catholic Herald” issue November 8 2013. (Text in brackets [] added afterwards.) For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link).

 
 

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