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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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THE HOLY SOULS ARE SECOND TO NONE IN GENEROSITY

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The more we give, the more we get

A business man 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 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 wife and child 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 that time his son fell grievously ill and soon the case became desperate. Remembering what 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.

He was 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.

A new sorrow

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

The husband, bethinking him, of 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 succour of the Holy Souls.

A complete recovery

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

The Cure of Cancer

D. Joana de Menezes thus tells of her cure.

She was suffering severely from a cancerous growth in the leg and was plunged into grief.

Remembering what she had heard of the power of the Souls in Purgatory she resolved to place 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 tumour and cancer disappeared.

An escape from Brigands

Father Louis Mamaci, 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…

Whilst plodding along, saying the Rosary for the Holy Souls, what was not his surprise, on looking round, 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 Cirfontaines 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 were in despair.

I was the only one who had hope

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 Associates of the Holy Souls to pray fervently for our sick friend.

On Monday the danger passed. The boy was cured.

 

Read and Wake Up

In my long life, writes a priest, I have noticed with amazement how few Catholics give generously to the poor and needy, notwithstanding what Our Blessed Lord commands them to do.

I have also remarked that some Catholics are, indeed, very generous and good. Some care for the poor, others look after the sick. Lepers, consumptives, cancer patients, the mentally deficient, all have their friends. Some prefer to help the young, the hearts of others go out to the old. All the various classes of the poor and needy find champions though, generous as they should be.

The strangest thing of all

The strangest thing of all is that I have never met one man or woman who has dedicated himself entirely, wholeheartedly to the greatest of all charities, to the greatest of all the needy – viz the Holy Souls of Purgatory.

There may be a few who do so but in my long and very varied experience I never met any.

Alas! the words of this good priest are only too true.

We appeal to those who have not as yet dedicated themselves to any particular form of charity to dedicate all their energies to the Holy Souls. Let them do what they can personally and also induce others to help.

The best way is to spread about hundreds of copies of this little book [or print off the text and spread the word] and so make hundreds of friends for the Holy Souls. Who can read it and refuse to help them?

 

– 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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FURTHER EXAMPLES OF THE MOST AMAZING HELP AFFORDED BY THE HOLY SOULS

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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 scanty 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, viz, 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 his 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 called 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 canonised 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 treat a grave 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 train in those days.

They placed themselves under the protection of the Holy Souls and decided to say profundis De profundis every hour for them.

When 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 number 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 the prison. Anxious to gain his confidence, the Chaplain told him of several adventures he himself had 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 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 more easy. 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 prove to be a grave impediment to 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 my memory but I promised to say a fervent prayer daily for the Holy Souls, who, in return, have obtained for me an excellent memory. Do you likewise, dear Father, and you will have cause to rejoice.”

– 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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WHAT THE HOLY SOULS DO FOR THOSE WHO HELP THEM

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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 but, through the sweet Providence of God, they can obtain for us as astounding favours and deliver us from evils, sickness and dangers of every kind.

It is beyond all doubt, as we have already said, that they repay us a thousand times for anything we do for them.

The following facts, a few hundreds which we might quote, are sufficient to show what powerful and generous friends the Holy Souls are.

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 Mari resolved, that, cost what it may cost, she would have a Mass said to 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.

One one occasion she went to Paris with her mistress and there fell I’ll so that she was obliged to go to 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 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 should be glad to get the place.”

The lady was amazed and replied: “Who could have told you that I need 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, that 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 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.”

– 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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THE HOLY SOULS WILL REPAY US A THOUSAND TIMES OVER

Previous chapter 

God wishes us to help the Holy Souls in Purgatory

In any event, the Holy Souls 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 attachments and 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 fervours from the Holy Souls.”

When 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 for ever their dearest, sincerest and best friends.

Did 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 Massias, 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.

Who were those helpers?

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 compass his ruin.

When asked who they were they made answer 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 in Purgatory.

She was fiercely tempted by the devil on her death bed

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 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 thousands 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 hundredfold all her merits.

They made a pact

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

It so fell out that his companion died first and Blessed Henry commenced 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.

His friend appeared to tell him off

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 Masses believing that his friend must be enjoying the Beatific Vision and added that he had ever 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.

– 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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WHO CAN HAVE MORE CLAIM ON US?

Previous chapter

Now we come to mortal sins

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 [though thus avoiding Hell], 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?

[N.B.: As anyone who is familiar with the Bible and Holy Apostolic Teaching knows, they can’t pray themselves out of Purgatory.]

– 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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