My Life In Prayer
DEVOTION TO THE HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY.
(By St. Alphonsus Liguori)
"The practice of recommending to God the souls in Purgatory, that He may mitigate the great pains which they suffer, and that He may soon bring them to His glory, is most pleasing to the Lord and most profitable to us. For these blessed souls are His eternal spouses, and most grateful are they to those who obtain their deliverance from prison, or even a mitigation of their torments. When, therefore, they arrive in Heaven, they will be sure to remember all who have prayed for them. It is a pious belief that God manifests to them our prayers in their behalf, that they may also pray for us. It is true these blessed souls are not in a state of pray for themselves, because they are, so to speak, criminals atoning for their faults. However, because they are very dear to God, they can pray for us, and obtain for us the divine graces. St. Catherine of Bologna, when she wished to obtain any grace, had recourse to the souls in Purgatory, and her prayers were heard immediately. She declared that, by praying to those holy souls, she obtained many favors which she had sought through the intercession of the saints without obtaining them. The graces which devout persons are said to have received through these holy souls are innumerable
But, if we wish for the aid of their prayers, it is just, it is even a duty, to relieve them by our suffrages. I say, it is even a duty: for Christian charity commands us to relieve our neighbors who stand in need of our assistance. But who among all our neighbors have so great need of our help as those holy prisoners? They are continually in that fire which torments more severely than any earthly fire, They are deprived of the sight of God, a torment far more excruciating than all other pains. Let us reflect that among these suffering souls are parents, or brothers, or relations and friends, who look to us for succor. Let us remember, moreover, that being in the condition of debtors for their sins, they cannot assist themselves. This thought should urge us forward to relieve them to the
best of our ability. By assisting them we shall not only give great pleasure to God, but will acquire also great merit for ourselves. And, in return for our suffrages, these blessed souls will not neglect to obtain for us many graces from God, but particularly the grace of eternal life. I hold for certain that a soul delivered from Purgatory by the suffrages of a Christian, when she enters paradise, will not fail to say to God: "Lord, do not suffer to be lost that person who has liberated me from the prison of Purgatory, and has brought me to the enjoyment of Thy glory sooner than I had deserved."
The holy doctor then goes on to urge the faithful to do all in their power to relieve and liberate these blessed souls, by procuring Masses to be said for them, by alms, and by their own fervent prayers.
This little "Manual" will no doubt be welcomed by the members of the Purgatorian Society and other pious friends of the suffering souls in Purgatory.
Indulgenced Prayers to Aid the Suffering Souls.
note: All the following indulgences are
taken from the latest official book of
indulgences—Preces et Pia Opera, Vatican
Polyglot Press, 1938.
Indulgences attached to invocations and ejaculatory prayers can be gained by saying them merely in one's mind. (AAS. Vol. XXVI.. p. 35).
A star (*) before a prayer signifies that if one says this prayer daily for a month he may gain a plenary indulgence, if, any time after completing the prescribed works he receives the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion, visits a church and there prays for the intention of the Holy Father.
When Confession and Holy Communion are prescribed for the gaining of an indulgence, those who are accustomed, unless lawfully hindered, to go to confession at least twice a month, or to receive Holy Communion daily (though they may stay away one or two days during the week), may gain all indulgences, without actual confession, which would otherwise be necessary to gain them—except the indulgences of a jubilee. (Can. 931, Sec. 3.)
To pray for the intention of the Holy Father it is sufficient to recite one Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be to the Father.
To gain a plenary indulgence "Tories Quoties," e.g., the Portiuncula or on All Souls' Day, for which a visit to the church is prescribed, you must say at least six times the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be to the Father for each visit. (Can. 934 Sec. 1, a b.)
To gain such an indulgence the visits may be made from noon of the preceding day till night of the specified day. (Can. 923).
All the indulgences are applicable to the Souls in Purgatory. (Can. 930.)