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WHEN WE PRAY TO THE HOLY SOULS, THOSE SOULS SERVE AS OUR ESCORTS INTO HEAVEN
by Susan Tassone
According to St. Augustine, the holy souls are informed about who comes to their relief. This is by special Divine revelation or through their guardian angels.
The gratitude of those holy souls will last throughout eternity.
They return the benefits by many graces and favors to their benefactors in temporal affairs as well as in the affairs of our salvation: coming to our aid especially at the hour of death and before the tribunal of judgment.
St. Bridget heard the souls in purgatory call to Heaven, saying in a loud collective voice, "O merciful God, reward a hundredfold the charity of them that by their good works assist us to come from out of this darkness to the eternal light and to attain your Beatific Vision." The voice of an angel was heard saying: "Blessed be upon earth those who, by their prayers and good works, come to the assistance of the poor suffering souls."
We should be inspired and have great confidence in these holy heroes. God hears their pleas for their prayers possess all the qualities pleasing to Him: a living faith, ardent charity, purity of intentions.
They know of us by their own experience: the trials, temptations, the struggles we face. They know better than we the efficacy and necessity of Divine grace. All the more are they impelled to become our intercessors.
The Venerable Frances of the Blessed Sacrament assures us that the holy souls assisted her in all dangers, and disclosed to her the snares of the devil. A soul appearing to her said: "Fear not, we will always defend you." Another soul assured her, "We pray daily for you; and as often as anyone remembers us, we also remember him and intercede for him with God. Especially do we implore for him the grace to serve God well and to die a happy death."
Do we not all want (and need) such help?
By devotion to the holy souls, our progress in virtue and perfection is greatly hastened.
St. Gregory said that there are thousands of instances from which we may learn how efficiently the holy souls can obtain for us health in sickness, aid in poverty, relief in distress, counsel in doubt, and protection in danger. The more souls you release from purgatory, the more protectors you will have in heaven, where they will continually implore God for your welfare.
What a consolation to know at the hour of death we will have escorts to Heaven!
The renowned historian Cardinal Baronius relates: A man of great virtue was at the hour of his death. He was battered by evil spirits. Suddenly he saw the heavens open and thousands of warriors in white garments coming to his aid. They told him that they were sent to defend him and to gain victory for him. They dying man was greatly relieved and asked his heavenly defenders who they were. They replied:
"We are the souls whom you released. We come to reward your charity, and to conduct your soul to Heaven."
After receiving this assurance he died.
We remember the souls especially in November, as it approaches its close.
At the hour of her death St. Margaret of Cortona ascended to Heaven in the company of a great number of souls who the Lord released on account of her merits.
St. John Macias was known as the "deliverer" by the Holy Souls. He would hear the murmur of many voices: "O servant of God, commend us to God! Commend us to God! Pray for me--for me--for me! I have great need!" The cries of woe made him redouble his prayers, particularly the Rosary.
At the hour of his death thousands upon thousands of souls rushed and poured from Heaven to greet him. The holy souls never forget their friends!
What a splendid sight: the Church Militant holds out their hand to the Church Suffering to enjoin them with the Church Triumphant. Nothing is done by itself.
Imagine the welcome the souls we release from purgatory will give to us when we enter the gates of Heaven! Talk about thanksgiving!
[Susan Tassone's books are available here; for Masses: www.spiritualtreasury.org]
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