When The Saints Go Marching In, They Do So With 'Holy Souls'-- If We Pray Them In!
By Susan Tassone
The great saints throughout the centuries have understood well the importance of praying for the Holy Souls in purgatory, or the "Church Suffering." There may not be a single chosen soul upon whom the Lord has not impressed His desire that spiritual help be given to those languishing in purgatory!
This charity -- issuing into a lifelong dedication to the Holy Souls -- dilates the heart with love for God, and for our neighbors both in purgatory and here on earth.
St. Padre Pio, true "champion" of the souls, once added that: "The Holy Souls are eager for the prayers of the faithful which can gain indulgences for them. Their intercession is powerful. Pray unceasingly. We must empty purgatory!"
St. John Vianney, the Cure DíArs, taught that "if one knew what we obtain from God by the intercession of the Holy Souls, they would not be so much abandoned. Let us pray a great deal for them; they will pray for us!"
And St. Margaret Mary Alacoque of the Sacred Heart revelations had a special devotion for the Holy Souls and accepted the charge of suffering for them. Said this saint, "How my soul was replenished with joy when speaking to those souls and seeing them immersed in glory as in a deep ocean!" She requested them to pray for us and in reply heard: "An ungrateful soul is not to be found in Heaven."
How does the doing of penance in this world compare to the suffering in purgatory?
St. Catherine of Genoa gives us the answer:
"He who purifies himself from his faults in the present life satisfies with a penny a debt of a thousand silver pieces," she said, "and he who waits until the other life to pay his debts consents to pay a thousand silver pieces for that which he might have paid before with a penny!"
Hear likewise the consoling words of St. Ambrose: "All that we offer to God in charity to the dead is changed into merit for ourselves, and we shall find it increased a hundredfold after our death...
"Generosity towards the departed is always repaid; it finds its recompense in all kinds of graces -- the source of which is the gratitude of the Holy Souls and Our Lord, Who considers as done to Himself whatever we do for the Suffering Souls."
St. Catherine of Bologna testified, meanwhile, that she obtained many graces and benefits by the holy souls that she could not obtain even through the intercession of saints in Heaven.
St. Gregory? He said that there are thousands of instances from which we may learn how effectively the Holy Souls can help us in distress, illness, danger of war and death. St. Leonard of Port Maurice labored for the Holy Souls with all his strength. He preached so fervently and so powerfully for the Holy Souls that wherever he went generous alms where give him for Holy Masses (the most powerful means to help souls reach God) which were offered for the Holy Souls. Said he: "If you deliver one soul from purgatory, you can say with confidence, 'Heaven is mine'."
We, the church Militant, have been given awesome power and privilege to deliver the Holy Souls in purgatory. Charity and gratitude not only demand that we pray for the faithful departed, but it is also for us a very positive duty which we, in Godís justice, are bound to fulfill.
Nothing pleases God more than praying for the Holy Souls. God is more pleased with us if we pay our debts here on earth because of His paternal desire to receive us without delay in His home.
We must pray for all the souls in purgatory in general, and in a special manner for the souls of our parents (to the fourth generation), family members, friends, enemies, benefactors. Let us in a special way offer a very great part of our suffrages for priests, consecrated religious, and non-believerers as they are the most abandoned souls.
Sister Charles Borromeo tells us: ďWho is without an interest in purgatory? Who has not, somewhere, a treasure buried in that dreary grave? And had they none, were they of the few who have never lost a friend, should their interest in purgatory be any less strong and deep since Godís friends are there and God desires them elsewhere?"
[resources: Susan Tassone's book are in the spiritdaily bookstore; for Gregorian Masses and other aids for the souls, see spiritualtreasury.org
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