Wisdom from the Writings of Saintly Souls (on a Range of Topics)

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The Father’s Love for the Mystical Body, the Church

1. “The more God sees His Son in each one of us, the more abundantly He showers His gifts on us.” (p. 98, ‘The Spiritual Doctrine of Dom Marmion’)

Authentic Christianity: “For me, to live is Christ”

2. “A spiritual life which does not depend entirely on Christ is false, empty, absolutely useless; ‘Without Me you can do nothing.” (p. 54, ‘The Spiritual Doctrine of Dom Marmion’)

Without Jesus, We Cannot Bear the Cross

3. Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos: “… at the beginning of Mass I saw our Lord stooping, as if bearing a heavy burden, and He said to me, I take upon myself the suffering of My daughter.” (p. 402, Life)

The Delight of the Elect: Perfect Union with God

4. Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos: “One day the interior voice said to me: God renders the blessed like Himself; yes, Benigne, My elect by seeing Me are in such wise transformed in Me that they have no other will than Mine; their love springs from My Love.” (p. 341, Life)

The Alpha and the Omega

5. Our Lord to Ven. Louise Margaret: “Infinite Love envelops, penetrates, and fills all things. It is the only source of life and of all fertility; It is the eternal principle of beings and their eternal end. If you wish to possess life and not be sterile, break the bonds that bind you to yourself and to creatures and plunge into this abyss.” (p. 4, ‘The Love and Service of God, Infinite Love,’ TAN Books)

Hell Exists because God is Good

6. Ven. Louise Margaret: “No, if there were no Hell, I could not love Thee… If there were no Hell, three splendid jewels would be wanting to the crown of Thy sublime perfections; there would be wanting justice, power and dignity.” (p. 10, TLGIL)

“I desire mercy”

7. From the Life of Bl. Elizabeth Canori–Mora: “Another time He revealed to her and placed before her eyes the sins of His own Ministers and of the public Magistrates. Elizabeth was so much surprised that she was filled with profound indignation, and opened her lips to cry out for justice against these unknown delinquents; but Our Lord prevented her, and said in a tone of love and tenderness: “Ah! My daughter, cry for mercy, not for justice. I wish not the death of the sinner, but that he should be converted and live.” Whilst saying these ineffable words He directed upon her from His Heart a ray of pure and living light; then he added: “May this ray of light serve you to protect men against the anger of Divine Justice.” (p. 184)

The Blood of Jesus Cries for Mercy

8. St. Gemma’s Guardian Angel: “Look at what Jesus has suffered for men. Consider one by one these Wounds. It is Love that has opened them all. See how execrable sin is, since to expiate it, so much pain and so much love have been necessary.” (p. 194, Life)

Imperfections: A Treasure for the Soul of Good-Will

9. Jesus to Sr. Consolata Betrone: “… you will commit faults, infidelities, and imperfections; and these will help you to advance, for they will cause you to make many acts of humility.” (p. 41, JATTW)

The Cross is a Gift

10. Jesus to St. Gemma (appearing to her with the Cross on His shoulders): “Gemma, wilt thou have it, My Cross? See, this is the present I have prepared for thee.” (p. 174, Life)

A Model of Patience in Suffering

11. From the Life of Sr. Gertrude Mary: “On her bed of agony, coughing incessantly, she murmurs this word of love: Every fit of coughing is a cry to Heaven.”

Heaven on Earth

12. Sr. Gertrude Mary: “The air which I breathe near the Tabernacle is not the same as elsewhere, for it is already that of Paradise. I know this by experience.”

What the Damned Would Give to See God

13. From ‘The Dogma of Hell, Illustrated by Facts Taken from Profane and Sacred History,’ by Rev. F.X. Schouppe:

“A holy priest was exorcising a demoniac, and he asked the demon what pains he was suffering in Hell.

“An eternal fire,” he answered, “an eternal malediction, an eternal rage, and a frightful despair at being never able to gaze upon Him who created me.”

“What would you do to have the happiness of seeing God?”

“To see Him but for one moment, I should willingly consent to endure my torments for 10,000 years. But vain desires! I shall suffer forever and never see Him!”

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Why Pray for the Souls in Purgatory?

In his classic book on Purgatory, Fr. Schouppe tells us that “It was revealed to St. Bridget that he who delivers a soul from Purgatory has the same merit as if he delivered Jesus Christ Himself from captivity.” (p. 217). These are amazing words; yet how many of us actually offer prayers, alms, sacrifices, or the Holy Mass (the supreme sacrifice!) for the Holy Souls?

Our Lord said to a particular Blessed that the number of souls in Purgatory is “beyond the thought of man.” In other words, throughout the earth’s history, a vast number of souls have died who were neither in a state of unrepented mortal sin, nor in a state sufficiently pure to enter Heaven immediately.

Purgatory makes a lot of sense if you think about it. There is little use in denying it, or in clinging to theology that is at odds with this grand truth – a truth which is confirmed by the Church Fathers, the Saints, Holy Scripture, and countless experiences in the lives of the Saints.

According to the Church and all her Saints, we can easily assist the souls in Purgatory. It is so simple, and in return for our generosity, the Holy Souls, whose prayers are extraordinarily powerful with God, will obtain for us all kinds of favours! (The doctrine of the Communion of Saints should be studied assiduously by those who doubt this.)

Given that Our Lord accepts our acts of charity towards others as acts of charity towards Him, it is extremely profitable, beautiful and loving for us to pray for the souls in Purgatory. “Of all prayers,” writes St. Thomas Aquinas, “the most meritorious, the most acceptable to God are prayers for the dead, because they imply all the works of charity, both corporal and spiritual.”

Only we can help them. Our Lord desires that we pray for them (as does Our Lady). He frequently asked St. Gertrude, Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida, and a host of other privileged souls, to pray for the Holy Souls. We must do the same! How can we let a day go by without helping our dear departed brothers and sisters in Christ, who require so little from us, yet so often receive nothing?! “Do unto others…” (I need not finish this Scripture)

Some things we can do to help the Holy Souls are:
1. Pray for them (especially the Holy Rosary)
2. Offer our indulgences for them (the prayer ‘My Jesus, mercy!’, for example, receives a partial indulgence when recited by one who is in a state of grace)
3. Give alms or make acts of charity on their behalf (i.e. apply to the Holy Souls the merit of our actions)
4. Offer sacrifices for them (e.g. our sufferings, even the slightest)
5. Offer the Mass for the Holy Souls (this is the most powerful means for releasing the Holy Souls. By means of the Mass, the Saints released thousands of souls from Purgatory, according in part to the degree of their fervour and faith.)

If our knowledge of the pains of Purgatory is too vague, it is to be feared that we will forget about the Holy Souls, and we will soon forget to pray for them. Consider, then, these words of Our Lord to Bl. Battista Varani: “There is no difference between the pains of hell and of purgatory, only that the first are eternal, while the latter endure but for a time…” Nevertheless, we must also remember that “… the souls in purgatory remain there willingly, resigned and contented, suffering in peace, and returning thanks to the justice of God.”

Like St. Gertrude, may we pray fervently and frequently for the Holy Souls, and may we encourage others to do the same, so that one day, Our Lord might repeat to us the words He addressed to His dear spouse, Gertrude: “Fear not, My child; by your charity to the dead, you have increased the sum of your merits, and not only do you possess enough to expiate your slight faults, but you have earned a high degree of glory. My mercy will reward your devotion to the holy souls, and you will soon be with me in Paradise, to be rewarded a hundredfold for all you have done for them.”