Offer Your Indulgences for the Poor Souls in Purgatory!

The Poor Souls in Purgatory suffer intensely, and they desperately need our help! One could quote many a Saint, Doctor of the Church, private revelation, and so on, confirming this fact; but the following consideration will suffice:

St. Teresa of Avila, while yet a pilgrim on earth, was overcome with such an intense longing for God that this constituted for her a veritable torture. Our Lord told her that this thirst for Himself – a manifestation of His intimate union with a soul – would be her Purgatory on earth, comparing her suffering and purification to gold in the furnace! (Perhaps you have read about the very “Purgatorial” sufferings of St. Catherine of Genoa?)

While it is true that Purgatory has varying types and degrees of punishments, the truth remains that there are many souls there who are literally burning with desire to see God face to Face, but who can do nothing to ease their pain. This is up to us. It is such an easy way to practice a very high form of charity! Also, the dividends are enormous… but that is secondary.

If Bl. John Massias released 1.2 million souls from Purgatory, we can at least hope to release a few souls! If St. John Vianney said that an aspiration (i.e. a short prayer, such as “My Jesus, mercy!”) often *saved* a soul, surely our prayers for the poor souls will not be in vain.

As you may know, the Church possesses the Keys to an Infinite Treasury of graces. Consider the Sacred Heart; consider the nature of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. “I am the Door,” said Jesus; yes, and He gave St. Peter (and, by extension, the Church) the Keys.

Indulgences, put simply, are the application of Christ’s merits to a soul; they are a means of repairing the damage done by sin; they remit some or all of the temporal punishment that one is owing to God. Indulgences can be partial or plenary. It is definitely worth doing some more reading on the subject if you are not too familiar with it.

Since praying more seriously for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, my life has changed for the better. If you want to please Christ; if you want to console His aching members; if you want to amass a treasury of merits for Heaven; if you want many holy souls (and Heavenly friends) praying for you, then say many indulgenced prayers, and offer them all to Our Lady. As the Queen of Purgatory, she will distribute our indulgences in the best way possible.

“Father Faber, in his beautiful book “All for Jesus,” enumerates six advantages which accrue to us, from our giving over our Indulgences to the
holy souls in Purgatory.

1. First, it considerably increases our merit, and consequently our claim to glory.
2. Next, it lays the soul that we release under a particular obligation to us, both because of the singular benefit it receives from entering all the sooner into glory, and also because of the tremendous sufferings from which it is delivered.
3. Moreover, it gives us the consolation to think that those, whom we have released from Purgatory, are doing for us in heaven the great work of loving, praising, and glorifying God on our behalf.
4. Again, it adds fresh joy to the Church triumphant, from the fact that to the heavenly hierarchy a new citizen is added who can sin no more, whilst to the Church militant it brings comfort from the gain she has made of a new advocate.
5. Besides, it secures a prompt application of our Indulgences, which, in the possible case that we were in no want of them for ourselves, might remain for many years buried in the treasury of the Church.
6. And last of all, it entitles us to a speedy discharge of our own debt in Purgatory; for, if temporal alms are satisfactory above most other good works, much more will spiritual alms be so. And if he who gives up anything for God receives a hundredfold, we may have a security that, to recompense us for our generosity, He will so deal with us, that we shall need little Purgatory, or He will inspire devout souls to
pray for us.”
(Taken from ‘Indulgences: Their Origin, Nature and Development’ by Alexius M. Lepicier)

“To become a saint it is sufficient to gain all the indulgences possible.”
– St. Alphonsus

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Aspirations: An Easy Way to Attain Holiness and Joy

willie_doyle_sj-21.jpg

“There is nothing better than the practice of aspirations, steadily growing in number.”

– Fr. William Doyle

Fr. Faber, in his fantastic work, ‘All for Jesus,’ writes that ejaculatory prayer “… was the chief practice of the Fathers of the Desert, by which they raised themselves to such heights of sanctity.” This can hardly be disputed; for prayer elevates the heart to God – and union with God is the essence of sanctity.

Ejaculations (or aspirations) are simply short prayers, “short, ardent movements of the heart,” which can be recited with one’s lips or prayed in one’s heart. St. Francis de Sales says that “the great fabric of devotion leans upon this exercise.” “No one,” he says, “can be excused from making this practice because it can be made while coming and going about one’s business.”

The Saints and Aspirations

Many of the Saints made frequent use of aspirations; this fact should be sufficient to incline us towards this pious exercise. Among the Saints who made frequent use of aspirations, we may include the following: St. Paul of the Cross, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Gemma Galgani, St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Alphonsa, St. Therese, St. Gertrude, St. Leonard of Port Maurice and St. Bartholomew. We may also add Bl. Mariam, Sr. Benigna Consolata, Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, Fr. William Doyle, Sr. Consolata Betrone and many others to this list!

The Necessity of Aspirations

“Without this exercise,” writes St. Francis de Sales, “we cannot properly lead the contemplative life, and we can but poorly lead the active life.” It is principally in prayer – especially in silent contemplation, which is “mother of the wisest thoughts” (St. Diadochus) – that the heart and mind are elevated to God.

“Elevate thy heart to God by continual acts of love.”

– Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata (d. 1916)

Without frequent prayer, the mind wanders and the heart follows suit. Conversely, if we make a habit of addressing frequent aspirations to God, the consuming fire of His Love will descend into our poor hearts and minds, enlighten and inflame them, and divinize the least of our actions, giving them incomparable value. By means of frequent aspirations, God will unite Himself to us ever more intimately!

“I would like them to know how much I desire their perfection, and that it consists in doing their ordinary actions in intimate union with Me. If they once grasped this, they could divinize their life and all their activities by this close union with My Heart… When a soul is burnt up with desire to love, nothing is a burden to her, but if she feels cold and spiritless everything becomes hard and difficult.”

– Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez

“It was only by constant practice,” says St. Robert Bellarmine, “that the saints obtained the spirit of prayer.” St. Gertrude, for example, repeated the prayer: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,” three hundred and sixty-five times a day.

If we wish to save our souls, we should make a firm resolution to pray at least 100 or so aspirations every day. What could be easier? What better way to follow Our Lord’s injunction to ‘pray without ceasing’ (1 Thess. 5:17)! “Without any constraint we may make scores of them in a day; and each one is more to God than a battle gained, or a scientific discovery, or a crystal palace, or a change of ministry, or a political revolution.” (Fr. Faber)

“The great work of our perfection,” writes St. Francis de Sales, “is born, grows, and maintains its life by means of two small but precious exercises – aspirations and spiritual retirement. An aspiration is a certain springing of the soul towards God, and the more simple it is, the more valuable. It consists in simply beholding what He is, and what He has done and is doing for us; and it should excite the heart, as a consequence, to acts of humility, love, resignation or abandonment, according to circumstances. Now, these two exercises have an incredible power to keep us in our duty, to support us in temptation, to lift us up promptly after falls and to unite us closely to God. Besides, they can be made at any time or place, and with all possible ease; therefore, they ought to be as familiar to us as the inspiration and expiration of air from our lungs.”

Seven Fruits of Aspirations

“Many of these ejaculations are indulgenced, and thus the same little brief sentence will:

  1. Gain merit
  2. Impetrate grace
  3. Satisfy for sin
  4. Glorify God
  5. Honour Jesus and His Mother
  6. Convert sinners
  7. Soothe with substantial indulgence the Holy souls in Purgatory.

Can we do nothing more for Jesus in this respect than we have done hitherto?” (Fr. Faber)

Our Lord said to Sr. Consolata Betrone that if she would focus her attention on loving Him, He would take care of everything in her life; He would guide her, keep her from grave sin, inspire her with the right words… everything! The same promise was given by Jesus to St. Margaret Mary, who, after having made a complex vow of perfection, was assured by Our Lord that if she directed her attention to loving Him, He would see to it that she satisfies her vows. “[Y]ou will satisfy all by loving Me without reserve,” He said.

“I want you,” writes Fr. William Doyle, “to stick to two things: the aspirations and the tiny acts of self -conquest… Two wings by which we can fly to God and become saints: the habit of little tiny acts of self-denial and the habit of making a definite fixed number of aspirations every day… As regards counting the aspirations, if you really find that it is a strain on your tired head, give up the practice.”

Some Aspirations of the Saints

“My beloved and despised Redeemer, how sweet it is to suffer for You.” – St. Alphonsus

“Do with me, O Lord, as you will and know to be best.” – St. Philip Neri

“O my Lord! O Divine Goodness! when wilt Thou give me the grace to be entirely Thine, and to love only Thee?” – St. Vincent de Paul

“Have mercy on me. O Jesus, have mercy on me!” – St. Leonard of Port Maurice

“My Jesus, mercy!” – St. Leonard, St. Gemma Galgani, Bl. Mariam etc.

“My God and my all!”  – St. Francis of Assisi

Some Aspirations from Heaven

Our Lord revealed the following aspirations to Berthe Petit, St. Faustina, Sr. Consolata Betrone, and Yvonne-Aimee, respectively.

“Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!”

“Jesus, I trust in You!”

“Jesus, Mary, I love You! Save souls!”

“O Jesus, King of Love, I put my trust in Thy loving mercy!”

“The act of love also has value

because it eliminates from the spiritual life so many Marthas,

their being ‘turbaris erga plurima’ (troubled about many things).” (Lk. 10:41)

– Jesus to Sr. Consolata Betrone

 

 

6 Eucharistic Books That May Change Your Life (Excerpts included)

The following books are classics. Really. At least one of them should be read by every Catholic. Better yet – every Christian. The Eucharist is simply too important to be misunderstood, undervalued or neglected.

If, to obtain $100,000 a day, all it took was a daily visit to a church, who would be mad enough not to attend? Yet Jesus offers Himself to us without reserve in the Mass, and almost no one pays any real attention! Are we not aware of the infinite good that Our Lord offers us in every Mass?

“Every degree of grace is in itself infinitely valuable, more precious than all created things in Heaven or on earth, a treasure for which we should, with the Apostle, count all things as loss, that we may gain Christ and His grace.”

(From “The Glories of Divine Grace”)

There are poor souls hastening towards perdition, greatly in need of prayer. You can do nothing more charitable than to save a soul… nothing! And the most effective means by which you can do this is to offer the Holy Mass (in which Our Lord prays for us and offers the Sacrifice of Himself!) for the conversion of sinners! And the greater your fervour at Mass; the greater your faith; the greater your holiness (and purity of intention), the more eagerly will God grant your prayers!

The most urgent need in the world today is not food, shelter, wealth, success, or any other temporal thing; it is love. In particular, it is the love of God, which redeems, purifies, vivifies and saves. And where do we find God’s love most abundantly? In the Mass. At Mass, Our Lord offers Himself mystically, just as He did on Calvary. ‘Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends’ (John 15:13).

“One more Mass! One more Mass!” – Fr. Mateo Crawley Boevey

How blessed would many Christians consider themselves if they knew that they were going to be visited one day by Our Lord! How they would prepare their hearts; how meticulously they would prepare their appearance. Yet Jesus is truly present in the Tabernacle, waiting to descend into our hearts, and almost no one pays any real attention!

Please, dear reader: if you have not already done so, please consider reading at least one of the following books. Ideally, read it a few times; otherwise it will be impossible to extract all its goodness.

1. ‘Explanation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass’ (aka ‘The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass Explained,’ or, ‘The Incredible Catholic Mass’) by Rev. Martin von Cochem:

https://archive.org/stream/explanationofthe00maesuoft#page/n3/mode/2up

[Excerpt: “St. Bridget, who was permitted to witness in spirit what went on in the heights of heaven during the consecration, says that she saw the sacred host, under the appearance of a living lamb, enveloped in flames, surrounded by angels, countless in number as the motes in the sunbeam, adoring and serving Him, as did also an innumerable multitude of the blessed.”]

2. ‘The Blessed Eucharist, Our Greatest Treasure’ by Rev. Michael Muller:

https://archive.org/stream/theblessedeuchar00meuluoft#page/n5/mode/2up

[Excerpt: “But you will ask perhaps: ‘Why does our Lord hide Himself under the outward appearances of bread and wine? Why does He not manifest Himself under the sensible qualities of His body, with His wounded hands, His merciful countenance, His radiant majesty?’ Now, our Lord does so chiefly for two reasons. The first is, that we may not lose the merit of faith. Were we to see Jesus Christ as He is seen by the blessed in heaven, we could no longer make an act of faith in His Real Presence, for ‘faith is the belief in things which we do not see.’ Now, our Lord wishes to bestow on us, after this life, a great reward for our faith, as He Himself has said: ‘Blessed are they that do not see and yet believe.’ Many of the saints, in order not to lose the merit of their faith, have gone so far as to beg our Lord not to favor them with those consoling manifestations of Himself in the Blessed Sacrament which He has sometimes granted to His chosen servants.”]

3. ‘The Holy Mass: The Sacrifice for the Living and the Dead. The Clean Oblation Offered Up Among the Nations From the Rising to the Setting of the Sun’ by Rev. Michael Muller:

https://archive.org/stream/holymasssacrifi00mlgoog#page/n18/mode/2up

[Excerpt: “A certain holy Bishop of Breslau, named Nanker, entertained a most tender devotion for the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. He used to say Mass daily, and heard as many Masses besides as he possibly could. When at the point of death, a most sweet, heavenly melody was heard, and a voice from above said: ‘The soul of Bishop Nanker has already left the body, and is now being carried by the angels into heaven. This grace and honor have been bestowed upon him on account of his great love and devotion for the holy Sacrifice of the Mass.’]

4. ‘The Holy Eucharist’ by St. Alphonsus Liguori:

https://archive.org/stream/alphonsusworks06alfouoft#page/n3/mode/2up

[Excerpt: “Thence arise the following considerations which may aid us to hear Mass with great fruit: 1. By the oblation of the person of Jesus Christ, God and man, to the Eternal Father, we give to God infinite honor; we give him greater honor than he would receive from the oblation of the lives of all men and all angels. 2. By the oblation of Jesus Christ in the Mass, we offer to God a complete satisfaction for all the sins of men, and especially for the sins of those who are present at Mass; to whom is applied the same divine blood, by which the human race was redeemed on Calvary. Thus, by each Mass more satisfaction is made to God than by any other expiatory work. But although the Mass is of infinite value, God accepts it only in a finite manner, according to the dispositions of those who attend the holy sacrifice, and, therefore, it is useful to hear several Masses. 3. In the Mass we render to God an adequate thanksgiving for all the benefits that he has bestowed upon us. 4. During the Mass we can obtain all the graces that we desire for ourselves and for others. We are unworthy of receiving any grace from God, but Jesus Christ has given us the means of obtaining all graces, if, while we offer him to God in the Mass, we ask them of the Eternal Father in his name, for then Jesus himself unites with us in prayer. If you knew that while you pray to the Lord, the divine Mother, along with the whole of paradise, united with you, with what confidence would you pray? Now when you ask of God any grace during the Mass, Jesus (whose prayers are more efficacious than the prayers of all who are in heaven) prays for you, and offers in your behalf the merits of his Passion.”]

5. ‘The Hidden Treasure: Or, The Value and Excellence of Holy Mass’ by St. Leonard of Port Maurice:

https://archive.org/stream/hiddentreasureo01leongoog#page/n4/mode/2up

[Excerpt: “Go to the church as if you were going to Calvary, and behave yourself before the altar as before the throne of God, in company with the holy angels. See what modesty, what reverence, what attention, are requisite from us, in order that we may carry away the fruit and the blessings which Almighty God is wont to bestow on him who honours with devout demeanour these sacred mysteries. We read, that while the sacrifices of the Old Law were being offered by the Jews, sacrifices in which was offered nothing greater than bulls, lambs, and other animals, it was admirable to behold with what diligence, decorum, and silence, the whole people assisted; and although there were numbers innumerable of those attending, besides the seven hundred ministers who sacrificed, yet, with all this, it seemed as if the temple were empty, not the very slightest noise, not even a breath, being heard. Now, if so much respect and so much veneration were practised towards those sacrifices which, after all, were only a mere shadow, a simple figure of ours, what silence, what devotion, what attention, does not Holy Mass deserve, in which the Immaculate Lamb himself, the Divine Word, is offered for us in sacrifice!”

6. ‘The Blessed Sacrament; Or, The Works and Ways of God’ by Fr. F. W. Faber:

https://archive.org/stream/theblessedsacram00fabeuoft#page/n5/mode/2up

[Excerpt: “It is said that St. Michael revealed to St. Eutropius the Hermit that he had been chosen to be the guardian angel of the Blessed Sacrament; and that it had been entrusted to his charge ever since Holy Thursday; and there are also on record several revelations of his to various saints concerning the worship of the Blessed Sacrament. Some have supposed him to be the angel of the mass referred to in the canon; and he is spoken of at the beginning of mass in the Confiteor, again at the second incensing at the High Mass; and also in the offertory of masses of Requiem. Many saints and servants of God have had a peculiar devotion to the angel mentioned in the canon of the Mass, without deciding on his name or individuality.”]

St. Anthony of Padua, pray for us!

St. Faustina, pray for us!

Excellent Online Resources for Scrupulosity! (**Including an Excerpt from Blosius**)

Below is a collection of (free and legal) online resources that I believe will be of particular profit to scrupulous individuals.

***

What we must always remember is that God loves us eternally – that is, always – with a tender, intimate love. We can do nothing more pleasing in His sight than to live joyfully in the light of His love, which we can neither preserve, earn or augment by our own strength. Avoiding sin is only made capable by God’s grace. But avoiding sin, in itself, is not the essence of sanctity or salvation. Love is. That is why we must ask God frequently for a boundless love for Him. Here is a “love letter” from God to you, which you might consider reading: https://littlestsouls.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/a-love-letter-from-god-to-you-2/

***

FREE ONLINE RESOURCES FOR OVERCOMING SCRUPULOSITY

1. ‘Light and Peace: Instructions for Devout Souls to Dispel Their Doubts’ (Quadrupani):

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/quadrupani/light

2. ‘Scruples and Their Treatment’ (Fr. William Doyle, SJ):

http://fatherdoyle.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/scruples-and-their-treatment.pdf

3. ‘Growth in Holiness’ (Fr. F. W. Faber):

https://archive.org/stream/growthinholiness00fabe#page/298/mode/2up

Recommend Chapters: Chapter XVII: Scruples (pp. 298 – 324)

 4. ‘Introduction to the Devout Life’ (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church):

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/desales/devout_life.toc.html

Recommended Chapters: Part III, Chapter IX: On Gentleness towards Ourselves; Part IV, Chapter II: The Need of a Good Courage; Chapter III: Of Temptations, and the Difference between Experiencing them and Consenting to them; Chapter IV: Two Striking Illustrations of the Same; Chapter V: Encouragement for the Tempted Soul; Chapter XI: Anxiety of Mind; Chapter XII: Of Sadness and Sorrow;

5. ‘Treatise on the Love of God’ (St. Francis de Sales):

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/desales/love.toc.html

(You might like to browse the Chapter titles)

6. ‘Comfort for the Faint-Hearted’ (Ven. Louis of Blois, aka Blosius)

Here is Chapter III (pp. 9 – 12), which consists of a Sermon for the 3rd Sunday in Advent, from Bl. Henry Suso. Unfortunately, this excellent work is quite rare and expensive.

CHAPTER III

OF FIRST INDELIBERATE MOVEMENTS AND UNREASONABLE THOUGHTS

1. What sin really is.

2. No involuntary thought sinful.

3. When there may be venial sin.

1. In what does sin really consist? It is when a man with certain and deliberate will, knowingly and willingly, without contradiction of reason, turns his soul away from God and turns himself to wickedness.

2. From this it evidently follows that even if a man had as many suggestions of evil coming into the mind as there are moments in the day, and even if these imaginations were more foul than the heart of man could conceive or his tongue express, whether these images were of God Himself or any of His creatures, and even if the man remained thus afflicted for one or even for many years, against his will, he would not sin, if only, during all this time, his reason had a hatred, displeasure and aversion to such things. In this case he would never have consented to them with full deliberation and entire will, but rather resisted; although his nature is troubled by these things, he would by no means have sinned mortally. This doctrine is entirely in according with holy Scripture and the tradition of holy Church, by which the Holy Ghost teaches us. In fact, nothing is more certain. Indeed, one thought of vain self-conceit (fully consented to with the will) can render a man more displeasing in the eyes of God than a thousand of these imaginations, however bad (if there is no consent of the will).*

3. But in this matter there lies a certain secret source of anxiety which is the most craftily laid net of the devil and the cleverest trick he can devise. It is this. Sometimes a sudden evil thoughts comes into the mind when a man is off his guard, and thus he feels attraction of pleasure, and, forgetting himself for a moment, he does not turn from it as quickly as he ought. Then he thinks that he has turned to it with wilful and deliberate consent, and by his own neglect has sinned mortally. God forbid that we should thus think! For it is the unanimous opinion of holy men that the reason is often taken unawares through sudden thoughts exciting pleasure in the mind, and that it requires a sufficiently long delay and length of time before the reason with mature deliberation becomes fully master of itself. Then it can either receive or reject these suggestions, and thus either commit sin or turn away from it with disgust. And when this happens, men of good will ought never to feel guilty of mortal sin if they wish to trust to the wholesome Catholic teaching. For St. Augustine says that sin is a thing so voluntary, that where a thing is not voluntary it cannot be sinful. (De Vera Religione, cap. 14.)

* This opinion about the first motions of concupiscence and the fight of the flesh against the spirit without the consent of the will in the sin is taught by St. Thomas, Summa, I-II, ques. 80, art. 3, ad. 3m. See the Council of Trent, Sess. 5.

_____________________________________________________

Final Recommendations

Lastly, I would like to add that devotion to Mary is a great source of consolation to the afflicted. Our Lady, who is “the Spouse of the  Consoler” (as Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, says), leads her children to the Sacred Heart of her Son. My purpose, here, is not to defend devotion to Our Lady (the Church, Popes, Saints, Mystics, and Our Lady herself – in various private revelations – have already done this); rather, I wish to encourage others to rely on their spiritual mother for spiritual nourishment. Fr. Michael Gaitley explains this concept well in his book, ’33 Days Days to Morning Glory’, which helps us to grasp the sublime doctrine propsed in St. Louis de Montfort’s classic work, ‘ True Devotion to Mary.’

Here is another work of St. Louis de Montfort that is well worth checking:

The Secret of Mary’: http://www.ewtn.com/library/Montfort/secret.htm

Here is a brief excerpt from ‘The Secret of Mary’:

“This devotion [consecration to Jesus, through Mary] makes the soul truly free by imbuing it with the liberty of the children of God. Since we lower ourselves willingly to a state of slavery out of love for Mary, our dear Mother, she out of gratitude opens wide our hearts enabling us to walk with giant strides in the way of God’s commandments. She delivers our souls from weariness, sadness and scruples. It was this devotion that our Lord taught to Mother Agnes de Langeac, a religious who died in the odour of sanctity, as a sure way of being freed from the severe suffering and confusion of mind which afflicted her. “Make yourself,” He said, “My Mother’s slave and wear her little chain.” She did so, and from that time onwards her troubles ceased.”

 

A Sure Way to Convert Sinners, Even in their Final Moments!

“My Heart loves each soul infinitely.”

– Jesus to Bl. Dina Belanger

Nothing pleases Our Lord more than the salvation of souls. He came from Heaven to seek us. Each soul is extremely dear to Him. He makes use of the members of His Mystical Body to convert sinners, even at the hour of death:

“This is a brief hour in which God has secretly saved many a soul that to all appearances had been lost. I never saw a case where this happened to a person who had not done something good with a well-intentioned will.” – Mechtilde of Magdeburg

The Sacred Heart thrills with joy and Heaven rejoices when a sinner returns to God. How beautiful it is to bring souls to God!

God asks for your help:

“During My human life on earth, I could do no more for the salvation and sanctification of souls; and since that time, I have wished to continue the work of redemption through My life in souls. Pray and intercede with My Divine Father. Intercede, that means praying earnestly, praying untiringly, praying with certainty of being given what you are asking. Pray and intercede!” – Jesus to Bl. Dina

Our Lord revealed to Servant of God, Sr. Josefa Menendez, that confident and persevering prayer generally obtains the conversion of the souls for whom we pray; if they reject the graces offered, someone else receives them. Prayer, therefore, is never in vain! Also, Our Lord revealed to St. Gertrude that He converts souls in His own time; He alone knows when they will best be disposed to accept His grace.

The Precious Blood

The Precious Blood of Jesus is the price of our salvation. It is a gift of infinite value, perfectly pleasing to God the Father. Few souls know this, but the Precious Blood is God’s gift to us! This has been confirmed by theologians and Saints e.g. St. Mechtilde and St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi.

The following words ought to encourage us to pray for the conversion of sinners, even in their final moments. The prayers suggested (in italics) are remarkably powerful!

+ Ven. Louis de Blois (Blosius): “God Himself has deigned to reveal to His friends that these [the following] words, suggested to the faithful when dying, or piously said by word, or in the mind, by those who are dying, are of wonderful efficacy; so much so that no one who has the Catholic faith* can perish, if, in his last moments, with a truly sincere heart, he humbly says these words to God, or devoutly accepts them in his own mind. [*We may confidently hope that the efficacy of this prayer extends to all those who sincerely wish to be united to Christ. “Invincible ignorance” and other doctrines come into play here.]

The following words, said in the hearing of the dying, are of great profit:

“O Lord God, I am that miserable one, whom Thou, in Thy fatherly love, didst create, and through the most ignominious death of Thine only-begotten Son didst redeem from the power of the enemy. Thou only hast power and dominion over me, and canst save me according to Thy immense mercy.”

+ Ven. Leo Dupont: “I must tell you at the same time one of my devotions, borrowed from St. Teresa, and I would beg you to adopt it for your own use whenever occasion offers. The saint, on hearing of the death of one of her old friends, exclaimed, ‘Lord, if in the course of my whole life I have done any good thing, apply it to this soul’; and at the same instant she understood that the beautiful soul for which she had interceded was ascending into Heaven.”

+ Our Lord to Sister Mary of St. Peter: “Ask My Father for as many souls as I shed drops of Blood during My Passion.” By asking for the Precious Blood to be poured out on souls we prevent Its being, as it were, spilled out on the ground in vain. In His mysterious Providence God has put the salvation of others in our hands: we must ask for it, and ask fervently and often.

+ One of the best means of participating in the graces and blessings of the Precious Blood is to offer It to the Eternal Father. “An offering,” says Father Faber, is “more than a prayer.” In prayer, we are the recipients, but when we make an offering, God vouchsafes to accept something from us. St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, when in ecstasy, once exclaimed:

“Every time a creature offers up the Blood by which he was redeemed, he offers a gift of infinite worth, which can be equalled by no other.”

God revealed the practice of making this offering to this Saintly Carmelite nun when He complained to her that so little effort is made in this world to disarm His Divine justice against sinners. Acting upon this admonition, she daily offered the Precious Blood fifty times for the living and the dead. She did this with so much fervour that God showed her on different occasions the numerous souls who had thereby been converted or delivered from Purgatory.

At another time when St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi was in ecstasy, she saw all the holy patrons of the city of Florence [accompanied by innumerable other saints], before the throne of God interceding for sinners. Their petitions, however, remained unanswered. Then the guardian Angels of the poor sinners approached, but their prayers likewise remained unheard. Next came the multitudes of the blessed to make intercession for the guilty souls. While imploring God’s mercy, they were intent at the same time upon offering to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood, and on account of the merits of the Divine Blood, their petitions were granted. Ought not these examples incite us to offer the Precious Blood frequently during the day?

+ Precious Blood Offering: “ETERNAL Father, I offer Thee the most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, in satisfaction for my sins, in supplication for the holy souls in Purgatory and for the needs of Holy Church [especially for the soul of (Name)].” – The Raccolta, 188

+ In order to obtain special graces through the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to offer It in our stead. This advice is given us by many devout servants of God, in particular by St. John Vianney [the Cure of Ars] who says that this is the best method of prayer. He furthermore adds: “My children, mark this well: whenever I obtained some grace, it was obtained in this manner, which I never found to fail.”

We can make this offering many times a day. We can use these words:

“IMMACULATE Heart of Mary, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of sinners, especially [Name].”

+ St. Gertrude’s writings are replete with most beautiful sentiments concerning the Precious Blood. To St. Mechtilde Our Lord once revealed Himself on the altar, with hands extended and Blood streaming from His Wounds:

“I show these bleeding Wounds to My Father to appease His wrath. He pardons when He sees the Blood.”

Sources: ‘Glories of the Precious Blood’ (TAN publishers); ‘A Book of Spiritual Instruction’ by Ven. Louis de Blois (Blosius); ‘The Life of Leon Papin-Dupont, The Holy Man of Tours’

A Powerful Meditation: The Thirty-Three Years of Jesus’ Life

“Our Lord revealed to Blessed Michael of Florence, the Camaldolese, how He longed that those who loved Him should honour the Thirty-Three Years with affectionate minuteness.”

– Fr. Faber (‘The Precious Blood or The Price of Our Salvation’) 

We think often of those we love. It is very difficult to love God if we do not take the time to know Him e.g. by means of prayer, meditation, and spiritual reading. In the late 19th century, it was revealed to Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich* that there were living approximately 100,000 souls who loved God greatly. Would we have been counted among this number?

A Fruitful Meditation

“The life of our loving Redeemer was all full of desolation, and bereft of every comfort. The life of Jesus was that great ocean which was all bitter, without a single drop of sweetness or consolation: For great as the sea is thy destruction:

This is what was revealed by our Lord to St. Margaret of Cortona, when he said to her that in his whole life he never experienced sensible consolation.”

(Taken from ‘The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ’ by St. Alphonsus)

How small our crosses are in comparison!

Furthermore, consider the incredible words of our Lord to St. Gertrude:

“Even though a soul be lacking in fervor, yet will I look upon her with much love, if she sometimes meditate upon My Passion. It is an exercise possessing a value in My eyes infinitely surpassing that of any other. Even a short meditation upon My Passion, is worth more than long and multiplied acts of piety that have no direct reference to My sufferings and death.”

 

* The writings of Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich are very edifying. Unfortunately, however, many of her prophecies have been manipulated by disobedient or confused Catholics. Here is one such example: http://jloughnan.tripod.com/forgery.htm (How much deception and apparent forgery I have encountered on the internet! Given that the number of false mystics greatly outnumbers the authentic mystics, we would be better off following the example of Bl. Elena Aiello, St. Padre Pio and other holy Saints and mystics who submitted to the Church at all times.)

God’s Great Love For Judas

God has an intense love for all sinners, whom he came to save. Judas, who is referred to in Scripture as the “son of perdition”, tragically seems to have rejected God until the last. Reflecting on the life and death of Judas, we can learn some valuable lessons:

+ “God hates sin; but at the same time never ceases to love the sinful soul while it remains on earth, and always gives it the assistance it requires for salvation: ‘But Thou sparest all, because they are Thine, O Lord, Who lovest souls.’ [Wisd. 11: 27] – St. Alphonsus

+ “Each soul is a matchless treasure [to God]” (Jesus to Sr. Mary of the Holy Trinity). Speaking of the Passion, St. John the Evangelist spoke thus to Sr. Josefa Menendez: “How His Heart thrilled at the thought of the moment, then approaching, when He would go to the Father, but it was crushed with sorrow at the sight of one of the Twelve, one specially chosen, who was to deliver Him up to death, and at the knowledge that for the first time His Blood was to prove useless to save a soul.”

+ To doubt God’s love is great blasphemy. According to the revelations of St. Catherine of Siena, as well as the words of St. Jerome, the despair of Judas was a greater offence to God than his betrayal. In an act of infinite love, Jesus died to save Judas; he doubted this love, thereby blinding himself to the graces of God which sought to save him. Apart from an extraordinary grace, the consequence of despair “worked logically out, is final impenitence” (Fr. Faber). It is in this sense that despair is unpardonable. “The mercy of God [of course] is infinite towards him who repents”; the guardian angel of Adolph Rette assured him of this when he was tempted to despair! How beautiful.

“Some say, ‘I have done too much evil; the good God cannot pardon me.’ My children, this is a great blasphemy; it is putting a limit to the mercy of God, which has no limit – it is infinite” (St. John Vianney). St. John Vianney proceeds to encourage us (as well as those in despair) to trust in God’s infinite mercy. The remainder of the quote can be found here: https://littlestsouls.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/to-sinful-souls-drowned-in-despair-25/

We must always remember the following: the Precious Blood of Jesus (which was shed in remission for our sins) is infinitely more pleasing to God than our sins are displeasing to God.

+ God’s just anger does not diminish his love. Despite rejecting His love, God still loved Judas, as we have seen. Love itself takes no delight in the death of the wicked [Ezek. 18:23]. Jesus said to Sr. Josefa (and other chosen souls): “My Heart is so sharply wounded at the loss of souls… especially when they are among My chosen ones.” In fact, in the life of St. Joseph of Cupertino, we read that “the loss of Judas was the worst pain of the Passion” (Fr. Faber, p. 250 of ‘Notes on Doctrinal and Spiritual Subjects, vol. 1’).

+ “God condemns no one” (St. Faustina). Properly speaking, God offers everyone abundant grace to be saved. Consequently, they alone are lost who reject God at the “moment of death”, says St. Catherine. St. Rose of Lima was once troubled by the mystery of predestination. Our Lord consoled her with the following words:

“My child, know that I only condemn those who, by resisting My graces, will obstinately lose their souls: continue, therefore, to make a good use of them, live in peace, and be no longer disturbed with this fear.”

(Taken from p. 175 of ‘St. Rose of Lima’)

+ Relapse into sin prefigures final impenitence. “There is something in the peculiar malice of a relapse very congenial to final impenitence” (Fr. Faber, p. 384 of ‘Growth in Holiness’). A holy fear of sin is necessary in the spiritual life. God promises forgiveness for the repentant, but He does not promise the grace of repentance to any sinner. (There are some extraordinary exceptions, such as the First Nine Fridays devotion etc.)

“Never does My Heart refuse to forgive a soul that humbles itself, especially when it asks with confidence.”

– Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez

“Ah! daughter, how should I not love you?… My Son shed His Blood for all men… all are my children. But when Jesus selects one soul in particular, my Heart rests in her.”

– Our Lady to Sr. Josefa Menendez