Saturday, November 3, 2018

About the Faithful Departed

"Therefore, the pains of the blessed souls in purgatory are terribly great, and they cannot fend for themselves. Saint Job says these words: Chained and tied with ropes of poverty, they are queens, and they are destined for the eternal kingdom, but they will not be able to take possession of it, and they will have to cry in exile until they are completely purified. Some theologians say that the souls in purgatory can mitigate their torments with their prayers, but in any case they will never be able to find in themselves enough and sufficient resources, so they will have to remain chained until they have paid their debt to Divine Justice, as a Cistercian friar, condemned to purgatory, said to the brother sacristan of his monastery: ‘Help me, he begged him, with your prayers, that I cannot do anything to help myself’, and the same repeats Saint Bonaventure: ‘So poor are those blessed souls, that they cannot pay their debts’.

What is true and an article of faith is that we can help with our suffrages and above all with our prayers to those holy souls. The Church praises these prayers and she herself gives us her example.

If we are not moved by this duty of charity, let us do it for the great pleasure we provide Jesus Christ, when He sees that we strive to break the chains of his beloved wives so that they may enjoy his love in heaven. Let us do it also for the thought of the many merits that by this means we acquire, since we make such an act of charity with those blessed souls; and we can be sure that they, in turn, grateful for the good we have given them, taking them out with our prayers of those pains and anticipating the time of their entrance into heaven, will not stop praying for us when they get to Heaven. Said the Lord, Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. For if the kindly rewarder promises mercy to those who have mercy with their neighbors, with greater reason can we hope for our eternal salvation, if we make an effort to help those blessed souls, so afflicted and so beloved of God."

Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori