He only shuts up when he is writing!
From the Pastor: Preparing for All Souls Day
As a follow up of my homily from last week, I want to remind you to pray often for the Poor Souls in Purgatory, especially remembering them in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on the upcoming All Souls Day. A simple story of the value of such prayers comes via Fr. Faber’s The Two Catholic Views of Purgatory Based on Catholic Teachings and Revelations of Saintly Souls. (He gives credit to another author, though I have been unable to procure a copy of that book.) The story involves a dispute between two Dominican Friars.
Bro. Bertrando was the great advocate of poor sinners, constantly said Mass for them, and offered up all his prayers and penances to obtain for them the grace of conversion. “Sinners,” he said, “without grace, are in a state of perdition. Evil spirits are continually laying snares for them, to deprive them of the Beatific Vision and to carry them off to eternal torments. Our Blessed Lord came down from Heaven and died a most painful death for them. What can be a higher work than to imitate Him and to cooperate with Him in the salvation of souls? When a soul is lost, the price of its redemption is lost also. Now the souls in Purgatory are safe. They are sure of their eternal salvation. It is most true that they are plunged into a sea of sorrows, but they are sure to come out at last. They are the friends of God, whereas sinners are His enemies, and to be God’s enemy is the greatest misery in creation.”
Bro. Benedetto was an equally enthusiastic advocate of the suffering souls. He offered all his free Masses for them, as well as his prayers and penances. Sinners, he said, were bound with the chains of their own will. They could leave off sinning if they pleased. The yoke was of their own choosing, whereas the dead were tied hand and foot against their own will in the most atrocious sufferings.
“Now come, dear Bro. Bertrando, tell me--suppose there were two beggars, one well and strong, who could use his hands and work if he liked, but chose to suffer poverty rather than part with the sweets of idleness; and the other, sick and maimed and helpless, who in his piteous condition could do nothing but supplicate help with cries and tears--which of the two would deserve compassion most, especially if the sick one was suffering the most intolerable agonies? Now this is just the case between sinners and the Holy Souls. These last are suffering an excruciating martyrdom, and they have no means of helping themselves. It is true they have deserved these pains for their sins, but they are now already cleansed for those sins. They must have returned to the grace of God before they died, else they would not have been saved. They are now most dear, inexpressibly dear, to God; and surely charity, well ordered, must follow the wise love of the Divine Will and love most what He loves most.”
Bro. Bertrando, however, would not give way, though he did not quite see a satisfactory answer to his friend’s objection. But the night following, he had an apparition which it seems so convinced him that from that time he changed his practice, and offered up all his Masses, prayers and penances for the Holy Souls. It would appear as if the authority of St. Thomas might be quoted on the side of Bro. Benedetto, as he says, “Prayer for the dead is more acceptable than for the living, for the dead are in the greatest need of it and cannot help themselves, as the living can.”
This example given by Brother Benedetto of the two beggars, one healthy but lazy and the other truly in need, also helps to show why Indulgences may only be offered for the Poor Souls or for oneself but not for other living persons. The living, after all, if they truly desired this cleansing gift from God, are capable of receiving the indulgence themselves, and if they don’t, it indicates that they would reject the graces being offered, anyway. The Holy Souls, on the other hand, are always grateful for any graces offered and are incapable of getting indulgences on their own. This observation leads directly to this reminder that a plenary indulgence may be obtained for a soul in Purgatory each day from November 1 through November 8 by visiting a cemetery and praying for the departed. On November 2 only, a plenary indulgence may be obtained for the Poor Souls by visiting a church and praying an Our Father and a Creed. In both these cases, all other conditions for reception of a plenary indulgence must also be met. (Look them up!)
So keep adding names to your All Souls list. I will offer the Holy Mass for them on All Souls Day and include them in all of my November Masses.
With prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka