Why We Need And Are Obligated To Pray For The Poor Souls In Purgatory

“It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.” (2 Mac 12:46)
THEIR GRATITUDE IS LIMITLESS AND DO NOT FAIL TO RETURN BLESSINGS
THE HOLY SOULS WILL NOT ABANDON US IN DEATH
Blessed John of Massias, the Dominican lay brother, had a wonderful devotion to the souls in Purgatory. He was told that he obtained by his prayers, (chiefly by the recitation of the Rosary), the liberation of one million four hundred thousand souls! In return they obtained for him the most abundant and extraordinary graces and came at the hour of his death to help and console him and accompany him to heaven. This fact is so certain that it is inserted by the Church in the Bull of his Beatification.
The learned Cardinal Baronius recounts a similar incident.
He was himself called to assist a dying gentleman. Suddenly a host of blessed spirits appeared in the chamber of death, consoled the dying man and chased away the devils who sought by a last desperate effort to compass his ruin. When asked who they were they made answer that they were eight thousand souls whom he had released from Purgatory by his prayers and good works. They were sent by God, so they said, to take him to Heaven without his passing one moment in Purgatory.
SAINT GERTRUDE IS REWARDED FOR HER DEVOTION TO THE HOLY SOULS
St Gertrude was fiercely tempted by the devil when she came to die. The evil spirit reserves a dangerous and subtle temptation for our last moments. As he could find no other ruse sufficiently clever with which to assail the Saint, he thought to disturb her beautiful peace of soul by suggesting that she would surely remain long years in Purgatory since, he reminded her, she had made over long ago all her suffrages to other souls. Our Blessed Lord, not content with sending His Angels and the thousands of souls she had released, to assist her, came Himself in person to drive Satan away and comfort His dear Saint. He told her that in exchange for all she had done for the Holy Souls He would take her straight to Heaven and would multiply a hundredfold all her merits.
THE HOLY SOULS WILL PROTECT US FROM PHYSICAL DANGER
An adventure in the Appenines
A group of priests were called to Rome to treat a grave business matter. They were bearers of important documents and a large sum of money was entrusted to them for the Holy Father. Aware that the Appenines, over which they had to pass, were infested by daring bandits, they chose a trusty driver. There was no tunnel through the mountains nor train in those days.
They placed themselves under the protection of the Holy Souls and decided to say profundis De profundis every hour for them.
When right in the heart of the mountains, the driver gave the alarm and, at the same time, lashed the horses into a furious gallop. Looking around, the priests saw fierce bandits at each side of the road with fixed rifles ready to fire. They were amazed that no shot rang out. They were completely at the mercy of the bandits.
After an hour’s headlong flight the driver stopped and, looking at the Priests, said: “I cannot understand how we escaped. These desperadoes never spare anyone.”
The Fathers were convinced that they owed their safety to the Holy Souls, a fact that was afterwards confirmed beyond doubt.
When their business was concluded in Rome, one of their number was detained in the Eternal City, where he was appointed chaplain to a Prison. Not long after, one of the fiercest brigands in Italy was captured, condemned to death for a long series of murders and awaited execution in the prison. Anxious to gain his confidence, the Chaplain told him of several adventures he himself had had and, finally, of his recent escape in the Appenines.
The criminal manifested the greatest interest in the story. When it was ended, he exclaimed: “I was the leader of that band. We thought that you had money and we determined to rob and murder you. An invisible force prevented each and all of us from firing, as we assuredly would have done had we been able.”
The chaplain then told him of how they had placed themselves under the protection of the Holy Souls and that they ascribed their deliverance to their protection.
The bandit found no difficulty in believing it. In fact, it made his conversion more easy. He died full of repentance.
An escape from Brigands
Father Louis Mamaci, zealous Missionary, had great devotion to the Souls in Purgatory. He found himself obliged to set out on a dangerous journey but confidently asked the Holy Souls to protect him in the dangers that he was likely to meet with. His road lay through a vast desert which he knew to be infested by brigands.
Whilst plodding along, saying the Rosary for the Holy Souls…
Whilst plodding along, saying the Rosary for the Holy Souls, what was not his surprise, on looking round, to find himself surrounded as by a bodyguard of blessed spirits. Soon he discovered the reason. He had fallen into an ambuscade of brigands but the Holy Souls at once surrounded him and drove off the miscreants who sought his life. The Holy Souls did not abandon him until he was well out of danger.
WHAT IS THE FATE OF THOSE WHO DO NOT PRAY FOR THE SOULS IN PURGATORY
The Gospel of St Matthew (25:34-46) the words that Christ will address to the just on the Judgment day.
34 Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me to eat: I was thirsty and you gave Me to drink: I was a stranger, and you took Me in.
36 Naked, and you covered Me: sick, and you visited Me: I was in prison, and you came to Me.
37 Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee to drink?
38 And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee?
39 Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee?
40 And the king (God) answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to Me.
41 Then he shall say to them also that shall be on His left hand: depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels.
42 For I was hungry, and you gave Me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave Me not to drink.
43 I was a stranger, and you took Me not in: naked, and you covered Me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit Me.
44 Then they also shall answer him saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee?
45 Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these, neither did you do it to Me.
46 And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.
St Antonius and His Friend
St Antonius, the illustrious Archbishop of Florence, relates that a pious gentleman and a great friend of the Dominican Convent in which the Saint resided, died. Many Masses and suffrages were offered for his soul.
The soul of the gentleman appeared to him
The Saint was very much afflicted when, after a lapse of a very long time, the soul of the poor gentleman appeared to him, suffering excruciating pains.
“Oh my dear friend,” exclaimed the Archbishop, “are you still in Purgatory, you who led such a pious and devout life?”
“Yes, and I shall remain there still for a long time,” replied the poor sufferer, “for when on Earth, I neglected to offer suffrages for the souls in Purgatory. Now God by a just judgement, has applied those suffrages which have been offered for me to those souls for whom I should have prayed.”
“But God, too, in his justice will give me all the merits of my good works when I enter Heaven, but first of all I have to expiate my grave neglect in regard to others.”
HOW CAN WE HELP THE SOULS IN PURGATORY
Formula of the Heroic Act
This act consists in ceding to the Souls in Purgatory all our works of satisfaction, that is to say, the satisfactory value of all the works of our life and of all the suffrages which shall be given to us after our death, without reserving anything to discharge our own debts. We deposit them in the hands of the Blessed Virgin, that she may distribute them, according to her good pleasure, to those souls which she desires to deliver from Purgatory. It is an absolute donation in favor of the souls of all that we can give them; we offer to God in their behalf all the good we do, of what kind so ever, either in thought, words or works, all that we suffer meritoriously during this life, without excepting anything that we may reasonably give them, and adding even those suffrages which we may receive for ourselves after death. It must be well understood that the matter of this holy donation is the satisfactory value of our works and in no way the merit which has a corresponding degree of glory in Heaven; for merit is strictly personal, and cannot be transferred to another. Pope Benedict XIII, Pius VI, and Pius IX, have approved this heroic act, and have enriched it with indulgences and privileges, of which the principals are as follows:
The Indult of a Privileged Altar, personally, every day of the year to all priests who shall have made this offering. A Plenary indulgence daily, applicable only to the departed, to all the faithful, who shall have made this offering, whenever they go to Holy Communion, provided they visit a church or public oratory, and pray there for some time for the intention of his Holiness. A Plenary indulgence, every Monday, to all who hear Mass in aid of the Souls in Purgatory, provided they fulfill the other conditions mentioned above.
“O Holy and Adorable Trinity, desiring to cooperate in the deliverance of the Souls in Purgatory, and to testify my devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, I cede and renounce in behalf of those Holy Souls all the satisfactory part of my works, and all the suffrages which may be given to me after my death, consigning them entirely into the hands of the most Blessed Virgin, that she may apply them according to her good pleasure to those souls of the faithful departed which she desires to deliver from their sufferings. Deign, O my God, to accept and bless this offering which I make to Thee at this moment. Amen.”

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