LIVING OUR FAITH (dec7liv.htm)

Sunday-Tuesday
December 5-7, 2004
vol 15, no. 192

Purgatory

    Part Two

      The post-conciliar church has done all in its power to purge the idea of Purgatory but true Catholics must never forget for the souls are counting on us.

    Contrary to what many may think, nothing in Holy Mother Church's teaching has changed and therefore we feel confident that these "points of enlightenment" will help more Catholics better understand their faith, especially those who were not blessed with early formation of the faith in the home and their parish school. Regardless of where any Catholic is in his or her journey toward salvation, he or she has to recognize that the Faith they were initiated into at the Sacrament of Baptism is the most precious gift they have been given in life. If they truly want to live their Faith as it was taught from Peter to Pius XII, they must know the Faith and live it as Traditional Catholics. That is the only way to KEEP THE FAITH!

"Amen, I say to thee, thou shalt not go out from thence, till thou pay the last farthing"

Our Lord's warning words to His disciples as recorded in Matthew 5: 26

    In the last installment, we finished up by introducing the HEROIC ACT OF CHARITY. To make an Heroic Act of Charity takes a real hero and there are so few left on this earth. Gone are so many of the priests and nuns, and yes parents and grandparents who emulated these virtues, who, despite the consequences, were not afraid to utilize "tough love" for the sake of the person's soul rather than their material wellbeing. They were not as concerned with how they themselves would be accepted or perceived by the ones they were helping as was the point that they wanted to instill the Will of God into their subjects so that it would become a "way of life" and not go "in one ear and out the other." They weren't concerned that they wouldn't be popular, but more concerned with turning out reliable, responsible Catholics who would repopulate the world with more good Catholics or enrich the Church with more priests, nuns and lay brothers.

    That took heroism, a heroism that is sadly and sorely lacking today. Today heroes are equated to movie, rock, sports stars, and even ecclesiastical stars from John XXIII to John Paul II, the latter who has condoned Woodstock-like rock papal masses that in no way represent the sacred. Yet he is popular with the world, but in so currying the favor of man, he and those others responsible have fallen out of favor with God because they failed to acknowledge and promote Heroic Acts of Charity, and worse, to protect the Sacred Deposit of the Faith for they have not only abandoned the souls of the Church Militant, but also the Church Suffering for the Holy Souls in Purgatory have been forgotten. There are very few heroes or role models in these times, merely fallible humans who have let God down and, in that process, have let down those they were sworn to protect for the great majority of today's leaders in the world and the conciliar church have feet of clay who have cast their lot, for the most part, with satan, not with God. They've taken the easy way out, opting for fame, wealth and pleasing man without taking on the responsibility of truly giving back, of truly accepting suffering, of truly imparting values and virtues that will make today and tomorrow's generation stronger and more worthy to be called children of God.

    That sad scenario leaves us terribly void of heroes today. Vocations are alarmingly down in wealthy, advanced nations in Europe and America while they are skyrocketing in poor, third world countries like Africa, Bangledesh, India and South America. Why is that? Because we have not suffered, whereas those in impoverished countries have suffered greatly and grown from it. From suffering heroes are born, not from excess and smooth sailing. A very wise priest once said, "It takes a lot of wind and rain to make a tree grow strong and straight."

    So also in a person's life, the more adversity one experiences, the stronger that person will be for it and grow to be a mature, solid citizen both for their country and, primarily, for God. The problems today are that too many within the Church are trying to make things too easy, forgetting what Jesus Christ says about suffering and carrying our cross and being obedient to Him. Compromise and softness have replaced the tough faith of yesteryear in the minds of many Catholics has been turned into a left-over menu of cafeteriaism where botulism threatens the very spiritual health of each participant. We all know that is not what Our Lord intended when He established His Church in Matthew 16: 18-19. Nor did He beg and cajole those who walked away from Him when they realized it wouldn't be easy. Being the Son of God He could easily have called them back and explained further what He meant, but He did not compromise, He did not water anything down. And neither should we. In order to be genuine heroes today we must submit ourselves totally to the Divine Will. Then, and only then will we be able to generate the kind of attributes attributed to true heroes.

    To those who might, at this point, be a bit squeamish about such a Heroic Act of Charity, fearing that one will arrive in Eternal Life with nothing to offer God, there are several consoling points to be made. One is taken from the life of Saint Gertrude the Great. She had made a complete donation of all her works of satisfaction in favor of the faithful departed, without reserving anything for herself. Being at the point of death, she saw on the one hand the number of her sins, and on the other hand, she remembered that she had fully donated all her works of satisfaction for the expiation of the sins of others. This sorely afflicted her, for the devil tempted her to consider that she would now, upon entering eternity, suffer the more. It was then that Our Lord appeared to her and said: "Be assured, My daughter, your charity towards the departed will be no detriment to you. Know that the generous donation you have made of all your works to the holy souls has been singularly pleasing to Me; and to give you a proof thereof, I declare to you that all the pains you would have had to endure in the other life are now remitted; moreover, in recompense for your generous charity, I will so enhance the value of the merits of your works as to give you a great increase of glory in Heaven." These were Jesus' Own words to be one of His saints. Why, then, should we be afraid?

      Another great saint - Saint Theresa the Little Flower did the same thing, granting her satisfactory value to the souls in Purgatory. Please pray about what you should do. Search your heart carefully, and allow the Holy Ghost to guide you and counsel you. Then, read the following Act of Heroic Charity, and discern if this is what God is asking of you. Knowing that we are in the end times of the two-thousand years period, that we are facing a darkness in our world both spiritually and, eventually, physically, we need to do all that we can to be prepared. Each sacrifice strengthens us in our faith, and moves us forward in our abandonment to the Will of God. And we must not forget that every Holy Soul whom we assist toward the Beatific Vision will spend their eternity interceding for us, working tirelessly for us that we, too, will be with them forever in Heaven in giving praise and adoration to the Triune Divinity.

      Besides the month of November, this is also a wonderful preparation during Advent in preparing for the coming feast of Christmas, where we can remold a true remodeling of our poor hearts into hearts like those of Jesus and Mary. By such a worthwhile preparation, we can be assured that on Christmas Day our very hearts and souls will be worthy "stables" or "tabernacles," radiant with peace, joy and the grace of God dwelling in us.

      The following Heroic Act of Charity was approved by Popes Benedict XIII, Pius VI and Pius XI.

    "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 whom 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."

      The above includes the following indulgences and privileges:

    1. To those priests who have made this act the indult of a privileged altar every day in the year.

    2. The simple faithful can gain a plenary indulgence, applicable to the souls in Purgatory only, each time they receive Holy Communion, provided they visit a church or chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is present, and there pray for the intention of the Successor of Peter.

    3. They may apply to the holy souls all those indulgences which are not otherwise applicable by virtue of concession, and which have been granted up to the present time, or which shall be granted in the future. (Pius IX, Papal Decree, 30 September 1852).

    In summation, the Heroic Act does not subject us to the direful consequences of having to undergo a long Purgatory ourselves; on the contrary, it allows us to rely with more assured confidence on the Mercy of God in our regard. We are rewarded for our cooperation in the Mystical Body of Christ by doing our part to help it function as God wills.

    We might also consider that we, too, when we are called before God, might find ourselves escorted to Purgatory, knowing that unless we are remembered on earth by the Church Militant, our sufferings are without relief for the period consigned to us by the Almighty. And would we not, in that moment, desire with all of our soul, that someone would make this Heroic Act of Charity on our behalf that we might, as members of the Church Suffering, be freed from suffering and enter into Eternal Bliss? What we do for the least of our brothers, God shall do for us.

    Very few of us have had a vision of Purgatory. Yet, through prayer, we can learn something of the sufferings of these Holy Souls in this place of expiation. We can learn that their sufferings are more intense than we can comprehend or imagine, and this suffering is of the spirit, of the soul, and is likened to a burning fire which might scorch and annihilate our human body. Unlike our human flesh, which, when burned, will shrivel and die, there is no relief, nor end to the pain of suffering.

    This fire-like suffering comes from the knowledge the Holy Souls have of God, of having experienced for a fleeting second, as it were, that incredible Love which is God, and then being separated from that All-Consuming If we recall when we were most homesick or lonesome and magnify it a million times, we would then arrive at some understanding of the suffering of these Holy Souls in Purgatory.

    We can never outdo God in generosity. Let us, then, resolve to amend our own lives and never forget the existence of Purgatory for the vast majority who do not go to hell, will most likely pass that way. To make that time shorter, become generous benefactors for our departed brothers and sisters, fully confident that at the moment of our death, this very Heroic Act of Charity will gain for us a speedy entry into Eternal Joy where we can finally unite with the Church Triumphant. This is the true "communion" of the Communion of Saints which is the very backbone of the Church and something we should be ever mindful during Advent as we prepare for His Coming, not just at Christmas but when He returns as He promised.

    After all it will be the ultimate Advent for the word comes from the Latin ad meaning "to" and veni which means "come." Yes, many things are yet to come but none more important as the reason for our very existence - Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God. It is time for all of us to take our roles seriously as "soldiers of Christ" as members of the Church Militant and, as soldiers begin to attempt to do heroic acts for others beginning with the "Heroic Act of Charity" and to do unto others as we would have done unto us.

    Like any good soldier, we're going to fall often; but there is no shame in falling, only in failing to bounce back up. For the sake of the souls in Purgatory we all need to bounce back up, to pray and prepare during this season of Advent, which signals the beginning of the Church's liturgical year. Our Lady is preparing us in her boot camp of motherly love by reminding us of her Divine Son and of the realization that we are coming to the end of an era and that Christ is "to come" soon after God has recleansed the earth as He did during the time of Noah, 2000 years before sending His Only-begotten Son to redeem mankind. Now it is our turn to help redeem the Holy Souls. Never forget!

    Never forget! For there is indeed a place called Purgatory and it is not just a concept or state of mind, but an undeniable truth of the Church incorporated within the Communion of Saints which composes the Mystical Body of Christ which Saint Paul refers to in Colossians 1: 18, 1 Corinthians 12: 27 and Romans 12:5 in the fact that Christ is the head, we are the body, the members of the body. Just as there is an interdependence of the individual functions of the body with other parts of the body for certain purposes, there is a dependence on the entire body for the entire body which includes the Church Militant here on earth, the Church Triumphant in Heaven, and the Church Suffering in Purgatory. This supernatural fellowship, this mystical union is presented to us in the Apostles' Creed in the doctrine of the Communion of Saints - all united in Christ as its Head.

   As we have emphasized in these two installments on Purgatory, the "Heroic Act of Charity" leaves us perfectly free to pray for those souls in whom we are most interested; the application of prayers for the Holy Souls in Purgatory is subject to the disposition of the adorable Will of God. This Heroic Act does not oblige under pain of mortal sin and can at any time be revoked. It may be made without using any particular formula; it suffices to have the intention and to make it from the heart.

    Next issue: The Last Judgment


    December 5-7, 2004
    Wednesday-Saturday
    vol 15, no. 192
    LIVING OUR FAITH