Every day we present a short point that helps bring into focus the treasures of the Roman Catholic Church that comprise the great Deposit of Faith.
It is no secret that over the past thirty years fewer and fewer know their Faith and it shows with the declining number of vocations, parish participation and attendance at Holy Mass. We have the new Catechism of the Catholic Church but for the common man, the one brought up on sound bites and instant gratification, it is more of a text book and that in itself prompts them to shy away from such a tome. So what's a loyal Catholic to do in evangelizing to fellow Catholics and understand their Faith? Our answer: go back to basics - to the great Deposit of Faith. We have the Baltimore Catechism which, for unknown and ridiculous reasons, was shelved after Vatican II. We have the Holy Bible but there are so many newer versions that the Douay-Rheims and Confraternity Latin Vulgate in English versions, the ones used for so long as the official Scriptural text authorized by the Church, seem lost in a maze of new interpretations that water down the Word. This is further complicated by the fact there are so few Douay-Rheims editions in circulation though it is available on the net at
DOUAY-RHEIMS BIBLE. We have so many Vatican documents available at the Vatican web site and other excellent Catholic resource sites that detail Doctrine, Dogma and Canon Law. We have the traditions, and the means of grace but how do we consolidate all these sources into one where it is succinct and easy to understand? We have the perfect vehicle. It is called "My Catholic Faith", now out of print, that was compiled by Bishop Louis Laravoire Morrow and published by My Mission House. This work ties in Scriptural references, the Sacraments, Dogmas, Doctrines, Traditions, Church documents, Encyclical and Papal decrees to clearly illustrate the Faith in simple, solid and concise terms that all can understand and put into practice. We will quote from this work while adding in more recent events and persons when applicable since the book was written in the late forties during the pontificate of Pope Pius XII. We also quote from the Catholic Almanac published by Our Sunday Visitor for the Roman Curial offices.
Nothing in Holy Mother Church's teaching has changed and therefore we feel confident that these daily "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.
THE SOULS IN PURGATORY
Continuing our short series on Purgatory and The Heroic Act of Charity, we pick up where we left off in realizing that it is important to understand that in this Heroic Act we surrender the satisfactory value of our works, but not the corresponding merits which have a corresponding degree of glory in Heaven. The satisfactory value we are free to keep or surrender for the Holy Souls, but the merit is strictly personal, thereby our own in God's sight.
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 whose feast we celebrated yesterday. 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 Spirit 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.
This is also a wonderful preparation for Advent - just over a week away, and 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 prepartion, 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 prayer was imparted by Our Lady to the Hidden Flower in the early nineties. It is a formula for offering a Heroic Act of Charity.
"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."
This Heroic Act of Charity has been approved by Popes Benedict XIII, Pius VI and Pius XI. It 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 Holy Father.
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).
Tomorrow: The Souls of Purgatory part eight