Church Triumphant & Church Suffering
November 1 & 2 are soon upon us already! WOW how time just flies by! One day closer to eternity is what I say! Soon this exile will be over but until it is - we must be Church Militant - not Church Sleepy, Church Compromise or Church Tolerant! This is difficult today. I too am susceptible to feeling the blues as I see disaster all around me. I suppose this is why St. Therese of the Child Jesus loved St. Joan of Arc - she had courage! Something many of us lack today! St. Joan of Arc pray for us to remain faithful even when we see destruction and death all around us - pray that those of us who become wounded may get back on our horse as you did and fight the good fight for our King - the King of Kings - Jesus Christ! We must fight and He will give the victory! This we can be sure of! He is God !
Back to my title - Church Triumphant! Well - we can not be Church Triumphant unless we are Church Militant like the saints who have died of old. I can not emphasize enough how we need to go back and read about the lives of the saints! Those who have gone before us and have left us examples of love for God above all things that gave them the courage to endure the most horrific trials and deaths! All ye holy angels and saints - pray for us!
And of course, we can not pass this great feast of All Saints without mentioning the Queen of Saints, the Queen of Martyrs! God is such an amazing God to give us this Queen and Mother. She is the model for all of us during this Passion of the Church. She endured the Passion of Jesus Christ to its fullest and now She is supplying the graces we need to endure this present suffering. I truly believe that we are witnessing the Passion of the Mystical Body of Christ and soon to enter into a Crucifixion - Bloody Martyrdom! We must now more than ever prepare ourselves for this and what better way than to be at the Foot of the Cross with Our Lady! Who stood at the foot of the Cross of Christ? Mary, His Mother, and all those in the company of Mary! That is it! The others ran in fear! That will happen to us if we do not get serious about being in the "company of Mary". Pray your Rosary daily to beg Her for these graces so desperately needed today!
I wish to share with you excerpts taken from the "Dialogues of the Soul and Body" and "The Treatise on Purgatory" written by St. Catherine of Genoa who was born in 1447. When about 26 years old she received extraordinary revelations of which she spoke about in these two works. Here is some of it to help us get a glimpse of "whats to come" and to help give us zeal to help those who have gone before us in this coming month of November.
CHAPTER II of "The Treatise on Purgatory"
What is the joy of the souls in Purgatory. A comparison to show how they see God ever more and more.
I believe no happiness can be found worthy to be compared with that of a soul in Purgatory except that of the saints in Paradise; and day by day this happiness grows as God flows into these souls, more and more as the hindrance to His entrance is consumed. Sin's rust is the hindrance, and the fire burns the rust away so that more and more the soul opens itself up to the divine inflowing. A thing which is covered cannot respond to the sun's rays, not because of any defect in the sun, which is shining all the time, but because the cover is an obstacle; if the cover be burnt away, this thing is open to the sun; more and more as the cover is consumed does it respond to the rays of the sun.
It is in this way that rust, which is sin, covers souls, and in Purgatory is burnt away by fire; the more it is consumed, the more do the souls respond to God, the true sun. As the rust lessens and the soul is opened up to the divine ray, happiness grows; until the time be accomplished the one wanes and the other waxes. Pain, however, does not lessen but only the time for which pain is endured. As for will: never can the souls say these pains are pains, so contented are they with God's ordaining with which, in pure charity, their will is united.
But, on the other hand, they endure a pain so extreme that no tongue can be found to tell it, nor could the mind understand its least pang if God by special grace did not show so much. Which least pang God of His grace showed to this Soul, but with her tongue she cannot say what it is. This sight which the Lord revealed to me has never since left my mind and I will tell what I can of it. They will understand whose mind God deigns to open.
Here is an excerpt from CHAPTER XV Reproaches which the souls in Purgatory make to people in the world.
And so that blessed soul, seeing the aforesaid things by the divine light, said: "I would fain send up a cry so loud that it would put fear in all men on the earth. I would say to them: 'Wretches, why do you let yourselves be thus blinded by the world, you whose need is so great and grievous, as you will know at the moment of death, and who make no provision for it
"You have all taken shelter beneath hope in God's mercy, which is, you say, very great, but you see not that this great goodness of God will judge you for having gone against the will of so good a Lord. His goodness should constrain you to do all His will, not give you hope in ill-doing, for His justice cannot fail but in one way or another must needs be fully satisfied.”
The Prayer of St. Gertrude, below, is one of the most famous of the prayers for souls in purgatory. St. Gertrude the Great was a Benedictine nun and mystic who lived in the 13th century. According to tradition, our Lord promised her that 1000 souls would be released from purgatory each time it is said devoutly.
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.
Many of the Fathers of the Church, such as St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom, considered prayers for souls in purgatory to be essential. The church has endorsed the doctrine of purgatory from the Councils of Florence and Trent in the 15th and 16th centuries.
The most famous scriptural reference, among others, concerning these prayers comes from the Old Testament where it is called “a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins” (2 Macabees 12:46)
May we pray with Our Lady for these poor souls in Purgatory and may we ask Her to guide us on our earthly journey toward fulfilling God's Will in our lives so that we may be eternally happy with Him in Heaven!
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Bernadette Porter is a Traditional Catholic, a wife of 42 years with 6 adult home-schooled children and 6 grandchildren. A sincere devotion to Mary, the Mother of God leads me to want to share "The Church's best kept secret" - Mary!