Meditations on the Poor Souls in Purgatory – November 7th

Purgatory under the Old Law

Holy Souls 7

It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from their sins (2 Mach. xii. 46). These words of Holy Scripture, approving the custom of praying for the dead, that they may be loosed from their sins, implies that they are bound by sin in a prison-house, from which one day they will be released. The phrase would be meaningless were there no Purgatory. Even apart from inspiration, the passage bears witness to the prevalent belief of the whole Jewish people. If they were so much impressed with the fear of the sufferings of Purgatory, and ready to help those imprisoned there, how much more should I?

The sacred writer commends the piety of Judas Machabeus, who collected a large sum of money to have sacrifices offered for the sins of those who had died in battle. His charity was very pleasing to God. Amid the distresses and anxieties of the war in which he was engaged with the enemies of God, he did not forget the holy dead. What a firm belief he must have had in Purgatory! What a vivid realization of the needs of those who suffer there! Yet, I too often seem to forget the very existence of Purgatory and of those who suffer there!

Judas recognized the duty of special prayers and sacrifices for our own countrymen and friends; for those whom we have known and with whom we have associated on earth. Surely if he had this zeal, I, a child of the Church, ought to do more than I do for my friends, acquaintances, and benefactors. Pray for more devotion to those who have a special claim on you.

Sorrowful floral strip
The Devout Year by the Rev. R.F. Clarke, S.J.

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