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inestimable is the privilege of being truly and indeed "of the
household of faith," - within and of "the Church of the Saints," the
Church that alone connects the life which is and that which is to come,
the living and the dead!

Year by year we are reminded of this truth, so solemn and so beautiful,
the Communion of Saints, by the double festival of All Saints and All
Souls - when the Church invites her children of the Militant Church to
rejoice with her on the glory of her Saints, and to pray with her for
the holy dead who are still in the purgatorial fire that is to prepare
them for that blessed abode into which "nothing defiled can enter."

Grand and joyous is the feast of the Saints, when we lovingly honor all
our brethren who have gained their thrones in Heaven, and with faith
and hope invoke their powerful aid, that we, too, may come where they
are, and be partakers in their eternal blessedness; solemn and sad, but
most sweetly soothing to the heart of faith, is the day of All Souls,
when the altars are draped in black, and the chant is mournful, and
sacrifice is offered, the whole world over, for the dead who have slept
in Christ, with the blessing of the Church upon them. For them, if they
still have need of succor, are all the good works of the faithful
offered up, and the prayers of all the Saints and all the Angels
invoked, not only on the second day of November, but on every day of
that mournful month.

Thus do we, who are still on earth, honor the glorified Saints of God,
and invoke them for ourselves and for the blessed souls who may yet be
debarred from the joys of Heaven. And this is truly the Communion of
Saints - the Church on earth, the Church in Heaven, the Church in
Purgatory, distinct, yet united, the children of one common Father, who
is God; of one common Mother, who is Mary, the Virgin ever Blessed.


[Footnote 1: Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibnitz, the eminent Protestant
philosopher. The above is from his "Systema Theologicum."]


No new efficacy is superadded to the efficacy of the Passion from this
propitiatory Sacrifice, repeated for the remission of sins; but its
entire efficacy consists in the representation and application of the
first bloody Sacrifice, the fruit of which is the Divine Grace bestowed
on all those who, being present at this tremendous sacrifice, worthily
celebrate the oblation in unison with the priest. And since, in
addition to the remission of eternal punishment, and the gift of the
merits of Christ for the hope of eternal life, we further ask of God,
for ourselves and others, both living and dead, many other salutary
gifts (and amongst those, the chief is the mitigation of that paternal
chastisement which is due to every sin, even though the penitent be
restored to favor); it is therefore clearly manifest that there is
nothing in our entire worship more precious than the sacrifice of this
Divine Sacrament, in which the Body of Our Lord itself is present.


How often have I been touched at the respect paid the dead in Catholic
countries; at the reverence with which the business man, hastening to
fulfil the duties of the hour, pauses and lifts his hat as the funeral
of the unknown passes him in the street! What pity streams from the
eyes of the poor woman who kneels in her humble doorway, and, crossing
herself, prays for the repose of the soul that was never known to her
in this life; but the body is borne towards the cemetery, and she joins
her prayer to the many that are freely offered along the solemn way
(pp. 151-2).

* * * * *

So passes the faithful soul to judgment; after which, if not ushered at
once into the ineffable glory of the Father, it pauses for a season in
the perpetual twilight of that border-land where the spirit is purged
of the very memory of sin. Even as Our Lord Himself descended into
Limbo; as He died for us, but rose again from the dead and ascended
into heaven, so we hope to rise and follow Him, - sustained by the
unceasing prayers of the Church, the intercession of the Saints, and
all the choirs of the just, who are called on night and day, and also
by the prayers and pleadings of those who have loved us, and who are
still in the land of the living.

The prayers that ease the pangs of Purgatory, the _Requiem_, the
_Miserere_, the _De Profundis_ - these are the golden stairs
upon which the soul of the redeemed ascends into everlasting joy. Even
the Protestant laureate of England has confessed the poetical justice
and truth of this, and into the mouth of the dying Arthur - that worthy
knight - he puts these words:

"Pray for my soul! More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of; wherefore let thy voice
Rise like a fountain for me night and day;
For, what are men better than sheep or goats
That nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
For so the whole round earth is every way
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God." [1]

[Footnote 1: These exquisite lines will be found elsewhere in this
volume in the full description of King Arthur's death from Tennyson.
But they bear repetition.]

O ye gentle spirits that have gone before me, and who are now, I trust,
dwelling in the gardens of Paradise, beside the river of life that
flows through the midst thereof, - ye whose names I name at the Memorial
for the Dead in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, - as ye look upon the
lovely and shining countenances of the elect, and, perchance, upon the
beauty of our Heavenly Queen, and upon her Son in glory, - O remember me
who am still this side of the Valley of the Shadow, and in the midst of
trials and tribulations. And you who have read these pages, written
from the heart, after much sorrow and long suffering, though I be still
with you in the flesh, or this poor body be gathered to its long home,
- you whose eyes are now fixed upon this line, I beseech you,

_Pray for me_! - _Anon_.


[In Eugénie de Guérin's journal we find the following beautiful words
written while her loving heart was still bleeding for the early death
of her best-loved brother, Maurice - her twin soul, as she was wont to
call him.]

"O PROFUNDITY! O mysteries of that other life that separates us! I who
was always so anxious about him, who wanted so much to know everything,
wherever he may be now there is an end to that. I follow him into the
three abodes; I stop at that of bliss; I pass on to the place of
suffering, the gulf of fire. My God, my God, not so! Let not my brother
be there, let him not! He is not there. What! his soul, the soul of
Maurice, among the reprobate! ... Horrible dread, no! But in Purgatory,
perhaps, where one suffers, where one expiates the weaknesses of the
heart, the doubts of the soul, the half-inclinations to evil. Perhaps
my brother is there, suffering and calling to us in his pangs as he
used to do in bodily pain, 'Relieve me, you who love me!' Yes, my
friend, by prayer. I am going to pray. I have prayed so much, and
always shall. Prayer? Oh, yes, prayers for the dead, they are the dew
of Purgatory."

_All Souls'_ - How different this day is from all others, in
church, in the soul, without, within. It is impossible to tell all one
feels, thinks, sees again, regrets. There is no adequate expression for
all this except in prayer.... I have not written here, but to some one
to whom I have promised so long as I live, a letter on All Souls'....

O my friend, my brother, Maurice! Maurice! art thou far from me? dost
thou hear me? What are they, those abodes that hold thee now? ...
Mysteries of another life, how profound, how terrible ye are -
sometimes, how sweet!


[Written while Cardinal Newman was still an Anglican]

Now, as to the punishments and satisfactions for sins, the texts to
which the minds of the early Christians seem to have been principally
drawn, and from which they ventured to argue in behalf of these vague
notions, were these two: 'The fire shall try every man's work,' etc.,
and 'He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.' These
passages, with which many more were found to accord, directed their
thoughts one way, as making mention of fire, whatever was meant by the
word, as the instrument of trial and purification; and that, at some
time between the present time and the Judgment, or at the Judgment. As
the doctrine, thus suggested by certain striking texts, grew in
popularity and definiteness, and verged towards its present Roman form,
it seemed a key to many others. Great portions of the books of Psalms,
Job, and the Lamentations, which express the feelings of religious men
under suffering, would powerfully recommend it by the forcible and most
affecting and awful meaning which they received from it. When this was
once suggested, all other meanings would seem tame and inadequate.

To these may be added various passages from the prophets, as that in
the beginning of the third chapter of Malachi, which speaks of fire as
the instrument of purification, when Christ comes to visit His Church.

Moreover, there were other texts of obscure and indeterminate meaning,
which seem on this hypothesis to receive a profitable meaning; such as
Our Lord's words in the Sermon on the Mount, "Verily, I say unto thee,
thou shalt by no means come out thence till thou hast paid the
uttermost farthing;" and St. John's expression in the Apocalypse, that,
"no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to
open the book." - _Via Media, pp._ 174-177.

Most men, to our apprehensions, are too little formed in religious
habits either for heaven or for hell; yet there is no middle state when
Christ comes in judgment. In consequence, it is obvious to have
recourse to the interval before His coming, as a time during which this
incompleteness may be remedied, as a season, not of changing the
spiritual bent and character of the soul departed, whatever that be,
for probation ends with mortal life, but of developing it in a more
determinate form, whether of good or evil. Again, when the mind once
allows itself to speculate, it will discern in such a provision a means
whereby those who, not without true faith at bottom, yet have committed
great crimes, or those who have been carried off in youth while still
undecided, or who die after a barren, though not immoral or scandalous
life, may receive such chastisement as may prepare them for heaven, and
render it consistent with God's justice to admit them thither. Again,
the inequality of the sufferings of Christians in this life compared
one with another, leads the mind to the same speculations; the intense
suffering, for instance, which some men undergo on their death-bed,
seeming as if but an anticipation in their case of what comes after
death upon others, who, without greater claims on God's forbearance,
live without chastisement and die easily. The mind will inevitably
dwell upon such thoughts, unless it has been taught to subdue them by
education or by the fear of the experience of their dangerousness. -
_Via Media, pp. 174-177_.



November is come; and the pleasant verdure that the groves and woods
offered to our view in the joyous spring is fast losing its cheerful
hue, while its withered remains lie trembling and scattered beneath our
feet. The grave and plaintive voice of the consecrated bell sends forth
its funereal tones, and, recalling the dead to our pensive souls,
implores, for them the pity of the living. Oh! let us hearken to its
thrilling call; and may the sanctuary gather us together within its
darkened walls, there to invoke our Eternal Father, and breathe forth
cherished names in earnest prayer!

When the solemn hour of the last farewell was come for those we loved,
and their weakened sight was extinguished forever, it seemed as if our
hearts' memory would be eternal, and as if those dear ones would never
be forgotten. But time has fled, their memory has grown dim, and other
thoughts reign paramount in our forgetful hearts, which barely give
them from time to time a pious recollection.

Nevertheless, they loved us, perhaps too well, lavish of a love that
Heaven demanded. How devoted was their affection; and shall we now
requite it by a cruel forgetfulness? Oh! if they suffer still on our
account; if, because of their weakness, they still feel the wrath of
God's justice, shall we not pray, when their voices implore our help,
when their tears ascend towards us?

Alas! in this life what direful contamination clings to the steps of
irresolute mortals! Who has not wavered in the darksome paths into
which the straight road so often deviates?

The infinite justice of the God of purity perhaps retains them in the
dungeons of death. Alas! for long and long the Haven of eternal life
may be closed against them! Oh, let us pray; our voices will open the
abode of celestial peace unto the imprisoned soul. The God of
consolation gave us prayer, that love might thus become eternal. -
_The Lamp_, Nov. 5, 1864.


Foremost among later Anglican divines in piety, in learning, and in the
finer qualities of head and heart, stands the name of Reginald Heber,
Bishop of the Establishment, whose gentle memory, - embalmed in several
graceful and musical poems, chiefly on religious subjects, - is still
revered and cherished by his co-religionists, respected and admired
even by those who see in him only the man and the poet - not the
religious teacher. I am happy to lay before my readers the following
extract from a letter of Bishop Heber, in which that amiable and
accomplished prelate expresses his belief in the efficacy of prayers
for the departed:

"Few persons, I believe, have lost a beloved object, more particularly
by sudden death, without feeling an earnest desire to recommend them in
their prayers to God's mercy, and a sort of instinctive impression that
such devotions might still be serviceable to them.

* * * * *

"Having been led attentively to consider the question, my own opinion
is, on the whole, favorable to the practice, which is, indeed, so
natural and so comfortable, that this alone is a presumption that it is
neither unpleasing to the Almighty nor unavailing with Him.

"The Jews, so far back as their opinions and practices can be traced
since the time of Our Saviour, have uniformly recommended their
deceased friends to mercy; and from a passage in the Second Book of
Maccabees, it appears that, from whatever source they derived it, they
had the same custom before His time. But if this were the case, the
practice can hardly be unlawful, or either Christ or His Apostles
would, one should think, have, in some of their writings or discourses,
condemned it. On the same side it may be observed that the Greek
Church, and all the Eastern Churches, pray for the dead; and that we
know the practice to have been universal, or nearly so, among the
Christians a little more than one hundred and fifty years after Our
Saviour. It is spoken of as the usual custom by Tertullian and
Epiphanius. Augustine, in his _Confessions_, has given a beautiful
prayer which he himself used for his deceased mother, Monica; and among
Protestants, Luther and Dr. Johnson are eminent instances of the same
conduct. I have, accordingly, been myself in the habit, for some years,
of recommending on some occasions, as, after receiving the sacrament,
etc., my lost friends by name to God's goodness and compassion, through
His Son, as what can do them no harm, and may, and I hope will, be of
service to them."



In the course of his remarks upon the _Divina Comedia_ of Dante, a
bitter opponent of the Holy See and of everything Catholic, Mariotti,
[1] an apostle of United Italy, expresses his views upon the ancient
doctrine of Purgatory. These views are but an instance of how its
beauty and truthfulness to nature strike the minds of those who have
strayed from the centre of Christian unity.

[Footnote 1: Mariotti, author of "Italy Past and Present," an
unscrupulous opponent of the Papacy and of the Church.]

"To say nothing of its greatness and goodness, the poem of Dante," says
Mariotti, "is the most curious of books. The register of the past,
noting down every incident within the compass of man's nature.... Dante
is the annalist, the interpreter, the representative of the Middle
Ages.... The ideas of mankind were in those '_dark_' ages
perpetually revolving upon that 'life beyond life,' which the
omnipresent religion of that _fanatical_ age loved to people with
appalling phantoms and harrowing terrors. Dante determined to
anticipate his final doom, and still, in the flesh, to break through
the threshold of eternity, and explore the kingdom of death.... No poet
ever struck upon a subject to which every fibre in the heart of his
contemporaries more readily responded than Dante. It is not for me to
test the soundness of the Roman Catholic doctrine of Purgatory, or to
inquire which of the Holy Fathers first dreamt of its existence. It
was, however, a sublime contrivance, unscriptural though it may be - a
conception full of love and charity, in so far as it seemed to arrest
the dead on the threshold of eternity; and making his final welfare
partly dependent on the pious exertions of those who were left behind,
established a lasting interchange of tender feelings, embalmed the
memory of the departed, and by a posthumous tie wedded him to the
mourning survivor.... Woe to the man, in Dante's age, who sunk into his
grave without bequeathing a heritage of love; on whose sod no
refreshing dew of sorrowing affection descended. Lonely as his relics
in the sepulchre, his spirit wandered in the dreaded region of
probation; alone he was left defenceless, prayerless, friendless to
settle his awful score with unmitigated justice. It is this feeling,
unrivalled for poetic beauty, that gives color and tone to the second
division of Dante's poem. The five or six cantos, at the opening, have
all the milk of human nature that entered into the composition of that
miscalled saturnine mind. With little more than two words, the poet
makes us aware that we have come into happier latitudes. Every strange
visitor breathes love and forgiveness. The shade we meet is only
charged with tidings of joy to the living, and messages of good will.
The heart lightens and brightens at every new stratum of the atmosphere
in that rising region; the ascent is easy and light, like the gliding
of a boat down the stream. The angels we become familiar with are
angels of light, such as human imagination never before nor afterwards
conceived. They come from afar across the waves, piloting the barge
that conveys the chosen spirits to heaven, balancing themselves on
their wide-spread wings, using them as sails, disdaining the aid of all
mortal contrivance, and relying on their inexhaustible strength; red
and rayless at first, from the distance, as the planet Mars when he
appears struggling through the mist of the horizon, but growing
brighter and brighter with amazing swiftness. They stand at the gate of
Purgatory, they guard the entrance to each of the seven steps of its
mountain - some with green vesture, vivid as new-budding leaves,
gracefully waving and floating in simple drapery, fanned by their
wings; bearing in their hands flaming swords broken at the point;
others, ash-colored garments; others again, in flashing armor, but all
beaming with so intense, so overwhelming a light, that dizziness
overcomes all mortal ken, whenever directed to their countenance. The
friends of the poet's youth one by one arrest his march, and engage him
in tender converse. The very laws of immutable fate seem for a few
moments suspended to allow full scope for the interchange of
affectionate sentiments. The overawing consciousness of the place he is
in, for a moment forsakes the mortal visitor so miraculously admitted
into the world of spirits. He throws his arms round the neck of the
beloved shade, and it is only by the smile irradiating its countenance
that he is reminded of the intangibility of its ethereal substance. The
episodes of "the Purgatory" are mostly of this sad and tender
description. The historical personages introduced seem to have lost
their own identity, and to have merged into a blessed calmness,
characterizing medium of the region they are all travelling through."
It is plain that, bitterly hostile as is this faithless Italian to the
Church of his fathers, and the truth which it teaches, his poetic
instinct, at least, rises above mere prejudice, and enables him to
penetrate into that dim but holy atmosphere created by the poet's
genius, and yet more fully by the poet's faith. This homage to the
union of religious grandeur, natural tenderness, and supernatural
fervent charity, which make this doctrine unconsciously dear to every
human heart, is of value coming from the pen of so prejudiced a
witness. It is but one of countless testimonies that in all times, and
in all ages, have sprung from the heart of man, as it were in his own


[Footnote 1: New York _Tablet_, Nov. 26, 1859.]


It is but a few days since the Church has celebrated the triumph of her
saints, rejoicing in the eternal felicity of that innumerable throng
whom she has given to the celestial Sion. She invites us to share her
joy. She bids us look up from the rugged pathway of our thorn-strewn
pilgrimage to that blissful abode which is to be the term and the
reward of all our trials. Yet, like a true mother, she cannot forget
that portion of her family who are sighing for their deliverance, in
that region of pain to which they are consigned by eternal justice. On
one day she sings with radiant brow and tones of jubilee her _Sursum
Corda_; on the next, she kneels a suppliant, chanting with uplifted
hands and tearful eyes her _Requiem Æternam_; and we, the
companions of her exile, shall we not sympathize with every emotion of
the heart of our tender Mother?

Among the pious customs which owe their existence to the fertile spirit
of Catholic devotion is that which dedicates the month of November to
the Suffering Souls in Purgatory. It would seem as though the annual
circle of commemorative devotion were incomplete without this crowning
fulfilment of charity.

Some years since, I met with a graphic description of a spectacle in
the Catholic Cemetery of New Orleans. It was the 2d of November, when
the friends and relatives of the dead came to scatter emblematic
wreaths and sweet-scented flowers on their graves. This custom was
observed by the French Catholics and their descendants; and the writer,
although a Protestant, was deeply impressed with its beauty and
significance. He asked why, among Americans, there was so little of
this eloquent affection for the dead. He might have found an answer in
the fact that the principle of faith was wanting - of that vivid and
active faith which seeks and finds by such means its outward

We, also, are the children of the Saints. We have inherited from them
the same faith in all its integrity, and how does our _practice_
correspond with it? What are we doing for that army of holy captives
who cannot leave their prison till the uttermost farthing be paid? Let
us not imitate those tepid Christians who are satisfied with erecting
costly monuments, and observing, with scrupulous exactness, the usual
period of "mourning," while the poor souls are left to pine forgotten,
if they have gone with some-lingering stains - some earthly tarnish on
their nuptial garment. Ah! there is so much that might be done if we
would only reflect, and let our hearts be softened by the intense
eloquence of their mute appeal....

These are a few of the thoughts suggested by the late solemnity, and
perhaps they cannot be concluded more appropriately than by introducing
the following poem, found in an old magazine. If the theme be
sufficient to inspire thus one who had but faint glimmerings of divine
truth, what should be expected of us, who rejoice in the fullness of
that light? I twine, then, this flower of the desert with the leaves I
have gathered, and offer my humble wreath as a tribute of faith and
affection on the altar dedicated to the dear departed.

_November_, 1859.

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