Mrs. James Sadlier.

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Jesu! by that pang of heart which thrill'd in Thee;
Jesu! by that mount of sins which crippled Thee;
Jesu! by that sense of guilt which stifled Thee;
Jesu! by that innocence which girdled Thee;
Jesu! by that sanctity which reign'd in Thee;
Jesu! by that Godhead which was one with Thee;
Jesu! spare these souls which are so dear to Thee;
Who in prison, calm and patient, wait for Thee;
Hasten, Lord, their hour, and bid them come to Thee,
To that glorious Home, where they shall ever gaze on Thee.

SOUL. I go before my Judge. Ah! ...

ANGEL. ... Praise to His Name! The eager spirit has darted from my
And, with the intemperate energy of love,
Flies to the dear feet of Emmanuel;
But, ere it reach them, the keen sanctity,
Which, with its effluence, like a glory, clothes
And circles round the Crucified, has seized,
And scorch'd, and shrivell'd it; and now it lies
Passive and still before the awful Throne.
O happy, suffering soul! for it is safe,
Consumed, yet quicken'd, by the glance of God.

SOUL. Take me away, and in the lowest deep
There let me be, And there in hope the lone night-watches keep,
Told out for me.
There, motionless and happy in my pain,
Lone, not forlorn, - There will I sing my sad, perpetual strain,
Until the morn.
There will I sing, and soothe my stricken breast,
Which ne'er can cease
To throb, and pine, and languish, till possess'd
Of its Sole Peace.
There will I sing my absent Lord and Love: - Take me away,
That sooner I may rise, and go above,
And see Him in the truth - of everlasting day.

ANGEL. Now let the golden prison ope its gates,
Making sweet music, as each fold revolves
Upon its ready hinge.
And ye, great powers,
Angels of Purgatory, receive from me
My charge, a precious soul, until the day,
When from all bond and forfeiture released,
I shall reclaim it for the courts of light.


1. Lord, Thou hast been our refuge: in every generation;

2. Before the hills were born, and the world was: from age to age, Thou
art God.

3. Bring us not, Lord, very low: for Thou hast said, Come back again,
ye sons of Adam!

4. A thousand years before Thine eyes are but as yesterday: and as a
watch of the night which is come and gone.

5. The grass springs up in the morning: at evening-tide it shrivels up
and dies.

6. So we fall in Thine anger: and in Thy wrath are we troubled.

7. Thou hast set our sins in Thy sight: and our round of days in the
light of Thy countenance.

8. Come back, O Lord! how long: and be entreated for Thy servants.

9. In Thy morning we shall be filled with Thy mercy: we shall rejoice
and be in pleasure all our days.

10. We shall be glad according to the days of our humiliation: and the
years in which we have seen evil.

11. Look, O Lord, upon Thy servants and upon Thy work: and direct their

12. And let the beauty of the 'Lord our God be upon us: and the work of
our hands, establish Thou it.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son: and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without
end. Amen.

ANGEL. Softly and gently, dearly-ransom'd soul, In my most loving arms
I now enfold thee, And, o'er the penal waters, as they roll, I poise
thee, and I lower thee, and hold thee.

And carefully I dip thee in the lake, And thou, without a sob, or a
resistance, Dost through the flood thy rapid passage take, Sinking
deep, deeper, into the dim distance.

Angels, to whom the willing task is given, Shall tend, and nurse, and
lull thee, as thou liest; And Masses on the earth, and prayers in
heaven, Shall aid thee at the throne of the Most High.

Farewell, but not for ever! brother dear, Be brave and patient on thy
bed of sorrow; Swiftly shall pass thy night of trial here, And I will
come and wake thee on the morrow.



In a little picture in the Bologna Academy he is seen praying before a
tomb, on which is inscribed "TRAJANO IMPERADOR;" beneath are two
angels, raising the soul of Trafan out of flames. Such is the usual
treatment of this curious and poetical legend, which is thus related in
the "Legenda Aurea": "It happened on a time, as Trajan was hastening to
battle at the head of his legions, that a poor widow flung herself in
his path, and cried aloud for justice, and the emperor stayed to listen
to her; and she demanded vengeance for the innocent blood of her son,
killed by the son of the emperor. Trajan promised to do her justice
when he returned from his expedition. 'But, sire', answered the widow,
'should you be killed in battle, who will then do me justice?' 'My
successor,' replied Trajan. And she said, 'What will it signify to you,
great emperor, that any other than yourself should do me justice? Is it
not better that you should do this good action yourself than leave
another to do it?' And Trajan alighted, and having examined into the
affair, he gave up his own son to her in place of him she had lost, and
bestowed on her likewise a rich dowry. Now, it came to pass that as
Gregory was one day meditating in his daily walk, this action of the
Emperor Trajan came into his mind, and he wept bitterly to think that a
man so just should be condemned to eternal punishment. And entering a
church, he prayed most fervently that the soul of the good emperor
might be released from torment. And a voice said to him, 'I have
granted thy prayer, and I have spared the soul of Trajan for thy sake;
but because thou hast supplicated for one whom the justice of God had
already condemned, thou shalt choose one of two things: either thou
shalt endure for two days the fires of Purgatory, or thou shalt be sick
and infirm for the remainder of thy life.' Gregory chose the latter,
which sufficiently accounts for the grievous pains and infirmities to
which this great and good man was subjected, even to the day of his

This story of Trajan was extremely popular in the Middle Ages; it is
illustrative of the character of Gregory.... Dante twice alludes to it.
He describes it as being one of the subjects sculptured on the walls of
Purgatory, and takes occasion to relate the whole story.

"There was storied on the rock Th'exalted glory of the Roman Prince,
Whose mighty worth moved Gregory to earn This mighty conquest - Trajan
the Emperor. A widow at his bridle stood attired In tears and mourning.
Round about them troop'd Full throng of knights: and overhead in gold
The eagles floated, struggling with the wind The wretch appear'd amid
all these to say: 'Grant vengeance, sire! for woe, beshrew this heart,
My son is murder'd!' He, replying, seem'd: 'Wait now till I return.'
And she, as one Made hasty by her grief: 'O, sire, if thou Dost not
return?' - 'Where I am, who then is, May right thee.' - 'What to thee is
others' good, If thou neglect thine own?' - 'Now comfort thee,' At
length he answers: 'It beseemeth well My duty be perform'd, ere I move
hence. So justice wills and pity bids me stay.'" - _Purg. Canto X_.

It was through the efficacy of St. Gregory's intercession that Dante
afterwards finds Trajan in Paradise, seated between King David and King
Hezekiah. - _Purg. Canto XX_.


There was a monk who, in defiance of his vow of poverty, secreted in
his cell three pieces of gold. Gregory, on learning this,
excommunicated him, and shortly afterwards the monk died. When Gregory
heard that the monk had perished in his sin, without receiving
absolution, he was filled with grief and horror, and he wrote upon a
parchment a prayer and a form of absolution, and gave it to one of his
deacons, desiring him to go to the grave of the deceased and read it
there: on the following night the monk appeared in a vision, and
revealed to him his release from torment.

This story is represented in the beautiful bas-relief in white marble
in front of the altar of his chapel; it is the last compartment on the

In chapels dedicated to the Service of the Dead, St. Gregory is often
represented in the attitude of supplication, while on one side, or in
the background, angels are raising the tormented souls out of the
flames. - _Sacred and Legendary Art, Vol. I._


It is related by Peter the Venerable, Abbot of Cluny, that, in the
first half of the twelfth century, the Lord Humbert, son of Guichard,
Count de Beaujeu, in the Maçonnais, having made war on some other
neighboring lords, Geoffroid d'Iden, one of his vassals, received in
the fight a wound which instantly killed him. Two months after his
death, Geoffroid appeared to Milon d'Ansa, who knew him well; he begged
him to tell Humbert de Beaujeu, in whose service he had lost his life,
that he was in Purgatory, for having aided him in an unjust war and not
having expiated his sins by penance, before his unlooked-for death;
that he besought him, therefore, most urgently, to have compassion on
him, and also on his own father, Guichard, who, although he had led a
religious life at Cluny in his latter days, had not entirely satisfied
the justice of God for his past sins, and especially for a portion of
his wealth, which, as his children knew, was ill gained; that, in
consequence thereof, he prayed him to have the Holy Sacrifice of the
Mass offered for him and for his father, to distribute alms to the
poor, and to recommend both sufferers to the prayers of good people, in
order to shorten their time of penance. "Tell him," added the
apparition, "that if he hear thee not, I must go myself to announce to
him that which I have now told to thee."

The lof Ansa (now Anse) faithfully discharged the task imposed upon
him. Humbert was frightened; but he neither had prayers nor Masses
offered up, made no reparation, and distributed no alms.

Nevertheless, fearing lest Guichard his father or Geoffroid d'Iden
might come to disturb him, he no longer dared to remain alone,
especially by night; and he always had some of his people around him,
making them sleep in his chamber.

One morning, as he was still in bed, but awake, he saw appear before
him Geoffroid d'Iden, armed as on the day of the battle. Showing him
the mortal wound which he had received, and which appeared still fresh,
he warmly reproached him for the little pity he had for himself and for
his father, who was groaning in torment; and he added: "Take care lest
God may treat thee in His rigor, and refuse thee the mercy thou dost
not grant to us; and for thee, give up thy purpose of going to the war
with Amadeus. If thou goest thither, thou shalt lose thy life and thy

At that moment, Richard de Marsay, the Count's squire, entered, coming
from Mass; the, spirit disappeared, and thenceforward Humbert de
Beaujeu went seriously to work to relieve his father and his vassal,
after which he made the journey to Jerusalem to expiate his own sins.



Oh! turn to Jesus, Mother! turn,
And call Him by His tenderest names;
Pray for the Holy Souls that burn
This hour amid the cleansing flames.

Ah! they have fought a gallant fight;
In death's cold arms they persevered;
And, after life's uncheery night,
The harbor of their rest is neared.

In pains beyond all earthly pains
Fav'rites of Jesus, there they lie,
Letting the fire wear out their stains,
And worshipping God's purity.

Spouses of Christ they are, for He
Was wedded to them by His blood;
And angels o'er their destiny
In wondering adoration brood.

They are the children of thy tears;
Then hasten, Mother! to their aid;
In pity think each hour appears
An age while glory is delayed!

See, how they bound amid their fires,
While pain and love their spirits fill;
Then, with self-crucified desires,
Utter sweet murmurs, and lie still.

Ah me! the love of Jesus yearns
O'er that abyss of sacred pain;
And, as He looks, His bosom burns
With Calvary's dear thirst again.

O Mary! let thy Son no more
His lingering spouses thus expect;
God's children to their God restore,
And to the Spirit His elect.

Pray then, as thou hast ever prayed;
Angels and Souls all look to thee;
God waits thy prayers, for He hath made
Those prayers His law of charity.



Who will watch o'er the dead young priest,
People and priests and all?
No, no, no, 'tis his spirit's feast,
When the evening shadows fall.
Let him rest alone - unwatched, alone,
Just beneath the altar's light,
The holy Hosts on their humble throne
Will watch him through the night.

The doors were closed - he was still and fair,
What sound moved up the aisles?
The dead priests come with soundless prayer,
Their faces wearing smiles.
And this was the soundless hymn they sung:
"We watch o'er you to-night;
Your life was beautiful, fair and young,
Not a cloud upon its light.
To-morrow - to-morrow you will rest
With the virgin priests whom Christ has blest."

Kyrie Eleison! the stricken crowd
Bowed down their heads in tears
O'er the sweet young priest in his vestment shroud.
Ah! the happy, happy years!
They are dead and gone, and the Requiem Mass
Went slowly, mournfully on,
The Pontiff's singing was all a wail,
The altars cried and the people wept,
The fairest flower in the Church's vale
Ah me! how soon we pass!
In the vase of his coffin slept. _ - From In Memoriam._


R. R. MADDEN. [1]

[Footnote 1: Author of "Lives and Times of United Irishmen."]

'Tis not alone in "hallowed ground,"
At every step we tread
Midst tombs and sepulchres, are found
Memorials of the dead.

'Tis not in sacred shrines alone,
Or trophies proudly spread
On old cathedral walls are shown
Memorials of the dead.

Emblems of Fame surmounting death,
Of war and carnage dread,
They were not, in the "Times of Faith,"
Memorials of the dead.

From marble bust and pictured traits
The living looks recede,
They fade away: so frail are these
Memorials of the dead.

On mural slabs, names loved of yore
Can now be scarcely read;
A few brief years have left no more
Memorials of the dead.

Save those which pass from sire to son,
Traditions that are bred
In the heart's core, and make their own
Memorials of the dead.



With the gray dawn's faintest break,
Mother, faithfully I wake,
Whispering softly for thy sake
_Requiescat in pace_!

When the sun's broad disk at height
Floods the busy world with light,
Breathes my soul with sighs contrite,
_Requiescat in pace_!

When the twilight shadows lone
Wrap the home once, once thine own,
Sobs my heart with broken moan,
_Requiescat in pace_!

Night, so solemn, grand, and still,
Trances forest, meadow, rill;
Hush, fond heart, adore His will,
_Requiescat in pace_!


I died; but my soul did not wing its flight straight to the heaven-
nest, and there repose in the bosom of Him who made it, as the minister
who was with me said it would. Good old man! He had toiled among us,
preaching baptizing, marrying, and burrying, until his hair had turned
from nut-brown to frost-white; and he told me, as I lay dying, that the
victory of the Cross was the only passport I needed to the joys of
eternity; that a life like mine would meet its immediate reward. And it
did; but, O my God! not as he had thought, and I had believed.

As he prayed, earth's sights and sounds faded from me, and the strange,
new life began. The wrench of agony with which soul and body parted
left me breathless; and my spirit, like a lost child, turned frightened
eyes towards home.

I stood in a dim, wind-swept space. No gates of pearl or walls of
jacinth met my gaze; no streaming glory smote my eyes; no voice bade me
enter and put on the wedding garment. Hosts of pale shapes circled by,
but no one saw me. All had their faces uplifted, and their hands - such
patient, pathetic hands - were clasped on their hearts; and the air was
heavy with the whisper, "Christ! Christ!" that came unceasingly from
their lips.

Above us, the clouds drifted and turned; about us, the horizon was
blotted out; mist and grayness were everywhere. A voiceless wind swept
by; and as I gazed, sore dismayed and saddened, a rent opened in the
driving mass, and I saw a man standing with arms upraised. He was
strangely vestured; silver and gold gleamed in his raiment, and a large
cross was outlined upon his back. He held in his hands a chalice of
gold, in which sparkled something too liquid for fire, too softly
brilliant for water or wine.

As this sight broke on our vision, two figures near me uttered a cry,
whose rapturous sweetness filled space with melody; and, like the up-
springing lark, borne aloft by the beauty of their song, they vanished;
and those about me bowed their heads, and ceased their moan for a

"What is it?" I cried. "Who is the man? What was it he held in his

But there was none to answer me, and I drove along before the wind with
the rest, helpless, bewildered.

How long this lasted I do not know; for there was neither night nor day
in the sad place; and a fire of longing burnt in my breast, so keen, so
strong, that all other sensation was swallowed up.

And then, too, my grief! There were many deeds of my life to which I
had given but casual regret. When the minister would counsel us to
confess our sins to God, I had knelt in the church and gone through the
form; but here, where the height and depth and breadth of God's
perfection dawned upon me, and grew hourly clearer, they seemed to rend
my heart, and to far outweigh any little good I might have done. Oh!
why did no one ever preach the justice of God to me, and the necessity
of personal atonement! Why had they only taught me, "Believe, and you
shall be saved?"

Time by time, the shapes about me rose and vanished with the same cry
as the two I saw liberated in my first hour; and sometimes - like an
echo - the sound of human voices would go through space - some choked
with tears, some low with sadness, some glad with hope.

"Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord!"

"And let perpetual light shine upon them!"

"May they rest in peace!"

And the "Amen" tolled like a silver bell, and I would feel a respite.

But no one called me by name, no one prayed for my freedom. My mother's
voice, my sister's dream, my father's belief - all were that I was happy
before the face of God. And friends forgot me, except in their

At seasons, through the mist would loom an altar, at which a man, in
black robes embroidered with silver, bowed and bent. The chalice, with
its always wonderful contents, would be raised, and a disc, in whose
circle of whiteness I saw Christ crucified. From the thorn-wounds, the
Hands, the Feet, the Side, shot rays of dazzling brightness; and my
frozen soul, my tear-chilled eyes, were warmed and gladdened; for the
man who held this wondrous image would himself sigh: "For _all_
the dead, sweet Lord!" And to me, even me, would come hope and peace.

But, oh! the agony, oh! the desolateness, to be cut off from the sweet
guerdon of immediate release! Oh! the pain of expiating every fault,
measure for measure! Oh, the grief of knowing that my own deeds were
the chains of my captivity, and my unfulfilled duties the barriers that
withheld me from beholding the Beatific Vision!

Sometimes a gracious face would gleam through the mist - a face so
tender, so human, so full of love, that I yearned to hear it speak to
_me_, to have those radiant eyes turned on _me_. My companions called
her "Mary!" and I knew it was the Virgin of Nazareth. Often she would
call them by name, and say: "My child, my Son bids thee come home."

Why had I never known this gentle Mother! Why could I not catch her
mantle, and clinging to it, pass from waiting to fulfilment!

Once when I had grown grief-bowed with waiting, worn with longing, I
saw again the vision of the Church. At a long railing knelt many young
girls, and they received at the hands of the priest what I had learned
to discern as the Body of the Lord. One - God bless her tender heart! -
whispered as she knelt: "O dearest Lord, I offer to Thee this Holy
Communion for the soul _that has no one to pray for her_."

And through the grayness rang at last _my_ name, and straight to
heaven I went, ransomed by that mighty price, freed by prayer from

O you who live, who have voices and hearts, for the sake of Christ and
His Holy Mother; by the love you bear your living, and the grief you
give your dead, pray for those whose friends do not know how to help
them; for the suddenly killed; for the executed criminal; and for those
who, having suffered long in Purgatory, need one more prayer to set
them free. - _Ave Maria_, November 10, 1883.


_Founded on an old French Legend_.


The fettered spirits linger In purgatorial pain,
With penal fires effacing
Their last faint earthly stain,
Which Life's imperfect sorrow
Had tried to cleanse in vain.

Yet, on each feast of Mary
Their sorrow finds release,
For the great Archangel Michael
Comes down and bids it cease;
And the name of these brief respites
Is called "Our Lady's Peace."

Yet once - so runs the legend -
When the Archangel came,
And all these holy spirits
Rejoiced at Mary's name,
One voice alone was wailing,
Still wailing on the same.

And though a great Te Deum
The happy echoes woke, I
This one discordant wailing
Through the sweet voices broke:
So when St. Michael questioned,
Thus the poor spirit spoke: -

I am not cold or thankless,
Although I still complain;
I prize Our Lady's blessing,
Although it comes in vain
To still my bitter anguish,
Or quench my ceaseless pain.

"On earth a heart that loved me
Still lives and mourns me there,
And the shadow of his anguish
Is more than I can bear;
All the torment that I suffer
Is the thought of his despair.

"The evening of my bridal
Death took my Life away;
Not all Love's passionate pleading
Could gain an hour's delay.
And he I left has suffered
A whole year since that day.

"If I could only see him -
If I could only go
And speak one word of comfort
And solace - then, I know
He would endure with patience,
And strive against his woe."

Thus the Archangel answered:
"Your time of pain is brief,
And soon the peace of Heaven
Will give you full relief;
Yet if his earthly comfort
So much outweighs your grief,

"Then, through a special mercy,
I offer you this grace -
You may seek him who mourns you
And look upon his face,
And speak to him of Comfort,
For one short minute's space.

"But when that time is ended,
Return here and remain
A thousand years in torment,
A thousand years in pain;
Thus dearly must you purchase
The comfort he will gain."

The lime-trees shade at evening
Is spreading broad and wide;
Beneath their fragrant arches
Pace slowly, side by side,
In low and tender converse,
A Bridegroom and his Bride.

The night is calm and stilly,
No other sound is there
Except their happy voices: -
What is that cold bleak air
That passes through the lime-trees,
And stirs the Bridegroom's hair?

While one low cry of anguish,
Like the last dying wail
Of some dumb, hunted creature,
Is borne upon the gale -
Why dogs the Bridegroom shudder

And turn so deathly pale?

Near Purgatory's entrance
The radiant Angels wait;
It was the great St. Michael
Who closed that gloomy gate,
When the poor wandering spirit
Came back to meet her fate.

"Pass on," thus spoke the Angel:
"Heaven's joy is deep and vast;
Pass on, pass on, poor spirit,
For Heaven is yours at last;
In that one minute's anguish,
Your thousand years have passed."



ST. AUGUSTINE reckoned among his friends the physician Genérade, highly
honored in Carthage, where his learning and skill were much esteemed.
But by one of those misfortunes of which there are, unhappily, but too
many examples, while studying the admirable mechanism of the human
body, he had come to believe matter capable of the works of
intelligence which raise man so far above other created beings. He was,

Online LibraryMrs. James SadlierPurgatory → online text (page 29 of 35)