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_Miserere Domine!_

The skies may lower, wild storms may rave
Above our comrade's mountain grave,
That cross is mighty still to save -
_Miserere Domine!_

Deaf to the calls of love and care,
He bears no more his mortal share,
Nought can avail him now but prayer -
_Miserere Domine!_

To such a heart who could refuse
Just payment of all burial dues,
Of Holy Church the rite and use?
_Miserere Domine!_

Right solemnly the Mass was said,
While burn'd the tapers round the dead,
And manly tears like rain were shed -
_Miserere Domine!_

No more St. Patrick's aisles prolong
The burden of his funeral song,
His noiseless night must now be long -
_Miserere Domine!_

Up from the depths we heard arise
A prayer of pity to the skies,
To Him who dooms or justifies -
_Miserere Domine!_

Down from the skies we heard descend
The promises the Psalmist penned,
The benedictions without end -
_Miserere Domine!_

Mighty our Holy Church's will
To shield her parting souls from ill,
Jealous of Death, she guards them still -
_Miserere Domine!_
The dearest friend will turn away,
And leave the clay to keep the clay,
Ever and ever she will stay -
_Miserere Domine!_

When for us sinners at our need,
That mother's voice is raised to plead,
The frontier hosts of heaven 'take heed -
_Miserere Domine!_

Mother of Love! Mother of fear,
And holy Hope, and Wisdom dear,
Behold we bring thy suppliant here -
_Miserere Domine!_

His glowing heart is still for aye,
That held fast by thy clemency,
Oh! look on him with loving eye -
_Miserere Domine!_

His Faith was as the tested gold,
His Hope assured, not over-bold,
His Charities past count, untold -
_Miserere Domine!_

Well may they grieve who laid him there,
Where shall they find his equal - where?
Nought can avail him now but prayer -
_Miserere Domine!_

Friend of my soul, farewell to thee!
Thy truth, thy trust, thy chivalry;
As thine? so may my last end be!
_Miserere Domine!_



It would be a great defect in a book such as this to omit all mention
of an Association which exists in Montreal, Canada, for the special
relief of the Souls in Purgatory. It is certain that there are
Purgatorian societies, established in many other cities, both of Europe
and America. But this Canadian one seems unique, in so far, that it
has a triple aim: first, that of relieving the holy souls; second,
that of the conversion of infidels; third, that of contributing to the
support of the Mendicant Order of St. Francis. The money received is
sent direct to these missionaries, by whom the Masses are said.
Touching stories are told of the joy of these devoted apostles on
receipt of such alms, which aid them so much in the various good works
in which they are engaged.

The society has, as it were, two branches. In the first the associates
merely bind themselves to make the Way of the Cross once a week, on a
day fixed, with the primary object of relieving the holy souls, and
particularly those most pleasing to God; and the secondary one of
converting the infidels. At the end of this exercise, they make use of
the following invocation: "Holy Souls in Purgatory, rest in peace, and
pray for us."

The other branch has for its object the procuring of Masses for the
deliverance of the suffering souls. Each associate must pay to the
treasurer twenty-five cents a month, or three dollars a year; for which
Masses will be said according to the intention of the subscriber,
having always in view those souls which are most pleasing to God.

One may become a life member, on payment of twenty-five dollars.
Foundations of Masses can also be made in connection with the
Association. They are similar to those which came into existence at the
time of the Crusades and at many other epochs in Christian history.
Such foundations are sometimes made in wills. They are, of course, not
within the reach of every one. It is necessary to pay five hundred
dollars into the hands of the Society. Every necessary security for its
proper use is given, and the donor is entitled in perpetuity to a
certain yearly rental to be expended in Masses for his soul. The sum
may be paid in instalments, or several persons may club together in
making the foundation. It is a sublime thought that the Holy Sacrifice
will thus continue to be said for us, long after our memory has passed
away from earth. But as the three dollars a year which constitutes one
a member of the Association is much more within the reach of most of
us, it may be well to lay more stress upon the advantages which we
shall thereby gain for ourselves and our deceased friends. It entitles
us after death to a special Mass and a Way of the Cross every year from
each associate. The number of associates is very great; besides a share
in all the Masses and Stations, we have also a share in the good works
of the missionaries of St. Francis, and can gain Indulgences which have
been granted to the members. These Indulgences, plenary and partial,
are attached to all the principal, and to some of the minor feasts of
the year.

In connection with the work, an almanac both in French and English is
published every year at Montreal, and sold for the moderate sum of five
cents. In this pamphlet a full account is given of the Association, and
there is besides a great deal of useful and interesting reading, such
as anecdotes relating to the dead, the opinions of various spiritual
authors on Purgatory, and letters from foreign countries, or from
various individuals concerning, the society and its progress. [1]

[Footnote 1: To become an associate one must address himself to the
chaplain, Rev. F. Reid, 401 St. Denis Street, or to the treasurer,
Louis Ricard, Esq., 166 St. Denis St, Montreal, Canada.]


[Footnote 1: November, 1885.]

"The Month of the Holy Souls" is at hand. In Catholic lands November is
specially devoted by the faithful to increased suffrages for the repose
of the holy and patient dead. Many reports reach us from experienced
priests showing that the practice of requesting Requiem Masses for the
dead is not increasing. Priests have what is, in some respects, a
natural objection to urge upon their people perseverance in this old
Catholic practice of piety and gratitude. It is one which can be easily
understood. Yet, largely owing to this nice delicacy, they are, after
their own deaths, forgotten by many bound to them through spiritual
gratitude. One of the most experienced priests in New York tells us
that for five priests that have died in his house he has not known ten
Masses to be said at the request of the laity. How does friendship
serve others less public and less popular? It gives a big funeral, a
long procession of useless carriages, but no alms to the poor, and no
Masses for the dead.

What a pity it is that in drawing so much that is Catholic and
beautiful from Ireland, we did not adopt its truly Christian devotion
for the forgotten and neglected dead, which makes every priest recite
the _De Profundis_ and prayers for the faithful departed, before
he leaves the altar. We noticed some time ago that the Holy See
sanctioned a Spanish practice of permitting to each priest three Masses
on All Souls' Day as on Christmas Day. No doubt, were it properly
petitioned, it would likewise extend to all the churches drawing their
faith from St. Patrick's preaching, that privilege, as well as the
beautiful custom that now has the force of law in Ireland, and that
recalls so much of her devotion to the dead and of her suffering for
the Catholic faith. That _De Profundis is one of the chapters of
"fossil history," which in all future periods will recall the generous
endowments that Ireland once provided for her dead, and the ruthless
confiscations by which they were robbed.

Not a Catholic American paper that we have received this November has
failed to argue ably, generously, and most Christianly, for suffrages
for those who have gone before and are anticipating the advent of final

The letters which come to a Catholic newspaper office are a very sure
barometer of the waves of thought in the Catholic atmosphere of the
country. From those that we have received we can affirm that no
devotion would be much more popular with the people than that which was
pronounced in the days of the Maccabees "a holy and wholesome thought."

Every day now there is an agreeable record in the daily papers of New
York of Requiem services held in the various churches for the repose of
the soul of the late Cardinal. Church after church seems to surpass its
predecessors in the grateful devotion of the people, who show that they
remember their prelate. In St. Gabriel's the Cardinal's private
secretary, Mgr. Farley, had the satisfaction of witnessing an
exceptionally large gathering to honor his illustrious chief. The
Paulist Fathers had a Requiem service that was worthy of their Church
and their affection for the dead, to whom they were bound by so many

Rome, if the city of the soul, is also pre-eminently the city of the
dead. So many great and illustrious deaths are reported to it daily
from the ends of the earth that to it death and greatness are familiar
and almost unnoticeable facts. It is, therefore, not undeserving of
remark to find the newspapers of the Eternal City marking their notices
of the passing of our Cardinal with unusual signs of mourning. Their
comments on the great loss of the American Church are toned by the
_gravis m¬úror_ with which the Holy Father received by Atlantic
Cable the sad news.

In the American College, Rev. Dr. O'Connell, the President, took
immediate steps to pay to its illustrious patron the last homage that
Catholic affection and loyalty can render to the great dead. From a
letter to _The Catholic Review_ we learn that the celebrant of the
Solemn Mass of Requiem was the rector, Rev. Dr. O'Connell; Rev. John
Curley, deacon; Rev. Bernard Duffy, sub-deacon; Rev. Thomas McManus and
William Guinon, acolytes; Mr. William Murphy, thurifer; and Rev.
Messrs. Cunnion and Raymond, masters of ceremonies. All these gentlemen
are students from the diocese of New York.


PARIS, _October_ 30. - A solemn funeral service of exceptional
splendor was celebrated this morning at the Madeleine for the repose of
the late Cardinal McCloskey, Archbishop of New York. The church was
hung with black and was resplendent with lights. Outside the portico,
on the steps, were two large funeral torches, with green flames.
Similar torches were visible in many parts of the edifice, including
the lofty upper galleries. The catafalque was of large dimensions, and
was flanked on either side by numerous lights and torches as well as by
marble images. Over all was a sable canopy, suspended from the ceiling.
A Cardinal's hat, with its tassels, lay on the pall. The late
Cardinal's motto, "In the hope of life eternal," was repeated
frequently in the decorations.



(_From the Texas Monitor_.)

We have often repeated in our morning and night prayers the words of
the Creed: "I believe in the communion of saints," without thinking,
perhaps, that we were expressing our belief in one of the most
beautiful and consoling doctrines of the Holy Catholic Church. I
believe in the communion of saints - that is, I believe in the holy
communion of prayer and intercession which exists between all the
members of the Mystical Body of Christ - the Church, be they fighting
the battles of the Lord against the Devil, the Flesh, and the World, in
the ranks of the Church Militant on earth, or enjoying in the happy
mansions of Heaven their eternal reward, as members of the Church
Triumphant, or finally waiting in the dark prison of Purgatory until
they shall have paid their debt to the Eternal Justice "_to the last
farthing_," and be saved "yet, so as by fire." I believe in the
communion of saints - that is, I believe that there exists no barrier
between the members of Christ. Death itself cannot separate us from our
brethren, who have gone before us. We believe that we daily escape
innumerable dangers, both spiritual and temporal, through the prayers
of our friends of the Triumphant Church; and we believe also that it is
within our power to help by our prayers and sacrifices our friends who
are for a time in the middle place of expiation, because "nothing
defiled can enter the Kingdom of Heaven."

It has always been the practice of the Catholic Church to offer prayers
and other pious works in suffrage for the dead, as is abundantly proved
by the writings of the Latin Fathers, Tertullian, St. Cyprian, St.
Augustine, St. Gregory, and of the Greek Fathers, St. Ephrem, St.
Basil, and St. John Chrysostom. St. Chrysostom says:

"It was not without good reason ordained by the Apostles that mention
should be made of the dead in the tremendous mysteries, because they
knew well that these would receive great benefit from it." By the
expression "tremendous mysteries" is meant the Holy Sacrifice of the

St. Augustine says, upon the same subject:

"It is not to be doubted that the dead are aided by prayers of the Holy
Church and by the salutary sacrifice, and by the alms which are offered
for their spirits that the Lord may deal with them more mercifully than
their sins have deserved. For this, which has been handed down by the
Fathers, the Universal Church observes."

St. Augustine also tells us that Arius was the first who dared to teach
that it was of no use to offer up prayers and sacrifices for the dead,
and this doctrine of Arius lie reckoned among heresies. (Heresy 53.)

The Church has always made a memento of the dead in the holy sacrifice
of the Mass, and exhorted the faithful to pray for them. She urges us
to pray for the souls in Purgatory, because not being able to merit,
they cannot help themselves in the least. To their appeals for mercy
the Almighty answers that His Justice must be satisfied, and that the
night in which no one can any longer work has arrived for them (St.
John ix., v. 4), and thus these poor souls have recourse to our
prayers. According to the pious Gerson we may hear their supplications:
"Pray for us because we cannot do anything for ourselves. This help we
have a right to expect from you, you have known and loved us in the
world. Do not forget us in the time of our need. It is said that it is
in the time of affliction that we know our true friends; but what
affliction could be compared to ours? Be moved with compassion." Have
pity on us, at least you, our friends!

The Church being aware of the ingratitude and forgetfulness of men, and
the facility with which they neglect their most sacred duties, has set
apart a day to be consecrated to the remembrance of the dead. On the 2d
day of November, All Souls' Day, she applies all her prayers to
propitiate the Divine Mercy through the merits of the Precious Blood of
Jesus Christ, her Divine Spouse, to obtain for the souls in Purgatory
the remission of the temporal punishment due to their sins, and their
speedy admission into the eternal abode of rest, light, and bliss. How
holy and precious is the institution of All Souls' Day! How full of
charity! It truly demonstrates the love and solicitude of the Church
for all her children. In the first centuries of the Church, while the
faithful were most exact in praying for their deceased friends and
relatives and in having the holy sacrifice of the Mass offered for
them, the Church had not yet appointed a special day for all the souls
in Purgatory. But in 998 St. Odilon, Abbot of Cluny, having established
in all the monasteries of his order the feast of the commemoration of
the faithful departed, and ordered that the office be recited for them
all, this devotion which was approved by the Popes, soon became general
in all the Western Churches.

In doing away with the Christian practice of praying for the dead, the
Protestant sects have despised the voice of nature, the spirit of
Christianity, and the most ancient and respectable tradition.

The most efficacious means to help the suffering souls in Purgatory are
prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and above all the holy sacrifice of the
Mass. By fasting we mean all sorts of mortifications to abstain from
certain things in our meals, to deprive ourselves of lawful amusements,
to suffer with resignation trials and contradictions, humiliations and
reverses of fortune. The alms we give for the dead prompt the Lord to
be merciful to them. The sacrifice of the Mass, which was instituted
for the living and the dead, is the most efficacious means of
delivering them from their pains. "If the sacrifices which Job," says
St. John Chrysostom, "offered to God for his children purified them,
who could doubt that, when we offer to God the Adorable Sacrifice for
the departed, they receive consolation therefrom, and that the Blood of
Christ which flows upon our altars for them, the voice of which ascends
to heaven, brings about their deliverance."

Not only charity and gratitude demand that we should pray for the souls
in Purgatory, but it is also for us a positive duty, which we are in
justice bound to fulfill. Perhaps some of these poor souls are
suffering on our account. Perhaps they are relatives or friends who
have loved us too much, or who have been induced to commit sin by our
words or example. We are also prompted to pray for them by our own
interest. What consolation will it not be for us to know that we have
abbreviated their sufferings! How great will their gratitude be after
their deliverance! They will manifest it by praying for us, and
obtaining for us the help which is so necessary in this valley of
tears. In prosperity men forget those who have helped them in
adversity; but it will not be so with the souls in Purgatory. After
being admitted to the kingdom of heaven through the help of our
prayers, "they will solicit," says St. Bernard, "the most precious
gifts of grace in our behalf, and because the merciful shall obtain
mercy, we will receive after our death the reward of whatever may have
been done for the souls of Purgatory during our life. Others will pray
for us, and we shall share more abundantly in the suffrages which the
Church offers without ceasing, for those who sleep in the Lord."



(from the Catholic Columbian)

We wish to call the attention of the members of this Association to the
near approach of the commemoration of all the faithful departed, which
takes place on Monday, the second day of next November. Our Association
is in its fourth year of existence. Its numbers have increased beyond
our expectations.

Just now, on account of the season, applications begin to come in more
rapidly, hence we wish to give again the conditions for membership, and
the benefits derived from it. The members say one decade of the beads,
or one "Our Father" and ten "Hail Marys" every day. They may take what
mystery of the Holy Rosary devotion may prompt, and retain or change it
at their own will, without reference to us. This is all that is
required, and, of course, the obligation cannot bind under pain of even
venial sin. Those families which say the Rosary every day need not add
another decade unless they choose, but may say the Rosary in union with
the Purgatorial Association, and thus gain the benefits for themselves
and the faithful departed.

The benefits are one Mass every week, which is said for the poor souls,
for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the members, according to
their intention, and for the same intention a memento is made every day
during Holy Mass for them.

There are many kind priests who are associated with us in this good
work, and they, we are sure, remember us all in the Holy Sacrifice. We
thank and beg them to continue to be mindful of us associated and bound
together in this most charitable work of shortening, by our prayers and
good works, the time of purgation for the souls in Purgatory. Those who
desire to become members may send their names, with a postal card
directed to themselves, so that their application may be answered. The
applications for membership are directed to Rev. S. S. Mattingly,
McConnellsville, Morgan County, Ohio.

Some two or three times complaints have come to us, but in all cases
the letters never came to hand. We have from time to time received
letters not intended for us, and from this we judge our letters went
elsewhere. We try to be prompt, though an odd time our absence on the
mission may delay an answer.

Now, dear friends, there is another fact to which we must advert. Many
of our dear associates, who were attracted by the charity of our work,
are no longer among the living. Their friends have kindly reminded us
of their death by letter, and we, grateful for this charity, always
pray for them. Their day is passed. Our time is coming. Who can
remember the kind faces which have gone out of our families and not
shed tears at their absence? Their places are vacant. Love leaves the
very chairs on which they sat unoccupied. We look around the room and
at the places their forms filled within it. All these bring tears to
our eyes, and make the heart too full for utterance. Thus fond
imagination, sprung from love, wipes out the vacancy. We look through
the mist of our tears and there again are the forms of our love, but
alas! they do not speak to us. And days and months are run into years,
yet our tears flow on; indeed we cannot and we do not want to forget
them. We think of our sins and faults and how they caused theirs, and
our cry of pardon for ourselves must come after or with that of mercy
for them.


The holy souls in Purgatory are ever saying in beseeching accents:
"Lord, show us Thy Face," desiring with a great desire to see it;
waiting, they longingly wait for the Divine Face of their Saviour. We
should often pray for the holy souls who during life thirsted to see,
in the splendor of its glory, the Human Face of Jesus Christ. We should
often say the Litany of the Holy Face of Jesus, that our Lord may
quickly bring these holy souls to the contemplation of His Adorable
Countenance. We should pray to Mary, Mother All-Merciful, who, before
all others, saw the Face of Jesus in His two-fold nativity in
Bethlehem, and from the tomb, to plead for those holy souls; to St.
Joseph, who saw the Face of Jesus in Bethlehem and Nazareth; to the
glorious St. Michael, Our Lady's regent in Purgatory, one of the seven
who stands before the throne and Face of God, who has been appointed to
receive souls after death, and is the special consoler and advocate of
the holy souls detained amidst the flames of Purgatory. We should also
pray to St. Peter for the holy souls, he to whom Christ gave the keys
of the kingdom of Heaven. The holy souls are suffering the temporal
penalty due to sin. This Apostle had by his sin effaced the image of
God in his soul, but Jesus turned His Holy Face toward the unfaithful
disciple, and His divine look wounded the heart of Peter with repentant
sorrow and love; also St. James and St. John, who with him saw the
glory of the Face of Jesus on Mount Thabor, and its sorrow in
Gethsemane, when, 'neath the olive trees, it was covered with
confusion, and bathed in a bloody sweat for our sins. These great
saints, dear to the Heart of Jesus, will surely hear our prayers in
behalf of the holy souls. St. Mary Magdalen, who saw the Holy Face in
agony on the cross, when its incomparable beauty was obscured under the
fearful cloud of the sins of the world, and who assisted the Virgin
Mother to wash, anoint, and veil the bruised, pale, features of her
Divine Son; the saint, whose many sins were forgiven her because she
had loved much, will lend heed to our prayers for the holy souls. We
should also invoke, for the holy souls, the Virgin Martyrs, because of
their purity, love, and the sufferings they endured to see in Heaven
the Face of their King.

Yet nothing can help these souls so much as the Holy Sacrifice of the
Mass. By the "Blood of the Testament" these prisoners can be brought
out of the pit. Even to hear Mass with devotion for the holy souls,
brings them great refreshment. St. Jerome says: "The souls in
Purgatory, for whom the priest is wont to pray at Mass, suffer no pain

Online LibraryMrs. James SadlierPurgatory → online text (page 34 of 35)