Mrs. James Sadlier.

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whilst Mass is being offered, that after every Mass is said for the
souls in Purgatory some souls are released therefrom." Our Blessed
Lady, the consoler of the afflicted, will always do much to aid the
holy souls; in her maternal solicitude, she has _promised_ to
assist and console the devout wearers of the Brown Scapular of Mount
Carmel detained in Purgatory, and also to speedily release them from
its flames, the Saturday after their death, if _some_ few
conditions have been complied with during their life-time on earth.
Bishop Vaughan says, "there can be no difficulty in believing thus, if
we consider the meaning of a Plenary Indulgence granted by the Church,
and applicable to the holy souls. The Sabbatine Indulgence is, in fact,
a Plenary Indulgence granted by God, through the prayers of the Blessed
Virgin Mary to the deceased who are in Purgatory, provided they have
fulfilled upon earth certain specified conditions. The Sacred
Congregation of the Holy Office by a Decree of February 13, 1613,
forever settled any controversy that should arise on the subject of
this Bull. St. Teresa, in the thirty-eighth chapter of her life, shows
the special favor Our Lady exerts in favor of her Carmelite children
and all who wear the Brown Scapular. She saw a holy friar ascending to
Heaven without passing through Purgatory, and was given to understand,
that because he had kept his rule well he had obtained the grace
granted to the Carmelite Order by special bulls, as to the pains of
Purgatory. So from their prison these waiting souls are ever crying out
to us, patient and resigned, yet with a most burning desire, they are
longing to be brought to the presence of God, and to gaze upon the
glorified countenance of the Incarnate Word. They are far more
perfectly members of the Mystical Body of Christ than we are, because
they are confirmed in grace, and the doctrine of the Communion of
Saints should hence prompt us to give the holy souls the charitable
assistance of our alms, prayers, and good works. 'Bear ye one another's
burdens, and so ye shall fulfill the law of Christ,' and thus one day
with them enjoy the endless Vision of the Holy Face of Jesus Christ in
its unclouded splendor in Heaven."


WHEN WILL THEY LEARN ITS SECRET?

HOW THE CARDINAL'S OBSEQUIES IMPRESSED A BAPTIST SPECTATOR.

(_From the Baptist Examiner._)

For the third time in a quarter of a century the streets have been
thronged, and an unending procession has filed by the dead. Long lines
reached many blocks, both up and down Fifth avenue, and they grew no
shorter through the best part of three days. This recognition of the
eminence and power of the Cardinal, John McCloskey, has been very
general.

All classes have paid homage. And why? He was a gentleman. He was
learned, politic, able, far-sighted, clean. His energy was without
measure. The rise and reach of his influence and work have no chance
for comparison with the accomplishment of any other American clergyman.
There is none to name beside him. He was a burning zealot all his life.
Elevation and honors came to him. He became a prince in his Church. He
swept every avenue of power and influence within his grasp into that
Church. He lived singly for it. In his death, his Church exalts
herself. She gives, after her faith, prayers, Masses, glory. In his,
life he spoke only for Rome. In his death his voice is intensified. His
life was one long gain to his people. In his, death they suffer no
loss. His time and character and personality are so exalted, that,
"being dead he yet speaketh."

The Church of Rome stands alone. It is forever strange. It is a law to
itself. Thus it comes that this funeral does not belong to America, or
to the century. Rome and the Middle Ages conducted the obsequies. The
canons are prescribed. They have never changed. Behold then in New
York, what might have been seen in ruined Melrose Abbey in its ancient
day of splendor.

The Cardinal lies in state in his cathedral, that consummate flower of
all his ministry. Saw you ever a Roman Pontiff lying in state? The high
catafalque is covered with yellow cloth. The body, decked in official
robes, uncoffined, reclines aslant thereon. The head is greatly
elevated. A mighty candle shines on the bier at either corner. The
Cardinal's red hat hangs at his feet. His cape is purple, his sleeves
are pink drawn over with lace, his shirt is crimson and white lace
covered. Purple gloves are on his hands. On his head is his tall white
mitre. His pectoral cross lies on his pulseless breast. His seal ring
glitters on his finger. To me it was an awful and uncanny figure. The
man was old and disease wasted. The lips were sunken over shrunken
gums. The chin was sharp and far-protruding. The colors of the cloths
were garish and loud. It was a gay lay figure, red and yellow and white
and black and purple and pink. It made me shudder. Yet lying there
under the very roof his hands had builded, that reclining figure was
immensely impressive.

The work - the work, in light and strength and glory stands; but the
skilled and cunning workman is brought low, and lies cold and silent.
The crowded and glorious, almost living cathedral - the richly bedecked
body dismantled, deserted, dead. Was ever contrast so wide or
suggestive? The white, shining arches and pinnacles, up-pointing in
architectural splendor. The architect lies under them prone,
unconscious, decaying. The beautiful windows, all storied in colors
almost supernatural, and telling their histories and honoring their
place. But the temple of the Cardinal's soul is in ruins, the windows
are broken, and its day is darkness and mold.

So, silent he lies in his house, surrounded by his faithful, whose
cries and lamentations he hears not, his cold hands clasped, his dead
face uncovered, as though looking above its high vaulted roof.

I seemed to see again the bedizened skeleton of old St. Carlo Borromeo
in the crypt of the Cathedral of Milan, as lying in his coffin of
glass, his bones all bleached and dressed. But the careless throngs go
thoughtlessly, noisily on. Some weep, some laugh, and Thursday, the day
of sepulture, comes. What masses of people! What platoons of police!
The magnificent temple is packed by pious thousands. The four candles
about the bier become four shining rows. The glitter of royal violet
velvet and cloth of gold add to the gorgeous trappings of the dead. The
waiting multitudes look breathlessly at the black draped columns, the
emblems of mourning put on here and there. Without announcement a
single voice cries out from the dusky chancel the first lines of the
office for the dead. A great Gregorian choir of boys takes up the wail,
and their shrill treble is by-and-by joined by the hoarser notes of
four hundred priests, in the solemn music of the Pontifical Requiem
Mass. It has never been given to mortal ears to listen to such marvels
of musical sound in this country. Anon the great organs and the united
choirs render the master's most mournful music for the dead. Then
processions, then eulogy. And what eulogy! Schools, colleges, convents,
asylums, protectories, palaces, cathedrals, churches. What a vast and
impressive testimony!

What a company rises up to call him blessed! This imposing pageantry is
not an empty show. It is Rome's display of her resources and power. Who
else can have such processions and vestments and music? Who can so
minister to the inherent, perhaps barbaric remnant, love for display?
In the wide world where can the ear of man catch such harmonies? The
music, as a whole, was a deluge of lofty and inspiring expressions.
Anguish, despair, devotion, submission, elevation! Ah, how the lofty
Gothic arches thundered! How they sighed and cried and melted. The
great assembly was swayed, awe-struck, like branches of forest trees in
gales or in zephyrs. The influence of those melodies will not die. Oh!
Rome is old, Rome is new; Rome is wise. Rome is the Solomon of the
Churches.

Mark this well. The Cardinal is dead. What happens? Does the machinery
stagger? Has a great and irreparable calamity fallen on the churches?
Are any plans abandoned? Is the policy affected? Will aggression cease?
Nothing happens but a great and imposing funeral. The plans are not
affected. The lines do not waver. No work begun will be suspended.
Everything goes on. If only a deacon should die out of some Baptist
church, alas! my brethren, the plate returns empty to the altar. The
minister puts on his hat. Consternation jumps on the ridge-pole and
languishing, settles down. When shall we learn? When shall we plan
harmoniously, unite our counsels, work within the lines, cease wasting
resources, carry forward a common work, and when some man falls, put a
new man in his place, move up the line, and keep step? To-day, when a
gap is made here, we try to mend it, after a time, by seeking how great
a gap we can create somewhere else. What wonder that good men get tired
and go where no such folly flies, and where the current flows on and on
forever!

And the old Cardinal rests in the crypt, under the high white altar. He
sleeps in the mausoleum of the great. He has the reward of his labors.
He carried into his tomb the insignia of his high office. Sealed up in
his coffin is a parchment which future ages may read, long after we are
all forgot, giving a condensed record of his long and active career.
The bishops and priests have gone home to their parishes; and their
tireless labors go on. They are thinking of the mighty but gentle and
kindly Cardinal; of the telegrams from the Papal Court, the College of
Cardinals, the Pope, and of the imposing funeral; of his own words
which they wrung from him amidst the rigors of death:

"I bless you, my children, and all the churches." It was the parting of
a prophet. And the priests will live for the Church and mankind. They
are whispering, "The faithful are rewarded! Effort is acknowledged! O,
Rome has shaken the earth! Rome is putting her armor together again."
Sometimes I hear the creaking of her coat of mail as she mightily moves
herself in exercise.




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