HOW TO AVOID PURGATORY
By Fr. Paul O'Sullivan
1. CAN WE AVOID PURGATORY?
2. HOW CAN WE AVOID PURGATORY?
3. THE FIRST MEANS: REMOVING THE CAUSE
4. THE SECOND MEANS: PENANCE
5. THE THIRD MEANS: SUFFERING
6. THE FOURTH MEANS: CONFESSION, COMMUNION, HOLY MASS
7. THE FIFTH MEANS: ASKING GOD
8. A SIXTH MEANS: RESIGNATION TO DEATH
9. THE SEVENTH MEANS: EXTREME UNCTION
10. INDULGENCES AND PURGATORY
11. THE THIRD ORDERS
12. THOSE WHO EARNESTLY HELP THE HOLY SOULS MAY WELL HOPE TO AVOID
13. TO AVOID PURGATORY, DO AS FOLLOWS
14. HOW WE CAN HELP THE HOLY SOULS
* THE BROWN SCAPULAR
Our Lord came on earth expressly to give us a perfect Redemption. He gave
us a Law of Love, a Religion in every way to suit our human hearts,
destined to make us holy and happy. His Commandments, counsels and promises
all breathe peace, joy, mercy and love.
The idea that nearly all of us shall, notwithstanding, have to pass a
period more or less long in the excruciating fires of Purgatory after death
seems to be at variance with this all-merciful and all-loving plan of our
It is true that we are weak and fall many times and that God's justice is
rigorous and exacting, but it is equally certain that God's mercy and love
are above all His works.
It is no less certain that Our Lord has given us abundant grace and
strength to save us from sin and many (and most efficacious) means of
satisfying for any sins that we may have committed. This last fact seems to
be almost entirely overlooked, or imperfectly understood by the majority of
Of course, those who go on deliberately sinning and who make no effort to
correct their faults and refuse to use the many wonderful means God offers
them for satisfying for sin, condemn themselves to Purgatory.
The object of this little book is to show how we can avoid Purgatory by
using the means God has so generously offered us, and, secondly, to show
that the use of these means is within the reach of every ordinary
The careful perusal of these pages will be a source of much benefit and
consolation to all who read them.
The author offers them to the loving Heart of Jesus and asks Him to bless
CAN WE AVOID PURGATORY? YES.
Many think that it is practically impossible for the ordinary Christian to
avoid Purgatory. Go there we all must--so they say.
They laughingly remark: "It will be well for us if we ever get there" Alas!
When too late they will recognize how terribly rash their words were. As a
consequence of such fatalistic ideas, many make no serious effort to avoid
Purgatory, or even to lessen the term they may have to pass there. Thank
God all do not hold such gloomy views.
WE SHALL STRIVE IN THE FOLLOWING PAGES TO SHOW
a) How all can notably shorten their period of expiation in Purgatory; b)
And how they may even avoid Purgatory altogether. These pages are well
worth reading and re-reading. The fact is that a great number of souls go
to Purgatory and remain there for long years simply because they had never
been told how they could have avoided it.
The means we suggest are easy, practical and within the reach of all.
Moreover, far from being irksome, the use of these means will only serve to
make our lives on this earth holier and happier and will take away the
exaggerated fear of death which terrifies so many.
We ask you, Dear Reader, to put this little booklet into the hands of all
your friends. You cannot do them a greater service.
HOW CAN WE AVOID PURGATORY?
The reason why we have to pass through Purgatory after death is that we
have committed sins and have not made satisfaction for them. Every
individual sin must be expiated--in this life or the next! Not even the
slightest shadow of sin or evil can enter the all-holy presence of God.
The graver, the more frequent the sins, the longer will be the period of
expiation and the more intense the pain.
It is not God's fault, nor God's wish, that we go to Purgatory! The fault
is all our own.
We have sinned and have not made satisfaction.
Even after our sin, God, in His infinite goodness, places at our disposal
many easy and efficacious means by which we may considerably lessen our
term of expiation, or even entirely cancel it.
Most Christians, with incomprehensible rashness, neglect these means and so
have to pay their debts in the dreadful prison house of Purgatory.
We will briefly enumerate some of the principal means by which we can avoid
Purgatory-or at least lessen its severity and duration.
THE FIRST MEANS: REMOVING THE CAUSE
The First Means of avoiding Purgatory is manifestly to remove the cause
which sends us there, which is sin.
It may not be easy to refrain from all sin, even the smaller sins, but
every ordinary Christian can, by the frequent use of the Sacraments, easily
abstain from mortal sin.
Secondly, we can all avoid deliberate and grave venial sin. It is an awful
thing to offend the good God deliberately. Deliberation intensifies
enormously the malice of sin and offends God much more than faults of
weakness, or sins committed when we are off our guard.
Lastly, we must use our best endeavours to break off bad habits. Habits,
like deliberation, add seriously to the malice of sin
A deliberate falsehood is very much worse than a hasty lie of excuse, and a
lie resulting from the inveterate habit of lying is very much worse than a
A lady once told us how she had, when younger, the habit of constantly
speaking ill of her neighbours.
Having heard a sermon on the subject, she made a strong resolution never to
do so again, and kept it.
That simple, strong resolution changed the whole trend of her life and
saved her from thousands of sins, and most surely from a long and painful
Who cannot make a like resolution and keep it?
If a Christian avoids, as he easily can, these three classes of sin, viz.,
mortal sins, deliberate and grave venial sins, and habits of sin, it will
be relatively easy for him to atone for faults of frailty, as we shall
We would be well advised to pronounce with special emphasis and fervour,
every time we say the Our Father, the words:
"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us"
These are the very words of God Himself and repeated frequently and
fervently will certainly obtain for us pardon of our sins.
THE SECOND MEANS: PENANCE
The Second Means of avoiding Purgatory is to satisfy for our sins in this
life by doing penance. "Do penance or you shall all likewise perish" Do
penance, or you will burn long years in Purgatory, is a fact that there is
no getting away from.
This is a terrifying thought and one that makes the bravest man shudder.
Which of us does not tremble when he thinks of those who have been burnt to
death in a slow fire? What fear would not be ours if we had to face a
similar death? Yet their suffering was of relatively short duration. The
incomparably fiercer fire of Purgatory, which we may have to face, may last
20, or 50 or 100 years!
Many people have such a horror of penance that they never even dream of
practicing it. It is like the fear that children have of ghosts, a very
great but a very unfounded fear. Their idea is that penance is something
awful They think perhaps of the severe penances of the great Saints and of
course are afraid to attempt anything of a like kind.
The Second Means: Penance
God does not ask us, as a rule, to do what is heroic. When He does, He
gives us all the strength necessary, as in the case of the Saints. He asks
each one to do a little. If we are afraid of doing much, and it is only
natural that some should be, let us do at least a little. No one but a
coward is afraid to do a little, especially if he gets much in exchange.
The easy road to Heaven of Saint Therese, the Little Flower, is to do many
little things. God was infinitely pleased with the widow's mite; He will be
equally pleased with our little penances.
As a result of little mortifications, we can deliver ourselves from the
awful fires of Purgatory and amass rich merits for Heaven. To go into the
matter further, there is not much difficulty about mortification or
penance, notwithstanding the absurd fear that people have of it.
Penance is not only easy, it is useful and necessary, and it will bring us
very great happiness. Not to do penance is the greatest penance of all. As
a matter of fact, every man of the world naturally, spontaneously mortifies
himself. The first principle, for instance, of politeness and good breeding
is to sacrifice our whims and tastes for the sake of others. The selfish
man is a boor; the generous man is the idol of all.
Again, the only way of securing good health is to eschew the most
appetising viands when they do us harm and to make use of plain foods when
they do us good. Overeating is the cause of the vast majority of sickness
and premature deaths.
To take another example. The secret of success is strenuous, methodical,
regular work. Now generosity, self-denial, method, regularity are other
forms of very genuine but practical mortification. Yet no man can get on
without them. To insist on our own likes and dislikes, to do only as we
please, is to lead a life bristling with difficulties, in which every duty
is a burden, every good act an effort and a labor
Boy scouts and girl scouts are bound to do a kind act every day, even
though it costs them a big effort. Christians should surely do more. Daily
acts of self-restraint, of patience with others, of kindness to others, the
exact fulfilment of duty are splendid penances and a great aid to
If we are afraid to do much, let us do many little things.
THE THIRD MEANS: SUFFERING
The Third Means of avoiding Purgatory is very easy. It consists in making a
virtue of necessity, by bearing patiently what we cannot avoid, and all the
more since suffering, borne patiently, becomes easy and light. Suffering,
if accepted with calmness and for God's sake, loses all its sting. If
received badly, in the spirit of revolt and with repugnance, it is
intensified a hundredfold, and becomes almost intolerable.
Everyone in this vale of tears has to face sorrows innumerable and infinite
in variety. Crosses light and crosses heavy are the lot of us all. Strange
as it may seem, these sorrows, which most of us would gladly dispense with,
are in truth God's greatest graces. They are the little share He offers us
of His Passion and which He asks us to bear for love of Him and as penance
for our sins.
Borne in this spirit they will lessen considerably our time in Purgatory
and very possibly completely remove it--with this difference, that
Purgatory, even a Purgatory of 50 or 100 years, will in no wise increase
our merits in Heaven; whereas, every pain and sorrow and disappointment in
this life will lessen our suffering in Purgatory, and also bring us more
happiness and glory in Heaven.
How sad it is that so many Christians, for want of thought, make their
sufferings a thousand times worse than they are and lose all the immense
merits that they could so easily gain.
Let us suffer with calmness and serenity for the love of God. We shall thus
save ourselves from Purgatory.
THE FOURTH MEANS: CONFESSION, COMMUNION, HOLY MASS
The Fourth Means by which we can lessen our time in Purgatory, or avoid it
altogether, is by frequent Confession, Communion and daily assistance at
Confession applies to our souls the Precious Blood of Christ, wipes out our
sins, gives us light to see their malice, fills us with horror of sin and,
above all, it gives us strength to avoid it. In Holy Communion we receive
the God of infinite mercy and love, the God of all sanctity, who comes
expressly to pardon our sins and help us to sin no more.
He visited the house of Zaccheus once, and in that one visit, Zaccheus
obtained complete pardon of all his sins
How is it possible that the same God of goodness and sweetness can come,
not into our houses, but into our very hearts in Holy Communion and not
give us the same and even greater graces. He visited Zaccheus once, He
visits us every day if we allow Him.
Many, alas, never feel, never grasp the immense joys and consolation of
The Mass is identical with the Sacrifice of Calvary, in its essence, in its
value, in the graces it bestows. The Sacrifice of Calvary was sufficient to
save all the world, millions and millions of souls, and was also sufficient
to save countless other sinful worlds, had they existed. By assisting at
Mass, we can apply all these oceans of graces to our own souls, and that
not once, but every day.
Let us go to Mass and Holy Communion every day. We can do nothing better.
One day with Mass and Communion is worth a hundred days without them.
THE FIFTH MEANS: ASKING GOD
The Fifth Means of avoiding Purgatory is asking God for this grace. Some
wise Catholics have a really great, if simple secret, which is well worth
learning and using for our own benefit.
God promises us in the most solemn and deliberate way (and He cannot fail
to do what He promises) that He will give us everything we ask in prayer,
if it is good for us.
Now two conditions, especially, make prayer infallible, namely perseverance
and faith. God cannot refuse such a prayer.
These Catholics we speak of pray expressly every day of their lives that
God will free them from Purgatory. In every single prayer they say, in
every Mass they hear, in every good act they perform, they have the express
intention of asking God first of all and with all their hearts to deliver
them from Purgatory.
How? That is for God to decide.
It is not easy to see how God can possibly refuse such constant, unceasing
prayer. The fact that such prayers are said daily and many times in the
day, for 20, 30, 50 years, shows that they are said with undoubting faith
and magnificent perseverance.
We exhort all our readers to adopt this practice. The more they know and
think on Purgatory, the more fervently will they make this prayer.
Every time we say the Hail Mary let us say with all the fervour of our
hearts the words: "Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.
A SIXTH MEANS: RESIGNATION TO DEATH
A Sixth Means of avoiding Purgatory is given us by some great saints: They
say that when a sick person becomes aware that he is dying and offers to
God his death with perfect resignation, it is very likely that he will go
straight to Heaven.
Death is the awful punishment of sin, and when we accept it, as of course
we ought to do, with submission and resignation, our act pleases God so
much that it may satisfy perfectly for all our sins.
The idea of Pope St. Pius X was the same when he granted a plenary
indulgence at the hour of death to those who say at least after one Holy
Communion the following prayer:
"Eternal Father, from this day forward, I accept with a joyful and resigned
heart the death it will please You to send me, with all its pains and
It will be better still to say this prayer after every Holy Communion we
It is for our best interest to accept God's will in everything that happens
to us in life and in death.
Nothing can be easier when we remember that God always wishes what is best
for us. If we do what God does not will, we shall surely suffer.
Each time we repeat the Our Father, let us say with special fervour the
words: Thy will be done. In all our troubles, small and great, let us do
likewise. Thus everything will gain us merit. By this simple act we change
sorrow into joy, the worries of life into gold for Heaven.
THE SEVENTH MEANS: EXTREME UNCTION
The Seventh Means of avoiding Purgatory is Extreme Unction: God Himself has
given us a Sacrament, the end of which is to take us directly to Heaven.
This Sacrament is Extreme Unction, which according to St. Thomas and St.
Albert was instituted especially to obtain for us the grace of a holy and
happy death and to prepare us for immediate entrance into Heaven.
Many Catholics do not understand this most consoling doctrine, and because
they do not understand it, they prepare themselves insufficiently for the
reception of Extreme Unction and so lose many of its great graces.
Every Sacrament properly received produces its effect. Baptism cleanses us
from Original Sin and any other actual sins that may have been committed by
adults before receiving the Sacrament.
The Sacrament of Holy Orders gives a priest all his tremendous powers.
Matrimony makes man and woman husband and wife. In the same way Extreme
Unction, if devoutly received, prepares the dying Christian for immediate
entrance into Heaven, thus delivering him from Purgatory.
How foolish it is, therefore, to put off receiving this Sacrament until
very late, when the dying person is too exhausted to receive it with full
knowledge of what he is doing and with due fervour and devotion. The moment
of death is the supreme moment in our lives. It is the moment which decides
our fate for all Eternity.
Let us use every means in our power to secure a happy and holy death,
especially by receiving most devoutly, and as soon as possible, Extreme
INDULGENCES AND PURGATORY
[The grants of indulgences were changed in 1968. See the Enchiridion of
God in His infinite mercy and compassion offers us a most wonderful and
easy means for lessening or cancelling our Purgatory.
Fully aware of our weakness, and knowing, too, how fearful many are of
penance, He opens wide the treasury of His Goodness and offers us most
abundant Indulgences in exchange for some small act of devotion.
For one recitation of short ejaculatory prayers, He grants 100 or 300 or
more days Indulgence. These we may say hundreds of times in the day. Those
who say the little ejaculation: "Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in
Thee" one hundred times a day gain 30,000 days Indulgence. Those who say it
1,000 times, as many do, gain 300,000 days Indulgence each day!
Nothing can be easier than to acquire the habit of saying this little
prayer all day long, countless times each day.
Then, for each Hail Mary of the Rosary, one gains more than 2,000 days
Besides an immense number of Partial Indulgences, there are very many
Plenary (full, complete) Indulgences which may be gained during life and at
the hour of death.
These are specially given by the Church to enable us to avoid Purgatory.
These Indulgences can be applied to our own souls, and we shall thus
directly make satisfaction for our sins. Or, we may apply them to the souls
in Purgatory, who will see to it that we do not lose by our generosity.
Let us strive to gain all possible Indulgences.
THE THIRD ORDERS
Among the extraordinary graces which Catholics gain by becoming members of
a Third Order is a share in many Masses and prayers.
To mention, for instance, the Third Order of Saint Dominic, Pope Benedict
XV, himself a Tertiary, said: "One of the easiest and most effectual ways
of reaching a high degree of sanctity is by becoming a Dominican Tertiary"
The members of this order receive during life a share every day in
thousands of Masses and prayers, and after death, when, alas, so many are
neglected by their relatives, those who are members of this Third Order
have a share daily in thousands of other Masses and prayers, this for as
long as they remain in Purgatory!
Among the many beautiful characteristics of the Order of St. Dominic is its
intense devotion and love for the Holy Souls, especially for the souls of
its members, friends and benefactors. So true is this that a young Italian
nobleman who consulted the Pope as to which religious order he would do
well to enter received for answer: "My dear son, you may with much profit
join any of the Orders, for in each you will find abundant means of
becoming a Saint. After death, however, be a Dominican" The Holy Father
meant to imply that the suffrages given after death to their deceased
members are, indeed, most abundant in the Dominican Order.
The conditions of becoming a member of this order are so easy and the
advantages so many that half the world would become Dominican Tertiaries
did they know these advantages.
THOSE WHO EARNESTLY HELP THE HOLY SOULS MAY WELL HOPE TO AVOID PURGATORY
The Holy Souls whom we relieve or release by our Masses and good works pray
for us with such indescribable fervour that God cannot refuse to hear their
prayers. One of the principal graces they ask for their friends is that
these shall have little or no Purgatory. No one knows better than they the
awful intensity of the Purgatorial flames; no one, therefore, can pray for
us as they do. Let us remember that:
a) God thanks as done to Himself what we do to others. When we relieve or
release any of the Holy Souls, we relieve or release, as it were, God
Himself. How ready, therefore, will He not be to hear the prayers offered
by these souls for us.
b) Our Blessed Lord lays down clearly the great law: "By that measure by
which you measure, it will be measured to you again" In proportion,
consequently, to our generosity towards the Holy Souls will God's mercy and
generosity be towards us. Those who work heart and soul for the relief of
the Holy Souls may thus well hope that their Purgatory will be entirely
remitted, or notably lessened. On the other hand, those who neglect the
Holy Souls may justly fear a severe judgment and a long Purgatory.
Let everyone without fail join the Association of the Holy Souls. All the
members of the family should do so. The conditions are very easy. If the
Association is not established in your Parish, write to: Association of the
Holy Souls, Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary, Pius XII Monastery, Rua
do Rosario 1, 2495 Fatima, Portugal, which is one of the centers of the
St. James the Apostle gives another very effectual method of avoiding or
lessening our stay in Purgatory. He says: "He who saves a soul, saves his
own, and satisfies for a multitude of sins"
If someone were fortunate enough to save the life of a King's only son, the
heir to his throne, from a horrible death, what reward might he not expect
to receive from the grateful monarch? No King, however, could be as
grateful to and anxious to reward the person who saved his son as God is
grateful and ready to reward the person who saves one soul from Hell.
All of us may, in a thousand different ways, save not one but many souls
from Hell. For instance :
1. We can do so by praying earnestly for them. How often does not a mother
save her son's soul by her fervent prayers. We can save souls by giving
good advice and also by our good example. How many boys owe their sterling
qualities to the wise counsels of a good Father or friend!
2. Another efficacious method of saving souls is by propagating the Faith,
viz., Catholic Action.
The incredible ignorance, apathy and indifference of Catholics is the evil
of the day!
It is the bounden duty of Catholics to spread about thousands and thousands
of pamphlets of all kinds, full of life, vigour and burning interest,
crisp, incisive, clear and strong. Otherwise, these are useless.
Each pamphlet or leaflet must carry a message straight to the heart of the
reader, rousing him, convincing him, galvanising him into action.
TO AVOID PURGATORY, DO AS FOLLOWS
1. In every prayer you say, every Mass you hear, every Communion you
receive, every good work you perform, have the express intention of
imploring God to grant you a holy and happy death and no Purgatory. Surely
God will hear a prayer said with such confidence and perseverance.
2. Always wish to do God's will. It is in every sense the best for you.
When you do or seek anything that is not God's will, you are sure to
suffer. Say fervently, therefore, each time you recite the Our Father: "Thy
will be done"
3. Accept all the sufferings, sorrows, pains and disappointments of life,
be they great or small: ill health, loss of goods, the death of your dear
ones, heat or cold, rain or sunshine, as coming from God. Bear them calmly
and patiently for love of Him and in penance for your sins. Of course one
may use all his efforts to ward off trouble and pain, but when one cannot
avoid them let him bear them manfully.
Impatience and revolt make sufferings vastly greater and more difficult to
4. Christ's life and actions are so many lessons for us to imitate.
The greatest act in His life was His Passion. As He had a Passion, so each
one of us has a passion. Our passion consists in the sufferings and labours
of every day. The penance God imposed on man for sin was to gain his bread
in the sweat of his brow. Therefore, let us do our work, accept its
disappointments and hardships, and bear our pains in union with the Passion
of Christ. We gain more merit by a little pain than by years of pleasure.
5. Forgive all injuries and offences, for in proportion as we forgive
others, God forgives
6. Avoid mortal sins and deliberate venial sins and break off all bad
habits. Then it will be relatively easy to satisfy God's justice for sins
of frailty. Above all, avoid sins against charity and against chastity,
whether in thought, word or deed, for these sins [and the expiation for
them] are the reason why many souls are detained in Purgatory for long
7. If afraid of doing much, do many little things, acts of kindness and
charity, give the alms you can, cultivate regularity of life, method in
work, and punctuality in the performance of duty; don't grumble or complain
when things are not as you please; don't censure and complain of others;
never refuse to do a favour to others when it is possible.
These and suchlike little acts are a splendid penance.
8. Do all in your power for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Pray for them
constantly, get others to do so, join the Association of the Holy Souls and
ask all those you know to do likewise. The Holy Souls will repay you most
9. There is no way more powerful of obtaining from God a most holy and
happy death than by weekly Confession, daily Mass and daily Communion.
10. A daily visit to the Blessed Sacrament--it need only be three or four
minutes--is an easy way of obtaining the same grace. Kneeling in the
presence of Jesus with eyes fixed on the Tabernacle, sure that He is
looking at us, let us for a few minutes repeat some little prayer like
these: "My Jesus, mercy." "My Jesus, have pity on me, a sinner" "My Jesus,
I love You" "My Jesus, give me a happy death"
HOW WE CAN HELP THE HOLY SOULS
I. The first means is by joining the Association of the Holy Souls. The
conditions are easy.
ASSOCIATION OF THE HOLY SOULS
Approved by the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, June, 1936
1. The members are asked to send their full name and address to:
Association of the Holy Souls, Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary, Pius
XII Monastery, Rua do Rosario 1, 2495 Fatima, Portugal.
2. The members must offer up a Mass once a week for the Holy Souls
(Sunday's Mass can fulfil this obligation).
3. The members pray for and promote devotion to the Holy Souls. (We
recommend the booklets Read Me or Rue It and How to Avoid Purgatory.)
4. The members are asked to contribute a yearly alms to the Mass Fund. The
alms is used to have Masses said for the Holy Souls every month.
II. A second means of helping the Holy Souls is having Masses offered for
them. This is certainly the most efficacious way of relieving them.
III. Those who cannot get many Masses offered, owing to want of means,
ought to assist at as many Masses as possible for this intention.
A young man who was earning a very modest salary told the writer: "My wife
died a few years ago. I got 10 Masses said for her. I could not possibly do
more but heard 1,000 for her dear soul "
IV. The recital of the Rosary (with its great indulgences) and the Way of
the Cross (which is also richly indulgenced) are excellent means of helping
the Holy Souls.
St. John Massias, as we saw, released from Purgatory more than a million
souls, chiefly by reciting the Rosary and offering its great indulgences
V. Another easy and efficacious way is by the constant repetition of short
indulgenced prayers, offering up the indulgences for the Souls in
Purgatory. Many people have the custom of saying 500 or 1,000 times each
day the little ejaculation, "Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in
Thee" or the one word, "Jesus" These are most consoling devotions and bring
oceans of graces to those who practice them and give immense relief to the
Those who say the ejaculations 1,000 times a day gain 300,000 days
Indulgence! What a multitude of souls they can thus relieve! What will it
not be at the end of a month, a year--or 50 years? And if they do not say
the ejaculations, what an immense number of graces and favours they shall
have lost. It is quite possible and even easy to say these ejaculations
1,000 times a day. But if one does not say them 1,000 times, let him say
them 500 or 200 times.
VI. Still another powerful prayer is:
"Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Jesus, with all
the Masses being said all over the world this day, for the Souls in
Our Lord showed St. Gertrude a vast number of souls leaving Purgatory and
going to Heaven as a result of this prayer which the Saint was accustomed
to say frequently during the day.
VII. The Heroic Act consists in offering to God in favour of the Souls in
Purgatory all the works of satisfaction we practice during life and all the
suffrages that will be offered for us after death. If God rewards so
abundantly the most trifling alms given to a poor man in His name, what an
immense reward will He not give to those who offer all their works of
satisfaction in life and death for the souls He loves so dearly.
This Act does not prevent priests from offering Mass for the intentions
they wish, or lay people from praying for any persons or other intentions
they desire. We counsel everyone to make this act.
ALMS HELP THE HOLY SOULS
St. Martin gave half of his cloak to a poor beggar, only to find out
afterwards that it was to Christ he had given it. Our Lord appeared to him
and thanked him.
Blessed Jordan of the Dominican Order could never refuse an alms when it
was asked in the name of God. One day he had forgotten his purse. A poor
man implored an alms for the love of God. Rather than refuse him, Jordan,
who was then a student, gave him a most precious belt or cincture which he
prized dearly. Shortly afterwards, he entered a church and found his
cincture encircling the waist of an image of Christ Crucified. He, too, had
given his alms to Christ. We all give our alms to Christ.
a) Let us give all the alms we can afford; b) Let us have said all the
Masses in our power; c) Let us hear as many more as is possible; d) Let us
offer all our pains and sufferings for the relief of the Holy Souls.
We shall thus deliver countless souls from Purgatory, who will repay us ten
thousand times over.
THE BROWN SCAPULAR
(The following official information was obtained from the National Scapular
center, Darien, Illinois, May 9, 1986.)
Two wonderful promises of Our Lady of Mount Carmel are available to those
who have been enrolled in the Brown Scapular.
The great promise of the Blessed Virgin Mary, given to St. Simon Stock on
July 16, 1251, is as follows: "Whoever dies wearing this scapular shall not
suffer eternal fire."
Our Lady's second Scapular Promise, known as the Sabbatine Privilege (the
word "Sabbatine" meaning "Saturday"), was given by the Blessed Virgin Mary
to Pope John XXII in the year 1322 and is as follows: "I, the Mother of
Grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death, and whomsoever I
shall find in Purgatory, I shall free."
There are three conditions for obtaining this privilege: 1) the wearing of
the Brown Scapular; 2) the practice of chastity according to one's state of
life; 3) the daily recitation of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin
Those who cannot read can abstain from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays
instead of reciting the Little Office. Also, any priest who has diocesan
faculties (this includes most priests) has the additional faculty to
commute (change) the third requirement into another pious work--for
example, the daily Rosary.
Because of the greatness of the Sabbatine privilege, the Carmelite Order
suggests that the third requirement not be commuted into anything less than
the daily recitation of seven Our Fathers, seven Hail Marys, and seven
Glory Be to the Fathers.
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