Fourth Reason: The Gratitude of the Deceased
– In Purgatory –
Most theologians will agree that the suffering souls intercede for those who assist them even while they are in Purgatory. They can obtain nothing for themselves and their prayers are fruitless when they ask for their own torments to be abated. Such is not the case for the prayers they offer for their benefactors. Those petitions are within the order of Providence. They touch God’s heart and are not tainted by vice, which often renders ours fruitless. Those souls are pure and holy, dear to the Lord and always perfectly united to Him; they pray fervently without distractions, with perseverance. Their merit is so great that, without daily proof, we could scarcely believe this.
So we have everything to gain in exchanging our prayers with those of our deceased brethren. The best means we have of obtaining from God that for which we ask is to interest the souls in Purgatory in our cause by presenting it to them. In return, we must offer them our prayers, holy Mass and all the indulgences applicable to these. So let us pray for the blessed and grateful souls in Purgatory. They will pray fervently for us. They will offer to God, and for our intention, all the merits of their indescribable suffering. Truly, as Scripture tells us, it is a holy and salvific mission to relieve the souls in Purgatory.
– In Heaven –
Heaven is the homeland of gratitude. Liberated by our acts of love and our prayers, those souls will remain attached to us by bonds of eternal gratitude. Will they be able to forget us when we have brought them to eternal riches and helped clothe them in the vestment of immortality and glory? Will they be able to forget us, when we have sent them to their place at the banquet table of the Lamb where they will finally be able to eat the bread of angels for which they hunger? No! Assuredly not! They will never forget us; they will be attentive to all our needs, they will watch over us like so many guardian angels. From their thrones, they will watch over our perils and woes, pleading endlessly with God to help us in our trials, to remove temptation from our senses. They will add their petitions to ours, pleading with God to keep us safe from temptations and asking Him to lead us to His Heart. What precious assistance! What relief from our torments! What consolation in our final hour! What powerful advocates at our final Judgement! Should we find ourselves in Purgatory, those souls whom we delivered will come to visit us and console us until we join them in the splendours of the eternal beatitudes.
My God! What benefit and consolation there is in our devotion to the souls in Purgatory! Happy and blessed then are those who pray for the dead. Everything you offer in charity, St. Ambrosius tells us, turns to grace. Following our own death, we will reap the benefits one hundred-fold.
– Example –
A pious and credible nun wrote the following, proving the power of prayers for the souls in Purgatory.
I prayed fervently for my physical healing, petitioning Our Lady of Lourdes, the Child Jesus, St. Joseph, without result. My prayers were answered after I begged the souls in Purgatory to intercede for me. I promised to offer prayers and Masses for them if I could renew my religious life. May those dear advocates be blessed forever! I was completely healed! I hastened to accomplish what I had promised. You can see how God desires the deliverance of the souls held captive. He forces us, in a manner of speaking, to pray for them by favouring the petitions we make through their intercession. I am convinced of this truth because I owe all the favours I’ve obtained from God to my good friends in Purgatory.
Learn from this example and be assured that you will obtain everything through the intercession of our friends, the deceased.
Let Us Pray
Holy souls in Purgatory, I pray to the Lord Jesus who died for you, to have mercy on your suffering. By his holy and precious Blood, may He soothe your torment! In return, dear charitable souls, please intercede for me. Your prayers are heard for you are in grace. Pray for the spiritual and temporal favours I need; pray that I may know a holy death and that I may one day join you in Heaven.
Let Us Pray
Lord, hear the prayers we will offer up to you every day of this month for the consolation of our deceased brothers and sisters and grant them a place of refreshing light and peace! Hear also the prayers which those souls will offer up to you for our intention that we might ultimately obtain, through their intercession, the graces for which we pray for.