Second means of comforting the souls of Purgatory: Charity
– Corporal charity –
Charity is the virtue most often mentioned in the Gospels. St. Thomas maintains that its power of satisfaction is even greater than that of prayer. The angel said to Tobias, Charity saves one from death; it erases sins; it releases souls from darkness and brings them to God’s grace where they find eternal life.
What more efficient means is there for comforting souls that are suffering in Purgatory? If in their name we practice charity, their grateful cries arise in triumph above all before God. It is a gentle dew which falls on the flames of Purgatory and which tempers its intensive heat. The mite, which feeds the hungry of this world may very well lead a soul to the banquet table of the Lord. So let us be as merciful as possible. If we possess much, let us give much. If we have little, let us give little but with great enthusiasm. Remember the psalmist’s words, Happy are they who understand the plight of the needy: God will assist them in difficult situations, will be by their side on their death-bed and will reward them eterntally.
Let us therefore attend to the afflicted of this earth and thereby dry their tears. Place the widow’s mite in the hand of the poor. The souls in Purgatory will be liberated.
– Spiritual charity –
If we are not rich, if money does not abound, we still have spiritual charity which can soothe the soul of those in distress. St. Thomas tells us, It surpasses physical charity as the spirit surpasses the body. Spiritual miseries outnumber physical miseries and are much more deplorable. Divine Goodness allows our merits to be applied to our deceased brethren in Purgatory. In their name, let us attend to the sick and needy. In their name let us visit the dying and take care of orphans. In their name, let us console widows and wipe the tears of all those who are sad. Thus, our charity will diminish the suffering of this world, which is a Purgatory in the next life.
What can still prevent us from comforting those dear souls?
What excuse could we still invoke if we forget them? Who will come to our rescue if we do nothing for others?
– Example –
In Bologna Italy, a widow had an only child, a young boy who played in the public square with other children. One day, a stranger began harassing the children with evident malice.
The young boy yelled at him, asking him to leave them alone. Irritated by the comment, the man drew a sword and killed the lad. Horrified and surprised at the violence of his own outburst, the man ran away with the blood on the sword still dripping from his hand. He ran down an alley and entered a house, hoping to hide from the law. It was the very home of the child he had just slain. When the widow saw the stranger standing there, sword drawn and covered in blood, she remained calm.
When she heard the man beg for asylum In the name of God, she promised to hide him and not to reveal his whereabouts to anyone. When police officers were told that he had entered the widow’s home, they searched it but did not find him. As they were leaving, they asked the widow if she was aware that it was her son who had been killed. Stricken with horror, the widow collapsed. So severe was the shock that those present feared for her very life. She finally came to and asked everyone to leave her alone.
Placing herself in the Divine Providence, she found the necessary courage and resolve to forgive her son’s killer and what’s more, to be charitable towards him. She went to his hideout, gave him a sum of money and showed him a back door through which he could escape. There he would find a horse tethered and ready. As he left, she fell on her knees and prayed for the soul of her son.
She had scarcely begun, extending her arms like a cross, begging Jesus to have mercy on her son, when the boy appeared before her, shining like the sun. He said Dear mother, do not weep for me but envy my lot. The Christian Charity you demonstrated towards my assassin has liberated me from Purgatory. Divine Justice had condemned me to many years of purification; but your forgiveness brought an end to my torment instantly and I am with God with Whom I will remain for all eternity!
He then disappeared, leaving his mother filled with joy inspite of her loss.
Let Us Pray
With confidence in Your Word, Oh Lord, I will never see but your adorable Person, hidden in the beggar who pleads for my compassion. I will practice charity with those who come to me as though they were you. But I will not limit my charity to the living; I want to extend it to the dead. May the charity I offer to the poor of the earth, serve to attract the effusion of Your Mercy on them. Sweet Jesus, grant them eternal rest!
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.