Fourth means of relieving the souls in Purgatory: The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

– It is offered by Jesus Christ –

Of all the means we have indicated so far for the relief of souls in Purgatory, none is as powerful, as efficient as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is a very consoling article of our faith. The reason for this is that all the merit of the Divine Sacrifice comes from its being offered in the person and in the name of Jesus Christ. At the altar as on Calvary, it is the same Victim, the same Sanctifier and hence has the same merit. There, Jesus in the Host offers His Father everything He is and everything He has. He offers the whole militant Church and the whole Suffering Church.

What joy there is in that valley of tears, what joy for those souls, victims of Divine Justice, when Jesus embraces them and offers them to his Father! And the Father receives His Son’s offering. Through the flames of atonement, He recognises in them, even in their disgrace, His Son’s adorable features and He forgives them, considering the merits of that spotless Lamb. How is it possible that in such a solemn moment every soul in Purgatory is not delivered? We do not know. We cannot penetrate the secrets of the infinite Justice and Holiness of God. What is certain is that they are all given some relief. A doctor of the Church affirms that after each Mass, many souls are delivered and rise to Heaven.

In a monastery in Rome, there is a painting depicting St. Bernard celebrating Holy Mass with souls rising to Heaven from Purgatory as the Sacrifice progresses. Why do we pay so little heed to these exceptional graces?

In most Christian families, Masses are offered for anniversaries of all kinds. Have you ever considered doing this?

– We offer it with Him –

If our resources do not permit us to pay for Masses very often, do not forget that in a way, you can offer Masses yourself, by attending with devotion and by uniting your prayers to those of the priest and those of Our Lord. Truly, when you are there near the altar, you have at your disposal the merits of the spotless Lamb. You can apply them to all those who are dear to you. You exercise the same authority on the Eucharic Jesus as did Mary and Joseph on the Godchild. You become the master, the distributor of his merits. You can thus take His Precious Blood and spread it profusely on the blessed souls in Purgatory. You can apply the fruit of the Sacrifice as well as that of all the Masses celebrated throughout the world to the souls in Purgatory. Therein lies an enormous treasure which we ignore much too often; a treasure with which we can ransom our parents and our friends, opening for them the gates of Heaven.

We are guilty of neglecting a means, which is so available and efficient of putting an end to the torment of those dear souls. They ask us to think of them during the Mass when the petitions are presented and when prayers for the deceased are offered.

– Example –

The St. Cure of Ars related the following excerpt of his catechism to his parishioners, My children, a priest who had lost a dear friend prayed fervently for his soul. One day God revealed to him that his friend was in Purgatory suffering terribly. That priest could think of nothing else than to offer a Mass for his friend’s soul. At the moment of consecration, he took the Host between his fingers and said, «Eternal Father, let us make a trade. You hold my friend’s soul in Purgatory and I hold the body of Your Son in my hands. Good and merciful Father, deliver my good friend as I offer You Your Son with all the merits of His Passion and Death». At the moment of elevation, the priest saw the soul of his dear friend rise to Heaven in a blazing light. God had accepted the trade. My friends, when we want to deliver souls from Purgatory, let us do the same. Let us offer up to God His Son with all the merits of His Passion and Death. He will not be able to refuse. Let us follow the advice of the good Cure of Ars.

– Another Example –
– Masses for the dead –

St. Elizabeth, Queen of Portugal, had recently lost her daughter Constance, Queen of Castille. She was on her way to Santaremo on a road which lead through a forest, when a hermit suddenly jumped out from behind a tree. He chased the royal coach asking to speak to the queen. In spite of protests from her guards, the Queen asked the driver to stop the coach. The hermit explained how her daughter Constance, covered in flames had appeared to him. She begged him to tell her mother that she was suffering indescribable torments in Purgatory and needed daily Masses to be celebrated for her during a whole year. The hermit left the Queen and was not seen again.

The courtesans who had seen him mocked him and treated him as a fool and manipulator. The Queen, however, felt it was better to do what had been asked by that uncommon man. After all, she thought, to offer Masses for my daughter makes Christian sense.

Father Ferdinand Mendez, reputed for his piety, was asked to celebrate the 365 Masses for the repose of Constance’s soul. St. Elizabeth prayed for her daughter but soon forgot about the Masses she had commissioned. One day, Constance appeared to her mother, dressed in white and radiant as the sun. She said, I am now rising up to the eternal beatitudes! The next morning, Elizabeth went to church to thank God for her daughter’s deliverance. Father Mendez saw her and told her he had celebrated the last of the 365 Masses the day before…At the very moment of her daughter’s deliverance… Then Elizabeth remembered the hermit!

Let Us Pray

As guilty as the souls in Purgatory may be in your eyes, oh God of Mercy, allow yourself to be appeased and forgive them. Behold Your Son’s Precious Blood poured out every day on the altar to cleanse them of their sins. Listen to the voice of the adorable Blood, which does not cry out for vengeance, but for grace and mercy. O Jesus! Lamb most pure, who takes away the sins of the world, be the Conciliator of my dear deceased brethren. May they be delivered and may they rest in peace by your side!

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.