Sixth means of relieving the souls in Purgatory: The Way of the Cross
– It is the Way to Heaven for the living –
This devotion, so great for the memories it awakens, so precious for the advantages it procures, is the most efficient means of conquering our passions and is the surest way of arriving at the summit of perfection. With every step of the Way of the Cross we understand what caused Jesus so much pain. We must fear sinning again in order so as not to renew the suffering of His Passion. To be more like Him, we must seek the spirit of sacrifice and penance, have zeal for the salvation of souls, love humility and poverty, pardon injuries, be patient in trials and renounce worldly attachments.
St. Bonaventure said that if we wanted to grow in faith, to attract all graces and to become similar not only to Angels but to the Son of God, we must often make the Way of the Cross. We will thus take the royal way that leads to Paradise.
There is no more sure method of growing in virtue and of imitating the Divine Example who ascended the road to Calvary. Make the Way of the Cross often, as did Our Lady, the first disciples and Saints. Every time you do, you will feel better, more Christian, nearer to Heaven and to the Heart of Jesus.
– It is the Way of Heaven for the dead. –
The Way of the Cross is also a salvific practice for our dear departed. By following Jesus on the road to Calvary, we gather each drop of His Precious Blood, every merit of His painful Martyrdom and we offer them to the Divine Justice of God in atonement for the debts owed by souls in Purgatory; it is a breath of joy, a relief. The Way of the Cross is especially salvific for the dead because of the precious indulgences which are attached to it and which are applicable to them. They are so numerous that we cannot number them as teaches St. Benedict. All we need is to be in a state of grace. We can do this exercise many times a day.
If you wish to comfort and deliver many souls from Purgatory, practice this devotion for them. You will find along this painful road, consecrated by the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the consolation which your heart needs to endure the loss of loved ones and the means of leading them on the road to Heaven. What a treasure for you and for the deceased you cherish! Make a commitment today to make the Way of the Cross weekly, especially on Fridays, a memorable day, which speaks so well of our gratitude.
– Example –
A parish retreat was being held in a small church where large crowds came to hear the Word of God and to beg His forgiveness. Three men however, refused stubbornly to attend the event. They had sworn never to set foot in a church and especially never to go to confession. One wife went to speak with one of the missionaries.
Do you have children? asked the man of God.
I have two young children, she answered.
Then bring them to the church and make a Way of the Cross with them and offer it for those souls in Purgatory who are in most need of mercy. Ask for your husband’s conversion through the intercession of the souls you will have comforted and I assure you that your prayer will be answered. Experience has taught me two things: that the Way of the Cross is the most efficient means of relieving the suffering of departed loved ones and of obtaining through their intercession, the very help that we seek.
Every day, at noon, the wife came and knelt at the foot of the tabernacle with her two children with whom she made a Way of the Cross. At every station, the children repeated from the depths of their heart, Oh Jesus! Give rest to the dead and convert our father. The last night of the retreat the sinner came and knelt at the feet of the missionary and begged him to hear his confession. The next morning he knelt at the altar next to his wife and received Holy Communion. After Mass was over, he hugged his wife and blessed his children.
Oh precious Way of the Cross! Useful to all, but especially sinners and to the suffering souls in Purgatory!
Let Us Pray
Oh Mary, Mother of Sorrows! You who have so often meditated on your Divine Son’s Passion, you who were the first to walk that hill consecrated by His Passion, teach us to meditate and to practice like you this holy and salvific devotion. Grant that we find in it the graces of conversion for sinners, of perseverance for the just and of consolation for the souls in Purgatory. Sweet Jesus, grant those blessed souls 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.