Eighth means of relieving the souls in Purgatory: Heroic acts of charity
– Its nature –
A heroic action consists in abandoning into Our Lady’s hands for the souls in Purgatory, all good deeds, even those done for us by others, before and after our death.
On November 20, 1854, Pope Pius IX recommended that act in a decree to all the faithful and granted it special indulgences. All the indulgences earned by the faithful benefit the souls in Purgatory without our having to present the intention with formulated prayers. Pope Pius IX called this act the greatest consolation for the souls in Purgatory. We can thus say that the heroic act is a gift of Mercy, the most salvific act of charity.
There is no doubt that we have nothing to lose by abandoning something to God. Our Lord revealed to St. Gertrude that He looks at what we do for the souls in Purgatory as if we had done it to Him, as if we had delivered Him from a prison of fire. This act of charity is also a great honour and a great joy bestowed upon Our Lady, because we put everything into her hands in order for her to deliver her suffering children.
– The advantages of heroic acts of charity –
This practice is very useful for the holy souls in Purgatory. They receive so much assistance from the indulgences we earn, every day, every minute of the day, those applied to us during our lifetime, at the moment of our death and after our passing on to eternity.
There is a cool continous mist of suffrages and indulgences, which falls without interruption on the burning souls, soothing their grief and consoling them.
This heroic gift is of no less advantage for us. God who is so good and liberal will give back a hundred-fold everything we do for his suffering children.
Give and you shall be given and you shall receive a good measure, said Jesus.
Will Our Lady not come to our aid after we have entrusted to her all our spiritual treasures for the relief of her children?
Will that filial abandonment not earn us the gift of her mercy?
Finally, will we not receive the eternal gratitude of those souls whom we helped?
It is also believed by most that those of us who make these heroic acts will not have very much to fear; God will grant us the means of avoiding Purgatory or at least of not lingering there for very long.
I advise you to make this heroic act as of today. Follow the example of so many persons, famous for their dignity, their science and their holiness.
Follow the example of Pope Pius the IX who often recommended the vow of heroic action, which he enriched with indulgences.
– Example –
In the life of St. Gertrude, we read that during her early youth, she learned to offer all her nightly prayers and all her good deeds for the intentions of the souls in Purgatory through the vow of heroic acts. This practice was so pleasing to God that the Divine Saviour often granted that she might see the most needy souls. Later, she would see those same souls delivered by her pious charity, rising to Heaven, shining in glory and full of gratitude.
St. Gertrude had spent her whole life in that holy exercise and full of confidence, she awaited her death with calm. The evil one appeared to her and showed her how she had been stripped of any merit her good deeds had earned and that she was about to be exiled to Purgatory where she would endure long lasting atonement.
That spiritual torment caused her so much desolation that her heavenly Spouse, Our Lord Jesus Christ came to console her, Have no fear, O my beloved, for by your charity towards the dead, you have increased your satisfactory merits. Not only are they sufficient but you have earned a very high degree of glory in the Eternal Beatitude. Thus will my Clemency generously reward your devotion to the dead. You will soon enter Paradise where you will receive a hundred-fold what you have done for them. How encouraging are those words of the Divine Master!
Let Us Pray
I beg you, Oh my God, to accept and confirm this vow I am offering for your glory and for my soul’s salvation. I offer it also for the acquittal of all the debts of the souls in Purgatory whom Our Lady wishes to deliver. I hold as my witnesses all the elected of the Militant Church on earth and the Suffering Church in Purgatory. With this consideration, be the Conciliator Lord of those who suffer in that place of atonement. May they rest in peace!
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.