Thursday – Praying daily for the Poor Souls – Mp3 audio and text

“The holy souls are eager for the prayers of the faithful, which can gain indulgences for them. Their intercession is powerful. Pray unceasingly. We must empty purgatory!”Thursday - Praying daily for the Poor Souls - Mp3 audio and text
– St. Padre Pio


O LORD God Almighty, I beseech Thee,
by the precious body and blood
of Thy Divine Son Jesus,
which He himself
on the night before His passion
gave as meat and drink to His beloved apostles,
and  He bequeathed His Holy Church
be a perpetual sacrifice and life-giving nourishment
of His  faithful people,
deliver the souls in purgatory,
and but most of all  that soul
which was most devoted to this mystery of infinite love;
in order that it may praise thee, therefore
together with Thy Divine Son,
and  The Holy Spirit,
in Thy glory forever.


O Lord, hear my prayer
And let my prayer cry come onto thee.

O God
the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful,
grant unto the souls of thy servants and handmaids
the remission of all their sins
that through our devout supplications
they may obtain the pardon they have always desired.
Who live and reign world without end…Amen.

Say the following prayers:
Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May their souls and the souls of all the faithfully departed rest in peace.  Amen.

For every day of the week 

Poor Souls, Purgatory, Praying for the Dead…Yes, Virginia, there is a Purgatory – Discerning Hearts

OK, First…Purgatory, it’s a good thing. While no one knows exactly (though various mystics have attempted to convey what they experienced by way of their prayer) what will happen there, we do know that if we end up in Purgatory we should be extremely happy since we are most definitely headed for heaven. No one in Purgatory is sent to hell (Yeah!).

First Stop in this exploration is to listen to Deacon James Keating of Institute for Priestly Foramtion with one of the best discussions Bruce and I ever had on the Poor Souls and Purgatory.

So what about praying for the Dead and what does the Church say about the Poor Souls?
What is Purgatory?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines Purgatory as follows:

1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire: As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come (St. Gregory the Great, Dial. 4,39:PL 77,396; cf. Mt 12:31)..

.A “final purification” , hmm, sounds like suffering to me, The kind of interior suffering where we have to deal with the painful results of sin inflicted on us by others, but we also with the pain we have inflicted on others…and boy does that hurt. But in this “final purification” (it means just that…final) final healing occurs…an eternal, forever and forever amen, type of healing so we can be  “happy with God forever in Heaven” (to paraphrase the Baltimore Catechism).

The gift of this life here and now on earth is that we can enter into that “purification” now, so that when that moment comes (which we call…death), we can go right to the “pearly gates” and to heaven OR we can go to Purgatory to get cleaned up for the beatific vision. St. Teresa of Avila exhorts us to (to paraphrase again) “DO IT NOW, DON’T WAIT”. OK, here are accurate quotes:


There are clear references to Purgatory in both the the Old and the New Testaments. In the Old Testament in 2 Machabees X11 43,46 the Jewish practice of praying for the dead is clearly set out it the following words – ‘It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may he loosed from their sins.

In the New Testament Our Blessed Lord in Matthew V 26 refers to the prison from which no one is released before his debts are repaid to the last farthing. St. Paul in Cor. 1,3 15 mentions that there are souls who can only be saved ‘yet so as by fire’. It is also stated in Apocalypse XXI, 27 in reference to heaven – ‘There shall in no way enter into it anything defiled”. St. Augustine says that these words clearly indicate that there must be forgiveness of some sins in the world to come, which cannot be in heaven as nothing defiled shall enter therein. Therefore Our Blessed Lord is clearly referring to a place which is neither heaven nor hell and which we call Purgatory.

The learned Protestant, Dr. Jeremy Taylor, writes thus about this matter. ‘We find by the history of the Machabees, that the Jews did pray and make offerings for the dead which appears by other testimonies, and by their form of prayer, still extant, which they used in the captivity. Now it is very considerable that since Our Blessed Saviour did reprove all the evil doctrines of the Scribes and Pharisees, and did argue concerning the dead and the resurrection, yet he spoke no word against this public practice but left it as he found it which he who came to declare to us all the will of His Father, would not have done, if it had not been innocent, pious and full of charity. The practice of it was at first, and was universal; it being plain in TertulIian and St. Cyprian.”


“We pray for all among us who are departed believing that this will be the greatest relief for them while the holy and tremendous victim lies present ” – St. Cyril Of Jerusalem

“We make yearly offerings for the dead” – Tertullian

“….. by long punishment for sin to be cleansed a long time by fire and to have purges away all sin by suffering” – St. Cyprian.

‘That you purify me in this life and render me such that 1 may not stand in need of that purging fire” – St. Augustine.

‘No day shall pass you over in silence, no prayer of mine shall ever be closed without remembering you. No night shall pass you over without some vows of my supplications. You shall have share in all my sacrifices. If I forget you (now that you are dead) let my own right hand be forgotten” – St. Ambrose.

St. Chrysostom in his eighth homily on the Phillipians says that to pray for the faithful departed in the Mass was decreed by the Apostles themselves.

St. Clement of Alexandria says that by punishment after death men must expiate every least sin before they can enter heaven.

Origen in many places and Lactantius teach at large that all souls are purged by the punishment of fire before they enter heaven unless they are so pure as not to stand in need of it.

St. Epiphanius, St. Ephrem, St. Athanasius, Eusebius, St. Paulinus all teach the same.


“No tongue can express, no mind can understand, how dreadful is Purgatory…And be assured that the souls have to pay what they owe even to the last farthing. This is God’s decree to satisfy the demands of justice” –St. Catherine of Genoa.

“Purgatory fire will be more intolerable than all the torments that can be felt or conceived in this life” – Venerable Bede.

“A person may say, I am not much concerned how long I remain in Purgatory, provided I may come to eternal life. Let no one reason thus. Purgatory fire will more dreadful than whatever torment can be seen, imagined or endured in this world.” – St. Caesarius of Arles.


The same fire torments the damned in hell and the just in Purgatory. The least pain in Purgatory exceeds the greatest in this life.” – St. Thomas Aquinas.

“My God, what soul would be sufficiently just to enter heaven without passing through the avenging flames’ – St. Teresa of Avila.

‘If we were thoroughly convinced of the torments of Purgatory, could we then so easily forget our parents……. if God would permit them to show themselves we would we would see them cast themselves down at our feet “My children”, they would cry out, “have mercy on us! Oh, do not forsake us!’. – St. John Vianney.


“When I was praying before the Blessed Sacrament on the Feast of Corpus Christi a person enveloped in fire suddenly stood before me. From the pitiable state the soul was in I knew it was in Purgatory and I wept bitterly” – St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.

At FATIMA in 1917 Our Blessed Lady appeared to three children – Lucy, Jacinta and Francesco. The series of appearances by Our Lady to these three children is approved by the Church. Shortly before they took place a young girl from the village had died. She was about fourteen years old. The children asked Our Blessed Mother whether or not she had been saved. The Blessed Virgin advised them that indeed she had been saved but that she would be in Purgatory until the end of the world. (As a result of this revelation many prayers were offered up for her soul and we can only pray that because of this her souls has now been released into eternal glory). From this most authoritative account we can learn three things:

(i) the reality of Purgatory

(ii) great length of time many souls have to stay there

(iii) the tremendous importance of praying for the souls of the departed

Here's some more places you can go if you are still having trouble....

The Burning Truth about Purgatory
How to Explain Purgatory to Protestants (James Akin)
The Roots of Purgatory

All Souls Day – the day I pull out “The Dream of Gerontius”

Blessed John Newman’s poem “The Dream of Gerontius” tells the story of a soul’s journey through death, and provides a meditation on the unseen world of Roman Catholic theology.

Click here for the full text of the poem

Gerontius (a name derived from the Greek word geron, “old man”) is a devout Everyman.Elgar’s setting uses most of the text of the first part of the poem, which takes place on Earth, but omits many of the more meditative sections of the much longer, otherworldly second part, tightening the narrative flow.

In the first part, we hear Gerontius as a dying man of faith, by turns fearful and hopeful, but always confident. A group of friends (also called “assistants” in the text) joins him in prayer and meditation. He passes in peace, and a priest, with the assistants, sends him on his way with a valediction. In the second part, Gerontius, now referred to as “The Soul”, awakes in a place apparently without space or time, and becomes aware of the presence of his guardian angel, who expresses joy at the culmination of her task (Newman conceived the Angel as male, but Elgar gives the part to a female singer). After a long dialogue, they journey towards the judgment throne.

They safely pass a group of demons, and encounter choirs of angels, eternally praising God for His grace and forgiveness. The Angel of the Agony pleads with Jesus to spare the souls of the faithful. Finally Gerontius glimpses God and is judged in a single moment. The Guardian Angel lowers Gerontius into the soothing lake of Purgatory, with a final benediction and promise of a re-awakening to glory. –wiki

Here is mezzo-soprano Sarah Connelly as the angel offering a beautiful version of “Softly and Gently” (which is the last passage of Edward Elgar’s musical oration of the “Dream of Gerontius”) as he is peacefully being placed into the lake of Purgatory.  A stunning work and meditation for this or any day


SOFTLY and gently, dearly-ransomed soul,
In my most loving arms I now enfold thee,
And, o’er the penal waters, as they roll
I poise thee, and I lower thee, and hold thee.

And carefully I dip thee in the lake,
And thou, without a sob or a resistance,
Dost through the flood thy rapid passage take,
Sinking deep, deeper, into the dim distance.
Angels, to whom the willing task is given,
Shall tend, and nurse, and lull thee, as thou liest;
And Masses on the earth and prayers in heaven,
Shall aid thee at the Throne of the most Highest

Farewell, but not forever! Brother dear,
Be brave and patient on thy bed of sorrow;
Swiftly shall pass thy night of trial here,
And I will come and wake thee on the morrow.


Pray for the Holy Father’s Intentions for November 2011 – Discerning Hearts

November 2011


General Intention: For the eastern Churches, that their venerable tradition may be known and appreciated as a spiritual treasure for the entire Church.

Missionary Intention: That the African continent may find in Christ the strength to fulfill the path of reconciliation and justice, indicated in the second Synod of Bishops for Africa.

IP#43 Dr. Matthew Bunson – John Paul II’s Book of Saints on Inside the Pages

Matthew and Margaret Bunson did an incredible job of chronicling all those holy men and women who were brought Matthew-Bunsonforward by our late great Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. The only thing that even comes close to reading this great book is hearing Dr. Matthew Bunson talk about those tremendous Blesseds and Saints.  “John Paul II’s Book of Saints” is truly a treasury of sanctity!

He was known as the saint-making Pope, and he reinvigorated the world’s devotion to saints. John Paul II, himself a candidate for sainthood, left a treasury of ideals and hope for the future in these “examples of courage and coherence.” He offered us these real lives lived in extraordinary ways as ones to identify with, aspire to, and ask for intercession.

Check it out here

Friday – Praying daily for the Poor Souls – Mp3 audio and text

“The holy souls are eager for the prayers of the faithful, which can gain indulgences for them. Their intercession is powerful. Pray unceasingly. We must empty purgatory!”
– St. Padre Pioangel-praying-2


O LORD God almighty, I beseech Thee,
by the precious blood
which Thy Divine Son, Jesus, did shed on this day,
upon the tree of the cross,
especially from His sacred hands and feet,
deliver the souls in purgatory,
and particularly that soul for whom I am most bound to pray;
in order that I may not be the cause which hinders Thee
from admitting it quickly into the possession of Thy glory
where it may praise and bless Thee forever more.


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