Feasat of All Souls
If God allowed me to pass on only three things to others they would
be the Divine Mercy, the Morning Offering and devotion to the Holy
Souls, in that order. That explains my shameless re-run of this All
Souls' Day post.
First, a great quote:
"We must not make purgatory into a flaming concentration camp on the
brink of hell, or even a hell for a short time. It is
blasphemous to think of it as a place where a petty God exacts the
last pound or ounce of flesh.... St. Catherine of Genoa, a
mystic of the 15th century, wrote that the fire of purgatory
is God's love burning the soul so that, at last, the soul
is wholly aflame. It is the pain of wanting to be made totally
worthy of One who is seen as infinitely lovable, the pain of desire
for union that is now
absolutely assured, but not yet fully tasted" (Leonard Foley,
O.F.M., Believing in Jesus)
I beg the indulgence [now that is neither a Freudian slip nor a
pun!!] of all our readers to who belong to traditions which do not
believe in prayers for the dead. Given today's feast and the
content, this is going to be a very Catholic message, but we have
many Catholics in our midst, some of whom could well need to hear it.
For Catholics in union with Rome, Purgatory is a defined dogma, a
reality we cannot deny. How it happens, how long the purification
and cleansing lasts, these matters are less clear, but we have not,
as a Church abandoned the concept of Purgatory, nor could we. It is
de Fide, a permanent fixture of Catholic faith. It could be a flash
of brilliance in a twinkling, as is fashionable today to hope, but
it could be otherwise, too. We simply do not know and
our wishes in the matter, however charitable, are not normative!
We also believe that in the cleansing, however brief or long, the
soul has lost all ability to help itself. Help can come only from
our prayers and those of the Church on earth for the Church
Suffering, the Holy Souls. Hence, ANY assistance given them is held
by them in literally eternal gratitude. Their prayers of
intercession, I KNOW, from my own personal experience over years,
are very, very powerful with God. I have never had them refuse me
any good thing. Never.
I often think that their gratitude is even greater these days, when
so many Catholics have abandoned the practice of praying for them
or offering good works or indulgences for them. If you have a heart
for the underdog and neglected, for Heaven's sake (literally!!) take
another look at praying for the Holy Souls who await their final
entry to Heaven. Prayer for them is a work of mercy you can do any
day, at any time. Corporal works of mercy sometimes may be out of
our means or scope, but spiritual ones, never so!
So yes, this day there is a special urgency, but every year, every
day, stop forgetting the Holy Souls if you have been doing so in
the past. They are great friends to have and they need us so badly.
We can make the daily intention to gain all the indulgences we can
that day and offer them for the Souls. What a great good is offered
us to undertake every day.
Now, though you were all forewarned, this part is REALLY Roman
Catholic. A plenary (full) indulgence, applicable only to the Holy
Souls, may be gained by those who under the usual conditions and
having gone to Confession and Communion, visit a cemetery and say
there some prayer of any kind for the Holy Souls. This indulgence
may be gained on the feast itself and daily for 7 days thereafter.
Go for it!
If you have never tried the practice of saying a prayer for those
buried in every cemetery you pass, do so. I confess that I didn't
do that for most of my life, but I do now and it has become a
practice very dear to me. I got my first good example of it when
riding with the late Fr. Ernest Schultz of Saint Leo Abbey, himself
a convert. He used to bless the graves in cemeteries as we drove
past. I never forgot his example, but I am ashamed to say how long
it took for me to follow it regularly.
Last, but not least, a simple prayer, said to have been given to
our own St. Gertrude the Great, OSB! The revelation apparently is
contested by some as unverifiable, but I am willing to hope on the
side of mercy. Jesus is reputed to have told her that 1,000 souls
would be released for each repetition of this prayer, hence it is
sometimes known as the 1,000 Souls Prayer. It is one of my
Eternal Father, I offer You the most precious Blood of Your Divine
Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world
today for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory.
It is short, sweet and easily memorized!
Love and prayers,
----- Original Message -----
From: Br. Jerome Leo
To: firstname.lastname@example.org ; holyrule ; rcb ; mona
Sent: Sunday, October 28, 2012 9:09 AM
Subject: Holy Rule for Oct. 29
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of 2 children killed by their nanny, for their parents and family and all who mourn them, and for the nanny's conversion and repentance.
Prayers for the spiritual and tamporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Richard and all the Oblates of Immaculate Conception Monastery, Ferdinand, IN, who renewed their oblation. It is Richard's tenth anniversary of Oblation.
Stacey and Rachel, both suffered miscarriages.
Ashely and Jessica, both expecting, for safe pregnancies and deliveries.
Prayers for the safety of all in the path of Hurricane Sandy, special prayers for us at Petersham, that we sustain no damage and keep our power on.
Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's
will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent, praise
Him! Thanks so much. JL
February 28, June 29, October 29
Chapter 22: How the Sisters Are to Sleep
Let each one sleep in a separate bed. Let them receive bedding
suitable to their manner of life, according to the Abbess's
directions. If possible let all sleep in one place; but if the
number does not allow this, let them take their rest by tens or
twenties with the seniors who have charge of them.
A candle shall be kept burning in the room until morning.
Let them sleep clothed and girded with belts or cords -- but not
with their knives at their sides, lest they cut themselves in their
sleep -- and thus be always ready to rise without delay when the
signal is given and hasten to be before one another at the Work of
yet with all gravity and decorum.
The younger shall not have beds next to one another, but among
those of the older ones.
When they rise for the Work of God let them gently encourage one
another, that the drowsy may have no excuse.
Hastening "yet will all gravity and decorum" has prompted many a
community joke, many a wry comment as one ran most ungracefully,
parts of the habit flapping wildly in the breeze, to whatever the
bell was about to make one late for! St. Benedict far antedates the
Three Stooges, but he still took precautions to ensure that we
would not look EXACTLY like Moe, Larry and Curly when we went to
choir or dinner! Admittedly, some of our human tendency still
arises to give a partial glimpse of that comedic trio, but, as
always, the picture is balanced!
As for the candle, the elderly may have problems during the
night if their health is declining. Hale and hearty (and hopefully
easily awakened!) juniors nearby promise them assistance, if
needed. However, if you want a humorous take on the knives issue,
have been to prevent mayhem and murder of the snorers, an idea
which has doubtlessly occurred to many light sleepers!
Of course, dormitory sleeping is a thing of the past in our Order
today, but its nice to see the thoughtfulness behind its original
expression in the Holy Rule. There's a bit of the "mother" in St.
Benedict, going out of his way to mention a small detail like not
sleeping with knives. It is worthy of note, however, that St.
Benedict, as always is MODERATELY maternal, not neurotically so! He
doesn't get all bent out of shape, but he cares greatly and deeply.
One of the most beautiful images in this passage is the exhortation
to "gently encourage one another" at the hour of rising. Remember
that the strictest silence of all prevailed at this time. Now
picture the monastics gently encouraging one another! With no
had to be a lot of touch, a lot of gentle smiles, a lot of warmth
and care expressed NON-verbally.
There is a particularly good suggestion for Oblates: practice
showing non-verbal affection some time! Try to express your care,
concern and camaraderie for those around you with smiles, winks,
pats on the back and such. Not ALL the time, but hone this skill. A
wordless message of praise or solidarity or love can be treasured
by another, often much more than what we might have said.
A very good idea of how loving a monastic is can be had by
disturbing their silence (or sleep, I imagine!!) Is the reaction
cross and withering? Watch out for that one! Is there a smile, even
a warm one, a reaction of sweetness? Well, when silence is over,
that is a monastic to whose words you may want to listen carefully.
Love and prayers,
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