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Preface: An Essay on Masses ...
Introduction
General Remarks
1st Motive: The Pains of Purgatory
2nd Motive: The Duration of ...
3rd Motive: The Condition of ...
4th Motive: The Number of Souls
5th Motive: The Honor/Glory of God
6th Motive: The Church Triumphant
7th Motive: Own Spiritual Advantage
8th Motive: Natural Affection
9th Motive: The Value of the Mass
Certain Practical Questions
The Fifth Motive — The Honor and Glory of God

Amen, I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these My least brethren, you did it to Me. - Matthew 25:40

 

Assisting the holy souls is a most noble exercise of Christian charity, from whatever point we view it. If we turn our gaze from Purgatory and the languishing prisoners it contains, and direct it to Heaven, their true country, and to Him whose absence is the chief source of their pain and sorrow, we shall find additional motives of a most pure and exalted character for assisting our brethren of the Suffering Church, by every means in our power, but especially by having the Adorable Sacrifice offered in their behalf.

 

As a means of promoting the honor and glory of God, the end which the Creator proposes to Himself in all His works, and which it is the duty of the creature to adopt as the mainspring of all his actions, charity to the souls in Purgatory occupies a very exalted position. All souls are created to praise and adore God in Heaven, and in doing so to find their supreme delight; and so long as they are detained in Purgatory, the work of God in their creation and redemption is in a measure frustrated. He is being forever deprived of the accidental glory which their hymns of praise would give Him. Those, then, who liberate souls from that prison of suffering, besides performing an act of charity in behalf of the afflicted souls themselves, promote the honor and glory of God in two ways. They hasten souls to the foot of His throne to render Him the homage for which they were created; and by their suffrages they at the same time commission others as their representatives to praise God in His presence, while they, as banished children of Eve, send up their own proper homage from this valley of tears. We cannot doubt for a moment that God will accept the praises of those souls whom our suffrages, and more especially the Masses which we have celebrated, have set free, as, in a measure, coming from ourselves, and reward us accordingly; for we have been instrumental in setting those at liberty who could not help themselves, and whom God, although loving them with an infinite love, could not in His justice admit to His presence so long as there was a stain upon them. God -- let it be said with reverence -- will acknowledge Himself indebted to us for hastening the addition of another voice to the number of those who are now celebrating His praises.

 

Let the reader ponder the following weighty remarks of Father Faber:

"It is not saying too much," he assures us, "to call devotion to the holy souls a kind of center in which all Catholic devotions meet, and which satisfies more than any other single devotion our duties in that way: because it is devotion all of love, and of disinterested love. If we cast an eye over the chief Catholic devotions, we shall see the truth of this. Take the devotion of St. Ignatius to the glory of God. This, if I may dare to use such an expression of Him, was the special and favorite devotion of Jesus. Now, Purgatory is simply a field white for the harvest of God's glory. Not a prayer can be said for the holy souls but God is at once glorified, both by the faith and the charity of the mere prayer. Not an alleviation, however trifling, can befall any one of the souls, but He is forthwith glorified by the honor of His Son's Precious Blood, and the approach of the soul to bliss. Not a soul is delivered from its trail, but God is immensely glorified. He crowns His own gifts in that dear soul. The Cross of Christ has triumphed. The decree of Predestination is victoriously accomplished; and there is a new worshipper in the courts of Heaven. Moreover, God's glory, His sweetest glory, the glory of His love, is sooner or later infallible in Purgatory; because there is no sin there, nor possibility of sin. It is only a question of time. All that is gained is real gain. All that is reaped is true wheat, without chaff or stubble, or any such thing.

 

"Again, what devotion is justly more dear to Christians than the devotion to the Sacred Humanity of Jesus? It is rather a family of various and beautiful devotions than a devotion by itself. Yet see how they are all, as it were, fulfilled, affectionately fulfilled, in devotion to the holy souls. The quicker the souls are liberated from Purgatory, the more is the beautifu1 harvest of His Blessed Passion multiplied and accelerated. An early harvest is a blessing, as well as a plentiful one; for all delay of a soul's ingress into the praise of Heaven is an eternal and irremediable loss of honor and glory to the Sacred Humanity of Jesus. How strange things sound in the language of the Sanctuary! Yet, so it is. Can the Sacred Humanity be honored more than by the Adorable Sacrifice of the Mass? And here is our chief action upon Purgatory. Faith in His Sacraments, as used for the dead, is a pleasing homage to Jesus; and the same may be said of faith in Indulgences, and privileged altars, and the like. The powers of the Church all flow from This Sacred Humanity, and are a perpetual praise and thank-offering to It. So, again, this devotion honors Him by imitating His zeal for souls. For this zeal is a badge of His people, and an inheritance from Him."*

 

Nothing further need be said of this devotion as a most powerful, practical, direct and merciful means of promoting the honor and glory of God and of His Incarnate Son, Jesus Christ; but still another motive will be found in it as an indirect means to the same noble end.

 

1. All for Jesus, pp. 401-403.

 

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