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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 Sixth Motive — The Interest of the Church Triumphant, -- of Mary, and of the Angels and Saints

Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Thy Name: the just wait for me until Thou reward me. - Ps. 141:8

 

I shall again draw without apology from the overflowing of Father Faber's loving mind. Hear him, and be animated with something of his burning zeal in behalf of these poor prisoners of Jesus Christ:

 

"Devotion to our dearest Mother," says Father Faber, "is equally comprehended in this devotion to the holy souls, whether we look at her as the Mother of Jesus, and as sharing the honors of His Sacred Humanity, or as Mother of Mercy, and so specially honored by works of mercy, or, lastly, as in a particular sense the Queen of Purgatory, and as having all manner of interests to be promoted in the welfare and deliverance of those suffering souls.

 

"Next to this we rank devotion to the holy Angels, and this also is satisfied in devotion to the holy souls. For it keeps filling the vacant thrones in the angelic choirs, those unsightly gaps which the fall of Lucifer and one-third of the Heavenly host occasioned. It multiplies the companions of the blessed spirits. They may be supposed also to look with an especial interest on that part of the Church which lies in Purgatory, because it is already crowned with their own dear gift and ornament of final perseverance, and yet it has not entered at once into its inheritance as they did. Many of them also have a tender personal interest in Purgatory. Thousands, perhaps millions of them, are guardians of those souls, and their office is not over yet. Thousands have clients there who were especially devoted to them in life.

 

St. Michael, as Prince of Purgatory, and our Lady's regent, in fulfillment of the dear office attributed to him by the Church in the Mass for the Dead, takes as homage to himself all charity to the holy souls; and if it be true that a zealous heart is always a proof of a grateful one, that bold and magnificent spirit will recompense us one day in his own princely style, and perhaps within the limits of his special jurisdiction.

 

"Neither is devotion to the Saints without its interests in this devotion for the Dead. It fills them with the delights of charity as it swells their numbers and beautifies their ranks and orders. Numberless patron saints are personally interested in multitudes of souls. The affectionate relation between their clients and themselves not only subsists, but a deeper tenderness has entered into it because of the fearful suffering, and a livelier interest because of the accomplished victory. They see in the holy souls their own handiwork, the fruit of their example, the answer to their prayers, the success of their patronage, the beautiful and finished crown of their affectionate intercession. And all this applies with peculiar force to the founders of Orders and Congregations. . . . Who can tell how founders yearn over their children in those cleansing fires? . . . What wonder their founder should love them as he beholds them bounding immaculate and beautiful, the gems of his order, the glory of his rule, in the chastening fires of God!"**

 

If such be the interest which our holy Mother and the choirs of Heaven take in devotion to the dear souls, and the love and gratitude with which they regard those who assist these suffering members of the mystic body of Christ, with what holy impatience must they not surround the Altar from which, not the prayers and supplications of poor frail mortals, but the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb without spot, pleads with the Eternal Father for the release of those whom, in obedience to the same Father, He redeemed with His cruel ignominy and death on the cross! We beg it as a privilege that our prayers may ascend before the throne of the Most High; but in the Mass, Jesus Christ, as the Mediator between God and man -- God, equal to the Father -- claims it as a right. We may well picture to ourselves the guardian angels of these imprisoned souls surrounding the Altar upon which the Adorable Victim is being mystically immolated for the quick and the dead, that at its close they may hasten with their chalices -- as is represented in some pious pictures -- to pour them out upon the flames, quench them, and thus relieve their suffering clients. How much more truly may we not say of Masses for the Dead what Father Faber says of devotion to them in general:

 

"The royal devotion of the Church is the works of mercy; and see how they are all satisfied in this devotion for the Dead! It feeds the hungry souls with Jesus, the Bread of Angels. It gives them to drink, in their incomparable thirst, His Precious Blood. It clothes the naked with the robe of glory. It visits the sick with mighty powers to heal, and at the least it consoles them by the visit. It frees the captives, with a Heavenly and eternal freedom, from a bondage far worst than death. It takes in the strangers, and Heaven is the hospice into which it receives them. It buries the dead in the bosom of Jesus, in everlasting rest."*

 

But whatever we do for God and those dear to Him, is sure to redound to our own advantage; hence another motive is presented for having the Holy Sacrifice offered for the souls of the faithful departed.

 

1. All for Jesus, pp. 403-406.
2. All for Jesus, p. 406.

 

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