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Masses for the Faithful Departed
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
Why should we help and pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory?

 

To answer this question we have chosen two sources, one book which is a reprint of the 1949 writing done by Fr. Martin Jugie called, "Purgatory and the means to avoid it" and a more distant writing that was done over 125 years ago in 1881 by a Rev. A.A. Lambing, called, "An Essay on Masses for the Dead and the Motives for Having Them Celebrated". This Essay can be accessed by clicking on the navigation bar to the left. We recommend you take a minute or so to read our preface to this 86-page book.

 

The motives below were our favorites from Fr. Jugie's book:



Why we should help {the Holy Souls}
(Source: "Purgatory and the means to avoid it" PP 100-103, by Martin Jugie)


1. Our Love of God.

If we truly love God, we ought to wish to please Him and to do Him good in what measure we can. Can we do good to God? Many deny that we can. This is an error since Christ Himself has said that whatsoever is done to the least of His, will be considered as having been done to Himself -- a statement all the more attesting when it is considered in its Gospel context, for it comes immediately after the description of the Last Judgment. On the eve of His Passion He repeats His doctrine that the resume of the whole law is the loving of one's neighbor as oneself, and He adds: If you love Me, keep My commandments. Now, what do the inhabitants of Purgatory mean to Christ? They are, after the Blessed in Heaven, the choicest portion of His flock. They are the predestined, the saints, and the elect who will soon take their place in the Heavenly Jerusalem. It can be said that Christ, the Head of the Mystical Body which is His Church, suffers in some way in each of His suffering members; that He is, so to speak, an exile in Purgatory in the person of each soul there. To visit, to console them, is to visit and console Him. We cannot please Him more than by delivering these elect. Can we claim to have a true love for the Savior if, when we can easily help Him in the person of the souls dear to Him, we yet neglect to do so?

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2. Our Love of the Church Triumphant.

That which pleases God rejoices also the angels and saints. If there is great joy in Heaven upon the conversion of one sinner on earth, how much more so when a new saint makes his entrance there. By delivering the souls in Purgatory, by hastening their entrance to Heaven, we draw on ourselves the gratitude of all Paradise; we forge bonds of friendship with all it's inhabitants. Happy he who lays up for himself the patronage of his brethren in Heaven, for the day of his own departure from earth.

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3. Our Love of the Church Suffering.

First, there is the common bond of fraternal charity, for they are all our brethren in distress, to whom the precept of loving our neighbors as ourselves has full meaning. The limits of our world are not the limits of Christian charity. Charity extends to all places where we have brethren. It mounts to Heaven, and descends to Purgatory. In the name of our brotherhood in Christ, every soul in Purgatory has a right to our assistance; and so the Church prays for all those who rest in Christ, without exception. And we have seen in our own days how the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Virgin have drawn attention to the forgotten souls in Purgatory who receive no personal prayers, so let us follow Holy Mother Church's example.

Some among these souls may also have some injustice, which we have done them on earth and which has not been forgiven by us, either because we did not wish it, or because circumstances have rendered the reparation impossible. The forms that injustice can take are very numerous: we can injure a person in his soul, in his reputation, in his health, in his social position, and in a hundred other ways. They are enduring a longer Purgatory, of which we have been the occasion, and perhaps to a large extent, the cause. And who can number the sins we may have occasioned to such-and-such a soul by our injuries, our complaints, our impatience, our roughness of character? All this requires restitution, reparation, satisfaction. An easy method of discharging this debt of justice is by offering many suffrages for the departed soul.

Who among us has not seen many we called our friends depart from this life? In all probability, many of them are still in Purgatory. True friendship survives the grave, for it triumphs over death, the enemy of man, the fruit of sin.

Let us remember that those we have loved on earth are always living; that we will soon join them and they will be our companions for eternity. If we have forgotten them, we will have proved the proverb: "out of sight out of mind" -- and how we shall blush to meet them. Let us spare ourselves these humiliations. But if we have not forgotten them, our reunion will be without a shadow. It will be one of thankfulness.

Then, there are strong bonds of gratitude and obligation which bind us to our dear ones: a father, a mother, a brother, a sister, a wife, a husband, children dearly loved, etc. How can we forget them, when they have passed to the next life? And let us not forget the bond of spiritual charity that exists between the priest and us. It is the priest that allows us to be born into Christ and receive the sacraments. All those who have been in any sense our spiritual fathers, have a special right to our suffrages, and we should not forget them.

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4. Our own Interest.

We will here show that one of the surest means to secure our own final perseverance and even to obtain Heaven immediately after death, is the constant exercise of the mercy toward the suffering souls. For it is written: "Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy."

The souls that we help relief and release from Purgatory by having the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered up for them, gained indulgences, praying for them, giving alms, works of penance, good works, etc. will give us a multitude of intercessors for us in Heaven and Purgatory. They will be pleading for us on our death bed. Remember there are no ungrateful hearts in Heaven.

The Holy Souls will always be interceding for us and will obtain many favors for us. For as St. John Vianney said, "If we only knew the power of their intercession, we would not be remiss in praying for them!"

 

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