A PROPOSITION TO ALL: THE DECISION IS YOURS!
(Interview with Maria Simma written by Sister Emmanuel Maillard of Medjugorje)
Now, I have a proposition to make to each one of you: we could make the decision that none of us will go to Purgatory! This is really possible, we have everything in our hands to make it come true. I remember the words of St. John of the Cross: he says that the Providence of God always provides, in every life, the purification that is needed to allow us to go straight to Heaven at the hour of death.
Providence puts enough difficulties in our lives, trials, suffering, sickness, hardships -- so that all these purifications, if we accept them, may be enough to bring us straight to Heaven.
Why doesn't this happen? Because we rebel, we do not welcome with love, with gratitude, these gifts of trials in our lives, and we sin by rebelling, by non-submission if you prefer. So, let us ask the Lord for the grace to seize every opportunity so that on the day of our death He sees us shining with purity and beauty.
Of course, if we decide on this, I do not say that the way will be easy, since - let's remember this - the Lord never promised that the way would be easy but our way will be in peace, and it will be a path of happiness: the Lord will be with us.
Above all -- and this is what I would like to stress here -- let us make the most of the time which remains to us on earth, this time which is so precious, during which we are still given the chance to grow in love. This means to grow towards the Glory to come and the beauty; which is destined for us. Each minute, we can still grow in love, but the souls in Purgatory can no longer grow.
Even the angels envy us this power we have to grow each minute in love while we are on earth. Each little act of love we offer to the Lord, each little sacrifice or fast, each little privation or battle against our tendencies, our faults, each little forgiveness of our enemy, all the things we can offer of this sort, will be later for us an ornament, a jewel, a real treasure for eternity.
So, let us seize every opportunity to be as beautiful as God desires us to be already in His presence. If we saw in its full light the splendor of a pure soul, of a soul purified, then we would cry for joy and wonder, because of its beauty! A human soul is something of great splendor before God; this is why God desires us to be perfectly pure. It is pure. No, it is through our repentance of our sins, and our humility.
You see, it's quite different! The saints are not "faultless" souls, but those who get up again and again each time they fall, and ask forgiveness; it's very different. So, let us make use of the wonderful means the Lord puts into our hands to help the souls still waiting to possess God and who yearn because of this delay, because of this splendid God they have already perceived and whom they desire with all their hearts.
Also, we must not forget that the Prayers of Children has an immense power over the Heart of God. So, let's teach our children to pray. I remember a little girl to whom I had spoken about the poor souls. I said to her: "Now, you're going to pray for the souls of all the members of your family and friends who are already dead. Would you like to go before Jesus and ask him?" She went before Jesus, and five minutes later she returned, and I asked her: "What did you ask the Lord?" She answered: "I asked the Lord to deliver all the souls in Purgatory!" This answer struck me greatly and I realized I'd been miserly in my request, but she had understood straight away what to ask for. Children sense so much, they can obtain so much from the heart of God.
Also, Let's mention here retired people and all those who have free time; if they went to Mass often, daily...What a treasure of grace they would store up, not only for themselves but for their deceased and for thoughts of souls! The value of one single Mass is immeasurable. If we only realized!… What riches our ignorance, our indifference, or simply our laziness lead us to waste! Whereas we have the power in our hands to save our brother, by becoming co-redeemer ourselves, together with Jesus our Savior and our Redeemer!
DON’T FORGET ABOUT INDULGENCES
Mother Church has some wonderful treasures in store for us -- let's take a closer look at some of them!
"Through indulgences the faithful can obtain the remission of temporal punishment resulting from sins for themselves and also for the souls of Purgatory" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1498)
What is an indulgence? Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say:
An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the Saints.
"An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin." Indulgences may be applied to the living or the dead." (1471)
Jesus gave to his disciples, and therefore to the Church, the power to bind and to loose, and down through the centuries, in many different ways, the Church has used this channel of the mercy of God towards the living and the dead.
Everything concerning indulgences was revised by Pope Paul VI; the results can be found in The Book of Indulgences, Rules and Grants, published June 29, 1968 (Vatican Publishers).
"The aim pursued by ecclesiastical authority in granting indulgences is not only that of helping the faithful to expiate the punishment due to sin, but also that of urging them to perform works of piety, penitence and charity--particularly those which lead to growth in faith and which favor the common good."
"And if the faithful offer indulgences in suffrage for the dead, they cultivate charity in an excellent way and while raising their minds to heaven they bring a wiser order into the things of this world."
"Although indulgences are in fact free gifts, nevertheless they are granted for the living as well as for the dead only on determined conditions...the faithful have to love God, detest sin, place their trust in the merits of Christ and believe firmly in the great assistance they derive from the communion of saints."
As a result of the reform, all distinctions of day, month, and year have been abolished; the only distinction retained is that between plenary and partial indulgence.
We should also note the following:
NO ONE PERSON CAN GIVE THE INDULGENCE HE OBTAINS TO ANOTHER PERSON WHO IS STILL LIVING. BOTH PLENARY AND PARTIAL INDULGENCES CAN ALWAYS BE GIVEN FOR THE DEAD.
"The faithful who use with devotion an object of piety (crucifix, cross, rosary, scapular or medal) properly blessed by any priest, can acquire a partial indulgence. But if this object is blessed by the Supreme Pontiff or any Bishop, the faithful who use it devoutly can also acquire a plenary indulgence on the Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, provided they also make a Profession of Faith using any legitimate formula."
In Medjugorje, on July 18, 1995, Our Lady said:
"Dear children, today I call you to place more blessed objects in your homes and call everyone to put some blessed object on their person. Bless all objects, and thus Satan will attack you less because you will have armor against him."
"To acquire a plenary indulgence it is necessary to perform the work to which the indulgence is attached and to fulfill three conditions: Sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff. It is further required that all attachment to sin, even to venial sin, be absent."
The condition of praying for the Supreme Pontiff's intention is fully satisfied by reciting one "Our Father" and one "Hail Mary." Nevertheless, the individual faithful are free to recite any other prayer according to their own piety and devotion toward the Supreme Pontiff.
The new reform provides for three concessions:
1. Partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who, in fulfilling their duties and in facing the adversities of life, raise their souls to God with humble confidence, and add in their heart a pious invocation.
2. Partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who, with a soul full of faith and mercy, give themselves of their goods to their brothers in need.
3. Partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who, in a spirit of repentance, deprive themselves spontaneously of something.
Plenary indulgence can be obtained on the following occasions:
1. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for at least one half-hour.
2. Recitation of the entire rosary in Church, as a family or in community.
3. Making the Stations of the Cross.
4. Reading Holy Scripture for at least one half-hour.
5. A Church visit between Noon of November 1 and Midday of November 2, for the intention of the deceased.
6. Visiting a cemetery, for the intention of the deceased.
7. Taking part in a First Holy Communion ceremony, or the first Mass of a Priest, or the Anniversary of 25, 50, or 60 years of priesthood.
8. Renewing one's Baptismal Promise during the Easter Vigil.
9. Adoration of the Cross during the Good Friday Liturgy.
10. Papal Benediction, even when received listening to the radio or watching on television.
By going to Confession regularly, one can obtain many plenary indulgences.
Only one plenary indulgence a day is permitted, but one may obtain a number of partial indulgences on one day by reciting certain prayers suggested by the Church. Below are some prayers for the Holy Souls.
Prayers for the Holy Souls1. To you, Blessed Joseph
2. Angelus Domini
3. Chaplet of the Holy Souls
4. Daily Prayers for the Holy Souls
5. Cardinal Newman’s Prayer for the Holy Souls
6. Liberera Me
7. Psalm 130 (De profundis)
8. O Salutaris Hostia Sacra
9. Prayer to Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth
10. A prayer for the Dead
11. A Prayer for Our Dear Departed
12. Prayers for the Holy Souls
13. Deliver Them from Purgatory
14. Prayer of St. Gertrude for the Holy Souls
This list is not complete.
Partial indulgences are obtained through concerted acts of faith, hope, and love, in the midst of the trials of life and as we carry out the duties of our daily lives. Indulgences are also obtained by acts of charity towards our neighbor, voluntary fasting, and ejaculatory prayers or spontaneous thought addressed to God, to the Blessed Mother, to the Holy Family. The Book of Indulgences contains a list of suggest prayers; it is a precious book to read.