All who die in God’s grace, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven (ccc -1030).
I feel compelled today to tell you of a dream I had a few years back. The reason I feel compelled to tell it is because first, it was so clear to me that purgatory is a real process of purification and second, because the dream was about a Priest and I feel we are at a crossroads. Priests and lay people alike need to decide whose kingdom they are serving.
Of late we have seen many Priests who will not preach the full truth and some who defy it, and some who even defile it.
Priests, in particular, have a greater responsibility to preach the truth because they are “in persona Christi.” When a Priest is scared to do what he is called to do, when he defies what he is called to do, or when he defiles it, he puts not just his own salvation in jeopardy, but the salvation of his flock whom he is leading. Priests must take their duty to the Gospel seriously.
I believe God has compelled me to pray so much for Priests because their responsibility is so great. I tell this story as a motivation for us to keep praying for our Priests, and to help them be strong in the faith.
I once knew a Priest who did not preach truth. He flat out told me to have my tubes tied and stop having children. At the time he said it, I didn’t even blink (save for the voices of my mom and dad in the back of my head which I had buried down), as I was immersed in the world myself. It wasn’t until after Veronica’s murder that God revealed to me how true the church teachings are and how twisted my thinking had been – and that Priests had been as well.
When the Priest passed away, at the exact moment of his death a parishioner was at his bedside praying a chaplet of mercy for him. Praise be to God.
“It pleases me to grant everything souls ask of me by saying the chaplet. When hardened sinners say it, I will fill their souls with peace, and the hour of their death will be a happy one. Write this for the benefit of distressed souls; when a soul sees and realizes the gravity of its sins, when the whole abyss of the misery into which it immersed itself is displayed before its eyes, let it not despair, but with trust, let it throw itself into the arms of My mercy, as a child into the arms of its beloved mother. Tell them no soul that has called upon My mercy has been disappointed or brought to shame. I delight particularly in a soul that has placed its trust in My goodness. Write that when they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My father and the dying person, not as the Just Judge but as the Merciful Saviour.” (Diary of Saint Faustina, 1541)
Shortly after this Priest died I began having dreams about him. They were so vivid.
In the first dream he came hobbling into the church office and fell to the floor. He barely made it in the door from the outside. I was looking at him on the floor asking him if he was okay. He said no. He said, “please help me, you are the only one who can help me, I cannot make it into the church.”
I said, “I cannot be the only one to help you, you are too heavy.” He responded, “no, it has to be you, no one else will help me.”
At that moment a line of Priests came through the office door. Each Priest looked down at him and stepped over him. I started yelling at the Priests, “aren’t you going to help him?” They all just ignored me like I was crazy and continued to step over him. I realized his own brother Priests were doing nothing to help him.
I looked down upon this Priest. He cried for my help, pleading with me. I told him even if I was the only one, I would help him get into church. My heart ached for how much he was suffering and how many ignored him. Then I woke up.
I began to pray for the soul of this Priest that day. I had several more dreams about him. They were always along the same lines, but not as desperate as the first. At some point I had earned a plenary indulgence and I asked the Lord to give it to him. I did not know at the time about Gregorian Masses. If I had, I would have gotten him some.
The dreams stopped after I offered the Lord the plenary indulgence. I don’t tell you that to be like – “oh look at me I did a great thing.” I tell you so you won’t forget the souls in purgatory. I tell you so you won’t forget to pray for the deceased and to pray for our Priests everyday. I tell you because in my prayer the Lord told me to tell you.
I cannot describe the immensity of the suffering this Priest was in. I would never want to see anyone suffer like that. At the same time, knowing he was in purgatory, what a mercy. His purification means he can make it to heaven and I believe he did.
As we approach all souls day in November, let us not forget the holy souls. And for us, let us remember make our yes be yes and our no be no. Remember always whose kingdom you want to serve.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven. I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:19-20
Sue, it was not that long ago that priests said mass every day for the living or the dead. Then, with post Vatican II novelties such as concelebrated masses, many religious orders dropped the purgatorial societies they had. They used to have privileged altars where indulgences masses where said for the dead. Another casualty of the “reforms.” The loss of the sequence “Dies Irae” also played a role in the general post Vatican II uproar that lead priests to believe that purgatory was no longer a concern. At funeral homes, the wake often included a rosary for the deceased and vespers from the Office of the Dead. I have not seen vespers at a funeral home in 37 years.
I strongly urge everyone to say the traditional office of the dead as well as have masses said. Now. I find priests are asking for mass intentions. Only 15 years ago and you might only wait a couple of weeks for your mass to be said.
I just sent in mass intentions to the fraternity of st Peter for deceased souls of my clients.
It’s sad what’s happened. Breaks my heart. I do have Masses said for deceased souls now and I know my parents always had it done – but other than that I didn’t see it much at all.
Thank you James for mentioning the funeral home rosary.
Father would come to the wake and after his prayers and blessing we would start the rosary. Then years later only a decade.
It’s maddening. I must remember to ask for the rosary ,a decade at least ,at my viewing.
Hi, James! At the risk of sounding ignorant, what is the Office of the Dead? And where can I find it?
I think a lot of people want to know.
Mick, Sue and everybody:
The Office of the Dead is found in the Roman Breviary and Liturgy of the Hours. I do NOT recommend the post Vatican II version in the LOTH. It makes it sound as if the deceased is already in heaven and we are celebrating that as a fact. This so called “renewed ” Office also plays its role in corroding prayer for the dead, especially amongst priests.
The traditional office is somber and I say it several times throughout the year. It is found in the Baronius Breviary and in the Angelus Press The Little Office of the Virgin Mary and the Office of the Dead, as well as the Monastic Diurnal. Ancilla Press has an inexpensive copy if the Office at $4.00. In fact, Ancilla Press has the old Office for Halloween! Check it out!
Thank you James.
One more comment. There was an old Irish custom of saying the prayer “Eternal Rest grant unto them , O Lord . . .” When one passed by a graveyard. That should be revived and encouraged. I have taught my children that pious custom.
we do that!
Thank you, James. I just ordered 2 copies from Ancilla Press, one for me and one for my oldest son. THey will arrive just in time for the month of the Holy Souls.
Reblogged this on Annie and commented:
Remember the dead. You could be their lifeline.
Sue, I read with great interest this story about praying for priests in Purgatory. Probably about 15 years ago or so I was given a prayer card and specially made “rosary”. The prayer card was “The Chaplet For Priests In Purgatory”. I’ve said it pretty much every day since then, and since I also make cord rosaries I was able to make some of them myself. After Fr. Chambra (of Divine Mercy Shrine fame) gave a retreat in my area about 3 or 4 years ago, I went up afterwards and asked him if he’d ever heard of this Chaplet. He said he hadn’t, and asked how he could get some, for he’d really like to start giving them out at other retreats. I made a few hundred for him and he’s given them out ever since. I have a few hundred more made up and was wondering if you’d like one to have, and maybe share with your readership. Larry Landolfi
Absolutely. email me at email@example.com
Lord I pray for the holy souls in purgatory.
I ask for your mercy upon them.
I ask that today you would find one soul in particular need of prayer,
perhaps someone who has no one to pray for them;
and bring him or her through the gates of heaven,
to live with you in paradise,
praising and worshiping you together with your angels and saints,
forever and ever.
I know it sounds crazy, but I had a real experience related to my dad going to Purgatory. My dad was a pretty good guy. He came from a large, good, Catholic family. When he was 85 he went into the hospital on a Sunday because he started choking on some food at home, and while trying to clear it, he fell and hurt himself. Nothing life threatening. The doc said he’d be home in a couple days. Well, I had a dream and my deceased grandma (his mom) told me in the dream to “make sure my baby gets Last Rites.” Even though my dad was slated to come home in a day or two, I asked the priest at the hospital to administer Annointing of the Sick, take him communion, and hear his confession, etc., which he did. Well, dad got a staph infection that tore through him rapidly. He died the Sunday after being admitted to the hospital. So the dream was very prophetic. Long story short, after the Catholic mass, as the pall bearers carried the coffin to the hearse, I was the last one to release the rail on the coffin as if was loaded into the back of the hearse. As I released my hand from the coffin rail, my dad came to me. I did not see him, but I saw two angels, and I “knew” dad as between them somehow. The angels did not look at me or acknowledge me in any way. They were all business. And my dad said as clear as a bell, “I just want to say thank you, and now I want to go.” I can still see it, hear it, and experience it now, just as if it just happened. I knew in that instant hat my dad was thanking me for getting the priest to him to administer to his final needs. I also knew in my heart that my dad was on his way to begin his purgatory. He wanted to get it started. I thought I’d share this. I’ve only told my wife. It was 17 years ago. Of course I’ve prayed for his soul and had masses said, etc. I’m not sure why God allowed him to give me that “goodbye” but I am thankful for it, because I had the knowledge that while my dad did not go straight to Heaven, he was saved. And I was quite aware that, at the grave yard, as the priest gave his final blessing over the coffin and grave, my dad was no longer there. He left after the mass. That’s my story. Thanks for reading it. God bless your work.
Does not sound the least bit crazy to me. Praise God you gave your father a provided for death.
Susan, Thank you so much for this post. I, too, have a burning love for the holy souls. “Burning” calls to mind their pains…
You may feel called to take the Heroic Vow where you give all your “satisfaction” to the Holy Souls, or when you pledge all the part of your good works that satisfies God’s justice towards you to the Holy Souls. The text of the prayer is below:
Oh Holy and Adorable Trinity, desiring to co-operate in the deliverance of the souls in Purgatory, and to testify my devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, I cede and renounce on behalf of those holy souls all the satisfactory part of my works, and all the suffrages which may be given to me after my death, consigning them entirely into the hands of the most Blessed Virgin, that she may apply them accordingly to her good pleasure to those souls of the faithful departed whom she desires to deliver from their sufferings. Deign, O my God, to accept and bless this offering which I make to Thee at this moment. Amen.
In the Pieta Prayer booklet there is a page on prayers in Purgatory.
Did you know that from Nov.1 thru Nov. 8 you can release one soul per day from Purgatory?
A plenary indulgence can be granted each day according to these conditions:
Go to Confession, Attend Mass and receive Holy Communion, Recite prayers for the Pope, and visit a cemetery and praying for the dead while at the cemetery.
I did know that. Thank you!
This article is a reminder to our Shepherd of Christ prayer group to please pray for our priest living and dead. Gertie
Sent from my iPad
Yes pray for our Priests! Living and dead.
Doctor Raymond’s lesson:
There are still Purgatorial sites such as FRIENDS OF THE SUFFERING SOULS. Members pledge a Mass a year for the holy souls.Since there are so many members, the benefit to each soul is multiplied.
Thanks for the information. God Bless you.
Thank your for sharing this, Susan. This powerful story is such a great reminder to me to not slack off in praying for the Holy Souls.
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I pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory every day. I also pray the Prayer for Holy Souls of St,. Gertrude pretty well daily from anywhere from 3 to 50 times on my Rosary. Also the three Beautiful Prayers in the Pieta prayer book are very powerful and are very much appreciated by the Holy Souls in Purgatory through a vison I had in church after I prayed this for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. But this chaplet is special and I will try to promote it as much as possible.