Charity for the Suffering Souls: An Explanation of the Catholic Doctrine of Purgatoryby Rev John a. Nageleisen
"There is no doubt but that the question of our existence after death is the most important and consequential of all questions. It is the fundamental question of life, decisive of our eternal destiny. Therefore it ever was, and must be, the ultimate
There is another shorter edition of this work in reprint, which omits some of the chapters contained in this volume.
"There is no doubt but that the question of our existence after death is the most important and consequential of all questions. It is the fundamental question of life, decisive of our eternal destiny. Therefore it ever was, and must be, the ultimate and essential purpose of Religion to answer this question." begins Father Nageleisen in this work on Purgatory. Father summarizes the doctrine of Purgatory in two simple sentences: "1) There is, in the next world, a temporary place for the atonement of such venial sins, and temporal punishments of sin, as man is found guilty of on his departure from this world. 2) The faithful can, by prayer and good works, especially by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, assist the souls suffering in Purgatory." He proceeds to prove that all reasonable people believe in the doctrine of Purgatory and concludes: "There is no doubt that in all these cases each one receives a gracious sentence; that all are saved because they died in the grace of God: but can they enter heaven immediately? No; "there shall not enter into it anything defiled.""
The consideration of the condition of those in Purgatory begins: "There is a middle state-a state of purification-after this life: this is a natural claim of the human heart's affection, acknowledged unanimously by all nations, but of which we receive certainty and a complete and correct conception only by revealed religion. 'The souls of those who died in the state of grace, but were not found Sufficiently pure to enter the heavenly Jerusalem, are sentenced to this state." He considers the sufferings, consolations, duration and location of Purgatory. After this consideration a great deal of space is devoted to discussing the many works we can do to relieve the poor souls in Purgatory and indeed what we can do for ourself in order to reduce and even eliminate our own need for Purgatory after death.
This chapter is followed by the motives that should encourage us to pray for the Poor forgotten Souls in Purgatory. "Devotion to the Suffering Souls is essentially the exercise of the love of God and our neighbor, sometimes in a heroic degree. Its preeminence over other devotions is due to the fact that it leads us to the fulfilment of our duties towards God and man. This devotion tends in many different ways to the one end, namely our reconcilation with God by contrition, confession and amendment." We should meditate on why people are in Purgatory and what we can do to avoid going there our own self.
And there are stories in this book, such as the following, to inspire us: "When the Venerable Frances of the Blessed Sacrament was occupied with her daily work, she would often see herself surrounded by souls from Purgatory who plaintively informed her of their sufferings and implored her help. Amongst others a Cardinal appeared to 'her twice; and after telling her his name and rank he asked her to pray for him; and he concluded saying, "Oh, that I had been a simple lay-brother in a convent! For the duties and responsibilities of a prince of the Church are exceedingly grave; and because I have not been as attentive to some of my duties as I might have been, I am now in the torments of expiation.""
We next find out the gratitude the Poor Souls have for our assistance. Who would not be grateful to someone that frees them from a terrible prison? We can hope that the prayers of those we liberate will help us become saints!
A chapter is devoted to the Heroic Act of Charity in favor of the Poor Souls and its benefits.
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