This line taken from the beginning of Psalm 100 (101) is easily applied to the Holy Souls in Purgatory – for whom we pray particularly on this Easter Friday of the Divine Mercy novena. While they wait and suffer, eagerly longing to enter the fulness of heaven, they are in continual praise and adoration of God’s Mercy as they willingly adore and satisfy the requirements of God’s Justice.
Only those souls totally purified of sin can remain in the presence of God. To be in God’s heavenly presence and to be stained with sin is agony. So the Mercy of God prepared a place of purification; the experience we call Purgatory. The good Lord grants us many opportunities on earth to become completely converted to Him before we die, because He knows that any converting we didn’t do in this life will have to be done in the next life. Each one of us is on a different stage on the journey of conversion and each one of us takes a different amount of time to get from one stage to the next.
Think, for example, about how long it has taken you to see the necessity of forgiving your enemies. Some people might take a year to get to that point, others could take 20 years to get there. A further step on the journey of conversion would be willingly praying for your enemies and an even more advanced step would be to love your enemies. See what Jesus said about this to St Gertrude the Great….“I desire my close friends to follow Me by showing greater affection for their enemies than for their benefactors, because they will derive incomparibly more benefit from their enemies.” You need to get to each step before the good Lord can lead you to the next step.
Understanding this will help you comprehend why some souls will spend a few years in Purgatory and others will spend many decades. By the way we live we choose how much of our conversion continuum happens on earth and how much happens in Purgatory.
That is why it makes perfect sense to me that on Good Friday the Divine Mercy novena asks that we pray for sinners, and on Easter Friday the same novena asks us to pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. In the first we are praying for the conversion of the living and in the latter we are praying for the conversion of the dead. They are two sides of the same coin.
How great the Mercy of God is! He is always seeking ways to reduce the amount of time that souls spend in Purgatory. With this Divine Mercy novena intention the Lord Jesus has created a new day especially dedicated to aiding the Holy Souls in addition to the Feast Day of All Souls (2nd Nov). In my books, today is a day of joy because it is a day set apart for the relief of the Suffering Souls.
The Scripture readings for today’s Mass don’t lend themselves to the novena intentions as much as on the other days. The closest we come to is having Peter and John in prison for healing the lame man (Acts chapter 4). Prisons and Purgatory have a lot in common. In the Gospel we see God’s loving care for the disciples, preparing them breakfast on the beach – even though they seem to be more interested in counting fish. It is a reminder, however, to trust the judgement of Jesus, -not our own – and to trust His judgement particularly with those things that we cannot see (like Purgatory).
So important is this Novena intention for the Holy Souls that Jesus used it to impart quite a bit if teaching. He invites us to ask Him to send torrents of His Blood upon the Holy Souls and reminds us how much we can bring relief these Holy Souls if we pray and offer indulgenced prayers for them. Immensely loved by Jesus, He acutely feels the delay in being united to them even worse than they do. Praying for the Suffering Souls is one way to show Jesus Himself Mercy.
Here are some prayers that you might like to use….
Eternal Father, I offer You the Holy Wounds of Your Son, and His Precious Blood, for the conversion of sinners and for the relief of the souls in Purgatory. Amen.
Eternal Father, by virtue of Your generosity and love, I ask that You accept all my actions, and that You multiply their value in favour of every soul in Purgatory. Amen.
O gentlest Heart of Jesus, ever present in the Blessed Sacrament, ever consumed with burning love for the poor captive souls in Purgatory, have mercy on the soul of Your departed servant ……………….. Be not severe in Your judgment, but let some drops of Your Precious Blood fall on him (or her), and send, O merciful Saviour, Your angels to conduct him (or her) to a place of refreshment, light and peace. Amen.
O Holy Souls in Purgatory, who are the certain heirs of heaven, souls most dear to Jesus as the trophies of His Precious Blood and to Mary, mother of mercy, obtain for me through your intercession the grace to lead a holy life, to die a happy death and to attain to the blessedness of eternity in heaven. Dear sufferings souls, who languish in your prison of pain and long to be delivered in order to praise and glorify God in heaven, by your unfailing pity help me at this time, particularly in ………………… that I may obtain relief and assistance from God. In gratitude for your intercession I offer to God on your behalf the satisfactory merits of all my works and sufferings of this day (week, month, or whatever space of time you wish to designate), Amen.
Jesus, I trust in You.
(P.S. following on from yesterdays blogpost, you might be interested in reading about a near death experience…. www.catholicherald.co.uk/features/2012/04/09/as-i-lay-dying-a-voice-said-lets-go/ )