Purgatorian Manual, original work under the title: “Manual of the Purgatorian Society,” is hereby fully approved. Its daily use will be of great spiritual benefit, both to the Catholic who employs it at his devotion, also to the Souls in Purgatory, as the main object of the work is to relieve them in their suffering. We therefore recommend the “Manual” most earnestly to the faithful, and especially to the members of the Purgatorian Society. This edition was published during the second world war in 1941 and was extremely popular among Catholic Americans during the war years.
PUBLISHED BY THE REDEMPTORIST FATHERS
FERDINAND A. LITZ, C. SS. R.
New York, Feast of Pentecost, May 13, 1894.
D. J. McMAHON, D. D.,
✞ MICHAEL AUGUSTINE,
Archbishop of New York.
New York, August 13. 1894
PREFACE: DEVOTION TO THE HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY.
(By St. Alphonsus Liguori)
The practice of recommending to God the souls in Purgatory, that He may mitigate the great pains which they suffer, and that He may soon bring them to His glory, is most pleasing to the Lord and most profit able to us. For these blessed souls are His eternal spouses, and most grateful are they to those who obtain their deliverance from prison, or even a mitigation of their torments.
When, therefore, they arrive in Heaven, they will be sure to remember all who have prayed for them. It is a pious belief that God manifests to them our prayers in their behalf, that they may also pray for us. It is true these blessed souls are not in a state to pray for themselves, because they are so to speak, criminals atoning for their faults. However, because they are very dear to God, they can pray for us, and obtain for us, the divine graces.
St. Catherine of Bologna, when she wished to obtain any grace, had recourse to the souls in Purgatory, and her prayers were heard immediately. She declared that, by praying to those holy souls she obtained many favors which she had sought through the intercession of the saints without obtaining them. The graces which devout persons are said to have received through the holy souls are innumerable. But, if we wish for the aid of their prayers, it is just, it is even a duty, to relieve them by our suffrages. I say it is even a duty; for Christian charity commands us to relieve our neighbors who stand in need of our assistance. But who among all our neighbors have so great need of our help as those holy prisoners? They are continually in that fire which torments more severely than any earthly fire.
They are deprived of the sight of Only God, a torment far more excruciating than all other pains. Let us reflect that among these suffering souls are parents, or brothers, or relatives and friends, who look to us for succor. Let us remember, moreover, that being in the condition of debtors for their sins, they cannot assist themselves. This thought should urge us forward to relieve them to the best of our ability. By assisting them we shall not only give great pleasure to God, but will acquire also great merit for ourselves.
And, in return for our suffrages, these blessed souls will not neglect to obtain for us many graces from God, but particularly the grace of eternal life. I hold for certain that a soul delivered from Purgatory by the suffrages of a Christian, when she enters paradise, will not fail to say to God : “Lord, do not suffer to be lost that person who has liberated me from the prison of Purgatory, and has brought me to the enjoyment of Thy glory sooner than I have deserved.” The Holy Doctor then goes on to urge the faithful to do all in their power to relieve and liberate these blessed souls, by having Masses said for them, by alms, and by their own fervent prayers.
This little “Manual” will no doubt be welcomed by the members of the Purgatorian Society and other pious friends of the suffering souls in Purgatory. New York, May 13, 1894.