Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, October 28, 2019

All Souls Novena, Day Four

A friend put together a group to pray the All Souls Novena, to end on Nov. 2, for the souls in Purgatory. And since it's never too late to start, I thought you'd like to pray it with me. Here are the meditations for the first three days.
There is a place for the purification of souls which, after death, are yet stained with venial sins, or have not yet entirely satisfied for their pardoned sins. By the light of the flames of Purgatory, I understand better Your holiness, Your justice, Your mercy, O my God! "Who shall ascend into the mountain of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His Holy Place? The innocent in hands, and clean of heart." (Ps. 24) "There shall not enter into Heaven anything defiled." (Rev. 21:27) Oh my God, You are all holy and perfect purity. No sin can enter Your presence without destruction. Purgatory is the chamber of Your mercy where all sin is finally eradicated from the soul in preparation to see You face to face. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction." (2 Cor. 1:3-4) 
Just as it is on earth, so too after death, the burning away of selfishness and attachment to sin is painful.  And in Purgatory there is nothing to distract from the terrible pain of purification, as there so readily is on earth.  Scripture compares the purification of the soul to the burning of fire.  “For You, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried…we went through fire and water; yet You have brought us forth to a place of abundance.” (Ps.66:10-12)  “Behold, I have refined you, but not like silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.” (Is.48:10)  So too, after death: “Each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.  If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.  If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” (1Cor.3:13-15 
The darkening of the intellect that came with the Fall casts a fog over our human perceptions.  In our weakness and selfishness, we choose lesser goods over the greater.  We choose ourselves over others.  We choose things over God who is Everything.  “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully.” (1Cor13:12)  In the clear light of Purgatory, the soul can finally see the countless times he exchanged gold for dung, chose dust over diamonds.  So many opportunities lost, so many chances rejected.  Pointlessness chosen over acts of eternal significance.  And the pain of regret is excruciating.  “I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me.” (Ps.50:5) 
I've been chewing on this theme of the powerlessness of Purgatory.

Anyone who's given birth knows the agony of transition, that point when your body is preparing to push the baby out. It is miserable, and there's nothing you can do -- you shake, you are racked with pain, your guts are being ripped out, and there's no stopping anything at that point. You cannot help or hinder the process. All you can do is endure. You are not changing -- you are being changed.

A more universal example is losing a tooth. Not long ago, my son came into my bedroom moaning, because his molar was at that stage where it was twisting and hanging on by a thread, but it was going to hurt even more to just pull it and get it over with. It had been years since I'd remembered the waiting pain of losing a tooth, but I could feel my own molars throbbing sympathetically.

Purgatory is transitional. We are being remade, through fire. Everything that is not God is being burned away. And we cannot change. The change is done for us. That happens on Earth, certainly, but here in life we can take an active part in our changing, hastening, hindering. In Purgatory it is done to us. How much better to transition now, while we're still alive and can actively participate in our own purification.

Because let me tell you, ain't much worse than the pain of transition, and I'd rather only go through it in this life.

All Souls Novena, Day 4

(Act of Faith:) My God, I believe in You, because You are Truth itself; I firmly believe the truths revealed to the Church.
(Act of Hope:) My God, I hope in You, because You are infinitely good.
(Act of Love:) My God, I love You with all my heart, and above all things, because You are infinitely perfect; and I love my neighbor as myself, for the love of You.

Nothing else is humanly harder to bear than painful waiting.  All the souls in Purgatory are sure one day to reach Heaven.  They know how wonderful Heaven is and how desirable is God.  “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1Cor2:9)  But they cannot follow the violent impulse that drives them toward their happiness.  One can hear their anxious eagerness echoed in the words of the Psalmist: “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me for ever? How long will You hide Your face from me?  How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all the day?” (Ps.13:1-2)  They must hunger for God and still be withheld from the possession of Him.  So in Purgatory there is hope and certainty and love and eagerness—and long periods of waiting…waiting…  Father of Mercy, out of love for our departed loved ones, we pray:

Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord;
Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication:

If You, O Lord, mark iniquities,
Lord, who can stand?
But with You is forgiveness,
that You may be revered.

I trust in the Lord;
my soul trusts in His word.
My soul waits for the Lord
more than sentinels wait for the dawn.

More than sentinels wait for the dawn,
let Israel wait for the Lord.
For with the Lord is kindness,
and with Him is plenteous redemption;
And He will redeem Israel from all their iniquities.

O Greatly Merciful God, Infinite Goodness, today all mankind calls out from the abyss of its misery to Your mercy, to Your compassion, O God; and it is with a mighty voice of misery that it cries out. Gracious God, do not reject the prayer of this earth’s exiles! O Lord, Goodness beyond our understanding, Who are acquainted with our misery through and through and know that by our own power we cannot ascend to You, we implore You: fill us and the souls in Purgatory with Your grace and keep on increasing Your mercy in us. Let the omnipotence of Your mercy bless our dearly departed.  Amen.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed for whom we offer this novena, rest in peace. Amen.

1 comment:

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

Thank you. This is just what I need right now.