A Better Deal for the Poor Souls
taken from The Voice of Padre Pio
The poor souls are eager for the prayers of the faithful, which can gain indulgences for them. Their intercession is powerful.
St. Antoninus and his friend
Here is a narrative of a different kind but not less instructive.
St. Antoninus, the illustrious Archbishop of Florence, relates that a pious gentleman and a great friend of the Dominican Convent in which the Saint resided, died. Many Masses and suffrages were offered for his soul.
The Saint was very much afflicted when, after the lapse of a long time, the soul of the poor gentleman appeared to him, suffering excruciating pains.
"Oh my dear friend," exclaimed the Archbishop, "are you still in Purgatory, you who led such a pious and devout life?"
"Yes, and I shall remain there still for a long time", replied the poor sufferer, "for when on earth, I neglected to offer suffrages for the souls in Purgatory. Now God by a just judgment, has applied the suffrages which have been offered for me to those souls for whom I should have prayed."
"But God, too in His justice will give me all the merits of my good works when I enter Heaven, but first of all I have to expiate my grave neglect in regard to others."
So true are the words of Our Lord: "By that measure with which you measure, it will be measured to you again."
Remember you who read these lines, that the terrible fate of this pious gentleman will be the fate of all those who neglect to pray for and refuse to help the holy souls.
How Pius IX Cured A Bad Memory
The venerable pontiff Pius IX appointed a certain religious, Father Thomas, as bishop of a diocese. The bishop-elect, alarmed by the responsibility placed on his shoulders, earnestly begged to be freed from this appointment. His protests were in vain; the Holy Father knew his merits.
Overcome with apprehension, the humble religious solicited an audience with the pope, who received him most graciously. Once again he pleaded most earnestly to be excused, but the pope was immovable. As a last recourse, Father Thomas said that he had a very bad memory, which would naturally prove to be a grave impediment in the high office placed upon him.
Pius IX answered with a smile: "Your diocese is very small in comparison with the universal Church which I carry on my shoulders. Your cares will be light in comparison to mine. I, too, suffered from a grave defect of memory, but I promised to say a fervent prayer daily for the Holy Souls who in return have obtained for me an excellent memory. Do likewise, dear father, and you will soon have cause to rejoice."1
The Holy Souls Will Repay Us A Thousand Times Over
But what shall we say of the feelings of the Holy Souls themselves? It would be utterly impossible to describe their unbounded gratitude to those who help them! Filled with an immense desire to repay the favors done them they pray for their benefactors with a fervor so great, so intense, so constant that God can refuse them nothing. St. Catherine of Bologna says: "I received many and very great favors from the Saints but still greater favors from the Holy Souls."
When they are finally released from their pains and enjoy the beatitude of Heaven, far from forgetting their friends on earth, their gratitude knows no bounds. Prostrate before the Throne of God they never cease to pray for those who helped them. By their prayers they shield their friends from dangers and protect them from the evils that threaten them.
They will never cease these prayers until they see their benefactors safely in Heaven and will be for ever their dearest, sincerest and best friends.
Did Catholics only know what powerful protectors they secure by helping the Holy Souls they would not be so remiss in praying for them.
1. O'Sullivan P., Father, O.P. wp. 477, p. 24.