Monday, February 12, 2007

Novena for the Holy Souls - Day 9

Q: How do I become a Saint?
A: Help others become Saints
"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (Ephesians 5:1-2)
As stated yesterday the "Heroic Act of Charity" is the offering of the satisfactory value (not the merits) of all of our works, prayers and sufferings and works for the entirety of our lives and of any offerings or spiritual benefits gained after death for the relief of the souls in Purgatory. We do this by first deciding to do so, and then praying (using our own words or the more formal prayer below) to offer these things to God through Mary's hands. Doing this is not a matter of taking a vow; it doesn't bind under pain of sin, and it is revokable (unless one vows never to revoke the Act). But it is a tremendous sacrifice, hence the name. It is truly heroic, a giving up of one's own earned relief from the temporal effects of sin -- even relief of the sufferings of Purgatory -- for the good of others. In addition to asking God to use their satisfactory works for the souls in Purgatory, those who make this Act also receive a plenary indulgence (under the usual conditions) for the souls in Purgatory each time they receive Communion, and each time they hear Mass for the sake of the departed. Words to a formal Act of Heroic Charity are as follows:
Heroic Act of Charity
O Holy and Adorable Trinity, desiring to aid in the relief and release of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, through my devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, I cede and renounce, on behalf of these souls, all the satisfactory part of my works, and all the suffrages which may be given to me after my death. In their entirety, I offer them to Mary, the Most Holy Mother of God, that she may use them, according to her good pleasure, for those souls of the faithful departed whom she desires to alleviate their suffering. O my God, deign to accept and bless my offering which I make to Thee through the most august Queen of Heaven and Earth. Amen+
The greatest advantage to making this act is the increase we will receive for our eternal glory. We will receive a greater degree of God for all eternity. In making this act we imitate God's own charity - he spent all, gave all for us. According to Susan Tassone..
"The heroic act is an exchange of glory for merit, of purgatory for heaven, of time for eternity, of pain for glory and for God. It is one of the greatest sacrifices we can make to God. We take upon ourselves to pay 'to the last penny' the whole of the debt that we now own, and may ever owe to God." (Thirty-Day Devotions for the Holy Souls, Our Sunday Visitor, 2004)
Not everyone is called perhaps to this, but pray about it at least. Copy the Heroic Act of Charity onto your computer, think on it, pray some more. Yes, you will be left indigent and without your "covering of satisfactory works" but since you are poor on account of your charity, Our Lord will be powerfully moved to cover you with His own. Be an imitator of Our Lord who emptied Himself for you. Empty yourself spiritually for others and be a receiver of His generous grace!
Graciously hear, O God, the fervent prayers we offer Thee for the suffering
and poor souls in purgatory who, not having satisfied Thy justice,
confide in Thine infinite mercy and our intercessions.
Extend unto them Thy consolations,
and redeem them, through Christ our Lord. Amen+
Our Father, Hail Mary...
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual
light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen+
Meditations of the End of Man
Fight the good fight of faith; lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art called. (I Tim 6:12)

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