Thursday, August 30, 2007

Right Teaching About Purgatory and How to Avoid Going There

From the Good 'ol Baltimore Catechism no. 3, Lesson 14:

184. Who are punished in purgatory?
Those are punished for a time in purgatory who die in the state of grace but are guilty of venial sin, or have not fully satisfied for the temporal punishment due to their sins.
(a) There will be no purgatory after the general judgment.
(b) Since we do not know how long individual souls are detained in purgatory, there is need for persevering prayer for the repose of the souls of all those who die after reaching the use of reason, except those who are canonized or beatified by the Church.
(c) The souls in purgatory are certain of entering heaven as soon as God's justice has been fully satisfied.

How to Avoid Purgatory by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan

1. In every prayer you say, every Mass you hear, every Communion you receive, every good work you perform, have the express intention of imploring God to grant you a holy and happy death and no Purgatory. Surely God will hear a prayer said with such confidence and perseverance.
2. Always wish to do God's will. It is in every sense the best for you. When you do or seek anything that is not God's will, you are sure to suffer. Say fervently, therefore, each time you recite the Our Father: "Thy will be done"
3. Accept all the sufferings, sorrows, pains and disappointments of life, be they great or small: ill health, loss of goods, the death of your dear ones, heat or cold, rain or sunshine, as coming from God. Bear them calmly and patiently for love of Him and in penance for your sins. Of course one may use all his efforts to ward off trouble and pain, but when one cannot avoid them let him bear them manfully. Impatience and revolt make sufferings vastly greater and more difficult to bear.
4. Christ's life and actions are so many lessons for us to imitate. The greatest act in His life was His Passion. As He had a Passion, so each one of us has a passion. Our passion consists in the sufferings and labours of every day. The penance God imposed on man for sin was to gain his bread in the sweat of his brow. Therefore, let us do our work, accept its disappointments and hardships, and bear our pains in union with the Passion of Christ. We gain more merit by a little pain than by years of pleasure.
5. Forgive all injuries and offences, for in proportion as we forgive others, God forgives us.
6. Avoid mortal sins and deliberate venial sins and break off all bad habits. Then it will be relatively easy to satisfy God's justice for sins of frailty. Above all, avoid sins against charity and against chastity, whether in thought, word or deed, for these sins [and the expiation for them] are the reason why many souls are detained in Purgatory for long years.
7. If afraid of doing much, do many little things, acts of kindness and charity, give the alms you can, cultivate regularity of life, method in work, and punctuality in the performance of duty; don't grumble or complain when things are not as you please; don't censure and complain of others; never refuse to do a favour to others when it is possible. These and suchlike little acts are a splendid penance.
8. Do all in your power for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Pray for them constantly, get others to do so . . . and ask all those you know to do likewise. The Holy Souls will repay you most generously.
9. There is no way more powerful of obtaining from God a most holy and happy death than by weekly Confession, daily Mass and daily Communion.
10. A daily visit to the Blessed Sacrament--it need only be three or four minutes--is an easy way of obtaining the same grace. Kneeling in the presence of Jesus with eyes fixed on the Tabernacle, sure that He is looking at us, let us for a few minutes repeat some little prayer like these: "My Jesus, mercy." "My Jesus, have pity on me, a sinner" "My Jesus, I love You" "My Jesus, give me a happy death"

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Our Lady's Tears

"Behold, O my children, the tears of your Mother!" Mary told her. "Shall I weep in vain? Assuage the sorrow of my Heart over the ingratitude of sinful men by the love and chasteness of your lives. Will you do this for me, beloved children -- or will you allow your Mother to weep in vain?" ~ Our Sorrowful Mother to Sr. Sister Mildred Mary Neuzil of Fostoria, Ohio.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Thank You for Your Prayers

Many thanks to all those who in their Christian charity prayed for the soul of my poor mother in law who died last week in Montreal, Quebec.
Eternal rest grant unto her, Lord
May eternal light shine upon her.
May she rest in peace.

Our Lady of Knock II

Seer: Mary Byrne

Testimony of Apparition
1st Commission of Enquiry, 1879

'I live in the village of Knock, to the east side of the chapel. Mary McLoughlin came on the evening of the 21st August to my house at about half past seven o'clock. She remained some little time.

I came back with her as she was returning homewards. It was either eight o'clock or a quarter to eight at the time. It was still bright. I had not heard from Miss McLoughlin about the vision which she had seen just before that.

The first I learned of it was on coming at the time just named from my mother's house in company with Miss Mary McLoughlin, and at the distance of three hundred yards or so from the church. I beheld, all at once, standing out from the gable, and rather to the west of it, three figures which, on more attentive inspection, appeared to be that of the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph and St. John. That of the Blessed Virgin was life-size, the others apparently either not so big or not so high as her figure.

They stood a little distance out from the gable wall and, as well as I could judge, a foot and a half or two feet from the ground.

The Virgin stood erect, with eyes raised to heaven, her hands elevated to the shoulders or a little higher, the palms inclined slightly towards the shoulders or bosom. She wore a large cloak of a white colour, hanging in full folds and somewhat loosely around her shoulders, and fastened to the neck. She wore a crown on the head, rather a large crown, and it appeared to me somewhat yellower than the dress or robes worn by Our Blessed Lady.

In the figure of St. Joseph the head was slightly bent, and inclined towards the Blessed Virgin, as if paying her respect. It represented the saint as somewhat aged, with grey whiskers and greyish hair.

The third figure appeared to be that of St. John the Evangelist. I do not know, only I thought so, except the fact that at one time I saw a statue at the chapel of Lecanvey, near Westport, Co. Mayo, very much resembling the figure which stood now before me in group with St. Joseph and Our Blessed Lady, which I beheld on this occasion.

He held the Book of Gospels, or the Mass Book, open in his left hand, while he stood slightly turned on the left side towards the altar that was over a little from him. I must remark that the statue which I had formerly seen at Lecanvey chapel had no mitre on its head, while the figure which now beheld had one, not a high mitre, but a short set kind of one. The statue at Lecanvey had a book in his left hand, and the fingers of the right hand raised. The figure before me on this present occasion of which I am speaking had a book in the left hand, as I stated, and the index finger and the middle finger of the right hand raised, as if he were speaking, and impressing some point forcibly on an audience. It was this coincidence of figure and pose that made me surmise, for it is only an opinion, that the third figure was that of St. John, the beloved disciple of Our Lord, but I am not in any way sure what saint or character the figure represented. I said, as I now expressed, that it was St. John the Evangelist, and then all the others present said what I stated.

The altar was under the window, which is in the gable and a little to the west near the centre, or a little beyond it. Towards this altar St. John, as I shall call the figure, was looking, while he stood at the Gospel side of the said altar, which his right arm inclined at an angle outwardly, towards the Blessed Virgin. The altar appeared to be like the altars in use in the Catholic Church, large and full-sized. It had no linens, no candles, nor any special ornamentations; it was only a plain altar.

Above the altar and resting on it was a lamb and around it I saw golden stars, or small brilliant lights, glittering like jets or glass balls, reflecting the light of some luminous body.

I remained from a quarter past eight to half past nine o'clock. At the time it was raining.'


Mary was eighty-six at the time of the second Commission of Enquiry. She was interviewed by the commissioners in her bedroom, as she was too ill to leave. She gave her final testimony and concluded with the words:

'I am clear about everything I have said and I make this statement knowing I am going before my God'

Mary died six weeks later.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Please Pray

Prayer Request
Those of you who have been to this blog much will know I have never yet asked for a specific prayer request other than for the souls in Purgatory in general.
Today my mother-in-law passed into eternity. I humbly request your prayers on her behalf for the repose of her soul. Her name is Mary Iris. My husband and I are in Montreal for the funeral and spending time with family at this time of great suffering. I will not post again until our return home.
Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for her. Do not allow her to tarry long in her purification, but escort your humble servant quickly into paradise.
Thank you kind visitors.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Our Lady of Knock

Church Approved Marian Apparition, Knock, Ireland 1879

In this apparition, Mary is also known as Our Lady of Silence because she spoke no words at Knock, unlike her other famous apparitions.


On the evening of August 21, 1879 Mary McLoughlin, the housekeeper to the parish priest of Knock, County Mayo, Ireland, was surprised to see the exterior south wall of the church bathed with mysterious light. Three beautiful figures were standing in front of the wall, which she mistook for replacements of the stone figures destroyed earlier by a storm. She rushed through the rain to her friend Margaret Byrne's house.

After a half hour Mary decided to leave and Margaret's sister Mary agreed to walk home with her. As they passed the church they saw this amazing vision very clearly: Standing out from the gable and to the west of it appeared the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph and St. John. The figure of the Blessed Virgin was life-size, while the others seemed to be neither as large nor as tall. They stood a little away from the gable wall about two feet from the ground. The Virgin was erect with her eyes toward Heaven, and she was wearing a large white cloak hanging in full folds; on her head was a large crown.

Mary Byrne ran to tell her family while Mary McLoughlin gazed at the apparition. Soon a crowd gathered and all saw the apparition. The parish priest, Archdeacon Cavanaugh, did not come out, however, and his absence was a disappointment to the devout villagers. Among the witnesses were Patrick Hill and John Curry. As Patrick later described the scene: 'The figures were fully rounded, as if they had a body and life. They did not speak but, as we drew near, they retreated a little towards the wall.' Patrick reported that he got close enough to make out the words in the book held by the figure of St. John.

An old woman named Bridget Trench drew closer to embrace the feet of the Virgin, but the figure seemed always beyond reach. Others out in the fields and some distance away saw a strange light around the church. The vision lasted for about three hours and then faded.

The next day a group of villagers went to see the priest, who accepted their report as genuine; he wrote to the diocesan Bishop of Tuam; then the Church set up a commission to interview a number of the people claiming to witness the apparition. The diocesan hierarchy was not convinced, and some members of the commission ridiculed the visionaries, alleging they were victims of a hoax perpetrated by the local Protestant constable! But the ordinary people were not so skeptical, and the first pilgrimages to Knock began in 1880. Two years later Archbishop John Joseph Lynch of Toronto made a visit to the parish and claimed he had been healed by the Virgin of Knock.

In due course many of the witnesses died. But Mary Byrne married, raised six children, living her entire life in Knock. When interviewed again in 1963 at the age of eighty-six, her account did not vary from the first report she gave in 1879.

The village of Knock was transformed by the thousands who came to commemorate the vision and to ask for healing for others and themselves. The local church was too small to accommodate the crowds. In 1976 a new church, Our Lady Queen of Ireland, was erected. It holds more than two thousand and needs to, for each year more than a half million visitors arrive to pay their respects to the Blessed Virgin.


LOCATION: Co. Mayo in NW Republic of Ireland. Access from London. Trains and buses to Ballyhaunis [7 miles/11 km] from Dublin and Belfast.
CONTACT NUMBERS: TEL [94] 88100 FAX [94] 88295.
MASS TIMES; April 27 to October 12, weekdays 8 , 9, 11 a.m., noon, and 3, 5 and 7:30 p.m.; Sundays and Holy Days 8 and 11 a.m., noon, 3 and 7 p.m., eve of Sundays and Holy Days, 7:30 p.m.

The Comforter of the Afflicted

"Through her martyrdom, Mary has become in a special way the comforter of the afflicted. It was by her own experience of sorrow that she was taught the sympathy which enables her to comfort her children in all their afflictions. God have her a mighty and sympathetic heart for this great task."

"For all God's children, the way to Heaven leads across the mount of Calvary - the way of trail and suffering. In the company of our Sorrowful Mother, we walk more easily, fight more courageously, and suffer more patiently, perseveringly and joyfully; for she holds up before us not only the example of the sufferings and death of her Divine Son, but also the victory, the joy and the glory which He has won through His sufferings."

"How ofter do we grow impatient, faint-hearted, despondent and inconstant in often without endurance, without resignation, full of complaints and murmurings! Oh, let us deeply engrave in our hearts the sorrows of Mary! May she, our Sorrowful Mother, ever be our model in suffering, in the patient endurance of trials, and in the humble acceptance of sorrows and afflictions. When the hand of god lays a heavy cross upon our shoulders, let us turn to Mary Sorrowing, and we shall obtain consolation and strength to carry the cross patiently and meritoriously."

Let us strive always to go the Mary for is the surest, quickest, safest route to Jesus. She has suffered much, she will do all she can to help us in the sufferings of this earthly exile. Amen+
(Source: Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother by TAN Books, Imprimatur 1958)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Virgin of Guadalupe

Some Things You May Not Have Known About the Virgin of Guadalupe

The name "Guadalupe" is a phonetic version of the Aztec Nahuatl words for "coatlaxopeuh," which is what the Virgin is reported to have said in identifying herself to Juan Diego's uncle. "Coatlaxopeuh" is pronounced "quatlasupe" and sounds remarkably like the Spanish word "Guadalupe." "Coa" means serpent, "tla" stands for "the," and "xopeuh" means to crush or stamp out!

Thus Mary had identified herself to Juan's uncle as "coatlaxopeuh," the "one who crushes the serpent." The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is often referred to as the "woman clothed with the Sun" as she appears in Revelation. This woman of course does battle with the serpent. I personally believe that when we witness the end of time, the final battle, we will see the Blessed Virgin Mary, just as she appears in the Guadalupe image - crush Satan's head. He will then be cast into hell together with his fallen and the damned forever.


Oh Lord God Who sent the Virgin of Guadalupe to us, please let her image remain a beacon to the world and especially a sign to those who would destroy the unborn. Oh Jesus: please end abortion. Please end euthanasia. Please end illicit birth control. Please end suicide.

Please, oh Lord, let us all have life and life more abundantly. Let us all conform ourselves to a style of living that is in conformance with Your creation, with a style of life that is clean and simple and unselfish. Let us focus on the plight of our youngsters, the children who enter a world of such spiritual harassment.

Please, oh Lord, let us live a life as humble as that of Juan Diego that like him we may be ever-conscious of death and always prepared for it. Oh Lord, always let us be prepared. Always remind us of Confession. Always remind us that humility and lowliness are grand in your sight (even if they are disdained by this blinded world).

Heal any of our plagues as your original image from St. Mary Major healed plagues and as the shrine in Spain healed pilgrims and as you healed Juan's uncle of cocolistle. Heal infectious disease among us and our families. Heal such disease throughout society, good Lord, and when we are ill, please, oh Holy Spirit: please grant us the trust you requested of Juan Diego, that nothing should cause us grief or fear. Amen+


Saturday, August 4, 2007

Great Article on La Salette

Photo Credit to Spirit Daily. This image is striking and quite moving. This is an actual photo of a statue of Our Lady of La Salette taken in 1999 while her shrine in Attelboro, Massachusetts burned behind her. You can see the crown of flowers which adorn our Lady's head as she looks up to heaven, crying for her children. This is a rather famous statue and depiction of the Blessed Virgin Mary as she appeared to the seers, Melanie and Maximin, in La Salette, near Corps, France in the early 1846. She appeared in the apparition as Our Lady of Sorrows.

I strongly recommend reading the article about Our Lady of La Salette available here.

This apparition along with its message is approved as authentic and for propagation for the faithful by the Holy Catholic Church.

Our Lady of La Salette, Our Lady of Tears, Pray for us. Amen+

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Seven Prayers in Honor of the Seven Sorrows of Mary

This prayer can be said daily in honor of Our Lady's Sorrows. This pious devotion, practiced with perseverance and love, will obtain for the penitent the promises made by Heaven through Mary. Our Lady will surely be pleased with those who turn their hearts toward her Seven Sorrows. Mary leaves nothing unrewarded that is done in her honor and those who pray thus may be confident of receiving the promised special graces.

Overall, the mission of this blog, as well as the next several posts is to explain how to grow in love for Our Sorrowful Mother and how to obtain the extraordinary favors she has promised us. She will never fail to lead those who love her to her Son's Sacred Heart, there to be written for all time. Don't forget, the Holy Spirit flies to those who have a devotion to Mary and most especially to those devoted to her sorrows. God so loved her that He dwelt within her. He delights to dwell within those who are in turn devoted to her!

This particular form of devotion to Mary's Sorrows was approved by Pope Pius VII:
Begin thus:
V: O God, come to my assistance.
R: O Lord, make haste to help me.
V: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost,
R: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

The Hail Mary is prayed a total of seven times: once after each of the Seven Sorrows prayers)

~First Sorrow~
The Prophecy of Simeon

I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in the affliction of thy tender heart at the prophecy of Simeon. Dear Mother, by thy heart so afflicted, obtain for me the virtue of humility and the gift of the holy fear of God.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee
Blessed art thou among women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
(Source: The Raccolta, Imprimatur 1951; Benzinger Bros, 1957)