Category Archives: Devotions

The Rosary for the Suffering Souls in Purgatory: Agony in the Garden

The meditation of the First Decade of the Rosary, in honor of the Suffering Souls in Purgatory, The Agony in the Garden (For on how to say the Rosary, please scroll down to the bottom.):

A person has died. The soul stands before God and has been judged. It is found wanting, unfit for entry into Heaven, but has not committed offenses against the Lord which condemn it for all eternity.

It joins other souls who have have entered into a “Garden of Gethsemane” within the afterlife. They begin their suffering in Purgatory, but their wills are still too connected to earthly desires. They are fearful of the journey ahead, and it is long and painful as they are separated from God because of their attachment to the World.

They desire God and His will, but their fear hinders their progress towards Him. They resist the journey and wish that it needn’t be made. Agony permeates their being. It is like a fire that burn through to the core of their selves. They try and pray to relieve their suffering, but cannot. Any wish or desire directed to themselves is impossible, their selfish desires were left back on Earth and any self will here in this burning Garden is for nought.

But their love for God spurs them on. Painful as it is, their desire for the Lord begins to burn away the stains of their earthly sins on their souls. The spiritual rags they wear, clothes not fit for the wedding feast of the Lamb, begin to loosen.

They discover that while they cannot pray or desire anything for themselves, they can do so for others. Herein lies their knowledge that their existence now reaches out to God, and to people left behind in the World.

They begin to pray for others, those still on Earth. In this charity, they grow closer to the Lord. Their journey forward continues.

How to Pray the Rosary

(Via Rosary Center.)

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

The Rosary for the Suffering Souls in Purgatory

Today I am posting a series of meditations for the Solemnity of the Commemoration of All Souls. It is based on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary (Agony in the Garden, Scourging at the Pillar, The Crowning with Thorns, The Carrying of the Cross, and the Death on the Cross.)

It does not depict what I actually think happens in Purgatory, although Catholics familiar with the Church’s teachings on Purgatory should recognize where I got this or that concept.

It should not be interpreted as a chronological timeline of what happens after a soul enters Purgatory, just how each of the Suffering Mysteries may reflect why souls end up there.

I hope you enjoy reading them. Perhaps “enjoy” isn’t the right word, but I did feel rather creative while writing them. I may take these meditations and adapt them somewhat for a work of fiction. I’ve long wanted to write a novel based on Purgatory and these meditations may provide a sort of structure or basis for one. We shall see.

Anyway, these meditations should appear quickly after this post.

For how to say the Rosary:

How to Pray the Rosary

(Via Rosary Center.)

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

November 2011

It’s that time of the year, FourLastThingers! NOVEMBER!!!!!! My favorite time of the year. Others can have their Aprils and the Spring showers and flowers and others their July vacations and Summer trips, me, I go for the Month of the Dead. (November is my favorite month, Lent is my favorite season.)

And so, during this second-busiest time of the year here at The Four Last Things, I would just like to point out that if you were to go to the Categories over there in the right sidebar, clicking on “November” would bring you a wealth of past articles dealing with various Catholic topics such as Purgatory and death. (We all die someday, a reminder of that is why I began this death blog in the first place.)

As long as we’re on the subject of death and dying, there is one article I’d like to point out, it concerns an old devotion within the Church involving visiting a cemetery in early November:

Devotion for visiting a cemetery and a Church

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

St. Michael’s Lent

Earlier this month on Sober Catholic I wrote about “Second Chance Lent”, another period of penance and conversion not widely advertised in the Church but present nonetheless. After that post, I was introduced to yet another “Lenten” season by Michael Franzwa, of SFO Saint Francis Of Assisi Fraternity. He told me on Google+ that:

“Saint Francis of Assisi observed an annual ‘Lent of Saint Michael’, from the Feast of the Assumption of Mary (Aug. 15) to the Feast of Saint Michael The Archangel(September 29).
Francis had a special rapport with Mary and Michael from the early days of his conversion. He went to them often, for comfort and consolation, when things got rough. It was on one of these 40 day solitary retreats when, through meditating on the Passion of our Lord, Francis received the sacred stigmata, imprints of Jesus’ five wounds on his body.”

Tomorrow (August 15th) marks the Feast of Mary’s Assumption, and thus the beginning of this devotion.

The Our Lady of the Pearl Secular Franciscan Fraternity points out this:

“In the writings of St. Francis, such as the Volterra text (Letter to All the Faithful) which is included in The Rule of the SFO, we are reminded again and again that Franciscans are called to be penitents, to pray and fast. For these reasons this ancient tradition is important to us. St. Michael’s Lent is a period of 40 days, honoring Mary and St. Michael the Archangel. It begins on the Feast of the Assumption and ends on The Feast of the Archangels.

“[H]e wished along with the most faithful Brothers . . . to celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin (August 15) and then prepare himself by a forty days’ fast for the Feast of St. Michael (September 29). In common with the rest of the people of the Middle Ages, Francis nourished a special devotion to this Archangel, signifer santus Michaelis, the standard-bearer of the Heavenly Host, and the one who with his trumpet was to wake the dead in their graves on the last day . . . .” (St. Francis of Assisi by Jorgensen)”

(Via Our Lady of the Pearl.)

And so we are made mindful of the facts of our own resurrection on the Last Day and also of our subsequent Judgment. No sense in waiting until then to worry about it. If you haven’t started some “Second Chance” Lenten period of reflection and penance, you have another opportunity to do so beginning tomorrow!

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Cemetery visits

(NOTE: reposted from an earlier date. In addition to what I have below, Colleen Hammond has some excellent additional material: “Holy Works and Indulgences for All Souls Day and the Octave”

Now, my repost:

There is a devotion for visiting a cemetery that results in an indulgence for the devotee. An indulgence is described here: CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Indulgences

(Via New Advent.)

Anyway, an indulgence is granted when a Catholic visits a cemetery or a Church and prays for the dead on any of the first 8 days of November. The indulgence granted is for only those souls suffering in Purgatory.

A plenary indulgence is granted if you recite one Our Father and the Creed, with the provision that you have been to Confession within a week, before of after, received Holy Communion and recited an Our Father and a Hail Mary for the Pope, and have no attachment to venial sin. If any of these conditions are lacking, the indulgence will be partial. On any time of the year outside the first 8 days of November, it is a partial one.

It is important to glance over the linked article in the Catholic Encyclopedia to get a better understanding on all this “indulgence” material. It’s a good read.

At any rate, it is a good thing to visit the dead. It is a reminder to us that life on Earth is temporary and that there is another life awaiting us.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

MINISTERING AT GRAVESIDE

Here is a brief article from Spirit Daily concerning a wonderful devotion about praying for the dead:

MINISTERING AT GRAVESIDE

I have posted on this before, and will post a few more reminders tomorrow (or you can look through the Archives).

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Prayers for the Dead and Dying

November 2nd is the Feast of All Soul’s, when we as Catholics pray for the deceased who are suffering in Purgatory. I’ll write more on Purgatory during this month of November.

One of the primary devotions for those who accept Church teaching on Purgatory is prayers for the dead. (If you reject the Church’s teaching on Purgatory, you cannot consider yourself a Catholic, but rather a Protestant.) . Below is a nice website that contains information on such prayers, along with a wealth of Church teaching on Purgatory and the Afterlife.

Prayers for the Dead and Dying

(Via Fr. Pat’s Place.)

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Devotion for visiting a cemetery and a Church (UPDATED)

NOTE: This is an updated version of a previous post. I erred in some information.

There is a devotion for visiting a cemetery that results in an indulgence for the devotee. An indulgence is described here: CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Indulgences

(Via New Advent.)

Anyway, an indulgence is granted when a Catholic visits a cemetery or a Church and prays for the dead on any of the first 8 days of November. The indulgence granted is for only those souls suffering in Purgatory.

A plenary indulgence is granted if you recite one Our Father and the Creed, with the provision that you have been to Confession within a week, before of after, received Holy Communion and recited an Our Father and a Hail Mary for the Pope, and have no attachment to venial sin. If any of these conditions are lacking, the indulgence will be partial. On any time of the year outside the first 8 days of November, it is a partial one.

It is important to glance over the linked article in the Catholic Encyclopedia to get a better understanding on all this “indulgence” material. It’s a good read.

At any rate, it is a good thing to visit the dead. It is a reminder to us that life on Earth is temporary and that there is another life awaiting us.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

November!

November is my favorite month. Mainly because of The Feasts of All Saints on November 1st and All Souls on November 2nd.

This leads to November being considered the “month of the dead”. While some may find that rather gruesome and macabre, I do not. I like November and its focus on the dead because of the reminder that what is around us is not the whole story, and that something greater lies beyond our reach. But not forever. We too, shall cross over to what lies beyond, and we should always be mindful of our death.

November and its associations with the dead also help me to connect with my loved ones that have died. They do not seem so far away. My Mom died in November (2005) and her death shattered my life, but out of that wreckage came a new life for me. My Dad died years earlier, and I find that I am becoming more like him. There are others hopefully in Heaven or Purgatory, and I think about them often.

Anyway, November shall be a “Big Deal” here at this blog, and probably the most active month. The rest of the year has rather sporadic postings (which may change, we’ll see) but in November I plan to focus on this blog a lot more than usual. You may want to make it an annual “devotional”, as in “Oh, it’s November, I gotta surf over to Paulcoholic’s “death blog.” Plenty enough time to get caught up on postings from the rest of the year, if posting frequency doesn’t change much.

So, have a Good November, everyone. (May that salutation be likened to a wish for a happy death. (A “Happy Death” in Catholicism is a death in which you end up in Heaven.)

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

The Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is a devotional article worn by Catholics. Back in the day Catholic schoolchildren were enrolled in the Confraternity (i.e. fraternal organization) of the scapular when they attended Catholic schools or otherwise done so in their parish.

Further detailed information on the scapular can be found at this site of the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel .

Why am I writing about this? One of the promises of Our Lady is that they who die wearing the scapular will not suffer eternal damnation. This sort of thing can get certain types in an uproar, as it can seem to some to be a license to sin (because I won’t go to Hell anyway, so why not?) It may also be likened to the heresy of “once saved, always saved.”

But I think not. If you wear your scapular, it is rather conspicuous. Not like the crosses that people wear, seemingly mostly for decoration than conviction, to wear the scapular is more a public witness. It is cloth. It peeks out from the shirt your wearing. Not a lot of people wear it. It isn’t fashionable. It hangs down the front as well as the back. It is sometimes annoying and inconvenient. It is also distinctly Catholic, assuming you’ve ever seen one being worn.

As a result of all these points, to wear the scapular is a conscious effort, a distinct from wearing the cross (kind of sad, actually. More of a commentary on the devaluing of the cross’ meaning.) Anyone wears the cross, few wear the scapular.

So, instead of being a guarantee of eternal salvation, it is a guarantee that you will not go to Hell. So, what’s the difference? Purgatory is the difference. It is a visible reminder to the wearer that they are still accountable for their sins, and will still suffer for them.

Not a bad idea, a constant reminder of mortality and the resulting effects of the decisions of one’s life.

“Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return,” the priest says this or something close when he spreads ashes on your forehead on Ash Wednesday.

So, you might not go to Hell, but you might spend much time in Purgatory. Makes you want to start your Purgatory now, rather than later. At least now you can merit from accepting the suffering that enters your life, and possibly start amending it.

(Author’s note: although this post has a postdate of July 16th – the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel – , it was actually written in August.)

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"