+St. John Gaulbert +
Many have asked if it is possible that we are spending our Purgatory here on earth, given the dire state of affairs we find ourselves in and the absence of the visible Church. St. Thomas Aquinas seems to indicate this might be possible, at least according to St. Vincent Ferrar. But when this was mentioned in a previous blog, some objected that the quote was not convincing and perhaps not even authentic, although it came from a reliable source and is supported by the writings of St. Thomas in his Summa and other works. Some readers fear that the belief we are spending our Purgatory time here will lead to laxity, so advise that such matters are better left alone. That might be the case if so many were not in near despair that they will save their souls. Hope is a precious commodity, and where it can be offered it seems only right and just that it be made available to those struggling to remain Catholic today.
But St. Thomas is not the only one who has opined on the topic of earthly Purgatory, although he is the only one who mentions it in relation to the end times. To refresh everyone’s memory about what he said, we again quote St. Vincent Ferrar who is talking about the fires of the final consummation. “Saint Thomas Aquinas speaks beautifully of this when he says that this last fire, inasmuch as it precedes the Judgment, will act as an instrument of God’s justice. It will also act like natural fire, inasmuch as, in its natural power, it will burn both wicked and good and reduce every human body to ashes. Inasmuch as it acts as an instrument of God’s justice, it will act in different ways with regard to different people. For the wicked will suffer intensely through the action of the fire, but the good in whom nothing is found which must be purged away will feel no pain from the fire, just as the three children felt nothing in the fiery furnace, although the bodies of these others will not be preserved as were those of the three children. And this will come to pass by the divine power, that without pain or suffering their bodies will be resolved into ashes.
“But the good in whom there is some stain to be purged away will feel the pain of this fire, more or less according to the merits of each. But they will be swiftly purged for three reasons. The first reason is that in them little evil is found, for they have been already in great measure purged by the preceding tribulations and persecutions. The second is that the living will voluntarily endure the pain; and suffering willingly endured in this life remits much more quickly than suffering inflicted after death. This is seen in the case of the martyrs, for if, when they came to die, anything worthy of purgation was found, it was cut away by the pruning knife of their sufferings. And the sufferings of the martyrs were short in comparison with the pains of purgatory. The third reason is that the heat of the fire gains in intensity what it loses through the shortness of the time. But in so far as the fire is active after the judgment its power only extends over the damned, since all the bodies of the just will be impassible” (Angel of the Judgment: A Life of Vincent Ferrer, by S.M.C., Ave Maria Press. Chapter 11, pgs. 102-117)
This may be true of those few left on earth when Christ comes a second time, but there are other means of avoiding Purgatory. These are outlined in a little booklet written by Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, How to Avoid Purgatory. He gives a simple method for doing so including the necessity, of course, of avoiding mortal sin and deliberate venial sin (performing an act or entertaining thoughts we know are sinful, although not mortally so); praying to always do God’s Holy Will; mortifying ourselves in small matters and undergoing trials sent with patience and resignation; asking God directly for deliverance from Purgatory every day; resigning ourselves to whatever death God may send us and praying for a holy and happy death; bearing our pains in union with the Passion of Christ; hearing Mass and frequenting the Sacraments (St. John’s Mass and our Act of Contrition, Spiritual Communion) and devotion to the Poor Souls in Purgatory. These means are repeated in the work below but are added to and amplified in a remarkable way that should bring solace to all those who are reading this post.
In a little book entitled Purgatory Surveyed, a French Jesuit priest, Fr. Etienne Binet, writing in the 1600s, explains how those on earth might well be exempted from the fires of Purgatory through certain practices and by the circumstances in which they live. It gives greater force to the argument that the majority of Catholics are saved and can offer hope to many, particularly those in their senior years and soon facing eternity, who feel especially bereft of any consolation in these times. The first of those conditions Fr. Binet lists as applying to us today is to die with “tears in our eyes,” with a contrition so perfect that it washes away every trace of sin, although Fr. Binet admits this is a rare exception, but in these times the Act of Contrition is the only means available to us. For this reason it is of supreme importance that all have a complete understanding of how to attain it. The best work on how to achieve Perfect Contrition can be found on the Internet at https://s3.amazonaws.com/ANF/2011/PDFs/FNL112-Booklet+Final+Layout.pdf
Devotion to the Blessed Mother
Another is a tender devotion to the Blessed Mother, and it is hard to imagine a stay-at-home Catholic that is not so devoted. But it must be a constant and special devotion, offering her prayers, giving alms in her name, constructing a chapel for her, (daily reciting) and promoting devotion to her Rosary, or some other special service. It should be noted here that those who devote themselves to Our Lady of Sorrows, according to a revelation given to St. Bridget of Sweden, are promised peace in their families, consolations in their daily pains and work, answers to all prayers not opposed to the Divine Will, defense when engaging in spiritual battles throughout their lives, and finally, “I will visibly help them at the moment of their death — they will see the face of their Mother. I have obtained this grace from my Divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness, since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son will be their eternal consolation and joy” (St. Bridget). The author of the book Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother (1958) also relates that according to an account found among the acts presented for the beatification of St. Vincent Palloti, “…the evil spirit once declared by the mouth of a possessed person that no one who had practiced devotion to Mary Sorrowful had yet been lost, and that the evil spirit had been commanded by God not to assail with temptations in the hour of death those who had faithfully practiced this devotion.”
A humble patience
Then there is the following, regarding those who suffer a lifetime of miseries on earth with a humble patience: “If God meant to punish His servants in Purgatory in this life, He would not punish them here in a Purgatory of miseries. His goodness is not wont to punish the same fault twice… God, to save His friends from the horrible torments of Purgatory fire, sends them a good store of crosses and afflictions in this world which are nothing so painful; and yet are highly meritorious in His sight, whereas the other are but pure sufferings. Hear St. Chrysostom: ‘The tongue that praises God in the midst of afflictions is not inferior to the tongues of martyrs, and likely they may have both the same reward. If a man praise God and give Him thanks in his sufferings, it is reputed as a kind of martyrdom; and would you have a martyr go to Purgatory…?’ The works of patience, according to St. James are perfect.” Our Lord tells us in Apoc. 3: 19-21: “Such as I love, I rebuke and chastise. Be zealous therefore and do penance. Behold, I stand at the gate, and knock. If any man shall hear my voice, and open to me the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that shall overcome, I will give to sit with me in my throne: as I also have overcome and am set down with my Father in his throne.”
As Rev. Henry James Coleridge, S.J. wrote in his Prisoners of the King (1889): “The Prophet Malachias (Malachias 3:17) speaks of those who remain faithful to God in the midst of generations who turn from Him, and his words may apply to the souls of which we speak: “A book of remembrance was written before Him for them that fear the Lord, and think upon His Name. And they shall be My special possession, saith the Lord of hosts, in the day that I do judgment.” We also are reminded of the verses found in Apoc. 14: 12-13: “Here is the patience of the saints, who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven, saying to me: Write: Blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord. From henceforth now, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; for their works follow them.”
What greater trial could we have endured on this earth than the loss of the Holy Sacrifice, the Sacraments and the papacy? All else pales in comparison. We lost all opportunity to educate our children in Catholic schools, to be cared for in Catholic hospitals and other institutions, to attend retreats, to make Eucharistic holy hours, to have Masses said for our dearly departed, to participate in processions, to receive spiritual direction and to benefit from the sacramentals — and that is the short list. According to Fr. Binet it would seem contrary to God’s infinite mercy to deprive us of worshipping Him at the heavenly altar who have so often longed to worship him in Catholic churches here on earth, taken from us by the usurpers in Rome. For as Fr. Binet so aptly explains, God will not punish us twice for our faults, especially when what has happened was His express will, in order that the Scriptures be fulfilled. If we accept all of this willingly and with perfect resignation, it cannot but count for exactly such a humble patience.
Then there is also the keen sufferings of those who for many years frequented various Traditional groups, thinking they would eventually find a truly Catholic community. Instead many encountered grave disillusionment, families were split apart, dissensions among the community and its leaders were rife, abuse of various kinds took place and families commonly experienced financial reversals, even bankruptcy. And this only accounts for temporal losses. Those realizing their mistake were shamed and greatly saddened by the sacrileges committed when all along they believed they were receiving true Sacraments. The betrayal by those they believed to be valid and licit Catholic clergy was galling, particularly when it was clear that all the confessions they had made were to a layperson who could not even claim the seal of the confessional. And finally the acceptance of the fact that they would need to keep their faith in the privacy of their homes and were not even able to socialize with other Catholics hit many the hardest. All this is true deprivation, and it is hard to believe that having lacked Catholic friends and relatives on earth, they would not be able to find them in Heaven.
And this is not even taking into consideration what we have already endured and may yet be facing on the civil scale!
Devotion to the Poor Souls and the dying
Those interested in the subject know that wearing their scapular and devotion to the Poor Souls are two means that can eliminate or at least shorten their time in Purgatory. Numerous saintly testimonials exist to verify this. But this is true only if those wearing the scapular and praying for the Poor Souls are in a state of grace in the first place and able to avail themselves of these promises. There are many treatises and books on the Internet available on Purgatory. (One such site is http://www.traditionalcatholic.co/free-catholicbooks/) The work most recommended or made available by Traditionalists for many years, by a Fr. Schouppe, is the most rigorous, and gives little hope of escaping such punishment. Other works are more consoling, without softening the doctrine of Purgatory itself in any way. As Fr. Binet notes and we have mentioned in a previous blog, the saints, including St. Francis de Sales and St. Thomas Aquinas, teach that charity to the suffering souls is superior to any charity to the souls here on earth, for the Poor Souls have no one else to help them. If we may be so bold to say it, it also seems that prayers for the dying might also rank among Fr. Binet’s exemptions, since they are the neediest next to the Poor Souls. A most excellent book on this topic, Devotion to the Dying by Mother Mary Potter, can be found at http://www.catholictradition.org/Classics/holy-souls.htm (This is given only as a reference; no endorsement whatsoever is given to the site. This book also can be purchased from various vendors.)
Frequent confession and Spiritual Communion
Yet another purgatorial exemption is to communicate well and often, also mentioned by Fr. O’Sullivan. While Catholics cannot receive Our Lord physically in Holy Communion, there is reason to believe that in being deprived of the Eucharist yet supplying for it by desire, there is possibly greater merit than receiving it from the hands of a Catholic priest. (See the heading on Spiritual Communion below.) As Rev. Coleridge, S.J. wrote in his previously mentioned work, “Again, we may remember that we have the power of renewing in our own hearts as often as we like the affections and holy acts which prepare for, or accompany, or follow, the actual reception of Communion, making at any time of the day or night, and many times in each, those spiritual communions of which the Saints have been so fond. It cannot be doubted that our Lord, on His part, is always ready to crown these tender and secret acts of love with great graces, renewing and confirming in us the effects of His own Sacramental Presence.” We may communicate only once a day in actually receiving the Body of our Lord, but many times when receiving Him spiritually. And this is productive of “great graces.”! Why do those who condemn these observances not educate themselves?!
Faithful and exact obedience
A final exemption of great note listed by Fr. Binet is that of “a faithful and exact obedience” — to God first, to superiors, the laws and teachings of the Church and even the civil law. Here he gives examples of obedience to God that seemed to endanger the lives of prophets such as Elias in his fiery chariot, Moses in the bottom of the Red Sea and Daniel in the lion’s den. Then there is also Jonas in the belly of the whale, Isaac, ready to be sacrificed by his father Abraham and Susanna, waiting to be stoned. Binet writes, “It is a kind of martyrdom to die for obedience, and without question, Purgatory was not made for martyrs.” He adds that St. Thomas teaches all heroic virtues place the soul in a pure and perfect state, but that “man can give God nothing that is of more value in this miserable life than to consecrate his will and submit it not only to Him but for love of Him.” Gerard, as he lay dying in St. Bernard’s arms, cried out: “I have been carried before God’s high tribunal and have seen the power of obedience; nobody shall ever perish who is truly obedient…” Binet adds: “A soul once purged in the fire of obedience hath no need of being purged again in the fire of Purgatory.” He then says an amazing thing. He tells us that God will refuse nothing to an obedient soul —that if she asks Him to be freed from Purgatory, He will not deny her.
Surely those who have obeyed God’s laws by departing from Traditionalism or the Novus Ordo to avoid communicatio in sacris can hope to at least lay claim to some measure of obedience. And perhaps it would be possible to also cite several of these other precious exemptions above for ourselves, at least in part. Others mentioned by Fr. Binet include angelical purity, a profound humility, to die as a religious, to serve the infected, and apostolic preaching. Those who have preserved virginity or been faithful to their marriage vows; those who at least try to humble themselves, those who defend the faith by word and/or example, who care for those with the Corona virus or other contagious diseases, those who wish to live the lives of religious although they cannot — isn’t all of this worthy at least of partial fulfillment of these exemptions? Both Fr. Binet and the Jesuit priest who translated his work, Fr. Richard Thimelby, lived during the precarious days of the Reformation. Fr. Thimelby is said in the preface to Binet’s work to have been a man of extraordinary piety by his biographers, and he says in the preface to the work he translated that Fr. Binet wrote may other treatises he only wish could also be translated. Fr. Binet ends his work with the following entreaty to his readers:
“It is in your power to make your way [to Heaven] without passing through Purgatory. Believe me, it is no trifling matter but the most important business we have to do in this world, to purchase Heaven… Learn at least by these discourses to have a tender heart for the Poor Souls and to use your uttermost endeavor to go yourself directly into Heaven out of this wicked world. It is the thing I earnestly beg out of God’s infinite mercy for you, and for myself, at the instance of your good prayers. For though I must acknowledge I deserve nothing more than hell-fire, and have reason to take it for a high favour to be sent into Purgatory, to lie there as many months and years as it shall please God; yet I confess ingenuously I have no great mind to either place, but only to heaven, which I beseech God, by the merits of my dear Saviour, and by the Plenary Indulgence of His most infinite mercy, to grant to us all.”
Given all the above, it would seem impossible for one committed to avoiding hell to ever go there if he or she availed themselves of every possible help listed here by these authors. This in spite of the fact that we lack Mass and Sacraments, although we have their spiritual substitutes. Those preying on souls today have made it seem that it will be difficult to save ourselves without their ministrations, but we have from God’s mouth the promises that a contrite heart He will not despise, and obedience is better than sacrifices. Why would we spurn this precious obedience that assures our salvation to please our fellow men and appear to worship God, when in fact we are worshipping idols? The treasury of the Church is rich with the means to save our souls if we but take the time and effort to discover them and put them into practice. Pray God that we are given the graces to do so!
The following is simply a refresher course from the popular work by Bp. Demaris, who reiterates all that was said previously.
Excerpts from Bp. Demaris
For those committed to avoiding at all costs the sacrilegious and idolatrous services of those who are not true members of Christ’s Mystical body or the hierarchy, there is nothing more consoling than the words of Fr. Demaris, a French bishop writing to his flock during the time of the French Revolution (They have Taken Away My Lord). During that time bishops had sworn allegiance and been installed by the French government, and these men were subsequently condemned by Pope Pius VI as not possessing jurisdiction and therefore incapable of transmitting valid Sacraments.
“The Catholic Church and the whole episcopal body has received and respected this judgment of the Holy See…,” we find in Arturo de Montor’s Lives of the Pope under Pope Pius VII. “The Civil Constitution of the Clergy was condemned by the same dogmatic judgment of Pius VI, as containing errors against the deposit of faith… “The decisions of ancient councils were also appealed to. One of these, held in Benevento in 1087 by (Bl.) Pope Victor III, had decreed as follows: ‘The Sacraments of Penance and Communion are to be received only at the hands of a Catholic priest; if none such is to be found, it is better to remain without communion and to receive it invisibly from Our Lord.’” Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Editor James Hastings and others, Vol. IX, 1917, Charles Scribner and Sons, New York; by Georges Volet). De Montor confirms this by stating that Victor III forbade Catholics to receive penance or the Eucharist “at the hands of heretics or simoniacs.”
In a past blog piece on the Petit Eglise, this entire period of history is examined and shown to be a complete vindication of the stay-at-home position, although none will accept this fact and quibble instead that Pope Pius VI’s Charitas proclaiming the condemnation was not dogmatic. This definitely is not the case and was not the opinion of Cardinal Consalvi, who de Montor quotes as follows: “The Catholic Church and the whole episcopal body has received and respected this judgment of the Holy See… The Civil Constitution of the Clergy was condemned by the same dogmatic judgment of Pius VI, as containing errors against the deposit of faith… His Holiness observes that, as his predecessor found it impossible to yield to the request made… it is equally impossible for him to admit to his communion and invest with canonical constitution the constitutionals, who, contrary to the dogmatic decision contained in said briefs, persist in maintaining the error condemned in them, refuse to acknowledge their illegitimate character, and to adhere and submit to the judgment pronounced by the Holy See.”
We find ourselves today in much the same position as the French Catholics, although our situation is much worse because we have no true pope. (However, the French Catholics faced real persecution and death and we do not, as yet.) Therefore the reassuring words below offered by Fr. Demaris will resonate spiritually with those who have withdrawn from anything smacking of false religion. Furthermore, it should convince Catholics that their determination never to dishonor Christ by committing communicatio in sacris will be abundantly rewarded and will merit them the very graces they are accused of neglecting in absence of the true Mass and valid Sacraments. Who to believe then – Traditionalists or the teaching of Popes Pius VI and VII and a missionary bishop?! The choice seems very simple. And as also shown below, there are other reasons to believe that rather than doing a disservice to religion, and actually sinning by avoiding “Mass and Sacraments,” as many have accused us of doing, we instead are acting meritoriously. In fact it is possible that we may indeed not only be able to snatch our souls from the fires of hell but we may be able even to avoid a lengthy Purgatory, as seen above. This by simply bearing our plight without complaint and offering up our sufferings for our own sins and those of others. This is further confirmed by the consoling words of Bp. Demaris:
“You are frightened, my children, at what you see: all that you hear is frightening, but be consoled that it is the Will of God being accomplished. Your days are numbered; His Providence watches over us. Cherish those men who appear to you as savages. They are the means which Heaven uses in its plans, and like a tempestuous sea, they will not pass the prescribed line against the countering and menacing waves. The stormy turbulence of revolution that strikes right and left, and the sounds that alarm you are the threats of Herod! Let it not deter you from good works, nor change your trust, nor wither the shower of virtues that tie you to Jesus Christ. He is your model. The threats of Herod do not change the course of His Destiny.
“The disciples of Jesus Christ in their fidelity to God are faithful to their country and full of submission and respect for all lawful authority — firm in their principles with a conscience without reproach — adoring the Will of God, they must not coward-like flee persecution. When one loves the Cross, one is fearless to kiss it and even enjoy death. It is necessary for our intimate union with Jesus Christ. It could happen any instant, but it is not always so meritorious or glorious. If God does not call you to it, you shall be like those illustrious confessors, of whom St. Cyprian said, “That without dying by the executioner, they have gained the merits of martyrdom, because they were prepared for it.”
“This consoling truth can only be appreciated by the righteous, and don’t be surprised if in our own time, we see what St. Cyprian saw in his: that most of the faithful succumbed. To love God and fear Him alone, such is the lot of a small number of the elect. It is this love and this fear that makes martyrs by detaching the Faithful from the world and attaching them to God and His Holy Law. To support this love and this fear, in your hearts, watch and pray.
On the absence of the Eucharist and Confession
“It is by Faith that the Faithful are united. In probing this truth, we find that the absence of the Body does not break this unity, since it does not break the ties of Faith, but rather augments it by depriving it of all feeling… This loss deprives you of Sacraments and spiritual consolation. Your piety takes fright, since it sees itself alone. However, through your desolation, never forget that God is your Father, and if He permits your deprivation of the dispensation of the Mysteries, that doesn’t mean that He shuts off the means of His Graces and Mercies. I’m going to offer them to you as the only sources to which you can possibly go for purification. Read what I write with the same intention as I have in writing. Seek nothing but the truth, and our salvation in self-denial, in our love for God and a submission to His Holy Will… If life’s events change the position of the Faithful, the events change our obligations.
“St. Leo said that love of justice contains in itself all Apostolic Authority, and in that he has expressed the belief of the Church… If confession must precede absolution, your conduct here, precedes the graces of holiness and justice which God gives you and is confession public and continuous. “Confession is necessary,” said St. Augustine, “because it embraces the condemnation of sin.” Here, we condemn it in a manner so public and so solemnly, that it is known by all, and this condemnation, which is why we cannot go to a priest, isn’t it more meritorious than an accusation of private sin made in secret? Our example tells the Faithful that there is more evil than one thinks in doing what is being done to us. We do not confess to a priest, but we confess to the Truth, which is the most noble confession, and the most necessary in these circumstances. We do not confess our sins in secret, we confess the Truth in public.
“The Holy Eucharist had for you many joys and advantages when you were able to participate in this Sacrament of love, but now you are deprived of it for being defenders of truth and justice. Your advantages are the same, for who would have dared approach this fearsome table if Jesus Christ had not given us a precept, and if the Church, which desires that we fortify ourselves with this Bread of Life, had not invited us to eat It by the voice of its ministers, who reclothed us with a nuptial dress. All was obedience, but if we compare obedience by that which we are deprived of with that which led us there, it will be easy to judge the merit. Abraham obeyed in immolating his son, and in not immolating him, but his obedience was greater when he took the sword in his hand than when he returned it to its scabbard.
“We are obedient in going to Communion, but in holding ourselves from the sacrifice we are immolating ourselves. Quenched of the thirst of justice and depriving ourselves of the Blood of the Lamb which alone can slake it, we sacrifice our own life as much as it is in us to do. The sacrifice of Abraham was for an instant, an angel stopped the knife; ours is daily, renewing itself every day, every time that we adore with submission the Hand of God that drives us away from His altars, and this sacrifice is voluntary. It is to be advantageously deprived of the Eucharist, to raise the standard of the Cross for the cause of Christ and the glory of His Church… Let not the love of the Eucharist drive us away from the Cross.
“Observe, my children, that Jesus, after having given His Body, found no difficulty in dying for us. There is the action of a Christian in the persecutions, the Cross follows on from the Eucharist. Let not the love of the Eucharist drive us away from the Cross. It is to arise and make glorious advance in the grace of the Gospel, to go out from the Cenacle, to go to Calvary. Yes, I have no fear in saying it. When the storm of the malice of men roars against truth and justice, it is more advantageous to the Faithful to suffer for Christ than to participate in His Body by Communion. I seem to hear the Savior saying to us: “Do not be afraid to be separated from My table for the confession of My Name: it is a grace I give you, which is very rare. Repair by this humiliating deprivation that glorifies Me, all the Communions which dishonor me.
“Feel this grace. You can do nothing for Me and I put into your hands a means of doing what I have done for you, and to return to Me with magnificence, that which I have given you is the greatest. I have given you My Body, and you give it back to Me, since you are separated from it in My service. You give back to the truth what you have received from My love. I could not have given you anything greater. Your gratitude matches by that, the grace I have given you — the greatness of the gift I made to you. Console yourselves if I do not call upon you to pour out your blood like the martyrs, there is Mine to make up for it. Every time that you are prevented from drinking it, I will regard it the same as if you had spilled yours; and Mine is far more precious.” So that is how we find the Eucharist, even during the deprivation of the Eucharist. From another view, who is able to separate us from Christ and His Church in Communion in approaching its altars by faith in a much more efficacious manner since it is spiritual and further from the sense. It is what I call communicating spiritually in uniting oneself with the Faithful who are able to do it in different places on the earth.”
The cessation of the Holy Sacrifice
(Editor’s note: If we recite the Mass of St. John, or say our Mass prayers in the absence of the True Mass; if we offer our very selves on this altar of sacrifice willingly and in a spirit of resignation to God’s will each day as Pope Pius XII enjoins us in his encyclical Mediator Dei, isn’t the Sacrifice still renewed spiritually in a continual way? In his The Mystery of Faith, Vol. I, Rev. de la Taille writes concerning chapters 5-16 of Apocalypse: “It is declared plainly that in the New Jerusalem which is to succeed the Church Militant, there would be neither Temple nor light, except God and the Lamb…Under these sacrificial symbols and metaphors we have an indication of some kind of heavenly and eternal worship,” consisting of Christ’s perpetual immolation eternally offered before the Throne of God.
St. Gregory Nazianzan wrote: “What then? Will they forbid us their altars? Even so, I know of another altar, and the altars we see now are but a figure of it… All the activities ‘round about that altar are spiritual; one ascends to it by contemplation. At this altar I shall stand, upon it I will make immolations pleasing to God, sacrifices, oblations, holocausts, better than those that are offered now…” (Ibid). St. Thomas writes: “The state of the New Law is intermediate between the state of the Old Law…and the state of glory, in which all truth will be fully and perfectly manifested. Then there will be no more sacraments; but now, inasmuch as we see only through a glass darkly, we have to enter into spiritual things through sensible signs.” So either we are being offered a foretaste of life in our Eternal Home, and the Church will eventually be restored; or we are being prepared for the end of the world proper and the commencement of the life to come in a very intimate way.) We continue now with more from Bishop Demaris:
“When you look to the future and see yourself on your deathbed, without the last sacrament, without Extreme Unction and without any help on the part of the ministers of the Lord, you see yourself abandoned in the most sad and terrible way. Console yourselves, my children, in the trust you have in God. This tender Father will pour on you His graces, His blessings and His mercies, in these awful moments that you fear, in more abundance than if you were being assisted by his ministers of whom you have been deprived only because you wouldn’t abandon Him Yourself. The abandonment and forsakenness that we fear for ourselves resembles that of the Savior on the Cross when He said to His Father: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27: 46). Ah! How constructive and consoling are these words! Your pains and abandonment lead you to your glorious destiny in ending your life like Jesus ended His.
“The number of the elect was always small… God only wants those who give themselves to Him entirely. Do not be surprised at the great number who quit. Truth wins, no matter how small the number of those who love and remain attached to Him.” (End of Bishop Demaris quotes)
The saints and Spiritual Communion
St. Alphonsus Liguori writes: “I advise everyone who desires to grow in love for Jesus to communicate in this spiritual manner at least once a day… This devotion is far more salutary than many suppose, while at the same time it is very easy of practice.”
Rev. Mueller relates in his work that St. Catherine of Siena at one point in her life was forbidden to communicate. But her desire to receive Communion was so intense that the smallest particle from the Host, being broken at the altar into three pieces by her confessor, St. Raymund Pennafort, flew from the altar to rest on St. Catherine’s tongue. Our Lord assured St. Raymund that this miracle was a reward for her intense desire to receive Him. A similar miracle occurred in the case of St. Juliana Falconieri, who was unable to communicate because of a gastrointestinal disorder. She begged the priest to lay a veil on her breast, and to place the Blessed Sacrament on it to receive Jesus in a spiritual Communion. This wish was complied with and the Sacred Host disappeared suddenly, to be found no more. Shortly afterwards, St. Juliana died with a smile on her face.
Rev. Mueller tells us: “[Our Lord] displays a similar love toward anyone who has a true desire to be united to Him. As soon as a soul ardently desires to receive Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, He comes to satisfy her desire, not as he did to St. Catherine, under the Sacramental species, but by the way of Spiritual Communion. This devotion is so full of grace and consolation that everyone should know how to practice it… Spiritual Communion, according to St. Thomas, consists in an ardent desire to receive Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament. It is performed by making an act of faith…and then an act of love, and an act of contrition for having offended Him. The soul then invites Him to come and unite Himself to her and make her entirely His own; and lastly she thanks Him as if she had really received Him sacramentally,” [and here Mueller gives the common form of Spiritual Communion].
“Our Lord Himself told St. Jane [Joanna] of the Cross that as often as she communicated spiritually, she received a grace similar to that received from her Sacramental Communions. He also appeared to St. Paula Maresca, foundress of the convent of St. Catherine of Siena at Naples, with two vessels, one of silver and one of gold, and told her that in the golden vessel He preserved her Sacramental Communions and in the silver vessel her spiritual Communions. The Fathers of the Church go so far as to say that one who has a very great desire for Communion, accompanied with great reverence and humility, may sometimes receive even more graces than another who, without these dispositions, should actually receive Our Lord in the Sacramental species; for as the Psalmist says: ‘The Lord hears the desire of the poor and fills their heart with good things.’”
Our Lord told St. Gertrude the Great the following regarding spiritual communion:
On account of an interdict, St. Gertrude the Great was unable to hear Mass. In The Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude, issued by the nuns of her Benedictine convent in Germany, it is written: “[The Saint] addressed God thus: How wilt Thou console us most kind Lord, in our present affliction? He replied: “I will increase My joys in you; for as a spouse entertains himself more familiarly with his bride in the retirement of his house than in public, so will I take My pleasure in your retreat. My love will increase in you, even as a fire which is enclosed burns with great force; and the delight which I will find in you, and the love which you will have for Me, will be like a pent-up ocean, which seems to increase by the impediments placed to its progress, until at last it breaks forth impetuously. ‘But how long will this interdict continue?’ inquired the Saint. The Lord replied: ‘The favours which I promise you will last as long as it does.’
The Perfect Act of Contrition
In his Heaven Open to Souls, Rev. Henry Semple, S. J. shows that a perfect Act of Contrition is a common act. Semple quotes St. Alphonsus Liguori, who attributes the opposite belief, that such an act is not common, to the Jansenists. St. Alphonsus teaches that “the opposite teaching…that Contrition with remiss charity does not justify outside the Sacrament [of Penance] is altogether unsupported by any reason, and is false…It is at variance with all theologians and the common sentiments of the Fathers…It most openly contradicts many testimonies of Scripture and Councils and Holy Fathers,” (“Moral Theology,” Book 6, Treatise 4, n. 442 of St. Alphonsus). Rev. Raymond Kearney writes: “The Sacraments are the usual, not the exclusive channels of grace…Penitents frequently make acts of Perfect Contrition…These facts go to show that while the Church does not always supply jurisdiction as lavishly as some writers would desire, she is ever the Pia Mater Ecclesia,” (“Principles of Delegation,” 1929). In the book Semple references below, Rev. von Den Driesch writes:
“… There is no one who, if he sincerely wishes it, cannot, with the grace of God, make an act of Perfect Contrition. Sorrow is in the will, not in the senses or feelings. All that is needed is that we repent because we love God above everything else; that is all. True it is that perfect contrition has its degrees, but it is nonetheless perfect because it does not reach the intensity and the sublimity of the sorrow of St. Peter, of St. Mary Magdalene, or of St. Aloysius Gonzaga. Such a degree is desirable, but it is by no means necessary. A lesser degree, but, provided it proceeds from the love of God, and not through fear of His punishments is quite sufficient…Often, very often, without even thinking of it, you have Perfect Contrition for your sins. For example, when you hear Mass devoutly or make the Stations of the Cross properly; when you reflect before your crucifix or an image of the Sacred Heart. What is more, every time you say the ‘Our Father’, in the first three petitions you make three acts of perfect charity, each of which is sufficient to cancel every sin from your soul.”
These words are from saintly men and women and must be taken above anything taught by so-called Novus Ordo or Traditionalist clerics. For this was the true Catholic Church, the works of approved authors, not the mewlings of the hirelings we are currently offered. Honor that Church, study its wealth of teachings, listen to the words of the Roman Pontiffs, and pray that God have mercy on the souls of all who are in error today.