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Spiritual Reading

Published with permission

Litany for the Holy Souls

This litany has ecclesiastical approval for private recitation.  Perhaps the helpers of the Holy Souls would like to say this litany from time to time:  during the month of the Holy Souls or on your selected day each week or on the anniversary of the death of a relative or friend.  It is a moving prayer and is another opportunity to help the suffering souls.

O Jesus, Thou suffered and died that all mankind might be saved and brought to eternal happiness.  Hear our pleas for further mercy on the souls of:-

After each invocation, say, My Jesus Mercy

My dear parents and grandparents       

My brothers and sisters and other near relatives      

My Godparents and sponsors of Confirmation   

My spiritual and temporal benefactors    

My friends and neighbours               

All for whom love or duty bids me pray    

Those who have offended me             

Those who have suffered disadvantage or harm through me          

Those who are especially beloved by Thee                      

Those whose release is near at hand                                

Those who desire most to be united to Thee            

Those who endure the greatest sufferings              

Those whose release is most remote         

Those who are least remembered              

Those who are most deserving on account of their services to the Church        

The rich, who now are the most destitute           

The mighty, who now are powerless      

The once spiritually blind, who now see their folly       

The frivolous, who spent their time in idleness      

The poor, who did not seek the treasures of heaven     

The tepid, who devoted little time to prayer        

The indolent, who neglected to perform good works       

Those of little faith, who neglected the frequent reception of the Sacraments                            

The habitual sinners, who owe their salvation to a miracle of grace    

Parents who failed to watch over their children  

Superiors who were not solicitous for the salvation of those entrusted to them     

Those who strove for worldly riches and pleasures     

The worldly-minded, who failed to use their wealth and talents in the service of God        

Those who witnessed the death of others, but would not think of their own    

Those who did not provide for the life hereafter   

Those whose sentence is severe because of the great things entrusted to them      

The popes, kings and rulers       

The bishops and their counsellors     

My teachers and spiritual advisors    

The deceased priests of this diocese     

The priests and religious of the Catholic Church    

The defenders of the holy faith     

Those who died on the battlefield     

Those who fought for their country     

Those who were buried in the sea    

Those who died of apoplexy   

Those who died of heart attacks    

Those who suffered and died of cancer    

Those who died suddenly in accidents    

Those who died without the last rites of the Church     

Those who shall die within the next twenty-four hours   

My own poor soul when I shall have to appear before Thy judgement seat         

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them: For evermore with Thy Saints, because Thou art gracious.

Lord, hear my prayer.

And let my cry come unto Thee

Let us pray

May the prayer of Thy suppliant people, we beseech Thee, O Lord, benefit the souls of Thy departed servants and handmaids: that Thou mayest both deliver them from all their sins, and make them to be partakers of Thy redemption.  Amen

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, And let the perpetual light shine upon them.  May their souls and the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen

The value of prayers and works

Long ago the Holy Ghost said, "It is a holy and wholesome thing to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from their sins." (II Macab. XII., 46.) Our Lord shed tears in seeing the tomb of Lazarus, and the Church, well acquainted with the feelings of her Divine Founder, is incessantly recommending charity for the Souls suffering in Purgatory. One of her eminent doctors, Saint Thomas of Aquinas, has said that: "Of all prayers, the most meritorious, the most acceptable to God are the prayers for the dead, because they imply all the works of charity, both corporal and spiritual."

But there are so many people unconscious of the fact that charity for the "Poor Souls" is profitable to the living as well as to the dead. It is the teaching of the most learned theologians, viz: St Ligorius, Sylvius, Bellarmin, Bonacina and Suarez. "It is true," says St Alphonsus, "they are unable to pray or merit anything for themselves, yet, when they pray for others, they are heard by God." Let us refer to Bellarmin: "The Souls in Purgatory," says he, "can pray for those, who address to them their petitions, and obtain from God help, forgiveness, assistance against temptations, and all favours, both temporal and spiritual, which they may need."

Many Saints have experienced this wonderful assistance. St Catherine of Bologna assured her sisters that, "She obtained many favours by the prayers of the holy souls in Purgatory, which she had asked in vain, through the intercession of the Saints." St Theresa affirms that, "She always obtained the favours which she asked from God, through the intercession of the Poor Souls."

We read also in the book of St Bridget's Revelations that:, "Being one day conducted by an Angel into Purgatory, she heard a soul say, "Oh Lord, vouchsafe to reward those who assist us! Return hundredfold blessings to those who helped us and introduced us into the light of Heaven." St. Leonard of Port Maurice emphatically affirms that, "The Venerable Cure d'Ars, replying to a priest said: "If one knew what we may obtain from God by the intercession of the Poor Souls, they would not be so much abandoned. Let us pray a great deal for them, they will pray for us."

Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque had a special devotion for the Souls in Purgatory and has often accepted the charge of suffering for them. "Would that you knew," she said, "how my soul was replenished with joy, when speaking to those Souls, and seeing them immersed in glory as in a deep ocean. As I requested them to pray for you, they replied: "An ungrateful soul is not to be found in Heaven!" No, we cannot be deceived! If we have an ardent charity, a sincere piety, a true devotedness for the Poor Souls, we will be favoured with their protection.

Let us try it! When we are in trouble, when we long for a favour, let us perform some pious or charitable work for the relief of the "Poor Souls." They will be grateful, they will plead for us, and present our requests to the Eternal Father, who loves them.

May God bless this humble work! May He deign to enkindle generous hearts with zeal for the "Poor Souls."

"Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." (Matt., V., 7.)

Novena for The Poor Souls in Purgatory: Rev J. F. Durin

Muriel's Story

In 1997 a group of seven people in Melbourne, Australia, started up the practice of offering up one day of the week each for the Holy Souls. The account below is the apparent fruit of this devotional practice. Perhaps you too could be doing this wonderful work which is so much appreciated by the Holy Souls and we can be certain the good God will reward us a hundredfold.

Let us now relate to you the story of Muriel, told three weeks before she died. This story was related to three priests, who all believe there was something beautiful happening. Muriel was near death at the time of this vision, but was not, nor had been, on any medication, so one cannot rationalize the vision as an hallucination.

Muriel was ill in bed. As is the case with many poor souls on their deathbed, she was was a little afraid. Suddenly, there were hundreds of people walking past her bed. The crowds were coming out of the woods. She asked, "Who are you?" and a voice replied, "They are your Holy Souls, Muriel. They have come to thank you." They nodded at her in acknowledgement. They wanted her to keep praying for them, and not to forget them. They still needed prayers.

She did not know any of the souls. She was surprised at that. There seemed to her hundreds of soldiers from the trenches of the First World War. There were a bride and groom together; all types of people from all walks of life. Some were from many years ago in olden day dress, and some were more recent.

As they passed by, after nodding at her, they either just vanished, or they left a wisp of black smoke which she took to mean they had just come from the fires of Purgatory. The souls were all moving on, sad looking; still doing battle it seemed.

Muriel understood that her prayers and sacrifices for the Holy Souls were greatly appreciated by them and it gave her confidence that when she would die, they would be there for her. She was no longer afraid. It was very beautiful and very comforting!

Not that long afterwards, Muriel died a very holy death, having received the Sacrament of Extreme Unction for the fourth time , and having been able to say the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary with a priest at her bedside. Her seriously lapsed Catholic son was praying the Rosary and the Litany of Our Lady earnestly. During the Litany, Muriel quietly slipped from this world into the next, wearing her brown scapular and clutching her rosary beads. The male nurse at the hospice, who had quietly come into the room as she was dying, told her son it was the most beautiful death he had ever seen! .

Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord; may her soul rest in peace. Amen.

It was this story of Muriel that was the inspiration to start up on a grander scale the present "Association of The Seven Helpers of the Holy Souls"

Prayer for Deceased Parents

O God, Who hast commanded us to honor our father and our mother, in Thy mercy have pity on the souls of my father and mother, and forgive them their trespasses, and make me to see them again in the joy of everlasting brightness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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