Thursday, September 5, 2013

September 5: Anniversary of the Associates and Benefactors of our Order

Today, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, we commemorate the Anniversary of the Deceased Associates and Benefactors of our Order.  At Pretiosa today, the Anniversary is announced as follows:

The Anniversary of the deceased friends and benefactors of our Order. 

At Pretiosa, Psalm 129 is prayed, as it always is on the day of an Anniversary.  Afterwards, the Prayer for an Anniversary is prayed.  The Office of the Dead is also prayed, if not during the day, at least within the same week.

Our duty in charity to alleviate, to the extent that we are able, the suffering of the souls in purgatory, has fallen into such neglect in the post-Concilliar Church.  When was the last time you heard the Holy Father address this grave matter with any force?  In his retreat conferences, the great Dominican theologian, Rev. Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrance, O.P. addresses this topic during his discussion of "Zeal for the Salvation of Souls":

"Our zeal must extend likewise to the Church in purgatory.  This Church is for us truly our neighbor.  We ought to assist the suffering members of Christ and give them relief because we all belong to the same body.  These souls, who are our brothers and sisters, find themselves in indescribable torments, suffering bot the pain of loss and of the senses.
St. Catherine de Ricci suffered this pain of the senses for a soul for whom she offered herself.  A mysterious flame was lighted in her body.  From her head to her feet formed blisters filled with boiling water and when these were absorbed the body of the saint seemed parched with fire.  She remained in her cell which became like an oven, painfully enduring the heat.  This torment lasted forty days when it suddenly ended.
But the souls of purgatory suffer above all else the pain of the loss of, or rather the privation of, God.  Here below this privation does not make us suffer because this is our condition.  For the souls in purgatory it is different because they should already be seeing God.  They have arrived at the end of their voyage, and are separated from the world, are deprived of their consolations, diversions and every means of being able to merit.  All that is in them urges them toward a God whom they should, but do not, possess.  They find themselves, as it were, suspended between two worlds.  Their life goes on, no longer to merit, but to suffer.  They are completely immersed in suffering, and they think of nothing else.  St. Augustine and St. Thomas both affirm that the smallest of their pains is greater than all those that can be experienced in this world.  Yet, all these souls are holy, temples of the Holy Spirit, members of Christ, incapable of sin in the sufferings they bear for love of divine justice.
These souls wait for our help, our alms.  They no longer can merit, but we can merit for them.  They no longer can gain indulgences, while we, with a bit of good will and the spirit of faith, can gain indulgences for them by drawing from the infinite treasury of the Church, thus hastening their liberation.  These are the motives of our zeal, which should extend to all souls. ("The Last Writings of Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange", New City Press, 1969, pp. 196-197)

O God, Lord of mercies, give to the souls of your servants, whose anniversary we keep, the home of refreshment, the blessedness of peace and the brightness of light.  Through Christ our Lord. .  Amen