February 17-18 2018 - 1st Sunday of Lent
Millions of Catholics recite the Hail Mary every day, some-times in a hurry, without thinking about the words. And yet, this prayer is a gold mine!
Saint Bernard and many other saints insisted that Mary never refuses to hear the prayers of her children. Why do we ever refuse the love and consolation that the sweet Mother of God offers us?
Hugh Lammer was a Christian strong in his faith who used to preach violently against the Catholic Church. One day, he came across an explanation of the Hail Mary that he really liked, and he started reciting it every day. Then all his anti-Catholic animosity disappeared as if by magic. He converted, became a priest and a professor of Catholic theology in Breslau (Wroclaw, in German Breslau, is a city in Silesia, Poland). Thousands of similar stories exist: a priest visits a man dying in despair because of his sins and lack of faith. The man refuses to confess. The priest manages to have him pray at least one Ave Maria. Shortly after, the unhappy man makes a sincere confession and dies in the grace of God…
“Another way to help the souls in Purgatory is through mortification and penance. ...
Perhaps a reminder to come to the aid of the souls in Purgatory through mortification and penance could move many to this practice of love which unites them to their dear deceased.
Our days on earth are rich in opportunities to practise these virtues, and if we want to expiate our numberless sins and give satisfaction to the souls in Purgatory, we need to take advantage of them. Taking care to be earnest in getting up in the morning without growing lazy in bed, for instance; the pain of cold in winter and heat in summer; the aversion we feel toward eating something we do not like; pain for the sickness we have to bear; patience in adversities; the moral sufferings that cause us agony and other, similar things are precious opportunities to do penance and to give suffrage to the souls in Purgatory. It is foolish to bear our sufferings with impatience and to lament them as if fatal, let alone to have feelings of rebellion against God, the Blessed Mother and the saints. By the same token, it is foolish to look always for ways to enjoy ourselves and have fun, and to stray into the vanities of the world, because these things might bring the soul to its eternal damnation. Let us pick up our cross with great resignation, for the love of God and without lamenting or cursing. Our cross will make us capable of helping the souls in Purgatory and it will move us on toward eternal joy. We must not satisfy all the demands of our selfishness, but keep under tight control our corrupt and rebellious nature through penance. We will have the joy of ruling over ourselves and enjoying the freedom of the spirit, while reducing at the same time the very suffering of our life, because union with the Diving Will, and patience itself, are balm to all our sorrows.
Anxiety, lamentation, rebellion and despair are only amplifiers of the pain and the suffering in our lives.”
on Dolindo Ruotolo (1882-1970), Who Dies Shall See: Purgatory and Heaven, p 44.