Origin Of This Practice
IN the writings of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque we find the following exhortation: “In union with the divine Heart of Jesus make a short pilgrimage to Purgatory at night. Offer up to Him all your activities of the day and ask Him to apply His merits to the holy souls. At the same time implore them to use their influence to obtain for us the grace to live and die in the love and friendship of this divine Heart. May He never find in us any resistance to His holy will or any wish to thwart His designs over us. Fortunate you will be, if you succeed in obtaining deliverance for some of these imprisoned souls, for you will have as many intercessors in heaven, laboring for your eternal salvation.”
This pious practice, which was recommended by St. Margaret Mary to her novices for the octave of All Souls, was urged upon our associates in a number of articles published in the Annals of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in 1885, under the title: “Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory.” Since then this pious custom has been adopted by many of the faithful. Our worldwide Archconfraternity would seem to have been chosen by Divine Providence to obtain comfort and deliverance for many souls in Purgatory.
Thanks to the zealous activity of our Promoters. the holy Masses and prayers which have been offered up for this intention in Rome and many other places, have multiplied to such an extent that today suffrages for all the Poor Souls, and especially for those recommended to us by our associates, ascend to heaven without ceasing.
In a letter of recommendation given on January 15, 1884, His Eminence, Cardinal Monaco la Valette, Vicar General of His Holiness, approved of the publication and propagation of the “Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory.” On October 8th, of the following year, his successor as Vicar General of His Holiness, His Eminence Cardinal Parochi, not only deigned to honor us with a letter of approbation, but also delivered a splendid sermon on this pious practice in the church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Rome, in which it has been introduced. Since then, almost a million copies of this pamphlet, which summarizes the articles on the “Daily Pilgrimage” in the Annals, have been distributed among the faithful. May it please the divine Heart of Jesus to use this booklet as a means of spreading this work of sympathetic love for the Poor Souls daily more and more. May this most benevolent of Hearts extend to all who in any way assist in the circulation of this booklet, the fullness of His graces and blessings.
Advantages Of This Practise
It is short...... A “Daily Pilgrimage”.
It requires little more of your time than an ordinary prayer, a religious thought, or a devout ejaculation in behalf of the Poor Souls in Purgatory.
It is easy. ... It can be practiced by anyone without effort, regardless of age or state of life, at any time, and in any place.
It is comforting. . . . Not more is required than to descend in spirit for a moment to the suffering souls in Purgatory; to petition God to send them light, relief and peace ; to relieve them of their sufferings, and to hasten the hour of their deliverance.
It is holy. ... It is in accordance with the wishes of the Sacred Heart; it promotes union with His sentiments and designs; it increases His honor; we make this pilgrimage with Jesus as our escort of honor, as it were, whereby we share in His love and receive from Him light, relief and peace for these holy souls.
It is generous .It offers to the Sacred Heart every noble deed performed in the course of a day: prayers, mortifications, good works, alms, suffrages of every kind, and places them at the disposal of the Sacred Heart in behalf of the suffering souls.
It is inexhaustible. ... It constantly implores Our Lord and Savior to apply to the Poor Souls, in an overflowing measure, the infinite merits of His life. His Passion and Death, as well as those of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and all the Saints.
It is efficacious. ... If you only knew with what ardent desire these holy souls long for this new remedy which has such efficacy to relieve their sufferings. For this is what St. Margaret Mary calls the devotion to the Sacred Heart—a “remedy.”
It is meritorious. . . . By extending this act of brotherly love to the Poor Souls, our merits are increased in the same measure as the pious thoughts which it inspires, the good disposition which it creates, the acts of virtue which it prompts.
It goes on unceasingly .At every moment of the day and night, somewhere on earth members of the Archconfraternity pray for our departed friends according to our intention, as we do for theirs. There is an uninterrupted sequence of holy Masses, Stations of the Cross, good works, prayers and indulgences. Those whose death we mourn will never be forgotten.
It is approved by the Church. . . . Many bishops have readily given their approval; His Eminence, the Cardinal Vicar of His Holiness has recommended it twice in a most explicit manner; the Holy Father himself has deigned to bestow the richest privileges upon the altar of the Poor Souls in the Church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Rome.
It is favored by God Himself. . . . Numerous spiritual as well as temporal favors have manifested, time and again, how pleasing this practice is to the Sacred Heart. One may, with confidence, use it as a means of obtaining the conversion of a sinner, the restoration of health, or a special grace. Very elective also is the promise to promote this pious practice, if a petition be heard. Many favors have thus been granted which had been previously asked for without success. If the Lord rewards in this life the gift of a cup of cold water, given in His name to the poor. He certainly will reward, even more generously, the help given for His sake to the Poor Souls in their great need.
It is salutary. . . . We obtain thereby the perpetual gratitude of the Poor Souls; they will fervently pray for us, especially after their entrance into eternal happiness, in order to secure for us the grace to live and die in the love and friendship of the divine Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
'‘On my awakening this morning, on the Sunday of the Good Shepherd,” wrote St. Margaret Mary two hundred years ago, “two of my suffering friends came to take leave of me; today the Good Shepherd received them into His eternal fold, together with a million of others. They left with untold joy and happiness. When I asked them to remember me, they replied: “Ingratitude never entered heaven.”
It deserves to be propagated. . . . Oh you my Christian friends who read these lines, priests, religious or devout lay-people, hasten to come forward; let the Archconfraternity of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart be the bond which binds us all into a vast assembly of worshippers, in union with the divine Heart, and under the protection of St. Joseph, the great helper of the Poor Souls.
Let us do everything possible to spread this devotion. It is so simple, and requires so little effort; and besides, we will be rewarded for it. Let at least these tiny drops of water trickle down into the fires of Purgatory every day. If no one refuses to do so, many souls will be released, and a refreshing stream will constantly flow through that prison of fire.