Evening Meditations for the Eighteenth Tuesday After Pentecost~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Evening Meditation

ST. MICHAEL ASSISTS US AT DEATH AND IN PURGATORY.

I.

St. Michael is specially charged by the Lord to assist us at the hour of death. Every one knows that then the assaults of the devil become more terrible, whilst our strength diminishes and our minds are weighed down by great anguish. Three causes chiefly torment those who are at the point of death: first, the remembrance of sins committed; secondly, the fear of eternal damnation; and thirdly, the attacks of hell. This is the reason why the Church wishes us to pray to St. Michael that he may protect us in the great conflict that we must sustain at the hour of death against the devil. She prays: “Holy Michael Archangel, defend us in battle, that we may not perish in the dreadful Judgment.” And in the recommendation of a soul departed, she wishes that those present should pray to the holy Archangel that he may take it under his protection: “May St. Michael the Archangel receive him.” Moreover, we read in the Office these words as having been said by the Lord himself: “Michael Archangel, I have appointed thee prince over the ingathering of souls.” It is, therefore, to St. Michael that God has confided the care of those souls that pass from this life to eternity.

Many examples prove that St. Michael obtains for his pious servants a happy death. A Religious of the Capuchin Order, named Ivo, cherished a great devotion to the glorious Archangel. The latter one day appeared to him and warned him to prepare himself for death, which was near. From that moment Ivo thought only of preparing himself to die well by numerous acts of virtue, and so he died in the odour of sanctity, as is related by Father Palocci, who wrote his Life. We also read in the Life of St. Galtan, written by Father Falcone, that in his last moments the devils appeared to him and tormented him by temptations, but St. Michael, to whom he was greatly devoted, also appeared to him and delivered him from all the anxieties caused by the evil spirits.

II.

St. Michael is also charged with the care of consoling the Souls in Purgatory. In his Office it is said that God confides to him all the souls that are saved, in order that he may conduct them to Paradise: “To whom God has confided the souls of the saints that he may lead them into the Paradise of joy.” And in the Mass of the Dead the Church prays to the holy Archangel: “Let the standard-bearer, St. Michael, bring them into the blessed light.” Also, full of a tender solicitude for these holy souls that have been intrusted and recommended to him, he does not fail to assist and to succour them by procuring for them many alleviations of the pains they suffer in Purgatory. And as for those persons who have a devotion to this heavenly prince, I said that even in this life he consoles them in all their tribulations; how much more should we not believe that he is anxious to help them and console them in Purgatory, where their sufferings are much greater than all the sufferings of this life!

James Massi informs us that a priest in the Mass one day specially recommended some souls by pronouncing the words quoted above: “Let the standard-bearer, St. Michael, bring them into the blessed light.” At the same moment he saw the glorious Archangel descend from Heaven into Purgatory to deliver them.

The same author relates that a monk of Citeaux appeared after his death to a priest, his friend, and told him that he was still in Purgatory, but that he would be delivered if at the Mass he would recommend him to St. Michael. The priest did as he had been requested, and saw, what others also saw, the soul of his friend conducted to Heaven by the holy Archangel.

From all this we infer that it is most pleasing to St. Michael to apply ourselves by good works and devotions to the relief of the Souls in Purgatory, that they may be delivered from their sufferings. This is also most pleasing to Jesus Christ, Who, full of love for these Holy Souls, His eternal spouses, desires very much that we assist them by our prayers.

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