In the writings of St. Margaret Mary we find the following exhortation: "In union with the divine Heart of Jesus make a short pilgrimage to Purgatory at night. Offer Him all your activities of the day and ask Him to apply His merits to the suffering souls. At the same time implore them to obtain for you the grace to live and die in the love and friendship of this divine Heart. May He never find in you any resistance to His holy will, not any wish to thwart His designs in your regard. Fortunate will you be, if you succeed in obtaining deliverance for some of these imprisoned souls, for you will gain as many friends in heaven."
This pious practice which St. Margaret Mary recommended to her novices for the octave of All Souls, was introduced to the members of the Archconfraternity of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in the year 1885. Since then many of the faithful have made this pilgrimage daily. Our world-wide Archconfraternity, therefore, would seem to have been chosen by divine Providence to obtain comfort and deliverance for many souls in purgatory.
In a letter of recommendation, given on January 5, 1884, His Eminence, Cardinal Monaco la Vaette, Vicar General of His Holiness, sanctioned the propagation of the "Daily Pilgrimage toPurgatory." On October 8 of the following year, his successor, Cardinal Patochi, deigned not only to honor us with a letter of approbation, but also delivered a splendid sermon on this practice in the church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Rome, in which it had been introduced. "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 everywhere. May this most benevolent of hearts extend to all who in any way assist in its circulation, the fullness of His graces and blessings."
Advantages of this Practice
It is short. A "Daily Pilgrimage" It requires little more of your time than an ordinary prayer, a religious thought, or a devout ejaculation.
It is easy. It can be practiced by any one without effort, regardless of age or state of life, at any time, and in any place. It is comforting. No more is required than to descend in spirit for a few moments into Purgatory; to petition God to send light, relief and peace to the holy souls; 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 increases His honor; He is our companion on this pilgrimage. We share in His love, and receive from Him light, relief and peace for the suffering souls.
It is generous. It offers to the Sacred Heart every meritorious deed performed in the course of a day: prayers, mortifications, good works, alms, suffrages of every kind, and places them at His disposal in behalf of the Poor Souls.
It is inexhaustible. It implores Out Lord and Savior to apply to them the infinite merits of His Life, His Passion and Death, and also those of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and all the Saints.
It is efficacious. If only you 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. Margatet Mary calls the devotion to the Sacred Heart.
It is meritorious. By extending this act of brotherly love to the Poot Souls, our own 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. 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 and temporal favors have manifested, again and again, how pleasing this practice is to the Sacred Heart. One may use it with confidence as a means of obtaining the conversion of a sinner, the restoration of heath, or a special grace. Very effective also is the promise to promote this devotion if a petition be heard. 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 offered for His sake to the Poor Souls.
It is Salutary. By helping the Poor Souls, we assure ourselves their perpetual gratitude; they will pray for us, especially after their entrance into eternal happiness; in particular will they endeavor to obtain for us the grace of a happy death. "On awaking 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 home. They left with untold joy and happiness. When I asked them to remember me, they replied: 'Ingratitude has never entered heaven'."
It deserves to be propagated. O you my Christian friends who read these lines, priests, religious or devout lay-people, help to spread this devotion. It is so simple, and requires so little effort; moreover, you will be rewarded for it. Let at least one tiny drop of water trickle into Purgatory every day. If no one refuses to do so, many souls will be released, and a refreshing stream of grace will flow without ceasing through that prison of fire.
O St. Margaret Mary, whom the Lord has chosen to reveal to the whole world all the treasures hidden in His merciful Heart of Love! O thou, who hast heard how the Poor Souls in Purgatory begged for this new remedy, the devotion to the Sacred Heart, which relieves them so effectively of their torments! O thou, who hast set free so many of these poor prisoners by practicing this devotion: obtain for us the grace to make this Pilgrimage worthily in the company of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Amen.
I unite all my intentions with all the faithful, who make this pilgrimage daily.
Consecration of the Day
Divine Heart of Jesus, in making this pilgrimage with Thee as my Companion, I consecrate to Thee all my thoughts, words and actions of the entire day. I pray Thee to unite my small merits with Thine and to apply them to the Poor Souls, especially the soul of Thy servant (s), N. N.
Likewise do I entreat you, holy souls, to help me obtain the grace to persevere in love and loyalty toward the Sacred Heart, by submitting readily and without complaint to whatever designs He may have in my regard.
Eternal Father, we offer Thee the Blood, Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, and the sorrows of the most holy Mary and St. Joseph, in payment for our sins, in suffrage for the holy souls in Purgatory, for the wants of our Holy Mother the Church, and for the conversion of sinners. Amen.
"May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be loved everywhere."
"Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, pray for us."
"St. Joseph, model and patron of those who love the Sacred Heart, pray for us."
Let us for a moment, in company with the Sacred Heart, descend in spirit into the consuming flames of Purgatory.
How many of these souls are beginning their painful imprisonment this very moment! How many of them have been there for a long time and shall be there for a longer time to come! And what a holy legion, almost entirely purified and cleansed at the present moment, shall rise to heaven this very day!
How happy the Poor Souls are! They have escaped hell forever. They are certain to obtain eternal happiness. They are friends of God; they are saved.
And yet, how miserable they are at the same time. They must still suffer temporal punishment for the sins which have been already forgiven them. The gates of the heavenly fatherland are still closed to them; they are sentenced to expiating fire.
Behold them in their present plight! Listen to their lamentations! Speak to them a word of friendship and sympathy, and hasten to their assistance!
Out of the depths I have cried unto Thee, O Lord, Lord hear my voice.
Let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.
If Thou, O Lord, shalt mark our iniquities, O Lord, who can abide it?
For with Thee there is mercy; and by reason of Thy law I have waited on Thee, O Lord.
My soul hath waited on His word; my soul hath hoped in the Lord.
From the morning watch even unto the night, let Israel hope in the Lord.
For with the Lord there is mercy; and with Him is plenteous redemption.
And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
V. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
R. And let perpetual light shine upon them.
Regret: Extravagance in the use of earthly possessions.
Resolution: To assist the souls of the faithful departed from all parts of Europe. I also recommend myself to those who are entering heaven at this moment.
Thought for the Day: "The gates of heaven are opened by alms." (St. John Chrys. hom. 32 in Ep. ad Heb.)
Exercise: Give an alms for the propagation of the devotion to the divine Heart of Jesus.
Special Intention: Pray for the soul nearest to heaven.
Motive: The closer the soul is to the end of its sufferings, the more ardently will it long for union with the Sacred Heart. Remove, therefore, the obstacles still in its way. In return, it will obtain for you the grace to sever the ties which now prevent you from giving yourself entirely to God.
O Lord God Almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Blood which Thy divine Son Jesus shed in His cruel scourging, deliver the souls in Purgatory and that soul especially which is nearest to its entrance into Thy glory; that so it may forthwith begin to praise and bless Thee forever. Amen.
Our Father . . . Hail Mary
Ejaculation: Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation!