Dear Father Angelo,
I’m Antonio, and once again I’m sorry for bothering you with my e-mails. Today, while I was on the internet, I stumbled across this prayer to Saint Michael the archangel. The prayer ‘salutes’ the choirs of angels. I ask for your opinion and knowledge about the promises which are related to this prayer. In several websites, I’ve read that if this specific prayer is recited every day, Saint Michael will free the soul from Purgatory at the moment of death. In other websites, I’ve read that the Archangel promised to assist us in Purgatory after our death.
I would like to know which one of these two promises is true.
I would like to take this opportunity to ask you another thing about Purgatory. In your answers, you said (by quoting saints and by applying your theological knowledge) that the souls in Purgatory concurrently suffer and rejoice. I’ve even found on the internet a quote from Saint Bernadino, who said without mincing words that even if the souls in Purgatory are suffering, they feel better than any person on earth. Now I wonder -I’m not too smart- how is it possible that a place like Purgatory (while being in itself a grace) is described like such a good place!
I thank you in advance for your answer. I also apologize for the bother, but I’m so uninformed about these issues.
I thank God that gave me the grace to know you and I wish that God will be patient with you in the same way you are patient with me.
- Praying to the choirs of the angels is certainly a beautiful thing. But when you read that these prayers permit the liberation of a soul from Purgatory -even if I encourage you to keep on praying these prayers- I must tell you that the Church has never approved this kind of automatism. The effectiveness of prayer is measured by our love and devotion, and not by the mere recitation of this or that prayer.
- As I said before, I suggest you continue praying the choirs of the angels. However, you should always do it with the greatest love, forgiving, even forgetting, the offences received and praying for your enemies. When pursued with such love, the act of prayer can have the effect of freeing you from Purgatory immediately.
- The same answer is to be applied to those who recite prayers in the belief that by doing so they will free a precise number of souls. Our intention must always be to pray with a spirit which is reconciled with everybody as much as possible. We must leave to the Lord the count of the souls to free; we should be happy not to know how many we have freed so that we can avoid the loss of merit caused by complacency.
- Regarding the second question you asked, both sentences are true: according to the ancient liturgy of the Mass for the Dead, Saint Michael was given the task of protecting the souls of Purgatory from the vexations of the devil. It is believed that these vexations are permitted as a reason for purification.
- Regarding the last question about Purgatory, the sentence from Saint Bernardino from Siena should be definitely considered as true. They sure are happier because they know that they will be with the Lord for eternity, whereas we do not have this certainty. Furthermore, the purification they are facing, even if it causes suffering (but we must not forget that it is also atonement!), is the purification of love; those souls are happy to love God and all those who are called to live with Him, with a love that is ever-increasing in purity, beauty and joy.
- It surely remains true what Saint Caterina from Genova said, namely that the souls in Purgatory suffer much greater suffering than the one that can be felt on earth. But at the same time, they experience a joy that is growing greater, exceeding every expectation of all the happiness that can be experienced here.
I bless you, wish you every good and assure you of remembrance to the Lord.