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November 28, 2004

Be Ready at All Times

by Thomas A. Droleskey

The month of November, which is devoted to the Holy Souls in Purgatory, is drawing to a close. A devotion to the needs of the Church Suffering in Purgatory is so important for each of us to foster in our interior lives. We should remember the names of as many of the faithful departed as we can when we spend time each day before the Blessed Sacrament in prayer, commending their needs also quite particularly to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as we pray her Most Holy Rosary. The suffering souls in Purgatory are assured of their salvation. They need to rely upon us to help them make satisfaction for the debt they owe God for their forgiven mortal sins, their unforgiven venial sins and their general attachment to sin, thereby assisting them gain the glory of the Beatific Vision.

A devotion to the Holy Souls in Purgatory is not just for the month of November, obviously. The regular practice of remembering the Poor Souls must permeate our devotional lives. Those of us who are totally consecrated to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart understand that she will use the merits of whatever we give her as he consecrated slaves for the needs of all of the members of the Church Militant on earth and those in the Church Suffering in Purgatory. Nevertheless, we are called to have Masses said for our departed relatives and friends throughout the course of the year, recognizing that those who profit from the Masses we have said for them and from the prayers we give to Our Lady for them will be grateful to us at the moment we breathe our last in this vale of tears.

One of the first prayers we offer every morning should be something along the lines of this: "Dear Blessed Mother, please watch over all of the souls who have died, are dying or who are about to die this day. May these poor prayers of ours to your Immaculate Heart help those very particularly who are about to die this day by means of a sudden and unprovided for death." We do not know, of course, when we might be the beneficiary of such a prayer. Indeed, Our Lady protected my family on November 23, 2004, something that I alluded to in "Anticipating Advent," posted on this site on November 25, 2004.

We were praying Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary after assisting at a private offering of the Traditional Latin Mass, driving en route to a restaurant in Middletown, New York, prior to doing some errands for Christ the King College. Stopped at a red light in a Saturn station wagon, which had taken quite a beating throughout this year, I proceeded a bit more slowly than normally when the light turned green, looking at the oncoming traffic to make sure that no one was going to make a left turn as I proceeded straight ahead. That hesitation saved our lives, and the life of the seventeen year old girl who came careening through the red light on the street we were crossing, smashing into the front end of our now former vehicle. Had I been but a moment or two quicker leaving the light as it turned green in the direction we were proceeding we would have been killed. The girl's car would have impacted the right side of the car, where Sharon and Lucy, who was buckled into her car seat, were sitting. Given the speed at which the young girl was driving, it is likely that our car would have been turned over on its side.

The airbags in the young girl's car deployed. She was badly shaken. However, she admitted quite freely that it was her fault. She called her parents on her cellular phone to come to assist her as I called the police on my own cellular phone. A woman who witnessed the accident offered to provide her contact information as all of this was happening. Unfortunately, she was shouting out all manner of unrepeatable expletives, which I told her was thoroughly objectionable, especially given the fact that our daughter was within earshot of her foul mouth. She ran off in a huff, never to be seen again.

Fortunately, the young lady who hit us admitted to the police that she ran the red light. Her parents were very nice people who sought to comfort their daughter in the midst of the trauma of the accident. It was at that point that I saw that there was a Rosary draped around the rear view mirror in the young lady's car. Our Lady was looking after everyone involved. It was not our time. The girl's mother thanked us for our understanding as our car was towed away to its next to last resting place. I said simply, "Look, we are Catholics. We give everything to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. There is nothing that any of us can do to each other that is the equal of what one of our least venial sins did to Our Lord in His Sacred Humanity on the wood of the Holy Cross. We must forgive as we are forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance. Et dimmite nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimmitmus debitoribus nostris."

Thus, rendered carless on the day before my fifty-third birthday, we thanked the Blessed Mother for protecting us and for helping us with the cross that her Divine Son had fashioned to fit us perfectly. We noted at lunch that God had known from all eternity that this accident would take place on that day. His grace was sufficient for us to carry the cross given us at that moment. And we then laughed at how it was not yet our time, although we are mindful at all times that we must be prepared for the moment of our own Particular Judgments.

Indeed, we have had several very close calls this year, although none like the one on November 23. I am so very blessed to have a wife who accepts the crosses that come our way with perfect equanimity, understanding that this is the path of her sanctification. She endures so well the hardship of our very unpredictable and tenuous existence. She has endured this year several other people running right into the Saturn (including a woman in Youngstown, Ohio, who backed right into our car at a red light), prompting her to note that "There are forces out there that don't want us to continue the work that we are doing, especially the work of the College." And she endured with special patience and prayers the left front tire of our motor home blowing out as I was driving merrily along at a high rate of speed on Interstate 10 in the Mojave Desert of California back on September 26 in 107 degree heat.

Sharon knows that we can be called home at any time, and that we are called to make sacrifices to do penance for our own sins as well as to help the Poor Souls in Purgatory. She is my path to Heaven. There are not many women who could endure constant financial uncertainty and the physical difficulties of all of the things that have happened to us on the road while at the same time teaching our daughter, who is all of two years and eight months old, to love the Poor Souls and to memorize her prayers for their needs. I am very blessed, let me tell you. Lucy Mary Norma would have gone straight to Heaven if we had been killed on November 23. However, Sharon's soul would not have been far behind. The two of them, though, would have had their work cut out for them to get this slacker out of Purgatory, if I had made it there at all by the grace of God and the prayers of Our Lady.

Then again, each of us has our work cut out for us every day to make sure that we are indeed ready for the moment of the Particular Judgment in our own lives. We do not know the day or the hour of the Master's coming. He comes like a thief in the night. We must be ready at all times. And we must be ever attentive to the needs of our friends, the Poor Souls in Purgatory, who will can help us even though they cannot help themselves. November will be gone in a flash. Our devotion to the Poor Souls--and to the care of our own interior lives, especially by means of regular use of the Sacrament of Penance and the worthy reception of Holy Communion--must endure.

Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners and Comforter of the Afflicted, pray for us.








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