Chapter One: Grace and Devotion to Mary
Chapter Two: Mary, Holy Objects and God
Chapter Three: Primary Teachings - Mary the Virgin
Chapter Four: Mary and Jesus
Chapter Five: Deeper Teachings -
Chapter Six: Teachings Not Yet Declared Dogmas -
Jesus and Mary
A Mediator with our Mediator
Chapter Seven: Final Thoughts and Reflections
of the Holy Spirit
of Jesus Made Present
and Church Unity
Consecration to Mary Individual and
Litany of Mary's Faith Journey
© Copyright, J. Roy MacIntyre 2009
Before I move on let me add something about indulgences. This much maligned practice of obtaining atonement for debts a person incurred while living on earth has led to a neglect of the poor souls in purgatory. The reason for this is that around 1500 there were some abuses of the process of obtaining indulgences. 1500 was proclaimed a Jubilee year and many official indulgences were offered. However, there were also many clandestine vendors selling invalid indulgences. As a result, people did not know what were true Jubilee indulgences. This kind of abuse as well as the process of selling indulgences generally led Martin Luther to attack the practice. Unfortunately, the attack on the process grew to a total discrediting of the theology. As a result, only the Catholic Church in the west continued the practice of prescribing indulgences to make atonement for the debts of the dead in Christ.
Lamentably, with changes that have taken place in the Church over the last fifty years or so prayers for the dead have fallen steeply. Many Catholics have stopped the practice of praying for the holy souls who are being purified for heaven in purgatory. As noted above many die with these unpaid debts and because so few are aware that their loved ones may be suffering in purgatory the holy souls suffer without relief. The most charitable act we can do is to obtain indulgences for these souls in purgatory who can do nothing for themselves.
Because our prayers and atoning sacrifices offered for the holy souls arise from our faith, God gives them much more value than they would otherwise be worth. As a result, we can obtain great relief for the suffering souls by our meagre efforts in faith.
Along with praying and making sacrifices for the holy souls we can find what special requirements the Church asks for special indulgences for the holy souls. The Church by its authority offers opportunities to gain partial and full atonement for those in purgatory. For instance, saying the rosary every day, going to confession every two weeks, praying for the intentions of the Pope and living a life free from attachment to sin can gain a full atonement or plenary indulgence for a soul in purgatory every day. We can thereby release into heaven a soul longing for full communion with God every single day of the year if we choose to make the effort.
We can choose to believe that there is no purgatory and thereby neglect the holy souls suffering there. Pascalís wager applies to purgatory as much as it does to belief in God. (Itís a safer gamble to believe because you cannot lose. On the other hand, if you choose not to believe and you die you could regret it. So, it would seem better safe by praying earnest to God for those awaiting their entry into heaven than sorry when we find that our loved ones have been suffering without our help.
A final benefit is that the souls in purgatory can pray for us while in purgatory even though they canít help themselves. So we can ask their intercession which I am sure will continue for us when they reach the glory of heaven. They will pray for us if we too are in purgatory. Please do not neglect the suffering souls in purgatory. Pray for them, have Masses said and obtain whatever indulgences you can for them. Through your prayers for the holy souls you will find great peace and help in your daily life and joy in heaven.
Now that we have looked at prayer to the dead in Christ and at the issues around the dead in Christ we can see that it is reasonable to turn to Mary in prayer asking her to help us by her prayers before the thrown of God. So, now let us look at some issues around having a devotion to Mary, the mother of our Lord.