Bishop Markus Ramolla relocated to Ohio, USA and functions at the new chapel of Our Lady of Victory in Mason, Ohio. You can follow us at Our Lady of Victory Chapel, Mason, Ohio at ourladyofvictorychapel.blogspot.com

Devotion to the Souls in Purgatory

From: “Purgatory” by Fr. Faber 
If Heaven and earth are full of the glory of God, so also is that most melancholy, yet most interesting land, where the prisoners of hope are detained by their Savior’s loving justice from the Beatific Vision; and if we can advance the interests of Jesus on earth and in Heaven, I may also venture to say that we can do still more in Purgatory. And what I am endeavoring to show you in this treatise is how you may help God by prayer and the practices of devotion, whatever your occupation and calling may be; and all these prac-tices apply especially to Purgatory. For although some theologians say that in spite of the Holy Souls placing no obstacle in the way, still the effect of prayer for them is not infallible, nevertheless it is much more certain than the effect of prayer for the conversion of sinners upon earth, where it is so often frustrated by their perversity and evil dispositions. Anyhow, what I have wanted to show has been this: that each of us, without aiming beyond our grace, without austerities for which we have not courage, without supernatural gifts to which we lay no claim, may by simple affectionateness and the practices of sound Catholic devotion, do great things—things so great that they seem incredible—for the glory of God, the interests of Jesus and the good of souls.
Pray for Sinners or the Holy Souls?
I should therefore be leaving my subject very incomplete if I did not consider at some length devotion to the Holy Souls in Purgatory; and I will treat, not so much of particular practices of it, which are to be found in the ordinary manuals, as of the spirit of the devotion itself.
Rosignoli, in his Wonders of God in Purgatory (Opere 1:710), which he wrote at the request of Blessed Sebastian Valfré of the Turin Oratory, relates from the Dominican annals an interesting dispute between two good friars as to the respective merits of devotion for the conversion of sin-ners and devotion for the Holy Souls.
Bro. Bertrando was the great advocate of poor sinners, constantly said Mass for them, and offered up all his prayers and penances to obtain for them the grace of conversion. “Sinners,” he said, “without grace, are in a state of perdition. Evil spirits are continually laying snares for them, to deprive them of the Beatific Vision and to carry them off to eternal torments. Our Blessed Lord came down from Heaven and died a most painful death for them. What can be a higher work than to imitate Him and to cooperate with Him in the salvation of souls? When a soul is lost, the price of its redemption is lost also. Now the souls in Purgatory are safe. They are sure of their eternal salvation. It is most true that they are plunged into a sea of sorrows, but they are sure to come out at last. They are the friends of God, whereas sinners are His enemies, and to be God’s enemy is the greatest misery in creation.”
Bro. Benedetto was an equally enthusias-tic advocate of the suffering souls. He offered all his free Masses for them, as well as his prayers and penances. Sinners, he said, were bound with the chains of their own will. They could leave off sinning if they pleased. The yoke was of their own choosing, whereas the dead were tied hand and foot against their own will in the most atrocious sufferings.
Now come, dear Bro. Bertrando, tell me—suppose there were two beggars, one well and strong, who could use his hands and work if he liked, but chose to suffer poverty rather than part with the sweets of idleness; and the other, sick and maimed and helpless, who in his piteous condition could do nothing but supplicate help with cries and tears—which of the two would deserve compassion the most, especially if the sick one was suffering the most intolerable agonies? Now this is just the case between sinners and the Holy Souls. These last are suffering an excruciating martyrdom, and they have no means of help-ing themselves. It is true they have deserved the-se pains for their sins, but they are now already cleansed for those sins. They must have returned to the grace of God before they died, else they would not have been saved. They are now most dear, inexpressibly dear, to God; and surely chari-ty, well ordered, must follow the wise love of the Divine Will and love most what He loves most.”
Bro. Bertrando, however, would not give way, though he did not quite see a satisfactory answer to his friend’s objection. But the night fol-lowing, he had an apparition which it seems so convinced him that from that time he changed his practice, and offered up all his Masses, prayers and penances for the Holy Souls. It would appear as if the authority of St. Thomas might be quoted on the side of Bro. Benedetto, as he says, “Prayer for the dead is more acceptable than for the liv-ing, for the dead are in the greatest need of it and cannot help themselves, as the living can” (Suppl. 3. Part, q. 71, art. 5 ad 3).
St. Teresa of Avila
How acceptable this devotion is to Almighty God, and how He vouchsafes to seem, as it were, impatient for the deliverance of the souls, and yet to leave it to our charity, is taught us on the unimpeachable authority of St. Teresa. In the Book of her Foundations, she tells us that D. Ber-nardino di Mendoza gave her a house, garden and vineyard for a convent at Valladolid. Two months after this, and before the foundation was effected, he was suddenly taken ill and lost the power of speech, so that he could not make a Confession, though he gave many signs of contrition. “He died,” says St. Teresa, “very shortly, and far from the place where I then was. But Our Lord spoke to me and told me that he was saved, though he had run a great risk, for that He had had mercy upon him because of the gift he had given for the convent of His Blessed Mother; but that his soul would not be freed from Purgatory until the first Mass was said in the new house. I felt so deeply the pains this soul was suffering that, although I was very desirous of accomplishing the founda-tion of Toledo, I left it at once for Valladolid. Praying one day at Medino del Campo, Our Lord told me to make haste, for that soul was suffering grievously. On this I started at once, though I was not well prepared for it, and arrived at Val-ladolid on St. Lawrence’s day.”
She then goes on to relate that, as she received Communion at the first Mass said in the house, her benefactor’s soul appeared to her all glorious, and afterward entered Heaven. She did not expect this, for as she observes, “Although it had been revealed to me that this would happen at the first Mass, I thought it must mean the first Mass where the Blessed Sacrament would be reserved there.”
We might multiply almost indefinitely the revelations of the Saints which go to prove the special favor with which our Blessed Lord regards this devotion wherein His interests are so nearly and dearly engaged. But it is time now to get a clear view of our subject.
World of Sense, World of Spirit
There are, as we all know, two worlds, the world of sense and the world of spirit. We live in the world of sense, surrounded by the world of spirit, and as Christians we have hourly, and very real, communications with that world. Now, it is a mere fragment of the Church which is the world of sense. In these days the Church Triumphant in Heaven, collecting its fresh multitudes in every age, and constantly beautifying itself with new Saints, must necessarily far exceed the limits of the Church Militant, which does not embrace even a majority of the inhabitants of earth. Nor is it unlikely, but most likely, that the Church Suffer-ing in Purgatory must far exceed the Church Mili-tant in extent, as it surpasses it in beauty.
Toward those countless hosts who are lost, we have no duties; they have fallen away from us. We hardly know the name of one who is there, for many have thought that Solomon was saved, some have gone so far as to regard the words in the Acts of the Apostles about Judas as not infallibly decisive [cf. Acts 1:16 ff], and there is not quite a consent even against Saul. We are cut off from them; all is blackness and darkness about them; we have no relations with them.
The Power God Gives us over the Dead
But by the doctrine of the Communion of the Saints and of the unity of Christ’s Mystical Body, we have most intimate relations both of duty and affection with the Church Triumphant and Suffering, and Catholic devotion furnishes us with many appointed and approved ways of dis-charging these duties toward them. Of these I shall speak hereafter. For the present it is enough to say that God has given us such power over the dead that they seem, as I have said before, to depend almost more on earth than on Heaven; and surely [the fact] that He has given us this power, and supernatural methods of exercising it, is not the least touching proof that His Blessed Majesty has contrived all things for love. Can we not conceive the joy of the Blessed in Heaven, looking down from the bosom of God and the calmness of their eternal repose upon this scene of dimness, disquietude, doubt and fear, and rejoicing in the plentitude of their charity, in their vast power with the Sacred Heart of Jesus to obtain grace and blessing day and night for the poor dwellers on earth? It does not distract them from God, it does not interfere with the Vision, or make it waver and grow misty; it does not trouble their glory or their peace. On the contrary, it is with them as with our Guardian Angels; the affectionate ministries of their chari-ty increase their own accidental glory.
The same joy in its measure may be ours even upon earth. If we are fully possessed with this Catholic devotion for the Holy Souls, we shall never be without the grateful consciousness of the immense powers which Jesus has given us on their behalf. We are never so like Him, or so dearly imitate His tender offices, as when we are devoutly exercising these powers. We are humbled excessively by becoming the benefactors of those beautiful souls who are so immeasurably our superiors, as Joseph was said to have learned humility by commanding Jesus.
While we are helping the Holy Souls, we love Jesus with a love beyond words, a love that almost makes us afraid, yet with what a delightful fear! Because in this devotion it is His hands we are moving, as we would move the unskillful hands of a child. Dearest Lord, that He should let us do these things! That He should let us do with His satisfactions what we will, and sprinkle His Precious Blood as if it were so much water from the nearest well! That we should limit the efficacy of His unbloody Sacrifice, and name souls to Him, and expect Him to obey us, and that He should do so! Beautiful was the help-lessness of His blessed Infancy; beautiful is His helplessness in His most dear Sacrament; beautiful is the helplessness which, for the love of us, He mostly wills to be with regard to His dear spouses in Purgatory, whose entrance into glory His Heart is so impatiently awaiting! Oh, what thoughts, what feelings, what love should be ours as we, like choirs of terrestrial angels, gaze down on the wide, silent, sinless kingdom of suffering, and then, with our own venturous touch, wave the sceptered hand of Jesus over its broad regions, all richly dropping with the balsam of His saving Blood!
Two Views of Purgatory
There have already been two views of Purgatory prevailing in the Church, not contradictory the one of the other, but rather expressive of the mind and devotion of those who have embraced them.
One is the view met with in by far the greater number of the lives and revelations of Italian and Spanish Saints, the works of the Germans of the Middle Ages, and the popular delineations of Purgatory in Belgium, Portugal, Brazil, Mexico and elsewhere. The other is the view which has been made popular by St. Francis de Sales, though he drew it originally from his favorite treatise on Purgatory by St. Catherine of Genoa, and it is also borne out by many of the revelations of Sister Francesca of Pampeluna, a Theresian nun, published with a long and able censura by Bro. Giuseppe Bonaventura Ponze, a Dominican professor at Saragossa. And each of these two views, though neither denies the other, has its own peculiar spirit of devotion.
Other Benefits of This Devotion
IT is not saying too much to call devotion to the Holy Souls a kind of center in which all Catholic devotions meet and which satisfies more than any other single devotion our duties in that way; because it is a devotion all of live, and of disinterested love. If we cast an eye over the chief Catholic devotions, we shall see the truth of this. Take the devotion of St. Ignatius to the glory of God. This, if I may dare to use such an expression of Him, was the special and favorite devotion of Jesus.
Now, Purgatory is simply a field white for the harvest of God’s glory. Not a prayer can be said for the Holy Souls but God is at once glorified, both by the faith and the charity of the mere prayer. Not an alleviation, however trifling, can befall any one of the souls but He is forthwith glorified by the honor of His Son’s Precious Blood, and the approach of the souls to bliss. Not a soul is delivered from its trial but God is immensely glorified. He crowns His own gifts in that dear soul. The Cross of Christ has triumphed. The decree of predestination is vic-toriously accomplished, and there is a new wor-shiper in the courts of Heaven. Moreover, God’s glory, His sweetest glory, the glory of His live, is sooner or later infallible in Purgatory because there is no sin there, nor possibility of sin. It is only a question of time. All that is gained is real gain. All that is reaped is true wheat, without chaff or stubble, or any such thing.
Devotion to the Holy Souls Honors The Sacred Humanity of Jesus
Again, what devotion is justly more dear to Christians than the devotion to the Sacred Humanity of Jesus? It is rather a family of various and beautiful devotions than a devotion by itself. Yet see how they are all, as it were, ful-filled, affectionately fulfilled, in devotion to the Holy Souls. The quicker the souls are liberated from Purgatory, the more is the beautiful harvest of His blessed Passion multiplied and accelerated. An early harvest is a blessing, as well as a plenti-ful one; for all delay of a soul’s ingress into the praise of Heaven is an eternal and irremediable loss of honor and glory to the Sacred Humanity of Jesus.
How strangely things sound in the language of the sanctuary! Yet, so it is. Can the Sa-cred Humanity be honored more than by the adorable Sacrifice of the Mass? And here is our chief action upon Purgatory. Faith in His Sacraments as used for the dead is a pleasing homage to Jesus; and the same may be said of faith in indulgences and privileged altars and the like. The powers of the Church all flow from His Sacred Humanity and are a perpetual praise and thank-offering to it. So, again, this devotion honors Him by imitating His zeal for souls. For this zeal is a badge of His people, and an inheritance from Him.
Our Lady, the Angels, Patron Saints, Founders
Devotion to our dearest Mother is equally comprehended in this devotion to the Holy Souls, whether we look at her as the Mother of Jesus, and so sharing the honors of His Sacred Humanity, or as Mother of Mercy, and so specially wor-shipped by works of mercy, or, lastly, as in a particular sense the Queen of Purgatory, and so hav-ing all manner of dear interests to be promoted in the welfare and deliverance of those suffering souls.
Next to this we may rank devotion to the holy Angels, and this also is satisfied in devotion to the Holy Souls. For it keeps filling the vacant thrones in the angelic choirs, those unsightly gaps which the fall of Lucifer and one third of the heavenly host occasioned. It multiplies the companions of the blessed spirits. They may be sup-posed also to look with an especial interest on that part of the Church which lies in Purgatory, because it is already crowned with their own dear gift and ornament of final perseverance, and yet it has not entered at once into its inheritance as they did. Many of them also have a tender per-sonal interest in Purgatory. Thousands, perhaps millions of them, are guardians to those souls, and their office is not over yet. Thousands have clients there who were specially devoted to them in life. Will St. Raphael, who was so faithful to Tobias, be less faithful to his clients there? Whole choirs are interested about others [in Purgatory], either because they are finally to be aggregated to that choir, or because in [their] lifetime they had a special devotion to it. Marie Denise, of the Visitation, used to congratulate her Angel every day on the grace he had received to stand when so many around him were falling. It was, as I have said before, the only thing she could know for certain of his past life. Could he neglect her if by the Will of God she went to Purgatory? Again, St. Michael, as Prince of Purgatory and our Lady’s regent, in fulfillment of that dear office attributed to him by the Church in the Mass for the dead, takes as homage to himself all charity to the Holy Souls; and if it be true that a zealous heart is al-ways a proof of a grateful one, that bold and magnificent spirit will recompense us one day in his own princely style, and perhaps within the limits of that his special jurisdiction.
Neither is devotion to the Saints without its interests in this devotion for the dead. It fills them with the delights of charity as it swells their numbers and beautifies their ranks and orders. Numberless Patron Saints are personally interested in multitudes of souls. The affectionate relations between their clients and themselves not only subsists, but a deeper tenderness has entered into it because of the fearful suffering, and a livelier interest because of the accomplished victory. They see in the Holy Souls their own handiwork, the fruit of their example, the answer to their prayers, the success of their patronage, the beautiful and finished crown of their affection-ate intercession.
And all this applies with peculiar force to the Founders of Orders and Congregations. Ah, those Saints, those founders, are the children of the Sacred Heart! They have been conceived in its inmost cavities; they have been suckled with its choicest Blood, softer than milk, and more cheer-ing than the wine of Engaddi’s peerless grape; their charity has caught the trick of its compression and dilation. Who then can tell how Founders yearn over their children in those cleansing fires? Those souls honored them through life; they lived in their Father’s and Founder’s house; his voice was ever in their ears; his feasts there were days of song and joy and spiritual sunshine; his relics were their shield, his rule their second gospel; his sayings and doings were ever on their lips; his dress and livery were dear to them as the garment of a king to his Eastern favorite. He was with them all day long; they loved him with a venturous love; they praised him till men smiled at their family pride; they feared him as one the darkening of whose eye upon their souls was a worse calamity than fire, or sword, or pestilence; and when they came to die, his name, and no other, except the names of Jesus and Mary, could so well soothe the troubled mind, so drive away the besetting demons, and so calm the starts and frets and catching which, if they impair not the perfection of our patience, take away at least from death its joy-inspiring gracefulness. What wonder their founder should love them as he beholds them bounding immaculate and beautiful, the gems of his Order, the glory of his Rule, in the chastening fires of God!
Our Charity for the Poor Souls Benefits Our Own Souls
But there is another peculiarity in this devotion for the dead. It does not rest in words and feelings, nor does it merely lead to action indirectly and at last. It is action in itself, and thus it is a substantial devotion. It speaks, and a deed is done; it loves, and a pain is lessened; it sacrifices, and a soul is delivered. Nothing can be more solid. We might almost dare to compare it, in its poor measure, to the efficacious voice of God, which works what it says, and effects what it utters and wills, and a creation comes.
The royal devotion of the Church is the works of mercy; and see how they are all satisfied in this devotion for the dead! It feeds the hungry souls with Jesus, the Bread of Angels. It gives them to drink, in their incomparable thirst, His Precious Blood. It clothes the naked with a robe of glory. It visits the sick with mighty powers to heal, and at the least consoles them by the visit. It frees the captives with a heavenly and eternal freedom, from a bondage dreader far than death. It takes in the strangers, and Heaven is the hos-pice [lodging] into which it receives them. It buries the dead in the bosom of Jesus in everlasting rest.

Oh, when the last doom shall come, and our dearest Lord shall ask those seven questions of His judicial process, those interrogatories of the works of mercy, how happy will that man be—and it may be the poorest beggar among us, who never gave an alms because he has had to live on alms himself—who shall hear his own defense sweetly and eloquently taken up by crowds of blessed souls to whom he has done all things while they waited in their prison-house of hope! Three times a day St. Francis de Sales put himself in the presence of God as before his judge and tried to judge himself in his Savior’s way. Let us but do that, and we shall become so many servitors of Michael, so many guardian angels of that beautiful but melancholy land of suffering and expectant souls.


Consideration for ALL SAINTS DAY:


The heavenly encounter of John Bosco with Domenic Savio
On the night of December 6, 1876, while in my room, asleep or not, I do not know, I found myself on a hill overlooking an immense plane. It was blue, like a calm sea, but not of water. It looked like shining crystal.
I saw large gardens of untold beauty. The grass, flowers, trees, and fruit were exquisitely beautiful. The trees had leaves of gold, trunks and branches studded with diamonds—everything blending in wealthy splendor. I saw buildings of such beauty and harmony, so exceptionally magnificent in shape, that not all the wealth of the world could construct even one of them! I was seeing only the outside of these buildings—how magnificent they must have been inside! “If only my boys could live in one of these mansions,” I said to myself, “how happy they would be! How gladly they would stay!” Then I heard music so sweet and rich in harmony that words cannot even describe it. A hundred thousand instruments were playing, and then a choir of voices joined them. There is nothing on earth to compare with it! I was enraptured.
A Group of Boys
As I listened in ecstatic wonder, I saw a group of boys, many of whom had been at the Oratory or at our other schools, but most of them I had never seen. They came towards me, and at their head was Dominic Savio.
Am I asleep or awake?” I kept wondering. I even hit myself a few times to make sure everything was real!

A boundless joy sparkled in the eyes of those boys, reflecting in their face the inner peace that flooded their souls. Happy smiles played merrily on their lips. Dominic Savio stepped forward alone, coming so close to me that, had I stretched out my hand, I would have touched him.
How magnificent he looked! A snow white tunic, studded with diamonds and interwoven with gold, fell to his feet. About his waist was a wide crimson sash, embroidered with precious stones. About his neck hung a garland of wild flowers. Their petals looked like diamonds hung from golden stems, and they sparkled with a supernatural glory that outshone even the sun, with all its splendor of a spring morning. I almost lost my senses as I looked at him.
The rays from the flowers intermingled and played upon Dominic’s innocent, handsome face in a manner that defies description. Everything about him gave him such an attractive and enchanting appearance that he looked like...an angel.
Where Was I?

I kept staring at everything about me. “What does this mean?” I wondered, “And, how did I get here?” I still had no idea where I was. Stammering, I barely managed to ask, “Are you really Dominic Savio?” “Yes, I am! Don’t you recognize me?” Why are you here?” I asked, terribly confused. Dominic’s reply was reassuring.
I have come to talk with you. We often talked together on earth, and now God is allowing me to return your love for me.” I asked, “Am I in Heaven?”
He answered, “No. This is a natural place of happiness with temporal joys in a lofty degree; it is nature embellished and made so by God’s power. I said, “I thought that it was Heaven.” “No, of course not!” broke in Savio. “No mortal eye can see the eternal beauty of Heaven. Even the tiniest ray of Heaven’s light would strike a man dead, because the human senses cannot stand it.
I gazed attentively at the heavenly “Is there any natural light lovelier than this?” Oh, yes! If you could only see a ray of sunlight just slightly more powerful than this, you would lose your senses!”
Could I not look at just one tiny ray of such light?” “All right...but, look carefully at the horizon on the crystal sea.” I did so, and at that moment, far away, a fleeting streak of light, thinner than a thread, flashed across the sky—so brilliant, so penetrating that it burned my eyes. I shut them and screamed. That one streak was a hundred million times brighter than the sun, and its brilliance could have lit up the entire universe!
After awhile, I reopened my eyes and asked Dominic, “What was that—a ray of divine light?”
Savio answered, “It was not supernatural light, although it does surpass all the light of the world. It is nothing else than natural light, intensified by God’s power. Even an immense band of light equal in brilliance to the tiny ribbon which you have just seen, and encircling the entire universe, could not give you even a remote idea of the glory of Heaven!”
Then I asked Dominic, “Why are you wearing such brilliant garments?” Dominic was silent, and seemed to refuse an answer, but then I realized that the blood-red sash was a symbol of the many great sacrifices he had made, his violent efforts, the near martyrdom he had suffered to preserve the virtue of purity...and that to remain chaste in God’s eyes, he had been ready to give his life, should it have been necessary. At the same time, it represented penance, which cleanses the soul from guilt. His shining white tunic represented baptismal innocence retained.
God’s Messenger
I gazed attentively at the heavenly youngsters who followed him, and asked, “Tell me, Dominic, you are the youngest of all the boys who have died in our houses, so why do you precede these boys?” “I am the oldest of the Oratory boys, because I was the first to die and pass on into eternity. Besides, legatione Dei fungor—”I am God’s ambassador.” He was a messenger for God.
I asked, “Tell me about the past?” He replied, “Do you see that vast number of boys over there? What is written over the entrance to that garden?” “Salesian Garden,” I answered.
Well,” Savio continued, “all of these people were either Salesians or were influenced by you. They were those saved by you and your priests and seminarians, or by those whom you guided into the paths of their vocation. Count them, if you can! But, they would be a hundred million times more numerous if you had only had greater trust and faith in the Lord!”

I sighed, not knowing what to say to this reproof, and inwardly resolved, “I’ll make sure that I have this faith and confidence in the future!” “How about the present?” I asked.
Dominic showed me a beautiful bouquet of flowers he had in his hands. There were roses, violets, sunflowers, gentians, lilies, and evergreens...with some ears of wheat. He gave them to me, and said, “These flowers represent the virtues that are most pleasing to Our Lord.”
What are they,” I asked. “The rose is the symbol of Charity; the violet of Humility; the sunflower, Obedience; the gentian, Penance and Mortification; the ears of wheat, frequent Communion; the lily symbolized that beautiful virtue of which it is said, “They shall be as the Angels of God in Heav-en—Chastity. The evergreen tells you that these virtues must be lasting: Perseverance.”
The Most Important Message
Well now, Dominic,” I said, “you practiced all of these virtues during life. Tell me, what gave you the greatest comfort at the hour of death?” “What do you think it was?” “Maybe preserving the virtue of purity?” “No, not that alone.” “Peace of conscience...obedience?” “That is a good thing, but it is not the best.” “Perhaps the hope of gaining Heaven?” “No, not that.” “Well, was it the treasury of good deeds you had stored up? “No, no!” “Then what did bring you your greatest comfort in that last hour?” I pleaded, embarrassed that I had not discovered the reason.

What comforted me most at the hour of my death,” Dominic replied, “was the
assistance of the powerful and lovable Mother of God! Tell this to your boys, and to everyone. As long as they live, they are not to forget to pray to Her!”

And, what of the future?” “As for your Congregation, if your priests guide it well and make themselves worthy of their lofty mission, the future will be resplendent, and an untold number of souls will be saved. But on one condition—that your sons remain devoted to the Blessed Virgin, and that they all keep the virtue of chastity, which is so pleasing to God.”
Out Of Body
How about myself”? I asked. “Oh, if you only know what trials still await you! But, now, I have little time left to speak to you.” Quickly I stretched out my hands to grasp him, but he seemed immaterial, and I touched only thin air! Dominic smiled, and asked, “What are you trying to do?” “I am afraid that you will go away. Aren’t you here in your body?” “No, not in my body. Some day I shall take it back.” “Then what is this image that I see? Am I not gazing upon Dominic Savio?”
When a soul is separated from its body by death and, with God’s permission, appears to a human being, it shows the exterior of the body to which it was united in life, with all its phys-ical characteristics greatly beautified. It does so until body and soul are reunited in the Universal Judgment. Then it will take its body to Heaven. That is why I seem to have head and hands and feet. This is why you can see me.” “I understand,” I answered. “But listen, one more question. Are all my boys on the path to salvation? Tell me how I can properly guide them?” Knowledge Of The State Of Souls
The boys entrusted to you by Divine Providence can be divided into three groups. Do you see these three slips of paper?” and he handed me the first one.
I looked at it. It was entitled Invulnerati — unwounded—and contained the names of those lads whom the devil had been unable to harm, those boys who had retained their innocence unstained. They were many, and I could see them all. Some I knew, others were strangers, undoubtedly boys who were to enter our school in future years.
They were walking straight along a narrow path, in spite of arrows and daggers that were thrown at them from all sides. Indeed, these weapons formed a fence on both sides of the path, striking and tormenting them, but never inflicting a wound. Then Dominic handed me the second slip, entitled Vulnerati—that is, those who had fallen from God’s grace but, rising to their feet, had healed their wounds by repentance and Confession.
There were more boys on this second list than on the first. They had been wounded on their way of life by the enemy lying in wait for them. I read their names and saw them all. Many walked along with their heads bowed in discouragement.
Dominic still had a third piece of paper in his hand. I could see its title Lassti in via inquitantis—those who have collapsed in the way of sin. It contained the names of all those in God’s disgrace. I was anxious to know who they were and stretched out my hand, but Dominic interrupted quickly, “No, wait a moment listen to me! If you open this paper, such a stench will arise that neither you nor I will be able to stand it! The angels withdraw in horror and disgust, and the Holy Spirit, Himself, abhors the hideous odor of sin!”
How can this be?” I asked. “Neither God nor His angels can feel pain. How can they smell a material stench?” “The better and purer a creature is, the more it resembles a heavenly spirit; but the filthier and more sinful one is, the father one moves from God and His angels, who in turn withdraw from him, who is an object of disgust and loathing.”
Then he handed me the paper. “Take it,“ he said, “open it and use it for the good of your boys. But do not forget the bouquet I have given to you. Make sure that everyone has it, and does not lose it!” Giving me the paper, he hastily withdrew to join his companions. I opened the paper. I saw no names, but in a flash, I saw all the boys who were listed on it. I saw them all! They were a sorry sight! Most of them I knew; they belong to the Oratory or to other schools. I saw some who seem to be good—even the best among all their companions, but they are not!

As I unfolded the paper, an unbearable stench was released—so much so that I got a violent headache, and such cramps that I thought I would die Darkness settled about me the vision with Dominic faded away and, to my sadness, nothing was left of that wonderful sight. Suddenly a bolt of lightning flashed with a crash of thunder so loud and frightening that I awoke in a cold sweat! It was a dream but I remembered everything!
That stench had penetrated the walls of my room, and even my clothing, so that I could smell it for days. So foul is even the name of the sinner before God! Even now, as I recall that odor, I get very nauseated and choke, and my stomach rebels.
I have already made inquiries of boys at Lanzo, and have found out that the dream was not misleading. It was totally true! It is God’s grace that has allowed me to know the state of souls...to help them. 


Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Listen to the Sermon for the Feast CHRIST THE KING

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Kingship of Christ in its Integrity

Taken from: “The Mystical Body of Christ and the Reorganization of Society” by Rev. Denis Fahey, C. S.

We have seen, then, that God’s aim is to come to dwell in human souls in the Trinity of His Persons, through membership of Our Lord’s Mystical Body. It is for that the world exists and it is to promote that indwelling that He wants to draw all into union with Our Lord in the fervent offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In order to favor union with Christ as Priest in Holy Mass, God wants the world organized under Christ as King. We have seen, too, something of what the order of the world would be like if the Rights of God and of Christ the King were fully acknowledged. We shall now see that at Holy Mass all Christ’s members express the determination to strive for the integral realization of the Rights of God and of Christ the King in the world. Thus, the more fully the Kingship of Christ is realized, the more abundantly the life of Christ the Priest will be diffused, and the more ardently union with Christ the Priest in Holy Mass is cultivated, the more eagerly will His members strive to have God’s Rights acknowledged. On the other hand, the rejection of God’s Rights and of the Kingship of Christ will lead to corruption and decay in society and, in proportion as minds lose their hold on the great truth of membership of Christ, to the treatment of human beings not as persons but as mere individuals.
By the character of Baptism, we are one with Our Lord in the unity of His Mystical Body, and the very character by which we are incorporated into that sublime unity is a certain participation in His Priesthood. So when Our Lord renews the act of submission of Calvary on the Altar, He renews it as He now is, that is, as Head of that Mystical Body in which all the baptized are one with Him. On the Cross, Christ was alone. His members were engrafted on Him only potentially. At the Altar, He is no longer alone: it is the “whole Christ,” to use St. Augustine’s phrase, that is, Christ and His members, who now offers sacrifice to the Blessed Trinity, the members being co-offerers with the Invisible Principal Offerer and His visible ministerial offerer, the priest. And we can be co-offerers, because the character of Baptism is a participation on our level in the Priesthood of Our Lord, enabling us to look upon Christ’s act of submission on the Altar as ours and unite our act of submission with His. The supreme function of Christ as Priest is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in which the whole Mystical Body professes its readiness to stand as He did for His integral programmed for order. For that programmed He was obedient unto death on Calvary. All the baptized are called upon to unite actively in expressing submission to God the Father in Holy Mass and in animating that submission with all the supernatural love of their hearts. Now the will of the Father is always the same: “This is My beloved Son; hear ye Him” (St. Luke, IX, 35). Every member of Christ by his assis-tance at Mass declares his readiness to stand for the integral programmed of the Rights of God, for which the Head of the Mystical Body suffered death.
Christ’s members are meant to belong to Him entirely. They ought to come forth from Mass determined to maintain harmony between the submission to God the Father they have expressed in the Holy Sacrifice and their individual lives. They should be resolved, under the leadership of Christ the King, to permeate the whole social life of the State and country, political and economic, with the spirit of the Mystical Body, so that it may not only not hamper their efforts and the efforts of their fellow-members to live their daily lives as members of Christ, but may favor them. All Catholics are, by the fact of their membership of Christ, whole time Christians, and should be intimately convinced of their solidarity with Christ and with their fellow-members of His Mystical Body in the really vital struggle that is going on in the world. Their attitude, when leaving the Church after Mass, is not intended to be merely the negative one of not allowing themselves to be carried in the direction of Naturalism by the current of life around them, but the positive one of striving to organize the whole framework of socie-ty under Christ the King and of impregnating the State, family-life, education and economic organization, with the great truth of human solidarity in Christ’s Mystical Body. Their cooperation with Our Lord is meant to enable Him, since He condescends to make use of them, to permeate all forms of human activity, social and individual, with the life of that supranational, supernatural organization, the Catholic Church. True members of Christ will feel fully at ease in any State or Nation only when the great realities of the loss of our Supernatural Life by the Fall and of its restoration by membership of the Mystical Body of Christ are acknowledged in the social structure of that Sate or Nation. Everything that savors of Naturalism or Anti-supernaturalism will have for them an odor of decay and death.

It is quite true that States or Nations do not go to heaven. Human beings go to heaven one by one, to live in the intimacy of the Blessed Trinity in the enjoyment of the Beatific Vision. But the individ-ual member of society lives under the never-ceasing influence of his social surroundings. If Catholics content themselves with merely inculcating the individual practice of religion and do not seek to mold the world for Christ the King, then the social institutions, even of countries with a Catholic majority, will be molded by the well-organized visible and invisible naturalistic and anti-supernatural forces, of whose activities many Catholics seem to be unaware. The average member of society will then fall a ready prey to Naturalism. He will gradually cease to live as a member of Christ, though he may retain some Christian customs as remnants of a once Christian outlook. Satan profits by the lack of watchfulness and energy on the part of Catholics in regard to social organization, and by the help of his visible subordinates, he injects the poison of Naturalism into the social organism. Thus it has oftentimes happened that revolutionaries, aiming at the violent installation of a naturalistic regime, have succeeded in overthrowing the rule of Christ the King in countries nominally Catholic, on account of the preliminary work of corruption and weakening, systematically carried out by the press, the cinema, the school and the stock-exchange.
On the one hand, then, Catholics, faithful to what they profess at Mass, must ever strive to per-meate the framework of society with the influence of the Supernatural Life. In this way the ordinary man will be helped to act always as a member of Christ and will not find himself, from the moment he leaves the Church after Mass, urged by anti-supernatural currents to re-volt against his most real life. On the other hand, Catholic social institutions, great though their influence may be, do not suffice to maintain society fully Catholic. The indispensable requisite is a formation of the youth of both sexes thoroughly penetrated with the doctrine of the Mys-tical Body as a mighty living organism ever seeking to bring the world into union with Christ and through Christ with the Blessed Trinity. That formation alone will endure what we have called “whole-time Catholicism” and will enable all to draw from their union with Our Lord in Mass and Holy Communion the supernatural love required to diffuse throughout society the sense of solidarity in Christ and of the indwelling of the Blessed Trinity in souls, through incorporation into Christ. Our Lord will pour His Life into souls in Holy Communion, in proportion as they are thus one with Him in mind and will, for progress in personal sanctification or growth in holiness is simply the development of the spirit of the Mystical Body. It was the sense of their oneness with their co-offerers and co-victims with Christ in the Mass that strengthened the Catholics of the early centuries for the long struggle for the recognition of the Rights of God and the Kingship of Christ in their integrity. It was the acceptance of the fact that the bodies of the baptized are the members of Christ that brought forth those lovely flowers of chastity amid the thorns of paganism, in the decadent Roman Em-pire. The realization of the same inspiring truth is needed in order to withstand the systematic prop-agation of selfishness and impurity to which young people are subjected nowadays, in the modern world, the same great truth must be unceasingly insisted upon. If we define social justice in the members of a society as the virtue by which the members of a society are enabled to direct all their actions towards the Common Good of the society, we can hope for its triumph over the cold, calcu-lating Naturalism of Liberalistic Individualism and over the harsh, brutal Naturalism of Materialistic Collectivism, only when Christ’s members have again grown accustomed to their solidarity in Him. When once men realize that what is done for their fellow-men is done for Christ and to Christ, they will readily see that social life must be so orga-nized that each member of Christ may have a just and fair opportunity of living in accordance with his sublime dignity. It was the realization of the great truth of the slaves’ membership of Christ that gradually brought about the abolition of slavery in the ancient world. “It was Christianity,” wrote Pope Pius XI, “that first affirmed the real and universal brotherhood of all men of whatever race and condition. This doctrine the Church proclaimed by a method, and with an amplitude and conviction, unknown to preceding centuries; and with it she powerfully contributed to the abolition of slavery. Not bloody revolution, but the inner force of the Church’s teaching made the proud Roman matron see in her slave as sister in Christ. It is Christianity that adores the Son of God, made Man for the love of man, and become not only the ‘Son of a Carpenter’ but Himself ‘a carpenter.’ It was Christianity that raised manual labor to its true dignity.” The practical living of the same great truth of our membership of Christ will be required in order to avert the return of a worse form of slavery in the modern world.

Unifying Influence of the Mystical Body
With the growth of fuller comprehension of the doctrine of the Mystical Body and the spread of a more intense desire to live life fully as members of Christ, we may hope to see many practical consequences in the international sphere as well as in the national life of peoples. Our Lord in the Blessed Eucharist the Head of the Mystical Body, whom all His members receive in separate hosts, is not many Christs but One, coming to give Himself to all, that all may be one in Him in mind and will. Pope Leo XIII emphasizes this truth at great length in the Encyclical Letter on the Most Holy Eucharist. “This then,” he writes, “is what Christ intended when He instituted this venerable Sacrament, namely, by awakening charity towards God, to promote mutual charity among men. For the latter, as is plain, is by its very nature rooted in the former, and springs from it by a kind of spontaneous growth. Nor is it possible that there should be any lack of charity among men, or rather it must needs be enkindled and flourish, if men would but ponder well the charity which Christ has shown in this sacrament… Having before our eyes this noble example set us by Christ, Who bestows on us all that He has, assuredly we ought to love and help one another to the utmost, being daily more strongly united by the strong bond of brotherhood.
Add to this that the external and visible elements of this Sacrament supply a singularly ap-propriate stimulus to union. On this topic St. Cyprian writes: ‘In a word, the Lord’s sacrifice symbolizes the oneness of heart, guaranteed by a persevering and inviolable charity, which should prevail among Christians. For when Our Lord calls His Body bread, a substance which is kneaded together out of many grains, He indicates that we His people, whom He sustains, are bound together in close union; and when He speaks of His Blood as wine, in which the juice pressed from many clus-ters of grapes is mingled in one liquid, He likewise indicates that we, His flock, are by the commingling of a multitude of persons made one’ (Ep. 96 ad Magnum, n. 5). In like manner the Angelic Doctor, adopting the sentiments of St. Augustine (Tract XXVI, in Joann., nn. 13, 17), writes, ‘Our Lord has bequeathed to us His Body and Blood under the form of substances in which a multitude of things have been reduced to unity, for one of them, namely bread, consisting as it does of many grains, is yet one, and the other, that is to say, wine, has its unity of being from the united juice of many grapes; and therefore St. Augustine elsewhere says: ‘O Sacra-ment of Mercy, O Sign of Unity, O Bond of Chari-ty!’ (IIIa P., Q. 79, a. 1). All of which is confirmed by the declaration of the Council of Trent that Christ left the Eucharist to His Church ‘as a symbol of that unity and charity whereby He would have all Christians mutually joined and united…a symbol of that one body of which He is Himself the Head, and to which He would have us, as members, attached by the closest bonds of faith, hope, and charity’ (Conc. Trid., Sess. XIII, 1 De Eucharist., c. 2). The same idea had been expressed by St. Paul when he wrote: ‘For we, being many, are one bread, one body, all we who partake of the one bread’ (I Cor., X, 17).”

As the unifying influence of Our Lord makes itself felt, we may expect that Catholics all over the world will come to realize that the unity of the Mystical Body is infinitely stronger than nation-al unity, that, for example, the supernatural unity between French and German Catholics, resulting from the character of baptism, is on an infinitely higher level than the unity between Germans with Germans, or French with French, on the merely nat-ural national level. St. Paul stresses the paramount character of this solidarity, when he insists that nat-ural distinctions disappear, as it were, in compari-son with it: “Where there is neither Gentile nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor free. But Christ is all, and in all” (Coloss., III, 11). The Apostle did not, of course, mean to convey that the distinctions or the duties resulting from them disappeared in fact, for he lays stress upon the reciprocal obligations of master and servant in the Epistle to Philemon, but he wanted to bring home to all that our oneness in Christ causes all the distinctions on a lower level to dwindle into insignificance. It is only want of familiarity with St. Paul’s teaching on the Mystical Body that makes the text of Pope Pius XI, already quoted in Chapter I, about our brotherhood in the Mystical Body being infinitely more sacred and more precious than the brotherhood of humanity and of fatherland, seem exaggerated to us.
The deepening of the conviction of this su-pernatural solidarity will lead to a realization of the subordinate place of nationality as a force of inspira-tion, but, while stressing the infinite distance sepa-rating the natural from the supernatural, it will not deny it fitting recognition. It is important also to point out that the exaggerated place taken by na-tionality in men’s lives today is in part due to the need for national reactions against the corrupting and deforming influence of the naturalistic supranationalism of Jewry and Freemasonry which, since the French Revolution, has usurped the place of the supernatural, supranational influence of the Mysti-cal Body. Love of country is a noble sentiment and there is an ordered love of our native land as of our own race, and of their glory, which will be respectful of their due subordination to the Mystical Body of Christ. It is true that Satan has frequently tried to use Nationalism for his purposes, yet when Catho-lics quote from Papal Encyclicals about the evils of exaggerated Nationalism, they must not leave out of consideration the complementary texts wherein the Popes insist on legitimate love of country, and they must bear in mind the need for a reaction against the corruption and deformation resulting from Naturalism.

The knowledge and love of our solidarity in Christ will combat effectively the terrible evils of the class-war, so sedulously cultivated by naturalistic supranationalists, in view of the enslavement of workingmen for their own ends. Pope Leo XIII stresses the fact that it was to promote charity and union among men that Our Lord instituted the Blessed Eucharist: “If anyone,” he writes, “will diligently ex-amine into the causes of the evils of our day, he will find that they arise from this, that as charity towards God has grown cold, the mutual charity of men among themselves has likewise cooled. Men have forgotten that they are children of God and brethren in Jesus Christ: they care for nothing except their own individual interests: the interests and rights of others they not only make light of, but often attack and invade. Hence frequent disturbances and strife between class and class: arrogance, oppression, fraud on the part of the more powerful: misery, envy, and turbulence among the poor. These are evils for which it is in vain to seek a remedy in legislation. …Our chief care…ought to be…to secure the union of classes in a mutual interchange of dutiful services, a union which, having its origin in God, shall issue in deeds that reflect the true spirit of Jesus Christ and a genuine charity. This charity Christ brought into the world, with it He would have all hearts on fire… And whereas it is right to uphold all the claims of justice as between the various classes of society, nevertheless it is only with the efficacious aid of charity, which tempers justice, that the equality which St. Paul commended (2 Cor., VIII, 14), and which is so salutary for human society, can be established and maintained. This then is what Christ intended when He instituted this venerable Sacrament, namely, by awakening charity towards God to promote mutual charity among men.”
Catholics must, therefore, on the one hand, guard against any collaboration with naturalistic revolutionary movements promoted by Jewry and Freemasonry, whether national like Mazzini’s Young Italy or supranational like Socialism and Communism, and on the other hand, they must be care-ful not to support disordered naturalistic national reactions against the efforts of Jewry and Freemasonry. Our Lord Jesus Christ has a positive supernatural program towering far above the disorders, divi-sions and confusion to which Naturalism inevitably gives rise. Catholics must endeavor to grasp fully what Our Lord is aiming at when He is seeking to have the influence of the Mystical Body accepted in the life of the State, in the family, in education, and in economic organization. He is striving for ever wider participation in, and profounder comprehension of, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in view of deepening supernatural union with the Blessed Trinity in souls. They will then have a keener perception of the ultimate aim of revolution and will be quicker to see the signs that herald its approach.

Encyclical Quas Primas by Pope Pius XI. on the feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ


Venerable Brethren, Greeting and the Apostolic Benediction.

In the first Encyclical Letter which We addressed at the beginning of Our Pontificate to the Bishops of the universal Church, We referred to the chief causes of the difficulties under which mankind was laboring. And We remember saying that these manifold evils in the world were due to the fact that the majority of men had thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law out of their lives; that these had no place either in private affairs or in politics: and we said further, that as long as individuals and states refused to submit to the rule of our Savior, there would be no really hopeful prospect of a lasting peace among nations. Men must look for the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ; and that We promised to do as far as lay in Our power. In the Kingdom of Christ, that is, it seemed to Us that peace could not be more effectually restored nor fixed upon a firmer basis than through the restoration of the Empire of Our Lord. We were led in the meantime to indulge the hope of a brighter future at the sight of a more widespread and keener interest evinced in Christ and his Church, the one Source of Salvation, a sign that men who had formerly spurned the rule of our Redeemer and had exiled themselves from his kingdom were preparing, and even hastening, to return to the duty of obedience.

2. The many notable and memorable events which have occurred during this Holy Year have given great honor and glory to Our Lord and King, the Founder of the Church.

3. At the Missionary Exhibition men have been deeply impressed in seeing the increasing zeal of the Church for the spread of the kingdom of her Spouse to the most far distant regions of the earth. They have seen how many countries have been won to the Catholic name through the unremitting labor and self-sacrifice of missionaries, and the vastness of the regions which have yet to be subjected to the sweet and saving yoke of our King. All those who in the course of the Holy Year have thronged to this city under the leadership of their Bishops or priests had but one aim - namely, to expiate their sins - and at the tombs of the Apostles and in Our Presence to promise loyalty to the rule of Christ.

4. A still further light of glory was shed upon his kingdom, when after due proof of their heroic virtue, We raised to the honors of the altar six confessors and virgins. It was a great joy, a great consolation, that filled Our heart when in the majestic basilica of St. Peter Our decree was acclaimed by an immense multitude with the hymn of thanksgiving, Tu Rex gloriae Christe. We saw men and nations cut off from God, stirring up strife and discord and hurrying along the road to ruin and death, while the Church of God carries on her work of providing food for the spiritual life of men, nurturing and fostering generation after generation of men and women dedicated to Christ, faithful and subject to him in his earthly kingdom, called by him to eternal bliss in the kingdom of heaven.

5. Moreover, since this jubilee Year marks the sixteenth centenary of the Council of Nicaea, We commanded that event to be celebrated, and We have done so in the Vatican basilica. There is a special reason for this in that the Nicene Synod defined and proposed for Catholic belief the dogma of the Consubstantiality of the Onlybegotten with the Father, and added to the Creed the words "of whose kingdom there shall be no end," thereby affirming the kingly dignity of Christ.

6. Since this Holy Year therefore has provided more than one opportunity to enhance the glory of the kingdom of Christ, we deem it in keeping with our Apostolic office to accede to the desire of many of the Cardinals, Bishops, and faithful, made known to Us both individually and collectively, by closing this Holy Year with the insertion into the Sacred Liturgy of a special feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This matter is so dear to Our heart, Venerable Brethren, that I would wish to address to you a few words concerning it. It will be for you later to explain in a manner suited to the understanding of the faithful what We are about to say concerning the Kingship of Christ, so that the annual feast which We shall decree may be attended with much fruit and produce beneficial results in the future.

7. It has long been a common custom to give to Christ the metaphorical title of "King," because of the high degree of perfection whereby he excels all creatures. So he is said to reign "in the hearts of men," both by reason of the keenness of his intellect and the extent of his knowledge, and also because he is very truth, and it is from him that truth must be obediently received by all mankind. He reigns, too, in the wills of men, for in him the human will was perfectly and entirely obedient to the Holy Will of God, and further by his grace and inspiration he so subjects our free-will as to incite us to the most noble endeavors. He is King of hearts, too, by reason of his "charity which exceedeth all knowledge." And his mercy and kindness[1] which draw all men to him, for never has it been known, nor will it ever be, that man be loved so much and so universally as Jesus Christ. But if we ponder this matter more deeply, we cannot but see that the title and the power of King belongs to Christ as man in the strict and proper sense too. For it is only as man that he may be said to have received from the Father "power and glory and a kingdom,"[2] since the Word of God, as consubstantial with the Father, has all things in common with him, and therefore has necessarily supreme and absolute dominion over all things created.

8. Do we not read throughout the Scriptures that Christ is the King? He it is that shall come out of Jacob to rule,[3] who has been set by the Father as king over Sion, his holy mount, and shall have the Gentiles for his inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for his possession.[4] In the nuptial hymn, where the future King of Israel is hailed as a most rich and powerful monarch, we read: "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; the scepter of thy kingdom is a scepter of righteousness."[5] There are many similar passages, but there is one in which Christ is even more clearly indicated. Here it is foretold that his kingdom will have no limits, and will be enriched with justice and peace: "in his days shall justice spring up, and abundance of peace...And he shall rule from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth."[6]

9. The testimony of the Prophets is even more abundant. That of Isaias is well known: "For a child is born to us and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, God the mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace. His empire shall be multiplied, and there shall be no end of peace. He shall sit upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom; to establish it and strengthen it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and for ever."[7] With Isaias the other Prophets are in agreement. So Jeremias foretells the "just seed" that shall rest from the house of David - the Son of David that shall reign as king, "and shall be wise, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth."[8] So, too, Daniel, who announces the kingdom that the God of heaven shall found, "that shall never be destroyed, and shall stand for ever."[9] And again he says: "I beheld, therefore, in the vision of the night, and, lo! one like the son of man came with the clouds of heaven. And he came even to the Ancient of days: and they presented him before him. And he gave him power and glory and a kingdom: and all peoples, tribes, and tongues shall serve him. His power is an everlasting power that shall not be taken away, and his kingdom shall not be destroyed."[10] The prophecy of Zachary concerning the merciful King "riding upon an ass and upon a colt the foal of an ass" entering Jerusalem as "the just and savior," amid the acclamations of the multitude,[11] was recognized as fulfilled by the holy evangelists themselves.

10. This same doctrine of the Kingship of Christ which we have found in the Old Testament is even more clearly taught and confirmed in the New. The Archangel, announcing to the Virgin that she should bear a Son, says that "the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father, and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."[12]

11. Moreover, Christ himself speaks of his own kingly authority: in his last discourse, speaking of the rewards and punishments that will be the eternal lot of the just and the damned; in his reply to the Roman magistrate, who asked him publicly whether he were a king or not; after his resurrection, when giving to his Apostles the mission of teaching and baptizing all nations, he took the opportunity to call himself king,[13] confirming the title publicly,[14] and solemnly proclaimed that all power was given him in heaven and on earth.[15] These words can only be taken to indicate the greatness of his power, the infinite extent of his kingdom. What wonder, then, that he whom St. John calls the "prince of the kings of the earth"[16] appears in the Apostle's vision of the future as he who "hath on his garment and on his thigh written 'King of kings and Lord of lords!'."[17] It is Christ whom the Father "hath appointed heir of all things";[18] "for he must reign until at the end of the world he hath put all his enemies under the feet of God and the Father."[19]

12. It was surely right, then, in view of the common teaching of the sacred books, that the Catholic Church, which is the kingdom of Christ on earth, destined to be spread among all men and all nations, should with every token of veneration salute her Author and Founder in her annual liturgy as King and Lord, and as King of Kings. And, in fact, she used these titles, giving expression with wonderful variety of language to one and the same concept, both in ancient psalmody and in the Sacramentaries. She uses them daily now in the prayers publicly offered to God, and in offering the Immaculate Victim. The perfect harmony of the Eastern liturgies with our own in this continual praise of Christ the King shows once more the truth of the axiom: Legem credendi lex statuit supplicandi. The rule of faith is indicated by the law of our worship.

13. The foundation of this power and dignity of Our Lord is rightly indicated by Cyril of Alexandria. "Christ," he says, "has dominion over all creatures, a dominion not seized by violence nor usurped, but his by essence and by nature."[20] His kingship is founded upon the ineffable hypostatic union. From this it follows not only that Christ is to be adored by angels and men, but that to him as man angels and men are subject, and must recognize his empire; by reason of the hypostatic union Christ has power over all creatures. But a thought that must give us even greater joy and consolation is this that Christ is our King by acquired, as well as by natural right, for he is our Redeemer. Would that they who forget what they have cost their Savior might recall the words: "You were not redeemed with corruptible things, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled."[21] We are no longer our own property, for Christ has purchased us "with a great price";[22] our very bodies are the "members of Christ."[23]

14. Let Us explain briefly the nature and meaning of this lordship of Christ. It consists, We need scarcely say, in a threefold power which is essential to lordship. This is sufficiently clear from the scriptural testimony already adduced concerning the universal dominion of our Redeemer, and moreover it is a dogma of faith that Jesus Christ was given to man, not only as our Redeemer, but also as a law-giver, to whom obedience is due.[24] Not only do the gospels tell us that he made laws, but they present him to us in the act of making them. Those who keep them show their love for their Divine Master, and he promises that they shall remain in his love.[25] He claimed judicial power as received from his Father, when the Jews accused him of breaking the Sabbath by the miraculous cure of a sick man. "For neither doth the Father judge any man; but hath given all judgment to the Son."[26] In this power is included the right of rewarding and punishing all men living, for this right is inseparable from that of judging. Executive power, too, belongs to Christ, for all must obey his commands; none may escape them, nor the sanctions he has imposed.

15. This kingdom is spiritual and is concerned with spiritual things. That this is so the above quotations from Scripture amply prove, and Christ by his own action confirms it. On many occasions, when the Jews and even the Apostles wrongly supposed that the Messiah would restore the liberties and the kingdom of Israel, he repelled and denied such a suggestion. When the populace thronged around him in admiration and would have acclaimed him King, he shrank from the honor and sought safety in flight. Before the Roman magistrate he declared that his kingdom was not of this world. The gospels present this kingdom as one which men prepare to enter by penance, and cannot actually enter except by faith and by baptism, which, though an external rite, signifies and produces an interior regeneration. This kingdom is opposed to none other than to that of Satan and to the power of darkness. It demands of its subjects a spirit of detachment from riches and earthly things, and a spirit of gentleness. They must hunger and thirst after justice, and more than this, they must deny themselves and carry the cross.

16. Christ as our Redeemer purchased the Church at the price of his own blood; as priest he offered himself, and continues to offer himself as a victim for our sins. Is it not evident, then, that his kingly dignity partakes in a manner of both these offices?

17. It would be a grave error, on the other hand, to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs, since, by virtue of the absolute empire over all creatures committed to him by the Father, all things are in his power. Nevertheless, during his life on earth he refrained from the exercise of such authority, and although he himself disdained to possess or to care for earthly goods, he did not, nor does he today, interfere with those who possess them. Non eripit mortalia qui regna dat caelestia.[27]

18. Thus the empire of our Redeemer embraces all men. To use the words of Our immortal predecessor, Pope Leo XIII: "His empire includes not only Catholic nations, not only baptized persons who, though of right belonging to the Church, have been led astray by error, or have been cut off from her by schism, but also all those who are outside the Christian faith; so that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ."[28] Nor is there any difference in this matter between the individual and the family or the State; for all men, whether collectively or individually, are under the dominion of Christ. In him is the salvation of the individual, in him is the salvation of society. "Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved."[29] He is the author of happiness and true prosperity for every man and for every nation. "For a nation is happy when its citizens are happy. What else is a nation but a number of men living in concord?"[30] If, therefore, the rulers of nations wish to preserve their authority, to promote and increase the prosperity of their countries, they will not neglect the public duty of reverence and obedience to the rule of Christ. What We said at the beginning of Our Pontificate concerning the decline of public authority, and the lack of respect for the same, is equally true at the present day. "With God and Jesus Christ," we said, "excluded from political life, with authority derived not from God but from man, the very basis of that authority has been taken away, because the chief reason of the distinction between ruler and subject has been eliminated. The result is that human society is tottering to its fall, because it has no longer a secure and solid foundation."[31]

19. When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony. Our Lord's regal office invests the human authority of princes and rulers with a religious significance; it ennobles the citizen's duty of obedience. It is for this reason that St. Paul, while bidding wives revere Christ in their husbands, and slaves respect Christ in their masters, warns them to give obedience to them not as men, but as the vicegerents of Christ; for it is not meet that men redeemed by Christ should serve their fellow-men. "You are bought with a price; be not made the bond-slaves of men."[32] If princes and magistrates duly elected are filled with the persuasion that they rule, not by their own right, but by the mandate and in the place of the Divine King, they will exercise their authority piously and wisely, and they will make laws and administer them, having in view the common good and also the human dignity of their subjects. The result will be a stable peace and tranquillity, for there will be no longer any cause of discontent. Men will see in their king or in their rulers men like themselves, perhaps unworthy or open to criticism, but they will not on that account refuse obedience if they see reflected in them the authority of Christ God and Man. Peace and harmony, too, will result; for with the spread and the universal extent of the kingdom of Christ men will become more and more conscious of the link that binds them together, and thus many conflicts will be either prevented entirely or at least their bitterness will be diminished.

20. If the kingdom of Christ, then, receives, as it should, all nations under its way, there seems no reason why we should despair of seeing that peace which the King of Peace came to bring on earth - he who came to reconcile all things, who came not to be ministered unto but to minister, who, though Lord of all, gave himself to us as a model of humility, and with his principal law united the precept of charity; who said also: "My yoke is sweet and my burden light." Oh, what happiness would be Ours if all men, individuals, families, and nations, would but let themselves be governed by Christ! "Then at length," to use the words addressed by our predecessor, Pope Leo XIII, twenty-five years ago to the bishops of the Universal Church, "then at length will many evils be cured; then will the law regain its former authority; peace with all its blessings be restored. Men will sheathe their swords and lay down their arms when all freely acknowledge and obey the authority of Christ, and every tongue confesses that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father."[33]

21. That these blessings may be abundant and lasting in Christian society, it is necessary that the kingship of our Savior should be as widely as possible recognized and understood, and to the end nothing would serve better than the institution of a special feast in honor of the Kingship of Christ. For people are instructed in the truths of faith, and brought to appreciate the inner joys of religion far more effectually by the annual celebration of our sacred mysteries than by any official pronouncement of the teaching of the Church. Such pronouncements usually reach only a few and the more learned among the faithful; feasts reach them all; the former speak but once, the latter speak every year - in fact, forever. The church's teaching affects the mind primarily; her feasts affect both mind and heart, and have a salutary effect upon the whole of man's nature. Man is composed of body and soul, and he needs these external festivities so that the sacred rites, in all their beauty and variety, may stimulate him to drink more deeply of the fountain of God's teaching, that he may make it a part of himself, and use it with profit for his spiritual life.

22. History, in fact, tells us that in the course of ages these festivals have been instituted one after another according as the needs or the advantage of the people of Christ seemed to demand: as when they needed strength to face a common danger, when they were attacked by insidious heresies, when they needed to be urged to the pious consideration of some mystery of faith or of some divine blessing. Thus in the earliest days of the Christian era, when the people of Christ were suffering cruel persecution, the cult of the martyrs was begun in order, says St. Augustine, "that the feasts of the martyrs might incite men to martyrdom."[34] The liturgical honors paid to confessors, virgins and widows produced wonderful results in an increased zest for virtue, necessary even in times of peace. But more fruitful still were the feasts instituted in honor of the Blessed Virgin. As a result of these men grew not only in their devotion to the Mother of God as an ever-present advocate, but also in their love of her as a mother bequeathed to them by their Redeemer. Not least among the blessings which have resulted from the public and legitimate honor paid to the Blessed Virgin and the saints is the perfect and perpetual immunity of the Church from error and heresy. We may well admire in this the admirable wisdom of the Providence of God, who, ever bringing good out of evil, has from time to time suffered the faith and piety of men to grow weak, and allowed Catholic truth to be attacked by false doctrines, but always with the result that truth has afterwards shone out with greater splendor, and that men's faith, aroused from its lethargy, has shown itself more vigorous than before.

23. The festivals that have been introduced into the liturgy in more recent years have had a similar origin, and have been attended with similar results. When reverence and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament had grown cold, the feast of Corpus Christi was instituted, so that by means of solemn processions and prayer of eight days' duration, men might be brought once more to render public homage to Christ. So, too, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was instituted at a time when men were oppressed by the sad and gloomy severity of Jansenism, which had made their hearts grow cold, and shut them out from the love of God and the hope of salvation.

24. If We ordain that the whole Catholic world shall revere Christ as King, We shall minister to the need of the present day, and at the same time provide an excellent remedy for the plague which now infects society. We refer to the plague of anti-clericalism, its errors and impious activities. This evil spirit, as you are well aware, Venerable Brethren, has not come into being in one day; it has long lurked beneath the surface. The empire of Christ over all nations was rejected. The right which the Church has from Christ himself, to teach mankind, to make laws, to govern peoples in all that pertains to their eternal salvation, that right was denied. Then gradually the religion of Christ came to be likened to false religions and to be placed ignominiously on the same level with them. It was then put under the power of the state and tolerated more or less at the whim of princes and rulers. Some men went even further, and wished to set up in the place of God's religion a natural religion consisting in some instinctive affection of the heart. There were even some nations who thought they could dispense with God, and that their religion should consist in impiety and the neglect of God. The rebellion of individuals and states against the authority of Christ has produced deplorable consequences. We lamented these in the Encyclical Ubi arcano; we lament them today: the seeds of discord sown far and wide; those bitter enmities and rivalries between nations, which still hinder so much the cause of peace; that insatiable greed which is so often hidden under a pretense of public spirit and patriotism, and gives rise to so many private quarrels; a blind and immoderate selfishness, making men seek nothing but their own comfort and advantage, and measure everything by these; no peace in the home, because men have forgotten or neglect their duty; the unity and stability of the family undermined; society in a word, shaken to its foundations and on the way to ruin. We firmly hope, however, that the feast of the Kingship of Christ, which in future will be yearly observed, may hasten the return of society to our loving Savior. It would be the duty of Catholics to do all they can to bring about this happy result. Many of these, however, have neither the station in society nor the authority which should belong to those who bear the torch of truth. This state of things may perhaps be attributed to a certain slowness and timidity in good people, who are reluctant to engage in conflict or oppose but a weak resistance; thus the enemies of the Church become bolder in their attacks. But if the faithful were generally to understand that it behooves them ever to fight courageously under the banner of Christ their King, then, fired with apostolic zeal, they would strive to win over to their Lord those hearts that are bitter and estranged from him, and would valiantly defend his rights.

25. Moreover, the annual and universal celebration of the feast of the Kingship of Christ will draw attention to the evils which anticlericalism has brought upon society in drawing men away from Christ, and will also do much to remedy them. While nations insult the beloved name of our Redeemer by suppressing all mention of it in their conferences and parliaments, we must all the more loudly proclaim his kingly dignity and power, all the more universally affirm his rights.

26. The way has been happily and providentially prepared for the celebration of this feast ever since the end of the last century. It is well known that this cult has been the subject of learned disquisitions in many books published in every part of the world, written in many different languages. The kingship and empire of Christ have been recognized in the pious custom, practiced by many families, of dedicating themselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; not only families have performed this act of dedication, but nations, too, and kingdoms. In fact, the whole of the human race was at the instance of Pope Leo XIII, in the Holy Year 1900, consecrated to the Divine Heart. It should be remarked also that much has been done for the recognition of Christ's authority over society by the frequent Eucharistic Congresses which are held in our age. These give an opportunity to the people of each diocese, district or nation, and to the whole world of coming together to venerate and adore Christ the King hidden under the Sacramental species. Thus by sermons preached at meetings and in churches, by public adoration of the Blessed Sacrament exposed and by solemn processions, men unite in paying homage to Christ, whom God has given them for their King. It is by a divine inspiration that the people of Christ bring forth Jesus from his silent hiding-place in the church, and carry him in triumph through the streets of the city, so that he whom men refused to receive when he came unto his own, may now receive in full his kingly rights.

27. For the fulfillment of the plan of which We have spoken, the Holy Year, which is now speeding to its close, offers the best possible opportunity. For during this year the God of mercy has raised the minds and hearts of the faithful to the consideration of heavenly blessings which are above all understanding, has either restored them once more to his grace, or inciting them anew to strive for higher gifts, has set their feet more firmly in the path of righteousness. Whether, therefore, We consider the many prayers that have been addressed to Us, or look to the events of the Jubilee Year, just past, We have every reason to think that the desired moment has at length arrived for enjoining that Christ be venerated by a special feast as King of all mankind. In this year, as We said at the beginning of this Letter, the Divine King, truly wonderful in all his works, has been gloriously magnified, for another company of his soldiers has been added to the list of saints. In this year men have looked upon strange things and strange labors, from which they have understood and admired the victories won by missionaries in the work of spreading his kingdom. In this year, by solemnly celebrating the centenary of the Council of Nicaea. We have commemorated the definition of the divinity of the word Incarnate, the foundation of Christ's empire over all men.

28. Therefore by Our Apostolic Authority We institute the Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ to be observed yearly throughout the whole world on the last Sunday of the month of October - the Sunday, that is, which immediately precedes the Feast of All Saints. We further ordain that the dedication of mankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which Our predecessor of saintly memory, Pope Pius X, commanded to be renewed yearly, be made annually on that day. This year, however, We desire that it be observed on the thirty-first day of the month on which day We Ourselves shall celebrate pontifically in honor of the kingship of Christ, and shall command that the same dedication be performed in Our presence. It seems to Us that We cannot in a more fitting manner close this Holy Year, nor better signify Our gratitude and that of the whole of the Catholic world to Christ the immortal King of ages, for the blessings showered upon Us, upon the Church, and upon the Catholic world during this holy period.

29. It is not necessary, Venerable Brethren, that We should explain to you at any length why We have decreed that this feast of the Kingship of Christ should be observed in addition to those other feasts in which his kingly dignity is already signified and celebrated. It will suffice to remark that although in all the feasts of our Lord the material object of worship is Christ, nevertheless their formal object is something quite distinct from his royal title and dignity. We have commanded its observance on a Sunday in order that not only the clergy may perform their duty by saying Mass and reciting the Office, but that the laity too, free from their daily tasks, may in a spirit of holy joy give ample testimony of their obedience and subjection to Christ. The last Sunday of October seemed the most convenient of all for this purpose, because it is at the end of the liturgical year, and thus the feast of the Kingship of Christ sets the crowning glory upon the mysteries of the life of Christ already commemorated during the year, and, before celebrating the triumph of all the Saints, we proclaim and extol the glory of him who triumphs in all the Saints and in all the Elect. Make it your duty and your task, Venerable Brethren, to see that sermons are preached to the people in every parish to teach them the meaning and the importance of this feast, that they may so order their lives as to be worthy of faithful and obedient subjects of the Divine King.

30. We would now, Venerable Brethren, in closing this letter, briefly enumerate the blessings which We hope and pray may accrue to the Church, to society, and to each one of the faithful, as a result of the public veneration of the Kingship of Christ.

31. When we pay honor to the princely dignity of Christ, men will doubtless be reminded that the Church, founded by Christ as a perfect society, has a natural and inalienable right to perfect freedom and immunity from the power of the state; and that in fulfilling the task committed to her by God of teaching, ruling, and guiding to eternal bliss those who belong to the kingdom of Christ, she cannot be subject to any external power. The State is bound to extend similar freedom to the orders and communities of religious of either sex, who give most valuable help to the Bishops of the Church by laboring for the extension and the establishment of the kingdom of Christ. By their sacred vows they fight against the threefold concupiscence of the world; by making profession of a more perfect life they render the holiness which her divine Founder willed should be a mark and characteristic of his Church more striking and more conspicuous in the eyes of all.

32. Nations will be reminded by the annual celebration of this feast that not only private individuals but also rulers and princes are bound to give public honor and obedience to Christ. It will call to their minds the thought of the last judgment, wherein Christ, who has been cast out of public life, despised, neglected and ignored, will most severely avenge these insults; for his kingly dignity demands that the State should take account of the commandments of God and of Christian principles, both in making laws and in administering justice, and also in providing for the young a sound moral education.

33. The faithful, moreover, by meditating upon these truths, will gain much strength and courage, enabling them to form their lives after the true Christian ideal. If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God.[35] If all these truths are presented to the faithful for their consideration, they will prove a powerful incentive to perfection. It is Our fervent desire, Venerable Brethren, that those who are without the fold may seek after and accept the sweet yoke of Christ, and that we, who by the mercy of God are of the household of the faith, may bear that yoke, not as a burden but with joy, with love, with devotion; that having lived our lives in accordance with the laws of God's kingdom, we may receive full measure of good fruit, and counted by Christ good and faithful servants, we may be rendered partakers of eternal bliss and glory with him in his heavenly kingdom.

34. Let this letter, Venerable Brethren, be a token to you of Our fatherly love as the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ draws near; and receive the Apostolic Benediction as a pledge of divine blessings, which with loving heart, We impart to you, Venerable Brethren, to your clergy, and to your people.

Given at St. Peter's Rome, on the eleventh day of the month of December, in the Holy Year 1925, the fourth of Our Pontificate.


1. Eph. iii, 9.
2. Dan. vii, 13-14.
3. Num. xxiv, 19.
4. Ps. ii.
5. Ps. xliv.
6. Ps. Ixxi.
7. Isa. ix, 6-7.
8. Jer. xxiii, 5.
9. Dan. ii, 44.
10. Dan. vii, 13-14.
11. Zach. ix, 9.
12. Luc. i, 32-33.
13. Matt. xxv, 31-40.
14. Joan. xviii, 37.
15. Matt. xxviii, 18.
16. Apoc. 1, 5.
17. Apoc. xix, 16.
18. Heb. 1, 2.
19. Cf. 1 Cor. xv, 25.
20. In huc. x.
21. I Pet. i, 18-19.
22. 1 Cor. vi, 20.
23. I Cor. vi, 15.
24. Conc. Trid. Sess. Vl, can. 21.
25. Joan. xiv, 15; xv, 10.
26. Joan. v, 22.
27. Hymn for the Epiphany.
28. Enc. Annum Sacrum, May 25, 1899.
29. Acts iv, 12.
30. S. Aug. Ep. ad Macedonium, c. iii.
31. Enc. Ubi Arcano.
32. I Cor.vii,23.
33. Enc. Annum Sanctum, May 25, 1899.
34. Sermo 47 de Sanctis.
35. Rom. vi, 13.