Faith/Spirituality Forum: Heroic Act for the souls in purgatory
Heroic Act for the souls in purgatory QUESTION from Dave Conger on October 23, 2002 Dear Brother John-Paul,
I assume you've heard of the Heroic Act, where a person allows God to take the satisfactory value of all his actions and apply them to the souls in purgatory. I have two questions regarding this. First of all, satisfactory value refers to more than just the indulgences gained from the action, correct? Second, does applying the satisfactory value of our actions and prayers to the souls in purgatory mean that we can't make satisfaction or reparation for the sins of the world? I mean, with all the blasphemy, abortion, pornography, unbelief, etc. surrounding us, we need to make reparation for sin big-time!
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on October 25, 2002 Dear Mr. Conger:
The Church does recognize the Heroic Act of Charity by which a Catholic offers to God for the holy souls in purgatory all the indulgences which he gains AND all the satisfactory works which he performs during his lifetime AND all the suffrages that may be offered for him after his death.
This act is heroic because the person is willing to take upon himself the undiminished pains of Purgatory to benefit another.
This means that all teh graces from whatever source that you receive in this life or in your own purgatorial life you give up to help someone else to get out of purgatory. In other words you take on the pain of others so they may leave purgatory sooner and be in heaven.
This act is revocable at will. It is not a vow or an oath that is binding in perpetuity. One can cancel the promise at any time.
Priests who make this act of Heroic Charity receive the personal privilege of gaining a plenary indulgence for a soul of their choice each time they say Mass.
Laymen gain a similar indulgence that may be applied to the person of their choice each time they receive Holy Communion.
Often people offer all indulgences and graces received to the Virgin Mary for her to distribute to whom she pleases.
Now to your specific questions, yes satisfactory works refers to all your good works, regardless of whether an indulgence is attached to them or not.
As to your second question, the Heroic Act of Charity is offering ALL of the graces you receive from indulgences or good works to God for those in purgatory; or to the Blessed Mother to distribute to whomever she pleases in purgatory.
But, you can certainly participate in reparation. The Heroic Act of Charity applies to the spiritual benefits of those in purgatory while Reparation is offering to bring more love into the world where there is none. For example, saying the Divine Praises in the evening is an act of reparation for all the blasphemies of the day. Reparation is bringing into the world your generosity to counter the selfishness, your love to counter the hate, your praises to counter the curses.
BUT, the graces you receive for making these reparations will not go to you, but to God (through the Blessed Mother) to apply to the poor souls in purgatory.
In other words, reparation is one of the good works you can perform giving the grace to God for those in purgatory instead of allow the grace to be applied to yourself.
Does that make sense?
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