Admonitions by St. John Vianney
2019-Dec-12 . . . By: ncdm
Jean-Marie Vianney :[1786-1859, Lyon, France]-, was a French parish priest who is venerated in the Catholic Church as a saint and as the patron saint of parish priests. He is often referred to as the “Curé d’Ars” :[i.e. the parish priest of Ars]-, internationally known for his priestly and pastoral work in his parish in Ars, France. The radical spiritual transformation of Ars and its surrounding communities was attributed to his saintly life, mortification, persevering ministry in the sacrament of confession, and ardent devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. His feast day is August-4. His body was found to be incorrupt and is entombed above the main altar in the Basilica at Ars, France. . Saint John Vianney – [wikipedia]
His parents, Matthieu Vianney and his wife Marie had six children, of whom John was the fourth. The Vianneys were devout Catholics who helped the poor and gave hospitality to St. Benedict Joseph Labre, the patron saint of the homeless, who passed through their place in Dardilly on his pilgrimage to Rome.
Vianney came to be known internationally, and people from distant places began travelling to consult him as early as 1827. By 1855, the number of pilgrims had reached 20,000 a year. During the last ten years of his life, he spent 16 to 18 hours a day in the confessional. As a true servant of God and a “privileged soul” who was shown Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, he always reminded the faithful of the consequences of sins, and the situation of sinners in the after-life specially in Purgatory. The following were the ‘sermons” he often delivered:
I come on behalf of your poor parents, to awaken in you that love and gratitude which you owe them. I come to bring before your minds again all those kindnesses and all the love which they gave you while they were on earth. I come to tell you that they suffer in Purgatory, that they weep, and that they demand with urgent cries the help of your prayers and your good works. I seem to hear them crying from the depths of those fires which devour them:
““Tell our loved ones, tell our children, tell all our relatives how great the evils are which they are making us suffer. We throw ourselves at their feet to implore the help of their prayers. Ah! Tell them that since we have been separated from them, we have been here burning in the flames! Oh! Who would be so indifferent to such sufferings as we are enduring? “
Do you see, my dear brethren, do you hear that tender mother, that devoted father, and all those relatives who helped and tended you? My friends, they cry, “free us from these pains; you can do it!” Consider then, my dear brethren: the magnitude of these sufferings which the souls in Purgatory endure; and the means which we have of mitigating them: our prayers, our good works, and, above all, the holy sacrifice of the Mass.
Poor fathers and mothers, you are being sacrificed for the happiness of your children and your heirs! You perhaps have neglected your own salvation to augment their fortune. You are being cheated of the good works which you left behind in your wills! … Poor parents! How blind you were to forget yourselves! … You will tell me, perhaps: “Our parents lived good lives; they were very good people. They needed little to go into these flames!”
It is certain, very certain, that there is a place where the souls of the just complete the expiation of their sins before being admitted to the glory of Paradise, which is assured them. Yes, my dear brethren, and it is an article of faith: if we have not done penance proportionate to the greatness and enormity of our sins :[i.e., reparation]-, even though forgiven in the holy tribunal of Penance, we shall be compelled to expiate them in Purgatory.
Alas, my dear brethren, what, then, will be the number of years which we shall have to suffer in Purgatory, we who have so many sins, we who, under the pretext that we have confessed them, do no penance and shed no tears?
The fire of Purgatory is the same as the fire of Hell; the difference between them is that the fire of Purgatory is not everlasting. Oh! Should God in His great mercy permit one of these poor souls, who bum in these flames, to appear here in my place, all surrounded by the fires which consume him, and should he give you himself a recital of the sufferings he is enduring, this church, my dear brethren, would reverberate with his cries and his sobs, and perhaps that might finally soften your hearts. Oh! How they suffer! They cry to us:
“Oh! You, our brethren, deliver us from these torments! You can do it! Ah, if you only experienced the sorrow of being separated from God! … Cruel separation! To burn in the fire kindled by the justice of God! … To suffer sorrows incomprehensible to mortal man! . . . To be devoured by regret, knowing that we could so easily have avoided such sorrows! … “
Oh! My children, cry the fathers and the mothers:
“Can you thus so readily abandon us, we who loved you so much? Can you then sleep in comfort and leave us stretched upon a bed of fire. Will you have the courage to give yourselves up to pleasure and joy while we are here suffering and weeping night and day? You have our wealth, our homes, you are enjoying the fruit of our labors, and you abandon us here in this place of torments, where we are suffering such frightful evils for so many years! … And not a single almsgiving, not a single Mass which would help to deliver us! … You can relieve our sufferings, you can open our prison, and you abandon us. Oh! How cruel these sufferings are! … “
Yes, my dear brethren, people judge very differently, when in the flames of Purgatory, of all those light faults, if indeed it is possible to call anything light which makes us endure such rigorous sorrows. What woe would there be to man, the Royal Prophet cries, even the most just of men, if God were to judge him without mercy. If God has found spots in the sun and malice in the angels, what, then, is this sinful man? And for us, who have committed so many mortal sins and who have done practically nothing to satisfy the justice of God, how many years of Purgatory!
Ah! What years and centuries of torment to punish us! … How dearly we shall pay for all those faults that we look upon as nothing at all, like those little lies that we tell to amuse ourselves, those little scandals, the despising of the graces which God gives us at every moment, those little murmurings in the difficulties that He sends us! No, my dear brethren, we would never have the courage to commit the least sin if we could understand how much it outrages God and how greatly it deserves to be rigorously punished, even in this world.
God is just, my dear brethren, in all that He does. When He recompenses us for the smallest good action, He does so over and above all that we could desire. A good thought, a good desire, that is to say, the desire to do some good work even when we are not able to do it, He never leaves without a reward. But also, when it is a matter of punishing us, it is done with rigor, and though we should have only a light fault, we shall be sent into Purgatory. This is true, for we see it in the lives of the saints that many of them did not go to Heaven without having first passed through the flames of Purgatory.
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