Foreword

“READ ME OR RUE IT”

This title is somewhat startling. Yet, dear reader, if you peruse this little book, you will see for yourself how well deserved it is. The book tells us how to save ourselves and how to save others from untold suffering. Some books are good and may be read with profit. Others are better and should be read without fail.

There are, however, books of such sterling worth by reason of the counsels they suggest, the conviction they carry with them, the urge to action they give us that it would be sheer folly not to read them.

Read Me or Rue It belongs to this class. It is for your best interest, Dear Friend, to read it and reread it, to ponder well and deeply on its contents. You will never regret it; rather, great and poignant will be your regret if you fail to study its few but pregnant pages.

HELP, HELP, THEY SUFFER SO MUCH!

I. We can never understand too clearly that every alms, small or great, which we give to the poor we give to God.

He accepts it and rewards it as given to Himself. Therefore, all we do for the Holy Souls, God accepts as done to Himself. It is as if we had relieved or released Him from Purgatory. What a thought! How He will repay us!

II. As there is no hunger, no thirst, no poverty, no need, no pain, no suffering to compare with what the Souls in Purgatory endure, so there is no alms more deserving, none more pleasing to God, none more meritorious for us than the alms, the prayers, the Masses we give to the Holy Souls.

III. It is very possible that some of our own nearest and dearest ones are still suffering the excruciating pains of Purgatory and calling on us piteously for help and relief.

Is it not dreadful that we are so hardened as not to think more about them, that we are so cruel as to deliberately forget them!

For the dear Christ’s sake, let us do all, but all, we can for them.

Every Catholic ought to join the Association of the Holy Souls.

PURGATORY

“Have pity on me, have pity on me, at least you my friends, because the hand of the Lord hath touched me.” (Job 19:21).

This is the touching prayer that the Poor Souls in Purgatory address to their friends on Earth, begging, imploring their help, in accents of the deepest anguish. Alas, many are deaf to their prayers!

It is incomprehensible how some Catholics, even those who are otherwise devout, shamefully neglect the souls in Purgatory. It would almost seem that they do not believe in Purgatory. Certain it is that their ideas on the subject are very hazy.

Days and weeks and months pass without their having a Mass said for the Holy Souls! Seldom, too, do they hear Mass for them, seldom do they pray for them, seldom do they think of them! Whilst they are enjoying the fullness of health and happiness, busy with their work, engrossed with their amusements, the Poor Souls are suffering unutterable agonies on their beds of flame. What is the cause of this awful callousness? Ignorance: gross, inexplicable ignorance.

People do not realize what Purgatory is. They have no conception of its dreadful pains, and they have no idea of the long years that souls are detained in these awful fires. As a result, they take little or no care to avoid Purgatory themselves, and worse still, they cruelly neglect the Poor Souls who are already there and who depend entirely on them for help.

Dear Reader, peruse this little book with care and you will bless the day that it fell into your hands.

Chapter 1