Cardinal Caesar Baronius (1538 – 1607) recorded the story of a pious woman who had been singularly generous to the Holy Souls. When she was dying, the pious woman was burdened by a deathbed depression where she thought so badly of her life that she started to despise herself so much she was induced to self-deception that there was no hope for her soul.
Simultaneously there was a concerted effort by the powers of Hell to drive the pious woman to lose faith and to think that Our Lord would never have mercy on her.
This was done in a bid to reduce her to the mortal sin of despair, so the demons could claim her soul. Suddenly, the pious woman saw the souls of thousands of supporters come towards her who bolstered her confidence and assured her victory in the good fight was hers for the taking and that she could attain the Heavenly Prize.
She was lifted up from her depressive fugue, but she didn’t recognize these myriad souls and so she asked them who they were, only to get the answer, “We are the souls which you have delivered from Purgatory, we, in our turn come to help you, and very soon we shall conduct you to Paradise.” The pious woman’s heart was gladdened, and soon afterwards she died in enviable happiness.
If you find yourself in this situation, then consider developing a devotion to the Holy Souls, because they are endlessly grateful to the point that they may strive to deliver you from a depression that threatens to force you into despair. They may rescue you, in the same manner you rescued them from Purgatory.
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