The holy souls in purgatory, in their extreme destitution, have no hope save in us. The poor man eases his poverty by working; if he can not work, he begs; and his sad destitution moves others to compassion. With regard to other unfortunates, the case is the same. Some resource is always left to them, and the surest ground of hope is prayer to God who never rejects it. But to the souls in purgatory everything is wanting if our charity will not remember them.
For them there is no divine mercy—its reign is ended. The whole of the debt is now to be paid, "to the last farthing." They do not sow in the other world; the day is ended; it is succeeded by the night, "in which no man can work." (John ix. 4.)
What of their companions? All are equally powerless to assist one another. To us alone it would be useful for them to make known their distress; but, alas, we can neither see their tears nor hear their lamentations. Let us at least hear the language which the Church puts upon their lips on this day, and if we feel any compassion while meditating on them, let us not harden our hearts.
"Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, ye at least, my friends, for the hand of the Lord hath touched me." (Job, xix. 21.)
Shall we, through our negligence and indifference, be as severe as the just God who because of His justice is forced to chastise them? "Why do you persecute me as God?" (Ib.)