Heroic Act of Charity in favor of the Holy Souls


The Heroic Act of Charity in Favor of the Poor Souls in Purgatory

Some said:
Quote: I'm neither heroic nor gutsy enough to make the heroic act...I think I'll need all the indulgences I can muster when I'm in Purgatory. If you make the heroic act, doesn't it pretty much guarantee that you'll be in Purgatory for a LOOOOOOOOOOOONG time? Unless you've never committed a venial sin, that is.

To allay your fears, here's what the Heroic Act of Charity is all about:

The Heroic Act of Charity in Favor of the Poor Souls in Purgatory

The Heroic Act of Charity is the most beautiful and most effective manifestation of devotion to the Poor Souls, as well as of love of God and neighbor in general. For those of our associates who did not make it as yet, we give the following explanation.

I. Purpose and meaning of the Heroic Act of Charity.

The heroic act of charity in behalf of the souls in Purgatory consists of a voluntary offering, made by one of the faithful in their favor, of all works of satisfaction done in this life, as well as of all suffrages which shall be offered after death. By this act he deposits all these works and suffrages in the hands of the Blessed Virgin, that she may distribute them in behalf of those holy souls whom it is her good pleasure to deliver from the pains of Purgatory, and at the same time he declares that by this personal offering he forgoes in their behalf only the special and personal benefit of
those works of satisfaction, so that, if he be a priest, he is not hindered from applying the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass according to the intention of those who give him alms for that purpose.

Every meritorious act performed in the state of sanctifying grace and with a good intention, gains for us the following spiritual privileges:

1. An increase in sanctifying grace and heavenly glory.
2. Many graces of body and soul for ourselves and for others.
3. Remission of temporal punishment for our sins. Only this third fruit, the satisfactory or expiatory part of the works that we accomplish is conceded or applied to the souls in Purgatory, whereas the fruit of merit and impetration (of prayer), remains ours. The heroic act therefore does not prevent us from praying for ourselves or for others, nor to let others share in our good works.

a. In making the heroic act and desiring to gain the indulgences attached to it, one foregoes in truth and in fact, without reservation of any kind, and without exception, the special and personal benefits of all works of satisfaction and suffrage, and deposits them as a voluntary offering to God in the hands of the Blessed Virgin.

b.This act of charity is not avow and does not bind under sin. It may be revoked at any time. It stands to reason however that, doing so one can no longer gain the
indulgences attached to the heroic act.

1. The priests who have made this offering may enjoy the benefits of the privileged altar personally every day of the year.

2. All the faithful who have made this act may gain:

a. A plenary indulgence applicable only to the departed, every day that they receive
Holy Communion, provided they visit a church or public oratory and pray for the
intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

b. A plenary indulgence every Monday, if they hear Mass in suffrage for the souls in
Purgatory and fulfill the usual conditions. The sick, old people, those living in the country, travelers, prisoners, etc., who cannot hear Mass on Monday may offer to this end that of the Sunday.

c. All indulgences granted, or to be granted and gained by the faithful who have made this offering, are applicable to the holy souls in Purgatory, even when this faculty is not so expressed in the formula or decree of the concession of such indulgences.
S.P. Ap., Jan. 26, 1932.

Motives for Making The Heroic Act

I. You gain many indulgences.
2. Innumerable souls are quickly released from Purgatory; heaven is filled with new saints, who will glorify and praise God for all eternity, also in your behalf.
3. You will gain the special love of the Holy Trinity, of Our Savior, and of all the saints, and you have the promise of Out Lord applied to you: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." (Math. 5, 7).
4. After you have made the heroic act, the Poor Souls will become your debtors; in heaven they will labor that you may not be lost, that you shall not suffer Purgatory at all, or at least be released from it soon.
5. The Blessed Virgin receives an increase of signal veneration, since she will be proclaimed, loved and invoked as the most loving Queen of the Poor Souls and sweet dispenser of our merits to them. There can be no doubt that she will have a special affection for those who love and honor her in this way, both while they are in this world and after they have passed into eternity.

Unnecessary apprehension in Regards to the Heroic Act

Do not be afraid that you will suffer any loss by this act of charity. Neither need you fear that you yourself will be in danger of having to endure a long and painful Purgatory. On the contrary, you can only gain by it, since you will enjoy the special love of the Most Holy Trinity, of Out Savior, the Blessed Virgin, and of all the saints. Who shall fare better in the end: he who relies solely on the justice of God, or he who heroically offers his merits to the Poor Souls and trusts entirely in God's infinite mercy and generosity? The latter without doubt. In making the heroic act of charity, therefore, you have nothing to fear for yourself; you can only gain by it. Nor need you fear that the souls of your relatives, friends and benefactors will be slighted in the least. The Blessed Virgin does not distribute arbitrarily the good works offered for the Poor Souls, but according to that measure of charity and justice which God Himself employs in the distribution of His graces. She will therefore favor with your merits preferably those souls towards whom you have special obligations.

Many persons; distinguished by their position, learning and holiness, have made this heroic act in favor of the Poor Souls and will not regret it in eternity. Follow their example, and likewise offer the atoning merits of your good works for the comfort and deliverance of the Poor Souls.

No special formula for making the heroic act is prescribed. For your convenience however, we herewith give the formula taken from the works of St. Alphonsus de Liguori. Its briefness lends itself to a frequent and profitable renewal of this act.

"Oh my God, in union with the merits of Jesus and Mary, I offer Thee for the souls in Purgatory, all my satisfactory works, as well as those which may be applied to me by others during my life, and after my death. And, so as to be more agreeable to the divine Heart of Jesus and more helpful to the departed, I place them all in the hands of the merciful Virgin Mary."


We beseech Thee, O Lord, help the souls detained in the fire of Purgatory, whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy precious Blood. Dear Lord Jesus, grant them (or him) eternal rest.

The Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory

A Pious Union of Prayer

1. Its Object.
"In union with the Divine Heart of Jesus make a short pilgrimage to Purgatory at night. Offer Him all your activities of the day and ask Him to apply His merits to the suffering souls. At the same time implore them to obtain for you the grace to live and die in the love and friendship of this divine Heart. May He never find in you any resistance to His holy will nor any wish to thwart His design in your regard. Fortunate will you be, if you succeed in obtaining deliverance for some of these imprisoned souls, for you will gain as many friends in heaven."

2. Its Purpose.
The purpose of this "Pious Union" is to obtain relief and deliverance from Purgatory for the Poor Souls. Its secondary aim is the attainment of personal holiness, the conversion of sinners and the acquisition of the necessary spiritual and temporal graces.

3. Its Privileges.
1. Special protection of the Sacred Heart, Who considers every act of charity towards the Poor Souls as done to Himself.

2. Gratitude of the souls in Purgatory. 'If only you knew," writes St. Margatet Mary, "with what great longing these holy souls yearn for this new 'remedy, which relieves them so effectively of their sufferings. For this is what they call the devotion to the Sacred Heart, especially the sacrifice of the holy Mass offered in His honor." In another place the Saint says: "lngratitude has never entered heaven."

3. A share in the prayers and good works of the associates.

4. The departed members of this "Pious Union," particularly those who have been specially recommended, receive unceasingly the fruits of the numerous holy Masses, offered for the intention of this association.

4. Its Obligations.
1. Promise without binding yourself in con-science, to meditate every day, no matter how briefly, on Purgatory or some other pious practice, e. g., on some ejaculatory prayer to which indulgences applicable to the Poor Souls are attached.

2. Have a holy Mass said as often as possible and as often as you can afford for the intention of this "Pious Union". Offer for the same intention all the Masses you attend, all the holy Communions you receive, all the good works you perform, particularly those which have for their purpose the veneration of the Sacred Heart.
My argument has always been that if you make the heroic act, think of all the Saints and Poor Souls who will be praying for you after death! :)

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