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Our Lady of Purgatory

The weight of Indulgences

Blessed Berthold, preacher of the Order of St. Francis, had just given a very moving sermon on almsgiving, after which he had granted his hearers ten days’ indulgences, according to the power he had received from the Sovereign Pontiff, when a lady of condition, who, having lost her fortune, was obliged to solicit Christian charity, came to him secretly to expose her misery. The good Father said to her: “You have earned ten days of indulgence by attending my preaching. Go, then, to a certain banker, who has hardly cared for spiritual treasures up to now, and offer him, in return for his alms, to give him your merit. I have every reason to believe that he will give you some help.” The poor woman went there in all simplicity. God allowed this man to receive her kindly: he asked her what she wanted in exchange for her ten days’ indulgence. “As much as they weigh, she replied. – Well, said the banker, here is a scale: write down your ten days on a piece of paper and put it in one of the trays: I will put a coin on the other.” O wonder! the first plate pulls the money one. Astonished, the banker adds another coin, which does not change anything to the weight. He puts in five, ten, thirty, finally as many as the supplicant needed in her present necessity; only then did the two trays balance. This was a valuable lesson for the banker: he finally felt the value of heavenly interests. But poor souls understand it even better; for the slightest indulgence, they would give all the gold in the world.

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