Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Important definitions on Purgatory.

The Holy Mass--->
<---The suffering souls in Purgatory.


Although the Catholic Church proclaims the concept of Purgatory, we see that today a majority of people are not believing in purgatory. Most people see purgatory as a place full of punishments and sorrow, something like locking up the souls and beating them. Some others see it as a place of comfort as they can attain Heaven, after spending sometime in purgatory, just like a holiday resort. Many doubts and misconceptions arise in most people nowadays, as not much is taught about it at churches and during catechism.

As we have said in previous post; Purgatory is the place where most of the souls go after death. We say this, because even the saints are going to heaven after spending some time at purgatory. The difference is only in the duration of the time they have to spend there.

It is a place where the soul suffer pains, but it also represents a state of love, hope and peace. Because if a soul needs to be with God in heaven after death, it must have attained complete purity. Thus we understand that God made purgatory because of His abundant love for us.

“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” (Isaiah 48:10). Thus if one needs to be with God, he/she has to be made pure in the flames of sacrifice. And if this purification doesn’t happen if he is in his earthly body, then it happens after death at purgatory.

The selfish love we have for ourselves increases the distance between us and God. At purgatory, this selfish love is burnt and destroyed completely. Thus by submitting ourselves completely to God, only God’s love remains in that soul. Thus it becomes eligible to join God and live in eternity.

Sins, their trails, selfish love for ourselves all these impurities make a HARD CRUST on the surface of our love to God. But we are not even knowing the formation of this crust. Whenever we do sins, refuse God and do things against His will, we are increasing the thickness of this hard crust.

Only the selfless love to God can melt down the hard crust formed. All saints throughout their lives were constantly trying to melt down this crust completely. For this, they prayed a lot and did a lot of deeds of penance. These will melt the hard crust very easily.
Yes, our sins are forgiven through confession, but to clear the debt of our sins, deeds of penance are needed. Thus the saints were able to go either directly to heaven or spend only a very little time at the purgatory.

See the picture above? It shows Mother Mary helping souls in purgatory. All souls are seen there together with their own guardian angel, who help them at the purgatory.

So actually what does a soul experience at the purgatory?
What is happening when we pray for them?
A hundreds of questions may arise in our mind.

Purgatory is a shelter for souls, rather than a place of punishment. There they get a lot of insights and knowledge. The souls get to know about all the secrets of God’s love and His ways. There they become aware of the importance of giving first place to God while on Earth and about salvation of souls. They also realize that life on earth is so transient and they should have done a lot of good and how little they have done etc. They realize that the spiritual treasures they achieved during life on earth were far far precious than their earthly treasures.

The souls understands that after this purification, they will become stronger and they will be freed from sins and temptations. They rejoice at being in purgatory as they know that after all these pains, they will receive god and His love forever. A soul, after going through this purification, clears all the debts of sins and receives in full God’s love, accepts it and gets ready to fulfill His will.

A person gets the gift of eternity according to how much love he had for God, at the time of his death. Remember what St. John said while on cross : “You will be tested according to your love at the end of your life.”

The soul, which gets clear knowledge about God and His love, is purified in the fire by the earnest desire to be with God. As we know, in purgatory it does not have the physical body it had on Earth. By the burning fire of purification, we mean the agony which they experience as a result of their inability to be with God and not being able to love Him completely.

Even though the above said purifying fire is not like ordinary fire and smoke, the pain that this fire causes to the soul is far greater than the pain that the ordinary fire causes to one’s physical body. For e.g. the pain that a wounded heart feels will be much more than the pain when one’s leg is broken, right? The pain in the first case also takes a much more time for alleviation.

A soul in purgatory wishes to complete the purification as soon as possible and to join God and love Him at the earliest. The thought that it could have avoided all these pains, makes the pain all the more severe for the soul. Also the soul sadly admits the fact that it could have destroyed the HARD CRUST made by its selfish love, if it had loved, prayed and done deeds of penance and deeds of generosity during its time on Earth.

Ah, why these souls have to bear these pains in the fire in purgatory? Who is responsible for these pains?

The soul itself is responsible. There is one more important thing. The fire that punishes or tortures the soul is created by the soul itself. The soul itself is responsible for its pains in this condition. Due to their selfish love for themselves, they created the hard crust on the surface of their love to God.
In short, the awareness that it is not God, they themselves created this painful situation for them, tortures them more and more. They then understand that they reached purgatory as they offended God’s blessings when they were alive and engaged in various sinful acts.
Thus they get purified by their intense desire to be with god.

God doesn’t want anyone to be in the purgatory. On the other hand, they understand that it’s due to God’s kindness and love that they are able to go through this state. They grasp how much God loved them when they were alive on earth. This intensifies their pain much more.

The souls get this insight in varying degrees according to the type of sins they had committed when they were alive. Thus the soul understands how ungrateful he was to God and how much he neglected and misused God’s love.

In purgatory, the awareness and thoughts of the soul are all purified. The soul learns when and how it made those mistakes, through thoughts or deeds. By the virtue of these painful experiences in the purgatory, the soul gets removed from all the dirty affairs and begins to emit true love. Thus, by the time, it reaches heaven, the soul completely understands what God is and what His ways are. The soul which completely understands now all goodness and God’s love, begins to praise and thank God.

So the purgatory is not only a place to get rid of the punishments of sins, but also a school where we learn lessons about God, Almighty. While they are in purgatory, these souls have no time or chance to obtain more merits. They just need to undergo the purification created by themselves, which is according to the lifestyle they selected while on earth.

But we people who now live on earth can obtain a lot of merits from God, by helping these souls. We can pray to Lord Jesus to lessen their sufferings and to quickly give those insights and knowledge about Him. The Holy Masses which we offer specially in their name, the prayers for their salvation, the merciful deeds we do etc, will act as a tool which will break the ‘HARD CRUST’ formed in the surface of their love for God.

Offering these souls to the Holy Blood of Jesus Christ is a very good way to help them. When we offer these souls to God, by meditating to Jesus, His sufferings and sacrifices for souls etc, then the HARD CRUST will break and will be destroyed to a great extent. If we are not doing the above, the good deeds and prayers for these souls, then souls, they will have to suffer really hard to destroy this hard crust.
It’s easy for us to imagine how difficult that will prove for the souls clean their sins.

Some souls stay in purgatory for quite a long time. Those, who had believed that they were very pious and god fearing during their life on earth will have to suffer very much in purgatory. The reason for this is their pride.

The people on earth that will never prayed for these souls in purgatory, as in their view, they will have to suffer a lot till for reach the Heaven.
And as these souls don’t get any prayers from people on earth, they have to suffer a longer time in purgatory.
In contrast, the people on earth who prayed for souls in purgatory, and were very much god-fearing and pious, won´t be needing of much prayers to reach heaven.

So it will be very nice if we pray and offer Holy Masses for this type of souls also. Even some saints are there in purgatory. They have revealed that the reason for them not being able to go to heaven was due to the selfish love they had for themselves.

That´s why, If a soul completes its purification on Earth itself, through prayer, deeds of penance, sacraments etc, then that soul need not spend much time suffering in Purgatory.

Those who had led a good life without sins might be having a selfish love for themselves. This selfish love urges them to abstain from many religious rituals, which makes them eligible for punishments. So these souls need very hard punishment to destroy the HARD CRUST created on the surface of their selfish love.

Even though God has given many opportunities to those who lead a pure life to help others, if they move away from these blaming personal inconveniences, it is due to their selfish love for themselves.
Some souls give visions that the reason for them being in Purgatory is due to their not fully utilizing the chances they got to help others on Earth.

When one soul gets purified in Purgatory, the Guardian Angel of that soul teaches the soul all about praises to Lord and the need for them. Yes, the presence of one’s Guardian Angel in Purgatory surely brings some joy to the soul, but no relief.
A soul gets relief only through its pains in purgatory and the prayers it gets from the earth.
Even though the pain a soul suffers in Purgatory is unbearable beyond words, it doesn’t wish to go back from Purgatory to earth. The soul waits anxiously for someone on earth who free it from there. They only wish for the quick melting down of the selfish love they have, which separates them from God’s love.

They are thankful to God and are always hopeful. They strongly believe in the truth that after purification, they will all get the bright sacred cloth promised for them. All other souls rejoice greatly when one soul gets promotion to Heaven. Through the purification in purgatory, all the souls understands the virtues like pain, kindness, service, brotherly love etc, and they rejoice greatly in these virtues.

The souls in Purgatory eagerly await for the day of remembrance of all the souls (the month of November, month of deceased). On that day they get more joyful and they obtain more relief.
The level of happiness they enjoy then will be according to the level of pain they experience at that time. Their joy know no bounds when they see the bright rays coming out of them. It is the Love of God who purified them.

They will then get convinced that they will be able to love God more, in future and for ever and ever.

The souls now also come to understand how much harmful it was to commit even a simple sin (a white lie) while they were on Earth. In Purgatory, some souls experience more solitude and much pain. Those souls who are in the empty corners of Purgatory experiences many times the pain that the others souls.

They are there with much pain, as those souls caused that many people move away from God, while they lived on earth, through their false teachings or beliefs.

Those souls are also responsible for those sins committed by others people who followed them, moving away from God. Because these souls used the good given talents by God to publicly blame God and disrespect the Church.

As pride is the most serious sin, the souls which had pride, have to remain in the purgatory for a very long time. These souls were those people who said they don’t need God and who were reluctant to follow Him, while they lived on earth.

This soul gets ready to suffer more pains, admitting the fact that it had been a obstacle for God on earth. They fully understand that they are in the Purgatory only because of God’s kindness and love, and that they should have gone to permanent hell, if otherwise.

When The Holy Mother Mary comes to Purgatory to comfort the souls, these souls move away from Her. Because Her purity and love to God creates more pain and sorrow in these souls. Another reason for this is that these souls feel more and more ashamed as they didn’t love or respect to the Mother of Jesus, while they lived on earth.

We have seen that those who loved Mother Mary more, while they lived on earth, are able to receive more relief from Her in the Purgatory. Virgin Mary comes and makes clear all the selfish love and demerits which separates the soul from God.

Thus the soul gets to heaven very quickly than expected. Virgin Mary will never forget the love we had shown to Her, while we lived on earth.

If a person loves and respects to The Holy Mother Mary, and prays for a dear soul who suffers in purgatory, She will free soon the soul from Purgatory.
The prayers of the persons who live on earth for souls in purgatory, touches Mother God´s Heart very deeply.

One of the best weapon to free souls from purgatory is the Holy Rosary. It helps to destroy the HARD CRUST formed on the surface of a soul’s love to God. A soul which had a personal relationship with the Holy Mary while on earth, when soul goes to purgatory will keep live all his love and prayers, then we can see that the soul gets a better and brighter place in purgatory.

Those souls have more eligible to receive the love of Mother Mary, and they will be seen more joyful in purgatory, through various visions to saints. Since these souls had received some special insights from others, they can attain the needed knowledge very quickly.

Those souls who had not loved or respected Mother Mary while on earth, suffer gravest pains in Purgatory. Many visions of the seers say that when She comes to purgatory and when Her shadow falls on these souls, they experience strong pains and sufferings.

MARIA SIMMA: AUTHOR OF THE BOOK “MY EXPERIENCE WITH SOULS IN PURGATORY”.

Maria Simma : Author of the book “My experience with souls in Purgatory”. Maria Simma tried three times to enter a monastery, but met with refusal because of ill health. Since 1940, she began to have visions of the souls in Purgatory, accompanied by severe physical suffering.

Maria, can you tell us what the role of Our Lady is with the souls in Purgatory?

She comes often to console them and to tell them they have done many good things. She encourages them.
Are there any days in particular on which she delivers them?

Above all, Christmas Day, All Saints Day, Good Friday, the Feast of the Assumption, and the Ascension of Jesus.

Maria, why does one go to Purgatory?
What are the sins which most lead to Purgatory?

Sins against charity, against the love of one’s neighbor, hardness of heart, hostility, slandering, calumny — all these things.
Yes. We must to avoid all this things, praying a lot to not commit this sins.

Purgatory: First Example.

Here, Maria gives us an example which really struck her which I would like to share with you. She had been asked to find out if a woman and a man were in Purgatory. To the great astonishment of those who had asked, the woman was already in Heaven and the man was in Purgatory. In fact, this woman had died while undergoing an abortion, whereas the man often went to church and apparently lead a worthy, devout life.

So Maria searched for more information, thinking she’d been mistaken — but no, it was true. They had died at practically the same moment, but the woman had experienced deep repentance, and was very humble, whereas the man criticized everyone; he was always complaining and saying bad things about others. This is why his Purgatory lasted so long. And Maria concluded: “We mus not judge on appearances.”

Purgatory: Second Example.

Other sins against charity are all our rejection of certain people we do not like, our refusals to make peace, our refusals to forgive, and all the bitterness we store inside. Maria also illustrated this point with another example which gave us food for thought.

It’s the story of a woman she knew very well. This lady died and was in Purgatory, in the most terrible Purgatory, with the most atrocious sufferings. And when she came to Maria, she explained why: She had had a female friend; between them arose a great enmity, caused by herself. She had maintained this enmity for years and years, even though her friend had many times asked for peace, for reconciliation, but each time she refused.

When she fell gravely ill, she continued to close her heart, to refuse the reconciliation offered by her friend, right up to her deathbed. I believe that this example has great significance concerning rancor which is maintained. And our words, too, can be destructive; we can never emphasize enough how much a critical or bitter word can truly kill — but also, on the contrary, how much a word can heal.

Maria, please tell us: who are those who have the greatest chance of going straight to Heaven?
Those who have a good heart towards everyone. Love covers a multitude of sins.

Yes, Saint Paul himself tells us this!

What are the means which we can take on earth to avoid Purgatory and go straight to Heaven?

We must do a great deal for the souls in Purgatory, for they help us in their turn. We must have much humility; this is the greatest weapon against evil, against the Evil One.
Humility drives evil away.

Purgatory: Third Example.

I can’t resist telling you a very lovely testimony of Father Berlioux (who wrote a wonderful book on the souls in Purgatory), concerning the help offered by these souls to those who relieve them by their prayer and suffrages. He tells the story of a person particularly devoted to the poor souls who had consecrated her life to their relief.

“At the hour of her death, she was attacked with fury by the demon who saw her at the point of escaping from him. It seemed that the entire abyss was united against her, surrounding her with its infernal troops. “The dying woman struggled excruciatingly for some time when suddenly she saw entering her apartment, a crowd of unknown people of dazzling beauty, who put the demon to flight and, approaching her bed, spoke to her with the most heavenly encouragement and consolations.
With her last breath, in great joy, she cried; ‘Who are you? Who are you, please, you should do so much good to me?”

“The benevolent visitors replied: ‘We are inhabitants of Heaven, whom your help has led to Beatitude. And we in our turn come in gratitude to help you cross the threshold of eternity and rescue you from this place of anguish to bring you into the joy of the Holy City.’

“At these words, a smile lit up the face of the dying woman, her eyes closed and she fell asleep in the peace of the Lord. Her soul, pure as a dove, presented to the Lord of lords, found as many protectors and advocates as souls she had delivered, and recognized worthy of glory, she entered in triumph, among the applause and blessings of all those she had rescued from Purgatory. May we, one day, have the same happiness.”

The souls delivered by our prayer are extremely grateful: they help us in our lives;
it’s most perceptible. I strongly recommend that you experience this yourself! They do help us;
they know our needs and obtain many graces for us.

Maria, I am thinking of the Good Thief who was next to Jesus on the Cross. I really would like to know what he did for Jesus to promised him that this very day onwards, he would be in the Kingdom with him?

He humbly accepted his suffering, saying that it was justice. And he encouraged the other thief to accept his too. He had the fear of God, which means humility.

Purgatory: Fourth Example.

Another beautiful example related by Maria Simma shows how a good action makes up for a whole life of sin. Let’s hear it from Maria herself:

“I knew a young man of about twenty, in a nearby village. This young man’s village had been cruelly stricken by a series of avalanches which had killed a large number of people. One night, this young man was in his parents’ house when he heard an avalanche just next door to his house.
He heard piercing screams, heartrending screams, ‘Save us! Come, save us! We are trapped beneath the avalanche! Leaping up, he rose from his bed and rushed downstairs to go to the rescue of these people. His mother had heard the screams and prevented him from leaving; she blocked the door, saying ‘No! Let others go and help them, not always us! It’s too dangerous outside, I don’t want yet another death!’

But he, because he had been deeply affected by these screams, really wanted to go to the rescue of these people; he pushed his mother aside. He said to her: ‘Yes! I’m going! I can’t let them dies like this!” He went out, and then he himself, on the path, was struck by an avalanche and was killed.
Three days after his death, he comes to visit me, at night, and he says to me: ‘Have three Masses said for me; by this, I will be delivered from Purgatory.’

I went to inform his family and friends; they were astonished to know that after only three Masses, he would be delivered from Purgatory. His friends said to me: ‘Oh, I wouldn’t have liked to have been in his place in the moment of death, if you’d seen all the bad things he’d done!” But this young man said to me:
“You see, I’d made an act of pure love in risking my life for these people; it’s thanks to this that the Lord welcomed me so quickly into his Heaven. Yes, charity covers a multitude of sins…”

This story shows us that charity, a single act of love given freely, had been sufficient to purify this young man from a dissolute life; and the Lord had made the most of this moment of love. Maria in fact added that this young man might never again have had the opportunity to offer such a great act of love, and might have turned bad.
The Lord, in his mercy, took him just at the moment when he appeared before him at his most beautiful, most pure, because of this act of love. It is very important, at the hour of death, to abandon oneself to God’s will.

Purgatory: Fifth Example.

Maria told me of the case of a mother of four children who was about to die. Instead of rebelling and worrying, she said to the Lord: “I accept death, as long as it is your will, and I put my life in your hands. I entrust my sons to you and I know that you will take care of them.” Maria said that, because of her immense trust in God, this woman went straight to Heaven and avoided Purgatory. Therefore, we really can say that love, humility and abandonment to God are the three golden keys to going directly to Heaven.

Offer a Mass for them.

Maria, can you now tell us what are the most effective means to help deliver the souls in Purgatory?

The most efficient means is the Mass. Why the Mass?br>
Because it is Christ himself who offers out of love for us. It is the offering of Christ himself to God, the most beautiful offering. The priest is God’s representative, but it is God himself who offers himself and sacrifices himself for us.
The efficacy of the Mass for the deceased is even greater for those who attached great value to the Mass during their lives. If they attended Mass and prayed with all their hearts, if they went to Mass on weekdays — according to their time available — they draw great profit from Masses celebrated for them. Here, too, one harvests what one has sown.

A soul in Purgatory sees very clearly on the day of his funeral if we really pray for him or if we have simply made an act of presence to show we were there. The poor souls say that tears are no good to them, only prayers and good act of love offered for them are benefit for souls. Often they complain that people go to a funeral without saying a single prayer to God, while shedding many tears; this is useless!

Purgatory: Sixth Example.

Concerning the Mass, I will quote a beautiful example given by the Cure of Ars to his parishioners. He told them:
“My children, a good priest had the unhappiness to lose a friend he cherished tenderly, and so he prayed very much for the repose of his soul. One day, God made known to him that his friend was in Purgatory and suffered terribly.

The holy priest believed that he could not do better than to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for his dear friend who had died. At the moment of the consecration, he took the host between his fingers and said:

"Holy Eternal Father, let us make an exchange. You hold the soul of my friend who is in Purgatory, and I hold the Body of Your Son in my hands. Well good and merciful Father; deliver my friend and I offer you your Son with all the merits of his death and Passion".
“The request was answered. In fact, at the moment of the elevation, he saw the soul of his friend, shining in glory, rising to Heaven; God had accepted the deal.

“My children, when we want to deliver from Purgatory a soul dear to us, let us do the same; let us offer to God, through the Holy Sacrifice, His Beloved Son with all the merits of His death and Passion. He will not be able to refuse us anything.”

Don’t waste your earthly sufferings.

There is another means, very powerful, to help the poor souls; the offering of our sufferings, our penance, such as fasting, renunciations, etc, — and of course involuntary suffering like illness or mourning.

Maria, you have been invited many times to suffer for the poor souls, in order to deliver them. Can you tell us what you have experienced and undergone during these times?

The first time, a soul asked me if I wouldn’t mind suffering for three hours in my body, for her, and that afterwards I could resume working. I said to myself:

“If it will all be over after three hours, I could accept it.” During these three hours, I had the impression that they lasted three days, it was so painful. But at the end, I looked at my watch and I saw that it had only lasted three hours. The soul told me that by accepting that suffering with love for three hours, I had saved her twenty years of Purgatory!

Yes, but why did you suffer for only three house to avoid twenty years of Purgatory?

What did your sufferings have that was worth more?

It is because suffering on earth does not have the same value. On earth, when we suffer; we can grow in love, we can gain merits, which is not the case with the sufferings in Purgatory. In Purgatory, the sufferings serve only to purify us from sin. On earth, we have all the graces. We have the freedom to choose.

All this is so encouraging because it gives an extraordinary meaning to our suffering; the suffering which is offered, voluntary or involuntary, even the smallest sacrifices we can make, suffering or sickness, mourning, disappointment…if we live them with patience, if we welcome them in humility, these sufferings can have an unheard-of power to help souls.

The best thing to do, Maria tells us, is to unite our sufferings to those of Jesus, by placing them in the hands of Mary. She is the one who know best how to use them, since often we ourselves do not know the most urgent needs around us.
All this, of course, Mary will give back to use at the hour of our death. You see, these sufferings offered will be our most precious treasures in the other world. We must remind each other of this and encourage each other when we suffer.

And don’t begrudge your prayers.

Another very effective means, Maria tells us, is the Stations of the Cross, because, by contemplating the suffering of the Lord, we begin little by little to hate sins, and to desire salvation for all people.
And this inclination of the heart brings great relief to the souls in Purgatory. The Stations of the Cross also move us to repentance; we start repenting when faced with sin.

Another point, very helpful to the souls in Purgatory, is to say the Holy Rosary, all fifteen mysteries, for the sake of the deceased. Through the rosary, many souls are delivered from Purgatory each year; it must be said here as well that it is the Mother of God herself who comes to Purgatory to deliver the souls. This is very beautiful, because souls in Purgatory call Our Lady the “Mother of Mercy.”

The souls also tell Maria that indulgences have an inestimable value for their deliverance. It is sometimes cruel not to make use of this treasure that the Church proposes for the profit of souls. The subject of indulgences would be too long to explain here, but I can refer you to the marvellous text written by Pope Paul VI in 1968 on the subject.

You can ask your parish priest for it, or simply ask at your usual religious bookstore. Therefore, we can say that the great means of helping the souls in Purgatory is prayer in general; all kinds of prayer.

Purgatory: Seventh Example.

Here I would like to give you the testimony of Hermann Cohen, a Jewish artist who converted to Catholicism in 1864 and greatly venerated the Eucharist. He left the world and entered a very austere religious order; he frequently adored the Blessed Sacrament for which he had a great veneration. During his adoration, he would beg the Lord to convert his mother, whom he loved so much.
Well his mother died without having been converted. So Hermann, sick with sorrow, prostrated himself before the Blessed Sacrament, in deep grief, praying: “Lord, I owe you everything, it is true. But what have I refused you? My youth, my hopes in the world, my well-being, the joys of a family, a rest — maybe well deserved — all sacrificed as soon as you called me.

And you , Lord, Eternal Goodness, who promised to give back a hundredfold, you have refused me the soul of my mother. My God, I succumb to this martyrdom, I will stop my complaints.” He cried his poor heart out. Suddenly, a mysterious voice struck his ear:
“Man of little faith! Your mother is saved. Know that prayer is all-powerful in my presence.
I gathered all those you had addressed to me for your mother, and my Providence took account of her in her last hour. At the moment she expired, I came to her; she saw Me and cried:
‘My Lord and my God’! Have courage, your mother has avoided damnation and fervent supplication will soon deliver her soul from the bonds of Purgatory.

And we know that Father Hermann Cohen, soon afterwards, learned through a second apparition that his mother had risen to Heaven.
I recommend strongly as well the prayers of St. Bridget which are most recommended for the poor souls in Purgatory.

"The souls in Purgatory can no longer do anything for themselves; they are totally helpless. If us, the living do not pray for them, they are totally abandoned. Therefore, it is very important to realize the immense power, the incredible power that each one of us has in his hands to relieve these souls who suffer."

We wouldn’t think twice about helping a child who has fallen in front of us from a tree and who had broken his bones. Of course, we would do everything for him! So, in the same way, we should take great care of these souls, who expect everything from us, attentive to the slightest offering, hopeful for the least of our prayers, to relieve them from their pain.

And it might be the finest way to practice charity. I think, for example, of the kindness of the Good Samaritan in the Gospel, towards the man left half-dead on the roadside bleeding from his wounds. This man depended completely on the good heart of the passer-by.

Maria, why can one no longer gain merits in Purgatory, when one can on earth?

Because at the moment of death, the time to earn merits is over. For as long as we are living on earth, we can repair the evil we have done. The souls in Purgatory envy us this opportunity. Even the angels are jealous of us, for we have the possibility of growing for as long as we are on earth.
But often, the suffering in our lives leads us to rebellion and we have great difficulty in accepting and living it.

How can we live suffering so that it bears fruit?

Sufferings are the greatest proof of the love of God, and if we offer them to God, for souls in Purgatory, can win many souls.

But how can we welcome suffering as a gift and not as a punishment (as we often do), as a chastisement?
We must give everything to Our Lady. She is the one who knows best who needs such and such an offering in order to be saved.

Purgatory: Eighth Example.

On the subject of suffering, I would like to relate an extraordinary testimony that Maria told us of. It was in 1954, and a series of deadly avalanches had struck a village next to Maria’s. Later, other avalanches had struck, but they had been stopped, in a completely miraculous way, before reaching the village, so that there was no damage.

The souls explained that in this village had died a woman who had been ill and was not properly treated; she had suffered terribly for thirty years. And she had offered all her suffering for the sake of her village.
The souls explained to Maria that it was thanks to the offering of this woman that the village had been spared the avalanches. She had borne her sufferings with patience. Maria tells us that if she had enjoyed good health, the village could not have been saved.

She adds that sufferings borne with patience can save more souls than the prayer, but prayer helps us to bear our sufferings, and make us saints.

We should not always consider suffering as a punishment. It can be accepted for our expiation, and not only for ourselves but above all for others. Christ was innocence itself and He suffered the most for the expiation of our sins.

Only in Heaven will we know all that we have obtained by suffering with patience in union with the sufferings of Christ.

Maria, do the souls in Purgatory are rebels when faced with their suffering?

No! They want to purify themselves; they understand that it is necessary only through the suffering and the purification, they can see God for ever, eternally and enjoy from Heaven and all its wonder.

MARY AND THE HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY

. What about those who, by the grace of God, have won eternal life but must be purified before entering the perfection of God´s presence?

I mean the Holy Souls in purgatory. Does Mary continue to care for them? It is true that those who are in the purification of purgatory are saved and need only to reach a state of perfection before entering heaven. On the other hand there are many souls on earth who need prayer in order to avoid eternity in hell.

Where does Mary stand on this dilemma of who to pray for?
Who should receive prayer the most?

Well, we should be assured that Mary, as the new Eve and mother of all the living in Christ will never overlook any of her children, especially those in need. Although saved, the souls in purgatory are in great need of prayer.
They suffer an unimaginable pain despite the great comfort of knowing they will eventually be fully united to God. Mary´s request of us to pray for the souls in purgatory also contributes to the whole plan of redemption for the human race as will be noted below.
The souls in purgatory cannot help themselves they can only make justification through suffering for the imperfections of their souls. Mary is rich in grace and God is infinitely rich in grace, nevertheless justice requires that relief for the souls in purgatory come by means of faith.

That means that in the darkness of not knowing but believing one can pray and sacrifice for the Holy Souls. Even the angels and saints in heaven do not help the souls in purgatory with two exceptions I will mention below.

So, what does Mary do for the Holy Souls in purgatory?

To answer the question posed at the end of the preceding paragraph let us consider a scenario. Suppose you are a mother who sees your only child suffering through some painful therapy but you know the pain could be lessened and the therapy shortened by obtaining sufficient money to purchase a more expensive but more effective therapy.

What do you think you would do? Well, I believe you would go out and find others to contribute to the cost of the therapy for your child. Similarly, for the relief of the souls in purgatory Mary comes to us asking for our prayers, sacrifices and offerings of Holy Mass. The reason Mary comes to us is because we who now live by faith are the only ones who can help the souls in purgatory.

God knows the suffering of the souls in purgatory. The angels and saints know the suffering of the souls in purgatory. Mary knows the suffering of the souls in purgatory. They knew this suffering when each soul entered purgatory.

If they were permitted to relieve those souls they could have done so immediately as each soul was judged. However, it is precisely that they know that limits their ability to spontaneously help the souls in purgatory.
In fact, to begin to intercede for them could seem to challenge the mercy of God who justly places them in the fire of purification.
Think about it if all the angels and saints in heaven turned their total intercessory prayer to the souls in purgatory they would all be immediately released.

However, God´s justice required the soul be purified from their imperfections and that prevents the saints and angels from directly intervening. Therefore, the only relief for the souls in purgatory is through the prayers and sacrifices of those who offer in faith, that´s to say, us.
Our prayers and sacrifices really can relief to the souls in Purgatory.

It is a mystery why God allows all of us, the living on earth can bring relief to the souls in purgatory.
Nevertheless, we are given this opportunity which can satisfy God´s justice in a way that not even the saints and angels can do.

Since Mary depends on us to help her suffering children in purgatory she insistently asks us to pray, sacrifice and especially to have the Holy Mass offered. Through these means the souls, to continue the analogy, receives quicker therapy; they are relieved of pain and sooner enter the glory of heaven.

As noted above the saints and angels do not help the souls in purgatory unless they are asked by us who live by faith on earth. In the same way we can ask Mary to pray for a soul or the souls in purgatory but that too comes through our own place of faith.
There is another way we can be helped by the angels and saints should we be in purgatory that is by asking them ahead of time when we are still alive on earth.

Certainly, our guardian angel would comply with such a request. Also if we pray for a soul in purgatory don´t you think out of gratitude that soul would return the favour in kind. God would certainly permit it even if we did not specifically ask since it would be just for the soul to do so.

The intercession of the souls we have prayed for will help us here on earth and continue for us, should we enter purgatory. This highlights the fact that the Holy Souls can intercede for us right now as they suffer in purgatory.

I believe the intercessory prayer of the souls in purgatory is an immense untapped resource for the faithful on earth. Great things have been accomplished by the intercession of the souls in purgatory. We should ask for their help.

In her plan of attack against Satan, Mary asks us to pray for three things, that the good will triumph, that evil will be defeated and the relief of the souls in purgatory. To assure the good succeeds we pray for the pope, the bishops and priests and all believers.

To defeat evil we pray that sinners will be converted and that evil will do no real harm. The reason for the first two intentions is obviously part of the spiritual battle between good and evil. The reason for prayer for the relief of the souls in purgatory is threefold.

First, charity requires that we help anyone in need including the members of the body of Christ alive by conversion and grace. The souls in purgatory may not be in need of conversion but they still require our care in charity. The Holy Souls are among those in need.

Secondly, as the soul enters heaven it is perfected and thereby able to pray more effectively for the conversion of those still living in the body on earth. Therefore, their intercession will provide a greater benefit in the battle on the side of the Church on earth against Satan. It will also be greater for us.

Thirdly, as we think about the souls in purgatory and pray for them we grow spiritually ourselves because all prayer leads us to God.

What a privileged place we hold in being the only ones able to intercede on behalf of the souls in purgatory. Mary looks with sadness on the suffering of the souls in purgatory and she asks us to pray for them.

She even asks us to ask her to pray for them. Yes, it is a great privilege to be the only ones able to pray for the Holy Souls. However, with this great privilege comes a grave responsibility. So let us exert ourselves on behalf of Mary´s suffering children in purgatory. This will also contribute to the coming triumph of Mary´s army against Satan.

ST. GEMMA INTERCEDES FOR THE SOULS IN PURGATORY.

Source for this information is from “The Life of St Gemma Galgani”, by Venerable Father Germanus CP.
“….Mention must also be made of the zeal of this child of Heaven in the aid of the suffering souls in Purgatory. If love when it is true has no bounds, certainly hers that had reached the summit of per­fection must have been unlimited.
Her zeal for the poor suffering souls was indeed extraordinary. She often offered fervent prayers, together with penances and her immense spiritual and corporal sufferings, for all of the souls in Purgatory in general.

At the same time, just as was her way with sinners, she always had some particular soul on her mind for whose relief she was especially interested. "Yes, suffer!" she used to say, "suffer for sinners, and even more so for the suffering Souls, and in a particular way for N ... " (whom she named).
And our loving Lord, who likewise ardently desires to draw those holy souls to Himself, moved His servant to an increase of zeal and continually suggested to her new modes of expiation. "The Angel has told me," she said, "that this evening Jesus will let me suffer a little more for a soul in Purgatory, that is, for two hours beginning at nine o'clock." That suffering was very great, as she herself confessed: "My head pained me more than usual, and every movement I made was torture." Heaven accepted the expiation of so worthy a creature, and the pains of those blessed Souls from day to day grew less and their suffering was shortened.

Gemma knew by Divine inspiration that in the Convent of Passionist Nuns at Corneto [Italy] there was a Religious Sister very dear to God who was near death. She asked me about it, and on my answering that it was so, she at once began to implore of Jesus to make that particular Reli­gious expiate all her faults on her deathbed, so that breathing her last she might enter Paradise at once. Her prayer, at least in part, was heard.

The Sister suffered greatly and died in a few months. Gemma told those in her home of it in order that they might pray for the deceased, and she gave her name, Mary Teresa of the Infant Jesus, as she was not known in Lucca. After her death, this soul appeared to her full of sorrow, imploring her help as she was undergoing great torments in Purgatory for certain defects.
Nothing more was needed to set all the fibers of Gemma's heart in motion. From that moment she gave herself no rest; -prayers, tears and loving petitions to Our Lord.
"Jesus, save her," she was overheard to exclaim. "Jesus, take Mary Teresa to Paradise without delay. She is a soul that is most dear to Thee. Let me suffer much for her; I want her to be in heaven."

During this time Gemma writes the following in her Diary:

"It was around 9:30 and I was reading; all of a sudden I am shaken by a hand resting gently on my left shoulder. I turn in fright; I was afraid and tried to call out, but I was held back. I turned and saw a person dressed in white; I recognized it was a woman; I looked and her expression assured me I had nothing to fear: "Gemma," she said after some moments, "do you know me?" I said no, because that was the truth; she responded: "I am Mother Maria Teresa of the Infant Jesus: I thank you so, so much for the great con­cern you have shown me because soon I shall be able to attain my eternal happiness.

"All this happened while I was awake and fully aware of myself. Then she added: "Continue still, because I still have a few days of suf­fering." And in so saying she caressed me and then went away. Her countenance, I must say, inspired much confidence in me.
From that hour I redoubled my prayers for her soul, so that soon she should reach her objective; but my prayers are too weak; how I wish that for the souls in Pur­gatory my prayers should have the strength of the saints'."

And the dear victim of expiation suffered without ceasing for sixteen days, at the end of which God was pleased to accept her sacrifice and to release that soul. This is how Gemma herself told me of it: “Toward half-past one it seemed to me that the Blessed Mother herself came to tell me that the hour was drawing nigh.
Then almost immediately I thought I saw Mary Teresa coming toward me clad as a Passionist, accompanied by her Guardian Angel and by Jesus. Oh, how she was changed since the day I first saw her! Smiling, she drew close to me and said: "I am truly happy, and I go to enjoy my Jesus for ever." She thanked me again. Then she made sign of bidding me good-bye with her hand, several times, and with Jesus and her Guardian Angel she flew to Heaven. It was about half-past two o'clock in the morning.”
God converted the world through the labors of twelve poor fishermen. And now He continues to save many through the secret tears, penances and pains of humble souls who are dis­carded by the world, and yet are great in His eyes. One of them assuredly was this saintly Virgin of Lucca.”
Source for this information is from “The Life of St Gemma Galgani”, by Venerable Father Germanus Ruoppolo CP.

“My God, open Your heart to me. Oh Jesus, open to me Thy sacramental breast, because I wish to place all my affections there. Oh Jesus, how much I love You! But why do You treat me so lovingly, while I offend You with such countless ingratitudes? This thought alone, if I could but comprehend it, should be enough to turn me into a furnace of love.” –St Gemma Galgani

"I wish, oh Jesus, that my voice could reach to the ends of the world, to call all sinners and tell them to enter into Thy Heart....Oh, if only all sinners would come to Thy Heart!... Come! Come sinners, do not be afraid! The sword of Justice cannot reach you Here!" ~St Gemma Galgani.

We must always pray for all the faithful departed at any time and the whole year. And the Fr. Dominic preaches on our duty to pray for one another, prepare for death, die to ourselves, and live always for others.





Mother Angelica of EWTN tells a caller how she can avoid purgatory.

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