Saturday, December 1, 2012

The suffering souls in Purgatory

Important definitions on Purgatory--->
<---Marian Devotion for the month of November

"Alas! how feeble is our faith! If a domestic animal, a little dog or a cat, falls into the fire, don´t you any delay to draw it out? And see, your parents, brothers, friends, relatives, benefactors, persons most dear to you, writhe in the flames of Purgatory, and you do not consider it your urgent duty to relieve them; you delay, you allow long days of suffering to pass for those poor souls, without making an effort to perform those good works which will release them from their pains."
-Fr. Schouppe, from his book: Purgatory, pp. 238-239, 1893 Imprimatur.

Many people, even Catholics, do not want to believe that it exists, but Purgatory is a doctrine of our faith. We must believe that it does exist. Actually, when Purgatory is understood, then a person not only wants to believe in it, but actually knows how truly necessary it is.

The main reason why, I have discovered, people refuse to believe in Purgatory is that these people picture Purgatory as a torture chamber, where souls are locked up by a jailer and suffer untold misery which they do not want or desire. Many Catholics have said to me about a departed loved one: "God would never send my loved one to such a horrible place as Purgatory. It just does not exist."

Actually, Purgatory is not a place of misery and unwanted torment; even though it is a place of suffering. Purgatory is a place of love, hope and peace. It was created by love---the love which God has for His beloved children. Purgatory was a necessity born out of love because only the purest of souls can enter Heaven; and if Purgatory did not exist, most souls would never be allowed in God's Heaven of pure love.

This purification must also be understood correctly. A soul is purified not in the sense that the purification is for the benefit of the soul; because it is the extracting from the soul every possible ounce of pure love for God and total destruction of love for self.

In other words, the soul becomes free of every trace of self-love which interfered with the total giving of itself and its love to God while the soul remained in a human form: a living person.

Purgatory does not destroy and take away as much as it builds and renews . As the fires or sufferings of Purgatory burn away the remains of self-love, which show as sins, faults and human weaknesses, there emerges, more and more, a true, a pure, a perfect love for God.

The person slowly becomes the magnificent creature that knows how to love God with a totally unselfish love: the only type of love which is found in the hearts of the Saints in Heaven. The whole relationship between God the Father and us His Children, is based upon and built upon love. God's love for us is perfect, pure unstained, infinite, totally unselfish. Our love for Him becomes impure, selfish, weak, even if we try hard to love Him.

To actually strip off the impurities of self-love is a task too difficult for the average person to accomplish. Their weak human nature interferes with this. It becomes like static which interferes with the pure, clear notes of a beautiful song. Added to this natural human weakness, there are faults and sins and bad habits. Each one, no matter how tiny, causes an impurity to form in our love for God.

These impurities build up and form a hard crust around our love for God. Most people do not even realize they are building this hard crust, but they are. Every day, every hour when they sin or neglect God or think of their own will instead of His, this hard crust becomes thicker and thicker.

The only thing which melts this crust is pure love for God. This was the lifetime struggle of the saints: to destroy, or keep from forming this hard crust around their love for God in order to have this love shine forth like a bright diamond free from imperfections.

That is why they so loved prayer, the Sacraments and especially penance. Penance works like a chisel on this hard crust. Confession takes the guilt away from sin, but penance is needed to chisel away the punishment due for the sin: this punishment due which forms the hard crust around love for God.

The saints loved penance because they knew that penance made their love for God purer and purer. The saints did succeed in destroying the shell of self-love which encased their love for God. When they died, there was no need for them to go to Purgatory because they could stand before the God of Love with a pure, perfect love for Him radiating from their hearts. And souls who need cleansing at the time of death can receive a beautiful gift from the Lord given to the apostles. It is called the Apostolic Pardon.

Any priest can bestow it at the time of death. It is separate from the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. The Apostolic Pardon removes all purgatory punishment and the soul goes directly to Heaven. Here is the formula which the priest says:

By the authority of the Apostolic See I hereby grant you full pardon and remission of all your sins: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Many priests do not give the Apostolic Pardon because they do not know about it. So the soul appears at death before God with the crust still clinging to them and not removed by the Apostolic Pardon.

The instant they are before God, they themselves realize this fact. They suddenly know how small their love for God is and how many impurities exist in it; and they feel ashamed to allow the all-loving eyes of God to see them this way. This can be compared to a girl going to her first ball with the young man of her choice; and when she arrives, she discovers to her horror, that all the other girls have on richly decorated satin and silk gowns and she is dressed in a ragged country cotton frock. She wants to hide her face in shame and run away.

Souls that appear before the all-seeing eye of the infinite God and realize how very little they did for Him or how small their love for Him was while on earth, feel much the same way. They want to hide their faces in shame and run away.

However, God will not allow them to run away, no matter how spiritually poor they are. He still loves them with an infinite love. So He has allowed a place to exist where they can go to make amends, the amends and reparation which they neglected to make while on earth. This place is Purgatory.

When seen in this light. Purgatory becomes a place of refuge for suffering souls, not a place of torment for souls. Gladly do these souls go into the purifying flames of Purgatory, praising God thanking Him for this place where they can watch the hard crust of their self-love disappear and vanish.

What joy it is for them to see emerge from their being the pure love which they know is needed to give pleasure to God in His Kingdom for all eternity. Purgatory is also a place of enlightenment.

As the soul becomes purified, the person is given insights to understand the mysteries and ways of God's love. Things which they should have learned on earth through prayer, spiritual reading, the Sacraments and penance are taught them as their self-love and self-will disappear.

They understand more and more why God should have been first in their lives, why saving their souls was so important, why lov- ing God should have consumed them. They understand how short life really was and how much good had to be done and how little they actually did do. They are taught the value of spiritual treasures and the nothingness of material treasures.

They see life on earth as only the tiny beginning of existence and they are filled with joy to know that the rest of their existence will be one of pure love, untainted by human weaknesses, sin or temptation.

They rejoice because they know they are truly saved and are no longer capable of losing God and His love. The amount of suffering for each individual soul is governed more by love than by sin. Few people understand this. But it is possible for a great sinner to be released from Purgatory sooner than someone who may not have sinned as much, but whose heart is covered with a heavier crust of self-love than the great sinner.


The great sinner's love for God might be easier to release in the flames of purification than a person whose self-love had dominated his or her life and who finds it more difficult to understand why God has to be first and above all.

Purification then, in Purgatory, is not so much the payment due for sins committed, but the destruction of the self-will and self-love which caused the sin in the first place; and which the person possessed instead of pure love for God and for His holy will.
Each sin committed, no matter how tiny had to be preceded by an act of free will and self-love: the person desiring his own way or her own benefit instead of desiring God's way and God's love.

A person dies with only the same amount of love for God which he possessed on earth. His eternal reward is based upon this amount of love. His eternal treasures are given according to this love and what this love prompted him to do for God, for others and for his own soul while on earth: sometimes nothing, sometimes a great deal. Saint John of the Cross tells us:
"In the eventide of your life, you will be examined as to your love."

God looks for love and love alone, but more often than not, this love comes encased in a shell of self-love and selfishness. Then the person takes this love to Purgatory to have this shell removed. The way this is done is through a fire of longing and enlightenment.

This fire of longing and enlightenment must not be confused with a fire of flames and smoke. Remember the soul is no longer with its material body. It is not purified with a material fire or flame. The fire of Purgatory is a burning desire of longing to be with God, longing to offer Him a pure love, but being unable to do so.

Although this fire may not be flame and smoke, the sufferings caused by it are far greater than if fire and flame were burning the material body. Even on earth the spiritual torments of a broken heart are far worse than the material pain of a broken leg.

So it is with the souls in Purgatory, with no distractions whatsoever, the soul desires only on thing: to be eternally united with God, to love Him with a pure love for all eternity.
Yet, when the soul still sees that the hard shell surrounding its love is still there, the soul can only suffer and lament and feel a torture beyond describing.
And the worst part of this torture is the soul's knowledge that such separation could have been avoided! If only the hard shell of self-love had been destroyed on earth through pure love for God, prayer, penance, suffering, the sacraments, charity and the practice of virtue.
The fire that torments the souls in Purgatory was created by themselves. They alone formed the torture. They alone decided their own sufferings, because they alone built the shell of self-love around their love for God!
They alone provided their own Purgatory; and this is one of their greatest sufferings because it could have been avoided!

They did not have to go to Purgatory if they had lived a life which God wanted them to live: one of pure love, goodness and virtue. God did not build a place in Purgatory for them. They created it themselves.

Daily, even hourly, they fashion their place in Purgatory by refusing the graces of God, which they could have used to live a holy, saintly life. Each time they said: "No" to God's graces, they built a little bit more of the place in Purgatory, where they would suffer to destroy the shell that surrounded their love for God; when His grace was refused, and sin took its place .
As the flames of longing slowly but surely dissolve the hard crust of self-love and selfishness, bit by bit, these souls relive the time which had been spent building their places in Purgatory, fully realizing that the flame is theirs alone---no one else's. They realize that God did not send them to Purgatory, they themselves prepared the place of their suffering. They also realize that only because of God's love and mercy and goodness are they allowed to have this place so that their soul and their love can be purified.


As their love for God is purified, they realize more and more how truly good God is, how merciful He is, and how much He loved them every moment of their existence. This causes added torment.
Such a realization comes in different degrees to different souls in Purgatory depending upon the amount and type of sins which the person committed on earth. As the realization grows, it causes more torment and suffering to the soul because the soul sees more and more clearly how ungrateful he or she was and how he or she refused or misused God's love.

The closer a soul comes to actually entering Heaven, the more tormented he or she is, because the realization of his or her own spiritual neglects becomes greater as well as the soul's longing to enter into the joys of Heaven.
In much the same way that a person on earth will suffer so from being over-anxious and can hardly wait for a good event to finally take place.

Some people believe that everyone will have the same dispositions or thoughts about God in Heaven as they did on earth. They may wonder how they could possibly be in Heaven with someone who had poor knowledge of God and not much love for Him while on earth; even though they hoped that such a person will be saved---at the last moment.

They may wonder how someone with the wrong impression of God could stand in Heaven if the person is saved---right next to a saintly person who knew God's teachings and followed them .
The answer to these problems is found in the realizations and insights given to the souls in the purifying fires of Purgatory. No one with a poor knowledge of God and His ways can enter Heaven.

How could such a person praise and glorify God for all eternity?

In like manner no one with a poor love for God can enter Heaven.

How could such a person love God for all eternity?

In Purgatory, the intellect and thoughts as well as love are purified, the person is taught slowly but surely where and how he or she made mistakes with their thoughts and way of reasoning about God.

At first, they cannot understand God and His ways nor love Him as He should be loved. Gradually the purifying torments of Purgatory release the soul's love from its impurities. So that by the time the soul enters Heaven, its whole mind, its whole love are filled with the understanding of what God is and what His ways are.
Then the soul truly knows God, truly understands God and truly loves Him. Also, the soul agrees with everything that a pious person or saint had tried to tell them while they were on earth.

The person who was purified in the flames of Purgatory, understands all virtues and goodness and love for God. The person who did not understand these things on earth will praise God for all eternity for the graces which He did give to the ones who used these graces and did understand God and His ways while they lived on earth.

So Purgatory is not only a place of suffering where punishment due to sin is taken away, but it is also a school where the suffering souls learn the lessons about God, His love and goodness which they failed to learn on earth, so that, when they enter Heaven they will not only love God with a pure love, they will also know why they love Him.

It is true that these souls in Purgatory cannot help themselves. Their time for merit has passed. They must suffer the type of purgatory which they themselves created by the way of life which they chose.
However, we who still have life, who still can gain merit, can help the Holy Souls. We can ask God to lessen their torment or to hurry their enlightenment. We can help destroy the hard shell which they built around their love and in this way lessen the time which they must spend suffering on their own to destroy this hard shell.


Our prayers. Masses said for a soul, good deeds done on their behalf can act like little chisels which help break up the hard crust that surrounds their love for God. Also, we can help them, especially by offering Mass and Holy Communion for them, gain enlightenment about God and His goodness which they need before they can enter Heaven.

One of the most powerful ways to help the Holy Souls is to offer Christ's precious blood. Reminding Christ of the way He suffered and died for souls, helps to crack open and destroy the hard crust which the soul has around its love, because then Christ is so anxious to see the soul in Heaven with Him. If no prayers are said for a soul, then the soul must suffer alone to destroy the hard shell that surrounds his love for God.

How long a soul suffers in Purgatory depends upon how thick the shell has become which the person allowed to form around its love for God.
Sometimes the crust is so thick and hard, because of years of religious neglect and pride that the person must spend a long time in Purgatory even before the outer layer of crust starts to melt.
All the while the soul clings to its self love and does not have the enlightenment to see the true goodness of God.

So, the soul will need more of our prayers and sacrifices for leaving of Purgatory and go to Heaven.



Our Lord told St. Gertrude the Great that the following prayer would release 1,000 Souls from Purgatory each time it is said.


Later Jesus said to the Saint Gertrude that the same prayer can be extended to include living sinners as well.

for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen."
[In one Rosary or chaplet this prayer is said 50 times!]


Say this chaplet using regular Rosary beads.

Begin with the Apostles' Creed, one Our Father, three Hail Marys
and a Glory Be to the Father just as with Our Lady's Rosary.
On the five decades, say the Prayer for the Holy Souls; on each Hail Mary bead.

HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church,
those in my own home and within my family. Amen."

and the Our Father on each separator bead between the decades.

APPROVAL AND RECOMMENDATION: M. Cardinal Pahiarca at Lisbon, Portugal, March 4, 1936



We can also offer to God this Litany for the souls in Purgatory.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God, the Father of Heaven,
have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
have mercy on us.

Blood of Christ, only-begotten Son of the Eternal Father,
save us.
Blood of Christ, Incarnate Word of God,
save us.
Blood of Christ, of the New and Eternal Testament,
save us.
Blood of Christ, falling upon the earth in the Agony,
save us.
Blood of Christ, shed profusely in the Scourging,
save us.
Blood of Christ, flowing forth in the Crowning with Thorns,
save us.
Blood of Christ, poured out on the Cross,
save us.
Blood of Christ, price of our salvation,
save us.
Blood of Christ, Without Which there is no forgiveness,
save us.
Blood of Christ, Eucharistic drink and refreshment of souls,
save us.
Blood of Christ, stream of mercy,
save us.
Blood of Christ, victor over demons,
save us.
Blood of Christ, courage of Martyrs,
save us.
Blood of Christ, strength of Confessors,
save us.
Blood of Christ, bringing forth Virgins,
save us.
Blood of Christ, help of those in peril,
save us.
Blood of Christ, relief of the burdened,
save us.
Blood of Christ, solace in sorrow,
save us.
Blood of Christ, hope of thepenitent,
save us.
Blood of Christ, consolationof the dying,
save us.
Blood of Christ, peace and tenderness of hearts,
save us.
Blood of Christ, pledge of eternal life,
save us.
Blood of Christ, freeing souls from purgatory,
save us.
Blood of Christ, most worthyof all glory and honor,
save us.

Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord!.

Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world,

graciously hear us, O Lord!.
Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us, O Lord!
V. Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord, in Thy Blood.
R. And made us, for our God, a Kingdom.

Let us pray.

Almighty and eternal God, Thou hast appointed Thine only-begotten Son the Redeemer of the world, and willed to be appeased by His Blood. Grant we beg ofThee, that we may worthily adore this price of our salvation, and through its power be safeguarded from the evils of the present life, so that we may rejoice in its fruits forever in Heaven. Through the same Christ our Lord.

After the Medjugorje visionaries’ experiences with Purgatory, the responsibility of praying for the souls in Purgatory was placed very strongly in their hearts. Our Lady showed them how much the souls in Purgatory suffer and how much they depend upon our prayers. The following is their description of Purgatory.


The seer of Medjugorje, Vicka, was deeply upset by what she experienced in Purgatory. Seeing the sufferings of the souls in Purgatory that were abandoned, who had no one to pray for them, caused her great anguish. Vicka went to Our Lady and asked Her if she could help the poor souls in some way.
Our Lady spoke to Vicka about the seriousness of what she was asking.

Our Lady told Vicka before she would accept her request, she must go first to her spiritual director and confessor, Fr. Janko Bubalo, and talk to him about it. Fr. Bubalo asked Vicka to pray and fast for three days so that she might have the strength and perseverance to accept whatever suffering or sacrifice she might be given to help the poor suffering souls in Purgatory.

After praying and fasting for three days, Fr. Bubalo gave Vicka permission to sacrifice for the suffering souls. Almost immediately after Vicka spoke to Our Lady about this, she was stricken down with a brain tumor, suffering greatly with severe pain, lapsing into deep comas that would last for hours. Vicka accepted this sickness and suffering with great joy, knowing that she was helping the souls in Purgatory that were suffering so greatly and in need of our prayers to get to Heaven. Documentation, multiple medical exams, x-rays, etc. showed unequivocal evidence of an inoperable brain cyst.
Nothing could be done. Vicka did not even want to go to the doctors. At one point, doctors wanted her to go to the hospital in Zagreb for further testing and to see if something could be done. Vicka did not want to go and only went when Jakov, the other seer, asked Our Lady if she should go. Our Lady said:

“It is necessary to send Vicka to Zagreb.” November 15, 1982.

This amounted to more testing and more irrefutable evidence of a medical condition that could not be cured, a brain cyst in a part of her brain that would kill her if they tried to remove it.

The suffering she fasted for and asked for was so debilitating that Our Lady eventually told her a date she would be miraculously cured from the miraculous affliction for souls in Purgatory. Our Lady gave the exact date of her healing 6 months before it was to occur. After reading Vicka’s description of Purgatory, you will understand why she sacrificed and went through immense, terrible suffering for souls in Purgatory. The harshness of her suffering was so severe that Our Lady took away the pain from Her for a 40 day period.

This period, however, was a more difficult suffering for Vicka, as she had no apparitions for the entire period. It seems Our Lady knew the severity of how Vicka’s suffering needed a reprieve. But after the forty day period, Vicka missed the apparitions so much, she prayed and yearned to accept the miraculous affliction’s pain back with the apparitions.
The following comes from the book Words From Heaven, which describes when Our Lady gave Vicka this choice.

“For several years the visionary, Vicka, had been suffering from an inoperable brain cyst which caused her terrible headaches. During the course of her illness, Our Lady continued to appear to her and once, on her way to the hospital in Zagreb, Our Lady offered her two choices, saying; "I will give you health with no apparitions or I will give you your cross with apparitions."

“Because she had been suffering so tremendously she chose health but later regretted it. After forty days of not having apparitions, Our Lady appeared to her and gave her the offer once again. She joyfully took her cross back.”
Vicka says it is a joy to suffer for these souls in Purgatory.

“Purgatory is an endless space of ashy color. It was quite dark. I could feel people strangling and suffering there. The Blessed Mother told us we should be praying for souls stranded in Purgatory.
She said only our prayers and sacrifices can release them from that place…
The people there are helpless, they pray a lot, but their praying before God have not worth. They are really suffering a lot. We can be like Jesus a little bit if we just do some voluntary penance for the souls on Purgatory, especially for the ones who are abandoned by their families on earth…

I am aware of their suffering. I know some of their torment. I know how desperately they need our prayers. They are so lonely that it is almost sickening to remember those moments I was there. It is really a great joy to do penance for the poor souls because I know how much it helps them…
And many of our family members who have died desperately need our prayers. The Blessed Mother says we must pray courageously for them so that they might go to Heaven. They are powerless to help themselves.”

“There are several levels in Purgatory. The more you pray on earth, the higher your level in Purgatory will be…The lowest level is the closest to hell, where the suffering is the most intense. The highest level is closest to Heaven, and there the suffering is the least.

What level you are on depends on the state of purity of your soul. The lower the level the people are on in Purgatory, the less they are able to pray and the more they suffer. The higher the level a person is in Purgatory, the easier it is for him to pray, the more he enjoys praying and the less he suffers…

The Blessed Mother has asked us to pray for the souls in Purgatory. They are helpless to pray for themselves. Through prayer, we on earth can do much to help them. The Blessed Mother told me that when souls leave Purgatory and go to Heaven most go on Christmas Day.”

“There are several levels in Purgatory. The more you pray on earth, the higher your level in Purgatory will be…The lowest level is the closest to hell, where the suffering is the most intense. The highest level is closest to Heaven, and there the suffering is the least. What level you are on depends on the state of purity of your soul. The lower the level the people are on in Purgatory, the less they are able to pray and the more they suffer. The higher the level a person is in Purgatory, the easier it is for him to pray, the more he enjoys praying and the less he suffers… The Blessed Mother has asked us to pray for the souls in Purgatory. They are helpless to pray for themselves. Through prayer, we on earth can do much to help them. The Blessed Mother told me that when most souls leaves Purgatory and go to Heaven, it is the Christmas Day.” If we pray a lot the Christmas Day for suffering souls in Purgatory, thousand and thousand of souls could go to Heaven.

“Many people were there. They were suffering immensely…They were normal people, all kinds. There was much physical suffering…I could see the people shivering, thrashing, and writhing in pain…I saw this place for a short time…

The Blessed Mother was with me (during the vision). She explained to me that She wanted me to see Purgatory. She said so many people on earth today do not even know about Purgatory…I could not hear them. I only saw them.

The Blessed Mother said so many people who die are quite abandoned by their loved ones. They cannot help themselves in Purgatory. They are totally dependent on the prayers and sacrifices of the generous people on earth who remember them.

Our Blessed Mother hopes Her own children will help the souls in Purgatory by prayer and fasting and various penance for the poor souls to make restitution for them…Those who have died no longer have free will as they had on earth. They no longer have a body. It is no longer possible for them to make up for the things that they did when they had their body that hurt and harmed themselves and others. On July 24, 1982, the Blessed Mother said:

"We go to Heaven in full conscious of the separation of the body and soul. It is false to teach people that we are reborn many times and that we pass to different bodies. One is born only once.

The body, drawn from the earth, decomposes after death. It never comes back to life again. Man receives a transfigured body. Whoever has done very much evil during his life can go straight to Heaven if he confesses, is truly sorry for what he has done, and receives Communion at the end of his life."

Our Lady said that the souls in Purgatory can see their loved ones during those moments when we pray for them by name.” Ivanka was asked why did the Blessed Mother show her Heaven and Purgatory:
“She wants to remind Her children of the results of their choices here on earth.”
Marija, another seer of Medjugorje, through several interviews, describes Purgatory:

“Purgatory is a large place.. It is foggy. It is ash gray. It is misty. You cannot see people there. It is as if they are immersed in deep clouds. You can feel that the people in the mist are traveling, hitting each other. They can pray for us but not for themselves. They are desperately in need of our prayers.

The Blessed Mother asks us to pray for the poor souls in Purgatory, because during their life here, one moment they thought there was no God, then they recognized Him, then they went to Purgatory where they saw there is a God, and now they need our prayers.

With our prayers we can send them to Heaven. The biggest suffering that souls in Purgatory have is that they see there is a God, but they did not accept Him here on earth. Now they long so much to come close to God. Now they suffer so intensely, because they recognize how much they have hurt God, how many chances they had on earth, and how many times they disregarded God.”

Ivan the another seer of Medjugorje speaks very little about his experiences in seeing Heaven, hell, and Purgatory. When asked about Purgatory, he shared the following:

“The Blessed Mother told me that those who go to Purgatory are those who prayed and believed only occasionally – that they were filled with doubt, that they were not certain that God exists. They did not know how to pray while on earth, or if they did know how, they did not pray…Souls in Purgatory suffer. If no one prays for them, they suffer even more.”

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