And, while God is love, he is also just, and honors the free choices we make. Thus, the need for Purgatory. The Lord forgives us immediately when we ask. He desires to save us from sin, from being anything less than the men and women he creates us to be. That there is fire in purgatory is not a clear teaching of the Church. The primary pain endured by those in Purgatory is the loss of the sight of God. To the extent that we are attached to our sin, becoming detached from it hurts. Yet, it is important to mention that the Church has not rejected the possibility of material fire in purgatory.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church CCC refers to the fire and flames of purgatory twice, never indicating that these flames are metaphorical. Thus, the Church seems to feel bound to at least allow for the possibility of a strictly literal interpretation of the purifying fire and uses the language of fire and of flames without any hint that this is meant metaphorically.
Every soul in Purgatory is bound for glory. Their fate has been sealed, and ultimately, it is a blessed fate. They are perfectly resigned to His will, or rather their will is so transformed into that of God that they cannot will but what God wills; so that if Paradise were to be opened to them, they would precipitate themselves into Hell rather than appear before God with the stains with which they see themselves disfigured.
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They purify themselves willingly and lovingly, because such is the Divine good pleasure. They wish to be there in the state wherein God pleases, and as long as it shall please Him. They cannot sin, nor can they experience the least movement of impatience, nor commit the slightest imperfection. They love God more than they love themselves, and more than all things else; they love Him with a perfect, pure, and disinterested love.
They are consoled by angels. They are assured of their eternal salvation, and filled with a hope that can never be disappointed in its expectations. Their bitterest anguish is soothed by a certain profound peace.
It is a species of Hell as regards the suffering; it is a Paradise as regards the delight infused into their hearts by charity— Charity, stronger than death and more powerful than Hell; Charity, whose lamps are all fire and flame. Happy state, more desirable than appalling, since its flames are flames of love and charity. Francois de Sales , IX, p. Shouppe, S. John speaks, is above all a purifying fire. True, we do not have a saint for a brother but nothing is more efficacious for the souls in Purgatory than to offer Masses for them.
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Our author provides scores of examples of this throughout the book and especially in his chapter on the Gregorian Thirty Masses privilege. The duration in Purgatory itself is not so measured as there is no yesterday and tomorrow there, since these souls are not in living in our earthly time, but there is a before and after. Shall I compare it to the duration imagined in a dream? I suppose so, only Purgatory is real, all too real. At least this is what a certain Peter Niles decided after being raised from the dead by Saint Stanislaus of Crakow in the year This man, before he died, had sold a piece of land to the saint for his church.
Later, a certain heir of Peter Niles accused Bishop Stanislaus of usurping the property.
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And so it happened. Niles was three years dead when his bones were clothed again with his flesh and he was restored to life and gave testimony. Here is a more amazing thing: The saint asked him if he wished to remain in this life a few more years or return to Purgatory. The man chose to die again on the spot and return to Purgatory where he was sure of his salvation.
His only request was that the saint pray that his purgation be shortened. And assuredly it was.
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The souls in Purgatory have passed their time of merit. Hence they rely on the prayers of the Church Militant and Triumphant to assist them. This is called suffrage. It includes prayers, and, for us wayfarers, penances fasts, almsgiving, good works provided that we are in the state of grace , and the offering of Holy Mass for their relief. In offering our prayers and those of the Church through the divine Victim offered at Mass, we also gain merit for ourselves, paying some of our own debt owed to God in reparation for our sins.
A fortiori, if we can benefit the souls in Purgatory, so can the blessed in heaven who hear our prayers in their regard. Many saints have seen the guardian angels of the souls in Purgatory descend upon occasion to give them succor. The dead do not need flowers, he affirms, they need prayers and Masses. Planting flowers at grave sites is a different story.
That is a good work if accompanied by prayers, for it honors the remains of the deceased whose body will rise again alive and the flowers are living. Enough said. Although any example would suffice to illustrate this, keep in mind that small things, as far as the world sees them, if offered with a big and generous heart, are great things in the eyes of God. Our author gives many examples, but I was most impressed with the value of those little things that religious do in obedience and over and above that to their rule.
In a certain convent there was a rule that permission from the superior must be granted for a glass of water between meals. A certain sister was so parched one afternoon that she asked her superior for permission to quench her thirst.
She was denied. Her superior told her to think of Jesus thirsting on the Cross and of the thirst of the souls afire in Purgatory. She made this offering humbly.
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So pleased was God with this little sacrifice that He allowed a holy soul to appear to this sister and tell her how relieved she was for this refreshing bath which tempered the fires of her purgation. After Holy Mass, the Rosary is the most effective prayer to succor the holy souls in Purgatory. Father Schouppe relates the story of the saintly priest, Father Nieremberg, S. Once he lost his rosary, which had indulgenced medals on it, and he was inconsolable. That night in his cell, he saw hands extend from the ceiling holding his rosary and dropping it into his hands. Father Rossignioli relates the story of Venerable Mother Frances of the Blessed Sacrament who from her childhood was devoted to the holy souls.
She used to be visited in her cell by the holy souls who would come to her as they were about to enter heaven and kiss her hands as she fingered the beads, they honoring these beads as the instruments of their salvation. Saint Peter Claver relates the story of a Negro penitent who went out to cut wood and heard a voice calling to him from the top of a tree. Carry it about you in the future, and say it for the souls in Purgatory.http://businesspodden.com/la-sombra-de-un-embrujo.php
Purgatory: The Purifying Fire :: Catholic News Agency
The woman, knowing the debt that was her due, gave the penitent the money, also giving him a rosary. Padre Pio prayed forty Rosaries a day, many of them for the souls in Purgatory. Father Schouppe relates several accounts of souls that passed but a short time, sometimes only minutes, in Purgatory because someone offered indulgences for them.
One account, given by Saint Magdalene de Pazzi, tells of a religious who was very exact in gaining all the indulgences that she could. She was ordinary in every other way. The saint saw her ascend to heaven before her body was even buried. Who can describe the glory? Father Schouppe died before this devotion was given to Sister Lucia of Fatima, however, he devotes two chapters, 58 and 59 in Part Two of his book, to the devotion of the Brown Scapular.
More information regarding the scapular and the Sabbatine Saturday Privilege is detailed in Appendix II at the end of the book. How generous our Holy Mother is and how merciful is her Son in granting her such largesse with His grace!
To defraud the dead of our prayers while squandering the inheritance they left behind and neglecting to offer Masses for them or worse, not doing so when it is in their will is to merit hell. Not to pray for them will be requited of us at our own judgment when God may allow that no one prays for us when we are justly tormented in Purgatory.