Mother Angelica explains how to avoid purgatory
Mother Angelica explains how to avoid purgatory
For I make doctrine to shine forth to all as the morning light, and I will declare it afar off. I will penetrate to all the lower parts of the earth, and will behold all that sleep, and will enlighten all that hope in the Lord. (Ecclus 24:44-45)
The next night, I saw my Guardian Angel, who ordered me to follow him.
In a moment I was in a misty place full of fire in which there was a great crowd of suffering souls. They were praying fervently, but to no avail, for themselves; only we can come to their aid.
The fIames, which were burning them did not touch me at all. My Guardian Angel did not leave Me for an instant.
I asked these souls what their greatest suffering was. They answered me in one voice for that their greatest torment was longing for God.
I saw our Lady visiting the souls.in Purgatory. The souls call her “The Star of the Sea”. She brings them refreshment. I wanted to talk with them some more, but my Guardian Angel beckoned me to leave. We went out of that prison of suffering. [I heard an interior voice] which said, My mercy does not want this, but my justice demands it. Since that time, I am in closer communion with the suffering souls. (Diary 20)
Once I was summoned to the judgement seat of God. I stood alone before the Lord. Jesus appeared such as we know him during his passion. After a moment, His wounds disappeared except . for five, those in his hands, His feet and His side.
Suddenly, I saw the complete condition of my soul as God sees it. I could clearly see all that is displeasing to God. I did not know that even the smallest transgressions will have to be accounted for. What a moment! Who can describe it? To stand before the Thrice-Holy God!
Jesus asked me, Who are you? I answered, “I am your servant Lord.” You are guilty of one day of fire in purgatory. I wanted to throw myself immediately into flames of purgatory, but Jesus stopped me and said, Which do you prefer, suffer now for one day in purgatory or for a short while on earth? I replied, “Jesus, I want to suffer in purgatory, and I want to suffer the greatest pains on earth, even if it were to the end of the world.” Jesus said, One [of the two] is enough; you will go back to earth, and there you will suffer much, but not for long; you will accomplish My will . and My desires, and a faithful servant of Mine will help you to do this Now, rest your head on My bosom, on. My heart, and draw from it strength and power for these sufferings, because you will find neither relief nor help nor comfort anywhere else. Know that you will have much, much to suffer, but don’t let this frighten you; I am with you. (Diary.36)
One evening; one of the deceased sisters who had already visited me a few times, appeared to me. The first time I had seen her, she had been in great suffering, and then gradually these sufferings had diminished; this time she was radiant with happiness, and she told me she was already in Heaven… And further as a sign that she only now was in Heaven, God would bless our house. Then she came closer to me, embraced me sincerely and said, “I must. Go now”
I understood how closely the three stages of a soul’s life are bound together; that is to say, life on earth, in purgatory and in heaven [the Communion of Saints]. (Diary 594)
After Vespers today, there was a procession to the cemetery. I could not go, because I was on duty at the gate. But that did not stop me at all from praying for ther souls. As the procession was returning from the cemetery to the chapel, my soul felt the presence of many souls.
I understood the great justice of God, how each one had to payoff the debt to the last cent. (Diary 1375)
One day, I saw two roads. One was broad, covered with sand and flowers, full of joy, music and all sorts of pleasures. People walked along it, dancing and enjoying themselves. They reached the end without realizing it. And at the end of the road there was a horrible precipice; that is, the abyss of hell. The souls fell blindly into it; as they walked, so they fell. And their number was so great that it was impossible to count them. And I saw the other road, or rather, a path, for it was narrow and strewn with thorns and rocks; and the people who walked along it had tears in their eyes, and all kinds of suffering befell them. Some fell down upon the rocks, but stood up immediately and went on. At the end of the road there was a magnificent garden filled with all sorts of happiness, and all these souls entered there. At the very first instant they forgot all their sufferings. (Diary 153)
Saint Catherine of Genoa – Doctrine on Purgatory
She was born in Genoa in 1447, and died in 1510
Of a noble family she grew up very inclined to holiness, at the age of sixteen she was given in marriage by her parents to Giuliano Adorno, and she suffered with a very difficult marriage that lasted until her husband died ten years later.
At the age of twenty six she had a great spiritual experience in which she was shown her soul the way God sees it. As a result she began a dialogue between her soul and her humanity. Guided by the Holy Spirit, she wrote what the soul experiences in Purgatory. She lived her life as a soul in purgatory , as she was being purified; she wrote her doctrine on Purgatory.
The “Dialogue,” long generally accepted as Catherine’s own account of her spiritual life, has been allowed by the highest authorities to embody, with her “Treatise on Purgatory,” the saint’s doctrine. These two treatises and the earliest biography, translated into several languages, spread that doctrine and devotion to her throughout the Catholic world in the centuries between her death and her canonisation. The bull which canonised her alludes to the “Dialogue” as an exposition of her doctrine: “In her admirable “Dialogue” she depicts the dangers to which a soul bound by the flesh is exposed.”
She practiced charity during her life and helped people in a hospital.
How by comparing it to the Divine Fire which she Felt in Herself, this soul understood what Purgatory was like and how the Souls there were Tormented.
The state of the souls who are in Purgatory, how they are exempt from all self-love.
This holy Soul found herself, while still in the flesh, placed by the fiery love of God in Purgatory, which burnt her, cleansing whatever in her needed cleansing, to the end that when she passed from this life she might be presented to the sight of God, her dear Love. By means of this loving fire, she understood in her soul the state of the souls of the faithful who are placed in Purgatory to purge them of all the rust and stains of sin of which they have not rid themselves in this life. And since this Soul, placed by the divine fire in this loving Purgatory, was united to that divine love and content with all that was wrought in her, she understood the state of the souls who are in Purgatory. And she said:
The souls who are in Purgatory cannot, as I understand, choose but be there, and this is by God’s ordinance who therein has done justly. They cannot turn their thoughts back to themselves, nor can they say, “Such sins I have committed for which I deserve to be here “, nor, “I would that I had not committed them for then I would go now to Paradise”, nor, “That one will leave sooner than I”, nor, “I will leave sooner than he”. They can have neither of themselves nor of others any memory, whether of good or evil, whence they would have greater pain than they suffer ordinarily. So happy are they to be within God’s ordinance, and that He should do all which pleases Him, as it pleases Him that in their greatest pain they cannot think of themselves. They see only the working of the divine goodness, which leads man to itself mercifully, so that he no longer sees aught of the pain or good which may befall him. Nor would these souls be in pure charity if they could see that pain or good. They cannot see that they are in pain because of their sins; that sight they cannot hold in their minds because in it there would be an active imperfection, which cannot be where no actual sin can be.
Only once, as they pass from this life, do they see the cause of the Purgatory they endure; never again do they see it for in another sight of it there would be self. Being then in charity from which they cannot now depart by any actual fault, they can no longer will nor desire save with the pure will of pure charity. Being in that fire of Purgatory, they are within the divine ordinance, which is pure charity, and in nothing can they depart thence for they are deprived of the power to sin as of the power to merit.
What is the joy of the souls in Purgatory. A comparison to show how they see God ever more and more. The difficulty of speaking of this state.
I believe no happiness can be found worthy to be compared with that of a soul in Purgatory except that of the saints in Paradise; and day by day this happiness grows as God flows into these souls, more and more as the hindrance to His entrance is consumed. Sin’s rust is the hindrance, and the fire burns the rust away so that more and more the soul opens itself up to the divine inflowing. A thing which is covered cannot respond to the sun’s rays, not because of any defect in the sun, which is shining all the time, but because the cover is an obstacle; if the cover be burnt away, this thing is open to the sun; more and more as the cover is consumed does it respond to the rays of the sun
It is in this way that rust, which is sin, covers souls, and in Purgatory is burnt away by fire; the more it is consumed, the more do the souls respond to God, the true sun. As the rust lessens and the soul is opened up to the divine ray, happiness grows; until the time be accomplished the one wanes and the other waxes. Pain however does not lessen but only the time for which pain is endured. As for will: never can the souls say these pains are pains, so contented are they with God’s ordaining with which, in pure charity, their will is united.
But, on the other hand, they endure a pain so extreme that no tongue can be found to tell it, nor could the mind understand its least pang if God by special grace did not show so much. Which least pang God of His grace showed to this Soul, but with her tongue she cannot say what it is. This sight which the Lord revealed to me has never since left my mind and I will tell what I can of it. They will understand whose mind God deigns to open.
Separation from God is the chief punishment of Purgatory. Wherein Purgatory differs from Hell.
All the pains of Purgatory arise from original or actual sin. God created the soul pure, simple and clean of all stain of sin, with a certain beatific instinct towards Himself whence original sin, which the soul finds in itself, draws it away, and when actual is added to original sin the soul is drawn yet further away. The further it departs from its beatific instinct, the more malignant it becomes because it corresponds less to God.
There can be no good save by participation in God, who meets the needs of irrational creatures as He wills and has ordained, never failing them, and answers to a rational soul in the measure in which He finds it cleansed of sin’s hindrance. When therefore a soul has come near to the pure and clear state in which it was created, its beatific instinct discovers itself and grows unceasingly, so impetuously and with such fierce charity (drawing it to its last end) that any hindrance seems to this soul a thing past bearing. The more it sees, the more extreme is its pain.
Because the souls in Purgatory are without the guilt of sin, there is no hindrance between them and God except their pain, which holds them back so that they cannot reach perfection. Clearly they see the grievousness of every least hindrance in their way, and see too that their instinct is hindered by a necessity of justice: thence is born a raging fire, like that of Hell save that guilt is lacking to it. Guilt it is which makes the will of the damned in Hell malignant, on whom God does not bestow His goodness and who remain therefore in desperate ill will, opposed to the will of God.
With special thanks to: http://www.theworkofgod.org/Saints/Lives/CatGenoa.htm
A partial indulgence can be obtained by devoutly visiting a cemetery and praying for the departed, even if the prayer is only mental.
One can gain a plenary indulgence visiting a cemetery each day between November 1 and November 8. These indulgences are applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory.
A plenary indulgence, again applicable only the Souls in Purgatory, is also granted when the faithful piously visit a church or a public oratory on November 2. In visiting the church or oratory, it is required, that one Our Father and the Creed be recited.
To be able to gain an indulgence, one must have the intention to gain them for a holy soul (in other words say this), and perform the works at the time and in the manner prescribed.
To attain a plenary indulgence, four conditions must accompany the prescribed act (e.g. visiting a graveyard):
One must also remember that one can acquire only one plenary indulgence a day.
Fr Robert Barron Comments