Category Archives: Purgatory

St. Faustina’s Vision of Purgatory, Part 2

In Paragraph 21 of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska’s diary: “Divine Mercy in My Soul,” the Saint writes of when she was visited by a suffering soul :

21 …My superiors [probably Mother Leonard and Mother
Jane] sent me to the novitiate in Cracow. An inconceivable joy reigned in my soul. When
we arrived at the novitiate, Sister [Henry] was dying. A few days later she came to me
[in spirit, after her death] and bid me to go to the Mother Directress of Novices [Sister
Margaret] and tell her to ask her confessor, Father Rospond, to offer one Mass for
her and three ejaculatory prayers. At first I agreed, but the next day I decided I would not
go to Mother Directress, because I was not sure whether this had happened in a dream or in
reality. And so I did not go.

The following night the same thing was repeated more clearly; I had no more doubt. Still,
in the morning I decided not to tell the Directress about it unless I saw her [Sister Henry]
during the day. At once I ran into her in the corridor. She reproached me for not having
gone immediately, and a great uneasiness filled my soul. So I went immediately to Mother
Directress and told her everything that had happened to me. Mother responded that she
would take care of the matter. At once peace reigned in my soul, and on the third day this
sister came to me and said, “May God repay you.”

This serves as a useful reminder to always pray for the faithful departed, regardless of your thoughts as to the reasons. Never “rationalize” away a reason to pray. Yes, they might be in Heaven already, or the inspiration may be a strange thought. Prays for the dead are always a great act of charity.

For more information on St. Faustina, click here:

The Divine Mercy Message from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception

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"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

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St. Faustina’s Vision of Purgatory Part 1

In Paragraph 20 of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska’s diary: “Divine Mercy in My Soul,” the Saint writes of a vision of Purgatory that the Lord permitted her to see:

20…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
flames 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 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 and interior voice] which said, My mercy does
not want this, but justice demands it. Since that time, I am in closer communion with
the suffering souls.

A “longing for God” was their greatest torment. They know Him, as they had already perceived Him when they endured their own individual Particular Judgment. And they can, according to some Catholic concepts of Purgatory, see a glimpse of Him off in their future. However, they are separated from Him by their sins, and the pain of that torments them. They long for Him, they desire Him, but cannot as yet be united to Him in the beautiful vision of Heaven. The pain burns.

Eventually the pain burns the stain of their sins away from their soul, and their longing for God purges them from any remaining attachment to their Earthly desires.

They will eventually be Home.

For more information on St. Faustina, click here:

The Divine Mercy Message from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Saint Maria Faustina’s Visions of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven

A blog I ran across sometime ago posted a series of excerpts from the The Diary of St. Faustina (Via Diary.)

Saint Maria Faustina’s Visions of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven

(Via In God’s Company2.)

In it St. Faustina describes her visions of the afterlife. It is for our own spiritual progress and development that she was permitted to see these, and report them in her writings.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Paid the last penny

In this excerpt from the Gospel Reading for the Mass for the Friday of the First Week of Lent, Jesus gives a pretty telling sign of the existence of Purgatory:

Matthew 5:26: “Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”

(Via USCCB.)

The Gospel prior to this is about reconciliation and paying debts while you can before you meet the judge. An indication that while you are alive you should work out your penance, forgive others and settle debts against people you have sinned.

And if you don’t? You shall have to pay for it in afterlife. But if that afterlife is an eternity in Hell, how is the debt to be paid? There must be an intermediary place, a place of punishment where your penance is completely fulfilled.

And only then will “you be released,” for we known that there is never a liberation from Hell.

This can only mean Purgatory, a place of expiation so that you can enter Heaven pure and undefiled from the stains of sin.

Work out your penance now, in the transitory place that is “Life.” Why wait until Purgatory? Granted, you know that you are saved if you should find yourself there, but why delay any longer your grand entry into Heaven? This “Life” is passing, it exists solely to determine where you’ll spend Eternity.

This is Lent, start making good use of it.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Things said at Funerals

From Matthew Archbold who blogs at the Creative Minority Report comes this reminder on the state of modern Catholic funerals:

Please Say This at My Funeral

He makes an excellent point. Perhaps the subject of what Mr. Archbold writes about is a sign of either political correctness or misplaced sensitivity, but it is also what I’ve witnessed.

There is no reason to assume that the deceased is already in Heaven. While that may be comforting to us, it may also be cruel to the deceased if they are in Purgatory, being there as a result of being insufficiently detached from Earthly desires and pleasures at the time of death. We as a culture dislike talking about sin, as if that makes us “judgmental” about other people’s behavior. We seek to avoid offending them. And in doing so behavior stands uncorrected and people perhaps wind up paying for it in the afterlife.

I have little idea what was said or done at funerals before, say, 1970. I do know that priests wore black vestments. Perhaps they focused less on Jesus’ Resurrection than is common today and more on the suffering and death of Jesus. I would imagine that Purgatory was referred to in a respectful and prayerful manner, so as to provide an awareness to the living about the reality of it, and some comfort to the loved ones of the deceased that people would be praying for their soul. I don’t know.

I echo Mr. Archbold’s request. At my funeral, I want the priest to wear black, and go on and on about Purgatory. Maybe the funeral home can have selected The Four Last Things blogposts printed out and stapled to my Holy Cards.

But don’t assume I’m in Heaven.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

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Blessed are they who mourn

An excerpt from the Gospel for today Mass on the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time has comforting words for those suffering the loss of a loved one:

Matthew 5:4:”Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

We are reminded in Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians:

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14: “We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”

(Via USCCB.)

We who have lost loved ones to death are to not be sorrowful like those who have no hope in the afterlife. We shall be comforted, either by our hopeful reunion with them in Heaven, our by our realization that they are not really separated from us forever. They are still a part of our lives, for death only separates them from us by time. Time passes, and just as those who have gone on before us have travelled through the passage of death into the afterlife, we shall hopefully follow.

We yearn for them. We miss them. We long to be with them. Let this yearning be a way to burn away here on Earth the sinful tendencies of our lives which only increases our separation from them, and from God.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

CATHERINE OF GENOA AND THE EXPERIENCE OF PURGATORY

In Pope Benedict XVI’s General Audience today, the Holy Father reflected of St. Catherine of Genoa and her experience of Purgatory. The following is an excerpt from his address, I italicized a particularly relevant point:

VIS news – Holy See Press Office: CATHERINE OF GENOA AND THE EXPERIENCE OF PURGATORY: “…Benedict XVI then went on to refer to the works of the saint, recalling how, ‘in her mystical experiences, Catherine never received specific revelations on Purgatory or on the souls being purified there’. She did not see Purgatory ‘as a place of transit in the depths of the earth: it is not an exterior fire, but an interior fire’. She did not use the hereafter as a basis ‘to recount the torments of purgatory and then show the way to purification and conversion; rather, she began from the interior experience of man on his journey towards eternity’. Thus, for Catherine, ‘the soul is aware of God’s immense love and perfect justice; as a consequence, it suffers for not having responded to that love perfectly, and it is precisely the love of God Himself which purifies the soul from the ravages of sin’…

(Via VIS news – Holy See Press Office.)

Sin separates us from God, the pain of that separation is acutely evident to the soul after death. The soul’s desire for God and for perfect union with Him, combined with God’s love, is a purification, in which the stain of sins are purged from the soul.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

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Fire and other things on Purgatory

A heads up to readers:

Is there fire in purgatory? is a question asked by bloggers at
The New Theological Movement.

The question concerns the nature of Purgatory, and obviously whether is fire present as the means of purification in a material sense (real fire) or a spiritual sense (the longing for Heaven is a fire-like pain).

Towards the end of the post the blogger lets us know that there will be additional posts on Purgatory throughout the month of November.

Looks as if November is a popular month over there, as well as here. 🙂

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

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The pain of waiting for Heaven

Our true home is Heaven. Our life on Earth is an exile, the time we spend here prepares us for our arrival home. If we misuse this time to an extreme (consistently rejecting the will of God and working against Him) we will banish ourselves and be eternally damned. Damnation is the natural consequence of our poor moral choices on Earth.

However, even if we exercise right judgement, we may still be denied entry into the fullness of Heaven and perfect union with God for a time. This time is referred to as Purgatory. Those who die in a state of grace but yet still retain the stain of sin on their souls need to be purified. The unclean cannot enter into the vision of God in this state. See: Catechism of the Catholic Church – Purgatory

(Via Vatican.)

We can begin our purgatory here on Earth. A longing for our true home and the pain of separation from it is a purifying experience. This longing is a prayer.

The blog The New Theological Movement has a great post entitled “Prayer, purgatory on earth”. It explores the idea that through a prayerful longing for Heaven, we can offer up this suffering for the expiation of our sins and for the Church Suffering.

This prayerful longing for Heaven is a detachment from our exile, and therefore a little death. Gradually we are better prepared for our own death and no longer fear it.

Personally, I feel this longing. Daily I pray for this “going home,” and not in any worrying suicidal way, but just like anyone who wishes to be home, I would rather be there than here.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

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November 7th: a Death and a Rebirth, Part 1

Tomorrow, November 7th, will be the 5th anniversary of my Mom’s death.

Today in 2005 was her last full day alive on Earth. I sensed it would be as she lay in her hospital bed not responsive to eating or drinking anything. Her energy levels just seemed markedly lower than in previous days. The day before, November 5th, she seemed brighter and more vital, relatively speaking. There was a family reunion in her hospital room as my siblings, her grandchildren and in-laws, some whom she hadn’t seen in many years gathered about.

Once the family reconnection was over, it looked as though she was comfortable with all that. She saw her people.

There was a storm in town that night, and a major power outage in the area, so I spent the night in her hospital room as the old house of hers was darkened. There was little point in staying there and the hospital had generator power, so…

If I recall correctly, she drifted in and out of sleep all night long. She was not communicative anyway.

About 6:25 AM the nurses arrived for her morning vitals and such, and I saw outside that power was restored to the town so I decided to go back to the house to wash up and have breakfast.

At 6:28 AM I leaned over her bed and told her that, along with the news that I’ll be back in an an hour or so.

And then I said “I love you, Mom.”

She softly, barely a whisper, replied, “I love you, too.”

I turned and left and went down the hallway to the elevator the the ground floor. After I exited the hallway and started to make my way to the parking lot I heard the hospital doors burst open and the voice of a nurse cry out, “Sir!?!?” I turned around and she was beckoning me to return.

In just the couple of minutes since my departure she had died.

I have the feeling that my Dad, who had died in 1995 was waiting to greet her as she went home and wanted her to himself as he escorted her to Jesus. (The fact that nurses were present is irrelevant, they were there for their job. I am family and there would be a symbolic notion for Dad wanting me elsewhere. I had been her caregiver and now he was taking over.)

So. My Mom died.

(Disclaimer: I do not mean to “canonize” my Mom. I understand that she might have spent some time in Purgatory. But due to the possibility that time flows differently in the afterlife, and we are discussing a dimension that is eternal, who knows what exactly transpired subjectively for my Mom just at 6:30 AM on November 7, 2005.

I write this disclaimer due to the common practice at funerals, Catholic and others, of automatically assuming that the deceased wind up in Heaven right away. Purgatory or ***GASP*** Hell is never discussed. Admittedly I am not open to the idea she is condemned, as she devoted her life to serving the Lord and her family.

Subjectively to her she may have spent some time in Purgatory, maybe objectively to us, if we were able to observe, hardly any time at all. Such may be the ways of eternity.

Part 2 will be later today.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"