November 18, 2012

Holy Souls in Purgatory

Every November I pick up the book Purgatory since this is the month devoted to the Holy Souls.  It never ceased to amaze me that these souls suffering in Purgatory (where they spend time being purged and purified before meeting God face to Face) are suffering the most intense torments far greater than if we were to jump into a blazing furnace, sometimes, for minor faults.  Minor faults.  I don't know about you but I would not consider myself one who suffers in this world from merely minor faults.  It is rather overwhelming where to begin. 

From the Revelations of St. Gertrude:
"What! my daughter," [Gertrude] said to her, "do you not retire when our Lord calls you?  You, that have desired Jesus during your whole life, withdraw now that He opens His arms to receive you!"

"Ah! my dear Mother," replied the soul, "I am not worthy to appear before the Immaculate Lamb.  I have still some stains which I contracted upon earth. To approach the Sun of Justice, one must be as pure as a ray of light.  I have not yet that degree of purity which He requires of His saints.  Know, that if the door of Heaven were to be opened to me, I should not dare to cross the threshold before being entirely purified from all stain.  It seems to me that the choir of virgins who follow the Lamb would repulse me with horror."

"And yes," continued the Abbess, "I see you surrounded with light and glory!"

"What you see," replied the soul, "is but the border of the garment of glory.  To wear this celestial robe we must not retain even the shadow of sin."

As St. Catherine of Genoa states:  "the Divine Essence is of such purity that the soul, unless she be absolutely immaculate, cannot  bear the sight."

Befriend the Holy Souls. They are helpless.  Those souls you help release from Purgatory, you can be sure, will help bring you to Heaven.

On another note, this year I have also been reading from the book entitled Hell.  Hell is purely and simply the place of the damned where there is no return.  And I marvel that people desire to go there.  Count me out.  To quote from the souls damned for all Eternity.  "There is a Hell!  I now know that there is a Hell for I am there!"  *shudder*

There is a story of Juliette who mocked religion and hurled insults and blasphemy at religion (sounds like the world around us!)  "Juliette," someone said to her one day, "this will end badly.  God will be tired of your blasphemies, and you shall be punished."

"Bah," she answered insolently, "it gives me very little trouble. Who has returned from the other world to relate what passes there?"  Less than 8 days after, she was found in her room, giving no sign of life, and already cold. As there was no doubt that she was dead, she was put in a coffin and buried.  The following day, the gravedigger, digging a new grave beside that of the unhappy Juliette, heard some noise; it seemed to him that there was a  knocking in the adjoining coffin. At once, he put his ear to the ground and in fact heard a smothered voice, crying out: "Help! Help!  The authories were summoned; by their orders, the grave was opened, the coffin taken up and unnailed. The shroud was removed; there was no further doubt, Juliette had been buried alive. Her hair, her shroud were in disorder, her face was streaming with blood. While they were releasing her and feeling her heart to be assured that it was still beating, she heaved a sigh, like a person for a long time deprived of air; then she opened her eyes, made an effort to lift herself up, and said, "My God, I thank Thee."  Afterward, when she had got her senses well back and, by the aid of some food, recovered her strength, she added, "When I regained consciousness in the grave and recognized the frightful reality of my burial, when after having uttered shrieks, I endeavored to break my coffin, and struck my forehead against the boards, I saw that all was useless; death appeared to me with all its horrors; it was less the bodily than the eternal death that frightened me.  I saw I was going to be damned. My God, I had but too well deserved it! Then I prayed, I shouted for help, I lost consciousness again, until I awoke above ground.  Oh, the goodness of my God!" she said again shedding tears.  "I had despised the truths of Faith; Thou hast punished me, but in Thy mercy, I am converted and repentant."

Not many of us will have a chance like that.  Let's amend our lives so that we will meet in Heaven.

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