Thursday, 27 November 2014

Purgatory Insights to Believe and Urgent Plea to Pray for Them!

Purgatory and the Paranormal

I work at a funeral home as a secretary. It is so sad to see the number of people that just sign the papers and say look after the cremation.  There is no goodbye, no service – nothing.  Their reply is ‘they didn’t want anything’.  

Even deceased persons who were Catholic, are not given the Sacrament of the Sick while they lay dying or even a Catholic Mass after they died as their family does not believe in that.  

How many countless souls are there abandoned by their families and friends with indifference, ignorance or unbelief in God!! 

All Soul’s Day A day to remember the Holy Soul's in Purgatory that are going through purification.    Pray for your loved ones, but don’t forget the ones who have no one to pray for them.  

And don’t just pray on the Feast of All Souls – but every day! 

One day we will undoubtfully find ourselves there!

I am currently reading a book on Purgatory called "Hungry Souls: Supernatural Visits, Messages and Warnings from Purgatory by Gerard J. M. Van Den Aardweg, a modern day writing that gleans information from the ages, from writings of the saints as well as quotes from St. Pope John Paul II, and others. I am finding it quite insightful and worth looking into for yourselves to find out more.

The opening lines from Hungry Souls came home to the point of purgatory and the misinformation that is given in some religions as to what happens after death.  Sin seems to be a dirty word nowadays.  To mention sin is to live olden times… that’s ‘old school’ we are told, we don’t believe that anymore... and so on.

Well, I hate to break their fantasy bubble, but PURGATORY IS REAL AND SO IS HELL!
The following are a few quotes from the book (and other information I have come across) that I found interesting, enlightening and helpful.  I hope that you will find that as well.                                                                              --R.M., Blogger             
Maccabees Martyrs
"The teaching of Purgatory goes back through the centuries and even has roots in the Jewish religion.  It is apparent from the second book of Maccabees, that the Jewish people believed in a purification after death which usually lasted a maximum of 12 months.  The fire of purification and that of hell are the same the "Gehinnom" and is often described as burning in a fire.  The sons of the departed were to recite the "kaddish" for their deceased parents for one year; this prayer is thought "to help raise the soul to its ultimate destination in God's presence."

“For those who (at death) find themselves in a condition of being open to God, but still imperfectly, the journey towards full beatitude requires a purification, which the faith of the Church illustrates in the doctrine of purgatory.”  

St. Pope John Paul II
This is how St. Pope John Paul II explains why Purgatory is necessary, for, he continues, we are called “to be perfect like the heavenly Father during our earthly life… sound and flawless before God the Father ‘at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.’ (Thrss 3:12).”

"Purification means atonement for sins and their effects on the soul.  It is not a painless, automatic process of “growing” the soul, of attaining full “self-realization” through the acquisition of ever more insight after death, as is the soothing theory of some spiritualists.  

It is not an accumulation of learning, through a series of “reincarnations”, until some point of perfect wisdom is reached, as in the fantasy of some Western New Age disciples.
  Such are childish attempts to suppress man’s deep awareness that the basic dimension determining his destiny in the new world is not knowledge or experience but moral purity: sin, and the traces it leaves on the soul, versus holiness.

In our culture today, of the three destinations that traditional Christian doctrine teaches may follow death and judgment—Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory—only belief in Heaven or some such happy state has widely survived.  

The prevailing cheap optimism hold that (if there is anything at all across the threshold of death) the life of practically everybody automatically ends up in a state of bliss.  

De-christianed  and inwardly impoverished Western man may acknowledge having his imperfections and shortcomings but doesn’t look upon himself as sinful.  To him, atonement for or purification from sin is a “medieval” idea.

…the truth is that man has to be “sound and flawless before God the Father” when, after death, he appears before Him to render an account of his life.  Only holy souls have direct access to the blissful abode where “nothing unclean shall enter.”  Therefore, “every trace of attachment to evil must be eliminated, every imperfection of the soul corrected.”  The place for this correction of the soul’s imperfections is Purgatory.”

….St. John Paul teaches us that penance and pain in Purgatory are mitigated by the comfort of mercy.  In the final analysis, Purgatory is the mercy of Christ working through his Mystical Body, the Church.” 

St. Catherine of Genoa
“... As far as I can see, the souls in purgatory can have no choice but to be there; this God has most justly ordained by his divine decree.  They cannot turn towards themselves and say: I have committed such and such sins for which I deserve to remain here; nor can they say: Would that I had refrained from them, for then I should at this moment be in paradise; nor again: This soul will be released before me; or I shall be released before her.  They retain no memory of either good or evil respecting themselves or others which would increase their pain.  They are so contented with the divine dispositions in their regard; and with doing all that is pleasing to God in that way which he chooses, that they cannot think of themselves, though they may strive to do so, says St. Catherine of Genoa.  They see nothing but the operation of the divine goodness which is so manifestly bringing them to God that they can reflect neither on their own profit nor on their hurt.  Could they do so, they would not be in pure charity.  They see not that they suffer their pains in consequence of their sins, nor can they for a moment entertain that thought, for should they do so it would be an active imperfection, and that cannot exist in a state where there is no longer the possibility of sin.  At the moment of leaving this life they see why they are sent to purgatory, but never again, otherwise they would still retain something private, which has no place there.  Being established in charity, they can never deviate therefrom by any defect, and have no will or desire, save the pure will of pure love, and can swerve from it in nothing.  They can neither commit sin, nor merit by refraining from it.”
Excerpt above taken from: A Treatise on Purgatory by St. Catherine of Genoa

“...It is furthermore remarkable that the reports of apparitions o souls from Purgatory are highly consistent in the course of the centuries and vary but little from one historical period to another. Purgatory has always been represented as a fierce fire, a burning away of all stains of the soul, regardless of the century or cultural period the apparition took place.  And there is always proof of a twofold suffering: namely the “pain of loss”, which is the soul’s painful longing for God, and the “pain of sense”, which is felt as if the bodily senses were still intact.

St. Faustina
St. Faustina writes in 1926, “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 without effect for themselves; only we can come to their aid.  The flames which were burning them did not touch me at all.  I asked these souls what their greatest suffering was.  They answered me in one voice that their greatest torment was longing for God…. (I heard an 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.”

St. Ambrose said that the souls in purgatory pray for the living so that they may recognize their sins.  Apparently, their suffering makes them most keenly aware that holiness is by far the most important boon to implore for the ones they love—it means less suffering in Purgatory and a quicker path to eternal bliss.

Other communications in the past from souls in purgatory say they also pray for temporal needs of the living: for their beloved, their family and benefactors.

St. Bridgett of Sweden
St. Bridgett of Sweden (1303-1373), however, heard from the suffering nevertheless indirectly supplicating Christ’s Mercy for themselves, asking Him to incite the faithful on earth to come to their aid: “We implore Thee for the sake of Thy infinite mercy to turn away Thine eyes from our innumerable sins… Imbue with Thy love the religious, the priests and the faithful, so that they may hasten to our relief by their prayers, sacrifices, alms deeds and indulgences.  They an aid us if they wish; they can hasten our union with Thee O God!”

The Council of Trent (1545 and 1563)   dogmatized what had been believed by the faithful all along.  That although the guilt of a penitent sinner may have been forgiven, that does not mean that automatically all his “debt of temporal punishment” is discharged.  In short, he may have to do penance in order to be purified, whether in this life or in the next: in Purgatory.

The Council also dogmatized that the souls in Purgatory “are helped by the suffrages of the faithful, but particularly by the Sacrifice of the Altar.”

St. Catherine of Genoa’s explanation  of the tormenting flames of Purgatory:  “The greatest suffering of the souls in purgatory, it seems to me, is the awareness that something in them displeases God, that they have deliberately gone against His great goodness… I can also see… that the divine essence is so pure and light-filled—must more than we can imagaine—that the soul that has but the slightest imperfection would rather throw itself into a thousand hells than appear thus before the divine presence.”  Hence “the soul… aware that the impediment it faces cannot be removed in any other way, hurls itself into purgatory… That is why the soul seeks to cast off any and all impediments so that it can be lifted up to God.”

“A fire like that of hell”: in the opinion of St. Thomas, the proper fires of Purgatory and Hell are one and the same –

St. Catherine explains that the difference between hell and purgatory is that the souls in Purgatory will themselves to suffer, the certainty that God has been most merciful to them in the light of what they deserved… that (they) accept the ordinance of God and would not think of doing otherwise.  As well as a certain joy that is never wanting and that, indeed, increases as they come closer to God....

“...Poor souls told Ruth (one of many who have been visited by the Souls of Purgatory) that they are often present around their living family members and beloved without getting their help, sometimes for years.  She transmits their complaints, 
“You in the world have no inkling of what we have to suffer!  Being abandoned and forgotten by those who have been nearest to us in the world: that is most bitter.  Sometimes they stand at the tombs of our decayed bodies and don’t pray for us at all.  They are as if we don’t exist anymore.  God’s justice commands us to be silent.  But we stand at the door of their houses, of our former dwellings, and wait.  We stand there and wait.  Days, years.  We wait for them to give us a small sign of their love by prayer and sacrifices.  But we stay there in vain.  We cry in vain for love.  For help!  Tell them through the priest:  Love should not die at death.  We are still alive and we are hungry for love!!  For your love!”

How can we help the Holy Souls?  Since early Christianity there has been unanimity that offering the Sacrifice of the Altar to the holy Trinity is the most beneficial suffrage for the poor souls… St. Thomas held that only by holy Mass could a soul be definitively delivered from Purgatory.  

Poor souls indeed very often ask for holy Masses; but an expiatory act of high value is also the offering up of holy Communions, even of so-called spiritual Communions.  Furthermore, prayers, alms, all acts of charity and all and every ordinary daily work; all mortifications and sacrifices that are offered to God for the relief or release of the suffering souls…"

Excerpts from Hungry Souls: Supernatural Visits, Messages and Warnings from Purgatory. 


Devotion to the Poor Souls by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

"It must seem strange to speak of devotion to the Poor Souls. But it is not really strange. Devotion to the Poor Souls has two sides: our side and the side of the souls in purgatory.

On their side, the Poor Souls are united with us in the one Kingdom of Christ. They can pray and obtain blessings for us here on earth. They are united, as the Second Vatican Council teaches, with the pilgrim Church in the Communion of Saints. 

We are therefore encouraged to invoke their aid, with a confidence of being heard by those who understand our needs. They know from their own experience what it means to carry the cross here on earth.

On our side we are to do everything we can to help the Poor Souls in the Church Suffering. The sufferings in purgatory are not the same for all. They depend on each person's degree of sinfulness. 

St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas held that -

the least pain in purgatory 
is greater than 
the worst pain 
in this life....

...What does it mean to pray for the Poor Souls? It means everything that we can offer for the faithful departed
  • We can offer our bodily pains in expiation for their sins.
  • We can offer our spiritual sufferings, our disappointments and fears, our discouragement and estrangement from those we love.

  • We can offer our vocal prayers, like the Rosary, the Memorare, the Angelus, the recitation of the Divine Office.

  • We can offer our mental prayers, like the Way of the Cross, our daily meditation and examination of conscience.

  • We can offer our mortifications, like giving up some delicacy at table, or performance of some unpleasant work.

But the most effective offering
 we can make for the Poor Souls 
is the Holy Eucharist 
at the Sacrifice of the Mass, 
Holy Communion and 
adoration of the Blessed Sacrament....

Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. recommends that during the month of November, we make a list of all the deceased persons whom we wish to specially remember in our Masses, prayers and sacrifices for the repose of their souls. 

Add to this list as those enter eternity whom you wish to specially commend to the mercy of God. This, by the way, is called a Necrology. Every Catholic diocese in the world has a Necrology of its deceased priests. Every family should have its own Necrology of deceased members whom we daily remember to our merciful Lord.

Every time you say the grace after meals, be sure to add the invocation, "May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen." In every Rosary you recite, do not forget to say after each decade, " O, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and bring all souls to heaven, especially those who are in most need of thy mercy."

Remember that devotion
 to the Poor Souls
 is really a covenant 
between them and us. 
We pray and sacrifice for them, 
They can pray and suffer for us. 
They appreciate whatever help 
we give them, to lessen their suffering
 and to shorten their stay in Purgatory. 
They will continue to show their appreciation 
when we join them in a heavenly eternity."

The Museum of Purgatory 
(Museo del Purgatorio)
Little Museum of Purgatory in the Sacred Heart of Suffrage Church, Rome

Do we have any signs to prove that Purgatory exist????

There is a place for which proof or evidence of supernatural origin of the reality of Purgatory are found in the “Little Museum of Purgatory” in Rome.  “They bear the signature of souls who have appeared from Purgatory to ask for mercy, revealing something about themselves and their condition of suffering and doing penance.” 

Documented paranormal evidence to be found in relation to contacts with the dead.  The authenticity of the apparition stories linked to each of the specimens in the museum has been verified by critical priests, theologians, and trustworthy         witnesses.   There are many other examples as well that are not in the museum in which I will give some examples later on...

In Rome at the church named the Sacred Heart of Suffrage there is to be found ten specimens or relics, exhibited behind glass each left behind by their owners who were suffering the fires of Purgatory.  Father Jouet built a chapel in the same site of the present church and founded the Archconfraternity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus for Aid to the Holy Souls.

Face burned into wood (top left)
In November 1897, the altar in the chapel caught fire.  Many people who were present thought they discerned through the flames the face of an anguished person. (pic)  One can see the distorted features of this face on the wall, which was conserved when the chapel was demolished and the present church completed in 1917.  It was the museum’s first “exhibit”.

Display of Objects from Museum of Purgatory in Rome
Father Jouet began to collect testimonies, documents, and objects that could help to incite devotion to the poor souls.  The pieces that are presently in this little museum span over two centuries.  The oldest belongs to an apparition from 1696, the most recent from 1919.  

There has been more documented cases of apparitions of souls from Purgatory in recent times, but they have not so far been added to the collection in the museum.  The specimens shown are from western European countries; Germany, Belgium France, Austria, and Italy.  Pope Pius X and Pope Benedict XV supported and patronized the work of the arch-confraternity founded by Father Jouet as well as the building of the church of the Sacred Heart of Suffrage.

Items showing burn marks from hands of souls in Purgatory
The ‘specimens’ are actual burn marks left on prayer books and other objects of hand prints and even a face.  Of course there are many skeptics that say they are frauds but many conscientious priests and other investigators looked for the truth concerning them.  As well there are well-documented and witnessed evidence by reliable people of the time that these were indeed real cases and real signs of Purgatory...

Excerpts from Hungry Souls: Supernatural Visits, Messages and Warnings from Purgatory.