Tag Archives: Purgatory

November visit to the town cemetery

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2018-11-15 · 10:53 am

Top Gun before Top Guns. Cemetery visit lest we forget. It’s November.

This is a terribly disjointed post. Lots of emotion for me.

The Top Gun flight instructor program started in 1969 (see above video). I don’t know what top flight instructors were called before 1969 (probably lots of four letter words by some sometimes disgruntled slow-learning students), but dad had that role first in the other Andrews in Maryland just to the Southeast of the U.S. Capital Building while also doing up JAG school at Georgetown, and then closer to home in Chicago. Dad died decades ago. And November 2nd has come and gone, again. And November 11 has come and gone, again. Do we remember when it’s not those days? Do we forget?

I also think of the 22 average each day who take their own lives because of the war they carry in themselves after their war experiences. A seminarian once told me with almost ballistic anger that in his opinion PTSD doesn’t exist, that that’s all for wusses and tender snowflakes. He said that without the experiences of those who take their lives. I’m guessing he had PTSD and couldn’t face the fact. Zero solidarity for others. He was really angry. White hot. How fragile we all are.

Anyway, my own dad had his faults – and I dare say some severe PTSD – but the reason why he’s always my hero is not because he did stuff in the military or was a “perfect human being,” but rather because he had the humility to face all of that and deal with it. Dad knew he needed Jesus and started a regime of spiritual direction, daily Mass, and good habits, shunning bad habits. I gotta lot of respect for that.

Anyway, it continues to be November, when we especially pray for the dead. It’s cold and rainy. Almost ready to snow and sleet. A slate gray day. I’m heading up to the local cemetery to say a pray or two for the souls of the faithful departed, for our vets who laid down their lives for us.

Don’t wait to visit a cemetery until you’re the one being buried. When’s the last time you’ve been? I’ll update this post with a picture or two after a bit.

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Dancing because of love stronger than death. It’s an Ezekiel thing to do.

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Did you pray for the Holy Souls today. If you pray for them, they will, as Jesus says, be the ones to welcome you into the eternal habitations. Meanwhile, I don’t want to be in purgatory until the end of time. Pray for all the Holy Souls. It’s a great act of charity that helps you get on your own way to heaven.

Jesus did NOT come to save us from death and all that is consequent to original sin outside of the guilt. And He forgives the guilt also of our own sin by flooding us with sanctifying grace, which makes no room for the guilt. God is love, and He makes us His tabernacles. The joy of the Holy Spirit is not untoward.

1 The hand of the LORD came upon me, and he led me out in the spirit of the LORD and set me in the center of the plain, which was now filled with bones. 2 He made me walk among them in every direction so that I saw how many they were on the surface of the plain. How dry they were! 3 He asked me: Son of man, can these bones come to life? “Lord GOD,” I answered, “you alone know that.” 4 Then he said to me: Prophesy over these bones, and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: See! I will bring spirit into you, that you may come to life. 6 I will put sinews upon you, make flesh grow over you, cover you with skin, and put spirit in you so that you may come to life and know that I am the LORD. 7 I prophesied as I had been told, and even as I was prophesying I heard a noise; it was a rattling as the bones came together, bone joining bone. 8 I saw the sinews and the flesh come upon them, and the skin cover them, but there was no spirit in them. 9 Then he said to me: Prophesy to the spirit, prophesy, son of man, and say to the spirit: Thus says the Lord GOD: From the four winds come, O spirit, and breathe into these slain that they may come to life. 10 I prophesied as he told me, and the spirit came into them; they came alive and stood upright, a vast army. 11 Then he said to me: Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They have been saying, “Our bones are dried up, our hope is lost, and we are cut off.” 12 Therefore, prophesy and say to them: Thus says the Lord GOD: O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them, and bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and have you rise from them, O my people! 14 I will put my spirit in you that you may live, and I will settle you upon your land; thus you shall know that I am the LORD. I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD. (Ezekiel 37:1-14 nab)

For the Holy Souls in Purgatory: Hail Mary…

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Conquering today’s demonic abuse of power with hellfire? Yep!

Today’s crisis is all about abuse of power. In our fallen state and without grace we think free will is power over God Himself. We can in fact choose to destroy the image of God: male and female God created them, in the image of God God created them. Male and female was rejected for sex without procreation, making sex about pieces of meat only, so why not same-sex sex? And why not smash down youngsters just when they are able to procreate so as to pervert them into a lust after the power to think one can trounce God by destroying the image of God as male and female? Today’s crisis. It’s about abuse of power. It’s about arrogance challenging God Himself.

People see this abuse of power as hell fire setting people ablaze with demonic machinations of mind games about what is to be bullied into being acceptable and tolerated until it is celebrated. And so it is.

And people fight this often on the same level, lowering themselves to the demonic mind games of bullying, just trying to be louder and more obnoxious. But that gets no one anywhere except perhaps hell. Let’s take a 24 second caricature of a caricature of the burning fires of hell:

As was mentioned on this blog a couple years back, sometimes people think that the fires of hell mean real fire (only), because they are afraid of WHO that fire actually is, namely, God, that is, God’s love. Yes, in hell. It’s not universal salvationistic-esque to say that God loves all regardless of whether or not they love Him, regardless of whether they are in heaven or in hell or here upon this earth for that matter. The difference involves the reception of that love or not:

  • Those in heaven rejoice in this ardent fiery love.
  • Those on earth who follow Jesus are purified by this fiery love.
  • Those in purgatory are purged by this fiery love.
  • Those on earth who reject Jesus are thrown into agonizing frustration by this fiery love.
  • Those in hell, upon whom God’s love shines, scream in the agony that this love brings to them – “IT BURNS!” – for they want nothing to do with such love; their intellectual burning frustration sets their souls on fire. They perceive this love as hatred because that’s what they are all about. They hate themselves, others, God.

Irony is scary, isn’t it? But we are to fight hell fire with hell fire because hell fire is actually the love of God. If we one with God’s love we can see that the scariest thing – hell fire – is not scary at all if we are one with God’s love. That means we can take on the entire onslaught of hell while in our weak state in this world, because it’s not our strength on which we depend: it’s all about Jesus. He’s the One. He’s the only One.

We can and must rejoice in irony, all the more if it is scary, as we know that it is then bearing such magnificence of truth in love.

But maybe I’m “evil”. Hilaire Belloc might say so. Perhaps we should all be so “evil”, just as Jesus was on the cross, bearing as He did the very reflection of the evil from which He was redeeming us, saving us. So majestic. I can’t help but put it up again:

hilaire bellocTo the young, the pure, and the ingenuous, irony must always appear to have a quality of something evil, and so it has, for […] it is a sword to wound. It is so directly the product or reflex of evil that, though it can never be used – nay, can hardly exist – save in the chastisement of evil, yet irony always carries with it some reflections of the bad spirit against which it was directed. […] It suggests most powerfully the evil against which it is directed, and those innocent of evil shun so terrible an instrument. […] The mere truth is vivid with ironical power […] when the mere utterance of a plain truth labouriously concealed by hypocrisy, denied by contemporary falsehood, and forgotten in the moral lethargy of the populace, takes upon itself an ironical quality more powerful than any elaboration of special ironies could have taken in the past. […] No man possessed of irony and using it has lived happily; nor has any man possessing it and using it died without having done great good to his fellows and secured a singular advantage to his own soul. [Hilaire Belloc, “On Irony” (pages 124-127; Penguin books 1325. Selected Essays (2/6), edited by J.B. Morton; Harmondsworth – Baltimore – Mitcham 1958).]

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Homily 2017 11 02 – All Souls – Purgatory

purgatory angelicum lawrence op

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All Souls sotto voce moment of silence

consecration-

That quiet moment of prayer when Jesus lays down His life for us…

Did you know that the “moment of silence” came about with Irish Catholics who were imitating the silence of the souls in purgatory? With very few exceptions, the souls in purgatory cannot ask us for help – thus the moment of silence – even though they can only be helped by our prayers.

However weak and begrudging our prayers might seem to be to us (it being that they can’t ask and we can’t see the result right now), it is precisely for that reason that our Lord very much respects our prayers for them.

Our Lord expects that it be obvious to us that we ourselves are doing our purgatory hear on this earth, that is, painfully coming to know the depth of the depravity of original sin and whatever of our own sin by which He was crucified, and this so that we know how to properly thank Him, which will be our joy in heaven.

Our Lord expects that it be obvious to us that we ourselves generally do a pretty bad job with this, perhaps staying in the state of grace, attending the sacraments, but not being as generous as we might in having our hearts and souls wrenched open by reality, so that, it should be pretty obvious that we might well be headed to purgatory before hopefully being on our way to heaven.

Our Lord expects that we understand the very same for everyone else on this earth, so that we shouldn’t expect necessarily that anyone whosoever who dies is certainly going straight to heaven.

And that means that the debt we have to pay – of having our hearts and souls wrenched open – is payed by praying for the souls in purgatory.

Put it a different way. The holy souls in purgatory have something against us if we are not paying our own debt by praying for them. Nothing could be clearer to them. They are there because they were lacking in the same way. They pray for us that we might pray for them.

Jesus says that at the judgment He will hand us over to the jailers (our guardian angels?!), who will have us thrown into “prison” until we have paid the full amount.

The Holy Souls in purgatory are so grateful when we do pray for them and get them to heaven. They are the ones, Jesus says, who will be the ones to welcome us into the eternal habitations, that is, heaven.

Pray for the Holy Souls every day!

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Homily 2017 10 27 – Signs of the Times!

purgatory angelicum lawrence op

  • Dissing “spiritual plans” and “goals” with Saint Paul, because it’s all about Jesus.
  • Signs of the times and being up to date!
  • Purgatory as the example of Jesus, needing purity of heart and agility of soul and… and… humble, humble, humble thanksgiving.

Again, if I were to have given this homily in the seminary back in the day, I would have been thrown out for sure. Why? Because, at the time anyway, Jesus didn’t belong in the seminary, just smarty jesuity theologians, because we can’t otherwise know Jesus, or Scripture or what the Church teaches. But instead… well… listen to the homily.

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On God’s love and entering heaven

ecce-agnus-dei

First, a couple of things:

1. I know nothing about going to heaven

Saint Paul speaks of being whisked away to the third heaven, whatever that is, though he does give us a clue in his repeating a number of times that this happened to him while he was in the body or out of the body he does not know. This sounds like the ecstacy some of the saints have experienced, but whether in the body or out of the body we do not know. Sanctifying grace, which turns to glory in heaven according to the Apostle in another place, is entirely amazing in the profundity of the Sacred Mysteries, as this concerns the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity, the fiery Holy Spirit bringing us through, with and in Jesus unto the Father, as Jesus’ gift to the Father. Some confuse this with the beatific vision. I always tell such good souls that, in fact, the beatific vision will be so very much better, no matter the goodness and love they experienced, what with that grace turning to glory. But, again, what do I know or what could I even say, since the Apostle himself says that he heard ineffable things that man is not permitted to speak.

2. I found out the other day just how much I don’t know about God’s love, again

Here’s the deal: I brusquely take Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament with me on long and not always uneventful journeys of some hundreds of miles such as I did this past Tuesday, racing off to see this and that person who have suffered more than most of us have or could ever suffer put together. And then we speak of heaven, of God’s love, or, rather, I have the privilege of listening, captivated by all that which resonates in the weak sounding board that is my heart and soul. They come close to speaking that which is ineffable as they open up above me the weight of the glory of God, putting me into reverence mode before the Lord who loves us so much, before the angels who encourage these souls for my sake to express their love of the Lord the way they do. I come to know a little bit more just how much I don’t know about God’s love, but rejoice to have been introduced to His goodness and kindness in whatever way that is. I am so very much in debt to those who pray for me, so many lay people, so many priests and bishops, so many cloistered souls, some of whom have offered their prayers and sufferings for me for life. As I often repeat, when I complained to one cloistered nun that the Lord is going to reprimand me at my judgment, asking me what I did with all the graces which I have been given because of all those who have prayed for me, she said, yes, Father George, that is true, but just think of where you would have been had we not prayed for you!

So, having said all that… let’s continue our journey to the gates of heaven, which journey boasts of two possible venues, the first of which is inescapable here on this earth, the second of which, in purgatory, can be dispensed if we cover the ground which we must here on this earth if we should go straight to heaven when the Lord calls us. Both places are, after our redemption and, please God, in our being saved, training grounds for entering into heaven. The training is somewhat different here on earth and in purgatory.

Here on earth… the Lord introduces Continue reading

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Flores for the Immaculate Conception (Thanks for the prayers edition)

flores rose mother L

There are many of you who pray for me. I try to pray a Chaplet of the Immaculate Conception for you all (if I can) daily. Thank you. And there is someone I would like to thank in particular, well, very many in particular, but this one said something to me rather incisive that needs repeating. So…

On the feast of Pentecost, this rose for the Immaculate Conception was sent in by a cloistered benedictine nun in New Zealand, a certain Mother L. known to many of you. She prayers for me really very much, about which I’ve told her that I have mixed feelings. I very much appreciate the prayers on the one hand, very much aware of them in my daily life as a priest, as it is evident to me – evident, I say – that those prayers keep me going, hopefully in the right direction, though, on the other hand, I complain because, as I tell her, I fear the judgment of Jesus, which I fear – fear, I say – will witness words to me such as, “Do you know how many prayers were offered to me for you by so many good souls? And what do you have to show for those prayers?”

And then, I hope I will not run away into hell but will simply stand there, then dropping to knees, utterly ashamed, weeping for for sins, a time when it is too late for repentance and any kind of purpose of amendment, but, oddly, not too late for contrition, for, in heaven, we will always see those wounds on the body of Jesus, in His hands and feet, in His side and Heart, and that contrition will be an act of love that is most appropriate in heaven as it will be the foundation for the exuberant thanksgiving which we (that is my hope) will have the great, great joy of putting before Him. Should our Lord then roll His eyes, making the angels laugh (they having done this a gazillion times), and then say that I now have the great privilege of going to purgatory until the end of the world, I think I will then jump up and throw my arms around Jesus like a little kid might do and thank Him a million times, knowing that, in the end, I’ll be able to go to heaven and thank Him there. I will be the happiest person at the judgement to have the joy of running into purgatory. Yay! And then the angels will peal me off of Jesus and lightly toss me into the very depths of fiery purgatory, with me nevertheless not able to stop rejoicing.

I know I’ve recounted this before, but it bears repeating, that the answer of Mother L. to my complaint was immediate and incisive. With no hesitation she scolded me so as to just get over it, for without their prayers I would certainly be on my way to hell, but, hey, look at me now, with a little possibility of going to heaven! Yes, awesome that. So, then, no mixed feelings. We all have the possibility of going to heaven.

Dum spiro spero. While I breathe I hope (the motto of South Carolina). That can be said by all of us, looking to Jesus. You know why? Because the Immaculate Conception has first of all interceded with us as only a mother can with her Son. Yikes!

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Fatima 13 May 1917: 99th anniversary – First Apparition of Mary

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Our Lady of Fatima (Saint Anne’s Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC)

In the words of Ven. Lúcia de Jesus Rosa dos Santos (Irmã Maria Lúcia de Jesus e do Coração Imaculado, O.C.D.):

And we began to go down the slope driving the sheep towards the road. When we were half-way down, near a holm oak there, we saw another flash of lightening, and after a few steps we saw on a holm oak a lady dressed in white, shining brighter than the sun, giving out rays of clear and intense light, just like a crystal goblet full of pure water when the fiery sun passes through it. We stopped astounded by the Apparition. We were so near that we were in the light that encircled her, or which she radiated, perhaps a meter and a half away.

“Please don’t be afraid of me, I’m not going to harm you.” “Where are you from?” “I come from heaven.” The Lady wore a pure white mantle, edged with gold and which fell to her feet. In her hands the beads of a rosary shone like stars, with its crucifix the most radiant gem of all. The Lady’s presence produced in her only gladness and confident joy. “And what do you want of me?” “I want you to return here on the thirteenth of each month for the next six months, and at the very same hour. Later I shall tell you who I am, and what it is that I most desire. And I shall return here yet a seventh time.”

“And shall I go to heaven?” “Yes, you will.” “And Jacinta?” “She will go too.” “And Francisco?” “Francisco, too, my dear, but he will first have many Rosaries to say.” For a few moments the Lady looked at Francisco with compassion, tinged with a little sadness. Lucia then remembered some friends who had died. “Is Maria Neves in heaven?” “Yes, she is.” “And Amelia?” “She is in purgatory.”

“Will you offer yourselves to God, and bear all the sufferings He sends you? In atonement for all the sins that offend Him? And for the conversion of sinners?” “Oh, we will, we will!” “Then you will have a great deal to suffer, but the grace of God will be with you and will strengthen you.” She opened her hands, and we were bathed in a heavenly light that appeared to come directly from her hands. The light’s reality cut into our hearts and our souls, and we knew somehow that this light was God, and we could see ourselves embraced in it. By an interior impulse of grace we fell to our knees, repeating in our hearts: “Oh, Holy Trinity, we adore You. My God, my God, I love You in the Blessed Sacrament.””Say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war.”

After that she began to rise slowly in the direction of the east, until she disappeared in the immense distance. The light that encircles Her seemed to make a way amidst the stars, and that is why we sometimes said we had seen the heavens open.

/// So, to the heart of it: Keeping our sights on heaven and not forgetting those in purgatory, this is about suffering in atonement for sin and for the conversion of sinners:

“Will you offer yourselves to God, and bear all the sufferings He sends you? In atonement for all the sins that offend Him? And for the conversion of sinners?”

“Oh, we will, we will!”

“Then you will have a great deal to suffer, but the grace of God will be with you and will strengthen you.”

“Oh, Holy Trinity, we adore You. My God, my God, I love You in the Blessed Sacrament.”

“Say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war.”

N.B. The title of our Lady of Fatima is actually “Our Lady of the Rosary.”

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