Tag Archives: Purgatory
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!
- 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.
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
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!
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.”