However Daunting Purgatory May Seem, Souls There Have Seen Light And Mercy
[adapted from After Life]
It may sound difficult but purgatory is Godís mercy and a soul there, a soul in final expiation, is redeemed by the Blood of Our Savior. It has seen the light. It has seen God. There is great joy in that. There is great joy in knowing that one day it will be with the Almighty.
One day, it will get back to the Heaven it glimpsed upon death. A Lenten meditation this is!
"It is true that the torments of purgatory are so great that the most acute sufferings of this life cannot compare to them, but the interior satisfaction which is enjoyed is such that no prosperity, no contentment on earth, can equal it," noted St. Francis de Sales.
"The souls are in continual union with God. They are perfectly resigned to His Will, or rather, their will is transformed into that of God, so that they cannot will but that which He wills. Indeed, if paradise were to be opened to them, they would precipitate themselves into Hell rather than appear before God with the stains with which they see themselves disfigured. They willingly and lovingly purify themselves, because such is the divine pleasure."
The higher one goes -- the farther past middle purgatory, the more distant from the chambers of suffering and the dingy loneliness -- the brighter it gets.
Even the aloneness begins to fade.
At least thatís the impression. There is still suffering but itís more bearable. Itís not as overt. The pain diminishes. It is more of a mental suffering.
We can only think in metaphors. No one has a clear picture of the afterlife.
There are levels in purgatory (as there are also in Heaven), and one can assume that the higher one goes, the more interaction there is with other souls because the higher in purgatory, the more frequent are the consolations. It nearly becomes pleasant once beyond what mystics describe as the middle gray zone.
As Catherine of Genoa said, "I do not believe that it would be possible to find any joy comparable to the joy of a soul in purgatory except the joy of the blessed in paradise - -- a joy which continues to increase day by day as God flows in upon the soul more and more. He does this abundantly, according to the measure in which obstacles to His entrance are removed."
The final internal suffering breaks down our remaining pretense and allows God to weed and spade at our deepest levels.
The more hardness weíve had, the more intensely Christ has to force His way inside us. The more we have lacked love, the more sullied are our robes. The more they need to be whitened -- purged. We may not realize it, but every time throughout life we dislike or hate someone or become jealous and angered we build a layer around our spirits that can harden like cement. Itís not just the overt sins that need breaking apart but also the faults in our spirits. If a person is going to church every day and diligently praying the Rosary as well as indulgence prayers but still harboring envy and dislike, that person must purify himself of such faults or face such purification later.
The good news: everyone reading this is still alive and thus has an opportunity to correct and purge it before death -- through sacrifice, through fasting, through right living, here on earth!
"I will refine them as silver is refined," the Lord says in Zechariah 13:9, "and I will test them as gold is tested."
[resources: afterlife books]
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