PURGATORY: IT ONLY FEELS LIKE AN ETERNITY

When Saint Frances of Rome was taken to see Purgatory, she was told that for each mortal sin committed and forgiven, a payment of seven years of reparation in Purgatory is Required.
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St. Thomas of Aquinas, the Prince of Theologians, says that the fire of Purgatory is equal in intensity of the fire of Hell, and that the slightest contact with it is more dreadful than all the possible sufferings of this Earth.
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St. Augustine, the greatest of the Holy Doctors, teaches that to be purified of their faults prior to being admitted to Heaven, souls after death are subjected to a fire more penetrating, more dreadful than anything we can see, or feel, or conceive in this life. “Though this fire is destined to cleanse and purify the souls”, adds the Holy Doctor, “still it is more acute than anything we can possibly endure on Earth.”
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St. Cyril of Alexandria does not hesitate to say: “that it would be preferable to suffer all the possible formats of Earth until Judgment day, than pass one day in Purgatory.”
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St. Pio said“Our fire, in comparison with the fire of Purgatory is a refreshing breeze” and that the average soul spends at least a hundred years in Purgatory.
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Pope Innocent III died July 16, 1216. The same day he appeared to St. Lutgarda in her monastery at Aywieres, in Brabant. Surprised to see a specter enveloped in flames, she asked who he was and what he wanted. “I am Pope Innocent’, he replied. ‘Is it possible that you, our common Father, should be in such a state?’ ‘It is but too true. I am expiating three faults which might have caused my eternal perdition. Thanks to the Blessed Virgin Mary, I have obtained pardon for them, but I have to make atonement. Alas! it is terrible; and it will last for centuries if you do not come to my assistance. In the name of Mary, who has obtained for me the favor of appealing to you, help me.’ With these words he disappeared. Lutgarda announced the Pope’s death to her sisters and penitential works in behalf of the august and venerated Pontiff, whose demise was communicated to them some weeks later from another source.”
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St. Louis Bertrand’s father was an exemplary Christian, as we should naturally expect, being the father of so great a Saint. He had even wished to become a Carthusian monk until he learned that it was not God’s will for him. When he died, after long years spent in the practice of every Christian virtue, his saintly son, fully aware of the rigors of God’s Justice, offered many Masses and poured forth the most fervent supplications for the soul he so dearly loved. A vision of his father still in Purgatory forced him to intensify a hundredfold his suffrages. He added most severe penances and long fasts to his Masses and prayers. Yet eight whole years passed before he obtained the release of his father.
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St. Malachy’s sister was detained in Purgatory for a very long time, despite the Masses, prayers and heroic mortifications the Saint offered for her!
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It was related to a holy nun in Pampluna, who had succeeded in releasing many Carmelite nuns from Purgatory, that most of these had spent there terms of from 30 to 60 years! Carmelite nuns in Purgatory for 40, 50 and 60 years! What will it be for those living amidst the temptations of the World and with all their hundreds of weaknesses?
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Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, a great friend of the Suffering Souls, mentions souls that were in Purgatory for centuries.
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Padre Pio was asked how long a particular soul would stay in purgatory he replied “At least one hundred years.
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THE PURGATORY OF A RELIGIOUS
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The following is taken from a pious author quoted by Father Rossignoli. (Merveilles, 17). Two Religious, of eminent virtue, vied with each other in leading a holy life. One of them fell sick, and learned in a vision that he should soon die, that he should be saved, and that he should remain in Purgatory only until the first Mass should be celebrated for the repose of his soul. Full of joy at these tidings, he hastened to impart them to his friend, and entreated him not to delay the celebration of the Mass which was to open Heaven to him.
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He died the following morning, and his holy companion lost no time in celebrating the Holy Sacrifice. After Mass, whilst he was making his thanksgiving, and still continuing to pray for his departed friend, the latter appeared to him radiant with glory, but in a tone sweetly plaintive he asked why that one Mass of which he stood in need had been so long delayed.
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“My blessed brother,” replied the Religious, “I delayed so long, you say? I do not understand you.” “What! did you not leave me to suffer for more than a year before offering Mass for the repose of my soul.” “Indeed, my dear brother, I commenced Mass immediately after your death; not a quarter of an hour had elapsed.” Then, regarding him with emotion, the blessed soul cried out, “How terrible are those expiatory pains, since they have caused me to mistake minutes for a year. Serve God, my dear brother, with an exact fidelity, in order that you may avoid those chastisements. Farewell! I fly to Heaven, where you will soon join me.”
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SAINT ANTONIINUS WRITES ABOUT THE SUFFERING OF A SOUL IN PURGATORY
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We find in the Annals of the Friar Minors, under the year 1285, a fact which is also related by St. Antoninus in his Summa. (Part 4, § 4). A religious man suffering for a long time from a painful malady, allowed himself to be overcome by discouragement, and entreated God to permit him to die, that he might be released from his pains. He did not think that the prolongation of his sickness was a mercy of God, who wished to spare him more severe suffering. In answer to his prayer, God charged His angel-guardian to offer him his choice, either to die immediately and submit to the pains of Purgatory for three days, or to bear his sickness for another year and then go directly to Heaven. The sick man, having to choose between three days in Purgatory and one year of suffering upon earth, did not hesitate, but took the three days in Purgatory.
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After the lapse of an hour, his angel went to visit him in his sufferings. On seeing him, the poor patient complained that he had been left so long in those torments. “And yet,” he added, “you promised that I should remain here but three days.” “How long,” asked the angel, “do you think you have already suffered?” “At least for several years,” he replied, “and I had to suffer but three days.” “Know,” said the angel, “that you have been here only one hour. The intensity of the pain deceives you as to the time; it makes an instant appear a day, and an hour years.” “Alas! then,” said he with a sigh, “I have been very blind and inconsiderate in the choice I have made. Pray God, my good angel, to pardon me, and permit me to return to earth. I am ready to submit to the most cruel maladies, not only for two years, but as long as it shall please Him. Rather six years of horrible suffering than one single hour in this abyss of unutterable agonies.”
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A HOLY SOUL ADMONISHES SAINT PIO FOR MAKING HIM WAIT A FEW HOURS FOR A MASS SAID ON HIS BEHALF
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Padre Pio told this story to padre Anastasio. “One evening, while I was alone in choir to pray, I heard the rustle of a suit and I saw a young monk that stirred next to the High altar. It seemed that the young monk was dusting the candelabra and straightening the flower vases. I thought he was Padre Leone rearranging the altar, and, since it was supper time, I went to him and I told him: “Padre Leone, go to dine, this is not the time to dust and to straighten the altar”. But a voice, that was not Father Leone’s answered me”: “I am not Padre Leone”, “and who are you? “, I asked him. “I am a brother of yours that made the noviciate here. I was ordered to clean the altar during the year of the noviciate. Unfortunately many times I didn’t reverence Jesus while passing in front of the altar, thus causing the Holy Sacrament that was preserved in the tabernacle to be disrespected. For this serious carelessness, I am still in Purgatory. Now, God, with his endless goodness, sent me here so that you may quicken the time I will enjoy Paradise. Take care of me.” I believed to be generous to that suffering soul, so I exclaimed: “you will be in Paradise tomorrow morning, when I will celebrate Holy Mass”. That soul cried: “Cruel!” Then he wept and disappeared. That complaint produced in me a wound to the heart that I have felt and I will feel my whole life. In fact I would have been able to immediately send that soul to Heaven but I condemned him to remain another night in the flames of Purgatory.”
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A Holy Religious Even Suffers Greatly

Sister Maria Serafina, a Redemptorist nun in 1970 Malines, Belgium, was suddenly seized with inexplicable sadness. Soon after, she received the news that her father had died in that war. From that day on, Sister Maria repeatedly heard distressing groans and a voice saying, “My dear daughter, have mercy on me!” Subsequently, she was besieged with torments, which included unbearable headaches. While laying down one day, she saw her father surrounded with flames and immersed in profound sadness. He was suffering in Purgatory and had received permission from God to beseech prayers from his daughter and relate Purgatory’s suffering to her. Thus he said: I want you to have Masses, prayers and indulgences said on my behalf. Look how I am immersed in this fire-filled hole! Oh! If people knew what Purgatory is, they would suffer anything to avoid it and alleviate the suffering of souls here. Be very holy, my daughter, and observe the Holy Rule, even in its most insignificant points. Purgatory for religious is a terrible thing! Sister Maria saw a pit full of flames, spewing black clouds of smoke. Her father was immersed in the pit where he was burning, horribly suffocated and thirsty. Opening his mouth she saw that his tongue was entirely shriveled. “I am thirsty, my daughter, I am thirsty.” The next day, her father visited her again saying, “My daughter, it has been a long time since I saw you last.” “My father, it was just yesterday . . .” “Oh! It seems like an eternity to me. If I stay in Purgatory three months, it will be an eternity.
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GOD’S JUSTICE EVEN TO THE HOLIEST AMONGST US
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This severity of Divine Justice in regard to the most fervent souls is explained by the infinite Sanctity of God, who discovers stains in that which appears to us most pure. The Annals of the Order of St. Francis speak of a Religious whose eminent sanctity had caused him to be surnamed Angelicus. (Chronique des Frères Min., p. 2, I, 4. c. 8; cf. Rossignoli) He died in odor of sanctity at the monastery of the Friars Minors in Paris, and one his brethren in religion, a doctor in theology, persuaded that, after a life so perfect, he had gone directly to Heaven, and that he stood in no need of prayers, omitted to celebrate for him the three Masses of obligation which, according to the custom of the Institute, were offered for each departed member.
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After a few days, whilst he was walking and meditating in a retired spot, the deceased appeared before him enveloped in flames, and said to him, in a mournful voice, “Dear master, I beg of you have pity upon me!” “What! Brother Angelicus, do you need my assistance?” “I am detained in the fires of Purgatory, awaiting the fruit of the Holy Sacrifice which you should have offered three times for me.” “Beloved brother, I thought you were already in possession of eternal glory. After a life so fervent and exemplary as yours had been, I could not imagine that there remained any pain to be suffered.” “Alas! alas!” replied the departed, “no one can believe with what severity God judges and punishes His creatures. His infinite Sanctity discovers in our best actions defective spots, imperfections which displease Him. He requires us to give an account even to the last farthing.
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OUR DUTY TO THE HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY
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Our Lord wishes people to pray for the souls in purgatory. He once showed Gertrude a table of gold on which were many costly pearls. The pearls were prayers for the holy souls. At the same time the saint had a vision of souls freed from suffering and ascending in the form of bright sparks to heaven.

In one Vision, Our Lord tells Gertrude that he longs for someone to ask Him to release souls from purgatory, just as a king who imprisons a friend for justice’s sake hopes that someone will beg for mercy for his friend. Jesus ends with:

“I accept with highest pleasure what is offered to Me for the poor souls, for I long inexpressibly to have near Me those for whom I paid so great a price. By the prayers of thy loving soul, I am induced to free a prisoner from purgatory as often as thou dost move thy tongue to utter a word of prayer.”

HOW TO HELP THE HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY
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The recital of the Rosary (with its great indulgences) and making the Way of the Cross (which is also richly indulgenced) are excellent means of helping the Holy Souls.
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St. John Massias, as we saw, released from Purgatory more than a million souls, chiefly by reciting the Rosary and offering its great indulgences for them.
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Another easy and efficacious way is by the constant repetition of short indulgenced prayers [applying the indulgence to the Souls in Purgatory]. Many people have the custom of saying 500 or 1,000 times each day the little ejaculation, “Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in Thee!” or the one word, “Jesus. ” These are most consoling devotions; they bring oceans of grace to those who practice them and give immense relief to the Holy Souls. Those who say the ejaculations 1,000 times a day gain 300,000 days Indulgence! What a multitude of souls they can thus relieve! What will it not be at the end of a month, a year, 50 years? And if they do not say the ejaculations, what an immense number of graces and favors they shall have lost! It is quite possible — and even easy — to say these ejaculations 1, 000 times a day. But if one does not say them 1,000 times, let him say them 500 or 200 times.
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ALMS HELP THE HOLY SOULS IF GIVEN IN THEIR NAME
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St. Martin gave half of his cloak to a poor beggar, only to find out afterwards that it was to Christ he had given it. Our Lord appeared to him and thanked him.
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Blessed Jordan of the Dominican Order could never refuse to give an alms when it was asked in the Name of God. One day he had forgotten his purse. A poor man implored an alms for the love of God. Rather than refuse him, Jordan, who was then a student, gave him a most precious cincture or “girdle” which he prized dearly. Shortly after, he entered a church and found his cincture encircling the waist of an image of Christ Crucified. He, too, had given his alms to Christ. We all give our alms to Christ.
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RESOLUTION
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a) Let us give all the alms we can afford;
b) Let us have said all the Masses in our power and say as many Rosaries for them as Possible
c) Let us hear as many Masses as possible;
d) Let us offer all our pains and sufferings for the relief of the Holy Souls.
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We shall thus deliver countless Souls from Purgatory, who will repay us ten thousand times over.
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OFFERING OF DAILY ACTIONS
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ETERNAL Father, by virtue of Thine generosity and love, I ask that
Thou accept all my actions, and that Thou dost multiply their value in
favor of every soul in Purgatory. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
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THE HEROIC ACT IN FAVOR OF THE SOULS IN PURGATORY
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O MY GOD! for Your greater glory, and to imitate as closely as possible the generous Heart of Jesus, my Redeemer, and also to testify my devotion to the Blessed Virgin, my Mother, who is also the Mother of the Souls in Purgatory, I place in her hands all my satisfactory works, as well as the fruit of all those which may be offered for my intention after my death, that she may apply them to the Souls in Purgatory according to her wisdom and good pleasure. Amen.
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This Heroic Act of Charity is the completely unselfish offering to God of all the satisfactory value of one’s prayers and good works — plus the value of any that might be offered for one after one’s death — for the benefit of the Souls in Purgatory, rather than for oneself. The “satisfactory value” of a good work is its value with regard to making up for our sins and reducing our stay in Purgatory. However, the “meritorious value” of our good works is inalienable, i.e., our merits, which give us a right to an increase of glory in Heaven, cannot be applied to anyone else. Moreover, a person who has made the Heroic Act may still pray for himself, friends and other intentions.
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The Heroic Act is revocable at will and is not a vow. Its actual ratification depends on the will of God. By making this act with purity of intention, one is relying upon the mercy of God and the prayers of the Communion of Saints to assist his soul after death. The Heroic Act was approved and encouraged by Pope Benedict XIII [1724-1730].
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According to the Raccolta of 1932: The faithful who make the Heroic Act in favor of the Souls detained in Purgatory, may gain an indulgence.” At the time this was a plenary indulgence with special conditions attached , such as attending Mass, receiving Holy Communion in supplication for the Holy Souls, etc.
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His Holiness, Leo XIII, Jan. 17, 1888, granted to the faithful who shall perform some pious practice for the relief of the Souls in Purgatory, every day during the whole month of November, whether in public or in private, an indulgence of seven years and as many quarantines on each day of the month; a plenary indulgence, once during the same month, on any day of the month, on the usual conditions: confession and communion, and a visit to a church or public oratory, and there praying for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

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