The two paths that lead to Purgatory
– The path of mortal sin –
By its nature, mortal sin leads much further than Purgatory: it casts one into the pits of Hell. Souls, which are permeated with sin plunge into the depths of Hell. They cannot stand the light of God, which appears to them at the time of their death. But if the sinner repents and confesses, the grace of God descends upon him through sacramental grace. What happens then? The sins are forgiven, the friendship with God restored and all that remains is the hurt we have inflicted on God, which we must expiate: either in this world through penance, prayers, holy Mass, or in the next through the torments of Purgatory. After many years of separation, what a terrible and long purification awaits that soul! What enormous debt will have to be expiated! It is true that sacramental penance reduces our debt but it is so seldom done and with so little fervour!
It is true that mortification and indulgences can preserve us and deliver us from Purgatory, but so few Christians make mortifications and fast! Those who are the guiltiest are the ones who make the least penance!
How many do not have sufficient contrition to earn indulgences! How few are able to avoid that terrible purification! So many sins and so little atonement!
If our past life has been tarnished by grave sins, that consideration must make us ponder and awaken in us the desire for penance. It must also lead us to pray for the souls in most need of God’s mercy. Oh my God! Fill my spirit with a holy fear of your terrible Judgement!
– The path of venial sin –
Do you do penance? Christians, if you are innocent and have conserved the purity of your baptism, as did St. Louis, how numerous are the venial sins, which make you indebted towards God! Truly, those sins are innumerable. Your life may well be strewn with venial sins such as useless thoughts, careless words, vanities, wasted time, and judgemental comments. Do you not offend God at times, with the pretext that your faults are slight? Are you not often guilty of certain venial faults which are near to being mortal? Do you do penance regularly? If your life is full of debts and you make little retribution, you are obviously on the path that leads directly to Purgatory. How many days, months, years will you have to suffer in that terrible place of atonement! How long and painful will your Purgatory be! Think about it and say, I want to settle my debts towards God. I want to take the little time that is left to me through his Divine Mercy to satisfy his Justice; I want to settle the debts that are so easily acquitted with a little love and charity. Oh souls in Purgatory come to my aid. Pray that God gives me a spirit of penance and I will pray for your relief and your consolation.
– Example –
In 1848 there lived in London a 29 year-old widow, quite rich and very worldly. Among the regular guests in her home was a young lord of questionable conduct.
Late one night, this young widow was in bed reading a book when suddenly, a bright light started to fill her room with growing intensity. Astonished and quite worried, she saw the door to her room slowly open. The young lord who had been her accomplice in revelry stood there, all in flames. Before she could utter a word, he grabbed her wrist and shouted, there truly is a Hell where one burns! Know this for certain!
The searing pain in her wrist caused the young widow to pass out. When she came to about thirty minutes later, she called for her chambermaid. Upon entering the room, the servant could smell the strong odour of burned flesh. She noticed the burn on her mistress’ wrist, which was seared down to the bone. The wound had the distinct print of a man’s hand.
She also noticed that the carpet showed the imprint of a man’s foot from the doorway to the bed and that those footprints had burned the carpet. The next day, the widow learned that the young lord had died that very night…
Let Us Pray
My God, how many faults do I allow myself to make every day without the slightest regret as if they were of no importance! If I considered the debt I will one day have to acquit, how much more vigilant I would be. Please strengthen my weaknesses and reanimate my failing courage. Please have mercy on my brethren of the triumphant Church! May they rest in peace!
Let Us Pray
Lord, hear the prayers we will offer up to you every day of this month for the consolation of our deceased brothers and sisters and grant them a place of refreshing light and peace! Hear also the prayers which those souls will offer up to you for our intention that we might ultimately obtain, through their intercession, the graces for which we pray for