Holiness of the souls in Purgatory
St. Catherine of Genoa told us, Every soul, the moment it is in Purgatory is elevated to a degree of perfection and Divine union which could serve as a model for the most holy person here on earth. There are in Purgatory a multitude of predestined souls who have triumphed over their passions, who have conquered the world and the devil, who have practiced the most heroic virtues and have come out of that place of exile full of merit. They would shine like the brightest stars if their dress of innocence had not been soiled by the smallest of imperfections. The least of these souls is countless times more precious than the whole of our physical universe. They love God completely. That love makes them love their suffering and the Justice, which keeps them in that place of purification. Should we open for them the gates of Heaven, they would chose to remain where they are rather than to enter into eternal glory with the slightest imperfection. They cannot thank their Beloved enough for having prepared for them a place of atonement which allows them to acquire that gleaming purity which is worthy of their Heavenly Spouse. Like Job, amidst terrible affliction, they continually cry out, Blessed be the name of Jesus! Let us therefore be compassionate towards those holy souls, for more than ever they need our assistance. One day, the roles will be reversed: they will become our benefactors in Heaven, our mediators with God. They will then joyfully repay what we had done for them during their affliction.
– They are loved by God –
An author once said, If God loves us poor mortal sinners, so imperfect, so devoid of virtue, how much more will he love the souls in Purgatory, they who are his forever and in whom He sees the glory of his chosen? They are infinitely more dear to him. They are his brides, his dear children and the inheritors of his glory, called to praise him in Heaven for all eternity. All are living stones destined for the eternal Church of the New Jerusalem and which the chisel of the Divine Sculptor prepares and polishes before setting them in the place He has prepared for them, since the beginning of time. He loves them tenderly. He contemplates them lovingly. He desires to be united with them. His paternal Heart suffers because of their sad exile, but his Justice keeps them in their prison until they have acquitted the smallest debt. Also, what a joy it is for that tender and loving Father if a friend, a mediator, intervened between the chastisement and the fault to disarm his severity and to reconcile Him with his love child! How many reasons for loving those blessed souls and to exercise a great deal of charity towards them! They are so worthy of our affection! When we have compassion for the poor of this world, we have no idea if he or she deserves it, if he or she is guilty or ungrateful. But with the souls of the deceased, we can be certain that they deserve it. The soil into which we sow is invariably fertile: for each grain we plant, Heaven will reap a fruit and for us, a blessing
– Example –
In a vision, St. Gertrude saw the soul of a nun she had known who had lived a life of great virtue. She stood before our Lord, dressed in a robe marked by signs of her great charities but unable to gaze at the face of our adorable Saviour. She continued to stare at her feet with the look of a criminal, denoting by such a gesture the need to withdraw from the Divine Master. Stunned, St. Gertrude wished to know the reason for such behaviour, God of mercy, why do you not accept this sister of mine who did so much good in her lifetime? Our Lord stretched out his arms as though to greet this unfortunate soul but the latter went away from Him with deep humility. More and more surprised, St. Gertrude asked the soul of her friend why she was fleeing the embrace of such a tender spouse, Because I am not yet cleansed of every stain left on my soul by my sins. Even were God to allow me as I am to enter his Kingdom, I would not accept because as brilliant as I might seem in his eyes, I know that I am not yet a spouse worthy of my Saviour.
Thus, those holy souls endure their suffering in perfect resignation. They are so transformed in God that they would not want to abstain from the slightest portion of their torment. They accept them with a joy, which grows more and more as they near their liberation. How worthy they are of our love, our sympathy, of all our charity!
Let Us Pray
Oh God, You forgive sinners and You want the salvation of all mankind! Look favourably on the souls in Purgatory. They are your spouses, your children of predilection. They have loved You tenderly and served You courageously. Show them your divine Face. Oh Jesus, be their Conciliator! Lord, call your children, our brothers and sisters, to the eternal Kingdom and may the light that never dies shine upon them forever! 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.