How can we avoid Purgatory? 

– By often thinking about Purgatory –

The thought of Purgatory leads our spirit to meditate on death and judgement and thereby can only inspire in us salvific reflections. Meditate on your death, the Holy Spirit tells us, and you will not sin.

The thought also inspires the spirit of penance and mortification. Meditating on the long, cruel torments, the anguish and the countless victims, who plead for relief, the soul will exclaim, at long last, I want to atone and redeem. I want to take advantage of the days granted to me by God’s Mercy. I want to atone for my sins with a little generosity and love. I want to avoid the torments in Purgatory by any means. I will succeed with my will and God’s grace.

If by God’s grace we always had that truth before our very eyes, it would be impossible for us not to become saints, even great saints. The constant thought of Purgatory would eliminate from our life a multitude of venial faults, would inspire the practice of sublime virtues and in our final hour, adorned with our merits, our soul would soar towards its eternal home without having to be purified in Purgatory

– By often praying for the souls in Purgatory. –

The fathers and doctors of the Church believe that those who take an interest and pray for the souls of the deceased escape Purgatory or at least spend little time there. They tell us that the most infallible mark of predestination is to save many souls, for God did promise to do for us as what we would do for others.

Blessed are the merciful for they will obtain mercy.

We can hope for the gratitude of the souls we have delivered. Could they show themselves less sensitive or charitable than we? At the moment of our death and our judgement, they will come running and will be our protectors, our witnesses, to tip the scales on the side of mercy. They will remove the snares of the infernal spirit and we will obtain the most precious grace: a holy death. St. Augustine said, I have never heard of anyone who volunteered to pray for the dead and who had a bad or uncertain death.

This is assuredly a means of avoiding the rigors in Purgatory! Let us heed the advice of the Gospels, Let us make friends so that at the moment of our death, those whom we have relieved will introduce us to the Eternal Tabernacles.

Our brethren, the deceased, are now in need. What little we do for them will help them fly up to Heaven whose very gates we will have helped to open. Yes, let us deliver them from Purgatory and they will keep us from falling there ourselves. It is reported that at the moment of St. Catherine of Cortone’s death, all the souls she had helped by her prayers, came to receive her triumphantly.

– Example –

There is a story told about a woman who had consecrated her life to the relief of the souls in Purgatory. As she was about to breathe her last, the evil one attacked her furiously, realising that she was about to escape his grasp. It seemed as if all the demons in Hell had congregated around her. The dying woman fought desperately against the Hellish cohort, when suddenly there appeared in her room a number of beings. They were unknown to her but they shone like so many suns. They chased away the demons and surrounded her bed, encouraging and consoling her. Heaving a deep sigh, the woman cried out, Who are you who bring me so much consolation?

They answered, We are grateful visitors from Heaven who were beatified by your help and we have come to help you cross into eternity, to take you from this place of anguish and to introduce you to the joys of the Holy City. With those words, a smile broke out on the dying woman’s face and her eyes closed as she entered the Lord’s Peace. Her soul, pure as a dove, presented itself to the Lord of lords where it found as many protectors and advocates as she had delivered from Purgatory. Found worthy of Glory, she entered in triumph amid the applause and blessings of all the souls she had pulled out in Purgatory. May we one day know the same happiness!

For the relief of the souls in Purgatory, we can also offer: a visit to a church, a pilgrimage, the use of holy water, Masses, novenas, prayers, sacrifices, acts of love, humiliations, fasting … 

Using holy water is pleasing to the Lord. Every time the priest blesses us with holy water, he does so as the Church’s representative whose prayers the Saviour always heeds, no matter for whom he offers them. Maria Simma tells us, When you take holy water and make a sign of the Cross, allow a few drops to fall on the ground for the souls in purgatory.

Let Us Pray

Oh my God, do not let me forget, by a false sensibility, the salvific thought of Purgatory. Etch its existence in my heart as a powerful means of preserving me from Purgatory and of coming to the aid of the souls who linger there. Help me to bring their exile to an end and to open for them the gates of Heaven!

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.