Month of the Holy Souls: The Sufferings of Purgatory
The Sufferings of Purgatory
God speaks to us:
“The fire will assay the quality of everyone’s work... If his work burns he will lose his reward, but himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” -1st Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians 3:13, 16
When Jesus was on earth, His divine attributes were disdained or blasphemed. His wisdom was often misunderstood, His providence not acknowledged, His will not followed. The souls in Purgatory now participate in His sufferings, seeing how they themselves disdained the divine attributes in refusing to recognize them, or at least to submit to them. In contemplating God in the light of the faith, they perceive that He is essentially Father. And they have so badly loved this Father who is so loving! For God, the venial sins of His children are in a certain way more wounding than the mortal insults of His enemies.
What then must be the cry of souls in Purgatory who see through the love of Jesus for His Father the ingratitude of their entire life!
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son... that the world might be saved through Him” (Jn. 3:16-17), and we too often forget this love of God for us, or else we doubt it. The Sacred Heart complained of this ingratitude to St. Margaret Mary in terms which have a divine fullness but even more an ineffable human accent: “I feel the ingratitude of souls more than all that I suffered during My Passion. If only they would make Me some return for My Love, I should think but little of all I have done for them and would wish, were it possible, to suffer still more. But the sole return they make for all My eagerness to do them good is to reject Me and treat Me with coldness.”
These words are the more poignant when we meditate on them at the foot of the cross, contemplating the agony of Jesus in body and soul. Think then how keenly the souls in Purgatory must realize their ingratitude toward their heavenly Father and toward Jesus, who suffered so much for them.
O Jesus, I will to make reparation for my ingratitude and compensate my failures to love by leading from now on a more fervent, more generous life.
O Lord, rebuke me not in Thy indignation, nor chastise me in Thy wrath. — Ps. 6:2
What sufferings there are in purgatory! What agonies! What regret! There, we must do rigorous penance! There, all is punished! There, nothing is forgotten, not even a useless word. O justice of God! — Fr. Emmanuel
1. To meditate for ten minutes on the sufferings of the souls in purga- tory in the light of the divine attributes: God’s wisdom, His power, His justice, His mercy. 2. To mark every hour of the day with the prayer, “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.” 3. To have a Mass celebrated for the souls in Purgatory who are most forgotten, and to assist at that Mass if possible.