Welcome to part four of this six part blog series on Purgatory. In part one we debunked Protestant arguments against Purgatory. In part two we looked at the three points the Catechism makes about Purgatory. And in part three we took a closer look at an analogy that can help us better understand Purgatory. If you missed those, take a peak at the links below.
- Historical Evidence for Purgatory
- What the Catechism Says About Purgatory
- Scriptural Analogies for Understanding Purgatory
- What Our Holy Experts Say About Purgatory
- The Purgatory Museum
- Conclusion: How Does This Relate To Us?
So let’s take a look at what the saints have to say about Purgatory.
The writings and experiences of mystic Saints Catherine Adorno of Genoa and Mary Faustina Kowalska give detailed accounts of what a soul in Purgatory will experience and how this experience is different from Heaven and Hell. Based on the writings of these two beautiful saints, here is a small collection of fun facts about Purgatory that you probably have never heard, I know I hadn’t.
- One big difference between life on earth and the afterlife there is no free will after death. Therefore, there is no sin after death either (even in Hell or Purgatory) (Adorno).
- God forgives all of a person’s sins at the moment of death. However, in Purgatory, this person must make restitution for the damage their sins caused to their relationship with God (Adorno).
- Separation from God is the most painful experience of Purgatory. Saint Catherine even writes “I see that there is in Purgatory as much pain as in Hell”. However, because the suffering in Purgatory is temporary, there is hope; where as in the eternal Hell there is only despair (Adorno).
- According to Saint Faustina, Mary our mother and Queen of Heaven is the only comfort for these suffering souls in Purgatory. She comes to them to comfort her most suffering children (Kowalska).
- Though they are suffering, these souls are not able to look selfishly or inwardly upon themselves during their suffering because they have hope and are not capable of looking at suffering in a sinful way as we often do (Adorno).
- These souls do not know what imperfections are requiring them to remain in Purgatory until after they are completely purified. Once the soul is ready to enter heaven, God allows the soul to see its imperfections, allowing them to appreciate how clean and holy they have become (Adorno).
BONUS-What the souls want us to know: Here are some excerpts from St. Catherine’s Book A Treaties on Purgatory telling of what the souls wish they could tell us here on earth.
"You have all taken shelter beneath hope in God's mercy, which is, you say, very great, but you see not that this great goodness of God will judge you for having gone against the will of so good a Lord. His goodness should constrain you to do all His will, not give you hope in ill-doing, for His justice cannot fail but in one way or another must needs be fully satisfied."
"I would fain send up a cry so loud that it would put fear in all men on the earth. I would say to them: 'Wretches, why do you let yourselves be thus blinded by the world, you whose need is so great and grievous, as you will know at the moment of death, and who make no provision for it whatsoever?"
"Cease to hug yourselves, saying: 'I will confess my sins and then receive plenary indulgence, and at that moment I shall be purged of all my sins and thus shall be saved.'Think of the confession and the contrition needed for that plenary indulgence, so hardly come by that, if you knew, you would tremble in great fear, more sure you would never win it than that you ever could."
Hope you enjoyed these random facts about Purgatory!
Let me know what you found most interesting or what your reaction to those pretty radical quotes was. I would love to here what you think!
To Be Continued… Part 5 Coming Soon