“The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines purgatory as a "purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven," which is experienced by those "who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified" (CCC 1030). It notes that "this final purification of the elect . . . is entirely different from the punishment of the damned" (CCC 1031).
The purification is necessary because, as Scripture teaches, nothing unclean will enter the presence of God in heaven (Rev. 21:27) and, while we may die with our mortal sins forgiven, there can still be many impurities in us, specifically venial sins and the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven.” (This explanation copied from Catholic Answers.)
Here is the ”explanation” given to my heart when we went through the process of Spiritual Growth and Inner Healing at the Divine Mercy Prayer Center, while living in Texas.
The more God peeled back one layer at a time, the scars that emotional hurts and physical hurts had left on my soul/spirit, and the more I realized how they affected my behavior and caused me to react in angry ways, I began to wonder about other good people who did not have the benefit of such classes. I wondered about my ancestors, my good friends, my teachers, all faithful followers of Christ and all ‘saved’ by their belief in Jesus Christ. They had to have been wounded too.
I had been walking faithfully my Catholic/Christian faith for years, and I was just now finding out WHY I DO WHAT I DO even though I DON’T WANT TO DO IT! Like St. Paul, those thorns in our sides are there for reasons we do not understand. And so the “Mea Culpa’s” keep coming daily as we realized just how human and weak we are.
So what happens when we die and are in need of more “ENLIGHTMENT” for our soul to truly be able to receive all that LOVE from God that He wants to give us? Many of us leave this earth still not believing in our heart that we are ‘good enough’, due to those inner voices that plagued us on our earthly journey. Voices that came from all the times we were corrected, criticized and judged, bullied, abused, -----all of these moments imprinted on our souls---that lie—“you are not worthy to be loved.”
This is why I believe in Purgatory and the belief that after death, there still is a time of traveling, as we see all of our life and are given wisdom, understanding, knowledge and discernment that we did not get here on earth. This is why the Holy Spirit’s gifts are so important and why we need to seek daily answers to “why do I feel the way I do?” All need inner healing and should go ‘Back with Jesus’ to the past, so that total forgiveness can be given and received, as we see with eyes of Wisdom and Understanding.
I am speaking of this Catholic Belief about Purgatory because of a series of little coincidences since Divine Mercy Sunday. Because of His mercy and love for me, by grace, “Light” poured into my “dark night of the soul,” or my purgatory journey here on earth.
It started with threats of tornados coming into our area that had me putting up my accordion into its case to protect it if necessary, and finding this very small prayer booklet that mysteriously was lying at the bottom of the case. The title of this mystery booklet? “A Daily Pilgrimage into Purgatory,” which is a devotion that St. Margaret Mary started. Reading it, I knew right away that God was leading me into a deeper motivation to pray for ALL the poor souls---here on earth and in Purgatory. Within a few days, more incidents happened that led me to see just how powerful those prayers were, and their prayers are for us here on earth. The Holy Spirit began to feed my spirit with inspiration and motivation to love and serve God and others. Once more, zeal and encouragement blossomed in a garden choked by weeds. (I encourage you to research more about this “Daily Pilgrimage Devotion.”)
The greatest help that came in my life was when I began to ‘offer up as prayer’ those tiny irritations that CAN BUILD up to make me angry in just minutes! I offer these up instantly for whoever had the same irritations in life. I also think about those ‘grumpy irritating husbands’ who, like mine, do not realize how they are hurting those around by their negative behavior. This change in attitude and habits is working!
I have also asked God to let me know how the prayers are helping the poor souls—and He has. From the shapes of sunlight dancing among the shade of the trees, to the shadows cast by the statue of Mary at church, that look like her hands are extending to the faint flames below—coming from the shadow of canna lilies at her feet—I am led to see ‘more souls going up.’ (Remember, we are to be as a child in our faith, so don’t scoff at my simple thoughts I feel are sent by God.)
So, beloved of God, ask and you shall receive. If you need Wisdom and Understanding ---please ASK—and the Holy Spirit will gladly oblige. Meanwhile, pray for all those who are suffering ANYWHERE beyond your eyesight. You will be mightily blessed.
From our reading today Reading 2 1 Pt 2:20b-25
If you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good,
this is a grace before God.
For to this you have been called,
because Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.
He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.
When he was insulted, he returned no insult;
when he suffered, he did not threaten;
instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly.
He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross,
so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness.
By his wounds you have been healed.
For you had gone astray like sheep,
but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.
Fits right into the need to offer up all suffering for the needs of others, doesn’t it?