So much has been written about Purgatory, the anguish some consider too much to think about while others regard this as obscene and not Godly within the realm of believers. EWTN just showed (August 6, 2017) an hour and a half documentary on “Purgatory the Forgotten Church” which was eye opening and emotional, reliving some of the most beautiful stories from past saints, mystics, and current Church leaders regarding this most wonderful stop-over on the way to Heaven.
There are some elements that need to be considered before delving into the depths of where and what this entity is about. First, does it even exist? If it does, then what are we, the Church Militant, to do as procurers of God’s Grace for those who are the Church Penitent, unable to help themselves and waiting for prayers from us so to enter into the gates of Paradise.
The reality of its existence can become the most mind-moving element in the spiritual journey anyone looking to spend eternity with God can imagine. As I write this document, my heart feels much warmer knowing that perhaps I, with many others, have been chosen to promote the beautiful essence of this perfect place, where healing souls begins in a way that represents God’s Perfect Love to purify a waiting soul to become His bride. (place; not as being physical).
Today your life began as usual waking up, completing the regular morning rituals, eating a quick breakfast, and preparing to hit the road. Driving on the busy highway this morning left an uneasy feeling in your stomach and disturbed you somewhat. Suddenly everything went black and you found yourself in a confused state of existence. You were just involved in a terrible auto accident and you were killed. “Where am I?” the thoughts seemed to say. Nothing appeared familiar and the realization that the only thought that mattered was God. The stories from Church about God creating us to spend eternity with Him come into your mind’s view and now why wasn’t I there?
“Is it true”, you think as there appears to be familiarity in an unfamiliar existence that Purgatory as taught in the Church does exist and how will I now be able to leave and find my way to God?
As the feelings of helplessness become obvious the ability to reach some living people who could, if they have an openness to spiritual reality, be nudged in some way to pray for you. That was one of the tenets you learned while attending religion classes and you hoped those people did the same. Little be little the subtle manner a spirit as yourself is able to make your presence felt, you find one who picks up on the small ways that promote his prayer time to be given for your purging. You are not confined to time and so the urging used is constant and eventually the prayers appear to come through for your ability to leave. Imagine, if you can, the moment arrives for a most exuberant celebration promised you a long time past and you can feel the palpitations of your heart beating with a rhythm like never before, as the clock reveals the magic hour is about to unfold before your very eyes. You want to thank that person who tirelessly prayed for your release from an existence that was not terrible, but lonely without God’s Presence before you.
As a recent retiree my thoughts originally were; “how will I spend my waking moments now that the everyday routine of getting up for work was over”. Since I spend a lot of time reflecting and writing, these concerns do not affect me. However, I know from talking with other retirees that their days can be filled with anguish and at times loneliness, especially if their spouse has passed on. I find these moments are prayers as well for those in Purgatory.
Pray! We do not need to pray for ourselves since God will take care of us when our prayers are directed to others, especially the Poor Souls in Purgatory. When there are spare moments in one's daily activities or lack of, prayer can be a therapeutic way of filling the void of time and helping to release a soul, or many souls from their time away from God.
Remember the three states of the Church within Catholic ecclesiology. The Church Militant; those of us still on earth. The Church Penitent; those in Purgatory. The Church Triumphant; those who enjoy the beatific vision and are in heaven. This is the Communion of Saints and we all have an important position in God’s Plan. The basic thrust is prayer and we should not forget to pray for those who are unable to do so for themselves. If we make that stop-over on the way to heaven, our hope will be that someone like ourselves will take the time to remember our waiting soul for release from Purgatory.