Article five on this most “August Reality” of life after death!
There can be some issues in life that one might write or comment about and the discussion ends without anymore consideration. Then, there are those elements that never completely conclude without a need to delve further into or require a never-ending synopsis that can open the minds of many who may be unsure of its existence. This is what the teaching and promotion of Purgatory is all about.
After further study and absorption of stories from saints, mystics, and writers who have experienced visions and/or actual encounters with souls from Purgatory, I feel compelled to continue writing regarding some of the tenets of actual pronouncements of this most perfect manner our Just God has allowed for accepting our immortal soul, cleansed of all imperfections, to share eternal bliss in the beatific vision.
Taken from the CCC: Desire for true happiness frees man from his immoderate attachment to the goods of this world so that he can find his fulfillment in the vision and beatitude of God. “The promise of seeing God surpasses all beatitude …In Scripture, to see is to possess… Whoever sees God has obtained all the goods of which he can conceive.” CCC 2548
I recently purchased a book titled; “Purgatory - Explained by the Lives and Legends of the Saints” by Fr. F. X. Schouppe, S.J. wherein there are countless encounters of poor souls in Purgatory telling about their time there and revealing their suffering, but in all they are happy to be purified for past sins, although forgiven were never completely expiated.
Following are points that must be addressed in order to get a more clear understanding of the reason for Purgatory and God’s Divine Justice and Mercy; excerpted from the book Purgatory.
1. God’s Justice is terrible, and punishes with extreme rigor, even for the most trivial faults. The least of these faults displease God and because the infinite Sanctity is offended these transgressions, small as they seem, assume large proportions and therefore demand large atonement. This will explain the extreme severity of the pains experienced in the other life; Purgatory. Let us however, guard against excessive fear, and not lose confidence.
2. God’s Mercy is also infinitely gracious and merciful. “The Lord is gracious and merciful; patient, and plenteous in mercy” (Psalm 144). His ineffable mercy should calm our most likely apprehensions and fill our souls with a confidence that is holy. Let us not forget the Mercy of God, which is not less than infinite than His Justice. Thy mercy, Lord, is great above the Heavens, says the prophet (Psalm 107).
Allow me to add, what I alluded to in my article “Communion of Saints” (8/21/2017) and from his book regarding what Fr. Schouppe mentions; “The three sister Churches have incessant relations with each other, a continual communication which we call the Communion of Saints. These relations have no other object than to conduct souls to eternal glory, the final term to which all the elect tend. The three Churches mutually assist in peopling Heaven, which is the permanent city, the glorious Jerusalem.” The three Churches: The Church Militant; the living; The Church Triumphant; those in Heaven; and the Church Suffering; those in Purgatory.
Purgatory, in a sense, states that the condition of souls at the moment of death are in a state of grace but have not completely expiated their faults (sins) or reached the condition of purification needed to be part of the beatific vision of God. Therefore, it is an intermediate state which will end in a life of eternal happiness. It becomes a condition of atonment and expiation.
Continuing with excerpts from the book Purgatory, “If God reserves terrible chastisements in the other life for the least faults, He does not inflict them without, at the same time, tempering them with clemency; and nothing shows better the admirable harmony of the Divine perfection than Purgatory, because the most severe Justice is there exercised, together with the most ineffable Mercy.