IT WILL be my Dad’s first “Undas,” since he passed on peacefully Feb. 10 this year after having received the last sacramental rites twice and, for years at home, praying nightly to the Divine Mercy. Yesterday, I and the rest of the family had planned to go to churches to petition prayers for him for the entire month of November, starting All Saints’ Day on Nov. 1, but was told that Mondays are rest days for priests all over Pampanga when all parish offices also close.
This afternoon, a Tuesday, we will drive through at least two churches for Masses for Dad. I told mom this was important, since Dad could still be in Purgatory and we want him, through God’s unfathomable mercy, lifted up to Heaven this November.
Yes, it would be unfair to Dad to declare to myself and others that he is in Heaven having beer with the saints. To declare this would imply Dad no longer needs prayers. Persons in Heaven are prayed to, not prayed for.
But there is our Blessed Mother telling us, through her apparitions in Medjugorje, that only a few go directly to Heaven after leaving their earthly bodies (we call this death) as many still have to be purified in Purgatory, the realm where ghosts come from mostly to appeal for prayers.
Also, the Blessed Mother said that, in terms of earthly calculation, most spend about 30 to 40 years in the state of purgation before being welcomed to heavenly abode.
The Church tells us, as the Blessed Mother does, that we earthlings can, however, speed up their deliverance through Mass offerings, prayers, and other works of sanctity.
Since the likelihood of us passing through Purgatory is significant, it would be interesting to know more about the, uh, place. There is no shortage of information about it, from the witnessing and writings of mystics, nay, even from a museum at the Vatican with its collection of physical manifestations from persons seeking deliverance from Purgatory, including burnt hand imprints on pages of prayer books etc. hinting on purgatorial fires.
There is an impressive pamphlet titled “unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory” which I had bought on Kindle but, just this morning, I could not open for reasons unknown. I had planned to share excerpts from it, but the difficulty prompted me to sift through my library to find an alternative: a booklet, translated into English by Fr. Adolf Faroni, also about the account of a soul describing Purgatory as he, the soul, was experiencing it.
Let me share excerpts:
“The souls of Purgatory are wrapped by a kind of veil, by a hard bark. It is the bark which closed them up in their earthly life: the soul’s ego, the excessive looking after themselves, the world, the thought of oneself and one’s own reputation and all the things which seemed too important…The bark is made of these things and the light of God can hardly penetrate them.
“There are souls who did not seriously ask themselves if their lives were pleasing to God, and who without fear, believe that everything is well within them.
“There are people who go to church, they also pray, and accomplish good works, and yet a bark is formed around their soul.
“They think that all they do is well done. They do not put questions about the desires of God, they do everything without love, without fear of the Lord, and dull their conscience by the fulfillment of external duties. If one makes them notice their faults, they fund justification for everything….
“There are men who in their lifetime had great wisdom and who also did great good to humanity, who have used their tongue for all that was good and right. But as all this was done only for their own ambitious wisdom, they have completely plunged into the spirit of the world, living in excessive independence, without entertaining themselves with the Divine Master. These souls reach eternity with the greatest ignorance….
“These wise men often have an obtuse soul… they often have to stay for a long time in Purgatory, until they have opened up by themselves, until they have awakened from their slumber, until they are no longer dazed by their own ego…”