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FROM PURGATORY TO PARADISE

We should fervently hope that at our particular judgement God’s mercy will allow us into purgatory.

Pray hard to get into purgatory. Will it hurt?  Yes, it will.

What are the pains of purgatory? Having been judged, and having by God’s mercy escaped damnation, the soul ‘wakes up’ in purgatory to find itself bereft of all its previous bodily senses, and therefore lacking anything resembling what we usually mean by consciousness. No sounds, no sights, no sense-experience.

No longer part of the material world, the soul now apprehends the overwhelming gigantic reality of the spiritual and moral universe – the real universe.

The soul is now aware of the constantly shifting flux of the economy of grace. It now understands more accurately than ever before the full horror of sin. It is bathed in a new appreciation of God’s ineluctable justice. It now realizes that the things which concerned it so obsessively on earth were by and large mere rubbish in comparison with the divine splendour that it briefly glimpsed at its particular judgement.

We, the Church Militant, have a part to play in helping the Holy Souls to enter heaven. It is a great consolation that God allows us to contribute something to the detoxing and purification of a soul in purgatory. Masses offered for the departed, together with other prayers and sacrifices, will hasten the purging of our beloved dead in what Fr.Faber called the ‘holy hospitals’ of purgatory.

One day, for each soul the queuing will be over. For each individual soul in its turn, and separately, the door out of purgatory will open. They will step through that door, and the first ravishing glimpse of light perpetual will greet their eyes.

They will start to hear, perhaps faintly at first, then stronger and louder, the celestial oratorio of God’s eternal praises being sung. If here below your imagination needs help in thinking about the music of heaven, try the Sanctus from Bach’s B minor Mass. Just a start.

At their entry into heaven holy souls become saints. It is then that they surely remember us, the walking wounded, who are still struggling along in the Church Militant. In their new life of unalloyed charity, the new saints will generously return the suffrages which we made on their behalf.

The saints are God’s aristocracy. In paradise, all are ennobled. In all the saints we have friends at court, the court of the King of kings.