Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Our prayers and good works can help and serve to deliver the souls in purgatory

"We maintain, then, that we may pray for the faithful departed, and that the prayers and good works of the living greatly relieve them and are profitable to them -for this reason, that all those who die in the grace of God, and consequently in the number of the elect, do not go to Paradise at the very first moment, but many go to Purgatory, where they suffer a temporal punishment, from which our prayers and good works can help and serve to deliver them. There lies the point of our difference.

We agree that the blood of Our Redeemer is the true purgatory of souls; for in it are cleansed all the souls in the world; whence S. Paul speaks of it, in the 1st of Hebrews, as making purgation of sins. Tribuations also are a purgatory, by which our souls are rendered pure, as gold is refined in the furnace. The furnace trieth the potter's vessels, and the trial of affliction just men.(Ecclus. xxvii) Penance and contrition again form a certain purgatory, as David said of old in the 50th Psalm: Thou shalt wash me, 0 Lord, with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed. It is well known also that Baptism in which our sins are washed away can be again called a purgatory, as everything can be that serves to purge away our offences: but here we take Purgatory for a place in which after this life the souls which leave this world before they have been perfectly cleansed from the stains which they have contracted since nothing can enter Paradise which is not pure and undefiled-are detained in order to be washed and purified. And if one would know why this place is called simply Purgatory more than are the other means of purgation above-named, the answer will be, that it is because in that place nothing takes place but the purgation of the stains which remain at the time of departure out of this world, whereas in Baptism, Penance, tribulations, and the rest, not only is the soul purged from its imperfections, but it is further enriched with many graces and perfections ; whence the name of Purgatory has been limited to that place in the other world which, properly speaking, is for no purpose but the purification of souls. And agreeing as to the blood of Our Lord, we so fully acknowledge the virtue thereof, that we protest by all our prayers that the purgation of souls, whether in this world or in the other, is made solely by its application:-more jealous of the honour due to this precious medicine than those who so highly value it that they undervalue the using of it. Therefore by Purgatory we understand a place where souls for a time are purged of the spots and imperfections they carry with them from this mortal life."

-- The Doctrine of Purgatory by St Francis de Sales


The end of November is just around the corner. Remember to offer a charitable alms for the souls in purgatory: Communions, prayers, skipping dessert, patience at the grocery store or that traffic jam making your blood boil under your skin...

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