Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Manuscript On Purgatory (3 of 5)

Sister Mary of the Cross: “Where is Purgatory situated?”

It is in the center of the earth, close to Hell, as you saw one day after Holy Communion. The large number of souls there are confined to a limited space. There are thousands and thousands of souls there. But then what space does a soul occupy? Each day thousands of souls come to Purgatory and most of them remain thirty to forty years, some for longer periods, others for shorter. I tell you this in terms of earthly calculations because here it is quite different. Oh, if people only knew and understood what Purgatory is and what it means to know that we are here through our own fault. I have been here for eight years and it seems to me like ten thousand. Oh my God! Tell all this to the Father, so that he may learn from me what this place of suffering is like and may make it better known in the future. He will be able to find out for himself how profitable it is to have a great devotion to the holy souls in Purgatory. God often accords more graces through the intercession of these suffering souls than through prayers of the saints. Let the Father, when he wishes to be sure of obtaining what he wants, ask the souls who have loved Our Lady most. These, in consequence, she wishes most of all to release. He will see whether his prayer is heard or not.

There are some souls who do not live continually in Purgatory itself.... For instance, I accompany you wherever you go, but while you rest during the night, I suffer more, because then I am actually in Purgatory.

The Father was very right when he told you never to seek anything but the holy will of God in all you do. To see His will in all that happens to you, whether in sorrow or in joy, will be for your happiness. Oh, be doubly good in order to give pleasure to God who is so good, who is so particularly good to you. Have the eyes of your souls always open to anticipate His least wishes. Be beforehand with Him, as it were, to give Him pleasure. The more you try to please Him, the more He will give you. He will never allow Himself to be outdone in generosity. On the contrary, He always gives more than is given to Him. Be unrelenting, therefore in devoting yourself to His love and glory.

The English woman, who was drowned at Mont Michael, went straight to Heaven. She had the necessary contrition at the moment of death and at the same time the baptism of desire. All this happened through the intervention of St. Michael. What a happy shipwreck!

About Father P___ who is retired, St. Michael is not pleased about that. But God leaves one free. He wishes to have in His service those who serve Him willingly without ever looking back. Tell Father P___ God wants him to continue with great courage to accomplish all that he has undertaken for His sake. Tell him to be prudent and not undertake more than his strength will allow. I am praying for all his intentions, and as I told you before, I pray for him as I do for you.

Pius IX went straight to Heaven. He had his Purgatory on earth.

Sister Mary of the Cross: “How do you know M. P.___ went straight to Heaven as you did not see her pass through Purgatory?”

God made this known to me. It is through His goodness that I know the things you ask me, when I have not seen or experienced them myself.

The justice of God keeps us in Purgatory, and we deserve it, but His mercy and His fatherly Heart does not leave us here bereft of consolation. We ardently desire complete union with Jesus, but He desires it almost as much as we do. On earth, He sometimes communicates Himself to certain souls in a most intimate manner (to few, because, so few will listen to Him) and He delights in revealing His secrets to them. The souls that receive these favors are those that seek to please Him in all their conduct and who live and breathe only for Jesus and try to please Him.

There are in Purgatory very culpable souls but they are repentant, and notwithstanding the sins they have to expiate, they are confirmed in grace and can no longer sin. They are perfected as the soul is purified by degrees in this expiation. The soul understands God better, without, however, the soul seeing God, because then there would no longer be any Purgatory. If in Purgatory, we did not know God better than He is known on earth, our suffering would not be so keen and our martyrdom so cruel. Our main torment is the absence of Him who is the sole object of our long-endured desires.

The three friends of V. P. ___ have been in Heaven for a long time.

Sister Mary of the Cross: “Then what happened to the prayers Father P___ said for them?”

Those in Heaven for whom prayers are said on earth can apply those prayers to the souls they wish to benefit. It is a very consoling thought for those in the other world to know that their relatives and friends on earth do not forget them, even though they have no further need of prayers. In return, they are not ungrateful.

The judgments of God are very different from those of the world. He takes into account the temperament and character of each and what is done by carelessness or pure malice. To Him who knows the most secret recesses of the heart, it is not difficult to see what goes on there. Jesus is very good, but He is also most just.

Sister Mary of the Cross: “What is the distance between Purgatory and the earth we inhabit?”

Purgatory is in the center of the globe.

Sister Mary of the Cross: “Is not the earth itself a Purgatory?”

Amongst the people who dwell there some, by voluntary or accepted penance, do their Purgatory on earth because it is truly a place of suffering, but these souls, not having sufficient generosity, go to the real Purgatory to finish what was begun on earth.

Sister Mary of the Cross: “Are sudden and unprepared death acts of God's justice or of his mercy?”

Such deaths are sometimes an act of justice, sometimes one of mercy. When a soul is timid and God knows it is well prepared to appear before Him, He takes it out of this world suddenly to spare it the terrors it might experience at the last moment. Sometimes, also, God takes souls in His justice. They are not for this eternally lost, but their Purgatory is much more severe and prolonged than it would otherwise have been, since they were either deprived of the Last Sacraments or received them hastily and so were unprepared for their passage into eternity. Others having filled up the measure of their crimes and having remained deaf to all inspirations of Divine Grace are taken by God out of this world so that they may not excite His vengeance still more.

Sister Mary of the Cross: “Is the fire of Purgatory like that of earth?”

Yes, with this difference, that the fire of Purgatory is a purification prescribed by God's justice and that of earth is very mild compared to that of Purgatory. It is a shadow compared to the furnace of Divine Justice.

Sister Mary of the Cross: “How can a soul burn?”

By a just and express permission of God, the soul which is the real culprit (for the body only obeys the soul) suffers as if the body were suffering. Have you ever seen any evil committed by a dead body?

Sister Mary of the Cross: “Tell me what happens during the agony and after. Does the soul find itself in light or darkness? Under what form is the sentence pronounced?”

I had no agony as you know, but I can tell you this, that at the last decisive moment, the devil lets loose all his rage against the one that is dying. God permits souls to go through these last trials in order to increase their merits. Souls that are strong and generous, in order that they may have a more glorious place in Heaven, have often had, at the end of their lives and in the moment of death, terrible combats with the angel of darkness. You have been a witness to this. But they always come out victorious. God never allows a soul that has been devoted to Him during life to perish at the last moment. Those souls who have loved the Blessed Virgin and invoked her all their lives will receive from her many graces in their last struggles. It is the same for those who have been really devout to St. Joseph, to St. Michael, or to any of the saints. I have already said one is glad to have an intercessor with God in those dreadful moments. Some souls die quite tranquilly without experiencing any of those trials. God has His designs in everything. He does or permits all for the good of each particular soul.

How can I describe what happens after the agony? It is impossible really to understand it unless one has passed through it. When the soul leaves the body it is as if it were lost in or, if I may say so, surrounded by God. It finds itself in such bewildering light that in a twinkling of an eye it sees its whole life spread out, and at this sight, it sees what it deserves, and this same light pronounces its sentence. The soul does not see God but is annihilated in His presence. If the soul is guilty as I was and, therefore, deserves Purgatory, it is so crushed by the weight of the faults that still remain to be blotted out, that it hurls itself into Purgatory. It is only then that one understands God and His love for souls and what a terrible evil sin is in the eyes of the Divine Majesty. St. Michael is present when the soul leaves the body. I saw him only, and he is the only one that every soul sees. (Later ) I also saw my Guardian Angel. From this you can understand why it is said, "St. Michael conducts souls to Purgatory", for a soul is not taken, but he is there at the carrying out of each sentence. All that happens in this other world is a mystery for yours.

Sister Mary of the Cross: “What happens when a soul goes straight to Heaven?”

For that soul, its union with Jesus continues after death, that is Heaven, but the union in Heaven is much closer and more intimate than that of earth.

Why did you behave so badly towards God today? He is not pleased with your conduct and He is so good to you. It is real ingratitude on your part. Why do you bother about the conduct of others? Busy yourself with your own, that is enough. Everybody has not the same disposition, and if you were to have "lost your head" on account of all the frights I have given you these seven years past you would have lost it a long ago. It will be a long time before that takes place. Set your mind at rest, therefore, and do not begin to act as you did today.

You have good reason not like ecstasies. They must of necessity be accepted when God sends them, but He does not wish that anyone should desire them. Those are not the sort of things that lead one to Heaven. A humble and mortified life is much more to be desired and is much safer. It is true that many of the saints had relevations and ecstasies but they were a reward which God gave them after long combats and a life of self-abnegation, or else, because He wished to use those servants of His for great things to procure His glory. That was done without any notice or fuss, in silence and prayer, and if they became known, the souls were covered with confusion and only spoke of their experiences under obedience.

Almighty God has crushed you in the past, but you must be very patient and take courage, because He will annihilate you still more in the future.

Tell Mother Superior that if she meets persons of the temperament and character of Sister ____ to take no notice of them, and never listen to all they want to say to her.

Be quite easy as to what you told me. This is how you know if a grace is truly given by God. These graces come unexpectedly and fall on you like a gentle shower of rain, that takes you by surprise when the sky appears cloudless. There is no danger in this case to fear having to sought them, as you were not even thinking of such things. You have noticed this many times. It is quite different with graces that one thinks are given by Jesus, but are the effect of the imagination, which has worked hard to produce them. These should be feared because the devil often plays his part in them and takes advantage of a weak brain or a soft temperament, or a judgment not to sane. He then deceives the poor souls, who in reality do not sin, provided they follow the advice of those who guide them spiritually. I can tell you there are many in the world of this type. The devil acts in this way to make religion look ridiculous. Such souls seek themselves while they think they seek God and dream of sanctity is false.

Sister Mary of the Cross: “Tell me, in what does true sanctity consist?”

You know that very well, but as you wish it I shall repeat it to you, though I have already told it to you many times. True sanctity consists in renouncing oneself from morning to night, in being a living sacrifice, in constantly putting aside the human self, in allowing God to work in and with you as He pleases, to receive the graces He sends you with profound humility, recognizing yourself quite unworthy of them, to live as constantly as possible in the Divine Presence, to perform all your actions under the eye of God, wanting Him to be the only witness of your efforts and your only reward. This is the sanctity wished for and demanded by Jesus of all those who desire to be His only and to live His life. All the rest is pure illusion.

Some souls have their Purgatory on earth by suffering, others by love, for love is a true martyrdom. The soul that really tries to love Jesus finds that notwithstanding all its efforts it does not Love Him as much as it wants to, and that is for that soul a perpetual martyrdom caused by a love which is not without great suffering. It is, as I told you, rather like the state of a soul in Purgatory, who continually leaps up towards Him who is its only desire, and who at the same time hurled back because its expiation is not complete.

Ask Reverend Mother sometimes to allow you to read over what I tell you instead of your spiritual reading. Take one day a week, Thursday for instance, because what is the good of writing it down if you never read it over. You end by forgetting it, and it is not for that reason I tell it to you, but in order that you may profit by it.

Sister Mary of the Cross: “If I had never spoken to anyone of what you have told me, what would be the result? You know I had a strong inclination to keep it entirely to myself.”

You were quite at liberty to keep it all to yourself, but in that case, I should have advised you to speak, because God has never permitted that the perfecting of any soul should come directly from Heaven.

Since people live on earth, God wills that they work out their sanctification by the advice which He permits them to receive for this end. You did well to speak when it cost you so much to do so. Anyway there is nothing of all this your own, and God who directs all events for the good of those He loves, knows how to draw glory for Himself at the same time.

November 1879. The sister-in-law of N___ is in Purgatory where she is suffering much. The Reverend Father can help her by offering the holy sacrifice of the Mass for her.

The old sinner was saved through the mercy of God like so many others. He is in the great Purgatory.

Sister Mary of the Cross: “Does All Souls' Day and its octave bring great joy to Purgatory and many releases?”

On All Souls' Day many souls leave the place of expiation and go to Heaven. Also, by the special grace of God on that day only, all the suffering souls, without exception, have a share in the public prayers of the Church, even those who are in the great Purgatory. Still the relief of each soul is in proportion to its merits. Some receive more, some less, but all feel the benefit of this extraordinary grace. Many of the suffering souls receive this one help only in all the long years they pass here and this by the justice of God. It is not, however, on All Souls' Day that the most go to Heaven. It is on Christmas night.

There are many things that I could tell you but I am not allow to do so. It is you who must ask me, then I may answer.

I am very much relieved by the prayers of Good Father P___. Tell him I thank him very much for them, as also for those he has had the charity to get said for me. I always pray for him, as I told you, I know when he prays for me, and it is the same with the other souls in Purgatory.... Very few souls get any prayers, the majority are totally abandoned and no thought or prayers are given to them on earth.

About the time of our release we know nothing. If we only knew when the end of our sufferings would come it would be an intense relief, a joy for us, but no, it is not so. We know well that our sufferings decrease and our union with God becomes closer, but what day ( that is according to earthly calculations, because there are no days) we shall be united with God, of that we know nothing; it is a secret. The souls in Purgatory have no knowledge of the future except what God sometimes gives them. According to their merits, some souls have more of this knowledge than others, yet what do all these things matter to us, unless it is a question of the glory of God or of the good of souls? You need not be astonished that the devil or his agents sometimes foretell future events that really come to pass. The devil is a spirit and, in consequence, has many more wiles and ways of finding out things than any person on earth, except the few saints whom God enlightens in a special manner. He roams about everywhere trying to do harm. He sees what is going on all over the world and with his extraordinary sagacity foresees many things before they happen. That is the only explanation. Woe to those who make themselves his slaves by consulting him. This is a sin very displeasing to God.

Sister Mary of the Cross: “Can the souls ever be mistaken? Would God permit this?”

Yes, not about existing this but about the future. Yet there is no imperfection on their part in all this. Does not God Himself sometimes seem to change the order of His plans? For example, it may happen that God wishes to chastise a kingdom, a province, or person. That is the intention He seems to manifest. But by prayers or other means taken by that country, province or person to disarm God's anger, He may grant full forgiveness or a partial remission of His designs according to His infinite wisdom. Often He also allows events to be foretold, or He gives knowledge of them to some soul so that they may warn others and appease His vengeance. His mercy is so great that He only punishes in the very last extremity.

In the case of the person of whom you spoke to me the other day, I did not at that moment tell you the events as they turned out. However, it was thus that God made me see them, but because she changed her conduct somewhat, God only gave her half the punishment which He had in store for her if she had continued in her former dispositions. In this way we can often appear to be mistaken.

Sister Mary of the Cross: “Are many Protestants saved?”

By the mercy of God a certain number of Protestants are saved, but their Purgatory is for many long and rigorous. It is true they have not abused grace like many Catholics, but neither have they had the marvelous graces of the sacraments and the other helps of true religion, thus their expiation in Purgatory is prolonged.

I am speaking lower than usual, because for the last eight days you have been speaking in too low a voice to God in saying the Divine Office. When you begin to speak louder, I will do the same.

Sister Mary of the Cross: “Do you know in Purgatory about the persecution of the Church? Do you know when it will end?”

We know that the Church is being persecuted and we pray for her triumph, but when will this be, I do not know. Some of the souls may know, but I do not. In Purgatory the souls are not entirely occupied by their sufferings. They pray for all the interests of God and for those who shorten their sufferings. They pray and they thank God for infinite mercies in their regard, because the space between Purgatory and Hell for some of them was very narrow and they barely escaped falling into Hell. Judge then what the gratitude of those souls is who were barely rescued from Satan.

I cannot explain to you how it is that we no longer see the earth as you do. This can only be understood when the soul has left the body, because then the earth which it has left, leaving there its body, seems to it as a mere speck compared with the vast unending horizons of eternity which then open before it.

You must never take any notice of what will be said of you. The real merit of a person consists not in accepting with patience rebukes which she has merited more or less, but in accepting patiently those she has not merited, especially if she has done her utmost to do good and is then reproached for it.

I receive far more relief from one of your actions done in union with Jesus, than from a vocal prayer, because what is it that God hears? He hears all that is done with an interior spirit. The more closely a soul is united with God the more readily does He grant all it asks. A soul intimately united with Jesus is the mistress of His Heart. strive then after this union which Jesus has desired to have with you for so long. You want to please Him? Well, this is the only way. You approach closer to His Heart by great attention to the least manifestation of His holy will. He must be able to twist and turn you as He likes and He must never find any resistance on your part. When you have arrived at that point you will begin to se and understand His goodness. Be really in earnest about working for God alone. Never seek any witness but Him for any of your actions. Be very careful never to say to yourself, when performing any act no matter how trivial it may be, Such as "If I do things this way I shall please so and so. I will do this to please such a person." God does not like these human reasonings in anyone, still less than you. Direct your intentions always with the sole desire of pleasing Jesus, and Him only. If by so acting, you manage to please someone else, so much the better, and if the contrary happens, that cannot be helped. God will be pleased and that is all that ought to matter you.

December 8th - 2:00 o'clock - The Immaculate Conception - Alas, how many lives seem to be filled with good works and at the death are found empty. This is because all those actions that appeared to be good, all those showy works, all that conduct that seemed irreproachable - all these were not done for Jesus alone. Some will have their eyes opened when they come here to this life (in Purgatory). On earth they wanted to be made much of, to shine, to be thought very exact in religious observances, to be esteemed as perfect religious. This is the mainspring of so many lives. If you only knew how few people work for God and act for Him alone. Alas, at death, when they are no longer blinded, what regrets they will have. If only sometimes they would think of eternity. What is life compared to that day which will have no evening for the elect, or to that night which will have no dawning for the damned? On earth, people attach themselves to everything and everyone except to Him, who alone ought to have our love and to whom we refuse it. Jesus in the Tabernacle waits for souls to love Him and He finds none. Hardly one soul in a thousand loves Him as it should. You love Him and make up to Him for this guilty indifference which exists all over this world.

Sister Mary of the Cross: “But in Purgatory souls really love, do they not?”

Yes, but it is a love of reparation, and if on earth we had loved Him as we ought to have done, there would not be so many of us here in this place of expiation.

Sister Mary of the Cross: “Is Jesus well-loved in Heaven?”

In Heaven they love Him very much, there He is compensated. But Jesus wants more than that. He wants to loved on earth where He annihilates Himself in every Tabernacle, in order to be approached more easily and yet He is refused. People pass before a church with more indifference than they would before any public monument. If by chance, they go into the holy place, it is only to insult still more the Divine Captive who dwells there, namely, by their coldness and their irreverence. Their prayers are said hurriedly and without attention, instead of speaking to Him from their Hearts and saying words of friendship and gratitude for all His favors to them.

Tell Father P___ that God expects from Him this love which He so rarely meets with. He expects it from him who comes each day so close to Jesus, whom he receives into his heart. Oh, tell him that in those blessed moments he may repair by his tender love the indifference of so many ungrateful soul. His heart must melt with love for Jesus in the Host and intercede for those priests who enjoy the same privilege that he does, yet treat the sacred mysteries with a frozen heart which remains as cold as marble to Jesus. Everyday let his union with God become closer, in order to prepare himself worthily for the great graces which Jesus has in store for him.

I have told you there are some souls who do their Purgatory at the foot of the altar. They are not there for faults they have committed in the church, because those faults which attack Jesus directly, Jesus present in the Tabernacle, are punished with terrible severity in Purgatory. There souls that are there in adoration are there as a reward for their reverent behavior in the Sacred Presence. They suffer less than if they were in Purgatory itself, and Jesus, whom they contemplate with the eyes of their soul and of faith, softens their pains by His invisible Presence.

January 1880. On Christmas night, thousands of souls leave their place of expiation for Heaven, but many remain, and I am of their number. You sometimes say to me that the perfecting of a soul is a long process and you are also astonished that after so many prayers, I am so long deprived of the sight of God. Alas, the perfecting of a soul does not take any less time in Purgatory than upon earth. There are a number of souls, but they are very few, who have only a few venial sins to expiate. These do not stay long in Purgatory. A few well said prayers, a few sacrifices soon deliver them. But when there are souls like mine - and that is nearly all whose lives have been so empty and who paid little or no attention to their salvation - then their whole life has to be begun over again in this place of expiation. The soul has to perfect itself all over again, and love and desire Him, whom it did not love sufficiently on earth. This is the reason why the deliverance of some souls is delayed. God has given me a very great grace in allowing me to ask for prayers. I did not deserve it, but without this I would have remained like most of those here, for years and years more.

Sister Mary of the Cross: “Do religious and those of the same family communicate together?”

In Purgatory, as in Heaven, religious and those of the same family are not always together. Souls do not all merit the same punishment or the same reward. Still in Purgatory we do recognize others and if God permits it we may communicate with one another.

Sister Mary of the Cross: “Are you able to receive a prayer or a thought of friends who are dead, and let them know of the remembrance we have of them?”

Thoughts of earth can be made known here, but there is not much in all that, because I have already told you that the souls in Purgatory know those persons who interest themselves in their behalf on earth. God sometimes allows those on earth to receive a prayer, a warning or some information. All that I told you about St. Michael was from Himself and all that I said about your Father was from God.

All the commissions that you have so often given me for the other world, I have always done, but all these things are subordinate to the Divine Will.

Sister Mary of the Cross: “Does everyone in Purgatory know the faults of others as they will be known in the last judgment?”

In general we do not know about the faults of one another, except in some rare cases when God has particular designs with regard to certain souls, but it is to few that He acts this way.

Sister Mary of the Cross: “Have you a more perfect knowledge of God than we have?”

What a question! Of course we know Him far better and love Him far more. Indeed, it is just that which causes our greatest suffering. On earth you simply do not know what God is. There, each one of you has an idea of what you think God is, according to your very limited knowledge, but when we leave our covering of clay and when nothing impedes the liberty of our souls, we at last begin to know God, His goodness, His mercy, His love. After this, clearer view that the thirst for union, our souls yearn for God. This is our very life and we are forever repulsed because we are not sufficiently pure. This, in a word, is our worst suffering, the hardest, most bitter. Oh, if only we were allowed to come back to earth, after knowing what God really is, what a different life we would lead! But what useless regrets, and yet on earth you do not think of these things and live as if you were blind. Eternity is no account to you. The earth, which is only a journey and receives only the body which in itself turns to dust, is the sole object to which almost all of your desires tend and you do not even think of Heaven while Jesus and His love are entirely forgotten.

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