Purgatory and Our Lady
St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church, says there are two invincible proofs of Purgatory. The first:- there are sins which are light in comparison with others, and which do not make man guilty of hell. If then a man die in them, what will become of him? Paradise receives nothing defiled (Apoc. xxi): hell is too extreme a penalty, therefore if it is not deserved by one’s own sins, it must then be understood that he will stay in a Purgatory, where he will be duly purified, and afterwards go to Heaven. When his soul is purged, he will go to Heaven, to be with the blessed. Of these sins the Wise Man speaks (Prov xxiv.): The just shall fall seven times a day: for the just cannot sin, so long as he is just, with a sin which deserves damnation: it means then that he falls into sins to which damnation is not due, which Catholics call venial, and these can be purged away in the other world in Purgatory.
The second reason is, that after the pardon of sin there remains part of the penalty due to it. As for example, in the 2nd of Kings, chap. xii., the sin is forgiven to David, the Prophet saying to him: The Lord hath also taken away thy sin: not thou shalt not die. Nevertheless, because thou hast given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme for this thing, thy child shall die the death.
Purgatory is a great mercy of God and we are called to share in that mercy. We believe that we can help those in this purgative state. In St. Luke, in the 16th chapter, it is written Make unto yourselves friends of the mammon of iniquity, that when you shall fail they may receive you into eternal tabernacles. To fail, what is it but to die? -and the friends, who are they but the Saints? The interpreters all understand that the departed can be helped by the Saints. For in what other way can one understand these words: make to yourselves friends who may receive you? They cannot be understood of alms, for many times the alms is good and holy and yet acquires us not friends who can receive us into eternal tabernacles, as when it is given to bad people with a holy and right intention.
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, 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.
Whose prayers and good works are the most efficacious? Our Queen and Mother is the most powerful intercessor for the souls in Purgatory. How dear these precious children must be to Our Queen and Mother – Mary. Some saints tell us that She Herself visits them in their place of suffering. This must, indeed, comfort them. What great joy to see Mary and the maternal light of love in Her eyes. She comes to comfort them but it also likewise adds to their pain by causing them such grief when She must leave them and they cannot follow. Imagine the joy when the day finally comes when She takes that soul with Her back to Paradise!
Saint Peter Damian, Saint Ildefonse, and Saint Frances of Rome assure us that it is the feast of the Assumption of Mary (Aug 15) on which the most souls are released from Purgatory each year. Moreover, her role is especially confirmed by the Catholic Church’s teaching regarding the Brown Scapular given by Mary to Saint Simon Stock in 1251. Enrollment in the Brown Scapular and faithful living will draw graces from Mary in this life as well as the next. She will constantly keep watch over souls and lead them to Her Son. She delivers all those who faithfully wear Her Scapular from Purgatory.
Saint Teresa received a vision in which the souls in Purgatory received a spray of cool water whenever the Holy Rosary is prayed for them. Saint Alphonsus Liguori, also a Doctor of the Church, confirmed that praying the Rosary is a great means to bring relief to souls in Purgatory. Saint Pio, when giving a Rosary to someone said, “Let us empty Purgatory.”
Mary has a special and tender place in Her Heart for those who suffer most. Let us rely on our sweet and stainless Mother as an intercessor for our brothers and sisters being purified for the eternal happiness of Heaven. Let us say our Rosaries for those who have gone before us so that they may reach Paradise and in turn ask Our Mother and Queen to help us here on earth to reach our goal – Heaven!
Bernadette Porter is a Traditional Catholic, a wife of 42 years with 6 adult home-schooled children and 6 grandchildren. A sincere devotion to Mary, the Mother of God leads me to want to share "The Church's best kept secret" - Mary!