Angels taking some souls in Purgatory to Heaven
Yes, even Popes, bishops, priest, monks and friars pass through its cleansing flames
One of our friary volunteers was writing out the intentions before Mass and she asked me, "Holy Souls, or Poor Souls?"
I said, "Why?" She said, "The person giving this intention wrote down 'Holy Souls." I never heard of that. Just 'Poor Souls in Purgatory.'"
She is Chamorro, so I reminded her, "Do you remember that sometimes in Chamorro we say 'Animas benditas giya Putgatorio?' Those words 'animas benditas' mean 'blessed, or holy, souls.'" I went on to explain it further :
The souls in Purgatory are holy. They are holy because they died in sanctifying grace, otherwise, they would never have made it as far as Purgatory! Sanctifying grace is the grace that makes us holy; it sanctifies us. They died in this grace, as friends of God. Their mortal sins had been forgiven.
But because of venial sins, spiritual imperfections or incomplete satisfaction for forgiven sins, they are undergoing now a process of purification (purgation). It is a painful process, and those souls can do nothing for themselves to bring relief. Those souls are "poor." They lack the power to alleviate their suffering. They are also "poor" in the common sense that we use when talking about people for whom we have pity.
But this painful process of purification, which consists in the delay of heaven, which causes them terrible pain (the saints tell us that the pains of purgatory are more intense than those of earth), is making them perfectly holy, such that when they are perfectly cleansed, they are now able to see God face to face, which is heaven.
The souls in Purgatory are holy, because they are being made perfectly holy. The souls in hell also suffer, but their pain does not make them holy. Theirs is the pain of condemnation, not purification. Theirs is the pain of the spiritually dead. The pain of the souls in Purgatory is the pain of the spiritually alive, who are being treated, as a spiritual patient. Their pain is medicinal, making them spiritually perfect, healthy and whole.
The souls in Purgatory are holy, because they are on the way to heaven. There is no way they can NOT go to heaven. That sentence has already been pronounced by God, and when our souls leave our bodies in death, we die either in the state of sanctifying grace, or we die in the state of mortal sin. There is no change in this from the moment we die. So, those souls in Purgatory are definitely going to heaven. They are holy. But the delay of heaven is sheer torture for them, especially now that they realize that many saints did not pass through Purgatory but went straight to heaven when they died. They understand that they, too, could have been saints, but did not give their spiritual life their 100%. So they suffer the regret of not becoming saints while on earth.
Knowing all this, how could we not pity the Poor and Holy Souls? How could we not shudder at the thought of our own future suffering in Purgatory, if we do not give our spiritual life our 100%? We all have crosses. A sure way of gaining much merit and reducing our time in Purgatory (if we end up not by-passing it altogether), is to accept our crosses and follow Jesus, as satisfaction for sin.
Let us also pray and sacrifice for the Holy Souls, for they will pray for us before God in Heaven. That, too, will help us reduce our time in Purgatory, or, if we cooperate with God's graces, make us saints here on earth so that heaven will be ours the moment we die.
The Spanish mural above says, at the bottom :
"Have compassion on me,
at least you my friends."
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