My Dad is gone, and Mom is gone. My siblings all are too.
There’s no one left to pray for me, that’s why I’m asking YOU!
“Is Purgatory real?” you ask. I can assure you this,
The pain which I am feeling here you’re going to want to miss!
One thing we have seen a lot of during our many travels from Oklahoma to Montana are roadside crosses. I am not exaggerating when I say we have seen hundreds of them. On Hwy 191 alone there are 93 crosses between Bozeman and West Yellowstone, Montana. These memorials are dedicated to persons who have died on those spots in some kind of accident.
Just last Sunday while returning from Mass we passed four white crosses along the highway decorated with flowers, obviously representing the deaths of four people. My husband Joel and I began musing about who could have died, and our thoughts were heavy with whether it had been teenagers or a family of four who had perished. The one big question that loomed in both our minds was if they had been ready to meet almighty God. We also thought that if they were now in “Purgatory” would they have anyone here on earth who would pray for them. We both made the sign of the cross for the four deceased persons as a quick prayer for them, and then we continued on our way up the highway only to find crosses and faded ragged flowers for 5 more deaths. We made another sign of the cross and both let out a sigh of sadness. These crosses were old and broken down just like the faded fake flowers that adorned them. Time had passed, funerals were over, and the raw emotional wound of losing someone had probably faded as well. Did anyone still think of those who had died there? Did anyone still pray for them? Did anyone even know that they should be praying for someone who had died in case they needed relief from Purgatory?
What is PURGATORY?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:
All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.
The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:
As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come. (End of reference from the Catechism)
A fantastic Catholic mom and dear friend of ours seemed to sum it up beautifully. “Punishment in Purgatory is an act of love on the part of the Father to allow us the time to cleanse ourselves of any sin or residue of sin left remaining due to imperfect contrition in our hearts and wills. The majesty and love of God is so holy, divine and profound that unless we are made perfect in our love for Him we will not allow ourselves to come into His presence but would hurl ourselves out of His presence. (Thus hurling ourselves into hell.) So purgatory becomes a gift of God’s grace and love to us that enables us to approach His throne pure, spotless, and clothed in the garments of Christ, thus making us holy and wholly acceptable to the Father.” Well said dear Friend!
My Mamma used to just simply say, “Anyone who dies and goes to Purgatory, who has not gone to the Heaven yet, needs our prayers. They need our acts of charity through the offering up of our aches, pains, and crosses as reparation for their souls. They (the souls in Purgatory) can do nothing for themselves so they rely on us. Never forget to pray for them!” You have got to love Mamma’s straight to the point fix!
Pope Leo XIII in his Quod Anniversarius said:
“ 7. Therefore, since it is certain by the doctrine of the Catholic Church, that the souls detained in purgatory are benefited by the prayers of the faithful, and especially by the august Sacrifice of the Altar, We think we can give them no more useful and desirable pledge of Our love than by everywhere increasing the offering of the pure oblation of the Most Holy Sacrifice of Our Divine Mediator, for the extinction of their pain. We therefore decree, with all the necessary dispensations and indulgences, the last Sunday of next September as a day of ample expiation on which will be celebrated by Ourselves, and equally by each of Our brethren the Patriarchs, Archbishops, and Bishops, and also by other prelates exercising jurisdiction in a diocese, each in his own church, whether patriarchal, metropolitan, or cathedral, a special Mass for the Dead with the greatest solemnity possible, and according to the rite ordered in the Missal for the Commemoration of all Souls.”
Having a Mass or Masses said for a deceased love one is the greatest gift one could ever give! Just ask a Priest, and he will be more than happy to say one or more. Also, a Gregorian Mass series is the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass FOR ONE OF THE DECEASED FAITHFUL for thirty consecutive days. The Gregorian Mass series is a custom recognized, approved, and encouraged by the Roman Catholic Church. It was born from the practice of the faithful who desired to imitate the charity of Pope Saint Gregory the Great in favor of the monk Justus whom the Pope delivered in 590, from the fire of Purgatory, by having celebrated for him the Eucharistic Sacrifice during thirty consecutive days. This is quite a commitment for a parish Priest to undertake, and so we contact the Clear Creek Abbey in Hulburt, Oklahoma when we have a Gregorian Mass series said.
By saying our prayers, our rosaries, or having the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass said, we can possibly relieve or help a soul in Purgatory go to Heaven today. We can only imagine the gratitude that they would have for us, and we can be assured of their prayers for both our physical and spiritual needs. Just think, maybe a simple act of kindness such as bending over and picking up a piece paper from the floor, in reparation to our Lord for a soul in Purgatory, may get someone out. What if a single “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I love you, save souls” was all it took to relieve your Grandpa or Grandma from the purifying fires of Purgatory.
“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I love you. Save souls!”