This morning I offered mass for all the people who have sent me their family tree. I offered mass for all the people who have died that they may receive healing and forgiveness.
The first reading from Isaiah was a beautiful confirmation, “He will renew your strength, and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails. The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake, and the foundation from ages past you shall raise up; ‘repairer of the breach,’ they shall call you, ‘Restorer of ruined homesteads.’
Saint Thomas ask this question, ‘Whether one person sis delivered from this punishment sooner than another?’ Saint Thomas writes, “The comparison of the Apostles, who denote the differences of venial sins by wood, hay and stubble (I Cor 3:12) Now it is clear that wood remains longer in the fire than hay and stubble. Therefore one venial sin is punished longer in Purgatory than another…Some venial sins cling more persistently than others, according as the affections are more inclined to them and more firmly fixed on them. And since that which clings more persistently is more slowly cleansed, it follows that some are tormented in Purgatory longer than other.”
Peter Kreeft in his book, ‘Spiritual Direction from Saint Thomas Aquinas’ writes, ” St Augustine, St Thomas and many others all say that the pains of Purgatory are more severe than any pains in this life. For Two reasons. One is that we will see and know with certainty, not just believe by faith, how utterly beautiful Heaven is, as the whole point of our existence; and the pain of our temporary loss of this infinite good will exceed anything comparable or imaginable on earth. ‘For the more a thing is desired, the more painful is it absence.’ The very longed for Heaven’s distant vision, the joy that is incomparably greater than any we experience on earth. A second reason is that even though the pains of Purgatory, unlike earthly pains and earthly fire, are never harmful to us but only good for us, yet they will feel more hurtful and ‘fiery’ than earthly pains because we will be more conscious and sensitive. Earthly life is full of soporifics, anaesthetics, pain dullers. In fact, compared with Purgatory our whole life on earth will appear to have been life only half awake. In Purgatory we will be full awake, fully sensitive, and fully cognizant of the evil of all our sins. Our clear knowledge of God’s brightness and beauty will make our clear knowledge of our own darkness and ugliness more painful than any similar light that shows up our most terrible defects here on earth. We will full appreciate how we dishonored God’s honor, and we will fully fulfill our repentance. As St Thomas says, ‘The more sensitive a thing is, the greater the pain.’ Like Christ on the Cross, we will have perfected sensitivities…This fire of Purgatory will be more severe than any pain that can be felt, seen or conceived in this world.'”
The Catechism tells us, “The Christian who seeks to purify himself of himself of his sins and to become holy with the help of God’s grace is not alone. ‘The life of each of God’s children is joined in Christ and through Christ in a wonderful way to the life of all other Christian brethren in the supernatural unity of the Mystical Body of Christ, as in a single person. In this communion of saints. ‘a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. Between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good things.’ In this wonderful exchange, the holiness of one profits others well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others. Thus recourse to the communion of saints lets the contrite sinner be more promptly and efficaciously purified of the punishment of sin.” (CCC 1474. 1475) The Catechism tells us in another place, “Communion with the dead. ‘In full consciousness of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the Church in its pilgrim members, from the very early days of the Christian religion, has honored with great respect the memory of the dead; and ‘because it is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins’ she offers her suffrages for them.; Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.”( CCC 958)
Thought for the day: Offer a rosary will all the deceased members of your family today. When you are done with your rosary ask these members of your family to pray for you and your family. The souls in purgatory cannot pray or help themselves, but they can pray for you.