Although the Catholic Church proclaims the concept of Purgatory, I see that today a majority of people are not believing in purgatory. Most people see purgatory as a place full of punishments and sorrow, something like locking up the souls and beating them. Some others see it as a place of comfort as they can attain Heaven, after spending sometime in purgatory, just like a holiday resort. Many doubts and misconceptions arise in most people nowadays, as not much is taught about it at churches and during caticism.
Purgatory is the place where most of the souls go after death. I say this, because even the saints are going to heaven after spending some time at purgatory. The difference is only in the duration of the time they have to spend there.It is a place where the soul is given pains, but it also represents a state of love, hope and peace. Because if a soul needs to be with God in heaven after death, it must have attained complete purity. Thus we understand that God made purgatory because of His abundant love for us.
“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” (Isaiah 48:10). Thus if one needs to be with God, he/she has to be made pure in the flames of sacrifice. And if this purification doesn’t happen if he is in his earthly body, then it happens after death at purgatory.
The selfish love we have for ourselves increases the distance between us and God. At purgatory, this selfish love is burnt and destroyed completely. Thus by submitting ourselves completely to God, only God’s love remains in that soul. Thus it becomes eligible to join God and live in eternity.
Sins, their trails, selfish love for ourselves all these impurities make a HARD CRUST on the surface of our love to God. But we are not even knowing the formation of this crust. Whenever we do sins, refuse God and do things against His will, we are increasing the thickness of this hard crust.
Only the selfless love to God can melt down the hard crust formed. All saints throughout their lives were constantly trying to melt down this crust completely. For this, they prayed a lot and did a lot of deeds of penance. These will melt the hard crust very easily. Yes, our sins are forgiven through confession, but to clear the debt of our sins, deeds of penance are needed. Thus the saints were able to go either directly to heaven or spend only a very little time at the purgatory.
See the picture above? It shows Mother Mary helping souls in purgatory. All souls are seen there together with their own guardian angel (Fravashi), who help them at the purgatory.
So actually what does a soul experience at the purgatory? What is happening when we pray for them? A hundreds of questions may arise in your mind. Be patient. I will be writing on those very shortly. Keep checking back this site for The Purgatory – Part 02.