Read The Purgatory – Part 01, before continuing.
Purgatory is a shelter for souls, rather than a place of punishment. There they get a lot of insights and knowledge. The souls get to know about all the secrets of God’s love and His ways. There they become aware of the importance of giving first place to God while on Earth and about salvation of souls. They also realize that life on earth is so transient and they should have done a lot of good and how little they have done etc. They realize that the spiritual treasures they achieved during life on earth were far far precious than their earthly treasures.
The souls understand that after this purification, they will become stronger and they will be freed from sins and temptations. They rejoice at being in purgatory as they know that after all these pains, they will receive god and His love forever. A soul, after going through this purification, clears all the debts of sins and receives in full God’s love, accepts it and gets ready to fulfill His will.
A person gets the gift of eternity according to how much love he had for God, at the time of his death. Remember what St. John said while on cross : “You will be tested according to your love at the end of your life.”
The soul, which gets clear knowledge about God and His love, is purified in the fire by the earnest desire to be with God. As we know, in purgatory it does not have the physical body it had on Earth. By the burning fire of purification, we mean the agony which they experience as a result of their inability to be with God and not being able to love Him completely. Even though the above said purifying fire is not like ordinary fire and smoke, the pain that this fire causes to the soul is far greater than the pain that the ordinary fire causes to one’s physical body. For e.g. the pain that a wounded heart feels will be much more than the pain when one’s leg is broken, right? The pain in the first case also takes a much more time for alleviation.
A soul in purgatory wishes to complete the purification as soon as possible and to join God and love Him at the earliest. The thought that it could have avoided all these pains, makes the pain all the more severe for the soul. Also the soul sadly admits the fact that it could have destroyed the HARD CRUST (refer The Purgatory – Part 01) made by its selfish love, if it had loved, prayed and done deeds of penance and deeds of generosity during its time on Earth.
Ah, why these souls have to bear these pains in the fire in purgatory? Who is responsible for these pains? What is God’s scheme? Wait for the answers, next week in The Purgatory – Part 03