“Purgatory shows God’s great mercy and washes away the defects of those who long to become one with Him.” – St. Josemaria Escriva
When is the last time you heard a homily on purgatory? If your parish is like most, it’s been a very long time. Getting more personal, when is the last time you prayed for the Holy Souls? If you’re like many Catholics, the answer is not recently. The souls in purgatory are too often forgotten by Catholics, and I fear this is often out of a misguided desire not seem medieval (as if that were a bad thing), superstitious, or worse yet, ecumenically insensitive.
Regardless of the reasons for its neglect, it is the constant teaching of the Church that purgatory is quite real and that there are countless souls there in need of our prayers. But my point here is not prove that purgatory exists or to provide a theological basis for its existence. Rather, it is to urge you to pray for the Church suffering. Here are 5 reasons to pray for the relief of our brothers and sisters in purgatory.
1. The pain is real – The suffering of purgatory is likened by the saints to burning in a blazing fire. In fact, some saints have even said that the pain of purgatory is not all that different from the suffering of hell. One of the chief sources of the pain is the fact that salvation has been obtained, and yet one cannot immediately enjoy its consolations. This delay of the enjoyment of heaven leads to a spiritual agony of sorts. St. Thomas Aquinas explains it like this:
The more one longs for a thing, the more painful does deprivation of it become. And because after this life, the desire for God, the Supreme Good, is intense in