Saturday, November 17, 2007

How to Avoid Purgatory

By Fr. Paul O'Sullivan

"The idea that nearly all of us shall, notwithstanding, have to pass a period more or less long in the excruciating fires of Purgatory after death seems to be at variance with this all-merciful and all-loving plan of our Divine Lord…The object of this little book is to show how we can avoid Purgatory by using the means God has so generously offered us, and, secondly, to show that the use of these means is within the reach of every ordinary Christian…The means we suggest are easy, practical and within the reach of all. Moreover, far from being irksome, the use of these means will only serve to make our lives on this earth holier and happier and will take away the exaggerated fear of death which terrifies so many.

…The reason why we have to pass through Purgatory after death is that we have committed sins and have not made satisfaction for them. Every individual sin must be expiated--in this life or the next! Not even the slightest shadow of sin or evil can enter the all-holy presence of God. The graver, the more frequent the sins, the longer will be the period of expiation and the more intense the pain…Most Christians, with incomprehensible rashness, neglect these means and so have to pay their debts in the dreadful prison house of Purgatory.

…The Second Means of avoiding Purgatory is to satisfy for our sins in this life by doing penance. "Do penance or you shall all likewise perish" Do penance, or you will burn long years in Purgatory, is a fact that there is no getting away from.This is a terrifying thought and one that makes the bravest man shudder.Which of us does not tremble when he thinks of those who have been burnt to death in a slow fire? What fear would not be ours if we had to face a similar death? Yet their suffering was of relatively short duration. The incomparably fiercer fire of Purgatory, which we may have to face, may last 20, or 50 or 100 years!

…The easy road to Heaven of Saint Therese, the Little Flower, is to do many little things. God was infinitely pleased with the widow's mite; He will be equally pleased with our little penances…As a result of little mortifications, we can deliver ourselves from the awful fires of Purgatory and amass rich merits for Heaven. To go into the matter further, there is not much difficulty about mortification or penance, notwithstanding the absurd fear that people have of it.

…God promises us in the most solemn and deliberate way (and He cannot fail to do what He promises) that He will give us everything we ask in prayer,if it is good for us. Now two conditions, especially, make prayer infallible, namely perseverance and faith. God cannot refuse such a prayer. These Catholics we speak of pray expressly every day of their lives that God will free them from Purgatory. In every single prayer they say, in every Mass they hear, in every good act they perform, they have the express intention of asking God first of all and with all their hearts to deliver them from Purgatory. How? That is for God to decide. It is not easy to see how God can possibly refuse such constant, unceasing prayer. The fact that such prayers are said daily and many times in the day, for 20, 30, 50 years, shows that they are said with undoubting faith and magnificent perseverance. We exhort all our readers to adopt this practice. The more they know and think on Purgatory, the more fervently will they make this prayer.

…For one recitation of short ejaculatory prayers, He grants 100 or 300 or more days Indulgence. These we may say hundreds of times in the day. Those who say the little ejaculation: "Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in Thee" one hundred times a day gain 30,000 days Indulgence. Those who say it 1,000 times, as many do, gain 300,000 days Indulgence each day! Nothing can be easier than to acquire the habit of saying this little prayer all day long, countless times each day. Then, for each Hail Mary of the Rosary, one gains more than 2,000 days Indulgence!

…The Holy Souls whom we relieve or release by our Masses and good works pray for us with such indescribable fervour that God cannot refuse to hear their prayers. One of the principal graces they ask for their friends is that these shall have little or no Purgatory. No one knows better than they the awful intensity of the Purgatorial flames; no one, therefore, can pray for us as they do."


Saint and Sinner said...

How the heck does he know how many days of reprieve one gets from purgatory for each prayer?

Has he been there?

Machaira said...

1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

That's strange. This would have been the perfect place for the inspired Apostle to mention the cleansing alternatives of penance, indulgences and purgatory. He doesn't.

I don't suppose the following passage means anything to Rome either.

Heb 10:12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,
Heb 10:13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.
Heb 10:14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

Silly me.

Carrie said...

How the heck does he know how many days of reprieve one gets from purgatory for each prayer?

I think the "days" terminology has been changed because it is confusing:

What it means was that you'd bet a partial indulgence commensurate with what the early Christians got for doing penances for a certain length of time. But there has never been any way for us to measure how much "good time" that represents. All the Church could say, and all it ever did say, was that your temporal punishment would be reduced -- as God saw fit.

Since some Catholics were confused by the designation of days and years attached to partial indulgences, and since nearly all Protestants got a wrong idea of what those numbers meant, the rules for indulgences were modified in 1967, and now "the grant of a partial indulgence is designated only with the words "partial indulgence," without any determination of days or years," according to the Enchiridion.


I can't imagine that idea alleviates much fear since you will never know if you have done enough.

Anonymous said...

Notice that according to this guy's "calculations" you get 300 days indulgence for each prayer to Jesus and 2000 days indulgence for each prayer to Mary. Something aint right there.

Timothy Athanasius said...

Ah, c'mon, guys, this isn't infallible teaching; this is just that lex orandi, lex credendi stuff! Oh, I forgot that's pretty important, too! I guess this "popular piety" has more weight behind it than Catholic e-pologists let on!

CatholicManDudeGuy said...

You guys clearly don't know what you're talking about.
**I** do, and I don't care what these official-type RC things say.
No matter what you say about us, you're WRONG. Get used to it.

Anonymous said...

CatholicManDudeGuy says we're wrong.

"We" are wrong on "what" exactly? You beleive that praying to Mary will get you a thousand days reprieve from hell and praying to Jesus only 300 days? Is that what you believed? And are we wrong for mocking this insanity? Or, are you saying that you don't beleive this? You ought to be more specific than just say "we" are wrong, for "we" have not all said the same one point, but have many points. Or is thus just the arrogant Catholic attitude that everyone who isn't a Catholic is wrong even when the two are in agreement.

Non-Catholic: Jesus died on the cross.

Catholic: You are wrong.

Non-Catholic: But you beleive this too!

Catholic: You are still wrong.