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."