Letter Written by a Suffering Soul in Purgatory
Dear Soul More Fortunate Than I and Yet…Less Fortunate,
By the grace of God our paths have crossed and I have urgent matters to discuss with you. I implore you – do not turn away! I am in dire need of your prayers and you are in dire need of warning! No doubt you believe yourself to be leading a decent if not devout Catholic life, as I too once believed of myself. Let not Satan tempt you to be content with mediocracy as he did me!
Have you ever heard of a famous saint who was just “okay?” Who was at least not living a “bad” life but was not living a “good” one, either? Of course not! Desist being satisfied with not actively sinning for in turn, you are passively hurting Our Dear Lord! Even sins committed in ignorance merit punishment and likewise, sins committed by not doing what we ought as well as those committed by doing the things we ought not to.
Do you pray for us souls in Purgatory? Always? Sometimes? God forbid – never? If you knew what we suffered – what you will suffer, surely, if you do not realize the truth of this letter, but by God’s grace die in His grace – you would not only pray for us, but suffer for us, too, and through that, shorten your own time here.
As you know, mortal sins at death merit hell for those terribly unfortunate souls. But dear soldier! Venial sins merit us the most similar punishments! Fire, burning chains, cauldrons of molten lead, snakes to eat away your tongue – they all await you here! Surely if not for the promise of Heaven at the end of my sentence and the aid of my angel, this Purgatory would be hell!
I used to say to myself that I was satisfied with a Purgatory sentence because at least one day, I’d reach Heaven – but oh, how foolish! Had I known the suffering of this place, I would never have wished it upon myself! And had I strived for Heaven instead, I would be there by now.
So many souls go to hell because they refuse to believe there is one. So many souls merit hell, too, for believing Purgatory was good enough – for that, they did not even make it there. They believed they could live a life unworthy of Heaven and that Purgatory would be only a short, necessary pit stop to make up for it. But no! They were lost! Because they didn’t want Heaven, Heaven didn’t want them. Such tragedy!
In life I believed Purgatory was merely a place for Catholics who believed in God but weren’t ready to give up the things of this world – fame, pleasure, fortune – and because they had loved them more than God, Purgatory was the place that God got rid of those worldly attachments before He let them into Heaven. How fortunate I was to have been told before I died the true actions which merit Purgatory! And how fortunate I was to be blessed to die after confessing all my sins truthfully and remorsefully – many I had not previously known were sins! Fame, pleasure, fortune, all of it, must be sacrificed before you die or the devil wins your soul! Why? Because he successfully led you to love them more than God and your own eternal soul until the moment of your death. Our Love for God must be above all else! We cannot place other desires above God, whether that be desires for fame, pleasure, wealth or even the desire to please our fellow brothers and sisters. We must please God first and love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength! Too many souls are being damned by this Satan-inspired definition of Purgatory!
What is the real definition of Purgatory? It is for the souls who desire God and Heaven, who have been blessed with the grace of a true Confession, and died in the state of God’s grace, yet, were still attached to some worldly desires and had not yet made reparation to God for the temporal punishment due for their sins committed. These are the souls who come to Purgatory. We come here because we still have the stains of our venial and contritely confessed mortal sins. And because nothing imperfect can enter Heaven, we need to be purged. And we desire to be purged! We love Our Lord so perfectly here that the thought of entering Heaven stained is disgraceful to us and we would never want it, for Our Lord desires and deserves perfection.
Do you pity me yet? Do you at least wonder what I did in my mortal life to merit such a sentence in this life? I was charged with stains of mortal sins against purity in my youth which I had never made proper reparation for. I was charged for bitter impatience with the faults of others. I was charged, too, for intemperance of my tongue. Finally, I was charged with vanity – oh how unimportant all of it seems now! I now would rather have been the ugliest creature to ever walk upon the earth than to suffer these torments for desiring others to think of me as beautiful!
You may be thinking to yourself, “But wait, I thought that Confession cleansed you from your sins?” Yes! In Confession we ask for forgiveness and Our Lord grants it if we are truly sorrowful for all our sins out of love for Him and firmly aspire to never do them again. Yet, imagine you loved someone very much. You gave them everything they needed and more because you wanted them to be oh, so happy. One day, despite all you had done, and all you had given out of love for them, they mortally wound you. You bleed and oh, how you suffer! “Why would they do this?” you wonder in agony. But you bear it all with patience because you so deeply love this person who betrayed you. Imagine if now, even as you are bleeding out, your dearly beloved, with such intense horror and remorse at what they had just done, begs you for forgiveness. Without hesitation, you grant it with joy. That is what Confession does for us. However, despite the fact you have forgiven them, that still leaves a big problem – you are still bleeding out. And that is why, if we do not venture to nurse Our Lord’s wounds that we caused Him during our life, He will demand it from us in death. And the pains we suffer here are unimaginable to you still living!
You, in your mortal body, could never suffer what we suffer here in its entirety or else you would die from the agony!
You know my crimes, you know my prison, but I have yet to tell you of my torments! Oh, if only you would beg of God to suffer for me! The tortures I bear are impossible to accurately describe! There are no words to convey the pain I endure.
For my mortal sins of impurity in my youth that had not been expiated on earth after being sorrowfully confessed, I was plunged into a burning sea. Earth has no fire comparable to that in which I burned! Seven long years I stayed there for each unexpiated mortal sin – and there were so many! When Our Lord had cleansed me of those stains, my dear angel led me up to a place where I now do penance for my many other habitual venial sins.
For my vanity I am heated up and melted like metal being extracted from its ore in a boiling hot furnace! I am perpetually crushed and bruised like a grape being smashed under foot to be made into wine for my acts of impatience! And my tongue! If only I had cut it off in life – that would have been infinitely less painful than what I suffer now and would have saved me from using it to commit such sins. For the hypocrisy I practiced daily – telling people to do or not to do things while never intending to follow my own instructions – for that I am forever cut to pieces with swords to the point it seems I can be cut no further – but I am! For the other sins committed by my tongue, from vicious slander to small little white lies, my mouth is relentlessly filled with molten lead, but even as my mouth burns, the rest of me shivers with a frigid cold!
Although, obviously, my mortal body feels no pain because it is buried somewhere in the earth, I speak to you in specific terms of a mortal body, a mouth, for example, for that is what merited my suffering.
But oh, warrior of God, the most horrific suffering I have yet to describe to you! It is the one we all must endure here no matter our crime. The souls imprisoned here have robbed ourselves of the vision of God! We have seen Him in all His glory! We have seen what awaits us in Heaven! But we cannot yet obtain it! This is the most miserable of our torments and the one too few are aware of – or else, surely, not so many souls would merit being detained here. We are like a magnet whose only purpose and desire is to attach itself to another, but is perpetually repelled by the polar forces of the only other magnet in existence! We desire to be with Our Lord in Heaven so much but, His Justice perpetually repels us in our still-sinful state. We are rejected by the only thing we desire!
Try, I beg of you, to at least try to imagine such a feeling. You cannot feel it in its fulness! You would sooner die of despair!
Remember! These pains, from the moment of death until the moment full expiation has been made, are inescapable! And are more torturous than any mortal can imagine. Even if you could see with your own eyes, you would never comprehend, and even if you could feel a pain more terrible than you have ever felt, so excruciating that you are certain that one more second of it would kill you, you would never understand the sufferings of Purgatory nor feel but a fraction of them.
That is why you are fortunate, oh militant soul. You have a reason and a chance to let got of vanity, pleasure, impatience, all of it! And you have time to make reparation for all your past! If only I had been so fortunate! If only I had allowed myself – forced myself! – to suffer more on earth, I would not be here for as long or for the same reasons.
Save yourself, oh wandering soul! Repent and make reparation for yourself! Make expiation for us, too, already here, in our unfortunate state!
In the event you disregard my warning and ignore my plea, you, poor soul, will be the most unfortunate.
To walk away from the sufferings of others makes a deplorable human being. To walk straight into a fire in spite makes – and ends – a stupid one. Be not deplorable or stupid, but instead live for tomorrow – as if tomorrow you were to die. Memento mori – Remember your death. And you shall be most fortunate.
I’ve done the duty required of me now. You know what awaits you – and you know where you are going. Return my favor, I beg of you!
Offer your indulgences for me! Offer your slightest sufferings as well as your worst pains for me! Your disappointments, your irritations, your tears, I need them! Offer them for me in expiation for all my sins! And when you hurt, oh please, offer it up, so to temper the fire I burn in and ease every pain until sufficient payment has been made. Suffer for me, I beg of you!
In turn, I promise, on the day of my reception into Heaven until the day you join me, I will pray with such gratitude for you to Our Lord. You will have my constant protection and special graces from God.
Help deliver me from these awful pains of my Purgatory, and I will walk with you for the rest of your life to help keep you from having to suffer them at all! With Unimaginable Gratitude and the Most Beautiful Hope, A Desperate Soul of a Faithful Departed
(written by a student as a way to understand Purgatory & the Souls of the Faithful departed)