November 14, 2021
Purgatory is God’s Mercy for a suffering world. It is a school of love and a powerful hope.
- God needs from us something much more valuable than money and its generosity. Jesus often uses material things to be a teaching about hidden spiritual things.
- We can give God very much by giving Him the little that we have.
- What is important is that we give to God what we can and not compare ourselves to others or saints and become discouraged.
- How do we maximize the potential of our gifts? By giving the little we have, the little that we’re capable of giving and give it to Jesus by placing it in His hands.
- Giving the Lord our misery and poverty is so valuable to Him because of the humility, the trust and the generosity that is involved.
- What seems so worthless to us, when we give it with generosity, trust and humility, takes on a divine potential because it is in His hands.
Purgatory is a great school of love, where God’s children learn to love what they were not able to learn here on Earth.
“In those days, I Daniel heard this word of the Lord. At that time there shall arise, Michael, the great prince, guardian of your people, it shall be a time unsurpassed in this dress, since nations began until that time. At that time, your people shall escape everyone who was found written in the book.” And so, from this first reading today, it’s speaking of a moment which something happened and that had never happened before. And is a time in which some people escape, not everybody, some who escaped it as your people, that is those who are written in the book. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake. So many of the dead are awakening. Some shall live forever; others shall be in everlasting horror and disgrace. And so, there’s a judgment taking place, a judgment of truth. And the result is very different. For some, it’s life everlasting. For others, it says, an everlasting horror and disgrace. And then the prophecy says, “but the wise self shall shine brightly, like the splendor of the firmament. And those who lead the many to justice will be like the stars forever.” Like the stars forever. We talk about movie stars, TV stars, rock stars and sports stars. And this is stars, but who will be stars forever, like stars forever, but who are these? Who are these who will be like stars forever? It is the wise, and those who lead many to justice. This month of November, as the Church approaches the end of the liturgical year, is a time in which the Church invites us to reflect on the last things. And it’s always been an important month for the Mission of Divine Mercy. We didn’t make it an important month, God made it an important month. It was precisely and that’s why we’re celebrating that yesterday on the 17th, that we arrived, to begin the Mission of Divine Mercy. And also, it was on the 19th of November, that we signed a contract for this property. And we were able, in 2012, the members, to move out to houses nearby, precisely to and these days before Thanksgiving. And it’s been striking for us that many of our parents and family members have passed from this world, precisely in this month, and precisely in these days. And so, this month of November, the Lord made it special for our little mission. And it is the month of the Holy Souls in purgatory. And that’s very important here in our mission. And you might have seen, you’ve probably all seen the little memorial for the holy souls out there, which references St. Faustina’s experience. She was praying one night, “Lord, who do You want me to pray for?” And He said, “I’ll tell you, I’ll show you tomorrow.” And the next day, is when she has the visit of her Angel, who takes her to purgatory, actually transports her to purgatory, and that’s what was recounted on our memorial. And there the souls are asking her to pray for them. And so that Memorial recalls that and then many times, Saint Faustina had many times, visits of the souls from Purgatory, asking her to pray for them, or thanking her for helping them be freed from Purgatory. And so that’s good to remember, that we can pray at this very Mass, we try to remember the souls of Purgatory, at every Mass and this very Mass is an opportunity for souls in purgatory to be freed from Purgatory because of our prayers. And so, we can help them, but it’s also very helpful for us to reflect on the souls in purgatory. A number of years ago, we had a Saint Michel Squadron, which is for young men of high school age. We dedicate the whole summer camp to purgatory, to helping souls in purgatory. Have you ever heard of a camp for young people dedicated to helping souls for purgatory? That’s kind of odd thing, but that was one of our most powerful camps. And it was striking to me how much, not only we can help them, but how much that helps us. It helps us it because it helps us recall Heaven, which is the fullness of love, and hell, which is the fullness of hatred. And it makes us aware of God’s justice because we live in a world where there’s so much injustice. Purgatory, you know, I think of Purgatory on this day, which is a very cloudy day. We’re down here in the gray, and in the cold, but like, if you could get on a plane, you could go through the clouds, and suddenly, the sun would be shining. And so that’s what happens when the souls die. As soon as they die, they go beyond the clouds, and they have the great light of the truth of God. And so, the truth of God which brings about justice. And so that’s what is striking when you read about the souls in purgatory, as soon as they leave this earth, they enter into the light of truth, and of justice, of justice and of mercy. And so, the other thing that helps us only go beyond the cloud, it helps us also understand the greatness of your call. Because a lot of us feel pretty ordinary. But God doesn’t create anybody ordinary. God doesn’t destine anybody for ordinary things. God creates children to share His divine life. And that is so beyond what we can understand. Reflecting on Purgatory helps us to go beyond the cloudiness, the fogginess of our life here to see, understand a little bit the greatness of our call. And so, it gives us hope,praying with the souls in purgatory is a source of hope. We’ll come back to that. So, there’s immense differences of the situations and the souls in purgatory. So though these are souls, which are not going to hell, they’re accepting God’s mercy, but they’re not ready for Heaven. But there’s all sorts of variety in that. There are some people who are fair who need a great deal of purification. And some people need very little purification. So, the experience is very different because it’s just. Purgatory can be is a place of purification, but it’s also a place of healing, and rebuilding. to finish learning what true love is, to remove any obstacle that is left in order for God’s love to take full possession of our whole being. So purgatory is a great school of love, where God’s children learn to love, what they were not able to learn here on Earth. Where they are also healed, made whole, restored in order to become the living tabernacles of His love, in all its fullness. Many saints had visits from souls in purgatory. But I want to focus on one whose experience was a little bit different. This is St. Catherine of Genoa, Catherine of Genoa, who died in 1510. She had spiritual experiences which helped to understand the experiences of the souls. And so, she says, and this is a quote from her, “I see that as far as God is concerned, Paradise has no gates, but he who will, may enter, for God is all mercy, and His arms are ever extended, to receive us into His glory.” So, she’s saying that God is not excluding anybody from Heaven, He opens wide the gates. She actually says she doesn’t see any gates. But there are souls that go to hell. Why? Because they have freely rejected God and His mercy forever. So, these souls cannot stand to be in the presence of God. And they, in this light of God’s light, they see clearly what place corresponds to it. And so, she says, “they go of themselves to that place in hell, because there is no place better for them. If that place wasn’t available, they would be in an even more painful situation.” So, there’s a mercy of God, even in hell of not giving them all that they deserve. But for the souls, so the souls in purgatory, are souls who are open to God’s mercy, who have not rejected God. And so, they also see what they need. And so, she says that “the souls freely, though they want to go to Heaven, they freely choose to go to purgatory.” Why? Because they know they’re not yet ready for Heaven. And she says, “I can see that the divine essence is so pure, purer than imagination can conceive, that the soul finding it in itself, the slightest imperfection, would rather cast itself into 1000 hells, than appear so stained in the presence of the Divine Majesty. Knowing then that purgatory was intended for her cleaning, she throws herself therein and finds there, that great mercy, the removal of her stains, and she cast herself quickly and willingly therein. And if that wasn’t possible, the soul would go to a worse place. So anxious is it to be purified, because compared to the loss of God, the sufferings of hell would seem nothing in order to be united to Him. So, the souls willingly go to purgatory, because they’re so anxious to be purified of anything, that is a separation from God, anything that’s still staining them. And so, the souls in purgatory are being inflamed she says, with a fire of divine charity, divine love. And God gives the soul an attractive force of ardent love, which would annihilate her if she were not immortal. He so transforms her into Himself, that forgetting all, she no longer sees anything besides Him. And He continues to draw her toward Him, and flames her with love, and never leaves her until He has brought her to that state from which she first came forth, the perfect purity with which she was created. And so, there’s such an intense fire of attraction of the soul to God, that the soul forgets everything. You know here on Earth we’re very distracted and seduced by so many things that sometimes we pretty much forget God. Or He’s kind of low on our list. But the souls in purgatory have nothing distracting them from God. And that’s why the intensity of their desire for God is so great, because they are completely conformed to His will. It sounds like a contradiction to us, but she says, they can be experiencing great pain, intense pain of their attraction to God and their purification. But at the same time, great peace, she says, “There is no peace that can be compared with that of the souls in purgatory, save that of the saints in Paradise. And this peace ever grows by the inflowing of God into the souls, which increases in proportion, as the impediments to it are removed.” So that’s the souls in purgatory, have great pleasure and great pain, together. Great pain of purification, but at the same time, that peace, and the great hope of sensing the approach of the union with God. And so, this helps us understand once again, that God has Heaven open, wide open, but it’s the souls himself, in his life, that know their place. And so, as I said, Purgatory gives us hope. It is a place of great hope. Because they see things so much more clearly than we do. They’re beyond the fog, the clouds that we’re living in, and so they can help us also grow in hope, because God doesn’t want us to go to purgatory. Purgatory is the mercy of God, but God would rather all His children be able to go straight to Heaven. And that’s possible, if simply we accept God’s will for us. And that’s why there’s so many opportunities for purification, for growth and divine love. Because accepting our cross here on Earth, so that we can live that purification here on earth so at the end of our life on earth, we go straight to Heaven. And so that puts it in a very different light, the many trials that we experienced on earth, if we see it as the opportunity to grow and to be purified, preparing for Heaven. So, it might seem to be kind of funny, the anniversary the Mission of Divine Mercy to be talking about purgatory, right. It’s kind of a standing joke here that we hear a lot of people often talk about the graces that they experience here. Some say it’s like your Mission of Divine Mercy is like a little piece of heaven. Like a little bit of Heaven on earth. We hear that often. For those of us who live here, and work here, it’s more like purgatory on earth. And that kind of inspired our vocational pitch, which hasn’t had a lot of success yet. But the vocational pitch is, “why wait till after you’re dead? Come get purgatory over with, join the Mission of Divine Mercy. But I’m only half joking. I think if you ask the members of Mission Divine Mercy, they’ll know that it’s pretty true. It is hard, it is very hard. But it helps to understand with hope, why the Lord is calling us on this path of purgatory, of desert. I’ll just recall in conclusion that, first, those words we heard from the prophet Daniel, “at that time, your people shall escape, everyone who was found written in the book. But the wise shall shine brightly, like the splendor of the firmament. And those who lead the many to justice, shall be like the stars forever.” As St. Faustina when she went to purgatory saw that Mary is the one who comes to comfort the souls in purgatory. So, with our Blessed Mother, let us in this Mass pray, especially for all our brothers and sisters in Purgatory, especially those who most need help, especially those who maybe don’t have anyone praying for them. So often when the souls in purgatory come back to visit, they ask, especially for the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Mass is often something that we can offer at the Mission of Divine Mercy, it’s so long, right? But the souls in purgatory, thirst for the Mass, because they know the power of the Mass to purify them, and draw them to union with God. And so, we can offer for them the power of the Sacrifice of the Mass. And that’s why I try to talk as long as possible that they get more of a sacrifice. No, it’s not. It’s the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And so, we can offer the Mass for them. And as we offer it for them, they can be interceding for us, and strengthening us and hope and join us more intensely to God.