Secrets of Purgatory : Chapters 2 and 3

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Chapter 2

Can we Avoid Purgatory? YES!
The reason why some souls have to pass through Purgatory after death is that they have committed venial sins for which they have not received Absolution in the Sacrament of Penance, and also they have not made satisfaction for the temporal punishment due to at least some of their sins, even those sins they have already confessed.

Each sin must be expiated, whether in this life or the next life! No one with even the slightest shadow of sin or of any remaining temporal punishment due to sin, can enter Heaven which is totally pure wherein is the all-holy presence of God.

The graver one’s venial sins, the more frequent the venial sins, the longer will be the period of expiation and the more intense will be the pain.

One must face the facts, either now or later, that it is not God’s fault, nor even God’s wish, that anyone would go to Purgatory! On the contrary, the fault is all our own.

We have sinned and have not made satisfaction.

Even after we commit sin, Almighty God, in His infinite goodness and Divine Mercy, places at our disposal many easy and efficacious means by which we may considerably lessen our term of expiation, or even entirely cancel it, and thus go straight to Heaven when we die.

For your practical resolutions, make this your # 1 goal - to go straight to Heaven when you die.

Sad to say, too many Catholics, with an irrationally incomprehensible rashness, neglect these means and so have to pay their debts in the dreadful prison called “Purgatory”.

What are some of the primary means by which we can avoid Purgatory, or at the very least, lessen its severity and duration?

Chapter 3
The First Means: Removing the Cause


The First
Means of avoiding Purgatory is to remove the cause which sends us there which is sin.

[COLOR=#c9712e" size="4]At first,
it may not be easy for one to refrain from all sin, even the smaller sins, but every ordinary Catholic can, by the frequent use of the Sacraments, more easily abstain from mortal sin.

Secondly, we can all avoid deliberate and grave venial sin. It is an awful thing to offend the good God deliberately. Deliberation intensifies enormously the malice of sin and offends God much more than faults of weakness, or sins committed when we are caught off guard, e.g. at the end of a long, hard day when we are physically and mentally drained and exhausted and can think of nothing but to collapse onto our bed for much need rest and sleep..

Lastly, by the Grace of God, we must use our best efforts to break our bad habits. Habits, like deliberation, add seriousness to the malice of sin

A deliberate falsehood is very much worse than a hasty lie of excuse, and a lie resulting from the inveterate habit of lying is far worse than a casual lie. The so-called “white lie” is nothing but a lie of the Devil because it tends to lessen the perception of the seriousness of the sin of lying and because it is the springboard to develop the habit of lying.

It has been related how a certain Lady had admitted how she had fallen into the habit of constantly speaking ill of her neighbors when she was younger. But, after she heard a Sermon about this, she made a strong resolution never to do this again. And, by the Grace of God, she was able to keep her resolution.

Thus it came about that her strong resolution, aided by the Grace of God, changed the whole direction of her life and thereby prevented her from committing untold numbers of such sins and most assuredly, from a long and painful Purgatory.

All it takes is a determined act of the will and the humility and meekness to pray to God and Our Blessed Mother for the Graces necessary to keep one’s resolution to avoid committing sin, most especially an habitual sin, e.g. speaking ill of others, lying, stealing, cheating, sins of the flesh, etc.

If, in this way, a Catholic avoids these three classes of sin, i.e. mortal sins, deliberate and grave venial sins, and habits of sin, it will be much easier for such a one to atone for faults of frailty, as will become apparent below.

Practical Suggestions

Is there some way to at least partially atone for the sins which a person commits each day, whether sins of commission or omission?
YES
!

Perfect Act of Contrition
One way is to get into the habit of making a Perfect Act of Contrition every night before going to bed. A “perfect” Act of Contrition is having sorrow for your sins, not because of the terrible punishments they deserve, but rather having sorrow for your sins because they have offended the good God whom you love more than anyone else and you have deep regrets and sorrow for having “hurt” God by your sins.


See : Perfect contrition opened heaven to the good thief. [/SIZE][/B][/U][/URL]

Another way, in addition to making a Perfect Act of Contrition, is to say the following prayer:\

Prayer for Daily Neglects
<font color="426790" size="3">Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus with all of its Love, all of its Sufferings and all of its Merits.

First, To expiate for all of the sins that I have committed today and during every day of my entire life.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.


Second,
To purify all the good I have done poorly today and during every day of my entire life.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Third,
To supply for the good that I ought to have done today and that I have neglected today and during every day of my entire life.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
.

A Poor Clare Nun, who had just died, appeared to her Abbess who was praying for her and told her: "I went straight to Heaven, for, by means of this prayer, recited every evening, I paid all of my debts." Of course this does not, and can not, replace the Sacrament of Penance, but it is prudent and wise to use it nonetheless.

Saint Theresa's "Little Way" of Sanctity

Little Acts of Supererogation
Is it possible to ever overcome every sin in advance and thus rarely, if ever, sin? YES!

Here is a great “secret” of some of the Saints which is really an easy, teeny, tiny act, the immense value of which most people probably do not realize? What follows is only ten paragraphs long, but it can not only help you to shorten your time in Purgatory, but possibly even help you to totally avoid Purgatory so you can in fact go straight to Heaven when you die!

You can EASILY (anyone can do it!) become and remain one of the handful of God’s FAVORITES! How do you do this? By overcoming all temptations in advance by acts of supererogation! It is another weighty reason for settingreat store by Little Things.

This is explained in detail by the following source:
1. Another considerable reason why we should make account of little things is that, if we are careless and negligent in little things and take small heed thereof, it is to be feared that God will refuse us His particular and special aids and graces which we stand in need of to resist temptations and not fall into sin and to obtain the virtue and perfection which we desire; and so we come to great harm.

2. The better to understand this, we must presuppose a very good piece of theology taught us by Saint Paul when writing to the Corinthians--that God our Lord never refused to anyone that supernatural assistance and succor whereby, if he will, he will not be overcome by temptation but be able to resist and come out victorious. God is faithful, Who will not permit you to be tempted above your strength, but will give you such aid in temptation as that you may be able to suffer it with advantage (I Cor. 10:13). God is faithful, say the Apostle; you may rest assured that He will not permit you to be tempted more than you are able to bear; and if He adds more trials and there come greater temptations, He will also add more succor and bounty that you may be able to come out of them, not only without loss, but with much profit and increase of good. But there is another aid and succor of God more special and particular. Man could resist and overcome temptation without this special aid if he availed himself as he ought of the first supernatural assistance, which is more general. But, oftentimes, with that first aid man will not resist temptation unless God give him that other aid more particular and special. Not that he could not, but that he will not; for if he willed, he might well resist with that first aid, since it is sufficient for the purpose if he would make the use of it that he ought. In that case his falling and being overcome by temptation will be his own fault, since it will be by his own will. And if God gave him then that other special assistance, he would not fall.

3. But to come to our point. This second aid and special superabundant and efficacious succor is not given by God to all, nor on all occasions, since it is a liberality and a most particular grace of His own bestowal; and so God will give it to whom He pleases; He will give it to those who have been liberal with Him. So the prophet says: With the holy, Lord, Thou wilt be holy; and with the benign, benign; and with the liberal and sincere, Thou wilt be sincere and liberal; and with him that shall not be such, Thou wilt pay him in the same coin (Psalm 17:26-27). This is what our Father puts in his Rules: “The closer one shall bind himself to God our Lord, and the more liberal he shall show himself to His Divine Majesty, the more liberal he will find God to him; and the better shall he be disposed to receive every day greater graces and spiritual gifts.” This is the doctrine of Saint Gregory Nazianzen and other saints.

4. What it is to be liberal to God may be well understood from what it is to be liberal to men. In this world to be liberal to another is to give him, not his due and bonded right, but more than his due and bonded right. That is liberality; the other is not liberality, but justice and obligation. Now in the same manner, he who is very careful and diligent to please God, not only in matters of obligation, but also in those of supererogation and perfection, and not only in greater, but also in lesser things, he is liberal to God. Now to them that are thus liberal, God also is very liberal. These are God’s favorites to whom He shows His bounties; to these He gives not only those general aids which are sufficient to resist and overcome temptations, but also those special and superabundant and efficacious aids wherewith they will nowise fall when they are tempted.

5. But if you are not liberal to God, how can you expect God to be liberal to you? If you are niggardly with God, you deserve that God should be niggardly with you. If you are so mean and close as to go sounding and measuring as with rule and compass--“Am I bound or not bound? Am I bound under sin or not bound under sin? Does it amount to a mortal sin or to no more than a venial?” --all this is being niggardly with God, since you want to give Him no more than you are obliged, and even in that possibly you fail. God then will be niggardly with you and give you no more than He is obliged by His word; He will give you those general and necessary aids which He gives to all, which are enough and sufficient to enable you to resist temptations and not fall in them; but you will have much reason to fear that He will not give you that special superabundant and efficacious aid which He is wont to give to such as are liberal to Him; and so you will come to be vanquished by temptation and fall into sin.

6. This is what theologians and saints commonly say, that one sin is often the punishment of another sin. That is to be understood in this way, that by the first sin a man loses, as punishment of his sin, all claim to that special and particular aid of God, and renders himself unworthy of it; and so he comes to fall into a second sin. They say the same of venial sins, and further of faults and negligences and general carelessness of life; for this also they say that a man may lose all claim and render himself unworthy of that special and efficacious assistance of God with which he will persevere and actually overcome temptation, and without which he will be overcome and fall into sin. So some saints explain the words of the Wise Man: He that despiseth small things, shall fall little by little (Ecclus. 19:1). By despising small things and making little account of them one comes to render oneself unworthy of that special assistance of God, and so one comes to fall into great faults. In like manner is to be understood the saying of the Apocalypse (3:16): Because thou art tepid, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth. God has not yet vomited and thrown up entirely the tepid man, but He has begun to vomit and throw him up because by this negligence in which he lives, and these faults which he commits with advertence and of set purpose, he goes the way to make himself undeserving of that special and efficacious aid without which he will fall; and God will end by vomiting and throwing him up.

7. Let us consider how much reason we have to fear lest we should lose all claim and render ourselves unworthy of this special aid of God through our tepidity and sloth. How often do we see ourselves assailed with temptations and in great danger, and many times we find ourselves in doubt--“Did I dwell on it or not? Did I consent or not? Did it amount to a sin or not?” Oh, how well it would be worth our while for those critical moments to have been liberal to God and so made ourselves worthy of that special and liberal aid of grace whereby we should be quite secure of always keeping our footing, and without which we shall be in great danger and possibly be overcome!

8. Saint Chrysostom assigns this means as one of the chief that we have for overcoming temptations. Speaking of the devil, our enemy, and of the continual war that he wages against us, he says: “You know well, my brethren, that we have in the devil a perpetual enemy who is always making war upon us, who never sleeps nor relaxes his efforts: you can have no truce with that cruel monster. So it is necessary always to be very wide-awake and very careful and watchful not to be overcome by him.” How, then, shall we stand on our guard and prepare ourselves well not to be overcome, but always to get the better of this traitor and keep him under? Do you know how? Saint Chrysostom says: “The only means to overcome him is to have gained beforehand this special assistance of God by our good life in the past. In this way we shall be always victorious, and in no other.” Notice the expression, “in no other”. Saint Basil makes the same observation in these words: “He who wishes to be helped by the Lord never ceases doing what lies with him to do. He who does this is never left destitute of the divine assistance;” wherefore, he concludes: “We must make it our effort that our conscience shall not reproach us in anything.” A sound conclusion is that we must be very careful in our spiritual exercises and in all our works to be worthy of this special aid from heaven.

9. Hence it will be seen how important it is to make much account of small things--if we can call those things small which bring us in so much good or so much harm. He who feareth God, neglecteth nothing (Eccles. 7:19), because he knows full well that out of small things neglected one comes little by little to fail in greater; and he fears that, if he ceases to be liberal with God in these things, God will cease to be liberal with him.

10. In conclusion I say that this matter is so important, and we should make so much account of it, that we may take it as a general rule that, so long as a man makes much of little and minute things, all will go well, and the Lord will befriend him; and on the contrary, when he ceases to reckon much of little and minute things, he will incur great danger, because it is in this way that all evil enters into a religious. This Jesus Christ gives us to understand, saying: He that is faithful in what is little, will be faithful also in what is much; and he that is unfaithful and evil in what is little, will be the like in what is much (Luke 16:10). And therefore when one wishes to see how one is getting on in spiritual progress--and it is reasonable that we should often make reflection thereupon--let him examine himself by this and see whether he makes account of little things or whether he is getting into free and easy ways by taking small heed of them; and if he sees that now he does not trouble himself about small matters, nor does his conscience reproach him thereon as it used to do, let him look for a remedy with all care. The devil, says Saint Basil, when he sees that he cannot drive us out of religion, applies all his powers to persuade us not to give ourselves to perfection, and not to make account of small matters, deceiving us by a false assurance that one does not lose God for that. But we, on the contrary, should make it our effort that as he cannot drive us out of religion, so neither shall he hinder our perfection; but we will apply ourselves thereto with all our strength, setting much store by little and minute things. (Source: Father Alphonsus Rodriguez, S.J., a.k.a. Alonso Rodriguez, S.J. [b. at Valladolid, Spain, in 1526 A.D. - d. at Seville, Spain on Sunday, February 21, 1616 A.D.], “Practice of Perfection and Christian Virtues,” Newly Translated from the Original Spanish by Joseph Rickaby, S.J., In Three Volumes, Volume I, Chapter X; emphasis added).

For your practical resolutions, the following is suggested:

1) Get into the habit of making a Perfect Act of Contrition every night before you retire.

2) Recite the “Prayer for Daily Neglects”, remembering how A Poor Clare Nun, who had just died, appeared to her Abbess who was praying for her and told her: "I went straight to Heaven, for, by means of this prayer, recited every evening, I paid all of my debts."

3) Perform little Acts of Supererogation, * This is how you can create a good habit for a change! This is a great “secret” of some of the Saints! Anyone can perform a little act - it does not have to be a big act (big acts bring with them the possibility of the sin of pride, or at least the shadow of pride, and would therefore be counter-productive) - of supererogation, of being generous with God. Opportunities abound everywhere, e.g. in the parking lot of a grocery store, find an empty shopping cart (some call it a “basket”) and take it into the store with you. When you return to your vehicle and after you unload the shopping cart, put the shopping cart into the special stall or area designated for shopping carts. Do this little act of supererogation, an act of generosity to God, for the love of God and simultaneously as a little penance for the Poor, Suffering Souls in Purgatory.

4) Every time you say the Our Father, put a special emphasis and fervor on these two sentences:

a) “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”

b) “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

These are the very words of God Himself and repeated frequently and fervently will certainly help us to obtain humility by uniting and conforming our wills with God’s Holy Will and will also obtain for us the spirit of charity and forgiveness towards our neighbors.


* In the theology of the Roman Catholic Church, "works of supererogation" (also called "acts of supererogation") are those performed beyond what God requires. For example, in 1 Corinthians 7, Saint Paul says that while everyone is free to marry, it is better to refrain from marriage and remain celibate to better serve God. The Roman Catholic Church holds that the counsels of perfection are supererogatory acts, which specific Christians may engage in above their moral duties. Similarly, it teaches that to determine how to act, one must engage in reasonable efforts to be sure of what the right actions are; after the reasonable action, the person is in a state of invincible ignorance and guiltless of wrongdoing, but to undertake more than reasonable actions to overcome ignorance is supererogatory, and praiseworthy.

According to the classic teaching on indulgences, the works of supererogation performed by all the saints form a treasure with God that the Church can apply to exempt repentant sinners from the works of penitence that would otherwise be required of them to achieve full reconciliation with the Church.
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