Posted by: fvbcdm | November 2, 2012

Feast of All Souls (2 Nov 2012)

This Friday, the universal Church celebrates All Souls Day, when all Masses throughout the world are for the souls in Purgatory.  This is the most obvious example of our belief in the existence of Purgatory, and what that implies.

What DOES the existence of Purgatory imply?  It implies that there is such a thing as temporal punishment due to sin.  Eternal punishment means hell.  God grant that none of us will ever deserve that.  Temporal punishment means that either our sins in this world, or our failure to achieve the degree of holiness that God’s grace intended, deserve a certain amount of purgation, cleansing, atonement, and reparation.  If we die with unrepented venial sins to our debit, they must be atoned for after our death.  We do that in the condition called Purgatory.  It is God’s merciful way of giving us another chance; all those in Purgatory are unquestionably on their way to Heaven, but must undergo the cleansing process before getting there. 

Which brings me to the subject of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.  It has been revealed recently that for most of her religious life, she experienced what is called in theology “the dark night of the soul.”  The two great Spanish mystical writers, Saint John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila speak of this.  It refers to a painful state in which God temporarily withdraws from a soul most, if not all, of the joy, the happiness, the certitude, of living in love with God.  It is a sort of divine silence; we pray, but God doesn’t make his presence felt.  He gives us no “answer” that we can be conscious of.  Imagine how a young bride would feel if, all of a sudden, her groom — her husband — stopped talking to her or having anything to do with her.  Between two people who are in love, silence is terrible.  Why does a loving, merciful God do that to people on earth?  It is part of the purification process.  He wants to bring those people to the state of total readiness for Heaven so that they can be admitted to the fullness of joy immediately or very soon after their deaths.  Suffering in this world is not as severe as suffering in the next, where we cannot merit by our sufferings.  So the “dark night” is an anticipation of Purgatory.  Since Mother Teresa and many others have “done their Purgatory on earth,” as we say, they don’t have that to worry about after death.  This is why we are taught to offer up our sufferings in this world, of whatever kind, in reparation for our sins.  This is why sickness, old age, and the inevitability of death can be so valuable.  These things put into our hands the gold coins by which we buy our way to Heaven.  Does this mean that the Blood of Jesus is of no use?  By no means!  Were it not for the redemptive death and resurrection of Our Divine Savior, merit would be impossible for us; Purgatory would not exist; Heaven would be forever closed to us.  But Our Lord, in his infinite mercy, DID suffer and die, and DOES say to us as he said to the thief on the cross next to his: “This day, you will be with me in paradise!”    Thank you for seeking God’s truth.  God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This is a CDM composed by Father Brown in the past.


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