Meditations on the Poor Souls in Purgatory – November 15th

The Pain of Sense in Purgatory


The pain of Purgatory is the penalty of sin, and sin is a greater evil than all the other evils of the whole world. Even the least venial sin deliberately committed, is a worse evil than all the physical misery men have endured from the Creation until now. Hence, the corresponding punishment must involve greater suffering than any earthly anguish. Some have even maintained that the lightest suffering in Purgatory is more intolerable than the worst suffering on earth, and this opinion has in its favor the authority of St. Thomas himself. What reason, then, have I to dread Purgatory and seek to atone for sin now!The physical pain that the soul suffers in this life is dulled, in that it comes through the medium of the corruptible body, but in Purgatory it directly and immediately affects the soul. Hence, it comes with far greater intensity, inasmuch as the soul is the root and spring of all sensibility. It will be more closely in contact with the fire, and at the same time the fire will be endowed with a power to torture it with misery far worse than the utmost pangs which can be inflicted when the body intervenes.

The pain that we suffer in this life has necessarily a limit by means of the weakness of the body. Men faint away under extreme torture. But in Purgatory the soul, freed from the body, will have no such limit fixed to its agony; its power of endurance will be in proportion to the suffering it has deserved. How can I avoid this awful agony that threatens me? Cultivate a love of mortification now, and a hatred of any unlawful indulgence of the body.

Sorrowful floral strip

The Devout Year by the Rev. R.F. Clarke, S.J.

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