As mentioned previously, November is dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory.
I have posted about Purgatory before, but I haven’t told you about my personal connection.
First, I believe that part of my mission is to offer my suffering for these souls. I feel called to help them and make sure they are not forgotten.
Second, I used to have a fear of Purgatory.
When I experienced a reversion to my Catholic Faith, I was given a strong desire to go to heaven. I was also given a strong desire to skip Purgatory and go directly to heaven when I die.
I didn’t have much of an understanding of it, but I knew it’s where souls go to be purified.
Even though Purgatory is a merciful gift from the Lord, it’s a place of great suffering — greater than any suffering one can experience on earth.
The thought of continuing to suffer after death, and for the suffering to be even more intense, wasn’t something I was interested in experiencing!
After discovering The Treatise on Purgatory by Saint Catherine of Genoa, I gained a clearer understanding and lost the fear of Purgatory.
I still hope to go straight to heaven; however, if I fall short and go to Purgatory, I’ll be grateful because it means I’ll go to heaven someday.
Treatise on Purgatory
St. Catherine of Genoa was an Italian mystic admired for her work among the sick and poor.
She is remembered for her writings and mystical experiences and known as the Apostle of Purgatory.
In her Treatise,
The Saint shows how she understood Purgatory from the divine fire which she felt within herself, and in what manner there the souls are both happy and tormented (1).
It’s a beautiful work that explains Purgatory in a way I hadn’t heard before!
It contains seventeen short chapters, which are briefly summarized at the beginning of each and listed below.
- CHAPTER I: The state of souls in purgatory. They are exempt from all self-love.
- CHAPTER II: The joy of souls in purgatory. The saint illustrates their ever increasing vision of God. The difficulty of speaking about their state.
- CHAPTER III: Separation from God is the greatest pain of purgatory. In this, purgatory differs from hell.
- CHAPTER IV: The difference between the state of the souls in hell and that of those in purgatory. Reflections of the saint upon those who neglect their salvation.
- CHAPTER V: Of the peace and joy which are found in purgatory.
- CHAPTER VI: A comparison to express with how great violence of love the souls in purgatory desire to enjoy God.
- CHAPTER VII: Of the marvelous wisdom of God in the creation of purgatory and of hell.
- CHAPTER VIII: Of the necessity of purgatory, and of its terrific character.
- CHAPTER IX: How God and the soul reciprocally regard each other in purgatory. The saint confesses that she has no words to express these things.
- CHAPTER X: How God makes use of purgatory to complete the purification of the soul. That she acquires therein a purity so great that if she were yet to remain after her purification she would cease to suffer.
- CHAPTER XI: The desire of souls in purgatory to be purified from every stain of sin. The wisdom of God in veiling from them their defects.
- CHAPTER XII: How joy and suffering are united in purgatory.
- CHAPTER XIII: The souls in purgatory are not in a state to merit. How they regard the suffrages offered for them in this world.
- CHAPTER XIV: Of the submission of the souls in purgatory to the will of God.
- CHAPTER XV: Reproaches of the soul in purgatory to persons in this world.
- CHAPTER XVI: Showing that the sufferings of the souls in purgatory do not prevent their peace and joy.
- CHAPTER XVII: Which concludes with an application of all that has been said concerning the souls in purgatory to what the saint experiences in her own soul.
I encourage everyone to read (or listen to) St. Catherine’s Treatise on Purgatory.
I recommend reading (or listening to) the full text, one chapter at a time, and reflecting on it.
The text is approximately 35 pages. The audio is approximately 40 minutes.
It’s perfect for this month as we remember the Holy Souls, and always fitting as we continue our spiritual pilgrimage toward heaven.