Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Journey with Our Blessed Mother

     How do you explain why we, as Catholics, believe in Purgatory?  This word is not in the bible yet we are taught to believe in Purgatory.  I do believe because it makes sense to me logically and I trust my church but I have a desire to know more.

     I know this issue was discussed at the early church councils and there are a couple of verses that seem to infer "a purging through fire."   But where does it originate?

     From books, I've learned that Our Lady has shown the visionaries Heaven, Purgatory and Hell.  St. Faustina was brought to Purgatory by her Guardian Angel and wrote about in it her book, The Diary of Sister Faustina.  (Which I have and still need to read.)

      I am now reading The Visions of the Children~ The Apparitions of the Blessed Mother at Medjugorje and read about the children's visits to Purgatory and Our Lady's messages regarding Purgatory... and I was in tears.  Not knowing if my loved ones who have died are there?  Our Lady of Medjugorje, who appears in Bosnia Herzegovina, tells us about the souls in purgatory who have been forgotten by their loved ones on earth.  "The Blessed Mother said the souls in purgatory are very lonely.  She asked that all the pilgrims pray for their beloved dead by name.  She said the souls in purgatory can see their loved ones on earth.  Most people today have forgotten or don't know about purgatory.  Souls there are very, very lonely.  The Blessed Mother wants her faithful ones to pray for them by name."
     I've had the habit of "offering up the good I've done to the souls in Purgatory" and to pray for them during mass.  I will say each name in my head of my family members, neighbors, friend's parent's who have died during my lifetime.  But I feel as if that's not enough...I feel an urgency about this that I cannot explain.
     Of course, there is the St. Gertrude Prayer taught to her by Our Lord:  Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen."
     I also pray the prayers given by Our Lord to St. Bridget of Sweden every day and have been for 9 months now, even though the duration is 12 years for this devotion.

     What have you learned of Purgatory?  What do you do for the souls of Purgatory?

May God Richly Bless You,


  1. I love that book, I actually have several copies for loaning out to people!

  2. Thanks Noreen, I don't have that book! I will have to put that on order. Did I tell you that we have our Medjugorje pilgrimages in common? I tried to make a comment awhile back but not sure it went through. Watching the special tonight on ABC, praying it's a positive showing. God Bless you and Ave Maria!

  3. Jamie - what a great idea! I found a link to Our Lady of the Rosary Library in Kentucky which has a book called Purgatory Explained. I ordered it today via snail mail. You have to mail in a check for payment so it will take awhile.

    Tiffany - yes, I did see it and wanted to chat with you about it. I didn't know about a special on ABC tonight but I will definitely check it out. Thanks for letting me know.

    Have you ladies gone over to the Community of Catholic Bloggers yet? I think you can click on my button at the top left of the page to go directly to the link. One of the authors, Colleen, posted the most recent messages from Our Lady of Medjugorje on July 2nd. You should check it out.

    Then check out the post on Sunday, July 3rd called Catholics Eucharistic Flash Mob. Very moving and powerful! In fact, I should repost it here.

  4. Hi Noreen. Have you got a copy of "The Catechism of the Catholic Church"? If not, you can access it online if you Google it. It says that the Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory at the Councils of Florence and Trent. Texts that speak of a cleansing fire are 1Cor 3:15, 1Pet 1:7. There is more if you are interested.

    I like to think of Purgatory as a gift. If we die without a perfectly pure soul, then we get a second chance. I've heard that all those in Purgatory are happy to be there: they know they are saved, it's only a matter of time before they see God face-to-face. They don't want to go to Heaven until they are pure.

    I have read (in various accounts of visions) that those in Purgatory suffer horrific physical pain but a priest once told me that this is not possible as they do not have bodies. So I do not know what kind of pain they endure. It has been described as a positive pain as it will come to an end with the reward of Heaven.

    As souls in Purgatory can't pray for themselves, it is sad if they are forgotten, with no way of progressing to Heaven. I think of all the people who don't believe in Purgatory. They wouldn't think of praying for their deceased family and friends.

    Our family tries to pray for the souls as often as possible. We have added the words, "And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace" to the end of our grace. So we pray for them at every meal. Also we say St Gertrude's prayer each morning together. I ask the Holy Souls to pray for me each day and always pray for them in return. I've heard that their prayers are very powerful. Then there are Masses we sometimes offer - the best prayer of all. Perhaps you could offer some Masses, Noreen for your departed family if you feel you need to do something urgently.

    As far as praying for Holy Souls by name, I would think we could pray for forgotten souls generally. God knows those in most need and will use all our prayers.

    I've just remembered: when we visit Thomas we always pray for the Holy Souls while we are in the cemetery. We tend to choose graves that look neglected. During the first part of November there is a special indulgence for the Holy Souls, if we pray for them while visiting a cemetery. It must be the first week because by the time we visit Thomas on his birthday - 9th November- the indulgence is over. Though sometimes I wonder about God sticking rigidly to dates and times. It seems such a human way of looking at things.

    My comment is going to be longer than your post, Noreen. Sorry!! Better stop. God bless you!

  5. Great post Noreen. I've written about purgatory on my Blog. Type purgatory at the search box - top left on my blog.

    I hope you find my posts there useful.

    God bless.

  6. Interesting--I have to admit I really don't think about the souls in Purgatory. Thank you for the reminder that they need to be foremost in our prayers.

  7. Noreen, I love your post. and the comments are wonderful, You've written on something of so much interest to others (AND to me). As a child, my parents always had us pray for "the poor souls in purgatory" as they led us in nightly prayer. Growing up and as an adult -- until recently -- I prayed I wouldn't have to go to purgatory. But then a while ago, I read something by a person who is grateful for purgatory, for the chance at purification, so she could be worthy of heaven. And then my whole view changed. i began to think of purgatory as a place I should be grateful for. I've not read the book you discussed, but i will have to get it. I have read books on Medjugorje but have not heard of that one. I'll have to check out the other sources sited in your post and by the commentors. including Sue's citation to the CCC. God bless.