Thursday, August 30, 2007

Right Teaching About Purgatory and How to Avoid Going There

From the Good 'ol Baltimore Catechism no. 3, Lesson 14:

184. Who are punished in purgatory?
Those are punished for a time in purgatory who die in the state of grace but are guilty of venial sin, or have not fully satisfied for the temporal punishment due to their sins.
(a) There will be no purgatory after the general judgment.
(b) Since we do not know how long individual souls are detained in purgatory, there is need for persevering prayer for the repose of the souls of all those who die after reaching the use of reason, except those who are canonized or beatified by the Church.
(c) The souls in purgatory are certain of entering heaven as soon as God's justice has been fully satisfied.

How to Avoid Purgatory by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan

1. In every prayer you say, every Mass you hear, every Communion you receive, every good work you perform, have the express intention of imploring God to grant you a holy and happy death and no Purgatory. Surely God will hear a prayer said with such confidence and perseverance.
2. Always wish to do God's will. It is in every sense the best for you. When you do or seek anything that is not God's will, you are sure to suffer. Say fervently, therefore, each time you recite the Our Father: "Thy will be done"
3. Accept all the sufferings, sorrows, pains and disappointments of life, be they great or small: ill health, loss of goods, the death of your dear ones, heat or cold, rain or sunshine, as coming from God. Bear them calmly and patiently for love of Him and in penance for your sins. Of course one may use all his efforts to ward off trouble and pain, but when one cannot avoid them let him bear them manfully. Impatience and revolt make sufferings vastly greater and more difficult to bear.
4. Christ's life and actions are so many lessons for us to imitate. The greatest act in His life was His Passion. As He had a Passion, so each one of us has a passion. Our passion consists in the sufferings and labours of every day. The penance God imposed on man for sin was to gain his bread in the sweat of his brow. Therefore, let us do our work, accept its disappointments and hardships, and bear our pains in union with the Passion of Christ. We gain more merit by a little pain than by years of pleasure.
5. Forgive all injuries and offences, for in proportion as we forgive others, God forgives us.
6. Avoid mortal sins and deliberate venial sins and break off all bad habits. Then it will be relatively easy to satisfy God's justice for sins of frailty. Above all, avoid sins against charity and against chastity, whether in thought, word or deed, for these sins [and the expiation for them] are the reason why many souls are detained in Purgatory for long years.
7. If afraid of doing much, do many little things, acts of kindness and charity, give the alms you can, cultivate regularity of life, method in work, and punctuality in the performance of duty; don't grumble or complain when things are not as you please; don't censure and complain of others; never refuse to do a favour to others when it is possible. These and suchlike little acts are a splendid penance.
8. Do all in your power for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Pray for them constantly, get others to do so . . . and ask all those you know to do likewise. The Holy Souls will repay you most generously.
9. There is no way more powerful of obtaining from God a most holy and happy death than by weekly Confession, daily Mass and daily Communion.
10. A daily visit to the Blessed Sacrament--it need only be three or four minutes--is an easy way of obtaining the same grace. Kneeling in the presence of Jesus with eyes fixed on the Tabernacle, sure that He is looking at us, let us for a few minutes repeat some little prayer like these: "My Jesus, mercy." "My Jesus, have pity on me, a sinner" "My Jesus, I love You" "My Jesus, give me a happy death"


Carolina Cannonball said...

excuse my ingornace- I was involved in a conversation recently and I said that if you die in a state of mortal sin you go to hell. The other party said that didn;t seem very just. if we are baptized practicing Catholics and commit a mortal sin ebfore we can confess it we go to hell.

Also, it is my understanding that even confession and absolution of a sin does not mean that one deos not still need to be cleansed in purgatory for that sin.

Am I incorrect in my thinking?

Sanctus Belle said...

Well I do believe you are correct in your thinking. If you commit a mortal sin, you have knowingly and willingly committed a grave sin which is in essence a formal rejection of God. If a soul dies unrepentant of this sin they go to hell. There is much hope that God in His mercy does offer the soul His mercy at the moment of death and it is up to the soul to accept it - if this is rejected the soul has committed the sin of final impenitence from which there is no return.

Any and all sin must be atoned for and has a punishment or price which must be paid. If a soul has not performed enough penance in this life, it will pay "to the last farthing" in the next in purgatory. I've heard Father Corapi say about this " can Me pay now, or ye can pay Me later..." Sin accumulates a debt we must pay, better in this life than the next!

Confession grants God's forgiveness of the sins, but does not remit the debt due to those sins - that is what penance is for.

Carolina Cannonball said...

logistically speaking... the penance following the absolution of sin when we confess would clear our debt, right?

Or is it not enough?

I imagine the penances now are not enough. In that case, priests are harming our eternity by giving us 5 Hail Mary's for even the gravest of deviations, do you think?

Sanctus Belle said...

Well, I've never read that the penance given in confession is to clear all the debt due to the sins confessed. Likely there is ALOT of unpaid debt most people die with, to be purified in purgatory. Honestly, most folks who die in a state of grace go there, and more for a very long time. I highly recommend the book Purgatory ( This is a link to Amazon where the book is available used for just over a buck. This book simply changed my life and is a true spiritual treasure. A very essential tool for every Catholic - truly. GET the book!

Kat, Carolina Cannonball said...

how can die in a state of grace and still go to purgatory? I guess I am going to have to get the book. When I asked my priest about ages ago while going through RCIA, he purgatory was no longer being emphasized... like indulgences.

Sanctus Belle said...

Kat: With every sin there is incurred by the sinner a debt which is due to God in His perfect Justice. In confession we are forgiven the guilt, but the debt is ours to pay, either in this life or the next in purgatory. Purgatory has never been abrogated, in fact it is a dogma and binding on all Catholics to believe in. Unfortunately talk of Purgatory has gone by the wayside along with indulgences - which are available and valid despite not being 'emphasized' anymore. You could also read much more at, but the book you must get. You will be shocked as I was.

There is a handbook of indulgences approved by the USCCB in conformance with Rome. I highly reccommend it as well. Mother Angelica said once every Catholic home should have this book and I nearly broke my finger dialing the EWTN religious catalouge to buy it. I try to gain a plenary indulgence at least once a should all Catholics.