How comes it that the pains of Purgatory are so severe?
- The fire we see on Earth was made by the goodness of God for our comfort and well being. Still, when used as a torment it is the most dreadful one we can imagine.
- The fire of Purgatory, on the contrary, was made by the justice of God to purify us and is, therefore, incomparably more severe.
- Our fire, at most, burns this body of ours, made of clay, whereas the fire of Purgatory acts on the spiritual soul, which is unspeakably more sensitive to pain.
- The more intense our fire is the more speedily it destroys its victim, whereas the fire of Purgatory inflicts the keenest, most violent pain but never kills the soul nor lessens its sensibility.
- Unsurpassingly severe as is the fire of Purgatory the pain of loss or separation from God, which the souls also suffer in Purgatory, is far more severe. The soul separated from the body craves with all the intensity of its spiritual nature for God. It is consumed with an intense desire to fly to Him. Yet it is held back. No words can describe the anguish of this unsatisfied craving.
What madness, therefore, it is for intelligent beings to neglect taking every possible precaution to avoid such a dreadful fate.
It is puerile to say that it can’t be so, that we cannot understand it, that it is better not to think, or speak of it. The fact remains always the same, whether we believe it or whether we don’t, that the pains of Purgatory are beyond everything we can imagine or conceive. These are the words of St Augustine.
– From: Read Me or Rue It, by E.D.M., approved of His Eminence the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon 4/6/1936, printed by Kerryman, Co Kerry, Ireland