Why such a lengthy expiation in Purgatory?
The reasons are not difficult to find.
- The malice of sin is very great. What appears to us small faults are in reality serious offences against the infinite goodness of God. It is enough to see how the Saints wept over their faults. – We are weak, it may be urged. That is true, but then God offers us abundant graces to strengthen our weakness, gives us light to see the gravity of our faults and the necessity force to conquer temptation. If we are still weak the fault is all our own. We do not use the light and strength He so generously offers us, we do not pray, we do not receive the sacraments, as we should.
- An eminent Theologian wisely remarks that if souls are condemned to Hell because of one mortal sin for all eternity, it is not to be wondered at that other souls should be detained for long years in Purgatory who have committed countless deliberate venial sins, some of which are so grave that at the time of their commission the sinner scarcely knows if they are mortal or venial. They may have committed, too, many mortal sins for which they have had little sorrow and done little or no penance. The guilt has been remitted by absolution [in sacramental confession; i.e. the sacrament of penance/reconciliation], but the pain due to the sins will have to be paid in Purgatory.
Our Lord tells us that we shall have to render an account for each and every idle word we say and that we may not leave our prison until we shall have paid the last farthing.
The Saints committed few and slight sins and still they sorrowed much and did severe penances. We commit many and grave sins and we sorrow little and do little or no penance.
- – 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
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