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PURGATORY: A DISILLUSIONMENT I CREATED BY MY ATTACHMENT TO THINGS LESS DURABLE THAN MY SOUL

So great is God’s mercy

“So great is God’s mercy that he continues to permit this to happen on the other side of death, when I have finally been faced with the limits of my own resources and the disordered affections that I have harboured in order to prevent God possessing me all in all.

The very love my deepest heart was longing for

How painful must that longing be, which knows for the asking I could have had the very love my deepest heart was longing for, and that in my fear, timidity, stupidity or selfishness, my clinging to things that pass, I have deformed myself and made myself unready for heaven.

Clinging to things that pass

The suffering of purgatory I imagine to be a very bittersweet thing. The bitterness will be of my own making. It will be like the childish sorrow when some long-anticipated, beautiful, pristine gift is damaged to the extent that I feel totally different about possessing it or even having wanted it: a disillusionment with the false self I created by my need to attach myself to things less durable than my soul, which is the form of my person.

Everything everlasting

I will have to live with that disillusionment until God knows the point at which I have learnt my lesson, the lesson being what, or rather whom I mistook them for. Hope is what will sweeten the disillusionment: the hope that the giver of the broken gift wants me to lay it aside to receive what he first intended to give me – everything he has and is that does not die.”

– Pastor Iuventus, Diary of a City Priest (Redemptorist Press); in the Catholic Herald newspaper, issue November 7 2014. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link)

 
 

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MOTHER OF SILENCE, SAVE US FROM THE IDOLATRY OF THE PRESENT TIME

“Mother of silence, who watches over the mystery of God, save us from the idolatry of the present time, to which those who forget are condemned. Purify the eyes of pastors with the eye-wash of memory: Take us back to the freshness of the origins, for a prayerful, penitent Church.

Mother of the beauty that blossoms from faithfulness to daily work, lift us from the torpor of laziness, pettiness, and defeatism. Clothe pastors in the compassion that unifies, that makes whole; let us discover the joy of a humble, brotherly, serving Church.

Mother of tenderness who envelops us in patience and mercy, help us burn away the sadness, impatience, and rigidity of those who do not know what it means to belong. Intercede with your Son to obtain that our hands, our feet, our hearts be agile: let us build the Church with the Truth of God.

Mother, we shall be the People of God, pilgrims bound for the Kingdom. Amen.

(Pope Francis)

 
 

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“FOR PITY’S SAKE,” THEY CRY, “DO NOT MENTION HIS NAME!”

AND YOU, WHERE WILL YOU BE?

“Go into a graveyard; consider all these skeletons, and above all, hear the words which each one addresses to you: ‘See what has happened to me, and learn what shall happen to you.’
Again, give heed to your surroundings; those family portraits, these walls, these rooms, these garments, these beds, all these things which you have inherited, have power to awaken thoughts of your own death, by recalling that of your parents and kindred.

How can you doubt that you have to die? On a certain day you were inscribed on the [register of births]; another day will come, a day already fixed upon by God, when you shall be inscribed on the register of deaths. Today you say, in speaking of your dead relatives: ‘my late father’, ‘my late uncle’, ‘my late brother’; soon those who survive will be speaking in the same way of you. In the past you have often heard [the death of others announced; some day your death will be announced in the same manner – and you shall be in eternity.]

THE GREAT OBLIVION

A man has just died, and the news spreads, ‘He was a man of honour’, says one; another adds: ‘what a loss! He was so amiable, so good!’ Some regret him because he pleased them and was of service to them; others rejoice at his death, because they reap certain advantages from it. At the most, there will soon be no more talk of it; after to-morrow he will begin to sink into oblivion. His nearest relatives will avoid awakening the remembrance of him, for fear of renewing their grief. During the visits of condolence the conversation turns on everything except him who is the occasion of them! And if, per chance, someone is about to introduce him into the conversation: ‘For pity’s sake,’ they cry, ‘do not mention his name!’

No doubt, your family will weep for you at first. But soon the pleasure of dividing your property will banish these tears and grievings; and the very apartment where you have breathed your last sigh, and heard your Final Sentence from the lips of Jesus Christ, will be the scene of family reunions and parties of pleasure. And your soul, where will it be?”
– Laverty & Sons (eds), 1905

 

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