If You Want To Avoid Purgatory

Many Catholics do not consider the existence of Purgatory. This is due mainly to a poor understanding of this doctrine. It is thought that after death one goes either directly to Heaven or Hell. Those who do understand Purgatory believe that it is very difficult if not impossible to avoid it. Fortunately, Our Lord has provided the means to bypass Purgatory and go straight to Heaven.

The reason why Purgatory exists is that in order to go to Heaven, we must be perfectly free of sin since “nothing unclean will enter it” (Revelation 21:27). Every sin that is committed leaves a stain of sin that remains even after we repent and receive forgiveness from it. The first and most important way to avoid Purgatory is to deal with its primary cause, that is, sin. It is sin that stains our souls and this stain must be removed before we can enter Heaven.

There are two types of sin, venial and mortal. They are mentioned in 1 John 5:17, “all wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly”. The sins that are not deadly are venial. They are minor offenses against God that do not destroy the relationship with Him but can lead to related mortal sins if they continue without repentance. Many people do not consider the consequences of minor (venial) sins. After all, a small lie or distasteful joke won’t prevent you from entering Heaven, right? Even venial sins stain the soul. These stains will keep us in Purgatory until they are fully expiated because “you will not get out until you have paid the last penny” (Matthew 5:25). There are also degrees of venial sins. A sin that occurs due to habit is worse than one that happens due to a moment of weakness. The other sin, mortal, destroys the relationship with God and will lead to eternal separation from Him unless an act of contrition occurs.

Three requirements must be met for a sin to be mortal. The sin must be of a serious nature, the individual needs to be knowledgeable that the sin is serious, and the individual must have the free will to commit the sin. If venial sins cause us to spend some time in Purgatory, mortal sins require a much greater purgatorial expiation. Why is this so severe? Considering that a single mortal sin can cause one to lose their salvation, this would be understandable why a great penance is needed. When sins occurs, it needs to be forgiven. We can confess our sins directly to Jesus or we can confess our sins to Jesus through a priest. Why go to a priest to confess sin? After all, why not save yourself the embarrassment and confess to God privately? Jesus gave priests the authority to forgive sins, “if you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained” (John 20:23).

In addition to having our sins forgiven by confessing to a priest, the priest can advise us how to avoid committing the same sin again in the future. You would not get this sort of guidance through private confession to God. Once sin is forgiven, the stain of that sin remains on the soul. This stain needs to be removed in order to go to Heaven. We can purify our souls while on earth through penance, or we can do it painfully in Purgatory. When sin is confessed to a priest, a penance is given appropriate to the magnitude of the sin. This is another reason why frequent confession is beneficial. The act of penance leads to an indulgence. This is what actually removes the punishment due to sin.

An indulgence can either be partial (only part of the punishment is removed) or plenary (all of the punishment is removed). The majority of indulgences are partial since plenary ones are difficult to obtain. This is because they require the Sacrament of Reconciliation (or confession to a priest), Holy Communion needs to be received, and a prayer for the Pope’s intention (this can be an Our Father and a Hail Mary). No sin can be committed during this process or the indulgence will become partial.

A very good way to avoid Purgatory is to help those who are imprisoned there. The Holy Souls are aware of who prays for them and what role they played in lessening their time in Purgatory. Once they are released into Heaven, they pray constantly for the salvation of their greatest friends who helped them. Your time in Purgatory can be lessened if not eliminated by dedicating yourself to free the suffering saints.

One great thing that can be done for them is to offer the indulgences from all of your prayers with the Heroic Act of Charity. The final sacrament one receives, the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, can eliminate all of the time spent in Purgatory. The best thing that one can do with this sacrament is to offer it to the Holy Souls. Such a great deed would no doubt be repaid in a much greater way than if used for one’s personal needs.

Fifteen Promises of Mary to Christians Who Recite the Rosary

  1. Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the rosary, shall receive signal graces.
  2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the rosary.
  3. The rosary shall be a powerful armor against Hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.
  4. It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
  5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the rosary, shall not perish.
  6. Whoever shall recite the rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he but just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life.
  7. Whosoever shall have a true devotion for the rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.
  8. Those who are faithful to recite the rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.
  9. I shall deliver from Purgatory those who have been devoted to the rosary.
  10. The faithful children of the rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in Heaven.
  11. You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the rosary.
  12. All those who propagate the holy rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.
  13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.
  14. All who recite the rosary are my sons, and brothers of my only son Jesus Christ.
  15. Devotion of my rosary is a great sign of predestination.

Given to St. Dominic and Blessed Alan

Imprimatur: Patrick J. Hayes, D.D. (Archbishop of New York)

The Miraculous Medal

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Originally known as the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, but later became the Miraculous Medal due to the many miracles and graces granted through the intercession of Mary. (more…)

The Gratitude of the Holy Souls

If one knew what we may obtain from God by the intercession of the Holy Souls, they would not be so much abandoned.

Padre Pio

If you want to make a great friend, do something extraordinary for them. Kindness is usually repayed many times over in return for charity. What do you think would happen if your prayers and sacrifices released a soul in Purgatory? A soul who was suffering the pains of hell (due to separation from God) and then brought to heaven in full communion with our God. Their joy will be intense and they will remember you. In fact, they will be constantly interceding for you at Our Lord’s feet for not only your salvation, but for your other prayer requests as well.

Praying for the holy souls has lead to miracles. If you have a seemingly impossible or very difficult problem to solve, help the holy souls. They will repay you many times over. Do you have problems that overwhelming you? These may be health, financial, or family related. Help the holy souls, offer masses for them, and encourage others to pray for them. The holy souls will pray for your needs and intercede to Our Lord for you.

Interceding for the suffering souls requires a sacrifice on our part. These are acts which greatly help them and, in turn, help us when they intercede for us in return. Set aside time for them each day to pray or work for them.