Thought for the Day – 3 November – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Pain of Purgatory
“The Tradition of the Fathers and the ordinary teaching of the Church, describe the pains of Purgatory in such a fashion, that they should prompt us to avoid even the smallest sin, not only because it is an offence against the most amiable God but also because, it will be severely punished by Him.
This teaching, moreover, should move us to pity for the poor suffering souls, who are enduring such torments.
St Cyril of Jerusalem states, that the sum total of the sufferings of this world, is nothing in comparison to the sufferings of Purgatory.
He adds, moreover, that the pain of Purgatory is equal to the severity of the torments of Hell; the only difference is that the latter are everlasting, whereas the former, will have an end.
St Athanasius assures us that the least pang of suffering in Purgatory, is sharper than all the torments which it is possible to undergo on earth.
Moreover he adds, in comparison with the fire which afflicts the suffering souls, earthly fire is hardly even real!
St Bede the Venerable tells us, that even if we could imagine all the tortures to which tyrants subjected the Martyrs, such as iron hooks, red-hot pincers, roasting gridirons and boiling pitch, we should still have failed to form any idea of the pains of Purgatory!
But what is the reason for such severe torments?
It is that God loves these souls and desires that they be purified of sins, as soon as possible and be made worthy of infinite happiness.
The fires of Purgatory are nourished by a twofold love – the love of God, Who desires the purification of souls and, the love of these souls, who desire to expiate their faults in order to become worthy of being united to Him forever.”