I Hold the Keys to the Gates of Purgatory

Today I will make a sacrifice for my loved ones in purgatory
by Father James Swanson, LC | Source: Catholic.net

John 11:17-27

Renuncia a todo lo que se ama


Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you with a faith that never seeks to test you. I trust in you, hoping to learn to accept and follow your will, even when it does not make sense to the way that I see things. I love you, and I want to but I might love you and those around me with a love similar to the love you have shown to me.
Lord, help me to pray well, because I need to let your truths penetrate my heart. Help me to see that only through prayer will I come to believe in you and your teachings with all my heart and be able to make you the center of my life.

Petition: Lord, help me to take seriously the gravity of purgatory and the plight of those who end up there.

1. Even God Weeps for those who Have Died: Today we remember our loved ones who have passed away, just as Mary and Martha remember their brother Lazarus in this passage from the Gospel. It is a good and holy thing to be sad when a loved one dies. Some think that it is a lack of faith to be sad when someone dies, but in the passage, Jesus does not rebuke Mary and Martha for being sad, but tries to console them. Later, when he comes to the tomb himself, Jesus weeps for Lazarus (John 11:35). What a terrible thing death must be for Jesus to weep for Lazarus even though he knows that in a few moments he will raise Lazarus from the dead. Clearly, we don’t appreciate the true tragedy of death, that God himself would weep for a friend who is dead while knowing he has power over death.

2. You Don’t Want to Go There: Often when someone dies, especially, if he has suffered much, we are relieved, as if the suffering is over. We are quick to put people in heaven, probably a little too quick. We are not doing them a favor. Manyost of us, even the best of us, will not go straight to heaven, but will have to spend some time in purgatory, to be cleansed of our attachments and desires toward sinfulness as well as for any sins for which we have not done sufficient penance. We tend to underestimate purgatory as well, maybe because people there are assured of getting into heaven. While it is true that people in purgatory probably experience a joy beyond anything we will experience in this life, they also experience more intense suffering than anything we have experienced in this life. The suffering of purgatory is similar to the suffering of hell, and we know we don’t want to experience that. Maybe up to now, I have thought of purgatory as nothing more than a kind of long waiting line for heaven, that I have to stand in until God sees fit to let me in – that the sufferings of purgatory are nothing more than I experience in the supermarket on a busy day – the boredom of having to wait, the frustration of someone ahead of me taking too long. No. Purgatory is nothing I want my loved ones to experience if I can help it, nor do I want to go there myself, if I can help it. The great thing is, I can help it.

3. Only the Living Hold the Keys to Purgatory: What am I willing to do to avoid purgatory? Up until now, have I even thought of it as something to be avoided? Do I realize that all the sacrifices I can make in this life to avoid purgatory do not add up to what it will be like to suffer in purgatory? Do I ever remember that my loved ones may be there now? Perhaps while they were in this life, they suffered greatly and I was relieved by their deaths because now their “suffering was over.” Am I an “out of sight, out of mind,” kind of person? Do I think there is nothing more I can do for them? Or am I genuinely concerned about the likelihood that they may be in purgatory? Do I realize that my prayers and sacrifices represent the key to release them and that I can use it if I want to? Do I care about using it? Do I dare to be angry with God about the existence of purgatory when in his mercy he has put the key in my hands – that if he is the warden, I am the jailer? He wants me to use the key and I have forgotten that I had it. On this day when we remember the souls in purgatory, it would be good to do something for those who are there, especially for the ones I love the most.

Conversation with Christ: Dear Jesus, it is so much a part of our culture to put those we love on the self once they are gone and forget that they still continue to exist and may face difficulties in which they need our help.It is easy to think of purgatory as a desirable place since it leads to you and forget the sufferings of those who are tI am sorry for these attitudes.Hhelp me to remember those I love and offer up sacrifices, prayers and masses for them frequently, so they may be with you as soon as possible. Help me to make the choices I need to make in this life so I can avoid purgatory as much as possible.

Resolution: Today I will make a sacrifice for my loved ones in purgatory, remembering that for God, the size of the sacrifice does not count as much as the love with which it is made.






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