THE SOULS IN PURGATORY DESIRE THE JOYS OF PARADISE, BUT CANNOT OBTAIN THEM.
Hence St. Austin says that our whole reward consists in the vision of God; he that cannot see God cannot enjoy Paradise. It is the beatific vision in which the joys of Paradise consist. These holy souls, as they are carried by nature towards felicity and joy, so they desire with great ardour the joys of Paradise. But as they are deprived of the vision of God, so they remain deprived, also, of so great a happiness. This deprivation increases immeasurably their pain. If the great Apostle St. Paul wept bitterly to find himself kept back among the snares of this body from the possession of so great goods, saying, “Unhappy man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” what must be the grief of those souls in finding, even after their death, that they are kept back from the possession of a felicity after which they so often sigh! We, by our suffrages, shall be able to console them; why, then, do we not do it?
When severed from its loving spouse, How sadly mourn the turtle dove! Sweet Lord, how sad then are the souls That feel the absence of Thy love! St. Augustin, Bishop and Doctor, will be the protector of this day, who, in various passages of his works, warmly commends to the pity of the faithful the souls in purgatory; he having himself given to them, especially to his saintly mother Monica, such tokens of his love as make one’s heart melt to read them.
Out of the depths I have cried to thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my voice. Let thy ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication. If thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities: Lord, who shall stand it. For with thee there is merciful forgiveness: and by reason of thy law, I have waited for thee, O Lord. My soul hath relied on his word: My soul hath hoped in the Lord. From the morning watch even until night, let Israel hope in the Lord. Because with the Lord there is mercy: and with him plentiful redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord; and. let perpetual light shine upon them.
That to make a confession with a contrite heart is necessary for such as find themselves in sin, in order to their giving suffrages with advantage to the souls in purgatory, and it is also shown by the following example: Before his death, a parent besought his son to remember to give suffrages to his soul after death. The son executed his father’s commands, and applied many suffrages to relieve him. After thirty-two years, the poor father appeared to him, all surrounded with horrible flames, who, explaining to him the dreadful pains which he endured, complained bitterly of him because during so many years he had not given him a single suffrage. “How?” answered the son, all astonishment; not given you any suffrage, when I have made so many alms, so many fasts, so many prayers, and continue every hour to pray for you? “Know, O my son,” replied the father, ” that all the good that you have done and are doing, as it has profited you nothing, so it has also profited me nothing, because you have done it in mortal sin; your confessions always being useless, inasmuch as they were devoid of the necessary grief. God, by reason of His mercy, has ordained that I should make you aware of this, for my advantage and for your improvement.” Having thus said, the dead man disappeared, and left his son salutarily frightened; for, having examined his interior state, he made a contrite confession, began a moral and Christian life, and, by the practice of many good works, freed the soul of his parent from purgatory, and his own from hell. Let this example serve as a rule to us, also, for our spiritual improvement. (Campadelli, Disc. sacr. 19.)