Sunday, November 6, 2011

What's Purgatory Like?

Since it's November and we've all been busy obtaining indulgences and remembering our beloved dead this week, I thought I'd share my favorite treatise on purgatory. There are all sort of private revelations out there from various saints and seers. Lots of them are pretty gruesome--Dante and Hieronymous Bosch* on steroids.

We can take our pick from these writings. Or ignore them altogether. We are not obliged to pay attention to private revelations, even if given to a saint. Saints are canonized because of their virtue rather than their visions. Visions are not magisterium.    On the other hand, these accounts can be edifying to some of us.

I am greatly edified by St. Catherine of Genoa's treatise on purgatory, based on her visions of the same. She emphasizes that despite the exquisite suffering of these souls, their happiness is only second to that of souls in heaven. Her descriptions of these souls resting and rejoicing in God's will, neither looking back with regret or wishing to leave a moment sooner than the necessary purification is accomplished, are just beautiful. You finish reading it wishing you were in purgatory. Here's the link:

or you can get it on Kindle for 99 cents.

*just google him. The middle ages' answer to Salvador Dali.