PURGATORY IS WONDERFUL!
Iím reading a book by Sister Emmanuel of Medjugorje. Itís called "The Amazing
Secret of the Souls in Purgatory: An Interview with Maria Simma."
Maria Simma, who is now 82 years old, has been visited by many souls from
Purgatory and related a lot of what she knew about Purgatory to Sister Emmanuel who put the
compilation of her interview in this book. This reading is a great joy to me because it has
given me a new insight into what a work of mercy Purgatory is and why I feel free to call it a wonderful place.
Many of us have grown up with the idea that Purgatory is a place of great
suffering and purgation for those souls who are not yet ready to enter the purity of heaven. It is
safe to say that such is true but more information about how and why souls go to Purgatory and what their
suffering there really is about is in order. Iíd like to quote Sr. Emmanuel at this point.
ď... What exactly is Purgatory? Iíd say that itís a marvelous invention of
God. Let me give you an image which is my own. Suppose that one day a door opens, and a splendid
being appears, extremely beautiful, of a beauty that has never been seen on earth. You are fascinated,
overwhelmed by this being of light and beauty, even more so that this being shows that he is madly in
love with you -- you have never dreamed of being loved so much. You sense too that he has a great
desire to draw you to him, to be one with you. And the fire of love which burns in your heart impels you to
throw yourself into his arms.
But wait -- you realize at this moment that you havenít washed for months and
months, that you smell bad; your nose is running, your hair is greasy and matted, there are big
dirty stains on your clothes, etc. So you say to yourself, ĎNo, I just canít present myself in this state.
First I must go and wash: a good shower, then straight away Iíll come back.í
But the love which has been born in your heart is so intense, so burning, so
strong, that this delay for the shower is absolutely unbearable. And the pain of the absence, even if
it only lasts for a couple of minutes, is an atrocious wound in the heart, proportional to the intensity of
the revelation of the love -- it is a Ďlove-wound.í
Purgatory is exactly this. Itís a delay imposed by our impurity, a delay
before Godís embrace, a wound of love which causes intense suffering, a waiting, if you like, a
nostalgia for love. It is precisely this burning, this longing which cleanses us of whatever is still impure in
us. Purgatory is a place of desire, a mad desire for God, desire for this God whom we already know, for we
have seen him, but with whom we are not yet united.Ē
Sister Emmanuel further points out that the joy of the souls in Purgatory is
greater than their pain because they have felt deeply the love that God has for them and they know they are
I invite you to meditate on the above explanation. It reflects that Purgatory is another proof of
Godís mercy. More about Purgatory next week. God bless you!