COLUMNS: GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER

by Sister Mary Lucy Astuto

My Nightmares and Purgatory

    No Halloween scare can compare to waiting for Heaven It is most probable that everyone sometime or other has had nightmares. A few weeks ago I was awakening from several of them and then thanking God my experiences were only dreams.

    My nightmares were an indication to me that I was not consuming enough calcium. Truly! As a young Sister, I discovered that if I consumed enough calcium in my daily diet, nightmares did not afflict me. On the other hand, if I failed to consume enough calcium over a certain period of time, the result would be a nightmare. The mineral calcium is a "calmer."

    Drinking at least three cups of coffee a day, I have noted how jittery I get internally, but if I take olí faithful calcium, I have no ill effects during the day or in my sleep.

    When I have a nightmare, I am usually caught in a situation that is frightfully inescapable for me. Someone or some "creatures" are after me to do me some harm and I donít have a way out. As a child, when in a nightmare, I used to be able to "fly" out of the painful experience. That hasnít happened for a long time. Now I just wake up... and thank God!

    All Souls Day is upon us and I was thinking this morning of Purgatory and how it is like or unlike my nightmares. Purgatory is for real! It is a place where souls go who are not deserving of hell yet not completely cleansed enough for Heaven. Remember the story Jesus told about the Wedding Feast? There was one requirement to attend the Feast. Everyone had to wear a wedding garment. The "wedding garment" for us to be able to attend the Eternal Feast in Heaven is that we be completely purified.

    The process of purification, whether in this life or in Purgatory, is always painful. All of the gratifications and lack of spiritual discipline that led us into sin, and not attoned for in this life, will be paid for in Purgatory.

    In that purgacious place there are no villainous creatures who are out to harm the souls that are there, but there are the painful remembrances of past offenses against God which cause great affliction. Souls in Purgatory cannot help themselves nor escape their painful experiences. They rely on the "calcium" of our prayers to allay their suffering and shorten their stay. The price of their unfaithfulness must be paid in full. Their "garment" must be fit for the Feast. But unlike my earthly nightmares, those suffering souls have something my painful dreams do not always supply me. They have HOPE. They know for sure that they will one day "fly" away (most likely with Our Lady) from that place of pain.

    Let us resolve every day to pray for the poor souls in Purgatory. But let us pray more fervently than ever for them on the Feast of All Souls Day. Our charity for them may shorten our own stay there.

    God bless you!


Visitors in 1997