On the Catholic Priesthood

Saturday November 09, 2019

Ninth Day: The Pain of Fire in Purgatory

The Church has given no decision regarding the word "fire" in relation to Purgatory; but, according to Theologians and Doctors of the Church, we are to understand a material fire. Concerning this, Bishop Colmar of Mayence, a great friend of the holy souls, writes: "Besides being deprived of the vision of God, the souls in Purgatory must endure the torture of a fire, the effects of which are so much more painful because it is an instrument in the avenging hand of God"; a fire, as St. Augustine says, in comparison to which our material fire is as nothing; a fire that entirely penetrates the soul, in whatever manner this may be accomplished.

How, and to what extent this is done, we know not, but may draw our conclusion from similar instances. St. Gregory the Great says: "As the fallen angels, although pure spirits, are tormented by the material fire of Hell, so may a similar fire torture the souls of the departed in Purgatory." The justice of God can punish a spirit by means of a material substance as well as He can in His omnipotence give life to a body by the agency of a spirit. According to the holy Fathers, the fire of Purgatory does not differ from the fire of Hell, except in point of duration. "It is the same fire," says St. Thomas, "that torments the reprobates in Hell, and the just in Purgatory. The least pain in Purgatory," he adds, "surpasses the greatest sufferings of this life." Nothing but eternal duration makes the fire of Hell more forcible than that of Purgatory. 

Prayer: Refresh, O Lord, the suffering souls in Purgatory, with the dew of Thy grace, that their pains may be relieved, and, in Thy mercy, hasten the moment of their deliverance, that they may meet Thee in Heaven where no fire but that of Thy holy love shall consume them. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for Priests in Purgatory: My Jesus, by the sorrows Thou didst suffer in Thine Agony in the Garden, in Thy Scourging and Crowning with thorns, in the Way to Calvary, in Thy Crucifixion and Death, have mercy on the souls of priests in Purgatory, especially those most forgotten and who have no one else to pray for them. I wish to remember all those priests who ministered to me, the priests my heart has never forgotten, and for those that I no longer recall due to my frailty of memory. Do Thou deliver them from the dire torments they endure; call them and admit them to Thy most sweet embrace in Paradise.

Pope Saint Pius X and Saint John Vianney, pray for us and especially for our priests. Amen

Special Intercession: Pray for all the souls in Purgatory, particularly for those who are forgotten by their relatives.

Lord grant them eternal rest, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen. (three times)

Practice: Endeavor to spread the devotion for the holy souls in Purgatory as much as possible.

Invocation: My Jesus, mercy!

Source: Manual of the Purgatorian Society, Redemptorist Fathers. 1907

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