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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Monday, November 05, 2007

A Few Cobwebs

Just a few last thoughts on Purgatory.

If I understood my Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary by deMontfort two years ago, any good graces or indulgences I get are immediately taken by Mary to dispense where she knows God knows it is best. Correct me if I'm wrong. But, I'm all over that, because I love to share and I'd like to share a space in Heaven some day.

You're half right. You can designate your indulgences for someone you think might be in Purgatory, like your poor Uncle Dave (for all those times no one knew where he was). Then, if Uncle Dave has moved on from Purgatory, or he had managed to keep his scapular on, or he had just walked through a Jubilee Door when he dropped dead, the indulgences go into the great Treasury of indulgences. Mary is in charge of all that. She must have a really pretty box in which to keep them all.

I'm glad it's up to her to sort it out. I certainly couldn't.

You stated that the souls in Purgatory are burning. If that's so, then what is Hell, aren't they burning as well. Is the difference only that you get to leave one and the other you don't?

We don't really know what goes on. We do. But we don't. We know it's unpleasant because you are separated from God right when you're on the home stretch. You're suffering, but you are ecstatically happy because you are going to heaven. You're not going to fail and get dumped down the Purgatory coal chute into Hell.

We also know it's unpleasant because the whole point of being there is temporal punishment for sins. We think it's on fire because souls from Purgatory have shown up to talk to various saints and when the souls paid those visits they mentioned that they were on fire.

Now, you don't have to believe anything anyone says about souls coming out of Purgatory. You don't have to accept that souls are talking to them and begging for prayers and telling various saints that they are burning and on fire and miserable and the like. You don't have to believe that certain saints went on tours of Purgatory (and Hell)and got a bird's eye view. These things fall under the category of 'private revelations'. You can completely ignore any and all private revelations, it's totally up to you. You can toss out Mary sightings, Jesus visits, visions of heaven, angels who leave their calling cards. You don't have to believe a word little Bernadette said about Lourdes, or the children of Fatima.

The Church lets you know which things are worthy of your belief if you choose to believe them. After that, you can dump it all.

I wouldn't advise it. We have some valuable information from those visits, like the "one hour in Purgatory = 60 years" on earth rule.

Although, there is no time in Purgatory because Purgatory is outside of time. But don't worry about it. It's a 'Sacred Mystery'.

Catholic for 'let it go.'

I have seen references in a lot of works to spiritual directors. I have read a lot of Aquinas and other doctors of the church and I want build my faith more and work on my areas of imperfection. I love the idea of having a spiritual director to guide me along the right path. How does one go about obtaining one? My priest is such a busy man. I am wondering if you have any advice or if this was just a silly medieval tradition that is no longer continued and I should just stick to the couple minutes in confession.

It's not a silly medieval tradition. But good luck finding someone. Your best bet is to at least ask your priest about it. He might be happy to help. He might surprise you and become your spiritual director. After all, most people think it's a silly medieval tradition, so the post is not exactly in demand. Other than every President yammering with Billy Graham, you never really hear about anyone being spiritually directed. But they're out there.

I tried that for you. It's a list of crack pots and lunatics.


The Dangerous Mezzo said...

Fabulous, Sister. I'm a high Anglican (you know, the kind that often teeter off to Rome just before the curtain is rung down) and I really enjoy your work.

And Mary's box of indulgences is really pretty. It just wouldn't be a box of indulgences without a ballerina, now, would it? Do you think it plays "Dancing Queen" by ABBA?

Anonymous said...

dangerous mezzo - that was hilarious! except now I'lve got that song stuck in my head. You should've put in a link to itunes for Sr.MM. in case pop music from the 70's isn't her thing.

Tom in Vegas said...

In reference to the hell, heaven, and purgatory response, I think salvation is deeply mysterious, and involves knowing fully and completely the interior disposition of a human being (their weaknesses, their brokenness, their motives for doing what they do or did or failed to do) before passing judgement. Now, you Sister and many others out there may know many things about many subjects, but I can assure you that of the things that you do know, you DO NOT know yourself completely! If that was possible we wouldn’t need shrinks.

Also, I read on another blog a reference to Thomas Merton as a heretic. Thomas Merton? A heretic? Is there something I’m missing? I know he began a dialogue with Buddhist monks before his passing, but he never left his vocation nor watered down his Catholicism. If there is something I’m missing here, could you give me a brief reply?


Tienne said...

For the poster who is interested in a spiritual adviser, if you are near Denver the Lanteri Center provides that ministry. If you're outside CO, you might write or call them to see whether they know of anyone in your area who does the same thing.

I found them by asking my favorite priest if he knew of anyone, so Sister's recommendation is likely the best avenue to pursue.

It makes sense to me that the souls in Purgatory would be in physical torment. I can't imagine your average Christian who believes in God and tries to live a decent life, but is weak, selfish and generally sinful, will be consigned to hell. But it doesn't make sense that they'd go to heaven either, considering they haven't REALLY done what Jesus asked them to do or lived in a way that brought about His kingdom. Thus, Purgatory -- a time of suffering to equalize the indulgent, comfortable life they lived on earth. Thanks for addressing the question, Sister!

Anonymous said...


Thank you so much for your reply about spiritual direction. Thanks also to Tienne for the link.

You are so correct about the Google remark. There are some "interesting" people out there.. very interesting.

Thanks again for the insightful reply!


Anonymous said...

Another way to find spiritual directors is through religious orders, especially by contacting the folks who are the order's contact with oblates / associates/ other layfolk who take an interest.

RadioPie said...

Hi Sister!
I was just wondering - you talk a lot about giving up your indulgences to the poor souls currently in purgatory...(I just killed a fly that landed on my computer screen!)...But how would you go about offering them up? Do you tell your local priest? Or do you just pray and tell Mary that all your indulgences can go to someone else? Or do you have to fill out a form?

Anonymous said...

I don't know what catagory this falls under so I'll try to phrase the question understandably. When during Mass, at the time of prayer for living members who are ill, you know, we pray for Mary Beth McCabe, Mary Eliazbeth Heine, and Joseph Koch, etc. specifically by name, is there a charge? Money is offered for an ill person to be mentioned by name in prayer? When there is the 'this Mass is for John Wiesler'(deceased) listed then there is money involved or not? Please answer this I really need to know. Many thanks.

Arkanabar Ilarsadin said...

It's my understanding that the priest gets a small stipend for a requiem mass. Speaking from a complete lack of experience and vague recollections of what they get for wedding masses, I'd guess around $20-50 would be at least enough, if not more than was needed. I don't think anything is asked when it comes to the prayer intentions of the faithful.

Anonymous said...

Stipends are traditionally given, but not mandatory. A Priest may receive only 1 stipend per Mass. The Diocese sets the amount. In our Diocese, it is $10 per Mass. I'm not sure if you are free to give more (regulations may prevent it to keep abuses at bay), but it is a courtesy to the Priest to give him the $10. Usually, this is the only money he gets for his own use, since the Parish can usually only can afford to cover his rent/living expenses.

In case anyone is assuming that Father is getting "rich" off stipends, it's hard to get rich off $10 a day, and in the case of our church, there are a LOT of days that go "empty" of requests and get offered for no one.

It is also more helpful to the deceased soul if you, as the requestor of the Mass in their name, attend it as well.

For more on Souls in Purgatory and what they experience, look up Maria Simma. Remembering it is Private Revelation, and Sister has already pointed out we are not required to believe it, but it sure gives you something to think about.

Anonymous said...

In our parish, there's no charge for prayer intentions or requiem Mass; one priest told me, "That's my job." He added that if I wanted to make a donation to the church, that's always welcome, but not required. It obviously differs from place to place. Just call your parish secretary and ask; they get that question all the time, and you won't feel embarassed by asking the priest directly. If there is a set charge, it won't be much.