For Souls in Purgatory … Who Never Expected to Be There

Today as I was reading the latest Catholic Carnival, I clicked on A Catholic Mom in Hawaii:Helping the Holy Souls in Purgatory. This blog is a labor of love on behalf of all souls in purgatory, reminding us to keep these people in our intentions, as part of our family in Christ.

As a convert to Catholicism, purgatory is a relatively new concept to me … but frankly, one that I never had much trouble with. It made perfect sense to me, that some Christians need a bit of a “spit and polish,” spiritually speaking, before approaching the Throne of Grace (like the man who forgot his wedding garment…). I count myself among them (I know my own faults too well.) However, many of those who are nearest and dearest to me are so convinced of “sola fidae” that they never give the state of their soul (at death or any other time) a second thought.

And so, when I heard of a dear author friend who had passed unexpectedly last year, my heart was heavy for Charlie. He was a great soul, Charlie Shedd … and yet, he was far from perfect (as he himself would tell you).

In his memory, I wrote a “Prayer for the Faithful Departed,” which I’d like to share with you here (click on the title at the top of this post). You might consider offering this prayer (or a similar one of your own) on behalf of all those who, because of their particular denominational leanings and theological misconceptions, are finding themselves in rather dire straights … in the gray town, with no one to pray them “further up the mountain.”

(Those of you unfamiliar with the “gray town,” who have not read C.S. Lewis’ allegory entitled The Great Divorce should run out and grab a copy, if for no other reason than he paints a memorable image — unwittingly or otherwise — of purgatory that could make for some memorable conversation at your next study group!)

God bless you!

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About hsaxton

Heidi Hess Saxton is an adoptive parent of two children, and converted to Catholicism in 1994. She is adoptive parent columnist at CatholicMom.com and CatholicExchange.com. She also writes for the Parenting Channel at AnnArbor.com. In her spare time, she is finishing up her Master's thesis at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.

2 thoughts on “For Souls in Purgatory … Who Never Expected to Be There

  1. My son, who attended a Catholic High School, told me that Purgatory had been done away with, as well as hell fire. He was taught that Hell was basically spending eternity with yourself!

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  2. As appealing as this idea might be, it is not in keeping with the ongoing teachings of the Church.

    In the Catechism (1030ff) we read:

    “1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.

    “The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire …”

    The great tragedy is that many people are lulled into a false sense of security, so that the souls who need our prayers so much are being neglected or even ignored altogether.

    In early November we remember these dear departed loved ones, on All Souls Day. It is an especially appropriate day to offer special prayers on their behalf.

    God bless you!

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