Purgatory Explained, Part 1, Chapter 38

detail of the painting 'Estasi di santa Margherita'; 18th century by Jacopo Alessandro Calvi; photographed 9 August 2005 by Pietro Diotti; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Matter of Expiation – Failure in Matters of Justice – Father d’Espinoza and the Payments – Blessed Margaret of Cortona and the Assassinated Merchants

A multitude of revelations show us that God chastises with implacable rigor all sins contrary to Justice and Charity; and in matters of Justice He seems to exact that reparation be made before the penalty is remitted; as in the Church Militant her ministers must exact restitution in order to remit the guilt, according to the axiom. Without restitution no remission.

Father P. Rossignoli speaks of a Religious of his Order, named Augustin d’Espinoza, whose saintly life was but one act of devotion to the souls in Purgatory. A rich man who went to him to Confession, having died without having sufficiently regulated his affairs, appeared to him, and asked him first if he knew him.

“Certainly,” replied the Father; “I administered the Sacrament of Penance to you a few days before your death.” “You must know, then,” added the soul, “that I come to you by a special grace of God, to conjure you to appease His Justice, and to do for me that which I can no longer do for myself. Follow me.”

The Father first went to see his Superior, to tell him what was asked of him, and to obtain permission to follow the strange visitor. The permission obtained, he went out and followed the apparition, who, without uttering a single word, led him to one of the bridges of the city. There it begged the Father to wait a little, disappeared for a moment, then returned with a bag of money, which it begged the Father to carry, and both returned to the cell of the Religious. Then the deceased gave him a written note, and showed him the money. “All this,” said he, “is at your disposal. Have the charity to take it, that you may satisfy my creditors, whose names are written upon this paper, with the amount due to each. Be pleased to take what remains and use it for good works at your own discretion, for the repose of my soul.” With these words he disappeared, and the Father hastened to carry out his wishes.

Eight days had scarcely elapsed when Father d’Espinoza received another visit from the same soul. He thanked the Father most heartily. “Thanks to the charitable exactitude,” he said, “with which you have paid the debts that I left on earth, thanks also to the Holy Masses which you have celebrated for me, I am delivered from all my sufferings, and am admitted into eternal beatitude.” We find an example of the same kind in the Life of Blessed Margaret of Cortona. This illustrious penitent also distinguished herself by her charity towards the departed souls. They appeared to her in great numbers, to implore her assistance and suffrages. One day, among others, she saw before her two travellers, who begged her to assist them in repairing the injustices left to their account. “We are two merchants,” they told her, “who have been assassinated on the road by brigands. We could not go to Confession or receive absolution; but by the mercy of our Divine Saviour and His Holy Mother, we had the time to make an act of perfect contrition, and we have been saved. But our torments in Purgatory are terrible, because in the exercise of our profession we have committed many acts of injustice. Until these acts are repaired we can have no repose nor alleviation. This is why we beseech you, servant of God, to go and find such and such of our relatives and heirs, to warn them to make restitution as soon as possible of all the money which we have unjustly acquired.” They gave the holy penitent the necessary information and disappeared.

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