Purgatory Explained, Part 1, Chapter 39

detail statue of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, church of Saint Gordian and Saint Epimachus, Merzhofen, Germany, 1896, by Peter Paul Metz; photograph taken in May 2009 by Andreas Praefcke; swiped off WikipediaArticle

Matter of Expiation – Sins against Charity – Blessed Margaret Mary – Two Persons of Rank in the Pains of Purgatory – Several Souls Punished for Discord

We have already said that Divine Justice is extremely severe in regard to sins against Charity. Charity is, in fact, the virtue which is dearest to the Heart of our Divine Master, and which He recommends to His disciples as that which must distinguish them in the eyes of men. By this, He says, shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another. (John 13:35). It is, then, not astonishing that harshness towards our neighbor, and every other fault against Charity, should be severely punished in the other life.

Of this we have several proofs, taken from the Life of Blessed Margaret Mary. “I learned from Sister Margaret,” says Mother Greffier in her Memoirs, “that she one day prayed for two persons of high rank in the world who had just died. She saw them both in Purgatory. The one was condemned for several years to those sufferings, notwithstanding the great number of Masses which were celebrated for her. All those prayers and suffrages were by Divine Justice applied to the souls belonging to some of the families of her subjects, which had been ruined by their injustice and lack of charity. As nothing was left to those poor people to enable them to have prayers offered for them after their death, God compensated these poor people in the manner we have related. The other was in Purgatory for as many days as she had lived years upon earth. Our Lord made known to Sister Margaret that, among the good works which this person had performed, He had taken into special consideration the Charity with which she had borne the faults of her neighbor, and the pains she had taken to overcome the displeasure they had caused her.”

On another occasion Our Lord showed Blessed Margaret a large number of souls in Purgatory, who, for not having been united with their Superiors during their life, and for having had some misunderstanding with them, had been severely punished and deprived after death of the aid of the Blessed Virgin and the Saints, and also of the visits of their angel guardians. Several of those souls were destined to remain for a long time in horrible flames. Some even among them had no other token of their predestination than that they did not hate God. Others, who had been in religion, and who during life showed little charity towards their sisters, were deprived of their sufferings, and received no assistance whatsoever.

Let us add one more extract from the Memoirs of Mother Greffier. “It happened whilst Sister Margaret was praying for two deceased Religious, that their souls were shown to her in the prisons of Divine Justice, but one suffered incomparably more than the other. The former regretted greatly that by her faults against mutual Charity, and the holy friendship that ought to remain in religious communities, she had in part deprived herself, among other punishments, of the suffrages which were offered for her by the community. She received relief only from the prayers of three or four persons of the same community for whom she had had less affection and inclination during her life. This suffering soul reproached herself also for the too great facility with which she took dispensations from the rules and exercises of the community. Finally, she deplored the care which she had taken upon earth to procure for her body so many comforts and commodities. She made known at the same time to our dear Sister that, in punishment for three faults, she had to undergo three furious assaults of the demon during her last agony, and that each time believing herself lost, she was on the point of falling into despair, but by the Blessed Virgin, towards whom she had borne great devotion during her life, she had been snatched three times from the claws of the enemy.”

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