I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
Ah Purgatory! After the high regard Catholics have for Mary, nothing seems more contentious than the existence and need for Purgatory. It brings up debates between Catholics and protestants and questions like, “Where is Purgatory mentioned in the bible?” Aside from the theological arguments whether Purgatory exists, there is just a general fear of it. I think many people don’t really care all that much about the theological underpinnings of Purgatory. Rather, many wish that it didn’t exist because they think it’s some sort of “Hell Lite.”
We need to frame Purgatory in the proper context — it is a level of existence between our earthly life and a heavenly one where we become purified and worthy of Heaven. We cast off the last layers of our earthly selves — the sin, the shortcomings, the weakness to temptation, the pressure and anxieties, and everything else that prevents us from fully embracing God‘s love. No matter how good any of us are, with the exception of the saints, most of us die tied down to worldly things in some way or another. Purgatory is like that final, cleansing bath that washes away that worldly “grime” we accumulated throughout our lives.
If we truly understood the majesty and beauty of what awaits us in Heaven, we would not only understand why we need Purgatory, but actually want to go to it. I think that when we die and we get the full sense of who God is, we would not even consider entering His kingdom any other way but in a state of perfection. Would you want to attend a wedding in your work clothes? Would you walk through someone’s immaculately clean home in muddy shoes? There are social situations in this life where we feel embarrassed if we arrive in a state not appropriate for the event. Similarly, I think when we get a taste of just how awesome God is at our final judgement, we won’t give a stay in Purgatory a second thought. The notion of entering His kingdom with any worldly blemishes will seem embarrassingly laughable.
But just because we understand the need for Purgatory doesn’t make it any easier to endure. But the suffering isn’t the type of suffering we encounter in Hell. Rather, we suffer because we know just how close we are to the infinite joy and peace of Heaven. We are like children on Christmas Eve that can’t wait for Christmas morning and open the presents under the tree. Every minute is just agony as time just seems to slow to a stop and it seems like Christmas day will never come. Likewise, every moment in Purgatory probably seems unbearable with the knowledge that we are so close to completing a long journey. We want Mary to act as our advocate so our time waiting in Purgatory will be brief.
Like many of her other promises, I think Mary reveals more of a result of praying the rosary than something that she actively applies. Those who are devoted to the rosary are less likely to commit sins which require a longer stay in Purgatory to clean. Those who pray the rosary already have a better understanding of just how great Heaven must be and try extra hard to live in a way where they will most quickly arrive in Heaven after their death. As I said in early articles, it’s not solely the act of praying the rosary itself that leads us to Heaven, but the wisdom and will to live in God’s grace that it helps implant in our souls. Mary is here to help those who want her help and ask for it through rosary prayer.
Ask for Mary’s help to quickly pass through Purgatory. Pick up a rosary and pray it today!