Background - Purgatory and The Holy Souls
When someone dies, it is often assumed that their soul goes straight to heaven. In my experience, very few souls do. Some may spend hours in purgatory, others days or weeks and in other situations a long time. I have experience of people who were dead over 200 years and their souls were still not at peace.
The reason for this can be the result of something they did wrong in their lifetime, which they didn't get a chance to make up for before they died. As a result of this, their soul still has to make amends or make up for that wrongdoing. We are forgiven in confession. However it's one thing to be forgiven, but we then have to correct/compensate for the damage we have caused as a result of our sin. I often tell people, it's like a little boy kicking football who suddenly kicks it through his neighbour's window. He goes and tells them he is so sorry for what he has done. He may be forgiven, but the window still has to be repaired! And so it is the same with our souls.
The damage caused by sin has to be rectified, corrected or compensated for. Someone may have a lot of remorse or sorrow for something they did e.g. a murder, but because the damage was done, restitution has to be made through prayer, to compensate for their actions.
The Lord is so merciful and no sin is too great to be forgiven.
Holy Souls are like young shoots on a plant in a window. They will always be facing the light. If you turn the plant around, a week later the buds will be facing towards the light again. Souls in Purgatory are like those young shoots, always yearning for the light, the light of heaven in the distance.
Souls can only be released from Purgatory through the prayer of those left on earth or through their own sufferings in Purgatory, which may take a long time, depending on the gravity of their situation. Holy Masses, The Stations of the Cross, The Divine Mercy and Rosaries are very powerful ways of bringing the souls closer to the light.
The souls that we pray for today will be us one day so it is essential to pray for them as it will benefit us later.
Later in this booklet you will see references to unbaptised or aborted babies who require prayer. However these babies are not in purgatory but are kept in a state of limbo when they die. Because they were conceived with original sin, they need our prayers. I am aware of situations where baptisms have been refused because the parents weren't practising their religion. There should be no excuse to prevent a child or person from being baptised. Everyone needs to be baptised, so they can be released back to God.
The church teaches or refers to three different levels of souls
1. Souls on Earth (church militant)
Souls striving through the ups and downs of every day life
2. Souls in Purgatory (church suffering
Souls who are so dependent on our prayers for release
3. Souls in Heaven (church triumphant)
Souls who have reached heaven in triumph
A Vision of Purgatory
Denis O'Leary explains in his book 'Come, Let Us Adore Him' about a vision he had during adoration. He heard the sound of a crashing wave and then saw the churning foam coming towards him. The wave stopped and turned into a moving wall of water, which positioned itself between him and the monstrance. A huge rainbow appeared in the background, above the wave. He noticed he was standing on sand and behind him was an intense light, which he knew he couldn't possibly look upon. Then the monstrance rose and moved back until it reached the top of the rainbow. There it burst into flames of gold and sent beautiful beams of light out in all directions. It then moved down towards him and when it got closer gradually changed into the figure of Jesus. He described Jesus as wearing a flowing white robe that was tied at the waist by a long white girdle. Jesus then approached Denis on the sand. Jesus turned and was watching the activity within the wall. He showed Denis many souls within and some of them he happened to recognise. They were in great difficulty, struggling to come from the water to the sand in order to get to the light. They were being tossed and turned in the churning foam. He explains that it was easy to see them sometimes, while it became less clear at other times. They had expressions of great concern and longing on their faces and seemed to have a desire to reach the sand but were finding it so difficult. Denis was then raised up and was shown that the sea of foam was quite vast and that it stretched back for a great distance.
There were many, many souls within this ocean. He was lowered on to the sand again and describes hearing beautiful singing and music all around. Many angels then appeared over the waves from under the rainbow. Each angel had a large ornate golden urn. They tilted the urns over the sea and beautiful crystal-like large drops of water poured out. A mixture of water droplets and droplets of blood fell from other urns and these seemed to look like rubies. A soul would move a little closer to the shore, as the water droplet fell on them. As the droplets of blood fell on a soul they would move much much closer. He mentioned that there was one struggling soul who was near the edge and as the blood dropped upon them they stopped struggling and with no difficultly passed through the wall and onto the sand. Then the choirs of angels raised their voices in joy. Jesus surrounded by lots of small children rushed to greet the soul. He threw His arm around the soul and He looked so, so happy. The children were showing their intense joy. The soul was awe-struck by the intense light. Jesus then turned them towards the huge radiance and directed them to go towards the light. The same scenario happened again as another soul reached the sand. Then some of the souls, who had gone towards the light, came back to Jesus. Each one had an urn that looked similar to the urns that the angels carried earlier. As these souls spoke with Jesus, he seemed to be offering a great blessing upon each word that they spoke. He raised His right hand in the air and pointed up over the great wall of water. Suddenly an angel swooped down and snatched up the urn carrying it over the
waves and way down under the rainbow back to earth.
Denis explains that this vision lasted for over two hours. As the vision took place Jesus explained to him the significance of different aspects of what he was shown. The droplets of water represented the prayers that we on earth are offering for the poor souls in purgatory. The poor souls get great consolation from them. The drops of blood represent the Masses that we offer for these suffering souls. He then goes on to talk about the huge significance that a Mass has in bringing a soul towards the light of God.
The urns that the angels were bringing back towards earth represented the graces that the souls had obtained from the Father. The angels were now returning these blessings to the people who had prayed for those souls when in purgatory.
The visionaries in Medjugorje and numerous saints have had experience of hell, heaven and purgatory and the sufferings connected with the former. Maria Simma, an Austrian woman who died in 2004 had experiences of the Holy Souls in need of prayer for over 64 years.