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New Release! Chant Compendium 8 with beautiful Gregorian chant

Learn about this merciful place of purification



“It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.” —2 Machabees 12:46

The Two Catholic Views of Purgatory
Based on Catholic Teaching and Revelations of Saintly Souls

“Oh, what a wonderful thing is the life of a fervent Catholic! It is almost omnipotent, almost omnipresent, because it is not so much he who lives as Christ who liveth in him! Oh, what is it we are touching and handling every day of our lives, all so full of supernatural vigor, of secret unction, of divine force—and yet we consider not, but waste intentions and trifle time away in the midst of this stupendous supernatural system of grace, as unreflecting almost as stone embedded in the earth and borne round unconsciously in its impetuous revolutions day by day.” —Pages 60-61

Father Faber was born in Yorkshire, England in 1814. He was converted from the Anglican ministry to Catholicism in 1845. Ordained a priest in 1847, he
joined the Oratorians in 1848 under John Henry Cardinal Newman. In addition to numerous fine hymns, Fr. Faber authored nine books: Spiritual Conferences, All for Jesus, Growth in Holiness, The Blessed Sacrament, The Foot of the Cross, The Precious Blood, Bethlehem, The Creator and the Creature and Notes on Doctrinal Subjects, plus a volume of poems, essays and other minor works. In addition, he published a series of 49 Lives of Modern Saints (the “Oratorian” Lives) which highlight the Saints’ growth in sanctity under the operation of grace. Fr. Faber died in London in 1863. He is considered a master of the theology of the spiritual life.

Father Frederick William Faber

1. The Thought of Hell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
2. Devotion to the Souls in Purgatory . . . . 6
3. First View: Purgatory Similar to Hell . . 15
4. Second View: The Souls’ Desire for
Purification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
5. Union of the Two Views of Purgatory . . 36
6. Other Benefits of This Devotion . . . . . . 47
7. The Example of the Saints . . . . . . . . . . 62
Prayers for the Souls in Purgatory . . . . . . . 76

“But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the day of judgment.” —Matthew 12:36
“Amen I say to thee, thou shalt not go out from thence till thou repay the last farthing.” —Matthew 5:26

The Thought of Hell

It is incredible how dear the glory of God becomes to those who are continually on the lookout for it. The very search gives them new senses whereby they can find it, while daily increasing love is perpetually sharpening their discernment. “The earth is full of Thy glory.” What a joy to a loving heart! But it is not enough that Heaven has overflowed and that the earth is filled with the blessed inundation of His glory. We would fain [wish] there should not be a nook of creation which is not full of it. Yet there is one place where that glory seems frustrated, one place from which there rises neither plaint of
prayer, nor joy of praise, nor blessing of thanks, nor aspiration of desire. It is the house of those who have had their trial and lost their cause, and
with it have lost God forever. Here is grace which has not borne fruit, or whose fruits have rotted upon the tree. Here are Sacraments which have come to nought. The Cross has been a failure, and God’s loving purposes have been successfully resisted and direfully overthrown. Yet it is of faith that God’s harvest of glory out of that unutterable gloom is immense, for the lost soul is as much an unwilling worship of His justice as the converted soul is a willing worship of His love. Neither is Jesus without His own interests there; for the pains, unspeakable as they are, nay, even in the bare thought of them intolerable, are less than the merit of sin, less than the righteous measure of punishment, and are so because of Him. The Precious Blood, in some sense, has reached even there.

The Fear of Hell Saves Souls

Neither is that horrible place without a most blessed result on the salvation of many souls, through the holy and salutary fear which it breeds in them and the loose and low notions of God which it corrects in the unthinking. When Our Lord showed Sister Francesca of the Blessed Sacrament, a Spanish Carmelite, the loss of a soul, and several times in a vision compelled her positively to study the separate tortures of that place, He upbraided her for weeping: “Francesca! Why weepest thou?” She fell prostrate at His sacred feet and said, “Lord! For the damnation of that soul, and the manner in which it has been
damned.” He vouchsafed to reply, “Daughter! It hath chosen to damn itself; I have given it many helps of grace that it might be saved, but it would not profit by them. I am pleased with your compassion, but I would have you rather love My justice.” And another time, when she was compelled to fix her gaze upon those pains, the Angels said to her, “O Francesca! Strive hard after the holy fear of God!”

Who can doubt that there are, at this hour, thousands and tens of thousands in the bliss of Heaven who never would have been there if there had been no Hell. Alas for the reproach it is to the unloving hearts of men, but after all, the Cross of Christ has had no better help on earth than the unbearable fire of Hell. Verily it is well for our own sakes to think sometimes of that horrid place! As truly as fair France lies across the Channel, as truly as the sun is shining on the white walls and gay bridges and bright gardens and many-storied palaces of its beautiful capital, as truly as that thousands of men and women there are living real lives and fulfilling various destinies, so truly is there such a place as Hell, all alive this hour with the multitudinous life of countless agonies and innumerable gradations of despair. Save the Blessed in Heaven, none live so keen or conscious a life as those millions of ruined souls. It is not impossible that we may go there too. It is not impossible that we may have sent some there already. When we pass along the streets, we must often see those who will inhabit there forever. There are some there now who were not there an hour ago. There are some now in the green fields, or in the busy towns, on comfortable beds, or on the sunshiny seas, who in another hour perhaps will have gone there. This is a dreadfully real truth.

It Is Good to Think of Hell

But what if more than all this be true? What if there was once a day when we should have gone thither if we had died? What if this hour it holds mere boys and girls, who have sinned far less than we have done, nay, perhaps have sinned but once, while we have sinned a thousand times? Oh, but we may humble ourselves still more. How long should we persevere in serving God if we were certified there was no Hell? Should we have left our sins if it had not been for Hell? Oh, what a thing it is to be upon this good earth, and surrounded by all this hopeful life, when we have actually by our own hand and eye, word and thought and evil painstaking, worked out our right and title to all this everlasting woe. Ah! Just as the mist rises from the barren sea, where the corn grows not and the vines can bear no fruit, and forms the clouds which are to fall in fertilizing showers over hill and dale, so from those broad seas of fire and curse the Divine Compassion rises like a cloud to pour down streams of grace upon the souls of living men.

Let no one ever turn away from the sight of Hell, lest, by little and by little and by very little, a good opinion of himself should grow up within his soul and send him to that drear banishment at last. Indeed it is good, very good, to think of Hell, and of that kind wonder that we are not already there this hour. Nay, do not start—what you see is indeed the white light of earth’s sun; fear not: that sound—it is the wind that waves the branches of the wood; be assured, your eyes do not deceive you: those are the village spires that are sleeping in the misty, quiet landscape; all is right so far. We are here, and we are free; but we ought to have been— there, and slaves!

But if we give ourselves up to seek and find God’s glory, and to make this our one occupation upon earth, must we go down to Hell and learn to rejoice with those awful attributes of God which are satisfied with that terrific sacrifice? No! God be praised; this is no part of our devotion. We are creatures of hope and love. We go where God’s glory is possible to us, where we can help it and advance its interests; or if we rise into the impossible, it is only that love has carried us away into the silent eloquence of childlike, extravagant desire. We have nothing to do with Hell. We have seen that of our three things, the glory of God, the interests of Jesus and the salvation of souls, the two first may be found even there. But they are not there in ways which concern us, so reflections upon Hell are not necessary to my plan. Enough for us that there is such a place, and that at this hour it is full of souls, and that more and more are ever streaming into it, and that its frightful occupations are what they are, and that there is not one of us who is not running a risk or of whom it is not possible that that place may be his heritage and portion forever. They who serve Jesus out of love do not on that account forget these things. Nay, they remember them the more, because they love so...

Taken from Purgatory by TAN Books & Publishers, Inc.

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