The One Thing that is Certain
We have commented a great deal about society and politics over the last few months, as there are many critical matters immediately at hand. Nonetheless, we can lose ourselves a bit in all this and forget that, no matter what happens, God is still in charge and He is always faithful to His promises to those who keep His word.
Ven. Fulton Sheen comments that the real crisis modern man faces is that he has forgotten that he has a soul to save.
Many are unaware of what has taken place in history for salvation; like sheep without shepherds, they do not know – or do not want to know – that there is only one Way, Truth, and Life that answers the most profound questions of the human heart and soul.
If a man loses his soul, it is his fault, not the God who came searching for him, who called out from a Cross, and who kept searching for him every moment of his life until the allotted time ran out.
That is the real tragedy of the crisis, when all that was necessary was that the soul stop running and turn towards Christ – Deus tu conversus vivificabis nos.
For the repentant sinner, it would not have been a long walk back to Him either, as he would have discovered that Christ had been right behind him all along. The damned soul just ran off the precipice where Christ could no longer follow, into the abyss of everlasting weeping and gnashing of teeth.
As uncertain as this life can get at times, Catholics know that death and judgment are certain for every human being.
For those who die in a state of grace, that is, in God’s friendship where the soul bears a true reflection of the very divine life itself, eternal beatitude is now certain; the soul will appear before its eternal Savior and Judge for its particular judgment donned in its wedding garment, ready to receive the commendation from Christ: Euge serve et bone! “Well done, good and faithful servant! Because you have been faithful over a few things,” – that is, you have safeguarded the grace of Baptism given to you – “I will put you over many.”
But before our Savior can complete His invitation to enter into “the joy of thy Master” – the Beatific and eternal Vision of the Holy Trinity as It truly is, some souls must take notice of something not quite in place about themselves.
Unimpeded by the body, now without the world and the flesh to distract it or attach itself to, the soul stands before Christ with full realization that it was made and redeemed by Him, and that He has full claim on it.
In the presence of Perfect Truth, Light, and Love that illumine the entirety of its being and irresistibly attract it, the soul notices stains on its wedding garment – the rust marks of disordered attachments, unrepented venial sins, and unremitted temporal punishments of forgiven sins – and it realizes how all sufferings and trials had been providentially sent by its Savior, standing before it with His Cross in hand, and were meant to cleanse it during its earthly sojourn, but went neglected somewhat.
The soul wants to be purged of this all before it enters the wedding feast. The irresistible draw towards Christ to be with Him forever in glory actually compels the soul to desire the cleansing fires of purgatory, so as to render it fit for that glory, and it willingly takes its place there.
The soul is both holy and poor.
Holy because it is confirmed in grace; it knows it will definitely see God and be with Him forever, and there is a genuine joy that comes with that.
But it is poor because it had to withdraw itself from Christ for a duration appointed by Him, which was wholly avoidable; it thirsts for that Beatific Vision with an indescribable longing that requires the Masses, prayers, and suffrages – that is, the charity – of the faithful here on earth to shorten the wait.
It suffers intensely, both in pains of loss and sense, and so these souls pray and plead that they obtain their eternal rest, with the bona fide promise to pray for those who assisted them upon release.
It is All Souls’ Day. November is the month of the Holy Souls, amidst whom we may one day find ourselves.
Pray for the souls in Purgatory always, that they be loosed from their sins, and remember daily the usefulness of the trials our loving Savior sends, to help avoid it ourselves when He calls us from this life into eternity.
November 2, 2020