THE Manuscript of Purgatory is one of the few publications that I really treasure because it sustains more than just belief, but also some excitement over the afterlife. It fertilizes that thought that nothing, no matter how seemingly paltry, is lost in this life for as long as every act is done with God in thought and, therefore, God in the everlasting future.
Allow me then to share more from the Manuscript, that conversation between Sister Mary of the Cross (then still alive on earth) and the deceased Sister Mary Gabriel over some years until the latter's deliverance from Purgatory.
This part of the series is most interesting as it tells us of how some people immediately reach Heaven and how others still have to pass through Purgatory.
Again in response to a question, Sister Mary Gabriel said:
"God often accords more graces through the intercession of these suffering souls than through the prayers of the saints. Let the Father (a priest), when he wishes to be sure of obtaining what he wants, ask the souls who have loved Our Lady most. These, in consequence, she wishes most of all to release. He will see whether his prayer is heard or not.
"There are some souls who do not live continually in Purgatory itself... For instance, I accompany you wherever you go, but while you rest during the night, I suffer more, because then I am actually in Purgatory.
"The Father was very right when he told you never to seek anything but the holy will of God in all you do. To see His will in all that happens to you, whether in sorrow or in joy, will be for your happiness. Oh, be doubly good in order to give pleasure to God who is so good, who is so particularly good to you. Have the eyes of your soul always open to anticipate His least wishes. Be beforehand with Him, as it were, to give Him pleasure. The more you try to please Him, the more He will give you. He will never allow Himself to be outdone in generosity. On the contrary, He always gives more than is given Him. Be unrelenting, therefore, in devoting yourself to His love and glory.
"The English woman, who was drowned at Mont Michel, went straight to Heaven. She had the necessary contrition at the moment of death and at the same time the baptism of desire. All this happened through the intervention of St. Michael. What a happy shipwreck!
"About Father P- who is retired, St. Michael is not pleased about that. But God leaves one free. He wishes to have in His service only those who serve Him willingly without ever looking back. Tell Father P- God wants him to continue with great courage to accomplish all that he has undertaken for His sake. Tell him to be prudent and not undertake more than his strength will allow. I am praying for all his intentions, and as I told you before, I pray for him as I do for you.
"Pius IX went straight to Heaven. He had his Purgatory on earth."
Then another question from Sister Mary of the Cross thus: "How do you know M. P. - went straight to Heaven as you did not see her pass through Purgatory?"
Sister Mary Gabriel "God made this known to me. It is through His goodness that I know the things you ask me, when I have not seen or experienced them myself.
"The justice of God keeps us in Purgatory, and we deserve it, but His mercy and His fatherly Heart does not leave us here bereft of all consolation. We ardently desire complete union with Jesus, but He desires it almost as much as we do. On earth, He sometimes communicates Himself to certain souls in a most intimate manner (to few, because, so few will listen to Him) and He delights in revealing His secrets to them. The souls that receive these favors are those that seek to please Him in all their conduct and who live and breathe only for Jesus and try to please Him.
"There are in Purgatory very culpable souls but they are repentant, and notwithstanding the sins they have to expiate, they are confirmed in grace and can no longer sin. They are perfected as the soul is purified by degrees in this place of expiation. The soul understands God better, without, however, the soul seeing God, because then there would no longer be any Purgatory.
"If in Purgatory, we did not know God better than He is known on earth, our suffering would not be so keen and our martyrdom so cruel.
"Our main torment is the absence of Him who is the sole object of our long-endured desires.
"The three friends of V. P. - have been in Heaven for a long time."
Another question from Sister Mary of the Cross: "Then what happened to the prayers Father P- said for them?"
Sister Mary Gabriel: "Those in Heaven for whom prayers are said on earth can apply those prayers to the souls they wish to benefit. It is a very consoling thought for those in the other world to know that their relatives and friends on earth do not forget them, even though they have no further need of prayers. In return, they are not ungrateful. The judgments of God are very different from those of the world. He takes into account the temperament and character of each and what is done by carelessness or pure malice.
"To Him who knows the most secret recesses of the heart, it is not difficult to see what goes on there.
"Jesus is very good, but He is also most just."
Yet another query from Sister Mary of the Cross: "What is the distance between Purgatory and the earth we inhabit?"
Sister Mary Gabriel: "Purgatory is in the center of the globe." (To be continued)