Tag: Catholic saints

Tales Of Purgatory – As Told By The Saints 

Tales Of Purgatory – As Told By The Saints 

Some fear it. Others hope for it. Some see it as proof of God’s mercy; others as testimony to God’s wrath. Many don’t know anything about it, while many more have forgotten what they once knew.

The “it” is purgatory, and when it comes to Catholic beliefs about the afterlife, the Church’s teachings on purgatory have long been among its most contested and misunderstood. 

Purgatory is More painful than anything on earth, and yet more peaceful than anywhere but Heaven. 

In her official teaching, the Church doesn’t say much about what Purgatory is actually like, but from the writings of the saints and theologians, there’s much we can learn.

1- It’s a place of intense suffering and joy:

St. Catherine of Genoa, who is said to have suffered the pain of purgatory on earth, claimed “there is in purgatory as much pain as in hell” (Treatise on Purgatory). Like the damned, souls there suffer hunger for the God they don’t yet see—like a man who could live without eating, hungering more and more for the bread he doesn’t have (to use St. Catherines image). And they suffer from fire that “will be more painful than anything man can suffer in the present life” (St. Augustine, On Psalm 37:3).

Once St. Catherine of Ricci is said to have suffered 40 days for a soul in Purgatory—when a novice touched her hand, she remarked, “Mother, you are burning!”

At the same time, St. Catherine of Genoa also taught, “Souls in purgatory unite great joy with great suffering … No peace is comparable to that of the souls in purgatory, except that of the saints in heaven.”

There’s a mysterious ebb and flow of pain and joy in Purgatory, says the Dominican Fr. Reginald GarrigouLagrange, because the suffering is temporary and leads to heaven: The more the soul loves God, the more it suffers not seeing Him; the more it suffers, the more joy and love it has in drawing closer to God.

2- It’s a place of cleansing and mercy: 

Remember the parable about the man who came to the king’s marriage feast without a wedding garment? (Matthew 22:114) The wedding garment is the life of grace we need to enter the feast of heaven. Now imagine a twist: The man comes wearing his garment, but it’s all soiled. What would the king say? Maybe something like: “Nothing unclean shall enter” (Revelation 21:27).

In the Old Testament, Judas Maccabeus had his men pray for the deceased and requested that a sin offering be made for them: “Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.” (2 Maccabees 12:43). This presupposes a place of purification after death—Purgatory.

Many Church Fathers think St. Paul alluded to Purgatory when he wrote about building on the foundation of Jesus with gold or silver, wood or straw:  “The fire will test what sort of work each one has done … If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire (1 Corinthians 3:13, 15). Wood and straw didn’t fare well for the three pigs—but God, in His mercy, doesn’t demand gold!

That’s a good thing, because Fr. GarrigouLagrange says, “Souls that completely escape all purgatory are probably rather rare. Among the good religious whom St. Teresa knew, only three had completed their purgatory on earth” (Life Everlasting., p. 194). 

3- It’s a place to avoid:

Nevertheless, it can be avoided, and the saints have repeatedly encouraged us to make our Purgatory on earth. 

Fr. Paul OSullivan gives the following advice for avoiding Purgatory (How to Avoid Purgatory): 

  1. Avoid sin
  2. Do penance
  3. Accept suffering
  4. Frequent confession and Communion
  5. Pray with faith and perseverance
  6. Prepare for death: “Eternal Father, from this day forward, I accept with a joyful and resigned heart the death it will please You to send me, with all its pains and sufferings.”
  7. Gain indulgences.

It’s advice that makes saints … even in this life. As Fr. GarrigouLagrange reminds us: Attaining sanctity on earth is possible—and normal—for everyone.

How St. Thérèse Of Lisieux Helped Servant Of God -Marcel Nguyen Tan Van Through Spiritual Growth. 

How St. Thérèse Of Lisieux Helped Servant Of God -Marcel Nguyen Tan Van Through Spiritual Growth. 

Another example of witnessing faith.

Marcel Nguyen Tan Van had much to suffer but then the Little Flower came to comfort him.

Marcel Nguyen Tan Van was born in 1928 in a small village in Northern Vietnam. It was a predominantly Catholic village, and Marcel’s mom was not only an extremely faithful woman, she was also well versed in the tenets of the faith. When Marcel was barely three years old, his growing faith was already obvious. He began to tell his mom that he wanted to become a saint and she made sure that she taught him all that she could.

Marcel quickly developed a love for the Rosary and a growing attachment to the Blessed Mother. The boy’s love of Jesus filled him with the desire to make his First Holy Communion. His mom asked the pastor about this, and the priest agreed to let him begin studying for it. When he was six years old, well before that was the ordinary age, he made his First Communion.

As well, Marcel found in himself a developing desire to join the religious life. His pastor and his mom saw to it that Marcel was sent to Huu-Bang to become part of the small monastery there. Father Joseph Nha admitted Marcel into the pre-junior seminary. He became an aspirant to the priesthood along with other young boys, receiving instruction from older youths at the monastery.

In the beginning, Marcel was bubbling over with enthusiasm for his new life. He was preparing to become a priest, and what could be more wonderful? But the evil demon, envy, was rearing its ugly head and was about to make young Marcel suffer.

Marcel was a good student, worked hard, performed all his duties, and was kind and generous. The parish priest was constantly holding him up as an example for the other boys to follow. Young Marcel’s good behavior started to expose the lax and disrespectful and even bawdy behavior of some of the older boys. The student catechists did not like it and became intensely envious of Marcel.

One of the catechists, Master Vinh, was the ringleader. He began demanding that Marcel allow him to beat him before he could receive Communion. He deprived him of his food, took away his Rosary and committed all sorts of diabolical attacks upon the saintly youngster. Van actually ran away several times seeking a better environment. Master Vinh was eventually found out and expelled from the monastery. Marcel himself left during Christmas season 1941.

Complicating Nguyen’s life were two cyclones that destroyed his family’s village and brought them to poverty. His father, in a state of despair, took to drinking and gambling. Then his older brother, Liet, became blind. Van’s family turned against him for leaving the monastery. His sister even blamed the family’s misfortune on Van’s “failure.”

Marcel left his home and for a time was homeless, actually begging for his food. He returned home, and his mom made him go back to the monastery. He returned but left again after two months.

Things changed around for Marcel in 1942. A friend helped him get admitted to a seminary in Lang-Son. Six months later the seminary closed down, and Van was accepted into the parish of St. Therese of the Child Jesus in Quang-Uyen. It was run by two Dominican priests.

And so it was that one day Marcel was next to a table covered with books. He asked God to help him find a suitable book to read. Closing his eyes, he reached into the pile and pulled out a copy of Story of a Soul, by St. Therese. He had never heard of her, but his life was about to change forever.

Marcel Nguyen Tan Van began to read Story of a Soul. He began to cry. The simplicity of Therese’s love for Jesus overwhelmed him, and his devotion to St. Therese became intense.

The “Little Flower” even appeared to Marcel many times. She became his teacher, constant companion, and even called him “little brother.” She told him that he would never be a priest but that he was to become a “hidden apostle of Love,” who was a key source of spiritual support for missionary priests. He would become the “heart of priests.”

After the defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu, Brother Marcel volunteered to go to now communist North Vietnam. He was arrested on July 7, 1955, and died in prison on July 10, 1959. He was 31 years old.

Undoubtedly his “big sister,” Therese, was waiting for him with open arms. He was declared a Servant of God in 1997, and his beatification process continues.

Servant of God, Brother Marcel, please pray for us.

St. Therese, pray for us. Amen.

How St. Thérèse Of Lisieux Helped Servant Of God -Marcel Nguyen Tan Van Through Spiritual Growth. 

How St. Thérèse Of Lisieux Helped Servant Of God -Marcel Nguyen Tan Van Through Spiritual Growth. 

Another example of witnessing faith.

Marcel Nguyen Tan Van had much to suffer but then the Little Flower came to comfort him.

Marcel Nguyen Tan Van was born in 1928 in a small village in Northern Vietnam. It was a predominantly Catholic village, and Marcel’s mom was not only an extremely faithful woman, she was also well versed in the tenets of the faith. When Marcel was barely three years old, his growing faith was already obvious. He began to tell his mom that he wanted to become a saint and she made sure that she taught him all that she could.

Marcel quickly developed a love for the Rosary and a growing attachment to the Blessed Mother. The boy’s love of Jesus filled him with the desire to make his First Holy Communion. His mom asked the pastor about this, and the priest agreed to let him begin studying for it. When he was six years old, well before that was the ordinary age, he made his First Communion.

As well, Marcel found in himself a developing desire to join the religious life. His pastor and his mom saw to it that Marcel was sent to Huu-Bang to become part of the small monastery there. Father Joseph Nha admitted Marcel into the pre-junior seminary. He became an aspirant to the priesthood along with other young boys, receiving instruction from older youths at the monastery.

In the beginning, Marcel was bubbling over with enthusiasm for his new life. He was preparing to become a priest, and what could be more wonderful? But the evil demon, envy, was rearing its ugly head and was about to make young Marcel suffer.

Marcel was a good student, worked hard, performed all his duties, and was kind and generous. The parish priest was constantly holding him up as an example for the other boys to follow. Young Marcel’s good behavior started to expose the lax and disrespectful and even bawdy behavior of some of the older boys. The student catechists did not like it and became intensely envious of Marcel.

One of the catechists, Master Vinh, was the ringleader. He began demanding that Marcel allow him to beat him before he could receive Communion. He deprived him of his food, took away his Rosary and committed all sorts of diabolical attacks upon the saintly youngster. Van actually ran away several times seeking a better environment. Master Vinh was eventually found out and expelled from the monastery. Marcel himself left during Christmas season 1941.

Complicating Nguyen’s life were two cyclones that destroyed his family’s village and brought them to poverty. His father, in a state of despair, took to drinking and gambling. Then his older brother, Liet, became blind. Van’s family turned against him for leaving the monastery. His sister even blamed the family’s misfortune on Van’s “failure.”

Marcel left his home and for a time was homeless, actually begging for his food. He returned home, and his mom made him go back to the monastery. He returned but left again after two months.

Things changed around for Marcel in 1942. A friend helped him get admitted to a seminary in Lang-Son. Six months later the seminary closed down, and Van was accepted into the parish of St. Therese of the Child Jesus in Quang-Uyen. It was run by two Dominican priests.

And so it was that one day Marcel was next to a table covered with books. He asked God to help him find a suitable book to read. Closing his eyes, he reached into the pile and pulled out a copy of Story of a Soul, by St. Therese. He had never heard of her, but his life was about to change forever.

Marcel Nguyen Tan Van began to read Story of a Soul. He began to cry. The simplicity of Therese’s love for Jesus overwhelmed him, and his devotion to St. Therese became intense.

The “Little Flower” even appeared to Marcel many times. She became his teacher, constant companion, and even called him “little brother.” She told him that he would never be a priest but that he was to become a “hidden apostle of Love,” who was a key source of spiritual support for missionary priests. He would become the “heart of priests.”

After the defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu, Brother Marcel volunteered to go to now communist North Vietnam. He was arrested on July 7, 1955, and died in prison on July 10, 1959. He was 31 years old.

Undoubtedly his “big sister,” Therese, was waiting for him with open arms. He was declared a Servant of God in 1997, and his beatification process continues.

Servant of God, Brother Marcel, please pray for us.

St. Therese, pray for us. Amen.

Blessed Maria Bolognesi: Mystic, Stigmatist, Visionary, And Victim Of The Demonic.

Blessed Maria Bolognesi: Mystic, Stigmatist, Visionary, And Victim Of The Demonic.

She died in 1980, a modern-day witness of Christ’s love for souls.

On October 21, 1924, an out-of-wedlock child was born and given the name Maria. At the time, Maria was not assigned a surname because her birth father (himself an illegitimate child) refused to wed Maria’s mother and instead left her.

Fortunately for Maria, the most influential person in the young girl’s life would be her grandma, Cornetto Cesira. She taught Maria all she could about God. Five years later, Maria’s mom married Giuseppe Bolognesi, and Maria was given her stepfather’s name.

When Maria was eight years old, she and her mom contracted meningitis. Her mom was close to death from the dreaded illness. However, Maria started to recover.

Maria was at the age to be preparing for her First Communion and the nun who was teaching her told her that Jesus would grant her a wish if she asked Him. She wished her mom would get better — and she fully recovered from the disease.

Filled with emotion and love for Jesus, Maria made her First Communion on May 22, 1932. In her diary, she wrote, “I cried with joy. Finally, my little heart also carries Eucharistic Jesus. I asked for so many, many graces: to love everyone, even my enemies. I came home, other families would have lunch at their homes, but in my home, there was nothing to eat, but still, I was so so happy.”

From June 21, 1940, to April 1, 1942, Maria exhibited strange behavior, and many have attested this was due to demonic persecution. She could not approach church buildings or any other religious buildings. Holy water was repulsive to her. Once, as she arrived at the bridge that spanned the river leading to the church, people saw her skirt being pulled from behind as Maria fought to move forward. There was no wind blowing at the time, yet she could not continue along the bridge.

Maria also began sweating blood, suffered from pneumonia, rheumatism, and a seemingly endless list of other ailments. She also developed heart problems. Doctors were utterly baffled by the number of afflictions the teenager was experiencing. Although suffering greatly she gave it over to Jesus, sharing herself with Him.

Maria received her first vision of Jesus Christ during Holy Week of 1942. It was Holy Thursday, April 2, when He appeared to her and gave her three rings with five rubies, the rings representing the Trinity, and the rubies representing His five wounds. Jesus promised her she would learn how to read and that her mother would repent of her sins and return to the Church. On April 11, with the permission of her spiritual advisor, Father Bassano Paiato, she began wearing a black habit.

Besides having to endure much pain and suffering throughout the 1940s, Maria also had those who began ridiculing her and mocking her “fake” visions. Among them were clergy. On March 5, 1948, three criminals attacked her and beat her, tied her up, gagged her and left her bleeding in the snow.

Instead of understanding and compassion, ridicule was heaped upon this servant of Jesus. At first, even the police did not believe her and accused her of “faking” the attack to garner attention. They were quickly proved wrong, and all charges against her were absolved.

Toward the end of the 1940s, Maria began to suffer from arthritis, colitis, developed appendicitis, and almost became blind. She would be taken to Rovigo and Padua for treatment and while there, would assist taking care of the orphans and visit the sick in the hospitals.

On January 25, 1954, a wound opened on her right hand. It was the beginning of the stigmata appearing on Maria. In August of 1954, the wounds appeared on Maria’s feet and Good Friday, 1955, she received the wound on her left side. The time was exactly 3 p.m.

Maria Bolognesi suffered from serious physical ailments her entire life. Jesus appeared to her several times showing her Heaven and, in November of 1957, both Heaven and Purgatory. Her first heart attack occurred in 1971 and her health continued to get worse and worse. On January 30, 1980, Maria Bolognesi passed away.

Maria was beatified on May 2, 2013. Pope Francis said, Blessed Maria Bolognesi spent her life in service to others, especially the poor and sick, enduring great suffering in profound union with the passion of Christ. We give thanks to God for her testimony to the Gospel!”

Blessed Maria Bolognesi, please pray for us.


Source:

Aleteia

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