What is purgatory really like?
In this article, we share two astounding private revelations that shed tremendous light on the nature of the afterlife, especially Purgatory. Both of these revelations, after exhaustive investigations by Church authorities, have been approved for publication and have received declarations from Church authorities that “nothing contrary to the Faith can be found in them.”
Maria Simma is a simple, 82-year-old country woman living in Australia who, at the age of 25, had the extraordinary charism of being visited by souls in purgatory. People started recognizing her supernatural experiences as authentic when souls asked her to tell their families intimate details about them that nobody, except the concerned families, knew. For example, some souls asked her to tell their families to give back goods which had been acquired dishonestly, so that they would be delivered from purgatory, Maria would have all the details – the exact amount of money, or the property concerned – to the great surprise of the families. The story of Maria Simma is found in the book, “The Amazing Secret of the Souls in Purgatory” Sr. Emmanuel of Medjugorje.
The Unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory
In the 19th century a certain nun referred to as Sister M. de L.C. had an extraordinary relationship with a Sister M.G., a nun from the same convent who had already died. Sister M.G., revealed that she was in purgatory, and that the plan of God was that Sister M. de L.C., by her sufferings and prayers, should relieve and ultimately deliver Sister M.G. from that place of expiation. From 1874 to 1890, Sister M.G. regularly talked to Sister M. de L.C. the details of their conversations were narrated by Sister M. de L.C. herself in the book “Unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory.” The Manuscript bears a Nihil Obstat from Rev. Msgr. Carroll E. Satterfield, S.T.D., and the Imprimatur of His Eminence, Lawrence Cardinal Shehan, Archbishop of Baltimore.
Below are answers to common questions on purgatory in the words of Maria Simma and Sister M.G.:
What happens at the point of death?
Sister M.G.: When the soul leaves the body it is as if it were lost in or, if I may say so, surrounded by God. It finds itself in such a bewildering light that in the twinkling of an eye it sees its whole life spread out, and at this sight, it sees what it deserves, and this same light pronounces its sentence. The soul does not see God but is annihilated in his presence. If the soul is guilty as I was and, therefore, deserves to go to purgatory, it is so crushed by the weight of the faults that still remain to be blotted out, that it hurls itself into Purgatory.
Maria Simma: Each one is given knowledge of his life and also the sufferings to come; but it is not the same for everyone. The intensity of the Lord’s revelation depends on each one’s life.
Is there a time at the moment of death in which the soul still has a chance to turn towards God, even after a sinful life – a time, if you like, between apparent death and real death?
Maria Simma: Yes, yes, the Lord gives several minutes to each one, in order to regret his sins and to decide: I accept or I do not accept to go See God. There, we see film of our lives.
Why is there a need for Purgatory?
Sister M.G.:… When there are souls like mine – and that is nearly all whose lives have been so empty and who paid little or no attention to their salvation – then their whole life has to be begun over again in this place of expiation. The soul has to perfect itself all over again, and love and desire Him, whom it did not love sufficiently on earth.
Do you have a better understanding of God than us on earth?
Sister M.G.: While on earth one truly cannot picture or imagine what God really is, but we (in Purgatory) know and understand Him for what He is, because our souls are freed from all the ties that fettered them and prevented them from realizing the holiness and majesty of God, and His great mercy… An irresistible force draws us towards God who is our center, but at the same time another force thrust us back to our place of expiation. We are in the state of being unable to satisfy our longings. Oh what a suffering that is, but we desire it and is no murmuring against God here.
Does Jesus Himself visit purgatory?
Maria Simma: No soul has ever told me so. It is the Mother of God who comes.
Sister M.G.: We do not see God in Purgatory. That would make it Heaven.
Are the sufferings in Purgatory more painful than the most painful sufferings on earth?
Sister Simma: Yes, but in a symbolic way, It hurts more in the soul.
Sister M.G.: I suffer very much, but my greatest torment is not seeing God. It is a continuous martyrdom. It makes me suffer more than does the fire of Purgatory… Alas! If you knew what the heat of Purgatory is compared to yours! A little prayer does us so much good. It is like a glass of water given to a thirsty person… Oh, if only we were allowed to come back to earth, after knowing what God really is, what a different like we would lead!
Are there different levels in purgatory?
Sister M.G.: I can tell you about the different degrees of purgatory because I have passed through them. In purgatory there are several stages. In the lowest and most painful, like a temporary hell, are the sinners who have committed terrible crimes during life and whose death surprised them in that state. It was almost a miracle that they were saved, and often by the prayers of holy parents or other pious persons. Sometimes they did not even have time to confess their sins and the world thought them lost, but God, whose mercy is infinite, gave them at the moment of death the contrition necessary for their salvation on account of one or more good actions which they performed during life. For such souls, Purgatory is terrible. It is a real hell with this difference that in hell they curse God, whereas we bless Him and thank Him for having saved us.
In the second Purgatory are the souls of those, who died with venial sins not fully expiated before death, or with mortal sins that have been forgiven but for which they have not made entire satisfaction to the Divine Justice. In this part of Purgatory, there are also different degrees according to the merits of each soul. Thus, the Purgatory of the consecrated souls or of those who have received more abundant graces, is longer and far more painful than that of ordinary people of the world.
Lastly, there is the Purgatory of desire which is called the Threshold. Very few escape this. To avoid it altogether, one must ardently desire Heaven and the vision of God… The deprivation of the sight of our living Jesus adds to the intense suffering.
Maria Simma: Yes, there is a great difference of degree of moral suffering. Each soul has a unique suffering, particular to it; there are many degrees.
What is the role of Our Lady with the souls in purgatory?
Maria Simma: [Our Lady] comes often to console them and to tell them they have done many good things. She encourages them.
Sister M.G.: I have been in the second purgatory since the Feast of the Annunciation. On that day I saw the Blessed Virgin for the first time. In the first stage, we never saw her. The sight of her encourages us and this beloved Mother speaks to us of Heaven. While we see her, our sufferings are also greatly diminished… She comes to Purgatory on her feasts and she goes back to Heaven with many souls… St. Michael accompanies her.
What is the most effective means to help deliver the souls in purgatory?
Maria Simma: The most efficient means is the Mass… because it is Christ who offers Himself out of love for us… The efficacy of the Mass for the deceased is even greater for those who attached great value to the Mass during their lives. Another effective means is the Station of the Cross. And also the Rosary.
Sister M.G.: Next to the Mass, the Way of the Cross is the best prayer.
What is the length of time an average soul spends in purgatory?
Sister M.G.: Each day thousands of souls come to Purgatory and most of them remain thirty to forty years, some for longer periods, others for shorter. I tell you this in terms of earthly calculations because here it is quite different.
Does All Soul’s Day bring great joy to Purgatory?
Sister M.G.: On All Soul’s Day, many souls leave the place of expiation and go to Heaven. Also, by a special grace of God on that day only, all the suffering souls without exception, have a share in the public prayers of the Church, even those who are in the great Purgatory. Still the relief of each soul is in proportion to its merits… Many of the suffering souls receive this one help only in all the long years they pass here… Very few souls get any prayers, the majority are totally abandoned and no thought or prayers are given them on earth.
About the time of our release, we know nothing. If we only knew when the end of our sufferings would come it would be intense relief, a joy for us, but no, it is not so. We know well that our sufferings decrease and our union with God becomes closer, but what day (that is according to earthly calculations, because here there are no days) we shall be united to God, of that we know nothing; it is secret.