This being November, the month during which we remember the Holy Souls in a particular way, I have tried to make an effort to pray a little more than usual for their intention. While I was putting aside a prayer book devoted to seven days of prayer for the dead, I came across a book written by St. Catherine of Genoa. St. Catherine was a wife, nurse, hospital administrator and a mystic. She was given special insight into Purgatory.
When I was caught in the trap of pain a few weeks ago, I thought to myself that perhaps this was given to me as a temporal punishment to shorten my time in Purgatory. Then I thought better of it and decided my time would be better spent not trying to read God's mind. Nonetheless, I have been thinking a lot more about Purgatory and I highly recommend this book, Fire of Love. Here is an excerpt, reprinted courtesy of EWTN.
"The souls in Purgatory are no longer in a state to acquire merit. How these souls look on the charity exercised for them in the world.
If the souls in Purgatory could purge themselves by contrition, they would
pay all their debt in one instant such blazing vehemence would their
contrition have in the clear light shed for them on the grievousness of
being hindered from reaching their end and the love of God.
Know surely that not the least farthing of payment is remitted to those
souls, for thus has it been determined by God's justice. So much for what
God does as for what the souls do, they can no longer choose for
themselves, nor can they see or will, save as God wills, for thus has it
been determined for them.
And if any alms be done them by those who are in the world to lessen the
time of their pain, they cannot turn with affection to contemplate the
deed, saving as it is weighed in the most just scales of the divine will.
They leave all in God's hands who pays Himself as His infinite goodness
pleases. If they could turn to contemplate the alms except as it is within
the divine will, there would be self in what they did and they would lose
sight of God's will, which would make a Hell for them. Therefore they await
immovably all that God gives them, whether pleasure and happiness or pain,
and never more can they turn their eyes back to themselves."