Some 150,000 people die each day and it is likely that most of them go to purgatory, where they are purified before entering heaven. They suffer greatly at the same time as they are very happy, since they are assured of heaven. We can help them by our prayers and good works. In this meditation we use texts from Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Churchand St Thomas More to consider how:
the soul must be completely purified before it can enter heaven
the souls in purgatory suffer the pain of being deprived of the sight of God and of fire
most of the souls in purgatory probably have no one to pray for them
we can help them by offering our Masses, prayers, good works and indulgences for them
if we have devotion to the holy souls, they will pray for us and perhaps we can avoid going to purgatory ourselves
In this meditation we continue our journey through the Last Things, praying today about hell. Hell is a reality and if we pray about it from time to time we are most unlikely to end up there. But God needs us to help others avoid hell too. In this meditation we use texts from Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the writings of saints like St John Vianney to consider:
Christ’s teaching on hell
God’s mercy and desire to save all souls
That those who go to hell choose it by failing to repent of their serious sins
The vision of hell seen by the three children at Fatima
In the moment of our death we will undergo a particular judgment which will decide whether we go to hell, purgatory or immediately to heaven. The judge will be Jesus himself, the Son of Man and his judgment will be just as well as merciful. In this meditation we consider how:
we should not care about how others judge us
pride colours our judgment about ourselves
in the particular judgment we will be judged on how we made use of the many gifts God has given us
we can prepare for the judgment by being very sincere in our prayer, our daily examination of conscience and in spiritual direction
Our Lady asked the children at Fatima in 1917 to pray the rosary each day. We would all do well to heed that request, if only because it pleases our Mother. But we benefit too from praying the rosary, which is a very powerful prayer. In this meditation we consider how:
The rosary arose out of popular piety.
Our Lady urged us to pray the rosary at Lourdes and Fatima.
Many Popes and saints have recommended the rosary.
The rosary is a powerful prayer which contributed to the conversion of heretics by St Dominic, victory in the battle of Lepanto, the collapse of communist regimes in the 20th century and the conversion of sinners.
Many people look on death with dread, as the sad ending of it all. With Christian faith we look on it very differently, as our final journey home to eternal life with God. Our Lord has told us that he has gone ahead to prepare a room for us in the Father’s house (cf. John 14: 2-3). This is what awaits us if we live and die well. In this meditation we consider:
The Christian meaning of life and death
The many passages of the Bible that speak to us of our preparation for eternal life with God
The need to be prepared at every moment to meet Our Lord
The importance of storing up treasure in heaven, not on earth
Life can be like a jigsaw puzzle. With each of our actions we put another piece in place and at the end of our life we will see the finished picture, the beautiful work of art God intended for us or the discordant one we have made by our failings. In this meditation we consider:
Living our life well is creating a true work of art, practising the art of holiness.
God has a plan for each moment of our life and doing what he wants is putting one more piece of the puzzle in its proper place.
While each action can seem unimportant in itself, it is very important in the overall picture of our life.
If we make a wrong choice, the finished picture will lack the harmony and beauty God wants for us.
The dark pieces – sickness, hardship, setbacks – are part of the beauty of God’s design for us.
Only at the end of our life will we see the finished picture we have made by our daily actions.