How To Avoid Purgatory – Fr. Paul O’Sullivan Part 2

Chapter 6
The Fourth Means: Confession, Communion, Holy Mass

The Fourth Means by which we can lessen our time in Purgatory, or avoid it altogether,
is by frequent Confession, Communion and daily assistance at Mass.
Confession applies to our souls the Precious Blood of Christ, wipes out our sins, gives
us light to see their malice, fills us with horror of sin and, above all, it gives us strength
to avoid it. In Holy Communion we receive the God of infinite mercy and love, the God
of all sanctity, who comes expressly to pardon our sins and help us to sin no more.
He visited the house of Zaccheus once, and in that one visit, Zaccheus obtained
complete pardon of all his sins.
How is it possible that the same God of goodness and sweetness can come, not into
our houses, but into our very hearts in Holy Communion and not give us the same and
even greater graces? He visited Zaccheus once; He visits us every day if we allow Him.
Many, alas, never feel, never grasp the immense joys and consolation of Holy
Communion.
The Mass is identical with the Sacrifice of Calvary, in its essence, in its value, in the
graces it bestows. The Sacrifice of Calvary was sufficient to save all the world, millions
and millions of souls, and was also sufficient to save countless other sinful worlds, had
they existed. By assisting at Mass, we can apply all these oceans of graces to our own
souls, and that not once, but every day.
Resolution
Let us go to Mass and Holy Communion every day. We can do nothing better. One day
with Mass and Communion is worth a hundred days without them.

Chapter 7
The Fifth Means: Asking God

The Fifth Means of avoiding Purgatory is asking God for this grace. Some wise
Catholics have a really great, if simple secret, which is well worth learning and using for
our own benefit. God promises us in the most solemn and deliberate way (and He
cannot fail to do what He promises) that He will give us everything we ask in prayer, if it
is good for us.
Now two conditions, especially, make prayer infallible, namely perseverance and faith.
God cannot refuse such a prayer.
These Catholics we speak of pray expressly every day of their lives that God will free
them from Purgatory. In every single prayer they say, in every Mass they hear, in every
good act they perform, they have the express intention of asking God first of all and with
all their hearts to deliver them from Purgatory.
How? That is for God to decide. It is not easy to see how God can possibly refuse
such constant, unceasing prayer. The fact that such prayers are said daily and many
times in the day, for 20, 30, 50 years, shows that they are said with undoubting faith and
magnificent perseverance.
We exhort all our readers to adopt this practice. The more they know and think on
Purgatory, the more fervently will they make this prayer.
Resolution
Every time we say the Hail Mary let us say with all the fervor of our hearts the words:
“Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen”

Chapter 8
A Sixth Means: Resignation to Death

A Sixth Means of avoiding Purgatory is given us by some great saints: They say that
when a sick person becomes aware that he is dying and offers to God his death with
perfect resignation, it is very likely that he will go straight to Heaven.
Death is the awful punishment of sin, and when we accept it, as of course we ought to
do, with submission and resignation, our act pleases God so much that it may satisfy
perfectly for all our sins.
The idea of Pope St. Pius X was the same when he granted a plenary indulgence at the
hour of death to those who say at least after one Holy Communion the following prayer:
“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.”
It will be better still to say this prayer after every Holy Communion we receive.
It is for our best interest to accept God’s will in everything that happens to us in life and
in death.
Nothing can be easier when we remember that God always wishes what is best for us.
If we do what God does not will, we shall surely suffer.
Resolution
Each time we repeat the Our Father, let us say with special fervor the words: Thy will be
done. In all our troubles, small and great, let us do likewise. Thus everything will gain us
merit. By this simple act we change sorrow into joy, the worries of life into gold for
Heaven.

Chapter 9
The Seventh Means: Extreme Unction (Anointing of the Sick)

The Seventh Means of avoiding Purgatory is Extreme Unction: God Himself has given
us a Sacrament, the end of which is to take us directly to Heaven. This Sacrament is
Extreme Unction, which according to St. Thomas and St. Albert was instituted especially
to obtain for us the grace of a holy and happy death and to prepare us for immediate
entrance into Heaven. Many Catholics do not understand this most consoling doctrine,
and because they do not understand it, they prepare themselves insufficiently for the
reception of Extreme Unction and so lose many of its great graces.
Every Sacrament properly received produces its effect. Baptism cleanses us from
Original Sin and any other actual sins that may have been committed by adults before
receiving the Sacrament.
The Sacrament of Holy Orders gives a priest all his tremendous powers. Matrimony
makes man and woman husband and wife. In the same way Extreme Unction, if
devoutly received, prepares the dying Christian for immediate entrance into Heaven,
thus delivering him from Purgatory.
How foolish it is, therefore, to put off receiving this Sacrament until very late, when the
dying person is too exhausted to receive it with full knowledge of what he is doing and
with due fervor and devotion. The moment of death is the supreme moment in our lives.
It is the moment which decides our fate for all Eternity.
Resolution
Let us use every means in our power to secure a happy and holy death, especially by
receiving most devoutly, and as soon as possible, Extreme Unction. (Anointing of the
Sick)

Chapter 10
Indulgences and Purgatory

[The grants of indulgences were changed in 1968. See the Enchiridion of Indulgences
1968]
God in His infinite mercy and compassion offers us a most wonderful and easy means
for lessening or canceling our Purgatory.
Fully aware of our weakness, and knowing, too, how fearful many are of penance, He
opens wide the treasury of His Goodness and offers us most abundant Indulgences in
exchange for some small act of devotion.
For one recitation of short ejaculatory prayers, He grants 100 or 300 or more days
Indulgence. These we may say hundreds of times in the day. Those who say the little
ejaculation: “Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in Thee” one hundred times a day
gain 30,000 days Indulgence. Those who say it 1,000 times, as many do, gain 300,000
days Indulgence each day!
Nothing can be easier than to acquire the habit of saying this little prayer all day long,
countless times each day.
Then, for each Hail Mary of the Rosary, one gains more than 2,000 days Indulgence!
Besides an immense number of Partial Indulgences, there are very many Plenary (full,
complete) Indulgences which may be gained during life and at the hour of death.
These are specially given by the Church to enable us to avoid Purgatory.
These Indulgences can be applied to our own souls, and we shall thus directly make
satisfaction for our sins. Or, we may apply them to the souls in Purgatory, who will see
to it that we do not lose by our generosity.
Resolution
Let us strive to gain all possible Indulgences.