“The more one longs for a thing, the more painful does deprivation of it become. And because after this life, the desire for God, the Supreme Good, is intense in the souls of the just . . . had there been no obstacle; the soul suffers enormously from the delay.” Saint Thomas Aquinas, The Angelic Doctor
There are many aspects of life that many do not wish to think about. One of them is about the healing that many of us will go through after we die. Healing and suffering seem to go together. The healing of moral wounds can also be even more painful.
Moral healing can only come through clarity, insight, and the experiencing of how our ethical failings have not only hurt our souls but done damage to others as well. The healing of the soul can only come through re-experiencing the depth of our wrongdoing in the first-person. This can seem fearful, but in reality, it is a mercy. To not go through this healing purification is to be left in a state of deep self-alienation. The saying, “The truth will set you free,” is correct.
There are no distractions in the experience of purgatorial healing and purification. We cannot evade what needs to be done. The truth stares us in the face demanding that we return the gaze and accept whatever needs to be done.
There is mercy, which blots out the consequences of sin, which is eternal death, and is given freely to all who ask. Yet, the wounds that are brought into existence still need healing. There is no way to escape this reality. The pain comes from our own woundedness, not from God.
The grace of this life is that we can face the truth here and now. Healing can start today, this moment; all we need do is to be still before the loving gaze of God and allow the Fire of the Holy Spirit to do its work. Jesus died for us so that we could become like Him. We may have to go through our own passion while in this world, or if not, it may be needed in the next.
In the Body of Christ, we are all one. Those who pass on are simply deeper in and understand their lives in the light of God’s gaze. Souls in need of healing place themselves where they need to go. While there is suffering, there is also great happiness since they are on the road to union with God.
Prayer is the healing ointment we can pour onto their souls. In prayer, we unite ourselves with Christ Jesus and seek to grow in the love of all so that we can with God’s help be part of the healing for others. We are called to do this because all Christians belong to the Priesthood of the Faithful.