Monday, November 1, 2010
Purgatory: Supernatural & Paranormal Visits - Real "Ghost" Stories for A...
BOOK...HUNGRY SOULS by - Gerard J.M. Van Den Aardweg
The father returned the following evening. "If I shall have to remain in purgatory three months more it will seem an eternity," he said. "At first I was sentenced to purgatory for many years; and I owe it to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin that my time was reduced to a few months." Sister Seraphine told her community that her father was allowed to ask for her help "in reward for his good works. Moreover he was devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, in whose honor he received the sacraments on all her feasts. He was also very charitable; he spared no trouble to assist the unfortunate. He even begged from door to door to assist in establishing a home for the Little Sisters of the Poor."
Another incident one evening corroborates that the concrete imprints of hands or fingers, or other miraculous traces of the kind exhibited in the Museo del Purgatorio, (The Museum of Purgatory in Rome, Italy) are not autonomous actions on the part of poor souls, but willed by God, and therefore deserve being pondered over seriously and respectfully.
Sister Mary Seraphine offered her father her hand and a copy of the Imitatio Christi and asked him to leave the imprint of his hand on her own hand or on the book, because she was haunted by the doubt that these apparitions might be delusions. "No," was the reaction, "I will not do it. The pain you feel is according to the will of God, and your uncertainty is to hasten my deliverance." Later, he nevertheless touched her twice, first on her right shoulder and the next time above her heart, causing intense pain. Strange to say, though no indication appeared on her habit, her skin on both places had a black spot, as she modestly informed her confessor.
By command of her confessor, on October 30, Sister Seraphine asked her father what prayers would be most helpful to be said on All Souls' Day. Instead of answering this question, he complained, "Alas, the world does not believe that the fire of purgatory is similar to that of hell. If a person could but once visit purgatory, he would nevermore commit the least sin, so rigorously are the souls punished." Another time she asked him if he had been released from the cistern, as she had not seen him in it the last three days. "Oh, no, see the proof!" And she saw the cistern, smoke and flames coming from it.
The apparitions received additional objective confirmation when Sister Seraphine's father also appeared to another sister, who was greatly troubled because her own father had died without the Sacraments, after he had neglected his religious duties for a long time. He said to her, "Your father is saved, but he is sentenced to suffer in purgatory for twenty years. For your consolation, however, I am permitted to inform you that your sister N. was released from the flames a short time ago, and is now in heaven." The girl referred to had died 16 years before, when she was only eight years old; and yet she had to suffer so long in Purgatory.
Sister Seraphine also questioned her father about other souls. For example, she asked him one day about the situation of a sister to whom she had been greatly attached. "She is in heaven already for some time," he replied. He was, however, not permitted to say if any sisters of her community were at present in Purgatory. "Do the souls in purgatory know who prays for them, and are they permitted to pray for the faithful on earth?" He answered in the affirmative. He then disclosed that on leaving this world he had seen the infinite majesty of God, the sacred humanity of Jesus Christ, and the Blessed Virgin Mary and that this vision had left in him a continually increasing and most ardent yearning to see them again. He also told her that St. Joseph was present at his judgment, that he had since repeatedly visited purgatory in company of the Blessed Virgin to console him, and that he often saw his guardian angel, who came to comfort him.
On November 23, she saw her father as usual; but this time he seemed closer to her, and her suffering was thereby greatly increased. She felt as if she were all on fire. He informed her that if the community persevered in prayer as hitherto, he would be released during the Christmas holidays; also, he was aware of the most secret sufferings offered for the poor souls and immediately felt their beneficial effect. Directed by her confessor, she asked her father whether it was true that the torments in Purgatory surpassed in their intensity the sufferings of the martyrs. "It is but too true," was the reply. And on whether the members of the Confraternity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel who wore the scapular are released from purgatory on the first Saturday after their death, he said, "Yes, if they have faithfully fulfilled all the conditions."He also revealed that some souls are made to stay in Purgatory until the end of the world: "the ones most tormented and the most forsaken."
On November 30, he told his daughter, "It seems an eternity to me since I arrived in purgatory. At present my greatest torment is the intense longing to behold God and to enjoy His possession. I feel continually elevated towards Him and am at the same time repulsed and cast into the abyss. Sometimes I am on the edge of the cistern, seemingly about to be released from it, when I immediately feel the divine justice detaining me because I have not sufficiently atoned."
She implored her father again, as she had done repeatedly before, to obtain for her the grace of perseverance amid so many interior and exterior sufferings. "I have already prayed for you," he said, "and I shall continue to pray for you, my dear daughter. But you will have to suffer still more before I am released."
On December 3, she saw him again. Still sorrowful, he nevertheless appeared greatly relieved. He described to her the intense love of God that he felt and the increasing desire to behold Him. Some time before she had asked him to repeat some of the acts of love that the souls in Purgatory made. He had not complied with her request then, but now he said, "I continually make these three acts of love: O my God, grant me the love with which the Seraphim are inflamed!
0 my God, grant me still more: grant me the love which inflames the
Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary! O my God, why can
1 not love Thee as Thou lovest Thyself?"
It is clear that this soul was already to a high extent "inflamed" with the love of God, for how else can he find these passionate words of love? He—and the souls in most other apparitions—focuses on their grievous sufferings (among other things) because they come to ask for help; but we can imagine that souls who are so full of love and are ever coming nearer to their Beloved, their definitive, most perfect bliss, must somehow also experience the type of profound joys emphasized by Catherine of Genoa and Francis de Sales.
Next, the man assured his daughter that he implored also for her the love of the Seraphim, adding, "Dear daughter, I am permitted to inform you that, though you are very weak, still you will have to suffer great pain between now and Christmas, on which day I shall be released." She replied, "And then, dear father, what then? Shall I regain my strength, so as to be able to serve God according to our holy rule?"
"That is a mystery not revealed by God," was his response.
From that day until the evening of December 12, the apparitions ceased. Then, and the following evenings, he appeared again, brighter every time. But again, there was a pause from December 14 to 25. Meanwhile, Sister Seraphine suffered so severely that she could hardly visit the chapel. On Christmas night, she succeeded in attending the Midnight Mass, which grace she attributed to the intercession of her father, from whom she expected to receive the announcement of his deliverance. And so it happened. Between the first and the second elevation of the Sacred Host, he appeared to her in supernatural splendor: "My punishment is ended. I come to thank you and your community for all the prayers said for me. From now on I shall pray for you all."
Upon her return to her room, he appeared to her again for the last time to convince her of his release and to thank her again. She implored him to obtain sufficient strength and health to observe the rule. "I will ask for you perfect resignation to the will of God," he told her, "and the grace of entering heaven without having to suffer purgatory." At this last apparition, he was so resplendent that her eyes could scarcely bear the dazzling light. Her joy and happiness were now supreme. She felt an ineffable peace of soul, and she was glad to have the assurance that she had not been the victim of an illusion.
Having thus caught a glimpse of God's glory, her own craving for God was aroused, similar to the yearning of some people with near-death experiences, however more intense and more similar to the interior Purgatory experienced and analyzed by St. Catherine of Genoa, for thereafter, Sister Seraphine was affected by an illness little known to our age: homesickness for Heaven. Her father's yearning desire for the possession of God seemed to have been bequeathed to her. She was somehow consumed; after six months of suffering, borne with a martyr's fortitude, she died at the age of 28. It was Friday, June 23, the octave of the feast of the Sacred Heart, the Source of all mercies the Church and the living faithful can bestow on the mercy-hungry souls of Purgatory.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gerard J.M. van den Aardweg, Ph.D., is a Dutch psychotherapist in private practice. In addition to his work in parapsychology— writing and speaking about near-death experiences and paranor¬mal events such as those detailed in Hungry Souls—Dr. van den Aardweg has written extensively on pro-life and pro-family sub¬jects. His previous books include Education for Life, The Saint of the Ordinary (about the life of Josemaria Escriva) and On the Origins and Treatment of Homosexuality. Dr. van den Aardweg lives in the Netherlands with his wife, with whom he has seven children and seventeen grandchildren.