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A Few Moments in Purgatory

Hugh O’Reilly
There was once a man who suffered great pains for a whole year, without a moment's relief. At the end of that time, he prayed to God to take him out of this world, that he might be released from his terrible sufferings.

God heard his prayer, and sent an Angel to offer him his choice to take three days in Purgatory, or to endure for another year in this world the same pain as he was then suffering. The man said within himself: "I know that the sufferings of Purgatory are most severe, but they cannot be much more so than those I am suffering now. And besides, three days will soon pass by, and then they shall be over."

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The suffering man asked to suffer a year on earth vs three days in Purgatory

"O my God," he said, "I choose the three days in Purgatory."

His request was granted; he died, and his soul entered Purgatory.

He had not been many moments there when his Guardian Angel came to visit him.

"O Angel of God," cried out that suffering soul, "why have you deceived me? Why have you left me so many years here, when God said my punishment was to end after three days ?"

"But," the Angel answered, "you have just died. Your body is still warm on your death-bed, so why do you speak about years?"

"O Holy Angel," said the soul, "give me my choice again, and I will go back to the world, and suffer gladly for another year all the pains of my former sickness, rather than remain another instant in this awful place."

This prayer was also heard, and he returned again to the world.

For another year he suffered the same as he had previously done. But to everyone who came to see him he said: "Oh! I accept willingly all the sufferings God sends me in this world, and offer them up in satisfaction for my sins, for the greatest of these sufferings is as nothing when compared with what I suffered during the few moments I was in Purgatory."

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Excerpt from The Catechism Explained, Rev. D. Chisholm,
London: Burns Oates & Washbourne ltd, 1919, Vol 1, pp. 298-299
Posted November 13, 2021

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