By: Michael Brown
We recently noted a passage from the incredible little booklet, “Unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory,” about the highest level there, the last place in that zone of purification, which is known, in that booklet, as “the Purgatory of desire,” and is also called “the Threshold.”
“Very few escape this,” says the booklet, which makes for excellent Lenten meditation. “To avoid it altogether, one must ardently desire Heaven and the vision of God.
“That is rare,” said the nun who penned it, “rarer than people think — because even pious people are afraid of God and have not, therefore, a sufficiently strong desire of going to Heaven.”
Think about that statement!
And resolve this Lent to address it.
Few things could be more important.
We are speaking about our afterlives.
It begins with questions to ask ourselves on the desert these Forty Days.
Do we want God enough?
Do we strive after Him?
Do we want His direct Presence more than anything else — anything?
Do we focus on direct heavenly entry? Do we aim for paradise or are we just doing enough to avoid hell or the lower parts of purgatory?
We must be “ardent.” We must ardently want, strive for, focus on immediate entry into His Presence. “Ardent” is a telling word. It means to have very, very strong feelings. It means to be passionate, fervent, zealous, fervid, wholehearted, vehement, intense, fierce, and fiery — on fire for God.
Wholehearted, fierce, fiery.
Seek with all your heart to be alongside Jesus (Who as we know is at the right Hand of the Father).
Desire, desire, and desire some more.
Desire your Creator.
Think of the beauty of where He resides.
Think of the joy of being in His direct Light.
Think of the highest Heaven.
What are you most passionate about in life? What has consumed you more than anything else? What goal in your life have you worked hardest toward?
Reflect on that and take that fervor and apply it to God.
Not purgatory, no; not even the highest levels of purgatory. Go for it all. Forsake worldiness. Nothing here is remotely as important. “Do not open your heart to every man, but discuss your affairs with one who is wise and who fears God,” wrote Thomas á Kempis. “Do not keep company with young people and strangers. Do not fawn upon the rich, and do not be fond of mingling with the great. Associate with the humble and the simple, with the devout and virtuous, and with them speak of edifying things.”
Aim for Heaven.
Want that enough and all those little things you may be focusing on or bound to or obsessed with will fall from you and with it the shadows of earth.