A good friend of mine who is a Benedictine priest, recently gave a homily about Purgatory that has stayed on my mind. In order to illustrate the love and mercy inherent in the opportunity and purification of Purgatory, he told a story of something that took place a couple years ago while he was doing some outdoor work. He heard the cries of a baby raccoon up in a hole within a nearby tree, and whether by accident or distress, the little creature fell onto the ground. The mother raccoon was nearby, and she tried to hurry back to him, but as she was running toward him, she was hit by a car as she was crossing the street. So my friend took the baby raccoon to his cell, and with a syringe, fed it milk and took care of it until a state ranger could come for it. The baby raccoon had a slight infection in his eyes, so they would cloud over and eventually become crusted shut, and my friend would take a washcloth, soak it with warm water, and gently wipe the eyes until they gradually were clean and able to open.
This little process was what my friend used to illustrate how Purgatory is not something to fear, but is a merciful place where the eyes of our souls, not clean or open enough to be able to see the glory of God, will be lovingly cleared of what prevents us from having that vision. I was very moved by the analogy, since it so resonates with the good intentions and tenderness that we know fills the Heart of God, and because it was so sweet a reminder that we fear Purgatory more than we should.
When I reflected on it in prayer, I began to ask, “What is it that crusts our eyes spiritually? What are the blindnesses that God wants to deliver us from before heaven?” I remembered the beautiful Litany of Trust, (written by Sr. Faustina Maria Pia from the Sisters of Life order) that lists what I suspect are those very things that infect the eyes of our hearts, which God wants to gently wipe away:
From the belief that I have to earn Your love, Deliver me Jesus.
From the fear that I am unlovable, Deliver me Jesus.
From the false security that I have what it takes, Deliver me Jesus.
From rebellion against childlike dependency on you, Deliver me Jesus.
From refusals and reluctance in accepting Your Will, Deliver me Jesus.
From anxiety about the future, Deliver me Jesus.
From resentment and excessive preoccupation with the past, Deliver me Jesus.
From the fear of being asked to give more than I have, Deliver me Jesus.
From the belief that my life has no meaning or worth, Deliver me Jesus.
From the fear of what love demands, Deliver me Jesus.
From discouragement, Deliver me Jesus.
It’s so good to pray for the souls being purified of these, and to pray to those holy souls that we will likewise be cleansed, so we can more truly, fully see God.