ST. PAUL OF THE CROSS and the Holy Souls in Purgatory

Paul had often visions of the suffering souls in Purgatory; they were allowed by God to come to his cell and relate what they had to endure, and to beg him for his prayers. He would then arise at once, go to some chapel, and immediately took to prayer and disciplines to relieve his suffering friends in Christ. He would then be troubled at having gone beyond the bounds which his director set to his austerities; but one day his guardian angel consoled him by taking him in spirit to Purgatory for a few minutes, and let him experience what the holy souls there had to suffer. After this extraordinary grace he offered all the satisfactory acts he could for these poor souls, and tried to get others to do the same.


One case is recorded in the acts of his life which gives us an idea of the efficacy of his intercession. There was a priest whom the Saint esteemed very much, and in his holy friendship he advised him to correct some small failings to which he was subject. One night as the Saint had just retired to rest, he heard an extra ordinary knock at his door. Thinking it was the devil come to torment him, he decided not to answer the door and let him stay outside. When the knock was repeated three times, he perceived that it must be a different visitor, and commanded him to tell who he was, and what brought him there at such an hour. "I am …..," he said, - Paul saw his soul by an interior vision, - " who has died this very night and I have come to tell you that I have been condemned to Purgatory on account of those faults which you lectured me. Oh, how I do suffer! it seems a thousand years since I passed from my earthly existence."

Paul looked at a watch, and found that he had been dead, according to his own account, for just a quarter of an hour.

The servant of God began his prayers and penitential exercises, and did not cease offering all sorts of indulgences and mortifications for the soul of his departed friend until near daybreak. As is usual in such cases, he received no clear intimation of his suffrages being accepted. At length, he exclaimed, "Oh, dear Lord, through the love Thou bearest my soul, I beseech Thee liberate my friend from his prison."

He was then given to understand that before midday the next day that the grace would be granted. At the break of the next day he said Mass for his repose, and just as he had consumed the sacred species he saw the soul of the priest go joyfully to heaven.

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