The best treatise on Purgatory that I have ever read was by Catherine of Genoa. It’s a small treatise. She is from the 15th century. Catherine of Genoa says in her treatise on Purgatory that the pain of Purgatory is that you see the light of God’s face in the beatific vision and you’re not quite there yet, and the pain is that you long for it so much. The Feast of All Souls, of course, is for us as Christians on earth to pray for the beloved departed, and to pray for them because we have a holy obligation for our ancestors that they might reach the joy of heaven. But you know…for me as a former Protestant, the thing that makes these days very special, is that it makes me realize what salvation is. I used to think that salvation was accepting Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior, praying a prayer, and then everything would be secure. Well then I should live out a Christian life, but nevertheless, it was that decision to follow Christ that I made for him. But in fact, what salvation is…is a transformation process. From the day of my baptism when I was a baby, to the day of my death, I will always be in the process of transformation, as long as I, and we all cooperate with the love of God, which is given to us in the form of grace. That grace is the merits of Christ on the Cross, given to us because of our faith and good works. And as we give our lives to him, we are transformed, as Paul says, from glory to glory. And as we are transformed, more and more, we come close (to God). Now my goal is that before I die, my Purgatory will be done, so that I can go right into the presence of God.

Dr. Kenneth Howell