Purgatory and Heaven
“…the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face…” (NRSV, Revelation 22:3,4)
Every soul is brought before our Blessed Lord for judgement at the moment of death. To those who die in penitence and in the love of God, the sight of his face then will be the source of their shame and bliss in Purgatory: shame as they recall the sins of their earthly life wherewith they have wounded the love of God; bliss as, fresh from the foretaste of Heaven which the sight of him will give them, they look ahead with the certainty of seeing him again and of being with him for all eternity.
When St Peter denied his Master on Good Friday morning, the Lord turned and looked upon him, and Peter went out and wept bitterly, because in that look he saw our Lord’s undiminished love for him.
So it will be for us in Purgatory should be counted worthy to enter it. There, having lately seen Jesus and realised, as we can never do now, the full depth of his love for us, we shall see each of our sins as it really is, and ourselves as we truly are. We shall see how, over the years, we have denied, betrayed, yes, struck out at our Saviour. We shall perceive the evil which, by our words and actions, we have set in motion in the world. We shall understand the damage we have been doing to our Lord’s work and to his Church by our bad example and our infidelity. Our penitence and grief then, many times sharper than we can now imagine, will constitute the pain of Purgatory, but through it our souls will be cleansed and restored.