I know many will scoff at the vision of Purgatory I experienced after Marian Consecration. They will dismiss my experience in Purgatory as a dream. They will say I am crazy or lying or whatever.
I understand. I’d have doubted me too once.
In fact, I still question why I was chosen to have this horrific, amazing, life changing vision. I might have questioned whether this really happened or if I’d just imagined it – except I can’t.
My visit to Purgatory and seeing myself as I truly am gave me a greater understanding of the depth of Charity and Chastity, of Mercy and Forgiveness, and of Justice in Love that have lasted over a year with no sign of fading.
I don’t think I would have envisioned Purgatory while on Earth without Marian Consecration. My Mary was very much with me in Purgatory, so much so that I’m not sure I’d have survived without her. My visit was a gift give for reasons I don’t understand, but somehow I must overcome the humiliation of what others will say of me so I can share what God’s Grace has shown me. Somehow I must also overcome my own weakness and break addiction to sins I wasn’t cleansed of and then live the Grace shown me in that experience.
I must live Truth and speak up even knowing I will be ridiculed. I remind myself that even now I am doubtful when others speak of encountering God. I have to humbly remind myself that I have heard God speak many times, and I am not crazy or making things up! I have to get over thinking I am the only one. I have to get over my incredulousness that the eternal God speaks to others and that He speaks to little, old me!
I have to because God does speak to me. He is real. I have felt His voice.
And every time I have listened to Him and followed His Word, I have been grateful.
Back to Marian Consecration & Visions of Purgatory…
I know there are many who say there is no Purgatory. That is an argument for another day and more educated Catholic scholars. What happened is simply my experience and my invitation to look at yourself, your addiction to sin, and how you can see yourself and others more lovingly.
Of all the pieces on Marian Consecration I’ve written, this may be my most difficult. Changes burned into the soul are impossible to put on paper. I see clearly things I had not seen before. I feel love in my heart I had not known existed. I have a fearlessness knowing this one body, this one life I have, may be given up for another and that, if I’m doing God’s work and reaching out to a stranger in need, I’m okay with that.
I have both Joy and sadness knowing this one life I have, this sacrifice I make giving up so much I want in earthly desires, may go on for decades. I have a weighted heart knowing that the purging of my sin in Purgatory and its ensuing union with Christ may be a long way off. I am tired, weak, and weary sometimes. Many days I long for things of this world that I don’t see. I don’t long for material goods or an easy life with expensive trinkets or experiences. I long for the simple and the Good and someone to share it with. In some ways, Marian Consecration and knowing that brief experience of true, unselfish, forgiving, total Love has increased the loneliness I feel on dark, lonely nights.
While my total faith in the Lord and a swelling in my heart for Mary and all the Saints and departed souls has grown in ways I couldn’t have imagined, in many ways Marian Consecration and my visit to Purgatory fills me with an almost frantic desperation and heartbreaking frustration. I am at a loss over how to bring people to the Lord and help them see the Goodness of His ways. I want so badly to have the power to help them see His Mercy and Forgiveness, but also of the unyielding Justice He will bring at life’s end. I want to tell people of Love that has no limit.
I have to remember that, if the people would not listen to Jesus, I cannot force them to listen to me either.
There is a tug back to the pain of abandonment when I realize I am powerless to change people’s hearts when confronted by their free will.
I have to remember to hand over people, especially those I love most, to My Mary, to Jesus and the Trinity. While I am saddened, there is also an indescribable Peace. There is sorrow and loneliness countered by lessons in Patience and knowing without doubt what awaits me.
Challenges since Marian Consecrate…
Since undergoing Marian Consecration, I have taken a year to write almost nothing on SingleMomSmiling. I needed time and space to figure things out and learn where to go next. I needed to see patterns. These patterns were forced on me decades ago, but over time I swallowed them believing I was powerless to do otherwise. The results are tragic. I needed to see more clearly those who had wronged me and those I had wronged.
The challenges I’ve faced in this year have been great including the loss of the Man who meant the most to me. My beloved Grandfather, who was the Man I hope my boys become, passed away four months after Marian Consecration, and I continue to miss him terribly.
When I think of myself in Purgatory, I often think of my Grandfather and the sins he committed. Make no mistake. My Grandfather was a good, good Man – the best I’ve ever known! Others would dismiss any sins I saw as picayune and inconsequential, but after Marian Consecration I saw them differently, not critically but with a loving desire that he be as great as he was created to be. I pray for him because of sins which are so much less than my own.
I saw my Grandfather’s sins but they never made me love him less, and I miss him all the time.
I think God must feel the same way about us when we sin and are separated from Him.
Marian Consecration is for God’s Purpose, Not Ours.
The longings and burdens in my heart are things I might write about another time, but I’ve learned Marian Consecration is no once and done event. It is no easy fix to life’s troubles.
I didn’t do Marian Consecration to feel better or see more clearly. I did it to try something new, to learn more about Mary and understand the crazy Catholic love for Her, and to grow closer to God Himself. I thought I was doing it for all the right reasons.
Now, I think I was wrong.
I wouldn’t recommend anyone do Marian Consecration in the hope of fixing their lives or having an experience like mine. I wouldn’t recommend anyone do Marian Consecration for any of their own reasons. I’d even caution against Consecrating oneself with the desire to draw closer to the Lord.
Consecration is not easy. Consecration is not something one does for what he or she can get out of it, not even when what you want to get out of it is to draw closer to the Lord.
Consecration is something one should only do with the intent of being used for God’s purpose. It’s not an easy intention. It is not the intention I had going in, but a year after Consecrating myself and after having heard from others struggling with Consecration, I believe that is the best prayer to go in with. After all, loving God is not about what we get out of it but about trusting in Him completely and giving our lives to Him to do with as He, in all His Love for us, wishes.
Lasting Life Changes Since Marian Consecration & My Visit to Purgatory
My life has not been the same in the year or so since the Consecration and its ensuing visit took place.
In some ways, I feel the devil has raised his attacks on me. In some ways, life has gotten harder, sadder, and lonelier since my Consecration and vision of myself in Purgatory.
My heart longs for things I am not sure I will ever see or experience here on earth. At not quite 50, I know I could still have a long time left here when my heart longs to be in Heaven with Jesus. Sometimes I wonder how I’ll make it to the end of my life and do all the Lord wants me to do for people suffering such lukewarm, uncommitted faith with so little understanding of what real Love is.
Sometimes I wonder how I’ll make it to Heaven when I continue to sin.
Because I do continue to sin.
I even doubted my own experience in Purgatory. I questioned why Jesus, My Mary, my Guardian Angel, Saints Michael and Peter and the Lord would allow me such a life saving glimpse into my future. I questioned how I was expected to tell others who think I was crazy when I am so weak.
By doubting, I turn my back on God’s gift. I don’t know why I was chosen, but I am grateful and must speak out. I must share with others or put the gift they gave me under a basket eliminating the radiant Light I know is there waiting for each of us.
This is my inadequate attempt to honor His gift.
Jesus Broke My Addiction to My Sin, but I still Needed Confession
In the year since my life changing Consecration, I have continued to sin, but I have never again sinned what I vomited out in the presence of My Mary. This is part of how I know the vision is real. This sin is one I struggled with or dismissed for decades but was gone immediately upon my return. The Blood of Jesus broke my addiction to sin when I quit trying to be Him and learned to simply Trust in Him.
In the weeks after my experience in Purgatory, I felt a force around me, insulating me from the sin. I had absolutely no desire to fall to it again. More amazingly, in the past I’d have beaten myself up, humiliated and filled with self-loathing over how wrong I’d been. This time was different. I felt Peace. I felt clean!
After my experience in Purgatory, I knew I had one more step. I needed to Confess my sin. That might sound weird. I already knew Jesus had forgiven me. I had seen His approach as clearly as I could see myself. Many will ask why I felt the need to have a priest forgive my sins if I saw Jesus Himself forgive me. They are Good questions.
One of the many gifts of Catholic Confession is that the Grace of forgiveness does not come from the priest. It comes from God Himself. I saw that clearly in Purgatory. I also saw clearly that I needed to take ownership of my sin. Jesus Loved and forgave me. He showed boundless Mercy for me, but I needed to say the words aloud. I needed to formally admit how I had contributed to the downfall of the human race.
Sound dramatic? Maybe, but I’ve realized when we sin even a little bit, we are damaging who we are created to be and in turn how we help others and show them God’s Love living in us.
You know how the food chain is all connected? It’s the same with sin and even a small sin has far reaching consequences. We dismiss that and brush off our guilt, but I see the now.
I feel the damage I’ve done and continue to do and humbly seek forgiveness for my sins at least once a month.
After Consecration and my visit to Purgatory, I went to Confession in a Church I never go to. I spoke with a priest behind a curtain who I’ll never see again. I confessed for the first time ever without holding anything back.
Confession is still not my favorite Sacrament. It makes me uncomfortable, especially knowing I should know better than to sin as I do. I feel this especially when the sins I recite in the confessional are the same week after week. I realize that while Jesus broke my addiction to one sin, I still have many others that cloud my intelligence, weaken my heart, and sicken my soul.
I am still an addict, and sin is my drug of choice.
My heart is sad because of the sin I’d treasured and its long-lasting, far-reaching consequences, but I was also forgiving of myself. I found a Peace I long to share and a gratitude deeper than I’d known. I understood that Purgatory was a place for the Justice we often forget God promises will come but also a place He gives in His Mercy so that we can enter Heaven readily.
The sins I’d committed were washed away by Jesus’ perfect Sacrifice on the Cross. Nothing I can do on earth or in Purgatory can make that Sacrifice better. I understood part of the purpose of Purgatory was not to make us pay out of vengeance but to prepare us so we are not burdened by our pasts. It was to cleanse us of our addictions so we can enter fully into God’s Grace.
Purgatory was a place of intense suffering, but it was a suffering I knew I deserved. That makes a difference. It was a suffering with purpose. It was a suffering designed to cleanse me of me and fill me with Jesus’ Loving smile. It was a suffering with the Trustworthy promise of Good. It was a suffering without fear because I knew I was Loved. It was a suffering that left me feeling an unshakable Joy, light-heartedness, and Love.
My descriptions of Purgatory are lame. Describing the suffering and subsequent bursting of Love and Joy, even mingled with sorrow, are impossible.
Seeing Sin in Myself & Others
I still sin but not the sin I’d once dismissed as insignificant but now see as one of my worst offenses. The force shielding me from my sin and protecting me from my desire to sin again is less now, and I am allowed back into the world to be tempted sometimes, but the temptation is less. It helps bring me from my comfort zone to seek my desires within God’s plan in ways I hadn’t before and brings me running to deepen my faith.
I have no pride and make frequent Confession. I seek the Lord and read His Book when I am might fall. I pray to My Mary for help because I know she will cradle me in my arms and let me cry when flashbacks and cravings kick in. She is My Mother and I can take anything to Her. She doesn’t separate me from Jesus but holds my hand and brings me to Him. They have seen me at my worst, want me to be my best, and Love me where I am.
I now have an acute awareness of sin in both myself and others. It is hard to describe, but I see sins I commit while committing them or shortly after and am filled with a sense of “OH MY GOD!!!” Not in take the Lord’s name in vain or as an angry at myself sort of way, but in a “I can’t believe I haven’t learned by now!” sort of way that makes me want to throw myself at the feet of Jesus and beg forgiveness.
I know what I face in Purgatory if I cannot beat my addiction to sin, and I know I cannot beat my addictions without the help of the Trinity and its army of Angels and Saints and of course My Mary protecting and guiding me.
I also see sin in other people, good people like my Grandfather, people most of us wouldn’t think of as sinners doing things most of us wouldn’t consider sins. Things we justify, excuse, ignore, and partake in too. Things others would be angry at me because they’d think I was being overly critical. Things that are very much a part of who we are because we have been doing them so long we don’t notice how they’ve enslaved us.
I see sin more clearly but instead of being judgmental or angry or feeling superior, I feel an overwhelming desire to Love. I am hurt and upset and even angered by sin sometimes, but I do not judge sinners the way I used to. Instead, I pray for them and hope they are gifted, as I have been, with an understanding of their addiction to sin and God’s Justice, Love, and Mercy.
I could not feel that Love for the sinner without knowing Jesus’ Love for me who is the greatest of sinners.
To whom much has been given, much is to be expected. I have been Blessed with much in Marian Consecration, in my vision of Purgatory, in my faith, family, and country. My sins may not seem terrible to some, but I know firsthand a bit of how they offend our Lord. Few can say that. It is a great responsibility. It means, when I choose my sin over my God, I am among the worst sinners of all time. I am Loved. I will be shown forgiveness and Mercy, but I will also face Justice so that, when Justice is complete, I may enter Heaven unashamed and filled with only Love.
Life’s Purpose Changes After Marian Consecration & Finding Yourself in Purgatory
Before Marian Consecration and my visit to Purgatory, my purpose was to raise my children, get a good job, provide for my family. These are typical, normal, good purposes most of us have. I’d never questioned them. No one I knew questioned them.
Since making my Consecration, I have become hyper-aware of each of us being born into this place at this time to meet these people. My ever growing disbelief in coincidence makes each of our births and positions in life that much more profound.
I want things in this life. My heart longs for the human love and companionship we are created to enjoy, but I know I have been called to sacrifice. I have known the tender unfurlings of new love but been forced to drop relationships in order to raise my children, but even that call is no longer my whole purpose.
I no longer pray for myself. I have one life to give, and I’d rather not spend it seeking things to make me happy. I am far from having given up though. Instead, I have given myself to the Lord in total and complete trust. Every once in a while, I find myself asking for something, increased faith or love, but for the most part I remember what God has already given me is enough to do what He has already called me to do.
I do not despair over lost loved ones but have handed them over. I pray for them, but I also trust God’s Mercy and live in hope that one day they choose to break their addictions of pride, greed, laziness, selfishness, things that keep them from seeing God’s working in their lives, things I wrestle with still in my own.
More than anything, I want to be used by God for His purpose over mine. I have a greater understanding of charity and chastity and how the two are connected. I forgive those who have used me and pray for forgiveness from those I have used. I see much of our humanity damaged by our using of people and loving of things. I know I have done it in relationships by wanting to be loved rather than by wanting to love and serve another, by seeing a life we could build here together rather than seeing a soul built for Heaven.
I have come to understand that my desires which are good, wholesome, true, and loving are second to God’s desires and ability to bring about genuine, lasting Good, Wholesome, Truth, and Love. When meeting others now, I ask what purpose God has for me in their lives. How I can bring His Good to them? How can I love and serve them rather than me?
It’s sad and lonely sometimes, but I also know God honors those who serve Him, and I want nothing more than to serve Him. I’ve experience Jesus’ radiant smile upon my heart once. I’ve felt His immeasurable Joy and want others to feel it too.
That is far more important than any small hope I get from my dreams, wishes, and plans. The memory of Jesus’ radiance, His smile, His purity, and His outstretched hand fill me with an everlasting Joy, a limitless Love meant to be shared, and a deep longing.
In my darkest days, there is now a lightness in my step and hope in my heart because doubt has been erased. I have felt the arms of My Mary holding me close to her pierced and loving heart. I have been warmed by the radiance of Jesus’ Loving smile and been so close to His outstretched hand. One day I know that hand will pick me up, help me stand, and draw me close. That embrace will fill an eternity.
3,000 words, and I am no closer to explaining Marian Consecration or my visit to Purgatory than I was a year ago.
All I can say is Trust in Jesus. Submit your life to His plans. He will take you where you need to go.
Am I crazy for saying I saw myself in Purgatory? It’s been a year, and my life has been so drastically changed, I think I’d be crazy not to speak out. I wish I could do it more courageously. Forgive me Father for my addiction to sin…