Franciscan Focus

Just a simple blog of a Secular Franciscan trying to live with a Franciscan focus.
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31 December 2011

Book review: "Hungry Souls" 

TAN Books: 'Hungry Souls: Supernatural Visits, Messages, and Warnings from Purgatory'Hungry Souls: Supernatural Visits, Messages, and Warnings from Purgatory
by Gerard J.M. van den Aardweg (2009, TAN Books)

I finished this a couple days ago, and I highly recommend it! Well-written, even-handed, tons of endnotes -- which add greatly to the book! -- and a substantial bibliography. It's a fascinating, sobering, compelling, and hope-inspiring read, all jammed into a short 157 pages (that includes the endnotes and bibliography).

The biggest takeaways for me -- none of which are new, simply restated in a thunks-ya-deep-in-the-heart way -- are:

1) Clear reminder of how God's mercy is limitless, and how Our Lady and Joseph are always there for us. Stories were mentioned of dying folks being saved in their last moments through "insight and repentance", even after leading deplorable lives.

I especially loved this account of a man's particular judgment, which he told to his daughter when he was permitted to appear to her to beg for her prayers:

"He then disclosed that on leaving this world he had seen the infinite majesty of God, the sacred humanity of Jesus Christ, and the Blessed Virgin Mary and that this vision had left him in a continually increasing and most ardent yearning to see them again. He also told [his daughter] that St. Joseph was present at his judgment, and that he had since repeatedly visited purgatory in company of the Blessed Virgin to console him, and that he often saw his guardian angel, who came to comfort him." (p. 132)

2) Even though Purgatory exists because of God's mercy, it's still not something we should aim for ("Oh, well, I'll just hope for Purgatory!"), but rather work our butts off to avoid. The intense longing to be closer to God is the source of the Holy Souls' indescribable suffering.

3) Do not assume that everyone who dies zips straight to heaven. Sure, you can hope that they do, but pray like heck for them, anyway, because chances are really good that they're in Purgatory and they desperately need and want your prayers. Frankly, we've done a piss-poor job of remembering to pray and sacrifice for the Holy Souls (myself included), who depend on us for relief and assistance.

There's an account (pages 128-134) of a father appearing to one of his daughters to ask for her prayers because of his purgatorial sufferings. His other children didn't bother praying for him because they all assumed he was in heaven, and she alone was his only source of help. And it's not like this was a "bad" man. He'd been devoted to Our Lady, in whose honor he received the sacraments on all her feasts, and was exceedingly charitable -- not sparing any expense to help those in need. He'd even gone begging door to door to help the Little Sisters of the Poor establish a home. Yet, he was in Purgatory: "I suffer for my continual impatience, and for faults which I cannot mention." (p. 128)

If you've been wondering about whether or not it's worth the time to read this, it is. Check it out from your library or get a copy!

Note: I didn't receive any kind of compensation for this review, nor was I asked to review it by anyone. I simply read this book and wanted to share it. :-)

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Anonymous Benedicta said...

I wish I can have a copy of this. I pray the Liturgy of the hour too in my phone and I feel it is not enough.

04 March, 2012 07:04  

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