Here's a Resolution

by Fr. Dan Cambra, MIC

Happy New Year!

Because we all wish to go straight to Heaven upon our death, I have an idea. I propose that we begin 2020 by taking stock of our lifestyles, of our habits, of the things we find ourselves continually focused on that are not of God.

Then begin to rid ourselves of them.

A surefire way to successfully do this begins with a consideration of Purgatory itself, that metaphysical reality that we'd all prefer to avoid. Particularly, it's helpful to ponder the concept of the "fires" of Purgatory and what those "fires" imply.

We're not referring to "fire" like we have fire here on Earth, that fearsome chemical combination of fuel, heat, and oxygen. Instead, in Purgatory, the "fire" is more like an internal fever, an inner burning for the love of God.

My good friend Susan Tassone writes about this, about how souls in Purgatory feel "a fever" in their hearts, so to speak, a longing to be with God. This makes perfectly good sense. After all, the souls in Purgatory have seen the risen and glorified Christ at their particular judgment, and so they interiorly burn to see and love Him more and more. She writes of how God's burning love for souls in turn cultivates their burning and unquenchable longing for Him. He's the very fulfillment of all their desires.

Of course these spiritual fires of Purgatory have a purpose. They are purging souls of impurities, ridding them of all of their attachments to things that are not of God.

You and I, we who long to be with God for all of eternity, can find inspiration in the realities of Purgatory. We should be inspired to purify ourselves here and now, on Earth, to make God the very fulfillment of all our desires.

How may we begin to free ourselves of all our unholy attachments? We follow the call of the saints over the centuries who have repeatedly told us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus — as if we were looking at the only candle in a dark room.

There are several ways of doing this.

•Frequent Eucharistic Adoration is one way.

•Or create a prayer altar in your house. Make a little area, maybe on the bureau in your bedroom or a table in your living room, where you can pray. If you have a crucifix, put it there. Maybe light a candle. Maybe put a statue of Our Lady or St. Joseph or whoever your favorite saints are. Focus your attention there for a few minutes every day.

•Or have the Divine Mercy Image front and center in your life. Place prayercards that include the Image by your bathroom mirror, in your car, on your nightstand, by the kitchen sink, anywhere that you make the rounds during your day. By doing so, you "burn" it into your memory such that you can look at a blank wall and see the Image of Divine Mercy.

Jesus, through St. Faustina, gave us the Divine Mercy Image, promising to "grant many graces to souls" who venerate it (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 742). As St. John Paul II said in an address to the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in 1997:

Anyone can come here, look at this picture of the Merciful Jesus, his Heart radiating grace, and hear in the depths of his own soul what Blessed Faustina heard: "Fear nothing. I am with you always" (Diary, 586). And if this person responds with a sincere heart: "Jesus, I trust in you!", he will find comfort in all his anxieties and fears.

Whatever works best for you, do it: Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. And each day ask Him to come into your heart. Welcome His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity to dwell within you. Continually invite Him to take control over your heart, your mind, and your will.

This, my dear friends, is the surefire way toward a happy New Year!