Thursday, February 9, 2012

Gonzaga On Purgatory And Heaven

St. Aloysius Gonzaga, S.J. and St. Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, S.J.
A very affecting incident was his leave-taking with Father Corbinelli. This was the old priest, whom he had so long and carefully tended. Both were now dying, and neither could go to see the other, so they sent daily greetings. But this was not sufficient,' for on the eighth day before his death, the father requested to be allowed to see Aloysius for the last time. Upon hearing this, Aloysius instantly begged the infirmarian to dress him and carry him in. 
This was done, and the mutual joy of the two dying religious was beautiful to behold. They talked of the heavenly home to which they were both shortly going, exhorted each other to bear sufferings patiently and begged for each other's prayers. Finally, when Aloysius was about to leave, the aged priest begged his blessing. Of course Saint Aloysius was frightened at this proposal, and protested that it was by 'no means fitting for him, a mere scholastic, so young and unworthy, to presume to bless a priest. 
On the contrary, it was the part of the other, as a priest and the older person, to give the blessing. Nevertheless Father Corbinelli persisted in his request and bade the infirmarian not to move Aloysius till he had complied. He felt he was in the presence of a saint, far superior to himself in spiritual perfection. The infirmarian added his voice to that of the Father, till at last Aloysius yielded to their solicitations, endeavoring at the same time to co-ordinate his aged friend's requests and his own sense of humility. 
So, taking holy water and signing himself and the priest with the sign of the cross, he said: "My father may God, ever Blessed, bless us both, and fuflll your holy desires; pray for me, and I will pray for you." Aloysius was carried away and shortly after this the father died. 
They wished to keep the news from the saint, but it was impossible. On the night of his death he appeared thrice to Aloysius in a dream, the first time to tell him that he was in his agony, the second to beg Aloysius' prayers to help him to bear his terrible sufferings, and the third time to say that he was dead. So vivid was the impression that the saint was unable to sleep any more that night. He afterwards said to Father Bellarmin that Father Corbinelli had but passed through purgatory ; and so confidently did he asserts it that it was taken as undoubted truth. More than once his friends exhorted him to pray for his own recovery, knowing full well the power of his prayers. But he firmly refused, answering in the words of Saint Paul, he would prefer to pray for his immediate death, so anxious was he to reach his eternal home. So far did he carry this desire that he feared to be detained in purgatory for it. 
Once he asked his confessor, Father Bellarmin, if he thought anyone ever went directly to heaven. That father replied that he firmly thought so, and furthermore was certain Aloysius would. 
On hearing this the saint fell into an ecstasy, in which he remained all night, although as he afterwards said, it seemed to him but one moment. In the morning he announced that he would die in eight days—on the octave of Corpus Christi.
Link (here) to the book entitled, The Life of St. Aloysius Gonzaga

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