Can your loved one let you know that he or she need help in Purgatory? Pope Benedict XVI wrote: “The belief that love can reach into the afterlife, that reciprocal giving and receiving is possible, in which our affection for one another continues beyond the limits of death—this has been a fundamental conviction of Christianity throughout the ages and it remains a source of comfort today . . . “
We were seating on a dining table eating Filipino food at an unknown place. My oldest sister, Ritz, was on my left side. We were talking to each other. I cast my eyes on her side surprised to see my father. I did not recognize him immediately because he looked overweight, the chubbiest I have ever seen him. He had an athletic built, toned muscles and all that. Staring at his fat arms, I knew he was overeating.
His head tilted down, as he focused on his bowl at the dining table, eating heartily.
Keeping watch, I said, “Papa”. But he just kept on eating enjoying his meal.
I poked him with my pointer finger on his right arm waiting for a response. I said “It is you, Papa, you are really here. I can’t believe it”. Then he looked at me and smiled but continued eating.
He knew I was going to ask him another question so he motioned me with his hand to stop talking and pointed at my dish to tell me that I should stop asking questions and just to continue eating.
Noticing his vigorous appetite, I probed him, “Don’t they feed you where you are?”
He shifted his body preparing to talk to me.
”Oh, yes, but not like this.”, pointing to the Filipino food in his bowl called “Sinigang or Tamarind Pork soup”. He chuckled. I recognized his humor.
How I miss my Papa. And, not knowing how this long this scene will last, I pushed another question.
”Are you allowed to visit us once in a while?”
He nodded to affirm my question.
To satisfy my curiosity, I popped the question, “Are you in purgatory?”
He bowed down.
On pins and needles I wanted to know. I looked at his eyes concerned as I asked. “How much longer Papa?”
His eyes close up. I saw them transfigure to burnt, charred eyes, like it was subjected to fire.
In a few seconds, his eyes returned to normal. He was not sad about it. In fact, he exhibited his usual vibrant disposition that I always remembered.
He said, “Two weeks.” He gave a sigh of relief.
I raised my arms up and shouted “Hurrah, yehey” . I was very happy for him and he was happy too.
Then, I woke up.
After this incident, I called a nearby parish to request for two weeks’ worth of Holy Masses for my Papa. I requested for 10 days of Holy Masses. However, most week days were already booked. So, the secretary penciled in the available dates on her calendar. The 10 days took like 10 months before all the Holy Masses were offered.
“Prayers are timeless.”, my husband assured me. Unfortunately, I forgot about the mass stipends. That year was financially difficult for my family. When I did remember I had no extra savings. I cringe with sadness praying even harder for my father. Until one day, they hired me to substitute as an organist in this parish. When the secretary issued me my check voucher, I cashed it out and immediately paid her for the Holy Masses that the parish offered for him.
Several weeks later, I had a follow up dream.
I saw my father on a white T-shirt and light-colored brownish pants as if in a choir with other people wearing the same outfit. From where I was, I saw a multitude of men and women singing, probably more than a million behind him.
He looked down at me. I saw his rosy glistening cheeks. He was in his 30’s. He appeared to be on another level and I was on the lower level and there was just a cloud separating us. Then, I had an interior knowledge that he made it to heaven. So, I smiled back to let him know that I understand where he is at.
All of a sudden I felt a bit of melancholy. I missed him a lot. So, I jumped to the air seeing if I can catch his hand and pull him down. He grinned at me and bent down to touch my hand. I continued to reach him but I could not. He bent further. He seemed to ask Someone if he can go down to me.
Then, in a second, my Papa was in front of me. I ran to him and hugged him tight.