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I, Jesé Retoño, wish to take you by the hand as we journey to Purgatory. I want you to know what it feels like after death if one has died in sin, though not in mortal sin, but rather, as someone who led a lukewarm or mediocre life.
But before proceeding with my experience, which was granted to me by the Virgin Mary, the Ever-Virgin of Guadalupe, let’s do an analysis of what we know up until now about Purgatory and everything that the Church has taught us about it.
In the New Testament, Christ clearly illustrates the fate of those who are good and those who are evil: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;” or “Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Mt. 25, 34-41).
In the New Testament, Christ was perhaps not very interested in Purgatory but more so in the punishment of those who despise God. Christ’s priority in his gospel is the salvation of all those who want to follow him. Purgatory is not and was not Christ’s mission, so we don’t have much information about it.
Doctrine of Purgatory
In number 1030 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the following is stated, “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.”
In number 1031 it says: “The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.”
It wasn’t until 1439, in the Council of Florence, that the doctrine of Purgatory was defined, and we have to note, first of all, that both in the current Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Council of Florence, Purgatory is spoken of as a “state of purification” and not as a place of torment. Therefore, it’s not accurate to say that someone is “in” Purgatory as if it were really a place in space and time.
Purgatory: State of Self-Purification
In the opinion of many experts in the Church, Purgatory is a state of self-purification desired by the very soul itself which recognizes it’s impurity before the infinite perfection and majesty of God. It’s thought that if a Christian dies in God’s Grace but hasn’t made amends for all of their offenses, yet in their heart exists a love so intense, so ardent that they suffer from the prolonged wait of their reward, then they’ll receive total purification. It’s thought that a Christian suffers the pain of absence of God, that is, of no longer being in full possession of God.
In the Church, Purgatory is thought to be a burning desire for God’s embrace, a wound of love that causes great suffering, a very strong longing for God. Also, it is believed that it’s a state of crazy desire for God who is already known because we have seen Him but with whom we still cannot unite due to our impurities.
Although the suffering may be terrible, there would now be a certainty of soon living with God forever. It’s an unshakable certainty. We can say that the joy is greater than the pain. The soul wishes to be purified so that it is immaculate before going to Heaven. This is the general information we’ve obtained from many great theologians and priests throughout the Church.
There are also many testimonies where, at the moment of death, we see a resplendent, beautiful light, full of joy that makes us wish with all our soul to continue towards that light. In his writings, Saint John repeatedly tells us that “God is light and in Him, there is no darkness,” that “Christ was the Light of the world and the world did not know him.” In fact, Jesus Christ defined himself to be “the Light of the world.”
Prayer for the Deceased
When, by God’s permission and with the help of science, they manage to “revive” someone who was on the path to death (or close to dying) and whom had already seen the light of God, the soul no longer wants to come back to this life, full of darkness and uncertainty. That is, they’ve briefly tasted the bliss that awaits us in Heaven. That’s why the Church has always prayed for the deceased to not only “rest in peace” but also for “the perpetual light to shine for them.”
The souls in Purgatory who have seen the light of God suffer the agony of being in the antechamber, voluntarily purifying themselves of their sins.
In the Old Testament, the book of Maccabees pertains to the category of deuterocanonical texts, which are not accepted by our separated brothers/sisters precisely because of their rejection of Purgatory.
Nonetheless, the deported Israelites accepted the existence of an afterlife, which transpired in a place of waiting or purification; their belief was inspired, more so, by a belief in resurrection. If the Israelite people had not believed that their fallen comrades were going to resurrect, then it would’ve been futile and absurd to pray for them. But the Israelites firmly believed in a precious reward for those who died as believers; hence their concern was holy and very much in keeping with the faith. This is or was mainly the reason why Judas offered this sacrifice for the dead, so that they would be forgiven for their sins (2 Mac. 12, 41-46).
Purgatory in the New Testament
In the New Testament we also find support for the doctrine of Purgatory. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul makes an argument for works tested by fire on the Day of Judgement: “If their work withstands the fire, that person will receive their reward. But if someone’s work is burned up into ashes, then they themselves will have to pay; the person will be saved, but only as through fire” (1Cor. 3: 14-15).
Evidently, in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, the word “purgatory” is not mentioned, but it’s believed that such a place or state exists after death.
Prayer for the Dead
That’s why the Church, since it’s very first years, has always promoted oblations for the dead. Tertullian (200 AD), Saint Ephrem, Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Saint John Chrysostom mention that the offering of the Eucharist has been the most common oblation since that time. Alexander de Hales, an English theologian, explains that the souls in Purgatory cannot do anything for themselves; they can no longer do works, and they’re in need of help; they’re completely abandoned, altogether.
The time for doing good deeds and doing works has come to an end for them. Their hope is based essentially on the actions and prayers of others: “Suffrages are the works of the Church (that is, the pilgrim church or church that lives in holiness), diminishing the pain and suffering of someone in purgatory.”
Saint Thomas Aquinas assures us that Purgatory is more “medicinal” than “vindictive.” God doesn’t “punish” us for our venial sins but offers corrective suffering that can purify our love for Him. So I consider it logical that there is a proportion between the gravity of the sin and the intensity of the suffering. Saint Thomas never quantified this, but in the Middle Ages they were fascinated with numbers when mathematics was flourishing. It was more natural for ordinary people to quantify the severity of sin according to the length of the penance imposed upon confession.
In the 11th century, the monks of the famous Abbey of Cluny (France) dedicated November 2nd for the prayer of their deceased members and benefactors; already by the 13th century, the custom of praying on that day for “the faithful departed” had spread to the entire Church. But, ultimately, the existing information on purgatory in the Holy Catholic Church is relatively uncertain.
After having led you through this brief tour of the Church’s history, I now wish to tell you about what Our Lady of Guadalupe granted me one day. This happened to me when I, Jesé Retoño, addressed her in a prayer or petition, which I had sent to her via my brother Saul, who was lying on his death bed.
(Note: I have decided to change my brother’s real name to a fictitious one, and thus in this way, avoid having any of my family members worry; but the story is the same and it’s completely true.)
Next, I’m going to proceed with my story, and I intend to, at the same time, bring you along with me so that you also experience my journey to Purgatory.
The Sacraments are the Only Means of Salvation
My brother Saul was about 24 years old, and he had converted from the Catholic Church to Buddhism, which mortified the whole family on account of his abandoning the Catholic Church. Suddenly, in the family, we found out that he had determined himself to be a homosexual. This situation made us all comprehend and accept failure as Catholics, and we had no choice but to leave it in the hands of God.
In a short time, we learned that he had acquired AIDS; he was receiving medical treatment, but in the end, the infection spread and put him in mortal danger. When my brother was lying on his death bed at the hospital, and I, knowing that his end was near, decided to convince him to abandon Buddhism and to abandon his inclination towards liberal tendencies or sexual preferences.
I started talking with him, and I took the time to explain what he was losing by abandoning the Catholic Church. I reminded him of Catholicism’s origins and what Christ had established in his holy doctrine so that we could all obtain our salvation. I got to talking about the sacraments, and he started squirming and wriggling as I mentioned the need to obtain Christ’s forgiveness, through a priest. I still remember how his eyes and his face expressed the rejection of the idea of the sacrament of forgiveness.
He didn’t want to give up Buddhism and was offended by the mere reminder of it, since Christ was no longer pleasing to him. The next day, I visited him in the hospital and continued my mission of making him reconsider Christ as his only Savior.
At about the third day and after several hours and explanations, I visited him again; this time it was different because he no longer rejected my Gospel, and it seemed that he wanted the sacrament of confession.
Sacrament of Penance
That morning, he asked me to find a priest for him, since he wanted to go to confession. A change had occurred within him, and possibly, Christ had intervened. Immediately, I went in search of a confessor; and by dusk, I had managed to bring a priest, and together with some family members, including my parents, we had been paid a visit by a priest of the Holy Catholic Church.
Something had happened to my brother, whom had made quite a sudden decision, for my insistence and the will of Christ had intervened in his decision. At last, my brother had confessed; he received the viaticum, and from that moment, he was only awaiting the beginning of his departure.
After his confession, I noticed him to be more tranquil and in better disposition for the passage he had to go through. I returned to the hospital the next day in the morning and noticed that my brother was more downcast; his strength was depleted, and his voice was much weaker; his body was paralyzed and petrified from the waist down; he was crushed by the disease, and it was a matter of minutes before his departure from this world would begin.
When my brother was dying, I was next to him and only I, Jesé Retoño, accompanied him in the last moment of his life. I saw him the moment he ceased living; he closed his eyes, and life withdrew from him. I couldn’t believe it! I remember that in the little he had spoken, he told me that he wanted to be buried after passing away; he made me see his firm decision as he approached his imminent death.
Then I remembered to give him a message, since the Virgin of Guadalupe has been the queen of my life, in my soul and in my heart.
Ever since my childhood and up to the present, I’ve always loved and venerated her. I’m of Mexican descent, and like all Mexicans, I love the “Guadalupana” (Our Lady of Guadalupe). Seeing my brother in his last moment and knowing that he had already made his confession and that he had accepted Christ again, I decided to give my brother a message for him to deliver to the Virgin Mary when he had made it to Heaven.
Message to Our Lady
My brother was dying when I gave him the following message: “Saul, be sure that when you get there or when you meet the Virgin, tell her that I love her very much and that I always think of her.” A few seconds later, after having listened to me, my brother fell asleep into the repose of death.
A few moments later, his body was still, a little warm, but lifeless. Being next to him at that moment of his passing, I felt and understood in my being that he was still there, looking at me, in the same room but now without his body. I knew that he was in the left corner of the room because my soul indicated it to me and he was observing me, but he no longer felt the aches of his body. He had been freed of his deteriorating body, and his soul or his inner and authentic, spiritual being no longer needed the physical body, not anymore.
I, Jesé Retoño, knew that my brother was there, via spiritual reasons and gifts, which I’ll explain to you later. God has allowed me to know other such things, but today isn’t the time to talk about them.
Ultimately, my brother died and my words, the ones I used for delivering the message to the Virgin of Guadalupe, would surely reach their destination, so I thought. After all, we Catholic-Christians think that when a person dies, they always go to Heaven; that was my mentality, but the Lady of Heaven made me see a very harsh reality with respect to what we Catholics believe.
Catholics and non-Catholics believe that when a person dies, whether they’re a child or an adult, an old man or a good person, they always goes to Heaven and they look down upon us from there. Another thing that Catholics and non-Catholics believe is that God is going to judge at the end of time. However, what the Virgin of Guadalupe showed me was appalling.
One thing’s for sure and true: I never imagined that after this event in my life, I would witness miraculous, heavenly manifestations or that my time had come, and I would have to deliver this message to the Church and to the world. The Lord Jesus Christ and my Heavenly Mother had brought me visions during my childhood, which assigned me to a mission in the Church and in the world that would begin sometime in my adulthood. I didn’t know that this was the moment that Heaven had designated for the beginning of what Heaven would put in my being to prepare me, and, in this way, deliver the divine message to all humanity.
It’s curious how in previous manifestations, the Virgin introduced herself to children, to Juan Diego, who was an indigenous person, but now God introduced himself to me with visions ever since my adolescence, and He planned for me to become a competent adult ready for this ministry, precisely in these times, in the XXI century.
The truth is, I don’t know what to say; I can only think about how I love Christ, my Heavenly Mother, and God my Heavenly Father, above all things.
My brother Saul’s funeral had passed, and after a few days, everything had returned to normal, except that the memory of him didn’t go away, especially in the minds of my parents, which endures even til the present, after many years, in the hearts of both my mother and father.
The Angel Speaks into My Ear
A week after my brother Saul’s death, while I, Jesé Retoño, lay in my bed late at night, the following happened: It was possibly midnight, and sometimes, like on this particular night, I’m not very sleepy, and I want to fall asleep but can’t. Eventually though, I was able to enter a semi-asleep state.
I was in this half-awake, half-asleep state, laying on my right side when suddenly, I heard something like a whisper, as if someone were calling me, and it woke me up. I heard someone say to me like so, “pshi, pshi, pshi” (it was a different language, but the message was revealed to me in my mind). He told me to turn over onto my other side. Upon hearing this voice, I immediately obeyed and proceeded to turn over to my left side.
When I turned over, I discovered within a few seconds that I was in some place, and I was walking along with someone who was guiding or leading me. This person took me on a walk through some tunnel or cave inside the earth; the cave looked very much like a mine, a little narrow and uncomfortable. When my brother died, I was around thirty years old.
As I walked forward, this person accompanied me, yet he was leading the way but staying behind me. Then I looked ahead and saw a person kneeling; his two hands were chained. His hands were bound in chains that came down from the top of the cave. There was a very dim lighting in the cave, as if candlelit, and visibility wasn’t very good.
When I approached this person, and at a distance, I discovered that it was my brother Saul, who was now in purgatory.
As soon as I found out he was my brother, I could only see him from a distance. I knew because of his facial profile, his head outline, and that of his entire body; it was he whom I had known perfectly well throughout my entire life. But I could never see him clearly, yet I did perceive his agony and his pain in that dungeon. I myself was aware of the situation because I myself was observing and experiencing it, but I was, however, protected by the person or angel that accompanied me.
An Angel Led Me to Purgatory
Looking back now, I can better grasp what happened, for an angel took me to Purgatory and I know that he was sent by my Heavenly Mother, the Virgin of Guadalupe, who heard my prayer or request regarding my brother Saul before he left this world. The Virgin’s reply to my prayer was very quick; it happened to me in about ten days or so, and I think it was on a Wednesday.
But for some reason, when I was down there in Purgatory, the angel didn’t let me get too close to my brother.
As I walked through the cave in that dim light (or rather, the light tended to be darker instead of dim), I knew that one could feel fear being there, but actually I didn’t feel it. I knew that being there was much too agonizing, but I didn’t feel that agony. I was afraid to think of how many more souls could be found along and deep inside that dark tunnel. It seemed that the tunnel would lead us towards the deepest part of the earth. I sensed that the deeper the tunnel, the more that torments could be felt. The deeper the tunnel, the more that Hell could be perceived. Also, I discovered that Purgatory is right here on this earth, and it’s found in places or entrances of the earth towards the depths of our planet Earth.
When I returned to my body, that is, since the angel brought me back from Purgatory…I got up and from then on, the days were long; months passed and several years passed until I overcame the emotions I experienced from what was shown to me by the Queen of Heaven.
Life After Death
Now I know full well that life doesn’t reside in the body, but in the spirit, since the body without the spirit is simply a kind of ecdysis or puppet because without the spirit grafted onto the body, the body has no life in this world. The fight for our salvation exists while we are in our bodies in this world, but if we neglect it, not only will we not be able to reach Purgatory but rather Hell.
Later, I will show you that the body doesn’t really have any life, even though here on earth, scientists and all of us don’t agree on this; but what Christ has shown me, you and the world won’t believe. I’ll show you this later because what I’m telling you here is merely the beginning.
Purgatory is not a state, nor a place of purification to go to Heaven, or even less so an entrance hall to Heaven. Rather, it’s the remuneration for our infidelity to Christ. It’s an authentic and eternal reality. I know that one may only leave Purgatory if the saints in the Church were to pray and do penances for those who end up in Purgatory. But with the Church’s defunct faith and it’s great human ambitions, and with all the in-house corruption of our priests, deacons, leaders and faithful, I doubt that any soul may leave Purgatory.
Rather, I believe that whoever ends up in Purgatory is doomed to be condemned in that labyrinth of torments for all of Eternity, since when a human being dies, their time to perform merits for their salvation is over.
That’s why Christ focused on his evangelical mission of being holy and perfect like his Heavenly Father. If we are holy and perfect like Christ taught us, there’s nothing to worry about, whether Hell or even Purgatory. Christ was very right to not focus his mission on, or even mention, this state of pain (Purgatory) mentioned by the Church. Purgatory is not salvation; it’s remuneration for our infidelity to Christ.
After having had this experience, I told my mother and family about it, but for them it was just a dream. I always kept my brother in my prayers; I always remembered him, and for a long time, I continued to worry about and pray for my brother Saul.
Visit from Purgatory
About fifteen years later, I was having a somewhat strange and unusual dream in which I saw a cheerful, very youthful and very handsome young man enter my bedroom. He was very well dressed, and I think he was wearing a new shirt, similar to one of the shirts I think I saw him wear when he lived in this world. I was amazed by how much joy he expressed. The young man was accompanied by another very friendly and clean-cut young man. They both looked to be in their twenties but with a countenance of only twelve or thirteen years old.
The young man, who knew me, came to visit me, but I didn’t recognize him instantly. The young man approached my bed, towards my side, looking very happy and smiling, although he didn’t speak to me. He was accompanied by his friend. His companion stood at the foot of my bed, always showing me respect, esteem, and admiration. Within a few seconds, I came to my senses and realized it was my brother Saul. Instantly, I understood the situation, and as I approached him, I said: Saul! They won’t allow you to communicate with me, right?!
Instantly, after saying these words to him, my brother’s face rapidly changed aspect to one full of cancer and bruises, as it looked on the day he passed away in the hospital. Within seconds, his face and body turned into death. Immediately afterwards, he vanished from my presence. Also immediately, his companion disappeared. Thereupon, I understood his agony, and I knew that he had come from Purgatory to ask me for my help.
Evidently, someone in Purgatory allowed him to come see me but had given him orders not to request anything. However, I immediately understood the situation.
Now I understand it much better: the souls in Purgatory are in need of our sacrifices, prayers…our holiness and/or loyalty to Christ.
To be continued…
This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)