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Question

Dear Father Angelo,

I sincerely thank you for your patience and availability.

Allow me one more thing that I am explaining below in a very “simple” way (forgive me).

I received a Catholic education from my parents (I am deeply grateful to them) and up to about 16 I was a really good boy with sound principles, so much so that my classmates made fun of me. I was churchgoing, I was a catechist, I didn’t swear, etc.

Then, as happens to many guys (and perhaps even because of a bad story with a girl) I got lost and turned away from God.

I continued to go to mass and I used to say a quick prayer before going to sleep,

but there was no integrity in my behavior because in the time spent with my friends during the weekends I certainly didn’t behave like a good Christian.

I have committed serious (I think mortal) sins such as blaspheming against God, using drugs and having one night stands with the girls I met at the disco ..

And this went on for many years. I did all kinds of things to the Lord …

And what did He do? He saved me. (I hope. I say “I hope” not because I doubt divine mercy, but because I know I am a sinner and then you never know…)

Then I had a deep crisis (a holy crisis). I felt empty, my life didn’t make sense and the things I did didn’t make me happy …

So, on Friday and Saturday nights, I started staying indoors rather than hanging out with friends and clubbing in search of women. I no longer cared about that kind of life.

(Long story short) I started reading Books about saints and theology, going to confession, attending different environments (parish, volunteer work, etc.).

On Saturday evening, I started going to Eucharistic adoration ..

I attended the seminary for a few months to keep silence inside me and listen to the Lord to understand if he had a plan for me too.

In December 2010 in Medjugorje I met a good girl, we got married and the Lord gave us three beautiful children of 7 months, 3 and 5 years. 

We are trying, with all our limitations, to follow the Lord.

And, by setting a good example and praying, we are trying to guide the children to Him.

Excuse the infinite premise.

I want to ask you: thank God, my life has changed, but can the serious sins committed in the past be considered removed?

I am a sinner even now (of course), but with the grace of God, now I am trying and I want to follow Him. And I really want to be committed to my wife and children.

When there will be the particular judgment, will the Lord and I also talk about the serious sins committed in the past?

Will such sins have a relevant implication on the Lord’s judgment?

Even now arguing with his wife isn’t obviously a small sin.

Maybe even if I try to behave myself for the rest of my life, what I have done in the past already excludes me from Heaven?

In the best case scenario, I might have to spend a long period of purification in Purgatory …

Or, after returning to the Lord, is it as if my life restarted and the previous one canceled?

Does the prodigal son go to Heaven?

If I’m not mistaken, many important saints have gone through a time of conversion.

Despite the confusion, I hope I’ve been able to explain myself and what I am asking… I would appreciate it if, when you’ll have the chance, you could enlighten me about it, thank you so much.

I’m so sorry to bother you, thank you so much,

Gian Luca


Answer from the Priest

Dear Gianluca,

1. reading your email I could not help but thank the Lord for what he has done inside of  you. The thought that the Lord is always at work to renew souls is really consoling.

He could abandon you to the hell that you had chosen for yourself with your acts (the sins you mentioned are all serious and therefore mortal) and instead he opened the way to Heaven again.

You’re asking me if at the end of your life the Lord will bring up to you what you did before the conversion.

2. Well, the Holy Spirit made David say in the Psalm: “He forgives all your offences, cures all your diseases, He redeems your life from the abyss, crowns you with faithful love and tenderness” (Psalm 103,3-4).

He forgives everything, without exception.

And Hezekiah says: “You have preserved my life from the pit of destruction, When you cast behind your back all my sins”. (Is 38,17).

3. However, it should be noted that it will not be the Lord who indicates the sins.

Every person will see them by himself.

Everyone will see the real state of their soul before the holiness of God.

And he will realize that despite the great journey he made with the grace of the Lord, there are still many grey areas, so many bad inclinations.

It is difficult to reach a state of perfect purification in a short time.

Those who have very intense experiences of spiritual life, such as those that some live in Medjugorje, take the risk of feeling holy.

And in reality for a few days one feels a very strong attraction for holy things and feels that the temptations are muffled and almost disappeared.

But the old man’s vices that have consolidated and have become almost a second nature have not disappeared.

They are like hot coals upon which ash has been thrown. Sometimes a trifle is enough to make them flare up again.

4. Thus in the moment of the particular judgment we will see all our imperfections.

We will not struggle to recognize as the prophet Isaiah says that from the soles of the feet to the head we have no sound spot (Is 1,6) and that everything is more or less contaminated by original sin, by the accumulation of subsequent sins and especially by personal sins which, however slight, have contaminated and damaged the soul.

Then we will understand for ourselves that we need a further purification that can only be given to us by the mercy of the Lord. And this mercy is called purgatory.

5. Purgatory, however, is not a penalty or a punishment that the Lord gives to pay for forgiven sins. On God’s part everything has been forgiven, indeed canceled.

But on our part it remains what has not yet been removed and that needs to be removed so that our soul can present itself “as a chaste virgin” to Christ (2 Cor 11,2),

“that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish”. (Ef 5,27).

Wishing you to present yourself to Christ in this way at the end of your days, I accompany you with my prayer and I bless you.

Father Angelo