The Lord, Jesus Christ stated in Matthew 12:32:
“And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.”
The above words leave open the possibility that sins are forgiven, not only in this world, but also in the world to come. St. Gregory the Great [ b. 540 AD, d. 604 AD] comments as follows: “In this sentence it is given to understand that many sins can be remitted in this world, but also many in the world to come” [Dial. IV 39][cf, Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma]. There are other Scriptural proofs for Purgatory, but I will not cover them here.
So, let us imagine a conversation in Purgatory, between one sinner who sinned against the other sinner, a state of existence where those with sin on their souls go to be purified. Just what might be part of this process?
Wounder: Now that I am so much nearer to God, I see and understand what I have done to you, and to others. I am very sorry that I hurt you. Can you ever forgive me?
Wounded: May I show you my wounds? Do you realize what I did to others because you first wounded me? Look. Look! LOOK!!!
Observer: he shows the wounds which are deep in his soul…a wound first inflicted by the other but which festered and went deeper as the wounded, in turn, repeated the sin on others without seeking healing through repentance, confession, and the balm of forgiveness.
Wounder: Oh! I see! Oh my! I am terribly sorry. What can I do? Will you please forgive me? Even I am wounded by my own guilt which is ever more intense because I now see myself in the Light of God’s truth, holiness and utter purity. Though my sin was only venial [not mortal, not breaking one of the 10 Commandments outright with intent], it is wholly incompatible with God in whose Light, we see our own standard for perfect holiness. I am not fit to enter now. I need your forgiveness…your love. Help me! I am so very sorry! PLEASE forgive me. Please! I am so unfit for what I have done. How can I ever pay you back for what I have done?!
Wounded: I believe you, that you have repented and need my forgiveness. In God’s Light, He gives me the ability to see the truth of your words. You are really sorry. I do forgive you.
Observer: Immediately, upon receiving true forgiveness for his venial sin, the Wounder visibly showed signs of relief and healing. His soul became brighter as God found more space to fill him with Love, and the Wounder found the strength to smile. He could see the Light of God in the distance even better now but the brightness did not hurt his eyes so much now. He became giddy and his anxiety began to lift. He wanted nothing more now than to help the Wounded to heal, for the Wounded had also sinned against others…
Wounder: Thank you! I love you so much! What can I do to help you to heal?
Wounded: even now I am healing because the moment I forgave you, I felt lighter and stronger and my wounds began to close and feel better. I immediately felt a desire to go to those that I hurt and to apologize for the harm I had done to them. Can you help me to find them and receive their forgiveness?
Wounder: Oh, yes! I will. I will help you bear the burden since, I, too am culpable for the sin which you committed because I first sinned against you. We will find all of the wounded together, and after we have done justice, we shall finally see God and love Him and thank Him for His great Mercy and total forgiveness of us. We are so very loved…so very loved.
Wounded: There are 10 such souls from whom I must receive forgiveness: 5 are here with us in Purgatory, 4 are still living their lives on earth, and the other, poor soul, is…where is he? I am having a hard time remembering him? Wait a minute, I think there were only 9. Why did I think there were 10?
Observer: Now, rapidly becoming unbeknownst to both the Wounder and the Wounded, there was a 10th person, but that person refused the Mercy and help of the Holy Spirit, and totally rejecting God upon the final call, chose Hell. Upon his entry into the state of Hell, all memory began to cease of the 10th person, except for this final link…which, having been acknowledged in true contrition, had already begun to dissipate rapidly. You see, when souls choose Hell by rejecting God, they reject the Creator of Justice and the gift of Justice itself. Therefore all memory of sins against these who consign themselves to Hell…that memory dissipates since it is no longer required for the sake of Justice.
Wounder: No, I think there are only 9 now. Let us run quickly to the 5 here with us and seek their forgiveness! And, let us ask permission to do good works for those who are still alive on earth.
Wounded: Yes! Let us go now. God is waiting to help us!