Is Purgatory Like a Novel?

Thornton WilderWhat makes fiction so powerful and so poignant? Thornton Wilder sums it up in one of the most moving quotes I have ever read:

If Queen Elizabeth or Frederick the Great or Ernest Hemingway were to read their biographies, they would exclaim, “Ah, my secret is still safe.” But if Natasha Rostov were to read War and Peace she would cry out as she covered her face with her hands: “How did he know, how did he know?”

Is this what the pain of Purgatory might be like: reading the story of our life as seen by God, and finally understanding that He sees and knows all? Will we, like Natasha, cover our faces and say, “How did He know, how did He know?”

Death is the moment when we realize that none of our secrets were safe.

Deacon Nick

Nick Senger is a husband, a father of four, and a Catholic school teacher, vice principal and technology coordinator. He taught junior high literature and writing for over 25 years, and has been a Catholic school educator since 1990. In 2001 he was named a Distinguished Teacher of the Year by the National Catholic Education Association.

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