Try the following imagination exercise to help you to imagine the plight of the Holy Souls in Purgatory. (It won’t be sufficient, but it will be useful). I have taken these examples from real life scenarios involving relatives. Put yourself in the following scene: you are over eighty years old and live by yourself in a small house in a retirement village. You have a fall and break your hip and lay in agonising pain on the floor for three days, unable to reach the telephone and call for help. You have no food and drink for three days and there are other problems. (Use your imagination to fill in the gaps here). You cannot be heard when you call for help and are terrified that no one will find you and you will die there all alone. Three days later someone notices that you are not around and goes to investigate and rescues you. The Holy Souls are much worse off than that and are waiting for your prayers and sacrifices to rescue them, relieve their pain and deliver them from Purgatory.
Next example: you are in jail for over a year and a half, but receive only two visitors (very close family members), but other relatives don’t know that you are in there, because it has been covered up due to family shame and your friends don’t want to know you anymore. Finally two relatives learn of this and rescue you for the last six months of your jail term by sending letters and photographs to cheer you up. (You are helped by this). It is not possible for these two relatives to visit you because the jail is a long distance from where they live, but they do what they can to help you.
The Holy Souls are in a jail like that waiting to hear from you (receive your prayers and sacrifices) to alleviate their pain and suffering and deliver them from Purgatory so that they can enter heaven), however unlike the jail that the relative was in, their jail does not have good meals, a TV set for good behaviour and a library and a chapel with a statue of Mary and Jesus in it, a reflection garden and a Catholic chaplain to help. The Holy Souls are in a terrible place with no comforts.