As the daylight continues to lessen, the leaves continue to fall, and the temperatures continue to drop, our thoughts naturally turn to death and what comes afterward, which is why next Mother Church will observe the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed on November 2nd, more commonly known as All Souls' Day.
This autumnal season is always a good time for us to delve again into the Church's teaching on Purgatory and to its reality. Pope Benedict XVI spoke eloquently on Purgatory in his encyclical Spe salvi (see especially numbers 45-48), to which I frequently return. Great theologians, though, are not the only ones who can contribute to our understanding of Purgatory.
My favorite story to help illustrate the reality of Purgatory is the great J.R.R. Tolkien's short story, Leaf By Niggle, about which, Father Mike Schmitz recently make a short video (though he, sadly, doesn't directly connect it to Purgatory, the implication is there):
If you haven't yet read Leaf By Niggle, I highly recommend you find a copy of it. It's only a few pages long, but there is much to ponder in just a few words.