Saturday, November 19, 2011

Now You Know What Purgatory is For

My friend Tertium Quid does not blog regularly. But when he does, you can be sure that what he writes will hit hard and cut deep. May Jesus Christ have mercy on us all.


Rodak said...

I tend to believe that this life and purgatory are one and the same thing.
I don't believe that one can be tortured-until-good. I don't believe that one can be prayed-good by second parties.
We are here given the opportunity to choose between good and evil with every breath we take. And it's now, or never.

Pentimento said...

If that were the case, Rodak, then 98% of us would have cause for despair, and despair is hell itself.

I don't think Purgatory is torture, but it is purgation, like taking an antidote to poison or, to use a frequent Old Testament metaphor, like metal being purified of its dross in the fire.

We can't turn other people good, but we can pray for everyone who's suffering and pray for their comfort and happiness. Praying that someone is in heaven, or will soon be there, is surely that.

Rodak said...

"Many are called, but few are chosen."

I don't find anything that Jesus taught which would lead me to believe that something imposed upon me, rather than something I freely chose, will save me, whether it's flames or Castor oil.

Praying that someone is in heaven makes ME feel good. I don't believe, however, that it can in any way have an affect on where that someone actually is. God ("no respecter of persons") makes the determination based on the state of the individual's soul, not according my opinion of that person.

However--contra despair--since we are to forgive, unconditionally and 70x7 times, the wrongs of others--and this right here and now--it follows that every sinner who does not actively defend his sin in the instant of judgment is already forgiven by God. God would not ask me to do that which He does not do Himself.

Pentimento said...

I understand this may not sway you, but the Cathechism of the Catholic Church says:


1030 All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:

"As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come."

From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.

1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin." From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:

"Let us help and commemorate them. If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them."

You can find the text here, with footnotes.

Rodak said...

Thanks. It's all very interesting to contemplate.

ElizabethK said...

The idea that purgation-like-castor-oil cannot also be chosen creates a false dichotomy, I think. Just like life--we hardly choose all that is imposed upon us, but you choose your reaction. Perhaps this is one of the ways our prayer "on eartj as it is in heaven" is granted to us :).

Tertium Quid said...

Nice thread. What I teach my daughter is that when I die, unless I walk in holiness at a level known by saints, I will need a shower, a shave, and a bit of time before I meet the maker of the universe face-to-face with his pure and bright heavenly host. That period of cleansing we call Purgatory. It is less those burning fires of literature as that gut-wretching contrition we get when we see ourselves in our self-defeating vanity. That is Purgatory, the purifying contrition and absolution necessary for us to stand in the presence of the Almighty. In death, unless we push God away, we know perfect contrition, and it cuts us to the quick.

Radical Catholic Mom said...

I really recommend a fabulous book I just finished that explained Purgatory really well. It is is Hungry Souls: Supernatural Visits, Messages and Warnings from Purgatory. Interesting.

J Dave G said...

"... a shower and a shave..." Yes indeed! It was when Mother Theresa died. Now I'm not certain about how I'll be judged, but on that day I had a hopeful daydream that I'd not go straight to hell, but instead would be just behind Mother Theresa at the pearly gates. St. Peter welcomes her warmly and says "Wait just a minute... let's see... Oh yeah, let me just brush this bit of dust off your shoulder. There. You're good to go.' I'm next. He welcomes me too and says, "Well Dave, how good to see you! You're gonna need some work there though." And that was the moment That I really, really believed, and even more than believed, but hoped for purgatory.

Pentimento said...

To be honest, I hope for Purgatory too. It's my only chance.