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The Early Church Fathers on Purgatory - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
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Posted on 01/30/2007 4:41:08 PM PST by NYer

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51 posted on 01/31/2007 4:56:14 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Vicomte13
Gehenna was the perpetual burning dump on the outside of the city of Jerusalem. Rather stinky, nasty, place.

The Jewish concept of hell around the first century AD was one of both hell and purgatory in some traditions (See Josephus), but it was not by far a universal thing. Some help to concepts of heaven and hell pretty close to what is commonly believed today, and some rabbi's had some rather odd ideas (like Philo for instance).

There was no consensus as to the state of the soul in the after life in first century Jewish theology.
52 posted on 01/31/2007 6:03:55 AM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: Enosh

It's based on Revelations (and strictly speaking it's not doctrine that they go strait to the 'dead', the method whereby these prayers reach their destination isn't known).

In revelations the prayers for the saints intercede at the final judgement; that's why apostolic churches ask them to pray for us...


53 posted on 01/31/2007 7:48:16 AM PST by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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To: Enosh

It's based on Revelations (and strictly speaking it's not doctrine that they go strait to the 'dead', the method whereby these prayers reach their destination isn't known).

In revelations the prayers for the saints intercede at the final judgement; that's why apostolic churches ask them to pray for us...


54 posted on 01/31/2007 7:48:18 AM PST by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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To: Kolokotronis
Thank you for the thoughtful response. I feel out of my depth ( I am no theologian ) here but I cannot help the feeling that we (East and West) are really describing the same truth. Like the proverbial blind men describing the elephant, both entirely accurate, different perspectives. Is it possible that God can apply as our Sacred Physician different remedies to each soul in order to perfect each?
I agree that once the body dies there is nothing one can do to make satisfaction for his past imperfections. The poor soul is at this point entirely at God's mercy. It is up to those (church triumphant and church militant) to plead with God to be merciful.
55 posted on 01/31/2007 9:49:04 AM PST by Klondike
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To: Kolokotronis
Thank you for the thoughtful response. I feel out of my depth ( I am no theologian ) here but I cannot help the feeling that we (East and West) are really describing the same truth. Like the proverbial blind men describing the elephant, both entirely accurate, different perspectives. Is it possible that God can apply as our Sacred Physician different remedies to each soul in order to perfect each?
I agree that once the body dies there is nothing one can do to make satisfaction for his past imperfections. The poor soul is at this point entirely at God's mercy. It is up to those (church triumphant and church militant) to plead with God to be merciful.
56 posted on 01/31/2007 9:50:37 AM PST by Klondike
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To: redgolum

There was no consensus on the state of the soul, for example, the Sadduccees didn't believe in an afterlife at all - and they were the priestly class!

However, the words had meaning even if one didn't believe them. That there WAS "Gehenna" wasn't universally accepted, but what "Gehenna" meant, was understood.

Example: "The Rapture".
It has a meaning. Catholics don't believe in it. Neither do the Orthodox. Neither do a lot of Protestants. But there is no Christian adult who doesn't know what "The Rapture" means when a Christian preacher uses it.

Now, "Rapture" is also a song by Blondie. And "rapture" in general means overwhelming ecstasy. But nobody hearing a televangelist talking about The Rapture thinks he's talking about pop music or a generic state of ecstasy. There isn't any confusion at all. What he MEANS is the Christian Rapture, believed by some and not by others, but generally understood in its meaning by EVERYBODY.

The doctrine of Gehenna was not universally held in the first century Judaism. And it is not universally believed by Jews today. But every Jew knew what the word meant, then and now. They either believed in the doctrine of Gehenna or didn't, like The Rapture, but they were not confused by the term. Jesus wasn't using a strange term he needed to EXPLAIN. Like "korban", Gehenna had a meaning.

Yes, Gehenna was also the name of a valley outside of Jerusalem. A nasty valley with an evil reputation, where human sacrifice has apparently been peformed and which was used as a burning waste dump. It made a great visual. Hell is also a town in Michigan, down in the industrial and tornado and blizzard belt. Paradise is a town in Michigan up in the splendor of the northwoods, near beautiful waterfalls, on the shores of Lake Superior. Paradise and Hell were named for the thoughts they inspired.

Now, whether Gehenna the horrible valley was named after Gehenna the horrid idea, or the idea of the burning horrible place of purgation and punishment was named Gehenna after the identifiably horrible valley of burning refuse and human sacrifice is unknown. What is clear is that the idea of Gehenna as Jewish Purgatory/Hell, although by no means universally accepted by the Jews of the 1st Century (or the 21st Century either) was UNDERSTOOD back then as it is now. Jews in the first century who believed in Gehenna and purgation didn't think that the dead went to the literal valley, any more than Christians in Michigan think that the good, when they die, go to the Upper Peninsula. Jews who DIDN'T believe in Gehenna in the first century, as a place of purgation of the soul and eternal hell for the wicked, were not ignorant of the word, and they didn't think the people who did believe in Gehenna thought that Hell was a valley outside of Jerusalem.

We cannot allow ourselves to be that obtuse.
I am a Catholic, not an evangelical Baptist, but when the Reverend Michaels starts talking about the Christian Rapture, I know he's not talking about Blondie. I know PRECISELY what he is talking about, even though I don't believe a lick of it.
Similarly, when Jesus spoke of punishment and torment in Gehenna, for sins, everybody didn't believe that bad souls go to Gehenna, but everyone knew what he MEANT.
And he didn't believe the eponymous valley was Hell.
That's obvious.

Why, then, is the point made?

Let's be honest here.
Most Christians don't know anything about Judaism past or present. Finding out that Gehenna is Jewish Hell/Purgatory is a SURPRISE to virtually every Christian who discovers it, including well-educated Christian clergy. Christian bibles talk about the eponymous valley outside of Jerusalem, but they DON'T talk about Gehenna having the religious meaning of Hell/Purgatory to Jews. They don't. Page to the footnote in your favorite Bible. It might tell you about the valley. It will be SILENT about the Jewish spiritual understanding of the word. The reason for that silence is mainly ignorance. Christians aren't Jews, and simply didn't know that.

But the knowledge, once imparted, certainly cleans a lot of things out. Suddenly, the plain meaning of what Jesus said becomes clearer. What his audience understood becomes clear. That's USUALLY a good thing, Biblically. However, in this case, that piece of knowledge has a problem connected to it: Jesus' use of the Jewish term "Gehenna" also makes Jesus' COSMOLOGY a lot clearer.
And that is ALARMING.
Why?
Because Catholics and Protestants, ignorant of the Jewish meaning, have written reams, volumes, of doctrine trying to work out a heaven/hell/purgatory cosmology. Catholics have described a Purgatory, but incorrectly said it's a product of reason, not Scripture. Actually, it IS Scriptural: in Jesus' own words. Gehenna doesn't just mean the valley of Gehinnom any more than Hell is town in central Michigan. It had a universally understood, if not accepted, cosmological meaning too, back in Jesus' day and in ours. Medieval Christians, not being Jews, and having driven all the Jews away, had no inkling of that. But Purgatory is NECESSARY, given Scripture, so they postulated Purgatory. Correctly. But they didn't know that it was also Scripture, and actually in Jesus' mouth with that one word: Gehenna.
One would think that one would hear a great rush of exultant Catholic relief and chest thumping to discover the Jewish meaning of this word. But pride is a terrible thing, and instead there is considerable Catholic ANGER that all of the piles of doctrine about Purgatory should simply be folded into one word, Gehenna, and Purgatory be found to be Scriptural after all, in that one little word. The pride in vast learning and argumentation makes some want to fight for that pile of learning overly hard, and not just accept the obvious in Jesus' use of the word.

And on the Protestant side? Protestants, as ignorant of Judaism as Catholics, have been bashing Catholicism over the head about the unscripturality of Purgatory for years. To have Jesus' words made clearer, illuminated by knowledge of Judaism, usually would make people who love Scripture exult, just as archaeological finds which tend to support the Bible do. But here, the archaeological find, the theological meaning, to Jews, of Gehenna (whether they believed in the cosmology or not), loses in one blow a 5 century argument with Catholicism. "Purgatory", of a Jewish sort, is Biblical.

And thus the reactions on this thread and the other.
A lot of silence.
And then a Catholic snarling at me with piles of medieval documents which are supposed to override JEWS' understanding of Jewish words! Pride.
And on the Protestant side?
Mostly silence too. But an effort to assert, essentially, that Hell is a place in Michigan, because there is a place in Michigan called Hell.

Whether the Jewish concept of Gehinnom was named after the nasty valley, or the nasty valley was named Gehinnom for its likeness to the Jewish cosmoligical concept we will never know. And it doesn't make any difference. Jesus was talking about Gehinnom spiritually, about a place where one is thrown wholly for committing sins. He wasn't talking about a garbage dump. Rapture doesn't mean the car-eating Martian sung about by Deborah Harry.

It's obvious.
The reason there is resistance is because it forces a change of cosmological view, based on one little word of Scripture repeated a few times from the mouth of Jesus.

It means both sides of a half-millennial debate being wrong: it IS Scriptural (contrary to Catholic assertion in documents that it isn't), and it IS purgatorial, which is difficult for Protestant cosmology.

You are free, of course, to post again and again that because everybody doesn't believe in The Rapture, that it means a song by Blondie, and that Hell is a place in Michigan. But even you don't really believe it.

Gehenna is Jewish Purgatory and Hell - same place, two functions, depending on the disposition of the soul who enters there. There's an eponymous valley near Jerusalem named for it, or it got its name from the valley. Either way, First Century Jews all knew what Gehenna meant, whether they believed it or not. Which is why Jesus could use the word without defining it or correcting anyone.

No first century Jews believed that the souls of the dead went to a valley near Jerusalem. And even the worst First Century Jews, criminals, were not thrown into the garbage heap but were buried. When Jesus said "whole body thrown into Gehenna" no Jew thought "They're talking about throwing my body into the garbage", because Jews were buried, not thrown in the garbage. Even the crucified criminal Jesus was put in a tomb.

Gehenna means Hell/Purgatory. That's what it means, and meant, to Jews. Even Sadduccees, who didn't beleive in the place, knew what it meant. The Rapture from the mouth of a Christian minister isn't a rap song by Blondie. Gehenna from the mouth of a Jewish rabbi talking about sin and outcomes was not a valley outside of Jerusalem.
It's obvious.


57 posted on 01/31/2007 10:13:43 AM PST by Vicomte13 (Et alors?)
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To: Kolokotronis; trisham; WriteOn; Vicomte13; Knitting A Conundrum; kawaii
God's love refines and purifies those who have a similitude to Christ and torments those who have none.

I think you will appreciate St. Faustina's diary entry on this topic. (St. Faustina's words are in black and Jesus' words are in red.)


Souls in Purgatory

The next night] I saw my Guardian Angel, who ordered me to follow him. In a moment I was in a misty place full of fire in which there was a great crowd of suffering souls. They were praying fervently, but to no avail, for themselves; only we can come to their aid. The flames which were burning them did not touch me at all. My Guardian Angel did not leave me for an instant. I asked these souls what their greatest suffering was. They answered me in one voice that their greatest torment was longing for God. I saw Our Lady visiting the souls in Purgatory. The souls call her "The Star of the Sea." She brings them refreshment. I wanted to talk with them some more, but my Guardian Angel beckoned me to leave. We went out of that prison of suffering. [I heard an interior voice] which said, My mercy does not want this, but justice demands it. Since that time I am in closer communion with the suffering souls. (20)
 
One night, a sister who had died two months previously came to me. She was a sister of the first choir. I saw her in a terrible condition, all in flames with her face painfully distorted. This lasted only a short time, and then she disappeared. A shudder went through my soul because I did not know whether she was suffering in purgatory or in hell. Nevertheless I redoubled my prayers for her. The next night she came again, but I saw her in an even more horrible state, in the midst of flames which were even more intense, and despair was written all over the face. I was astonished to see her in a worse condition after the prayers I had offered for her, and I asked, "Haven't my prayers helped you?" She answered that my prayers had not helped her and that nothing would help her. I said to her," And the prayers which the whole community has offered for you...?" She said no, that these prayers had helped some other souls.... Despite this, I kept on praying.... After some time she came back.. but already her appearance had changed. There were no longer any flames ..and her face was radiant, her eyes beaming with joy. She told me that I had a true love for my neighbour and that many other souls had profited from my prayers. She urged me not to cease praying for the souls in purgatory, and she added that she herself would not remain there much longer. How astounding are the decrees of God! (58)
In spite of the noise [the gardeners] were making, I heard these words in my soul: "Pray for me!" But as I could not understand these words very well, I moved a few steps away from the wards, trying to think who it could be who was asking me to pray. Then I heard the words: "I am Sister..." This sister was in Warsaw while I was, at the time, in Vilnius. "Pray for me until I tell you to stop. I am dying." Immediately, I began to pray fervently for her [addressing myself] to the expiring Heart of Jesus. She gave me no respite , and I kept praying from three until five. At five I heard the words, "Thank you!" and I understood that she had died. .....In the afternoon [the following day] a postcard came saying that Sister... had died at such and such a time. I understood that it was at the same hour when she had said to me, "Pray for me." (315)
 
This evening, one of the deceased sisters came and asked me for one day of fasting and to offer all my [spiritual] exercises on that day for her. I answered that I would. From early morning on the following day, I offered everything for her intention. During Holy Mass, I had a brief experience of her torment. I experienced such intense hunger for God that I seemed to be dying of the desire to become united with Him. This lasted only a short time, but I understood what the longing of the souls in purgatory was like. (1185-6)

58 posted on 01/31/2007 11:05:06 AM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: Klondike

Given the Early Fathers generally go with it being impossible and disrespectful for mortals to try to describe heavenly things it may well be our attempts are approximating something alltogether too hard to understand...


59 posted on 01/31/2007 11:30:37 AM PST by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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To: NYer

how is hell different than the situation described there?


60 posted on 01/31/2007 11:31:21 AM PST by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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To: NYer

I am very frightened when I think about this.
For myself, and especially for some who have gone before.
I am such a wretched snake of a human being, why would my prayers for them have any worth to God at all?


61 posted on 01/31/2007 12:08:36 PM PST by Vicomte13 (Et alors?)
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To: NYer; kosta50

"My mercy does not want this, but justice demands it."

Now you see, NYer, it is this sort of theology which the East cannot accept. In effect this says God is bound by "Necessity". That's heresy from our pov. Actually, I'm a bit surprised that a Latin source would say such a thing.

Kosta, take a look at #58


62 posted on 01/31/2007 12:16:39 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: kawaii
how is hell different than the situation described there?

You don't get out of Hell.

Ever.

And you know it.

And it's even worse.

63 posted on 01/31/2007 12:22:08 PM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: kawaii
how is hell different than the situation described there?

It's eternal - forever - a concept most mortals can't grasp until it's too late. Deprived of the sight of God for all eternity - forever! Frightening.

64 posted on 01/31/2007 12:25:47 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: NYer

if its forever then why in revelation do all the dead come out of hell for the final judgement?


65 posted on 01/31/2007 1:04:46 PM PST by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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To: kawaii
why in revelation do all the dead come out of hell for the final judgement?

What is the chapter and verse?

66 posted on 01/31/2007 1:09:16 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: NYer

Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.


Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.


Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.


Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.


67 posted on 01/31/2007 1:15:18 PM PST by kawaii (Orthodox Christianity -- Proclaiming the Truth Since 33 A.D.)
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To: kawaii
The dead come before God already judged and knowing of their eternal fate so that the justice/mercy/glory of God is made manifest to all. There is no change as I understand it in the individual judgement.
68 posted on 01/31/2007 1:43:12 PM PST by Klondike
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To: Vicomte13
I am very frightened when I think about this. For myself, and especially for some who have gone before. I am such a wretched snake of a human being, why would my prayers for them have any worth to God at all?

First of all, you are not a snake! Do not put yourself down when there are so many others more than willing to do it for you.

Secondly, our Lord has promised us His great Mercy. Are you familiar with His messages to St. Faustina? He asked her to be His Secretary of the Divine Mercy.


The message and devotion to Jesus as The Divine Mercy
is based on the writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska, an
uneducated Polish nun who, in obedience to her spiritual
director, wrote a diary of about 600 pages recording the
revelations she received about God’s mercy. Even before
her death in 1938, the devotion to The Divine Mercy had
begun to spread.

The message of mercy is that God loves us — all of us —
no matter how great our sins. He wants us to recognize that
His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon
Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to
others. Thus, all will come to share His joy. It is a message
we can call to mind simply by remembering ABC.

A — Ask for His Mercy. God wants us to approach
Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and
asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon
the whole world.

B — Be merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy
and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to
extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does
to us.

C — Completely trust in Jesus. God wants us to know
that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our
trust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will
receive.

"Your task is to write down everything that I make known to you about My mercy, for the benefit of those who by reading these things will be comforted in their souls and will have the courage to approach Me." (1693)

READ MORE

In the following extract, St. Faustina's words are in black and Jesus' words are in red.


Mystery of God and His Ways

 
Who God is in His Essence, no one will fathom, neither the mind of Angels nor of man...Get to know God by contemplating His attributes. (30)
 
Once when I saw how much my confessor was to suffer because of this work [spreading the devotion to the Divine Mercy] which God was going to carry out through him, fear seized me for the moment, and I said to the Lord, "Jesus, this is Your affair, so why are You acting this way toward him? It seems to me that You are making difficulties for him while at the same time ordering him to act." Write that by day and night My gaze is fixed upon him, and I permit these adversities in order to increase his merit. I do not reward for good results but for the patience and hardship undergone for My sake. (86)
 
One day I saw interiorly how much my confessor would have to suffer: friends will desert you while everyone will rise up against you and your physical strength will diminish. I saw you as a bunch of grapes chosen by the Lord and thrown into the press of suffering. Your soul, Father, will at times be filled with doubts about this work and about me. I saw that God himself seemed to be opposing and I asked the Lord why He was acting this way toward him, as though He were placing obstacles in the way of his doing what He himself had asked him to do. And the Lord said, I am acting thus with him to give testimony that this work is Mine. Tell him not to fear anything; My gaze is on him day and night. There will be so many crowns to form his crown as there will be souls saved by this work. It is not for the success of a work but for the suffering that I give reward. (90)
 
When I asked the Lord to ..cast a glance upon a certain soul who was struggling alone against many difficulties, [the Lord said] And if I allow them to seem to triumph, I do this for the sake of My impenetrable decrees. I experienced great peace in seeing how all things are determined by the Lord. (1610)
 
..I am not always heard. The Lord acts toward me in a mysterious manner. There are times when He Himself allows terrible sufferings, and then again there are times when He does not let me suffer and removes everything that might afflict my soul. These are His ways , unfathomable and incomprehensible to us. It is for us to submit ourselves completely to His holy will. There are mysteries that the human mind will never fathom here on earth; eternity will reveal them. (1656)
 
My kingdom on earth is My life in the human soul. Write..that I Myself am the spiritual guide of souls - and I guide them indirectly through the priest, and lead each one to sanctity by a road known to Me alone. (1784)

69 posted on 01/31/2007 2:22:59 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: NYer

"First of all, you are not a snake! Do not put yourself down when there are so many others more than willing to do it for you."

You don't know me as well as I do.
But God sees, and God knows.


70 posted on 01/31/2007 2:47:45 PM PST by Vicomte13 (Et alors?)
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To: Kolokotronis; NYer; kosta50; kawaii

What is the Orthodox reading of 1 Cor 3:9f?


71 posted on 01/31/2007 5:40:22 PM PST by annalex
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To: Kolokotronis; NYer
not expiation; it is purification

Definitely. This is why it is not called Expiatory.

72 posted on 01/31/2007 5:42:29 PM PST by annalex
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To: annalex

"What is the Orthodox reading of 1 Cor 3:9f?"

Do you mean 3:9? If so, it means we work synergisticly with God. We participate obediently in His work.


73 posted on 01/31/2007 5:46:33 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: annalex

"This is why it is not called Expiatory."

LOL!!!!!!

I trust its not a place where God gives one a "purgative", like ipecac. :)


74 posted on 01/31/2007 5:48:54 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Kolokotronis
I thought "f" means "and following". I meant the entire passage:
8 ...And every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labour. 9 For we are God's coadjutors: you are God's husbandry; you are God's building. 10 According to the grace of God that is given to me, as a wise architect, I have laid the foundation; and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11 For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid; which is Christ Jesus. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble: 13 Every man's work shall be manifest; for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire; and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. 14 If any man's work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work burn, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.

(1 Cor 3:8-15)

Yes, I should have included v.8. The mentioning of "reward according to labor", it seems to me, places the judgement at the time of judgement after death, hence the connection to purgatory. Also note the "day of the Lord". The Orthodox read it as santification during the lifetime? All of them?

75 posted on 01/31/2007 7:55:45 PM PST by annalex
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To: Kolokotronis; NYer
I concur. The way it is worded, it does make God subject to "necessity." Furthermore, whether the author intended it so or not, it subjects God to the human concept of justice. It somehow posits that God's mercy would be unjust! Yet we know that, with God, "mercy triumphs over judgment."

Thus, tha author expresses a concept that is indeed alien to the Orthodox East.

76 posted on 01/31/2007 8:01:51 PM PST by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: annalex

"I thought "f" means "and following"."

Tried to fool the simple Greek peasant with your city ways, eh?

I'll answer later as I am off to bed. In haste though, Orthodoxy speaks of a particular and a final judgment. This verse you quoted is one of those the Fathers pointed to when they speak of God's love being like fire, purifying those with a similitude of Christ and tormenting and consuming those who do not.


77 posted on 01/31/2007 8:06:10 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Kolokotronis; kosta50
In effect this says God is bound by "Necessity". That's heresy from our pov.

Then you are denying the authenticity of these words by Christ, to a saint? Have either of you you read St. Faustina's diary?

I'm a bit surprised that a Latin source would say such a thing.

This is a quote from her diary.

78 posted on 01/31/2007 8:22:36 PM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: NYer; Kolokotronis
Then you are denying the authenticity of these words by Christ, to a saint?

No, I am only stating that the Eastern Orthodox Church does not teach that God's mercy is subject to justice, but that God's mercy is God's justice.

79 posted on 01/31/2007 8:32:57 PM PST by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: NYer; kosta50

" Then you are denying the authenticity of these words by Christ, to a saint? Have either of you you read St. Faustina's diary?"

I haven't read her diary, but I do question the authenticity of words ascribed to Christ which imply that God is bound by necessity. The mere fact that she is a saint of the Roman Church doesn't mean she isn't wrong here, NYer.

"I'm a bit surprised that a Latin source would say such a thing.

This is a quote from her diary."

I don't doubt that its a quote from her diary (the Latin source), NYer. I do doubt the words are from Christ.


80 posted on 02/01/2007 4:33:00 AM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Kolokotronis
This verse you quoted is one of those the Fathers pointed to when they speak of God's love being like fire, purifying those with a similitude of Christ and tormenting and consuming those who do not.

Definitely, and likewise the Purgatory is an expresison of divine love, thus understood. A Catholic reads this passage and notices that the building tested by fire is complete art the time of testing, -- in other words, we read of the particular judgement in this passage, rather than divine love and lifetime trials in general. And this is what purgatory is: a process of purgation of a soul on its way to Heaven.

Much popular pieties have accumulated over this, some questionable. For example, the concept that time applies to souls in Purgatory in any real sense is a popular piety that figures in prayers. But the only dogmatic thing about the Purgatory is that it is a part of the particular judgement, finite in some sense, culminating in entry into Heaven, and related to lesser sins that God in His mercy forgives.

III. THE FINAL PURIFICATION, OR PURGATORY

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.604 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:605

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.606

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."607 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.608 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.609


604 Cf. Council of Florence (1439): DS 1304; Council of Trent (1563): DS 1820; (1547): 1580; see also Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336): DS 1000.
605 Cf. 1 Cor 3:15; 1 Pet 1:7.
606 St. Gregory the Great, Dial. 4, 39: PL 77, 396; cf. Mt 12:31.
607 2 Macc 12:46.
608 Cf. Council of Lyons II (1274): DS 856.
609 St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in 1 Cor. 41, 5: PG 61, 361; cf. Job 1:5.

(Catechism of the Catohlic Church, ARTICLE 12 "I BELIEVE IN LIFE EVERLASTING")


81 posted on 02/02/2007 11:58:25 AM PST by annalex
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To: annalex

There is a strain of Orthodoxy theology/speculation which holds almost exactly what you have said. In fact I ascribe to it. We don't speak of purgatory but rather "the place of the dead" or "Hades". Its the place Christ descended to after the crucifixtion. The difference lies in what is going on. The West and the East differ as to what sin really is and in consequence of that, distinctions between mortal and venial sins are meaningless for us. The purifying process is a result or an effect of God's love an mercy. In this sense it is not about getting rid of minor sins, but rather about finishing the process of theosis. Some Orthodox, Kalomiros among them, have speculated that for those destined for heaven at the final judgment, that process is a joy because those souls react that way to God's love while the damned are tormented by that love.

These of course are speculations and nothing more. The only authoritative thing Orthodoxy says about that period between the particular and final judgments is that the soul can do nothing sua sponte to improve its lot, beyond that its all guesses. I will add, however, that the idea that that time or place is somehow or other expiatory is, while seen occassionally, outside the consensus patrum as we know it.


82 posted on 02/02/2007 12:14:55 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Kolokotronis
the idea that that time or place is somehow or other expiatory is, while seen occassionally, outside the consensus patrum as we know it.

Definitely. It is often stressed by the Catholics, that the reason we pray for the soul sin purgatory is that they cannot any longer repent and liberate themselves.

83 posted on 02/02/2007 2:17:46 PM PST by annalex
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To: annalex

"It is often stressed by the Catholics, that the reason we pray for the soul sin purgatory is that they cannot any longer repent and liberate themselves."

The word liberate is likely also indicative of a difference between the doctrines of the Orthodox and Latin Churches. For us, the "place of the dead" isn't, since the Resurrection, a place we are liberated from. Its where souls will rest until the final judgment.


84 posted on 02/02/2007 2:36:46 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Kolokotronis

I don't know if it is Latin or just my wording. I hesitated to use the word, and apparently with a good reason. We do speak or releasing souls from Purgatory though.


85 posted on 02/02/2007 4:04:42 PM PST by annalex
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To: NYer

Thanks for posting this.


86 posted on 02/02/2007 7:10:33 PM PST by WriteOn (Truth)
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To: NYer; Goreknowshowtocheat; Absolutely Nobama; Elendur; it_ürür; Bockscar; Mary Kochan; ...
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.


87 posted on 10/30/2011 8:16:05 AM PDT by narses (what you bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and what you loose upon earth, shall be ..)
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