Skip to comments.Purgatory: Service Shop for Heaven [Ecumernical]
Posted on 11/01/2008 4:04:39 PM PDT by NYer
By no means will any of us enter heaven, or even want to enter there, unless our characters are in perfect shape, and our deficits are paid up in full. Purgatory is the service shop where repair work is done, and where books are balanced. The Poor Souls must wait for entrance into heaven, but they sense God's assistance while they make their final preparation. They already know what he will say finally: "Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joys of the Lord." They understand and accept God's kindness as well as his concern that justice be done. Their tension is pictured, albeit imperfectly, in the drama of God's meeting with Adam and Eve after their sin.
Adam and Eve, after their transgression, saw their raw nakedness and were ashamed. They fled into the woods to escape a face-to-face encounter with the Lord God. But the Lord God went in search of them, like the Good Shepherd, intending to bring them to a better state of mind:
Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" And he said, "I heard the sound of thee in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" The man said, "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent beguiled me, and I ate" Gen. 3:7-13).
Note how the Lord God took the initiative to draw near to Adam and Eve, like the Good Samaritan who paused in his journey to rescue a victim of robbers. The victim lay there helpless, have alive, half dead. If God had not come to the rescue of Adam and Eve, they would have remained alienated from him forever. It is a picture of life after death, when we will indeed be alive in mind, but dead in body, unable to move about on our own. We will be totally at the mercy of God. When God finishes with the Particular Judgment, he will direct us to join him in heaven, or to depart from him in hell, or to repair our condition in purgatory.
God asked our first parents, first of all, what they had done. They should get insight and confess voluntarily, with conviction. He will not force them to act, nor impose alien views. They must bare themselves to recognize the evil they had done. Seeing the truth, they must convert. Adam stuttered through his confession, making excuses, but finally stating his sin with the happy three words: "I ate it." Eve had an excuse too, but she also brought herself to make the confession. The Lord God then gave them their penances. They must convert, and thereafter stabilize and seal this conversion by enduring pain and hardships. Eve must accept the realities of created womanhood instead of trying to remake herself into a goddess. Adam must cope with thorns and thistles and perspire from hard labor, to obey God rather than caving in to a seductive partner. Both are then banned from the sight of God's face for a number of years. God showed his concern by providing sturdy leather clothes when exposing them to the climate outside of Eden. Their penance was of long duration: "Thus all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died" (Gen. 5:5). They persevered, nevertheless, as we can gather from the Bible. When the time was right, after Christ's Redemption, they would be readmitted into God's presence. The Book of Wisdom states, for example:
Wisdom protected the first formed father of the world when he alone had been created and she delivered him from his transgression, and gave him strength to rule all things (Wis. 1:1-2).
Saint Irenaeus (125-203) upholds Adam and Eve as models for us because they not only stood up after their Fall, but they made their experience with sin into a stepping stone toward subsequent growth. Thus, with the help of God, they turned evil into their own good. Irenaeus blames Gnostics for not giving our Adam due honor: "But those who deny salvation to Adam gain nothing by this except that they make themselves to be heretics and apostates from the truth, and show that they are advocates of the serpent and death" (Against Heretics III, 23, 8).
We do not know how long some souls are detained in purgatory, but we do know that when they emerge from the darkness into the light of God's presence, they are perfect. Every angle is perfect. Every facet is clear, like cut and mounted diamonds. The dazzling beam of God's light renders them incandescent without causing pain, resistance, or distortion. His light now lights up the thousand angles of their rich characters developed via life's experiences. The wealth of their talents reflects his light into brilliant rainbow colors. The saints are all lovely in their beauty. Swept up by the Spirit, they flow with elation in the stream of God's love for himself. Like Moses, they jubilate in the endless wealth of the I AM, of God's boundless love, truth, and beauty, of essential Splendor pulsing with Life:
The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abound ing in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation (Gen. 34:6-7).
The blessed participate not only in God's affirmation of himself, they also affirm themselves and their company with his approval. They luxuriate in their friendship with Christ first of all:
The blessed see in God, in the Word, also the holy humanity which the Son assumed for our salvation. They contemplate the hypostatic union, the plenitude of grace, of glory, and of charity in the holy soul of Jesus. They see the infinite value of His theandric acts, of the mystery of the Redemption. They see the radiations of that Redeemer: the infinite value of each Mass, the supernatural vitality of the mystical body, of the Church, triumphant, suffering, and militant. They see with admiration what belongs to Christ, as priest for all eternity, as judge of the living and the dead, as universal king of all creatures, as father of the poor (Garrigou-Lagrange, in Life Everlasting, Tan Books, 1991, pp. 228-9).
They salute also the Mother of God who meets them as Queen and as Mother, managing to be both at once. With the other beatified they join the celebration of joy, a fortissimo of what Beethoven strove to express it in his Ninth Symphony. Lagrange observes that they also reach out to help those who are still on the way:
Parents know the spiritual needs of their children who are still in this world. A friend, reaching the end of his course, knows now to facilitate the voyage of friends who address themselves to him. St. Cyprian speaks thus: "All our friends who have arrived wait for us. They desire vividly that we participate in their beatitude, and are full of solicitude in our regard" (Lagrange, 229).
The main doctrines about purgatory, the station before heaven for those not using the express lane, are presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church as follows:
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 offences 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.
I like to think that we might be able to regulate the pace of our cleansing process in purgatory in accordance with our own choice, at least to some extent. The Lord does not, I think, burn out our rust there with precision-automated furnaces. He is a Good Shepherd who comforts lost sheep on his shoulders. He is not a tyrant who knows no love. With that thought in mind, we are not wrong, I believe, in hoping that God will allow us to regulate somewhat the intensity of the cleansing process in purgatory, whether we wish hurry via concentrated effort, or amble along in more leisurely fashion. Wisdom describes God as one who is considerate and kind:
Thou sparest all things, for they are thine, O Lord who lovest the living. For thy immortal spirit is in all things. Therefore thou dost correct little by little those who trespass, and dost remind and warn them of the things wherein they sin, that they be freed from wickedness and put their trust in thee, O Lord (Wis. 11:26; 12:1-2).
After all, if we have made our spirits bitter by harboring for decades an unforgiving spite against one who has wronged us, we will need to correct that cicatrized misgrowth in purgatory. We may want some time before we abandon our folly and agree to accept God's bargain-sale offer: "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespassed against us." We will have to convert ourselves, turn ourselves around, make a U-turn, from hating that neighbor to loving him, from despising him to honoring him, from turning away from him to turning toward him. Some may want to hang onto their spite longer than others, be fore yielding to the gentle call of grace; before embracing the wisdom articulated by Sirach: "Does a man harbor anger against another, and yet seek for healing from the Lord?" (28:3).
If we were stubborn on earth and held out against the truth, we will likely carry this baggage of stubbornness right into purgatory. We may even harbor it foolishly for who knows how long. Until we relax and relent and re pent, we are not fit for heaven. We may cling to our spite for a while, even at the cost of suffering for it. As Sirach says about the passion of anger: "In proportion to the fuel for the fire, so will be the flames, and in proportion to the obstinacy of strife, will be the burning" (Sir ach 28:10). Fortunately, we can convert in purgatory without being embarrassed before the neighbors, which might make it easier to convert there than here. Our neighbors in purgatory are all like ourselves. All try to purge out the old leaven, and put on Christ's newness:
For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Cor. 5:7).
Martyrs escape the need of any cleansing in purgatory because they have already given witness that God is supreme in their lives. Nothing stands between them and God be cause they paid the price of their witness with their lives. For others there are various means of doing penance for sins in this life, and we may believe that the souls in purgatory have some choice in selecting penance in accordance with conditions of the soul now separated from the body.
Adam bit the bullet by confessing to the Lord: "The woman whom thou gavest to me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate it" (Gen. 3:32). Married partners tend to sin with each other when they contracept. Contraception, abortion, sterilization--these are grave matters, often aggravated by the malice of collusion or seduction. If done with sufficient knowledge and freedom, these acts bar the soul from admission to the Holy City:
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Rev 21:8).
Contraception and sterilization, do they bar us from heaven?
The issue of contraception is not peripheral, but central and serious in a Catholic's walk with God. If knowingly and freely engaged in, contraception is a grave sin (Archbishop of Denver, Charles Chaput, pastoral letter July 22, 1998).
The Archbishop of Denver said nothing new in that sentence. This is the constant and unchanging teaching of the Church. We may think the doctrine is out of fashion on earth now, but we will not think so after death. Changeless truths of eternity are not altered by the roller-coaster fashion changes of human society. If people arrive in eternity while in the state of grave sin, their sad lot is set forever. Even if they protest innocence, or shout that the commandment was impossible to keep, their anger avails them nothing. The Wise Man said: "If you will you can keep the commandments, and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice" (Sirach 15:15). The door to heaven does not open to the foolish who were not watchful:
Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, "Lord, lord, open to us." But he replied, "Truly, I say to you, I do not know you." Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour (Matt. 25:11-13).
Conversion from mortal sin is possible before death, but it is not possible after death. An act of perfect contrition before death can cleanse the soul of mortal sin. It means complete conversion to God's way of life, it means a rejection of the deed of mortal sin, and it includes a resolve to confess when possible and not to sin again. All of this is to be done in perfect love for God with grace infused by him into our souls. The easier and more secure way is to confess the sin to a priest in the confessional, much as Adam and Eve confessed to God in Eden. Christ is marvelously kind and generous to those who confess their sins. As the CCC teaches:
1496 The spiritual effects of the sacrament of Penance are:
- reconciliation with God by which the penitent recovers grace;
- reconciliation with the Church;
- remission of the eternal punishment incurred by mortal sins;
- remission, at least in part, of temporal punishments resulting from sin;
- peace and serenity of conscience, and spiritual consolation;
- an increase of spiritual strength for the Chris tian battle.
1497 Individual and integral confession of grave sins followed by absolution remains the only ordinary means of reconciliation with God and with the Church.
Satisfaction done during this life for sins has the added value of merit toward a higher reward in heaven. In purgatory, however, souls do not gain new merit when they offer satisfaction for their sins, so most theologians tend to believe. The wiser move is to get on with our full conversion here, in this life. Here the yoke is easy and the burden is light (cf. Matt. 11:30, but there the yoke will be more galling, and the burden heavier, so many spiritual writers warn. Moreover, despite the harder burden, no new merit is acquired. The CCC lists good penitential means as follows:
1434 The interior penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer and almsgiving, which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God and to others. Alongside the radical purification brought about by Baptism or martyrdom they cite as means of obtaining forgiveness of sins: efforts at reconciliation with one's neighbor, tears of repentance, concern for the salvation of one's neighbor, the intercession of the saints and the practice of charity "which covers a multitude of sins."
A powerful detergent to purify oneself from remnants of contraception and sterilization is periodic abstinence. Long-term offenders who, in penance, abstain periodically for some months can heal their marriages and renovate their personal spiritual lives. The master of the vineyard gave the same full day's wage to those who started working at the eleventh hour as to those who started in the morning. Repenting couples thereby prove to themselves that natural family planning is indeed possible and that contraception was never necessary. They bear witness to God, though belatedly, that his laws against these practices are proper.
Do souls in purgatory have to struggle to rectify their lives? Very likely, yes. Deeply imbedded dispositions of sin may re quire some extra mending time in purgatory:
When sin is remitted by grace, the soul is no longer turned away from God, but it can retain a defective disposition. . . . Do these dispositions remain in the separated souls? Yes. They are like rust, penetrating at times to the depths of the intelligence and the will. Does this rust disappear suddenly upon entrance into Purgatory? Some theologians think so, because an intense act of charity can immediately take away these evil dispositions.
Now we do not find this answer in St. Thomas, but rather its contrary. He says . . . "The rigor of suffering corresponds properly speaking to the gravity of the fault, and the duration of the suffering corresponds to the rootedness which the sin has in the subject" (IV Sent ., dist. 21,q. a. 3). Now uprooting is generally a long process, demanding a long affliction or a long penance (Lagrange, 182).
Nevertheless, the Poor Souls do want to get themselves purged, so they accept the pains willingly even as they hurt. "The more this suffering penetrates the depth of their will, the more lovingly they accept it. Egoism, selfishness, the rust of sin, is burned away, and charity reigns without rival in the depths, rooted there forever" (Lagrange, 183). Peace grows as charity clears away the obstacles: "No peace is comparable to that of the souls of purgatory except that of the saints in heaven. This peace grows as hindrances disappear. As the rust disappears, the soul reflects more and more perfectly the true sun, which is God. And its happiness grows in the same measure" (Lagrange, 182, quoting St. Catherine of Genoa).
We can help the Poor Souls in purgatory to obtain a quick rectification of character and to telescope their penance into reduced time. God works this favor for them gladly in answer to our earnest efforts. We have confidence that God even helps the souls to convert instantly and that he forgives unpaid debts with a jubilee generosity in response to our prayers, especially through the offering of Holy Mass. We know from our own experience in life that a break with sin can be dramatic. God helps us to do with ease what we had thought was undoable. "The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will" (Prov. 21:1). God can turn the heart as he wills. We can forgive when he floods our wills with grace. We can stand up on spindly legs like the Prodigal Son and say "I will return to the house of my father." We are electrified, we walk on air, we are ourselves again. If God helps us to do this on earth so dramatically, we trust that he likewise helps the Poor Souls to do so in response to our intercessions.
An experienced priest friend used to say: "Show me a person who prays for the Poor Souls, and you show me one who has great faith." How very pleasing it must be for our dear ones in purgatory to know that we generously offer alms, prayers, penances, and especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for their quick release. Lest we forget, we do them immense favors by gaining indulgences. This opens for them the largess of the treasury of the Church through a very special response to the intercessory prayer of indulgences. The CCC teaches:
1498 Through indulgences the faithful can obtain the remission of temporal punishment resulting from sin for themselves and also for the souls in Purgatory.
A ninety-three-year-old religious sister delighted visitors with this enthusiastic assessment of purgatory: "The Poor Souls are so happy they are saved," she rhapsodized, "that they don't mind the pains. They jump up and down and celebrate with incredible joy, shouting over and over: 'We made it! We made it!'" Within a year she herself entered the next life. St. Catherine of Genoa harbored a similar insight: "Souls in Purgatory unite great joy with great suffering. One does not diminish the other" (see Lagrange, 167).
The Lord approves with joy, and heaven goes ablaze with fireworks, each time a re leased Poor Soul soars swiftly upward, buoyed on the wings of our prayers. We pray: May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
If you think about it, the notion that any one of us is worthy to enter heaven immediately upon death is not only presumptious, it is sheer arrogance.
Just picked up a western the other day by Johnstone that’s titled “Purgatory.”
It’s not terribly relevant to this topic, but the town’s name was Purgatory, and it was a trial just to be there.
Prove it with scriptures from the bible.
It’s my understanding no one is worthy. We are only able to enter heaven because we’ve accepted Jesus’ sacrifice.
God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; (yet so as by fire).
16 The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus(Who is dead); for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:
17 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.
18 The Lord grant unto him that he (may) find mercy of the Lord (in that day): and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well. 2Tim 1:16-18
Note: He may not have found mercy(heaven)yet.
Prove what? Purgatory? The term "purgatory" is not found in the Bible; but neither are other such important Christian beliefs such as "Trinity" and "Incarnation." Do you accept those beliefs?
2 Mc 12:42-46
Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out. The noble Judas warned the soldiers to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.
1 Peter Chapter 3:
18For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
19By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
20Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
"I believe in Purgatory.
"Mind you, the Reformers had good reasons for throwing doubt on the 'Romish doctrine concerning Purgatory' as that Romish doctrine had then become.....
"The right view returns magnificently in Newman's DREAM. There, if I remember it rightly, the saved soul, at the very foot of the throne, begs to be taken away and cleansed. It cannot bear for a moment longer 'With its darkness to affront that light'. Religion has claimed Purgatory.
"Our souls demand Purgatory, don't they? Would it not break the heart if God said to us, 'It is true, my son, that your breath smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with these things, nor draw away from you. Enter into the joy'? Should we not reply, 'With submission, sir, and if there is no objection, I'd rather be cleaned first.' 'It may hurt, you know' - 'Even so, sir.'
"I assume that the process of purification will normally involve suffering. Partly from tradition; partly because most real good that has been done me in this life has involved it. But I don't think the suffering is the purpose of the purgation. I can well believe that people neither much worse nor much better than I will suffer less than I or more. . . . The treatment given will be the one required, whether it hurts little or much.
"My favourite image on this matter comes from the dentist's chair. I hope that when the tooth of life is drawn and I am 'coming round',' a voice will say, 'Rinse your mouth out with this.' This will be Purgatory. The rinsing may take longer than I can now imagine. The taste of this may be more fiery and astringent than my present sensibility could endure. But . . . it will [not] be disgusting and unhallowed."
- C.S. Lewis, Letters To Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer
Purgatory makes the death of Christ moot. He either paid for our sins with his blood or he didn’t. It is presumptuous to assume that our own efforts in purgatory give us “street cred” for heaven. God will give us incorruptible bodies that have no capacity for sin. God, full of love and grace, accomplishes this for us. There is nothing we can do that can ever repay Christ for the ultimate sacrifice made for us.
Yet, the doctrine of purgatory is touted as the great equalizer, that makes us worthy for heaven and there-fore we are released from the debt of sin by our own sufferings. Well shoot, why should Christ had died at all?
I wrote out three envelopes for everyone I could think of for All Souls Masses and at my age, that’s a lot of people. I think we had about 60 names in all.
Since we don’t know, and will not make the judgment of who gets where, we included some pretty dicey friends along with one truly great saint.
I just love All Saints, and All Souls Days.
Do you accept those beliefs?
I certainly hope you are not holding your breath waiting for a response to your question.
“The term “purgatory” is not found in the Bible; but neither are other such important Christian beliefs such as “Trinity” and “Incarnation.” Do you accept those beliefs?”
The idea of purgatory is wiped away with the death and resurrection of Christ. The Bible is replete, however, with the ideals of the Trinity and the incarnation.
Check out some of these threads. The Scripture is included in them.
Great post! Thanks!
Really good post.
“Purgatory makes the death of Christ moot.”
Incorrect. Christ is the One Who makes Purgatory possible. Without Him there would be no Purgatory and no salvation.
“He either paid for our sins with his blood or he didnt.”
He did, but cleansing has to be applied. As long as that cleansing is done through Christ’s grace - and in Purgatory it is - what’s the problem?
“It is presumptuous to assume that our own efforts in purgatory give us street cred for heaven.”
So don’t presume it. We don’t. You don’t even really know what Purgatory is do you? You apparently believe a caricature of it if you believe it has anything to do with our own efforts.
“God will give us incorruptible bodies that have no capacity for sin.”
After the Resurrection - which hasn’t happened yet and may not happen until many centuries after you’re dead.
“God, full of love and grace, accomplishes this for us. There is nothing we can do that can ever repay Christ for the ultimate sacrifice made for us.”
True. And that’s why we know Purgatory is powered by Christ and that it has nothing to do with coming from us.
“Yet, the doctrine of purgatory is touted as the great equalizer, that makes us worthy for heaven and there-fore we are released from the debt of sin by our own sufferings.”
Completely wrong. Again, you clearly have no idea of what the “doctrine of Purgatory” is. It is not touted by any Catholic as making us worthy for heaven on its own or on our own because of our suffering. 1) We are already released from the debt of sin here on earth through Christ, 2) Purgatory doesn’t equalize anyone with anyone. Some saints will be greater than others simply because they were more devoted to Christ in this life and therefore had a greater capacity for His grace. All will be completely filled with His grace (so to speak), but some will have a greater capacity than others. 3) Christ’s grace makes us worthy for heaven and NOTHING ELSE. We just receive some of its cleansing power in Purgatory if we need it. 4) we can do nothing for ourselves in Purgatory. We are completely dependent - as always - on the mercy of God and His grace.
“Well shoot, why should Christ had died at all?”
Unbelievable. Christ wanted to redeem us in the greatest way possible so that we would not only be saved from sin, but would also be able to become more like Him. For those who need it, Purgatory, because of Christ’s grace, helps make that happen.
It would really help if you knew what you were talking about.
Hardly. In 1 Cor. 15:29-30, Paul mentions people being baptized on behalf of the dead, in the context of atoning for their sins (people are baptized on the deads behalf so the dead can be raised). These people cannot be in heaven because they are still with sin, but they also cannot be in hell because their sins can no longer be atoned for. They are in purgatory. These verses directly correspond to 2 Macc. 12:44-45 which also shows specific prayers for the dead, so that they may be forgiven of their sin.
Similarly, in 2 Tim. 1:16-18, Onesiphorus is dead but Paul asks for mercy on him on that day. Pauls use of that day demonstrates its eschatological usage (see, for example, Rom. 2.5,16; 1 Cor. 1.8; 3.13; 5.5; 2 Cor. 1.14; Phil. 1.6,10; 2.16; 1 Thess. 5.2,4,5,8; 2 Thess. 2.2,3; 2 Tim. 4.8). Of course, there is no need for mercy in heaven, and there is no mercy given in hell. So, where is Onesiphorus? He is in purgatory.
We especially see this in Rev. 21:27 which says that nothing unclean shall enter heaven. The word unclean comes from the Greek word koinon which refers to a spiritual corruption. Even the propensity to sin is spiritually corrupt, or considered unclean, and must be purified before entering heaven.
It is amazing how many Protestants do not want to believe in purgatory. Purgatory exists because of the mercy of God. If there were no purgatory, this would also likely mean no salvation for most people. God is merciful indeed.
See the previous post #19.
God save us from the self-appointed experts in the “calculus of salvation.”
That means that antagonistic posts are not allowed on this thread. Click on my profile page for more guidelines pertaining to the Religion Forum.
Actually the natural man can very easily accept the idea of purgatory. Penance, suffering, works, corrections of imbalance, these are the obligations most of us live with in our daily lives. What the natural man can’t live with is the notion that Christ has spilled his blood freely for our sakes, that his gift is our simply for the asking for his forgiveness and by repentence of our sins, baptism by his spirit and following by water, then living for him day by day. It is hard for the sinful man to even fathom that to die in Christ is to be alive with Christ forever. The natural man doesn’t want to feel obligated...we must “pay” some-how for our God given gifts; never mind just the simple acts of love and faith are all that he asks of us and to be willing to share the gospel.
Now no one knows the spiritual transactions that take place following death completely and the near death experiences I read about either speak of folks in heaven “saying go back its not your time yet” or folks in hell being sent back after experiencing the profound grace of Christ.
One experience I read about...man found himself in hell fighting demons who were tearing him apart but he remembered a little prayer he had prayed in sunday school as a small child(he had been otherwise unchurched all his life and was a thoroughly evil man)...all of sudden a light shown on him and the devils left him and he found himself in HIS presence. The man was sent back and was a changed Christian man as a result.
I have not seen any NDE’s involving folks who saw or experienced a taste of purgatory, though I’ll bet some freeper will now send me one.
The scriptures state that “it is appointed once that men should die and then the judgment”. I do believe God acts tactically and in the moment to pluck folks from the flames as well as providentially in his over arching manner.
There is the Judgment seat of Christ where all saved folks go to have their works judged..if they be spiritual they are not burned up, if they be not spiritual they are burned. Some have received eternal life by “the skin of their teeth”.
The great white throne judgment is the final judgment following the end of the 1000 years of Christ. Revelations states those who had remained unresurrected after the resurrection of the dead in Christ 1000 years before, are then brought before him and those not found in the Lamb’s book of life are sent to hell period.
These great judgments found in the Bible belie the notions of purgatory as currently promulgated. Yet I beleive God in his great mercy will act to save folks right on the verge of the flames of hell if even a child’s prayer or a desparing faith is displayed on an otherwise unrighteous man, such as the thief on a cross!
We are asked to carry our crosses but he promises that even that “My yoke shall be easy, my burden is light”. Christ’s blood has washed our sins away, it is that blood that has made us “Holy and acceptable to God”...not purgatory!
I ask forgiveness for any grief i have caused. In the end we serve a great God who loves us all, in ways we can never fathom! I meant no harshness.
Fairy tales. There is no purgatory; and by that, I am not talking about the word “purgatory”, but it’s existence. I will only believe the bible; nothing else. A lot of people could go to hell, thinking that they will stop by purgatory, and be ‘cleansed’ of their sins and impurities. Christ died once and for all, and shed his blood once and for all. I agree that we disagree, but right now, we need to concentrate on defeating obama.
8 years of Obama....that would be purgatory enough!
McCain/Palin all the way!
“In 1 Cor. 15:29-30, Paul mentions people being baptized on behalf of the dead, in the context of atoning for their sins (people are baptized on the deads behalf so the dead can be raised).”
I didn’t bother to finish reading your post since you obviously have a serious problem interpreting the verse you quoted. What you think it says is totally opposite of what Paul was referring to.
And what happens to those who 'slip' in the process; someone who generaly leads a good life but occasionally lies to his boss or cheats on his wife? What happens to him at death? What about Hitler - a baptized christian?
In Matt. 12:32, Jesus says, And anyone who says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but no one who speaks against the Holy Spirit will be forgiven either in this world or in the next. Jesus thus clearly provides that there is forgiveness after death. The phrase in the next (from the Greek en to mellonti) generally refers to the afterlife (see, for example, Mark 10.30; Luke 18.30; 20.34-35; Eph. 1.21 for similar language). Forgiveness is not necessary in heaven, and there is no forgiveness in hell. This proves that there is another state after death, and the Church for 2,000 years has called this state purgatory.
Excellent! Then you also believe in the Sacrament of Penance (John 20:22-23) and the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist (John 6:51-56).
Christ died once and for all, and shed his blood once and for all.
The doctrine of "Once Save, Always Saved" is fairly new, originating in the 16th century. The perfect example of how this doctrine is false is Judas Iscariot. He believed in Jesus Christ, walked with Him, was one of the Twelve and was given the same powers from Him as the others. Yet what Christian believes that Judas Iscariot went to Heaven? You would have to believe Judas is in Heaven as he more than met the requirements of salvation according to this doctrine. Another good example is Lucifer (Satan). He abided in Heaven, knew God Himself, lived with God Himself yet he was not "saved" when given the opportunity for he now resides in Hell as punishment for the sin of pride. This sin occurred after having known and accepted God. If anything, this doctrine helps Satan greatly by instilling a false sense of security and self-confidence among Christians concerning their salvation.
Matthew 24:13 states "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." In other words, he who endures the struggles of sin in his life and repents for those sins, will be saved.
Interestingly enough, what came surfacing to mind when reading that, was the time/place where the demons came to drag off the body of Moses. But the Angel rebuked them. I hugh-ly & series-ly doubt the demons were going to drag Moses off to "purgatory".
That seems a guess or "reasonings and assumptions" of man. One needs to torture the text (and make assumptions upon which to base yet more assumption upon) to wring the idea out of the texts.
To other, simpler "explanations" we perhaps should instead believe, as to possible afterlife "condition", if one not be either in Heaven, or in Hell;
There was some other condition or place mentioned in the Word.
Where the previous godly "slept". There is other evidence of this "sleeping", in the texts also. One was "wakened" from this slumber (sleep of the dead) by some sort of spiritualist, or medium. Remember that one? Right now, It escapes me, precisely where that portion of text is --- but was it done on the behest of King Saul? It was error, though, to go waking up the dead. That rang through pretty clear.
Please don't ask me to provide the direct references, for I'd have to go digging for it, and the last time I gave reasonable answer to a question from you, I received no response. Remember? At least that time, it was easy enough. All I had to do was quote the article which was quoting the Pope.
Maybe someone else here will remember the incident I'm referring to concerning the medium, and bring us the scripture reference.
So sorry but I don't remember. I post and am pinged to so many threads each day that oftentimes, I miss some of them. I ask for references because non-Catholics always ask them from us ;-)
While I do not recall the story to which your refer, I did recall one of my favorite gospels of Lazarus and the rich man, Luke 16:19-31. In this story, we see that the dead rich man is suffering but still feels compassion for his brothers and wants to warn them of his place of suffering. But there is no suffering in heaven or compassion in hell because compassion is a grace from God and those in hell are deprived from God's graces for all eternity. So where is the rich man? He is in purgatory.
The Bible states that God also buried Moses in a land that no one knew until “this” day(meaning the Days in which the pentateuch was penned). Sounds like there was more to the story, but except for the obscure passage from the NT that you mentioned, we know nothing else. Actually that passage you refer to is a caution against judgmentalism, “even Michael when disputing with Satan concerning the body of Moses durst not bring railing accusation against him!”
You seem to be attempting to point to the suffering rich man's compassion, while simultaneously claiming "there is no compassion in hell", to attempt to prove your point?
That's thin. Since it's otherwise clear that there will be suffering and regrets in hell, then why the argument that the sufferer, would not want others to suffer? Just because he, himself finds no solace there?
This legalistic reasoning you offer to justify your position, is very much the assumptions I was mentioning, which one must employ to build up this doctrine of purgatory.
Perhaps you are confusing the suffering soul not being able to find "solace", in hell, or find any compassion among the demons, for the sufferer, with the suffering soul, themselves?
This claim that; the Lord took away their ability for compassion is exactly the type of man-made, legalistic, extra-biblical mumbo jumbo that irks the "other than Roman Catholic" portions of Christianity.
By the reasonings you've offered;
Then we must assume that when the Lord Himself descend into Hell, He left all His compassion behind? That's silly.
Hey, Christ did descend, was there for three days, right? He preached the Gospel to the captives there, according to the Word. So, using your own sort of reasonings, your Purgatory thesis fails.
Going by the scripture reference you have mentioned, (Lazarus and the rich man) not only does it state;
It also mentions, concerning when Lazarus himself passed on, where he "was", and it wasn't "purgatory", either;
(ok, I know you didn't say Lazarus was in purgatory --- but it doesn't say, "send Lazarus down from heaven, either)
Which is what some theologians are referring to, when they say, "the bosom of Abraham", which is the very alternative to the Heaven/Hell-with-purgatory-in-between limitation of afterlife possibility of abode, which I pointed at.
The "bosom of Abraham" doesn't sound quite like heaven, does it? Not compared to say, what the witness of the apostle Paul (concerning his own experience of being transported for a time) speaks towards what heaven is like. No mention of his seeing Abraham there...
In other portions of the Word, folks are said to "be sleeping" in the "bosom of Abraham".
Still, not only, not even the "word" purgatory, but not even the concept is addressed.
Don't you think that if this really were some sort of "true" doctrine which we should believe, wouldn't Christ have mentioned it, while he was here with us, telling us in many ways, what His Father's Kingdom was like?
I told you in #5, that your own post #4 "left something important out".
Not only that, but your #4 also went against what the Pope himself was saying...
In #7 I showed you what you left out. You did ask.
Excellent. CS Lewis cuts right to the chase. Thanks for the quotes.
“While I do not recall the story to which your refer, I did recall one of my favorite gospels of Lazarus and the rich man, Luke 16:19-31. In this story, we see that the dead rich man is suffering but still feels compassion for his brothers and wants to warn them of his place of suffering. But there is no suffering in heaven or compassion in hell because compassion is a grace from God and those in hell are deprived from God’s graces for all eternity. So where is the rich man? He is in purgatory.”
Sorry to bump into your conversation but had wanted to add this...
I find it odd that you are ignoring verse 23 and 26 which says this:
23In hell [c]( Greek Hades ) where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.
26And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.
I think we can agree that hades is at best a precursor for entry to hell, if not hell itself and in no way could be construed as purgatory, would you agree to that? If not then verse 26 would show that no one could cross over from purgatory and that would be a horribly destructive thing to the concept of purgatory being the purification for entry to Heaven.
If it was purgatory was where the rich man was, why would the rich man want to warn his brothers about that? If he was in purgatory that would mean he was saved but suffering while being purified for Heaven. If he knew that he was saved he’d have no reason to warn his friends about not repenting and coming to this place as Abraham goes on to say:
29”Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
30” ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
31”He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ “
If Abraham knew that purgatory was the destination the saved would go why would he say what he says in verse 31? That does not fit the context of purgatory but rather the context of damnation. Put another way, does a priest warn people of purgatory in the sense that you don’t want to ever be there? Maybe? I don’t know, but I would think not since it is widely accepted by Catholics that those who are saved will be going thru purgatory for sometime before entry to Heaven is allowed, correct?
I hope my comment makes some sense, I’m a bit tired as it’s 1:30am. Again, this is all respectfully stated and I in no way intend to be rude. I pray I have not been.
Blessings in Christ.