Skip to comments.Purgatory and Praying for All the Faithful Departed
Posted on 11/02/2011 1:38:19 PM PDT by NYer
A Scriptural Reflection on the Readings for November 2, 2011 | The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed | Carl E. Olson
Ive always had a hard time explaining purgatory, the man said. Didnt the Second Vatican Council say that Catholics no longer have to believe in purgatory?
That remark was made to me years ago, not long after I had entered the Catholic Church. Although I was saddened to hear it, it didnt surprise me. In the course of studying various Catholic doctrines, I had learned that certain beliefs, including purgatory, were often avoided or even ignored by some Catholics. And this, unfortunately, meant that many Catholics dont appreciate the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, which is all about praying for those who are in purgatory.
I think purgatory is rather simple to understand, I responded. The problem is that we often have to do away with our flawed notions of purgatory.
Growing up in a Fundamentalist home, I had been told purgatory was the belief that everyone gets a second chance after death. Purgatory, I had also been taught, was just another Catholic invention without any basis in Scripture.
What I learned years later was quite different. I saw that the early Christians prayed for the dead, and that this practice was based, in part, on the actions of those Jews who had prayed for the dead (cf., 2 Macc. 12:41-46). As todays reading from the Book of Wisdom indicates, the idea of spiritual cleansing was a common one in the Old Testament: For if before men, indeed, they be punished, yet is their hope full of immortality; chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself. As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
It followed logically that if there was life after death for the just, those who were just would be cleansed fully and completely, if necessary, before entering the presence of God. This, of course, also flowed from the deepened understanding of death and resurrection given through the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Savior had promised, in todays Gospel, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.
But the early Christians recognized that not every disciple of Jesus is perfectly cleansed in this life from venial sins. St. Augustine explained that the Churchs prayers, the Mass, and the giving of alms provided spiritual aid to the dead. The whole Church, he wrote, observes this practice which was handed down by the Fathers: that it prays for those who have died in the communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, when they are commemorated in their own place in the sacrifice itself; and the sacrifice is offered also in memory of them, on their behalf.
It is ironic that the culture of death, which is present in so many ways, is so afraid to face death squarely and honestly. It tries to cheat and avoid death, both mocking it and cowering before it in movies, books, video games, and music. We fear death because it is so mysterious and hidden. We fear it because it seems so unjust that the vibrancy of life can end so suddenly and completely. If this world is all that exists, then death is to be feared. But it also will not be denied.
St. Paul, on the other hand, embraced deaththat is, the death of Jesus Christ. We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, he wrote to the Christians in Rome, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.
All Souls not only provides us an opportunity to pray for those who have gone before us, but also reminds us of our mortal end. We cannot deny it. But by Gods grace we can and should prepare for it, trusting that the Lord our Shepherd will guide us through the valley of darkness.
Prayer for the souls in purgatory ping!
The idea of purgatory has been around for 600 years or so, but I’m unclear on who came up with it. Anyone know?
I was drawing from the Catholic Encyclopedia, which refers to some gatherings in the 1400s. It was apparently an idea that developed over time.
This is a caucus thread. If you aren’t Catholic, stay off it.
Are you a Religion Moderator? I think a bad attitude such as yours needs to be checked.
And - I’m sure if I’m wrong, I’ll be corrected - ALL are welcome on any Religion threads as long as they are respectful.
600? More like 2000, as reflected by graffiti in the catacombs, where Christians during the persecutions of the first three centuries recorded prayers for the dead. Indeed, some of the earliest Christian writings outside the New Testament, like the Acts of Paul and Thecla and the Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity (both written during the second century), refer to the Christian practice of praying for the dead. Such prayers would have been offered only if Christians believed in purgatory, even if they did not use that name for it.
I'm beginning to believe a lot of people who didn't have to struggle with becoming Catholic due to having been granted the grace to see the errors of the Protestant and Protestant derived religion they were in don't ever dig into the teaching of the Church. If so, that's probably the major reason why so many cradle Catholics fall for the propaganda, half-truths, and lies that lead them away from the Church and a real understanding of what Christ taught.
Check out post #27 in the thread about purgatory that's full of lies, misinterpretations of Scripture, and so on. That post has a good starting set of references and you can get several good books on the topic from Saint Benedict press, TAN, and others. It's worth spending time to study and understand because it's an amazing eye opener on just how merciful Christ really is. For all the bluster you might hear about any belief in purgatory being the same as doubting the sufficiency of the sacrifice Christ made, it's quite the opposite.
A real understanding of the Communion of the Saints and Purgatory leads you to a deeper understanding of how Christ paid for everything and is totally sufficient in every way, he also provided a complete and merciful way for us to be purified and enter heaven in the state we were created to exist in rather than just having our sin hidden a bit. You know, one guy wearing a batman cape to cover his sin, another less sinful guy just wearing a single white glove to hide his sin, and so on. No such BS, Christ has the perfect way to purify us through the fire to burn away the straw rather than a way to smuggle us into heaven in his diplomatic pouch.
That's not less belief in the sufficiency of Christ, it's a realization of just how His sacrifice is so perfect in that it makes Love, Grace, Mercy, and Justice, all work perfectly rather than ignoring the Justice intrinsic to God the Father and therefore, intrinsic to Christ. After all, Christ cannot be the perfect sacrifice unless He is perfectly Just as well as perfectly sinless.
This is a CAUCUS THREAD. You’ve already made known on another thread that you don’t consider Catholics Christians.
“Are you a Religion Moderator? I think a bad attitude such as yours needs to be checked.”
You’d best be off before we get charlie horses from laughing too hard.
**Purgatory and Praying for All the Faithful Departed (Catholic Caucus)**
Did you miss the words “Catholic Caucus” in the title?
Responsibility2nd; Religion Moderator
Per the rules you linked to:
"For instance, if it says Catholic Caucus and you are not Catholic, do not post to the thread. "
So, you're Catholic but do not consider Catholics to be Christian, is that it?
All Saints All Souls
All Saints - Throughout the year, we will provide to you the names of a very few of the very many famous saints. We do not pretend to know all those in whom we think God has done great things to make his Love known. The chief wonder is not their fame, profound and moving writing, sacrificial lives, or even the miracles which accompany them.
The chief wonder is the Love of God operating in their lives, and through their lives in our world. So on All Saints Day, one of the highest ranking feasts of the Church, we celebrate, with all the joy and wonder we can muster, the glory of God working in the world through saints known and unknown.
We hold that God invites all of us to live “righteous” lives. “Righteous” has become in many quarters a word almost of derision. We hear “righteous” and we think “self-righteous.” But justice, “righteousness” matters. It is a thing God wants to plant in us, and to cultivate in us so that it will grow into charity, the perfection of righteousness. And then God means that perfection to grow into a greater perfection: holiness, sanctity, the thing for which we call these people “saints.”
We may find when we look, on the one hand, at God's Holy Ones, and, on the other, at ourselves, that the distance seems too great to travel, the gap too vast to cross.
We must remember that, in Jesus, God crossed a far vaster gap and travelled a far greater distance, that between Creator and creature. And then he crossed from Life to death. And he did all this to bring you who are reading this, into the joy of his holiness. To trust in him is to trust that he can do in us what we cannot do for ourselves. He can make us, even us, holy.
To celebrate All Saints Day is to celebrate the loving Power, the powerful Love of God and his extravagant scattering of Love and Power through all he has made.
All Souls - It is impossible for us to be very clear about eternity. It is not LESS than time the way a diamond, beautiful and static, is still less than life. It is more than time (whatever that might mean), it comprehends time. Some say for God all times are now. C. S. Lewis suggests the more dynamic, “I call all times soon,” in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
To talk about some Divine things we must use the language of process, of time, even while we know it is inadequate. So when we think of the perfection of those who die (as the vast majority of us do) with much growth to be accomplished in us, we will slip into the language of time.
What I think we MUST hold is that God is as solicitous of our freedom as a lover might be. He doesn't want conquest, he wants eager assent. So he must woo us into the holiness that will delight both him and us.
For many, the final stage of that courtship is what we call “purgation” and “purgatory.” And it is authoritatively suggested that not all of it will be fun. Even a dog who loves to please his master finds some of the baths unpleasant, after all, while he still knows that the master who gives them does so in love.
Now who can say HOW our prayers are effective? Not I! But I can say that almost everyone suspects that through prayer one reaches that eternity where all times — past, present, and future — are soon. And we who pray also long to pray for those we think to be suffering.
We can shed, maybe ought to shed, the kind of book-keeping attitude that seems to suggest that so many prayers of this or that kind will ease suffering by some quantifiable amount. Better to enter faithfully and gratefully into the privilege of being able to share in God's love for his redeemed children, trusting that prayers DO help, and in important, if mysterious, ways.
Therefore we pray on this day, and all the time, for the departed.
I don’t think this article allows a “caucus” designation since it discusses the beliefs of non-Catholics. Moderator?
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What was that- Catholic buckshot?
The article does not qualify for the caucus label since it describes the beliefs of non-members, in this case Fundamentalists. I will remove the caucus label.