In Honor of ALL Saints Day Nov. 1st.

Catholics and Purgatory: Fact of fiction?

By Patrick Miron

 

Let’s begin this lesson by asking a question: Why Purgatory, assuming it even exist?

And here is the answer in a single word: “Love!”

God’s love for His “mirror image” Created humanity [Genesis 1:26-27] exceeds our ability to comprehend it. I mean, can we really understand, God choosing to become a mortal human being like us in every way but sin? [Heb. 4:15]. To make a comparison; it would be far worse than taking Einstein’s mind, intellect and freewill and putting them inside a common earth worm. All that talent and ability and no way to use or express it.

Then even should we be able to comprehend this mystery, the plot thickens. Our God … Jesus then decides even that sign is not enough, [Jn. 19:28] so he willed to suffer His Passion, and then even give His mortal life so that we now might be saved and be forgiven. [Mt. 20:18-19]. The debt of Adam and Eve’s “Original sin” is paid in full, through Christian Baptism; although its penalties will exist until the “End Times,” permitting humanity to prove and demonstrate their love of God.

 Whipped nearly to death, crowned with thorns, and then nailed to a cross; all out of love for mankind. And this is God that we’re talking about; the very same God that created the entire Universe. The very same God that keeps me and you alive. WOW!

In an absolute sense, neither God’s Divine sense of right and wrong, or need and want required Him to create Purgatory. Heaven and Hell; yes; Purgatory no. Permit me to explain this further. When God choose to Create man, something that He did not absolutely have to do; because God is Perfect and can neither be more, or less perfected.  … God desired to be recognized for who He was; for who He is. And man, this “mirror image” of Himself was created to freely choose to fulfill and complete this “want” of God.

Isaiah 43: verse 7 & 21 “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” & “the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.”  …

Here is a telling; but brief description of our God: “God is every good thing perfected”. Every word used in this brief but accurate description of our God is a part of the “telling” of who and what God is.

“God:” Exod.3: 14 “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, `I AM has sent me to you.”  …   “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Our God is the First and the Last; nothing would or can exist without Him. Not one thing.

Is:” Everything ties back into God

“Every:” Without God there would be nothing at all in “existence.” Past, present or future.

“Good-thing:” Not only is God “Good;” by good and goodness exist because of Him, and to honor Him.

Perfected” This dear friends is the critical point of this Lesson. Because God gives to us “perfect love’, as He can do nothing less; God then desires this same degree of love be returned to Him.

In the entire Universe, only one thing, only humanity has the ability to give to God that which God sought: to be known and loved. Only man is gifted with a mind, intellect, and freewill. Each of these Spiritual realities “mirror” God our Creator; who too is Spirit and Truth: [Jn.4:23-24]         Just as God shared small portions of His Power and Authority with the Apostles [Mt. 10:1-6]; similarly, God shares these Godly- attributes  with humanity; and with an expectation [but not a command], that they be used to Love, Worship, Honor and Glorify Him. God insist that these be freely given, not forced.

In order for “love” to “be perfected” in must be freely given. And this reality explains both the Creation of Humanity; and the existence of our “Spiritual Other Self.” These attributes of mind, intellect, freewill are a part of and inseperatable from our Souls are given to us In the Hope that we will use them to Love and Glorify God.

Man was created out of the dust of the earth; and upon death, returns to dust: Gen.3: 19 “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken;
you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” If you have never considered this, it may be a bit of a surprise to discover that when the bible speaks of meeting Jesus “face to face”, it means intuitively as our bodies are returned to the dust from which we came. I’m speaking here before the promised “End Times of the world.” 1Cor.13:12 “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.”

So how does all of this relate to Purgatory?

That dear friend is a great question.

God, In fulfilling His need for Divine Justice and Fairness; and having giving man the necessary attributes to recognize both good and evil; enabling them to freely choose which ever had greater appeal to him; God had only to create heaven and hell to meet the needs of Divine Justice: Sir.15:1 “Before a man are life and death, and whichever he chooses will be given to him.”

So why then, did God choose to create purgatory, and why is it not in the bible?

God created Purgatory out of His Love for man, who alone could, and is able to love Him in return. God’s love for humanity includes each and every one of us: 1Tim.2:4 “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” [Singular per defined issue].

One of the hidden; or seemingly unknown teaching of our catholic faith is [and certainly in the realm of non-Catholic-Christianity, is the realization that because God is “Perfect”; so too must the state and the condition of our souls be either perfect, or perfected, at the time of our death, in on order to access heaven.

Matt.5: 48 “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect”

Eph.1: 4 “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”

Because man dies is only the following possible conditions:

[1] With a Perfect Soul: this soul proceeds immediately to heaven [the minority]

[2] With an Imperfect Soul: this soul; if only heaven and hell were to exist would be sent to hell; BUT!

[3] With a Lost Soul: this soul proceeds immediately to hell [perhaps the majority, but only God knows for sure.]

To be clear; it is we who choose our Eternity, not God. God only affirms our life choices.

It is category number two that concerns and explains the existence of Purgatory. Our God is a God of Love and Mercy; indeed these attributes are stronger than is His Divine Justice. Stronger, but not strong enough to override of replace it. So without Purgatory untold numbers; huge numbers of Souls would be unable to attain heaven as they died neither worthy of hell or of heaven; but heaven only accepts perfected-souls, Because God Himself is Perfect and can accept nothing less.

Any Soul that dies without unconfessed and unforgiven Mortal sin; is imperfect; yet not to a degree worthy of eternal damnation. It is this group that Christ chooses most ardently, to be included among the saved Souls, who can attain heaven if and when they become perfected. Purgatory then is, to be graphic, to be seen as a “Soul-Wash.” A place and manner to be over time for imperfect souls to be perfected.

What we have to know about sin

All sins have a hidden “public nature” called the “Temporal Punishment due to sin”. Because all sins affect others besides the sinner. For some sins such as adultery or abortion; the “others” are evident. For more private sins like jealously, or envy, not so much so. Yet each and every sin affects God’s Church, those around us and our very souls. And every sin, large and small, accrue a debt that must be repaid in order to perfect our souls.

Even when a sin is Sacramentally Confessed and Forgiven; this latent debt, or Temporal Punishment for committed sins exist on God’s “balance sheet.” [The Book of Life … Rev. 20:15].  And God is His own comptroller. Only God knows the extent of our hidden sins debt; and only God knows what and how much payment has been made towards paying off this debt; and only God knows when in Divine Justice that debt is paid in full.

While we are still on planet earth the Church [God approved] permits us to make partial, and even full repayment through prayer, works of charity and indulgences which take two forms: Partial and full; also called Plenary Indulgences. Each offered indulgence has its own conditions which must be fully satisfied to gain their effect.

More information on this can be found at: “https://www.ewtn.com/Devotionals/mercy/general_conditions.htm

The sad reality is that a great many people either are unaware of the “Temporal Punishment due to all of our sins”; or perhaps unaware of how urgent is the need to do what we can, while we can. A great many souls, of good and faithful servants die with less than perfect Souls. So Purgatory is an unmerited second change for these souls to still attain heaven after being purged. Souls for the Dead can be prayed for by those left on earth, and Masses can be offered for their intent.

OK, BUT, is it Biblical?

Have you ever attempted to find the terms: Mass, Confession, Holy Communion, Popes, Catechisms, Catholic or Protestant, or even the “bible” itself in the Bible. None of them are in there. Yet all of them are realities. John’s Gospel ends the final tow chapters by specifically advising us that “not everything is in the Bible.”

John 20:30-31 “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.

John 21: 24-25 “This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true. But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”

So we ought not to expect to find every belief and every teaching in the bible. That said, Purgatory is spoken about in the bible, the term “Purgatory” is one of a “zillion” theological terms.

Rev. 21: 27 “But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

Mt. 5: 26 truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.

Matt.5: 48 “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Heb. 2: 10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering.

1John.3: 2 to 3 “Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”

1 Cor. 3: 13-14 “each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done if the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.  If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, [Purgatory] though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. “

It is my prayerful hope dear friends that this explains sufficiently, for you, this important Doctrine of our Catholic Church.

God Bless you,

Patrick

Published by

working4christtwo

I am an Informed and fully practicing Roman Catholic

One thought on “In Honor of ALL Saints Day Nov. 1st.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s