Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What is Purgatory like?

To continue our recent discussion about Judgement, here are some of the notes I use when I give my talk about Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. I've posted the notes on Hell and Heaven. Here are the first half of my notes on Purgatory. Hope it helps!
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Purgatory
-the term is not used in Scripture; comes from the Latin word, “purgatorium” (place of purging fire or purification)

a. Does it exist?

Scripture
Jesus
– refers to situations where a punishment / purification must occur:

-Mt 18: 34-35 – the unforgiving debtor
the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all this debt, and that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.”

-Lk 12:59 – being in prison
I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny

-Jn 16:20 – “you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy

-Mt 12:32 – “Let anyone speak against the Holy Spirit and he will not be forgiven either in this world or in the next” (implies that some sins can be forgiven in the next life)

OT
2 Macc 12:46
- the valiant Judas “had this expiatory sacrifice offered for the dead, so that they might be released from their sins
- shows that the Jewish custom was to pray for the dead; must be for souls in a state other than Heaven or Hell - don't need to pray for the souls in Heaven, and it does no good to pray for the souls in Hell
- custom continues whenever someone prays for all the souls in Purgatory

NT
-1 Cor 3:14-15 (salvation through a purifying fire)
The Day which dawns in fire will make it clear and the fire itself will test the quality of each person’s work. The one whose work stands up to it will be given his wages; the one whose work is burnt down will suffer the loss of it, though he himself will be saved; he will be saved as someone expects to be saved from a fire

-1 Peter 1:7
“your faith, more valuable than gold and which is perishable even if it has been tested by fire, may be proved”


Church
Magisterium: “a cleansing fire, a purifying fire” (pain suffered is comparable to the pain of fire on earth)


b. What is it like?

Scripture (see above)

Church
St Augustine: “this fire of Purgatory will be more severe than any pain that can be felt, seen or conceived in this world”

St Thomas Aquinas: “In Purgatory there will be a twofold loss, namely the delay of the divine vision, and the pain of sense, namely the punishment by bodily fire. With regard to both, the least pain of Purgatory surpasses the greatest pain in this life”

St Francis de Sales: “The greater part of those who dread Purgatory so much think more of their own interests than of the interests of God’s glory; this proceeds from the fact that they think only of the sufferings without considering the peace and happiness which are enjoyed by the holy souls”

*Rev. T.G. Morrow: “there will be tremendous suffering accompanied by a tremendous sense of peace and joy knowing that the soul will be united with God”


- after death, the soul sees that it is not yet spotless, and “would cast itself into a thousand hells rather than find itself in the presence of the Divine Majesty with that stain on it” (St Catherine of Genoa)

she would be glorious, with no speck or wrinkle or anything like that, holy and faultless” (Eph 5:27)
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* A special note of thanks to Fr. Morrow, who contributed greatly to all of my notes on H/H/P with his booklet: "Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory"

9 Comments:

At 7:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mt 25: 35-36-whoever feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, etc goes to heaven.



If people don't try to help the less fortunate does that mean they automatically go to Purgatory?

 
At 8:25 AM, Blogger Fr Greg said...

Anon, thanks for the question. You need to finish the passage to get the answer.

Mt 25:41-46...if we don't feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, etc. I.e., if we don't take care of the poor, we go to Hell.

 
At 9:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow!

 
At 9:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The scene also took place on a BA (British Airway) flight between
Johannesburg and London. A white woman, about 50 years old, was seated next to a black man. Obviously disturbed by this, she called the air Hostess. "Madam, what is the matter?" the hostess asked.
"You obviously do not see it then?" She responded. "You placed me next to a black man. I do not agree to sit next to someone from such a repugnant group. Give me an alternative seat." "Be calm please," the hostess
replied. "Almost all the places on this flight are taken. I will go to
see if another place is available." The hostess went away
and then came back a few minutes later.

"Madam, just as I thought, there are no other available seats in the
economy class. I spoke to the captain and he informed me
that there is one seat in the business class. All the same, we also have one seat in
the first class." Before the woman could say anything, the hostess
continued: "It is unusual for our company to permit someone
from the economy class to sit in the first class. However, given the
circumstances, the captain feels that it would be scandalous
to make someone sit next to someone so disgusting."

She then turned to the black guy, and said, "Therefore, sir,
if you would like to, please collect your hand luggage, a seat
awaits you in first class."

At the moment, the other passengers who were shocked by what
they had just witnessed stood up and applauded. This is a true story.

 
At 9:32 AM, Blogger Searching For Holiness said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 4:39 PM, Blogger Ty Roach said...

Great stuff Fr. Greg, thanks. You could also add the following scriptural references to the Purgatory argument to go along with everything that you have already mentioned...

2 Samuel 12:13-18 -- establishes a Catholic principal, that there is punishment for sin, even after you have been forgiven.

Revelation 21:27 -- stating that nothing unclean shall enter it [the new Jerusalem...Heaven]

Hebrews 12: 22-23 -- speaks of the spirits of just men made perfect. That is, there is a way, or process by which we are made perfect.

 
At 9:06 PM, Blogger Pete said...

great post and great story (i'd heard it before.

While on the topic of punishment for already forgiven sins, I was surprised last year that the church still teaches the concept of indulgences, to alleviate purgatorial punishment for sins.

Now, as opposed to during the times of the reformation, they are no longer bought and sold, but rather earned by the performance of good works, if i'm correct. Still, I think that VERY few people are aware that the church still teaches this doctrine: the basic idea being that indulgences were a corruption that the Catholic counter-reformation ended. Seeing Mr. Roach's comment on the punishment for sins, this came to mind, and when talking about purgatory this church, the teaching about this possibility to lower punishment may very well lead to a lessening of the suffering of souls, if they listen and take heed.

 
At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Addition to mass schedule: starting on September 10, 2006, mass will celebrated every Sunday evening at 6:00 PM.

YEA!

 
At 4:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PURGATORY QUESTION: I HAVE A FRIEND WHO HAS ALMOST THOUGHT ABOUT JOINING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.
BUT SHE THINKS PURGATORY "IS NOT IN THE BIBLE" THEREFORE MADE UP BY CATHOLICS. WELL, IT IS NOT IN HER BIBLE BECAUSE SHE IS READING A PROTESTANT BIBLE OF COURSE. mEANWHILE THIS IS BRICK WALL FOR OUR CONVERSATION BECAUSE SHE CAN'T FIND IN THE BIBLE! HER HUSBAND DIED SUDDENLY AND HER SMALL KIDS KEEP ASKING HER TO PRAY FOR THEIR DAD'S SOUL. SHE DOES NOT UNDERSTAND WHY THEY HAVE A COMPELLIG NEED TO DO THIS! SHE BELIEVES HER HUSBAND WAS SAVED AND THAT'S THAT. ANY IDEAS ON WHAT TO SAY TO HER?????????????

 

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