Skip to comments.Required for entrance to Purgatory? Personal question for Cathloic Freepers.
Posted on 08/21/2006 8:31:24 AM PDT by fishtank
I have just lost a very close family relative. Almost most of my family is Roman Catholic, although I left the Church a while ago (you would say I'm evangelical, and fairly strongly Calvinist). I have forgotten some of my Catholic theology, I think, and I'd like to know what is considered necessary for a Catholic to at least enter Purgatory upon death. Please, I do not want this to turn into a debate thread. My loss is recent and painful. I am looking for information from anyone who is willing to respond, and I would like to hear from FR Catholics who are pre-Vatican 2 and from those who are post-Vatican 2, as well.
Thanks in advance, and I do thank you for any serious response.
In all sincerity...
Cathloic = Catholic
FR still doesn't have an article preview that includes the thread title.....
I'd like to know what is considered necessary for a Catholic to at least enter Purgatory upon death
Not to die in a state of mortal sin.
One thing is that you just won't know, as you won't know what was in this relative's heart at the hour of his/her death.
The Lord promised great mercy to all who call upon His name, as reported her from a dialogue with St. Faustina:
Our Lord said to the servant of God, Sr. Faustina: "Unceasingly recite this chaplet that I have taught you. Whover will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death ... Priests will recommend it to sinners as a last hope of salvation. Even the most hardened sinner, if he recites this chaplet even once, will receive grace from my infinite mercy. Oh, what graces I will grant souls who will recite this chaplet... By means of it you can ask and obtain anything if what you ask will be compatible with my will.... I want the whole world to know my infinite mercy. I want to give unimaginable graces to those who trust in my mercy...
So hope is not lost...
I am very sorry for your loss, fishtank. I wouldn't think of turning it into a theological debate.
I'm a Roman Catholic who does not believe in purgatory. I'd like to think that most of my loved ones have gone to heaven. If they haven't, I certainly would not know now and when I die, it wouldn't matter then. My father died a few years ago and I just take it for granted that he went to heaven. Don't spend too much time torturing yourself over this more than the natural time of grieving allows. God bless.
OK, yes, I think that is the answer I was looking for. I'm middle aged now, and my memory is never what it should be...
If anyone else reads this, and you want to add anything else, please feel free to do so, because I'll still be checking the thread.
Condolences on your loss!
As someone said, not to die in a state of mortal sin - that is, unrepented, willful, deliberate sin, involving a serious matter.
Something that comforts me over my relatives is to think of the image used by C.S. Lewis in describing judgment: The person who has died comes face to face with the Lord Jesus. Either he loves Jesus on sight, because (whatever the person's individual failings, weaknesses, damage, etc.) he longed for truth, beauty, goodness, and holiness ... or he will hate Jesus on sight, because in his life he deliberately rejected all that Jesus is and represents.
The person who loves Jesus will at some point be united with Him in Heaven, perhaps after suffering purgation (cleansing from the effects of sin, and remaining self-love.) The person who hates Jesus when he meets Him will be unable to be near Him, ever.
There's a passage in the bible that speaks of those that have passed praying for us in heaven. I think it's in Revelation. The Book of Psalms is also nice to read. I memorised Psalm 23 and never forgot it.
Keeping it simple - We are a pilgrim Church, we do not have all the answers. Scripture says "Only the perfect shall enter heaven " but we know most of us when we die will not be perfect - yet we believe we will somehow enter heaven.
Logic then says there must be some manner of purification, maybe suffering, maybe an infusion of God's redeeming grace - who knows. For lack of a better explanation over the years this situation of "becoming perfect" has been called purgatory. Maybe in time we will get a better way of explaining it.
Of course the dogmatic among us will cite canon law, the catechism, mortal and venial sins etc, but I'm a simple pilgrim.
Please accept my condolences for your loss.
I'm not sure that now is the time for you to think about a theological point that you do not believe is even true and cannot affect in any event.
Peace in Christ
I see your question has been answered. In addition, I'd like to add that there are many levels of purgatory, as there are in hell and also heaven. We choose our destination of our own free will; ie., we are not "sent" there. Because when we die we know all our own sins and although they are "forgiven" already, we must be purified. If they weren't forgiven, we would never have any hope of attaining the purification of those sharing heaven with Our Lord and Almighty Father.
Purgatory gives us a final opportunity to make amends to God. It is a merciful opportunity to become holy. God sees through us - that we know in an abstract way. But it will become painfully obvious to us as we stand before Him during our judgment. If we are of a general persuasion towards God, we will greatly desire to correct ourselves in the eyes of our loving Father. We know this from our own life and loves. Don't we desire to be seen in a good light by our beloved? Doesn't a child greatly desire to be pleasing to their father? This is what love calls us to do - to make ourselves (with grace) fitting in God's eyes. Purgatory is a consoling belief that God continues to bring all things to Himself, even when we have not been very forward in trying to be what we are called to be.
My aunt died not too long ago, and she received the last sacraments. But still, as a Catholic I confess to not having any idea of the final destination of her soul--whether she went to heaven or purgatory or hell.
But I find a great deal of comfort in praying for her soul...that whatever happens, God may have mercy upon her.
I don't think there are multiple levels of hell, either your soul is damned or it isn't.
And I'll be the second person on this thread to cite C.S. Lewis . . . he points out that God exists outside of time, so that all of our heartfelt prayers for your relative, even if made after the actual event, will be seen by God from all time and thus applied where they are intended. I think a Divine Mercy Chaplet would be a really good idea, and I'll offer one for your relative.
. . . another thought. Scott Hahn, who was a Presbyterian minister before he converted to Catholicism, describes Purgatory as like your receiving an invitation to a beautiful party . . . but you've been cleaning the yard or digging a ditch and you're a mess! You need a bath, a shave, a shampoo, and some appropriate "wedding garments" . . . I hope to make it to Purgatory, I think I'll see a lot of my friends there. I would imagine that only the great saints would feel comfortable in the Divine Presence without some time to get their act together.
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