Skip to comments.All Souls, Purgatory and the Bible
Posted on 11/02/2014 3:14:08 PM PST by NYer
On All Souls Day, the Catholic Church offers prayers and liturgies for the repose of the dead. As Catholics, we are called by the Church to focus our spiritual energies to assist these poor souls, who, though saved, are still in need of purification. Our prayers and sacrifices assist them in this process of purification as a means used by God to communicate purifying grace to them. After all, He is the vine, we are the branches so that He produces his fruits of grace through us.
The practice of praying for the dead actually predates Christianity. In 2 Maccabees 12: 41-45, Judas offers prayers and sacrifices for his fallen comrades to make “atonement for the dead that they might be absolved from their sin.” Some argue that the books of the Maccabees are not inspired scripture. Leaving that argument aside for now, we can at least look at them as historical books detailing accepted pious practices of God’s people some 300 years before Christ.
If that is the only place in the Bible where we find any reference to purgatory, many Protestant Christians argue, then that is a weak support for such a practice. Fortunately, we know as Catholics that all of our doctrines are indeed found in the Word of God, as is the doctrine of Purgatory. Hence what follows is a biblical understanding of the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory.
The book of Genesis recounts for us the far reaching repercussions of Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden. This sin, we find, brought about four consequences which I will summarize here (Gen 3: 16-24):
First, their sin brings about disharmony between persons. God tells Eve that both her relationship to her husband and children will now be characterized by pain and mistrust (Gen 3:16). Further, God has to make garments for man and woman because now, as the text implies, they feel shame (Gen 3:21).
Second, their sin brings about disharmony between man and creation. God tells Adam that he will produce the fruit of the earth with toil and difficulty (Gen 3: 17). Even the ground itself is cursed because of their sin (Gen 3: 17).
Third, their sin brings about disharmony between man and himself. He no longer has spiritual control over his body; thus, his body returns to the dust of the ground (Gen 3: 19). Adam and Eve are no longer able to receive everlasting life (Gen 3: 22).
Lastly and most importantly, sin brings disharmony between God and man. This consequence results in mistrust and fear of God (Gen 3: 10), and, worse, spiritual death. Without God, neither physical nor spiritual life can be sustained (Gen 3: 19, 24).
The first three disharmonies mentioned above are called ‘Temporal punishments due to sin.’ Temporal refers to things pertaining to this world. The last disharmony, the disharmony with God, is called eternal punishment, because it refers to things pertaining to the eternal world with God.
All four of these disharmonies are healed by Christ. The only healing we experience fully in this life, however, is from eternal punishment–or disharmony with God. That’s why Christ is the One Mediator between God and man.
It should be clear that we don’t experience a full healing from the temporal disharmonies/punishments as Christians, because we still struggle. We experience suffering, illness, catastrophes, and even death. Yet, Christ heals these problems, too, it’s just that we don’t experience the full healing in the temporal sphere until He returns.
Until then, we are called to struggle for His Kingdom. As St. Paul puts it, “But we have this treasure (the healing grace of salvation) in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying around in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” (2 Cor 7-10)
To overcome these temporal disharmonies, we are called to cooperate with Christ’s power in grace so as to bring about the healing with Him in these areas. This is why we are called to pray, fast, and alms give so as to forgive our neighbor’s sins and be forgiven, and to receive the reward promised by our heavenly Father that we will once again regain temporal peace/harmony on earth and in heaven (Mt 6:5-23).
What happens if we die and are reconciled to God (the eternal punishment for sin), but have not entirely cooperated with grace to overcome the temporal punishments for sin? St. Paul gives us the answer in 1 Cor 3: 12-16. He says that after death, our works will be tested “as though by fire, and the fire will test what kind of work we have done,” and we will suffer loss, though we will still be saved (1 Cor 3:13-15).
This is a very clear passage regarding the purification (which we call purgatory) that takes place after death. This fire purifies us from our temporal disharmonies mentioned above, if we die without having them entirely purified in this life.
It is an insult to the Cross.
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.Why didn't this man, crucified next to our Lord, go to purgatory?
Consider purgatory the suburbs or Heaven. Those souls are on their way home. It is NOT an insult to the CROSS. It CONFIRMS the IMPORTANCE of the CROSS.
So, not just Catholics pray for the dead. It is an Jewish custom dating back to the Torah.
Consider purgatory the suburbs of Heaven.
Can we make a pact to ignore the bashers and have a decent discussion about this?
Actually...there IS no place in the Bible where "purgatory" is mentioned nor is there any support for what this place that isn't really a "place" exists. The supposed purpose given for why such a place/non-place exists completely negates the well-sourced and Biblically referenced truth that it is JESUS, alone, who is our "place of purgation/cleansing". By faith, it is in HIS blood that we are washed white as snow, justified from ALL our sins, redeemed from ALL penalties for our sin and born again - counted as children of the Living God sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption. ONLY by the shedding of blood is there atonement for sin and Jesus shed HIS precious blood to accomplish this.
Whatever "temporal" consequences there are for sins we might commit in this life, no longer can help us be better Christians once we die so there is no reason for God to "get even" with us after our death. No early Christians believed in "Purgatory" and even if some Jewish people believed their prayers and offerings could "help" those loved ones who had died, it is more likely they were thinking of Paradise/Hades (before Jesus' death opened heaven for the redeemed). There STILL isn't anything in the sacred Scriptures that teach such a doctrine nor should Christians invent dogma based on what someone thinks or wants to be true. We have abundant evidence that this has led to abuses, perversions of the gospel and simony.
But if the Blood of Christ washes away our sins...why are suburbs necessary instead of a direct connection with our Lord.
One wonders if this isn't merely a medieval concoction to derive revenue from indulgences.
The Lord actually never spoke of such a thing as purgatory. It is a human invention...and I don't trust humans (or myself).
Sounds a lot like islamophobia.
Ignore the truth?
He acknowledged Jesus, repented of his sins and hung on a cross ... THAT was his purgatory.
Mat 22:37i.e. Use thy noggin.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and WITH ALL THY MIND.
This is the first and great commandment.
temporal disharmonies “...as in SINS?
what are temoral disharmonies of not SIN.
if they are SIN...let us remember that our SINS were what Jesus Died to Cleanse us from
that being said as the sin debt was PAID.....In Advance By Jesus....the concept of “temporal disharmonies” does not figure in into Atoning....Death and RESSURECTION.
They..Our SINS were paid for...ON The Cross.
This is where the anti-Catholic remarks will flow. I never understood why some non-Catholics here CARE so much about what we Catholics believe. I don't bash or criticize THEIR beliefs. Why can't that courtesy be reciprocated? Isn't it common courtesy on this site? Or is the "opposing" opinion only to be mocked and deprecated?
To me, that's an odd brand of Christianity that I see exhibited.
Oh well, thanks for posting the article!
But he was hanging there because of his crimes...what of those of us who are repentant yet have not committed such crimes.
We are of course just as guilty but we are also just as repentant.
I know many folks who are hanging on their cross (aren't we all hanging from our Crosses)--good Christians who are ashamed of what they have done and how they have lived.
I still think that purgatory is a human invention...not something spoken of by God.
Time is not the same to God as it is to man.
one day is like a thousand years 2 Pet 3:8
Point out such lack of courtesy on this thread.
Thank-you for making my Sunday night!
Just put the “bashers” on “mental ignore”. Better yet, make it a Catholic Caucus thread.
This is why I am for making such thread Catholic Caucus threads.
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