Another Purgatory Question


#1

I have read a number of posts regarding Purgatory and from most accounts it almost sounds pleasant. When I was young the Nuns taught us that although Purgatory was a hopeful place to be because eventually you would go to Heaven, you would experience suffering because you could not see God. Anyone out there experience the same teaching? What is the OFFICIAL CATHOLIC version of the environment of Purgatory?


#2

Bob Stanley’s Web-site gives some of your answers. You’ll notice a lot of these speak of a cleansing fire, which would imply pain. I’ve heard others say that the pain you feel is, as you remember each sin you did and you experience the pain of knowing you let God down.

**"You, therefore, must be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect."
Matthew 5:48 **It stands to reason that since GOD is perfect, then Heaven has to be a perfect place, and nothing imperfect can enter (Revelation 21:27). GOD will not join Himself to anything defiled. If a person dies with sins not sufficient for hell (the sin unto death, 1John 5:16-17), and has lesser sins to prevent entry into Heaven, then there has to be a third place in which to atone for them. This would be a temporary place, as stated in Matthew 5:25-26, “You shall not come out until you have paid the last penny”.
Come out of where?

After Adam’s sin, the gates of Heaven were closed, and no one was allowed to enter (John 3:13) until Jesus Christ redeemed the human race and opened the gates once again. Where were the spirits of Moses and Elias, who appeared and spoke with Jesus at the transfiguration (Matthew 17:3)? They could not have been in Heaven since it was closed, and they would have been lost had they been in hell. They had to have been in a third place. If there was a third place then, why not a third place now?

What about Lazarus? He was already dead four days (John 11:17) when Jesus arrived at his tomb. Where was his soul during those four days? It could not be heaven or hell for the same reasons as for Moses and Elias.
His soul had to have been in a third place.

Philippians 2:10 says:
“That at the name of Jesus, every knee should bend of those in Heaven, on earth, and ‘under the earth’.”
‘Under the earth’, could it mean hell, or is it a third place? Non Catholic theologians struggle trying to reconcile their denial of the existence of Purgatory with what Paul said in 1Corinthians 3:12-15:
"Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 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, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire."*

**To whom do these verses refer? Obviously the person is not in hell, as verse 15 says “himself will be saved”. He cannot be in heaven either as the same verse implies suffering, “as through fire”, and there is no suffering in heaven. These verses say that man will be purified by fire and then will be saved to enter Heaven. Where will this, “yet as though through fire”, take place if not in a third place called Purgatory?

The Greek word used for fire is “pursw” (puroo) of which “pur” is the root word for Purgatory. “And who shall be able to think of the day of His coming? And who shall stand to see Him? For HE IS LIKE A REFINING FIRE, and like the fuller’s herb; AND HE SHALL SIT REFINING AND CLEANSING THE SILVER. AND HE SHALL PURIFY THE SONS OF LEVI, AND SHALL REFINE THEM AS GOLD, AND AS SILVER, and they shall offer sacrifices to the Lord in justice.”*
Malachi 3:2-3

"…Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered; and I will turn My hand to the little ones. And they shall be in all the earth, said the Lord, TWO PARTS IN IT SHALL BE SCATTERED, AND SHALL PERISH, BUT THE THIRD PART SHALL BE LEFT THEREIN. AND I WILL BRING THE THIRD PART THROUGH THE FIRE, AND WILL REFINE THEM AS SILVER IS REFINED, AND I WILL TRY THEM AS GOLD IS TRIED. THEY SHALL CALL ON MY NAME, AND I WILL HEAR THEM. I WILL SAY: YOU ARE MY PEOPLE. AND THEY SHALL SAY; THE LORD IS MY GOD."
Zechariah 13:7-9

"As silver is tried by fire, and gold in the furnace, so the Lord tries the hearts."
Proverbs 17:3.


**Notworthy
**


#3

[quote=Holland]I have read a number of posts regarding Purgatory and from most accounts it almost sounds pleasant. When I was young the Nuns taught us that although Purgatory was a hopeful place to be because eventually you would go to Heaven, you would experience suffering because you could not see God. Anyone out there experience the same teaching? What is the OFFICIAL CATHOLIC version of the environment of Purgatory?
[/quote]

Holland:

You have to remember that a person in Purgatory is due to enter heaven and enjoy the Beatific Vision, but isn’t enjoying that supreme ecstacy of heaven and the Beatific vision quite yet.

Then I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire. On the sea of glass were standing those who had won the victory over the beast and its image and the number that signified its name. They were holding God’s harps, and they sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb: “Great and wonderful are your works, Lord God almighty. Just and true are your ways, O king of the nations.” Rev. 15:2-3 NAB

Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For that which is corruptible must clothe itself with incorruptibility, and that which is mortal must clothe itself with immortality. I Cor 15:51-53 NAB

If anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, the work of each will come to light, for the Day will disclose it. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire (itself) will test the quality of each one’s work. If the work stands that someone built upon the foundation, that person will receive a wage. But if someone’s work is burned up, that one will suffer loss; the person will be saved, but only as through fire. I Cor 3:12-15 NAB

That’s as close to an “official word” on the “environment” or Purgatory we’re going to get.

In Christ, Michael


#4

I wonder if purgatory is like having 10,000 kids in the back seat saying, “Are we there yet?”


#5

Okay, I’m going to tell you something that will make some of you think the cheese has slipped off the cracker for ole Dave, but it is my lived experience.

A couple of years ago, a very dear friend of mine was killed in a tragic car accident. She died instantly. This friend was baptized a Christian, and for the most part lived a Christ-like life. As I was praying for her, I suddenly had this image of her in my mind. She was sitting in a gray space and weeping unconsolably. The image lasted only a few seconds but it was burned into my brain and very distressful to me. I prayed for her at mass every day; received communion and asked that I receive it on her behalf; prayed the Chaplet of Divine mercy for her daily. After a couple of weeks, while I was in line to receive communion, I had a thought that said “I’m okay now,” followed by a great sense of peace for her.

Now, I’m fully open to the idea that this was just my way of dealing with her death…but part of me is left wondering if perhaps she was in purgatory and God allowed me to have some notion of this.

The reason I share this is if my experience was genuine, then Purgatory may not be such a fun place to be. We should strive for that express lane to Heaven.


#6

[quote=StCsDavid]Okay, I’m going to tell you something that will make some of you think the cheese has slipped off the cracker for ole Dave, but it is my lived experience.

A couple of years ago, a very dear friend of mine was killed in a tragic car accident. She died instantly. This friend was baptized a Christian, and for the most part lived a Christ-like life. As I was praying for her, I suddenly had this image of her in my mind. She was sitting in a gray space and weeping unconsolably. The image lasted only a few seconds but it was burned into my brain and very distressful to me. I prayed for her at mass every day; received communion and asked that I receive it on her behalf; prayed the Chaplet of Divine mercy for her daily. After a couple of weeks, while I was in line to receive communion, I had a thought that said “I’m okay now,” followed by a great sense of peace for her.

Now, I’m fully open to the idea that this was just my way of dealing with her death…but part of me is left wondering if perhaps she was in purgatory and God allowed me to have some notion of this.

The reason I share this is if my experience was genuine, then Purgatory may not be such a fun place to be. We should strive for that express lane to Heaven.
[/quote]

David:

I’m going to assume this was completely genuine. When Yassir Arafat was dying, I started praying for him and his soul. At one point I became conscious that I had some 40,000+ people (his victims) praying with me.

It was NOT a case of, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” what I think had happened is that these people had been given the grace to forgive their murderer.

I’m sure that Purgatory is a gray depressing place when compared to the bright music of heaven, and that arriving in Purgatory must be really upsetting to anyone who really thought he was going straight to heaven.

Although, if your friend was as Christlike as you say, I wonder if this wasn’t to fix a glitch in your own spiritual life… I mean, this did cause you to think about and pray for someone else inently and not in the cursory way most of us tend to do.

That’s just something to consider.

In Christ, Michael


#7

[quote=Traditional Ang]David:
Although, if your friend was as Christlike as you say, I wonder if this wasn’t to fix a glitch in your own spiritual life… I mean, this did cause you to think about and pray for someone else inently and not in the cursory way most of us tend to do.
[/quote]

That very well could be as I have gained a new sense of urgency and sincerity when I pray for someone, especially for the dead.


#8

This is such interesting stuff. When I was returning to the Church I had to do some damage control so I couldn’t receive the Eucharist right away. The feeling of yearning I had to endure was physically painlful for me but at the same time the pain was tempered with hope. I think Purgatory might be like that. I guess the Nuns were right.


#9

Yeah. I really hope there’s no real fire involved, cuz fire and I don’t mix…

S


#10

What I have read indicates that purgatory will at once be the most painful and wretched experinece you will ever have and the most beautiful experinece of your life up to that point. I recommedn reading “Purgatory- Explained by the lives and legends of the Siants.” By Fr. F.X. SHouppe.


#11

My priest gave a Homily about purgatory…and described the suffering as homesickness…you’re almost home…and you know what home is like and you want to be there badly…but are made to wait…


#12

[quote=Lillith]My priest gave a Homily about purgatory…and described the suffering as homesickness…you’re almost home…and you know what home is like and you want to be there badly…but are made to wait…
[/quote]

Lillith:

I think that your priest has just about got it.

Michael


#13

Recently, I have come to the conclusion that the state of Purgatory may exist here on earth vs some other realm (somewhere between Heaven and hell.) I say that because many people seem to experience seeing spirit beings in public, which appear to be lost.

For some reason, these people have a gift of seeing what appear to be spirits walking the earth. I have two family members who state they have seen this phenomena, and there is a young daughter who now seems to be a witness to this.

Is it possible earth may be Purgatory? Your guess is as good as mine, but I have not come up with a more plausible reason why these folks are seen.


#14

Personally, I’m hoping I wind up in Purgatory. I do not think I deserve a straight path to Heaven.

From all of the Saints’ works I have read, I believe there will be a cleansing fire in Purgatory. But who knows, maybe it depends on the person.


#15

I liked the way it’s described here:

Most of us end our earthly sojourn far short of sainthood and yet not utterly within the grips of sin. Moreover, some who have been notoriously wicked repent at the last moment (e.g., the thief on the cross), and God will not reject any penitent sinner. Such a death-bed penitent must atone for his life-long transgressions. Nothing defiled can enter heaven. But it would seem that anyone in the “friendship” of God would not deserve the fate of eternal hellfire. Hence, there must exist some process of purgation by which man is fashioned into a creature worthy of entrance into the all-holy presence of God.

 Seen in this light, purgatory, contrary to the Protestant horror of it, is actually one of the most merciful aspects of God's love for us, and very consoling to the human heart. Since, in Catholic doctrine, sin is real and must be truly eradicated, not just "covered up," as in Protestantism, a change must occur in all of us sinners after death. Purgatory alone retains both God's loving and holy attributes as pertaining to the Judgment of each human being. A patient who has the assurance of recovery willingly endures the surgeon's knife or other unpleasant remedies. Purgatory is the vestibule of heaven. All of its sufferings are inflicted and endured in love. 

 The Catholic Church has not declared dogmatically whether or not there is "fire" in purgatory, and the "fire" might be metaphorical, yet the idea of refinement is present either way. There is no comparison between the sufferings in purgatory and those in hell. That in purgatory is temporary, is full of assured hope, it is willingly borne with resolve and patience, and accompanied with intense spiritual joy. The souls in purgatory can also pray and obtain blessings for those on earth, with great charity commensurate with their relative closeness to God.

Notworthy


#16

[quote=Holland]I have read a number of posts regarding Purgatory and from most accounts it almost sounds pleasant. When I was young the Nuns taught us that although Purgatory was a hopeful place to be because eventually you would go to Heaven, you would experience suffering because you could not see God. Anyone out there experience the same teaching? What is the OFFICIAL CATHOLIC version of the environment of Purgatory?
[/quote]

Officially, purgatory is painful. Either literally or figuratively “a cleansing fire … a purifying fire” (CCC 1031), a place of “temporal punishment” (CCC 1498).

Officially (yet not de fide definita), Pope Clement VI (1342-1352) taught that the souls in purgatory…

“… will be tortured by fire for a time and that as soon as they are cleansed, even before the day of judgment, they may come to the true and eternal beatitude which consists in the vision of God face to face and in love.” (Denzinger 570s)

Doesn’t sound pleasant to me. :nope:

But I’m thinkin’ hell is worse. http://pics.livejournal.com/hardvice/pic/000506wq


#17

I think purgatory is like knowing exactly what each of your sins did, the affect it had upon yourself and more revealing, the affect it had upon others. That’s a painful lesson, I think.


#18

Oh my gosh Dave, your happy face is on fire!

I find that although my sins are forgiven through the Sacrament of Penance, some of the memories of those sins and the effect on others comes creeping back. It stands to reason in Purgatory you will have to go over all that stuff.


#19

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