I believe God give us Grace that is over flowing because he loves us. I know we can fall or leave a state of grace by choosing to be in a state of sin. I also believe all that is needed to get back into a state of God’s grace is to be reconciled to God the source of all grace. Now that being said my question is about Divine Mercy Sunday and other traditions/prayers that offer a formula for plenary indulgence (free ticket to heaven). The way it seems is, we recite a certain prayer that has to be said a certain way and a particular amount of time and God will give us more grace or even in some cases a straight ticket to heaven. I believe we are saved by faith through grace. Now I know the back ground of such prayers I am not in need of a history lesson. I just don’t see why we have these prayers in our church. God loves us and wants us to be with him in heaven. He gives his mercy to us free, the only thing we need to do is accept it and truly make him lord over your life. I don’t care what kind of prayers of indulgence you pray, if the risen Christ is not the Lord over your life you will not be saved.
I believe God give us Grace that is over flowing because he loves us. I know we can fall or leave a state of grace by choosing to be in a state of sin. I also believe all that is needed to get back into a state of God’s grace is to be reconciled to God the source of all grace. Now that being said my question is about Divine Mercy Sunday and other traditions/prayers that offer a formula for plenary indulgence (free ticket to heaven). The way it seems is, we recite a certain prayer that has to be said a certain way and a particular amount of time and God will give us more grace or even in some cases a straight ticket to heaven. I believe we are saved by faith through grace. Now I know the back ground of such prayers I am not in need of a history lesson. I just don’t see why we have these prayers in our church. God loves us and wants us to be with him in heaven. He gives his mercy to us free, the only thing we need to do is accept it and truly make him lord over your life. I don’t care what kind of prayers of indulgence you pray, if the risen Christ is not the Lord over your life you will not be saved. How do you feel about these prayers that promise a free ticket to heaven?
Well the entire Christian message is that we have a free ticket to heaven. Christ gives it to us, and so long as we accept it, it is ours.
Now that being said, from reading your post, it sounds like you have a misunderstanding of what an indulgence is. I will give you a brief explanation and also provide a link to a longer but really very nice explanation.
All sin consists in at least one thing: the excessive turning toward a mutable thing. Sin which is mortal also consists of the turning away from the eternal God. So venial sin is the excessive turning toward some creature, and mortal sin is the turning away from God combined with turning toward a creature. For example, in adultery a person turns from God, and they turn toward sex. In a venial sin of pride, the person turns toward self, but they don’t altogether turn away from God; He is still their final goal in life, but their pride could be called a distraction.
As a result of this, sin results in two things: eternal punishment - which is seperation from God - and temporal punishment, as it is called. The infinite sin of turning away from the infinite God bears infinite punishment. However, the other aspect of sin is turning toward a finite creature, and so it bears not an infinite punishment, but a finite one. We can see this from common sense, but we can also see this in Scripture. For example, when King David sinned, there were two punishments. The first was eternal seperation from God. However, when he repented, a finite punishment did remain, and it resulted in the loss of his son. More importantly is the sin of Adam. The sin of Adam was the first sin, and it is the archetype and pattern of every other sin ever committed after that. In Adam’s sin, there were two punishments: Adam and Eve were cast out of God’s presence, but also it became very toilsome to produce food, and Eve took on the sufferings of childbirth. Here we see the infinite punishement - the loss of God - and the finite - the physical sufferings.
Now there is truly a sense in which these infinite and finite punishments are punishments in the judicial sense of the word, as when a person convicted of stealing goes to jail. However, the deeper sense of them is in the natural result of the sin, as opposed to a juridical penalty. In mortal sin, a person really does choose to have nothing to do with God, and so that person will be permitted to leave His presence for eternity. This is that turning away from the infinite God. Now that’s not really the problem, however. From what you say, you understand that much.
The other side of sin is the turning to some creature, and it bears the finite punishment, as I said. This punishment is an undue attachment to creatures. It flows from the very nature of sin. When we sin, whether mortally or venially, we are turning excessively to something created. We get attached to creatures by doing this. We spend our time fulfilling ourselves with stuff - for example food, sex, emotion, or posessions. Our souls get used to finding fulfillment in stuff, rather than in God. This is going to cause suffering. In life, we’re going to suffer because created things aren’t perfect. They let us down, run out, don’t go how we want them to, etc. So in life, we’re going to suffer from this attachment. It also is going to cause suffering when we die, because all these things that we found fulfillment in are going to be gone! Think of a person who has nothing in his life other than his girlfriend. He finds all his fulfillment in her. If she breaks up with him, he is going to suffer terribly. He’ll have absolutely nothing left.
This is what it is like when we die. We have spent our lives being, to one degree or another, fulfilled by stuff, and now that stuff is gone. God is there for us, and He is our true fulfillment, but our souls are not used to Him as they ought to be. They are used to food, money, and other things. Just like it takes the boyfriend some time to let go of his ex-girlfriend, it will take us time to let go of that stuff - we’re going to miss it, and the more we were attached, the more we will miss it. God doesn’t pull us away before we are ready - He doesn’t violate us, but allows us to detach from those things in our own time.
This is the concept of temporal punishment. This is what purgatory is for. This is where indulgences come in. An indulgence has nothing to do with getting into Heaven apart from Grace or anything like that. It’s got nothing to do with being forgiven of mortal sins. They must be repented of and brought before God for mercy in the Sacrament of Confession. Indulgences are not just blanket forgiveness of sins so that we don’t have to repent or receive Grace or anything like that. They won’t help us get into a state of Grace in any way. A person can only receive an indulgence if he is in fact in the state of Grace. An indulgence is simply when some of that attachment to sin - the temporal punishment - is removed. It will permit us to suffer less as we try to let go of all the created things we ere attached to.
… continued from previous post
How it works is not entirely understood. We know that it does, but we don’t grasp how God does this altogether. To begin to understand what we do know about them, you have to understand the concept of merit. To state it briefly, God allows us to merit Grace. Now we cannot ever merit the Grace to turn to God in the first place. In fact, any meriting we do is really just Christ meriting Grace in us by the Holy Spirit Who dwells in us. Basically, God has promised to reward the good acts of those who are in a state of Grace with further Grace. This is one of the things St. James means when he says “a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” The response to God’s Grace in which we have faith brings with it Grace, but the response to His Grace in which we do good also brings with it Grace.
Why this is, is a mystery. Why does He allow us to merit more, instead of just giving us our full share when we’re baptized? We can’t really say for sure. All we know is that God has chosen to give those who are in a right relationship with Him increasess of Grace based upon what we do.
When it comes to indulgences, the Church does basically the same thing. God has given her charge over dispensing Grace with the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and the power to bind and loose. One way Grace is dispensed by the Church is in the Sacrament of Confession. Another way is with indulgences. Just as God promises to reward the good acts of His saints with Grace, the Church chooses to reward certain acts with the Grace that we need to more easily detach from creatures. This is an indulgence. So for example, the Church promises to grant to those who perform the Divine Mercy indulgence Grace that will help them to more easily detach from creatures. As a result, they will not suffer as much when they die. If a person is completely detached from sin, meaning that he completely rejects it and doesn’t try to hold on to it at all, then the Grace is that of competely detaching from creatures. Therefore, a person would go to Heaven immediately after death without any purgation necessary.
It can certainly seem difficult to grasp why we have these things. Why does the Church do this? Why make this Grace dependant on doing this or on saying that? It’s really a matter of understanding God’s plan much more than of understanding the Church. He has chosen to make increases in Grace - not initial justification, not that first Grace, but that after - the reward for things. Even prayer is one of those things. Why does God give us the help to stop sinning when we pray for it? He knows we need it. Why on earth wouldn’t He give us the Grace to stop sinning right at baptism? Why make us pray for it? It would make much more sense from our perspective to just give it in the first place, so people would stop sinning!
Yet He is God, and He has His reasons, even if we don’t know what they are. So, in an indulgence, the Church, acting after God’s example, provides us the Grace to more easily detach from sin, thus limiting that suffering we will go through after death. Certainly one reason for the conditions necessary for an indulgence is that it makes us do spiritual things! When we seek to get an indulgence, we end up praying, going to Mass, or doing some good work. It ultimately serves as an encouragement to greater involvement with things of God.
Please ask any questions you have, and I’ll try to answer them. Sorry for the length! Here’s that article.
Peace and God bless!
Frankly, I don’t know how or why some of these things work. But in my opinion, we just have to know that we have been told to do them and if so we’ll receive special graces. The Divine Mercy and Rosary in particular, we have been told that indulgences and graces will be given for being faithful and devoted to these prayers. For whatever reason Jesus has for doing this, I’m not going to question, just be thankful He has given them to us.
And I don’t believe that they work by magic or that just doing them, going through the motions will give us the results. Any more than just doing the sacraments or going through the motions with them will help us. We have to believe and be open to the graces given, and be willing to use them to change ourselves in Christ. With any source of God’s grace, we must be open to them and respond to the graces given.
The Divine Mercy and the Rosary in particular are very appealing to me, and extremely beautiful. I think that it’s a great gift that we have been given, and we can intercede for others on their behalf through these prayers. Maybe that’s the point, just to get us to love and pray for others to expand our love and compassion for our fellow men and open ourselves to respond to those graces.
And something to think about. It may seem a bit strange or unfair that we’ve been given these gifts of grace, and even salvation. But the point is to get us to receive God’s grace and use these tools to grow closer to Him. In doing so, we might not be getting “get out of jail free” cards, but actually really changing ourselves to make us worthy of heaven in reality.
With all due respect, I think you’re missing the point. Don’t forget we’re talking about Temporal punishment here. All those in purgatory are confirmed in grace and assured heaven. They are saved. That being said, the idea of reducing that temporal punishment ultimately resides in the church’s binding and losening authority (Matt. chapter 16).
That great example of the child who breaks the persons window and the person forgives him. But the fact remains he has to repair the window. It is this repairing or temporal payment we’re talking about. Yes he is forgive. However, the church, by her authority given by Christ, has the power to qualify a holy work for that payment here on earth.
Now, certain conditions have to be met. We have to meet that work with contrition and detach ourselves from sin and be sincere before God. The true value of the action rest in our sincere sorrow before the God who sees all.
You have to understand that the Holy Spirit ratifies Peters/Benedict XVI’s decisions. Because in fact, the Holy Spirit works through him and all the bishops in union with him.
Take a look at Mother Teresa and let’s say a serial killer who has a sincere conversion on his death bed. Both going to heaven? Well, we can perhaps have a moral certitude in both cases. Both going to heaven at the same time? Probably not. Why? Remember that scripture that says every idle word will be accounted for…
This is where the church militants authority comes in by the mercy of God.
So far so good.
Okay, first you need to understand that an indulence does not remove sins; it simply removes the temporal punishment brought on by our sins. When we sin, we go to confession. There, are sins are forgiven and grace is restored. However, there are still temporal issues that exist. This is where an indulgence can help. For example, Johnny breaks the window of a neighbors house while playing ball. Johnny owns up to this and goes to the neighbor’s house and apologizes (Confession). The neighbor tells Johnny that he forgives him. Now however, there is still a broken window that must be dealt with. Indulgences can be used to lessen or possibly eliminate the temporal matter caused by our sin(s).
I noticed that you did not mention a need to confess sins. Does this mean that you believe that one simply needs faith that God will forgive his/her sins and he/she can skip things like baptism, confession, etc? Your profile says that you are Catholic. Forgive me if I offend you by asking this, but how is it you can rewrite dogma on these issues and still call yourself Catholic? If you don’t understand something, simply ask for an explaination, don’t go about suggesting that the Church is wrong.
Scripture says otherwise, as does the Church you claim to belong to.
Well whether you care or not really doesn’t matter much when it comes to what is and is not true. I would suggest that you study up on what indulgences are before you choose to oppose the Church and label them “a free ticket to Heaven”.
Either you are a Protestant who has lied (shesh) in his profile, or you are a Catholic who was poorly taught. Either way, I’ll keep you in my prayers.
I suggest you do some more studying on indulgences and plenary indulgences.
They are not “free ticket to heaven” prayers at all.
Thank you for answering my question. Let me make sure I have it right. These prayers don’t grant forgiveness but reduce time in purgatory. So in order for these prayers/traditions of plenary indulgence to be of any help we must first be reconciled to God!
I thought if we were reconciled to God we would go straight to heaven, but what I have take from your responses is that the effects our sin still have to be dealt with so we spend time in purgatory. So these prayers/traditions of indulgence such as divine mercy Sunday are useful in that they reduce time in purgatory. They are not a straight ticket for sinner to get to heaven, but are useful for the saved to shorten the effects of their sin, purgatory. In this case I am thankful they are in the church, but is this the case?
ps. Sorry if I’m not catholic enough for you and maybe I’m not a well educated catholic but I want to learn, that’s why I ask. and thats for the prayers.
You’ve got it, this is correct. Remeber, Our Lord says in Matthew 5:48 (at the very end of the sermon on the Mount) that to attain heaven: “48 “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
How many people can claim perfection when they die? None of us. So if none are perfect, but some can be saved, tho the way is narrow, but must be perfect to enter heaven, how exactly is perfection acheived? The Answer is purgatory.
Now, one other point I havent seen mentioned. To obtain a plenary indulgence, you must be free from all attachment to sin! This is obviously a very tall order, and IMO seldom reached. Thus a plenary indulgence is probably rarely given - we will have to ask the Manager when we get to His Office!
But! Our Lord promised St. Faustina that he would grant complete remission of sins for those who make the Divine Mercy sacrifice of prayer!!! What a promise! This is much greater than a plenary indulgence, and does not have the “attachment to sin” requirement! How good He is to us!
Referring to the first section in bold, you r comments in parenthesis cannot be equated with any type of indulgence. Salvation and indulgence are completely different.
As for the second section I put in bold, based on everything else you posted, I would have to disagree with you. Instead, I suggest you follow 1ke’s advice in his post above.
thanks for all the comments, I have been studying and starting to understand.
The opening post of this thread is a duplicate.
Please see this thread.
This is correct. I Cor 3:12-15 tells us that after a man dies his works will be tested by fire. And if they are lacking they will be burned up though the man may be saved. This is Purgatory. I heard someone once say that Purgatory was like the door mat before a great mansion. Before entering, one must ensure that their shoes are clean. Of course, in the case of Purgatory, it is not simply one’s shoes that must be made perfect but the entire individual. Again, indulgences granted will lessen or possibly omit one’s stay in Purgatory.
I apologize for coming off like that. I am too defensive and suspected that you were another Protestant trying to argue Church teaching. Perhaps I need a vacation from these forms for awhile. Take care and God bless.
Saved is one thing, washing way temporal punishment is another… Purgatory is filled with saved souls who most painfully long for heaven. Indulgences are a gift from God for those that show faith in accepting them. It all comes back around to helping us love God more; which none of us can do fully.
I think it’s important to remember about indulgences, even though we do them we never know for sure if we are granted them. And like someone said above, the requirements are pretty stiff and hard to follow. It may be the case that they are rarely given. But even we don’t earn them, it can only help us to do things like a Divine Mercy novena and reflect on God’s mercy and forgiveness. Even if we don’t gain them, we can still have gain just trying.
Keep up the questions johnpat. Sometimes the church can be confusing from the outside if we don’t understand what’s going on.
Thankyou guys for helping me understand this. The stange feeling I had about it is now gone and I am very comforable with these prayers. The reason i was unsettled about them was becuase I didnt know what indulgence were but now i do. From what I knew, there were just some promises attach to some prayers , some being plenary indulgence, which I thought was salvation. I am super glad to say that I was way wrong. I know I should just trust in the church, but at the same time I’m super glad i understand this now!!! :]