[quote=PMV]Because the purification is done by suffering. Do you consider that not to be a punishment?
When a tobacco smoker experiences nicotine withdrawal when “kicking the habit”, is that punishment? Have you ever seen an alcoholic suffer from the DT’s when getting off the bottle? The sweats, tremors and terror in the eyes of narcotic addicts who can’t get a fix? I have, and it is true suffering, but not “punishment” in the sense you are using it here.
It appears that you would agree that “punishment”, is a descriptive term that carries far too much retributive baggage. God is not “paying us back”.
There are thousands of other examples that could be used to illustrate the discomforts we undergo when ridding ourselves of attachments to this world.
Both the OT and the NT include referencing to putting our hands to the plow and never looking back. Imagine yourself laying on your deathbed, surrounded by friends and family. The more longing you have for remaining in this world, the more attachments to this world you must be lose in purification.
If we had to depend upon ourselves for the sanctification, or purity, necessary to attain heaven, how many of us would make it? God, in His mercy, cleanses us sufficiently to make the grade.
CCC: 1472 To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church, it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the “eternal punishment” of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the “temporal punishment” of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain.
CCC: 1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:
As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come
—St. Gregory the Great, Dial. 4, 39: PL 77, 396; cf. Mt 12:31.
My question to you, PMV: Since scripture tells us that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven in the age to come (Matt. 12:31), just what sins WILL be forgiven in the age to come? How will this be accomplished? Why in the age to come and not now?
More to come in bite-sized morsels.
Peace in Christ…Salmon