Purgatory/Guilt


#1

I have recently fell into mortal sin after many years of avoiding it. I had/have a lot of guilt. I am now going through some health problems. I do not know for sure if these two things are related. Is it true that if we go through enough “Hell on earth” this relieves us of some or all of our purgatory later or do we all have to go through some form later? That we can work off our Purgatory here? I believe it has to be easier here whether we think so or not when we go through it or not. The fire, etc… that I think scares me. Maybe it’s all because I think of Purgatory as a punishment rather than a cleansing, a punishing cleasning? Is this wrong thinking? I ask I guess because I am not sure if what I am now going through now could be my “time already served” purgatory or if I am somehow sub-consiously putting my self through it? I think I also have a tendency to hold on to some of the guilt so I don’t fall again. Is this just my warped thinking, or??? If it is, how do you let yourself off the hook without falling again? The same temptations are there, the physical problems are adding to them, and that may have contributed to my falling again in the first place, it may be an excuse, I do not know at the moment. The phyiscal problem has been building and I was not as aware of it at the time as I am now. Does this make any sense and can anyone help???


#2

[quote=janiegirl]I have recently fell into mortal sin after many years of avoiding it.
[/quote]

You didn’t actually say it, but I presume you have gone to Confession? If you have not, that must be your #1 priority!

I had/have a lot of guilt.

If you have been to confession, you should not experience feelings of guilt. Do you mean to say ‘regret?’ We may ‘regret’ our errors all our life, but we should not feel guilty about them. If you have feelings of guilt following Confession, you should seek spiritual council.

I am now going through some health problems. I do not know for sure if these two things are related.

There is no question that mind, soul, and body are related - whatever impairs one may impair all three. But there are many causes of sickness that aren’t a result of personal sin. Many great and devout Saints have suffered terrible sickness (St. Therese, for example), and many sinful folks live physically healthy lives.

Is it true that if we go through enough “Hell on earth” this relieves us of some or all of our purgatory later or do we all have to go through some form later? That we can work off our Purgatory here?

Everything we do has a spiritual dimension (either for good or bad). Suffering is no different in this regard. But the effect depends on our disposition. If we accept suffering in a spirit of humility with the proper intent (as Our Lord did) then it has beneficial effect. It is possible to deal with suffering differently, which would have a negative impact.

I believe it has to be easier here whether we think so or not when we go through it or not. The fire, etc… that I think scares me.

Most theologians agree (although the Chuch has never taught) that it’s MUCH easier here. But your imagry of Purgatory (a hell-like place) has never been taught by the Church, and that imagry is presently out of favor with most theologians.

Maybe it’s all because I think of Purgatory as a punishment rather than a cleansing, a punishing cleasning? Is this wrong thinking?

A great visionary Saint said, “The most miserable soul in purgatory is happier than the happiest soul on earth.” If you find yourself in purgatory - rejoice!, for you salvation has been assured!


#3

Our suffering on earth may only count if we accept it properly while in the state of grace. It is a penance, which requires contrition for all our sins. To restore the life of grace we must obtain absolution for our mortal sins from a priest in confession.

I definitely agree, based on testimonies of saints.

There are different levels, from what has been privately revealed. The upper levels have no fire. Yes, the lower levels involve tortures unimaginable, and it is as if they were in hell, but with hope of release.

Matthew 5:26 Amen I say to thee, thou shalt not go out from thence till thou repay the last farthing.

Don’t punish yourself, because that won’t count insofar as it is self-willed. It is better to humble yourself and accept what God sends, even if that means He makes you die now to suffer it in purgatory. Only doing God’s will can make you happy, anyway. But we must ask for God to allow us to serve our purgatory on earth. I recommend practising some devotions to reduce purgatory time. Do you know how to find these online?

Do not hold onto guilt to prevent falling. You are only fueling your self-will, which caused you to fall in the first place. To prevent falling, ask God to give you more love for Him. That is the only way. Beg Him for mercy. Do the Divine Mercy novena and chaplet. Rely on Him to make a response to your request to lift you from sinful tendencies. Ask constantly throughout the day, even as wrong thoughts enter your mind. Treat it like a garden you have to weed continuously. Cultivate flowers, pull weeds. Put effort into fostering virtue and removing vice. You can’t do it yourself; just point out the problem areas to God with faith and persistence. Knock and it shall be opened unto you.

Justice and obedience. God deserves that you should obey Him because He made you and deserves to see us behave in a manner pleasing to Him. Meditate on that point.
Read scripture, foster a spiritual life of dependence on God in your mind and heart - especially your thoughts, since your words and actions only come from your thoughts initially. Bad habits started with a bad thought and need to be removed with great effort. But utilizing the basic decision to serve God out of a sense of justice, you can appeal to Him for strength to obey Him, and you can receive this help in miraculous ways according to your will to pay attention.

Have you sought a confessor? Go to confession as soon as possible and ask advice on these particulars. Temptations usually remain until you stop desiring what you are being tempted on, unless God is allowing you to be tested to prove some virtue you have. Either way, it is a sign to call on God. Draw closer to God in your thoughts and desires, and mortify your fleshly desires by fasting and abstaining. Keep away from occasions that would lead you to fall. Seek to do it because God deserves it from you, and you will find favor in His eyes. If you can’t find it in you to serve God in that way, then at least do it out of fear of punishment, although that is a lesser good reason. But don’t avoid it by threatening yourself with guilt-trips, because you feed the seed of wickedness and envy. Overcome that by overcoming any envy or grudges you might feel toward others (they are related).

hurst


#4

Have you ever gone to a party or dinner and realized that you were way underdressed? Maybe you wore jeans and a t-shirt, and everyone else was in suits or formal dresses. It’s not a perfect analogy, but Purgatory is kind of like that. You see right away that you are not spiritually dressed for the occasion of Heaven and you see what you need to attone for in order to get you into the right state.

One other thing I’ll offer is to read this link rosary-center.org/ll49n2.htm

We can use our suffering in this life to help others get dressed for the occasion. It’s a big giving of self, and Christ really appreciates that charity of heart.

Finally, and most importantly, go to Christ in the confessional…then go to Him in the Eucharist. I’ll pray for you at mass, today.


#5

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.