Purgatory Is Something That Happens, Not Somewhere We Go

I was reading an interesting article this morning, titled “5 Myths About Purgatory That Too Many People Still Believe (Maybe Even You!)“. It was a good read, but I got stuck on one point in the article that I feel needs a little clarification, if not minor correction…

Under the first myth, “Purgatory is a second chance at salvation”, the author writes,

Truth: At death, a person’s eternal destiny is sealed: he will either spend eternity in heaven or hell. Purgatory is a temporary place that people who are already assured of heaven may go to in order to prepare for heaven. So, once in purgatory, a person can’t alter their eternal destiny – there are no second chances after death.

The author quotes the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1030-1032, while describing the Catholic Church’s doctrine on Purgatory and is correct that there are no second chances after death, but makes an error when referring to Purgatory as a temporary “place” to be rather than a temporary “state” of being. Some may think these two things are the same, but they are far from being anything alike.

Once a person dies, their fate is sealed. Their eternal destiny is either Heaven or Hell, not Purgatory. Purgatory is not a “place” where someone goes for eternity. We must remember that Heaven and Hell exist outside of time and space, and once we die, so do we. While we all know that Jesus died for our salvation, we also know from Scripture that “nothing unclean can enter Heaven” (Revelation 21:27), so unless we die completely wiped clean of our sin, we must be cleansed before entering Heaven. How many of us can say that we have not sinned since the day we were “saved”? The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which relies on scriptural references, further defines the consequences of sin as well as the punishment and cleansing of those sins in paragraphs 1472-1473, which state:

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.

1473 The forgiveness of sin and restoration of communion with God entail the remission of the eternal punishment of sin, but temporal punishment of sin remains. While patiently bearing sufferings and trials of all kinds and, when the day comes, serenely facing death, the Christian must strive to accept this temporal punishment of sin as a grace. He should strive by works of mercy and charity, as well as by prayer and the various practices of penance, to put off completely the “old man” and to put on the “new man.”

The Catechism makes it clear that every sin, even venial sin, carries some amount of dirt that leaves temporal “stains” on our soul that must be cleansed before we are truly clean enough to enter Heaven. This temporal cleansing can occur here on Earth before we die or it may occur after we die when we enter the temporal state we call Purgatory. Purification of our souls is something that begins to happen, as soon as we die, when we enter the state of Purgatory, not the place of Purgatory.

Some may argue that the state of Purgatory does not exist, because it is not mentioned in the Bible, to which I would add that the word “Trinity” does not appear in the Bible either, yet most Christians believe in the Trinity. I would also ask why the thought of such a state for the purification of souls seems so offensive? Scripture clearly indicates that people were praying for the dead just before Christ became incarnate on Earth, as well as after he began his Earthly ministry. 2 Maccabees 12:43-46 states,

“He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection in mind; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be absolved from their sin.”

I find great comfort in knowing that Purgatory exists, because I know there is little chance that my soul will be purely, completely, cleansed before I die, and once I make it there I know that I will be spending an eternity with the God who created me. 🙂

Returning to Facebook…

As most of my friends already know, on Thursday morning last week my work account was disabled because someone reported it as a fake, or “spoof” account. When I verified it was a real account, Facebook then disabled the personal account I have had for more than 7 years, thereby removing all of my photos, all of our conversations, everything.

I waited a week, with two reports still “open” on Facebook’s end, with absolutely NO resolution, in fact, other than one response (107 hours afer reporting the issue) that said I needed to report the issue through “another channel” I have had no response from them at all.

So, here I am. I am back with a new account. If Facebook responds, and restores my previous account, I will be disabling this one to avoid anyone thinking that I am in any way, “fake”.

Now, to start adding friends again… Where do I begin?

First Response At 107 Hours

After 107 hours (just under 4 and a half days) I finally heard from Facebook. Their response stated,

Hi,

Thanks for contacting us. It looks like the report you submitted belongs in a different channel. Please log into your Facebook account and follow the on-screen instructions to report this issue.

Of course, my initial response to the entire issue was through the email they sent me notifying me that my account was disabled. I submitted a second case two days later (through the on-screen instructions when I attempted to log into my account), so maybe I will hear from them in the next day or so? Who knows. I sure miss the conversations I could have been having on Facebook. I hope to see you all there again soon…

Still Waiting…

Thursday morning I awoke to the sounds of email arriving on my phone. Apparently, one of my friends on Facebook reported my “work” account as a fake, or spoofed, account. I immediately responded to Facebook’s inquiry, sending them proof of my identity to verify that the account was indeed, not fake. It took nearly 8 hours for Facebook to restore my “work” account, but in doing so they removed my “personal” account. Yes, the very account I have had for nearly ten years was disabled immediately after providing evidence that my “work” account was genuine. Again, I responded to Facebook immediately, with proof of my identity.

I am still waiting.

It has been 72 hours since they disabled my “personal” account. I have sent two inquiries to Facebook, one on Thursday as I mentioned, and then a follow-up on Saturday. I have had no response yet. While I wait, features that are accessible in the mobile apps I have out there, as well thousands of photos, conversations, comments, memes, and other interesting content is in limbo. I pray this gets resolved soon, as I really do not want to “start from scratch”.

My Thought For The Day – Human Dignity & Politics

Being without sin, casting the first stone, and passing judgment on others has nothing to do with the politicization of human dignity.

The dignity of each human being is the foundation of the moral vision for our society and the measure of each individual, and institution, is whether they threaten or enhance the dignity of the human person.

Once we permit ourselves, or our politicians, to erode the basic respect for human dignity, we place other things, and other topics, above the importance of human dignity, above the value of others.

If we do not stand up for the dignity of every individual, and the value of that dignity, who are we as a people?

Seventy-Five

Today, my Aunt Sandy would have been 75 years old.


Sandra Ann Gove
November 20, 1940 – March 9, 2002

I miss you Auntie. We all miss you.