Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Year of Faith 16: On Purgatory

Year of Faith 16: On Purgatory: From the very word itself, it means that a certain time for cleansing should still happen to a faithful who still has to undergo temporal punishments for his forgiven sins at the time of his death. It follows that after temporal punishments have been served, the soul will now enter God's Kingdom.
We also believe that we can pray and do good works for those souls in 
Scriptures is rich with passages encouraging everyone to pray for the dead. These in themselves anchor the belief. Tradition does not define how and where purgation happens. It just teaches that purgatory exists and those detained there maybe aided by the prayers and good works of the faithful. Other possible explanations and positions that are not sound and do not add to the advancement of ones relation to God specially those that only satisfy idle-curiosity, superstition, or money-making is prohibited.
It does give a sign to the faithful and the theologians to reflect more on this doctrine. Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger thought that it is impossible the moment of this encounter in our terms. It is neither long nor short in terms of Physical time. He stressed that its true measure should be taken in terms of the depth of the resistance in the human person that must be broken down or "burned" away in the encounter of the divine.
Thus, the purgation process is not seen as a paying of debt caused by sin more than a maturation of the human person who had died.
The doctrine makes a lot of sense since God is a forgiving God. Many Catholics now question the dynamics of sin and forgiveness. If God will certainly forgive us of our sins, why avoid sin? Justice expressed in temporal punishment is the answer. Justice requires that even if we have been forgiven, we still have to undergo purgation from the effects of those sins and justification. The less the sins, the faster will be our maturation in purgatory.
The human body is a perfect analogy of this. If we want to be cleansed physically of unwanted toxins and substances, we have to undergo a certain cleansing. We may not be using the word "purgation", but it is actually what we are doing for our bodies as it happens too for our souls!

No comments: