… or, What the Heck is Purgatory?
नतिजा? There Are Always Consequences!
Purgatory is not an alternative to heaven or hell. It is a temporary state through which some souls must pass to receive a final purification before entering heaven (देख्ने प्रकाश को बुक 21:27). As the Second Vatican Council taught, purgatory exists because “even when the guilt of sin has been taken away, punishment for it or the consequences of it may remain to be expiated or cleansed” (Indulgentiarum Doctrina 3).
त्यसै गरी, यो क्याथोलिक चर्चका Catechism राज्यहरु, “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven” (1030, पृ. 268). “In purgatory,” writes apologist Karl Keating, “all remaining love of self is transformed into love of God” (Catholicism, पृ. 190).
The Church takes seriously Jesus’ command in मत्ती 5:48 to “be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” and holds fast to The Letter to the Hebrews’12:14 that teaches, “Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”
यसबाहेक, the Church accepts the biblical truth that spiritual perfection is required for admittance into heaven, for per our above reference to the Book the Revelation (21:27), “nothing unclean shall enter it.”
वास्तबमा, God’s refusal to allow Moses to cross into the Promised Land as punishment for his infidelity is consistent with this belief (देख्न व्यवस्था 32:48).
त्यसैगरि, one of the more stinging stories in scripture well illustrates this notion forgiveness and consequences. It is the story of Kind David and the prophet Nathan as they discuss David’s misdeed with Bathsheba in the शमूएलको दोस्रो पुस्तक, 12:1-14:
2 शमूएल 12
|12:1||त्यसपछि प्रभु दाऊदलाई नाथन पठाइएको. र उहाँले तिनलाई आएका थिए जब, उहाँले तिनलाई भन्नुभयो: "दुई पुरुष एक शहर थिए: एक धनी, र अन्य गरिब.|
|12:2||धनीमानीहरूले मानिस धेरै धेरै भेडा र बैलों थियो.|
|12:3||तर गरिब मानिस सबै केहि थिएन, एक सानो भेडा बाहेक, जसमा उनले किनेको र nourished थियो. र तिनले उसलाई अघि हुर्केका थिए, सँगै आफ्नो बच्चाहरु संग, आफ्नो रोटी देखि खाने, र आफ्नो कप देखि पिउने, र आफ्नो Bosom मा सो. र तिनले उसलाई एउटा छोरी जस्तै थियो.|
|12:4||तर एक निश्चित यात्री धनीमानीहरूले मानिस आएका थिए जब, आफ्नै भेडा र बैलों देखि लिन neglecting, त्यो यात्री लागि भोज प्रस्तुत हुन सक्छ भनेर, जो आएका थिए, उहाँले गरिब मानिसको भेडा लिए, र उहाँले तिनलाई आएका थिए मानिस लागि खानाको तयार पारे। "|
|12:5||त्यसपछि दाऊदको indignation कि मानिसको विरुद्धमा अति enraged थियो, र उहाँले नाथन भन्नुभयो: "प्रभु जीवन रूपमा, यस गरेको छ मानिस मृत्युको एक छोरा छ.|
|12:6||उहाँले भेडा चार गुना पुनर्स्थापना पर्छ, उहाँले यो शब्द गरे किनभने, र उहाँले दया लिएनन्। "|
|12:7||तर नातान दाऊदलाई भने: "तपाईं त्यो मानिस हो. त्यसैले प्रभु भन्छन्, इस्राएलका परमेश्वरले: 'म इस्राएलको राजा रूपमा अभिषिक्त, र म शाऊल को हात बाट तपाईं उद्धार.|
|12:8||And I gave the house of your lord to you, and the wives of your lord into your bosom. And I gave the house of Israel and of Judah to you. And as if these things were small, I shall add much greater things to you.|
|12:9||त्यसैले, why have you despised the word of the Lord, so that you did evil in my sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword. And you have taken his wife as a wife for yourself. And you have put him to death with the sword of the sons of Ammon.|
|12:10||यस कारण, तरवार आफ्नो घर देखि फिर्ता हुँदैन, पनि perpetually, किनभने तपाईंले मलाई अवहेलना गरेका छन्, र तपाईं Uriah को हित्ती को पत्नी लिएका छन्, त्यसैले उनले आफ्नो पत्नी हुन। 'गर्न सक्छ भन्ने|
|12:11||अनि त, यसरी प्रभु भन्छन्: 'हेर, म आफ्नो घर देखि तिमी माथि दुष्ट उठाउनु हुनेछ. र म आफ्नो आँखा अघि टाढा पत्नीलाई हुनेछ, र म आफ्नो छिमेकीलाई तिनीहरूलाई दिनेछु. र उहाँले यस सूर्य को दृष्टि मा पत्नीलाई सुत्न हुनेछ.|
|12:12||तिमी चुपके हुन्थे लागि. तर म इस्राएलका सबै को दृष्टि यो शब्द गर्नेछ, र सूर्य को दृष्टि मा। ' "|
|12:13||दाऊदले नातान भन्नुभयो, "म प्रभु विरुद्धमा पाप गरेका छौं।" अनि नातान दाऊदलाई भने: "प्रभु पनि आफ्नो पाप लगिएको छ. तपाईं मर्न छैन.|
|12:14||यद्यपि साँच्चै, किनभने तपाईं निन्दा गर्न प्रभुको शत्रुहरूलाई अवसर दिइएको छ, किनभने यो शब्द को, तपाईं जन्म भएको थियो जसले छोरा: उहाँले मर्नेछन् मरिरहेका। "|
Forgiveness and Consequences
The story of Bathsheba and David and Nathan tells us a great deal about the nature of sin and the mercy of God. David, who is the Lord’s beloved king and could seemingly do no wrong, committed a horrible sin. God was eager and willing to forgive and restore, but there had to be consequences.
Consequences for sin and the effects of sin are often debated among Christians. We may wonder, what exactly are the effects and consequences if, वास्तबमा, all sin was atoned on the cross? Every sin that has ever been committed by humans was atoned by the sacrifice of Christ himself, but that doesn’t mean that the effects of sin are negated–certainly not in this life. Think of any number of sins (and crimes) like murder, arson and assault. They all have very long-lasting earthly implications. त्यसैले, forgiveness then, does not necessarily mean that the consequences are removed.
क्षमा, yet Punishment
To understand how punishment could remain even after one’s sins have been forgiven, it is necessary to distinguish between eternal र temporal punishment.
यो eternal punishment for sin is hell. One is saved from this punishment by God when he–the sinner–repents and confesses those sins. Yet even after a person is forgiven, temporal punishment may remain which also must be expiated.
विचार, उदाहरणका लागि, the husband who is unfaithful to his wife. Feeling remorse, he resolves to change his ways and confess what he has done. His wife, in her goodness, forgives him, तर, it may be a long time before she will trust him again. He will need to regain her trust, to heal the wound he has caused in their relationship. When we sin we hurt our relationship with God and others.
These wounds must be healed before one enters into heaven. पक्कै, this healing occurs by the grace of God through the merits of Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross. Purgatory, हुनत, as well as the penances we do on earth, are God’s ways of allowing us to participate in the healing process as we take responsibility for the wrong we have done.
To be clear, Purgatory has nothing to do with the forgiveness of sin because the sins of the souls in purgatory have already been forgiven. त्यसैले, it is false to claim the Church’s teaching on purgatory involves earning God’s forgiveness. फेरि, these souls are saved, but their entry into heaven is delayed. As Saint Paul noted in his कोरिन्थीहरूलाई पहिलो पत्र, “When we are judged by the Lord, we are chastened so that we may not be condemned along with the world.” “For the Lord disciplines him who he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (देख्नुभएको हिब्रूहरूलाई पत्र 12:5-6 र 5:8-9).
Carl Adam perhaps gave the most succient description of purgatory as follows;
The poor soul, having failed to make use of the easier and happier penance of this world, must now endure all the bitterness and all the dire penalties which are necessarily attached by the inviolable law of God’s justice to even the least sin, until she has tasted the wretchedness of sin to its dregs and has lost even the smallest attachment to it, until the perfection of the love of Christ. It is a long and painful process, “so as by fire.” Is it real fire? We cannot tell; it’s true nature will certainly always remain hidden from us in this world. But we know this: that no penalty presses so hard upon the “poor souls” as the consciousness that they are by their own fault long debarred from the blessed Vision of God. The more they are disengaged gradually in the whole compass of their being from their narrow selves, and the more freely and completely their hearts are open to God, so much the more is the bitterness of their separation spiritualized and transfigured. It is homesickness for their Father; and the further their purification proceeds, the more painfully are their souls scourged with its rods of fire…
Purification and Cleansing
While every Christian considers himself a sinner, at the same time he believes he will be free of sin (and even the inclination to sin) in Heaven. त्यसैले, a purification process must exist after death, by which the soul prone to sin is transformed into a soul impervious to it.
There are many Scripture passages that allude to a form of expiation of sin after death.
The Notion of Purgatory in the Old Testament
In the Old Testament there is the account of Judas Maccabeus who “made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin” (देख्नुभएको Second Book of Maccabees 12:46).
यो Book of Sirach, 7:33, राज्यहरु, “Give graciously to all the living, and withhold not kindness from the dead.” Both the Second Book of Maccabees र Sirach are included among the seven deuterocanonical books, which many non-Catholics reject. Yet even if one does not believe these books to be inspired by God, he should at least consider the historical witness they provide. They affirm the ancient Israelites’ practice of praying for the souls of the deceased. This is substantiated by शमूएलको दोस्रो पुस्तक 1:12, which tells us David and his men “mourned and wept and fasted until evening for (the soldiers of the Lord) because they had fallen by the sword.”
Paul utters a prayer for the dead in his तिमोथीलाई दोस्रो पत्र, saying of his deceased friend Onesiphorus, “May the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord that Day” (1:18).
The most explicit Scriptural reference to purgatory also comes from Paul’s कोरिन्थीहरूलाई पहिलो पत्र:
|3:11||कुनै एक लागि कुनै पनि अन्य जग राख्नु गर्न सक्षम छ, कि जो ठाउँमा राखे गरिएको छ, जो ख्रीष्ट येशूको छ.|
|3:12||तर कसैले यो जग मा निर्माण गर्छ भने, कि सुन, चाँदी, बहुमूल्य पत्थर, काठ, त्यहाँ, वा stubble,|
|3:13||प्रत्येक एक काम प्रकट गरिनेछ. प्रभुको दिन को लागि यो घोषणा गर्नेछ, किनभने यो आगो द्वारा प्रकट हुनेछ. र यो आगो प्रत्येक एक काम परीक्षण हुनेछ, यो कस्तो छ रूपमा.|
|3:14||जो कोहीले काम भने, जो त्यो मा निर्माण गरेको छ, रहलपहल, त्यसपछि उहाँले एक इनाम प्राप्त हुनेछ.|
|3:15||जो कोहीले काम अप जलाइएको छ भने, उहाँले आफ्नो हानि भोग्नेछन्, तर उहाँले अझै पनि सुरक्षित गरिने, तर केवल आगो मार्फत रूपमा.|
पद 13 refers to Judgment Day, when our works will be made known. The gold, चाँदी, and precious stones in verse 12 represent meritorious works; the wood, त्यहाँ, and stubble, imperfect works.
Both cases involve a Christian building upon the foundation of Jesus Christ. In the first case, the work the Christian has carried out in life survives judgment and he goes directly to his heavenly reward, अर्थात्, पद 14. In the latter case, the Christian’s work does not survive and he “suffer(को) loss,” हुनत, by God’s mercy, is not himself lost but saved “as through fire” in verse 15.
मा मत्ती 12:32 Jesus seems to imply there is reparation for sin beyond death: “Whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (जोड थपियो). See Pope Saint Gregory the Great, Dialogues 4:40 and Saint Augustine, परमेश्वरको शहर 21:24 for related material.
अन्य ठाउँमा, Jesus implies that some of the deceased shall undergo varying degrees of temporal punishment (देख्न लूका 12:47-48).
Early Christian References to Purgatory
Inscriptions found at ancient gravesites such as the Epitaph of Abercius Marcellus (रूपमा. 190), उदाहरणका लागि, beg the faithful to pray for the deceased.
Awaiting martyrdom in a dungeon in Carthage in the year 203, Vibia Perpetua prayed daily for her deceased brother, Dinocrates, having received a vision of him in a state of suffering.
Shortly before her death, it was revealed to her that he had entered into paradise. “I knew,” she remarked, “that he had been released from punishment” (The Martyrdom of Perpetual and Felicitas 2:4).
Most profoundly, we see the early Christian practice of offering the Eucharistic Sacrifice on behalf of the dead. Tertullian (घ. रूपमा. 240), उदाहरण को रुपमा, revealed how the devout widow prays for the repose of her husband’s soul, अनि कसरी “प्रत्येक वर्ष, on the anniversary of his death, she offers the sacrifice” (Monogamy 10:4).
आफ्नो Sacramentary, dating to the mid-fourth century, Serapion, the Bishop of Thmuis, beseeched God, “on behalf of all the departed,” to “sanctify all who have fallen asleep in the Lord (Apoc. 14:13) and count them all among the ranks of Your saints and given them a place and abode (यूहन्ना 14:2) in Your kingdom” (The Sacramentary, Anaphora वा Prayer of the Eucharistic Sacrifice 13:5).
So Where Does that Leave Us?
Some might ask, “If one must be perfect to enter Heaven, who then can be saved?” When the Apostles posed the same question to Jesus, उहाँले जवाफ, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (मत्ती हेर्न 19:25-26).
As Catholics, we would argue that possibility exists through Purgatory.