Sunday, November 02, 2014
All Souls Day and Purgatory  

On the Feast of All Souls, Holy Mother Church urges us to remember our brothers and sisters who have passed away, but are not yet prepared to behold the Lord because of the effects of the stain of sin that have not yet been fully cleansed from their souls. Through our prayers and sacrifices, we can help them to be purified and enter into the Beatific Vision.

Purgatory is perhaps one of the most misunderstood doctrines of the Catholic Church. Despite the many ideas about what the teaching is, the actual doctrine is quite beautiful and makes perfect sense in light of other truths of the Faith. God is all holy and nothing unholy can be in His presence. When we die, we have made a choice to be with Him or to not be with Him. Even if we have chosen to be with the Lord and have repented of our acts of rebellion against Him, we might not have addressed the consequences of our wrong actions.

The example is often given of a boy who is told by his father that he should not play baseball in his back yard because of the risk of breaking something with his baseball. After he he refuses to obey and actually breaks a window with the baseball, there are two effects to his disobedience. First, he has disobeyed his parent and damaged that relationship, and second he has broken a window. To address the former effect, the boy apologizes to His father, and His father forgives him. The boy intends to not disobey his father again and play baseball in the back yard. The relationship with his father is repaired. The second effect of the broken window might be addressed in several ways including the boy helping in some way to repair the window.

The example illustrates the double effect of our sin. Sin always damages the relationship between us and our Heavenly Father. If it is serious sin, the relationship is broken and must be repaired through the Sacrament of Confession. However, there is a second effect to the sin that also needs to be addressed. For instance, stolen goods must be returned. Also, we are effected. Yes, through reconciliation we have a pure soul once again, but because of our sin, we might, for example, be more inclined, rather than less inclined to commit that sin or another sin. If we had resisted that sin in the first place, we would have strengthened our will rather than weakened it.

In this life, there are opportunities for us to repair the damage caused by our sin through penance. However, it might be that we do not complete this damage repair before we die. Purgatory is the place where we will complete that purification of our souls. In His mercy, God grants us the opportunity to be purified. Let us pray for those who await the completion of their purification in Purgatory.


Posted by David at 7:30 AM  |  Comments (0)  | 


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