Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Purgatory by C. Pio

Posted by C. Pio on the The Catholic Point

ProudtobeanINC: Could you give us a light what Purgatory is? And where is that in the Bible? For I believed, PURGATORY ONLY BECAME CATHOLIC DOGMA AT THE COUNCIL OF TRENT IN THE 16TH CENTURY.
Well, the word purgatory does not appear anywhere is Sacred Scripture (so with the word Holy Bible). On the charge that Only became Catholic Dogma at the Council of Trent?  The term cell was first coined in the 1660's by Robert Hooke, does it mean that prior to 1660 our body has no cells? (read my article Catholic Church Council)
Sacred Scripture is not a handy-type encyclopedia wherein you can find all specific term you are looking for.
Now, the fact that a word does not appear in scripture does not categorically exclude the truthfulness of the doctrine it conveys. So, given that the term Purgatory is no where to find in the Bible but the substance or essence of this Doctrine is very evident in Sacred Scriptures.
Matthew 12:32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
Here Jesus implies that some sins will be forgiven in the age to come. We know that sin cannot be forgiven in Hell and there is not need for any sin to be forgiven once you are in Heaven. There must be some other place where sin CAN be forgiven after this age or this life.
1 Corinthians 3:11-15 For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble — each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
What could be Apostle Paul referring to? He can’t be referring to hell, because it’s clear that the people who undergo this purifying fire will be saved, while those who are in hell are lost forever nor he can’t be referring to heaven, because he mentions the suffering of loss, while in heaven every tear will be wiped away [Rev. 21:4]
Matthew 5: 25-26 Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.
All these passages in Sacred Scripture speaks of a “place” that is neither Heaven nor Hell where the process of purification before Heaven is attained. We call it Purgatory.
So what is Purgatory?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines Purgatory as:
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. The Church gives the name purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned" (CCC 1030–1). 
It is a place where already saved souls are cleansed of the temporal effects of sin before they are allowed to see the holy face of Almighty God. Revelation 21:27 tells us that "…nothing unclean will enter [Heaven]."
Purgatory is NOT another chance to be saved. Once death occurs, you are either saved or not saved. It is a place where the process of Purgation or the final cleansing for the already saved occurred [the Final Theosis or final purification before entering into heaven. It is an intermediate state between life in this world and Heaven in which the soul is purified.]
1 Corinthians 3:15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
Hebrews 12:29: "For our God is a consuming fire."
1 Peter 1:7 The  genuineness  of  your  faith,  more  precious  than  gold  that is perishable  even  though tested by  fire, may  prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Zechariah 13:9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried. They shall call on My name and I will answer them.
This process was already described in the book of Prophet Isaiah:
Isaiah 6:1- 7: In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
Concept of purification after death and praying for the Dead:
The Pre-Christian times
The concept of purification after death and praying for the dead dates back to the Jews of pre-Christian times as contrary to what anti-Catholic believe.
Allow me to quote here what Mr. Peter Kreeft said about Judaism:
All Christians are spiritually Jews, said Vatican II, echoing St. Paul. Christianity subtracts nothing from Judaism, but only fulfills it.
This is the point of the “Jews for Jesus,” who insist that a Jew who becomes a Christian does not lose anything Jewish but completes his or her identity. When a Hindu or a pagan becomes a Christian, he is converted. When a Jew becomes a Christian, he is completed. [in his article: Comparing Christianity and Judaism]
(a) the place between Heaven and Hell
The School of Shammai (Rabbi Shammai (50 BC - AD 30), one of the two main teachers of early rabbinical Judaism) describes how one’s destination is decided
There will be three groups on the Day of Judgment: one of thoroughly righteous people, one of thoroughly wicked people and one of people in between. The first group will be immediately inscribed for everlasting life; the second group will be doomed in Gehinnom [Hell], as it says, “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to reproaches and everlasting abhorrence” [Daniel 12:2], the third will go down to Gehinnom and squeal and rise again, as it says, “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried. They shall call on My name and I will answer them“[Zechariah 13:9] [Babylonian Talmud*, tractate Rosh Hashanah 16b-17a] [Religious Facts: Judaism http://www.religionfacts.com/judaism/beliefs/afterlife.htm]
(1) one that is completely righteous,
(2) one that is completely wicked,
(3) and one that is in between.
* It is worth noting for that this Babylonian Talmud is also used by no less than our Lord Jesus Christ in Matt.23:2. The term Moses seat in Matt.23:2 cannot be found anywhere in the Old Testament but can seen in Babylonian Talmud.
Gan Eden and Gehinnom
The place of spiritual reward for the righteous is often referred to in Hebrew as Gan Eden (GAHN ehy-DEHN) (the Garden of Eden). This is not the same place where Adam and Eve were; it is a place of spiritual perfection.
...Only the very righteous go directly to Gan Eden. The average person descends to a place of punishment and/or purification, generally referred to as Gehinnom (guh-hee-NOHM) (in Yiddish, Gehenna), but sometimes as She'ol or by other names. According to one mystical view, every sin we commit creates an angel of destruction (a demon), and after we die we are punished by the very demons that we created. Some views see Gehinnom as one of severe punishment, a bit like the Christian Hell of fire and brimstone. Other sources merely see it as a time when we can see the actions of our lives objectively, see the harm that we have done and the opportunities we missed, and experience remorse for our actions. The period of time in Gehinnom does not exceed 12 months, and then ascends to take his place on Olam Ha-Ba.
Only the utterly wicked do not ascend at the end of this period; their souls are punished for the entire 12 months. Sources differ on what happens at the end of those 12 months: some say that the wicked soul is utterly destroyed and ceases to exist while others say that the soul continues to exist in a state of consciousness of remorse. http://www.jewfaq.org/olamhaba.htm#Gan
(b) Praying for the Dead
Kaddish is commonly known as a mourner's prayer, but in fact, variations on the Kaddish prayer are routinely recited at many other times, and the prayer itself has nothing to do with death or mourning. The prayer begins "May His great Name grow exalted and sanctified in the world that He created as He willed. May He give reign to His kingship in your lifetimes and in your days ..." and continues in much that vein. The real mourner's prayer is El Molai Rachamim, which is recited at grave sites and during funerals.
Why, then, is Kaddish recited by mourners?
After a great loss like the death of a parent, you might expect a person to lose faith in G-d, or to cry out against G-d's injustice. Instead, Judaism requires a mourner to stand up every day, publicly (i.e., in front of a minyan, a quorum of 10 adult men), and reaffirm faith in G-d despite this loss. To do so inures to the merit of the deceased in the eyes of G-d, because the deceased must have been a very good parent to raise a child who could express such faith in the face of personal loss.
Then why is Kaddish recited for only 11 months, when the mourning period is 12 months? According to Jewish tradition, the soul must spend some time purifying itself before it can enter the World to Come. The maximum time required for purification is 12 months, for the most evil person. To recite Kaddish for 12 months would imply that the parent was the type who needed 12 months of purification! To avoid this implication, the Sages decreed that a son should recite Kaddish for only eleven months.
A person is permitted to recite Kaddish for other close relatives as well as parents, but only if his parents are dead.
Early Christian:
The Acts of Paul and Thecla
"And after the exhibition, Tryphaena again received her [Thecla]. For her daughter Falconilla had died, and said to her in a dream: ‘Mother, you shall have this stranger Thecla in my place, in order that she may pray concerning me, and that I may be transferred to the place of the righteous’" [Acts of Paul and Thecla [A.D. 160]] 
"The citizen of a prominent city, I erected this while I lived, that I might have a resting place for my body. Abercius is my name, a disciple of the chaste Shepherd who feeds his sheep on the mountains and in the fields, who has great eyes surveying everywhere, who taught me the faithful writings of life. Standing by, I, Abercius, ordered this to be inscribed: Truly, I was in my seventy-second year. May everyone who is in accord with this and who understands it pray for Abercius" [Epitaph of Abercius [A.D. 190]]

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