Tag Archives: Fire

Existence of Purgatory

 

Both reason and faith tell us that there is a middle ground of expiation, where the soul is cleansed from all stain of sin before it can enter the glory of heaven. “There shall not enter into it anything defiled” (Apoc. 21:27). Christ said, “Amen, I say to thee, thou will not come out from it until thou hast paid the last penny” (Matt. 5:26). Even persons who deny the existence of purgatory instinctively pray for their loved ones who have died. This would be great inconsistency if their reason did not tell them that their prayers would do the dead good. Prayers are useless for those in heaven or hell.

    What is purgatory? –Purgatory is a place of temporary punishment for those who die in the state of grace, but are guilty of venial sin, or have not fully satisfied for the temporal punishment due to their sins.

  1. Purgatory is a middle state where souls destined for heaven are detained and purified. Souls in purgatory cannot help themselves, for their time for meriting is past. But they can be helped by the faithful on earth, by prayers and other good works.In some places, at eight o’clock at night, the church bells sound, to admonish the faithful to pray for the souls in purgatory. This hour is in commemoration of Christ’s prayer in the garden. We should then kneel and pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and the Requiem aeternam: “Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them,” etc. 
  2. Belief in the utility of praying for the dead automatically includes belief in the existence of purgatory. If there were no purgatory, it would be useless to pray for the dead, because saints in heaven need no help, and those in hell are beyond aid.And we can be sure there will be no more purgatory after the General judgment; because the reason for its existence will have passed. 
  3. Purgatory is a place of temporary punishment for those who have died in venial sin, or who have not fully satisfied God’s justice for mortal sins already forgiven.
       

    1. A boy steals an apple from a stall in the market; this is a venial sin punishable in purgatory. Some argue that God is a good God, and will not punish such slight sins with the pains of purgatory. We must remember, nevertheless, that the judgments of God are different from those of men, as His holiness is far above human holiness.“My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are exalted above the earth, so are my ways exalted above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts.” Let us reverence God’s holiness and justice, as we have loving confidence in His mercy. 
    2. A man commits a cruel murder. This is a mortal sin which, unrepented and unconfessed, will send him to hell.The man repents, confesses, and obtains absolution for his sin; the guilt therefore is removed. But justice requires that he make up for the evil he has done; this atonement takes place in purgatory, unless he makes full satisfaction before death.

     

  4. The doctrine of purgatory is eminently consoling to the human heart. It consoles us when our loved ones die. Purgatory is a bond of union making us realize that death is not an eternal separation for the just, but only a loss of their bodily presence.Purgatory gives us an assurance that we are still in touch with our beloved dead. We are consoled by the knowledge that we can still help them with prayer, as in life we so helped them.
    Is the doctrine of the existence of purgatory reasonable? –The doctrine of the existence of Purgatory is not only reasonable, but its negation is eminently contrary to reason; it is taught in Holy Scripture, and has been taught by the Church from the very beginning.

  1. The doctrine of a middle state of purgation is taught in the Old Testament,and was firmly believed in by the Hebrews.After a battle, Judas Machabeus ordered prayers and sacrifices offered up for his slain comrades. “And making a gathering, he sent twelve drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection. For, if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead. And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness had great grace laid for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins” (2 Mach. 12:43-46). 
  2. When Our Lord came on earth, He purified the Jewish Church of all those human changes that with the years had crept into its usages and beliefs. But He never reproved anyone for belief in a middle state of purgation, or prayers for the dead.On the contrary, Christ more than once implied the existence of purgatory. He said “And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this world, or in the world to come” (Matt. 12:32). When Our Lord said that a sin will not be forgiven in the next life, He left us to conclude that some sins will be thus forgiven. But in the next life, sins cannot be forgiven in heaven: “There shall not enter into it anything defiled” (Apoc. 21:27). Neither can sins be forgiven in hell, for out of hell there is no redemption. They must therefore be forgive middle state, Purgatory. 
  3. Belief in the existence of Purgatory is a continuous and solemn teaching of the Church. From St. Paul, the early Fathers, the Doctors of the Church, on through the ages, the Church has taught the existence of Purgatory, and the correlated doctrine of the usefulness of praying for the dead.From the beginning Christians prayed for the dead at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The oldest books used at Mass contain prayers for the dead.The doctrine of Purgatory was given solemn definition by the Council of Trent as follows: “There is a purgatory, and the souls there detained are assisted by the suffrages of the faithful, but especially by the most acceptable, sacrifice of the altar.”

    This dogmatic definition contains three points of faith that all Catholics are compelled to believe: (a) that there is a purgatory; (b) that after death souls suffer there for their sins; (c) that the living can extend assistance to such souls.

     

  4. Reason demands belief in the existence of purgatory. If a man dies with some slight stain on his soul, a sin of impatience, or an idle word, is he fit to enter heaven? God’s sanctity forbids it: “There shall not enter into it anything defiled” (Apoc. 21:27) . But must such a soul be consigned to hell? God’s mercy and justice forbid it.Therefore reason concludes the existence of a middle and temporary state of expiation, where the soul is cleansed from all stain of sin before it can be admitted into the perfect holiness and bliss of heaven. “Amen, I say to thee, thou wilt not come out from it until thou hast paid the last penny” (Matt. 5:26). 
  5. Among nearly all peoples there has persisted a belief that souls must undergo some sort of purification after death. This would point to the doctrine of purgatory.The Greek story of Prometheus implies a place of purgation. The Egyptians and others believed in the transmigration of souls. Legends and myths of all nations, as well as burial customs, indicate belief in the possibility of helping the dead.
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​The Holy Ghost

Eighth Article of the Apostles’ Creed

 

 

“And when the days of Pentecost were drawing to a close, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a violent wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as of fire, which settled upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in foreign tongues, even as the Holy Spirit prompted them to speak” (Acts 2:1-4).

    Who is the Holy Ghost? –The Holy Ghost is God and the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.

     

  1. Christ often spoke of the Holy Ghost.

    One of the most solemn occasions was when He Charged the Apostles: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19).

     

  2. On certain occasions, the Holy Ghost appeared in visible form. When Christ was baptized by John the Baptist, the Holy Ghost appeared in the form of a dove. On Pentecost, the Holy Ghost descended with a mighty rushing wind, and rested over the Apostles in the form of tongues of fire.

    These signs are symbolic of the action of the Holy Ghost. The form of a dove symbolizes the gentleness with which the Holy Spirit works in our souls. The rush of wind represents the strengthening of the will. The fire representszeal, fervor, and the illumination of the mind.

     

  3. The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son.

    This does not mean that the Holy Ghost began to exist later in time than the Father and the Son. He proceeded from them from all eternity; He is to them as warmth is to fire, existing and proceeding at the same time. There can be no fire without warmth; if there were an eternal fire, there would be an eternal warmth. So since there are the eternal Father and Son, there is the eternal Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the eternal, mutual love that the Father and Son bear each other; but instead of being mere feeling, He is a Person, a Being, God.

     

  4. The Holy Ghost is equal to the Father and the Son, because He is God.

    True God as the Father and the Son are, the Holy Ghost is eternal, all-knowing, almighty. The Third Person is called Holy Spirit, from the Latin word spiritus, a breath. He was breathed forth by the Father and the Son. In English we also call Him Holy Ghost. Other names used to refer to the Holy Ghost are: Advocate, Paraclete, Consoler, Comforter, Substantial Love, Spirit of Truth, etc.

    What does the Holy Ghost do for the salvation of mankind? –The Holy Ghost dwells in the Church as the source of its life, and sanctifies souls through the gift of grace.

     

  1. Although all Divine works depend on all Three Persons, we attribute the work of sanctification to God the Holy Ghost, because He is the oneness of love of the Father and the Son, and the sanctification of man by grace reveals that boundless love.

    “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16).

     

  2. After Baptism, we have the Holy Ghost in our hearts and He remains with us as long as we have no mortal sin on our souls. This is the gift of “sanctifying grace”.

    Then we say that the Spirit of God dwells in us. We should therefore treat our body with great reverence, for it is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Ghost is given in a very special manner in the sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Orders.

     

  3. The Holy Ghost is the source of the life of the Church. He consoles, guides, and imparts strength to it, as Christ promised.

    “The Church was filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 9:31). “Many things yet I have to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will teach you all the truth” (John 16:12-13).

    When was the dwelling of the Holy Ghost first visibly manifested in the Church? –The dwelling of the Holy Ghost in the Church was first visibly manifested on Pentecost Sunday, when He came down upon the Apostles in the form of tongues of fire.

    After the Ascension, the Apostles together with the blessed Virgin and disciples, men and women, numbering about 120 persons, gathered in the Cenacle, the upper room in Jerusalem where the Last Supper had been taken. There they spent the time in prayer, awaiting the fulfillment of Our Lord’s promise: “Wait here in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).

     

  1. Jesus had promised to send the Holy Ghost to the Apostles. He said at the Last Supper: “It is expedient for you that I depart. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7) . On Pentecost, ten days after the Ascension, the Holy Ghost descended on the Apostles and disciples.

    On Pentecost three thousand members were baptized after the preaching of St. Peter. Many believed, because the Apostles had the “gift of tongues’ that is, they spoke in one language, but those of different races who listened heard what was said in their own different languages.

     

  2. We celebrate the descent of the Holy Ghost today as Pentecost Sunday, ten days after Ascension Thursday, fifty days after Easter. Pentecost means fifty.

    The nine days in the Cenacle while the Apostles and disciples waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit were spent in prayer, the first novena in the Church. “All these with one mind continued steadfastly in prayer with the women and Mary, the mother of Jesus” (Acts 1:14). In imitation of that first novena, it is our custom today to make novenas especially in preparation for great feasts. We also make novenas of petition or thanksgiving.

    How long will the Holy Ghost dwell in the Church? –The Holy Ghost will dwell in the Church until the end of time.

    “I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to dwell with you forever, the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16-17)

     

  1. The Holy Ghost watches over the Church, protecting it from destruction. From the beginning the Church spread very rapidly. At the death of the Apostles, in spite of persecutions, it was known in all parts of the then civilized world. Thence it has spread to the ends of the earth.

    St. Paul could say: “Yes, indeed, their voice has gone forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world” (Rom. 10:18).

     

  2. The Holy Ghost gave testimony of Christ, and strengthened the Apostles to give testimony of Christ.

    Our Lord said, “But when the Advocate has come, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness concerning me. And you also bear witness” (John 15:26,27). By His descent, the Holy Ghost proved that all Jesus Christ had said and done was true, that He was indeed the Son of God. After the coming of the Holy Ghost, the Apostles gave testimony of Christ by going all over the world, (Acts 1:8), preaching and suffering for Christ, meeting death joyfully (Acts 5:41; Rom. 8:18) , saying, “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.”

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.
God Bless BJS!!