Friday, November 2, 2018

"We must say many prayers for the souls of the faithful departed, for one must be so pure to enter heaven."

Purgatory basically means that God can put the pieces back together again. That He can cleanse us in such a way that we are able to be with Him and can stand there in the fullness of life. Purgatory strips off from one person what is unbearable and from another the inability to bear certain things, so that in each of them a pure heart is revealed, and we can see that we all belong together in one enormous symphony of being. - Pope Benedict XVI: (served as Pope and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 2005 until his resignation in 2013)

Scripture Text: (WIS 3:1-9)
The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
they shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
and the LORD shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and his care is with his elect.

Today is the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, more commonly known as All Souls' Day. This is a day focused on the Church in Heaven, a day of holy opportunity to remember the souls of some of the departed, those still on the way, in a state of being purified, the Church in Purgatory.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, citing Pope St Gregory the Great, explains: "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." 

Catholic lay apologist James Akin calls purgatory the "boot camp of heaven." I like that analogy. No matter what your physical condition prior to entering the military, boot camp is to bring everyone to the same level of physical and mental fitness for service. The same can be said for heaven. To enter into the beatific vision, the immediate and intimate knowledge of God which the angelic spirits and the souls of the just enjoy in Heaven, one must be prepared.

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