Do You Believe in Purgatory

January 9, 2012

Visions of Heaven Hell and Purgatory

In the Catholic Church, the Mystical Body of Christ consists of three Churches: The Church Militant – we the faithful who dwell on earth, The Church Triumphant – the elect who are in the presence of the Beatific Vision in Heaven, and The Church Suffering – those who are no less members of the Body but who are in Purgatory.

We want to talk of Purgatory, The Church Suffering.  Those souls who dwell in Purgatory are more privileged than those who dwell on earth, in that they are assured of entering into the Kingdom of God one day; whereas, those who are part of the Church Militant are vulnerable and have to fight the wages of sin that are constantly ready to attack and drag them down to Hell.  The Church Suffering plays a compassionate role in God’s Plan to save His children for Himself.  For God has always loved us; and as He is unchanging, His Love is unchanging; and part of that unchanging Love is Purgatory.

Even the renowned pagan philosophers, Plato and Virgil spoke of Purgatory.  Plato taught that souls who had lived a fairly good life, who had walked the middle road, were enclosed in a place where they were purified of their sins.  Virgil maintained that souls couldn’t free themselves of the sins they had committed while they were alive, and therefore had to go to a place where there was pain and where they suffered to atone for the sins of their past life.

What we have believed from the very beginning, right from the Old Testament till today, holds true for all time:

(1) Souls who are in Purgatory are those who have died in a state of Grace but have not been purged (cleansed), have not paid unresolved debts owed for offenses committed during the soul’s time on earth.

(2) Purgatory is the place where Poor Souls are washed clean of all remaining blemishes, all imperfections, venial sins and faults.

Those outside our Church, who do not understand Purgatory, and God’s Mercy in providing this gift to us, often argue there is no reference to Purgatory in the Bible.  Listen to Machabees in the Old Testament!  Hear what the Jews believed, and you will see that it was not only in life after death, but in the cleansing, necessary to free them of sin.

“On the following day, since the task had now become urgent,

Judas and his men went to gather the bodies of the slain

and bury them with their kinsmen in their ancestral tombs.

But under the tunic of each of the dead they found amulets sacred to the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear, so it was clear to all that this was why these men had been slain.  They all therefore praised the ways of the Lord, the just Judge Who brings light to the things that are hidden.  Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out.  The noble Judas warned the soldiers to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen.  In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death.

But if he did this with the view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought.

Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.” (IIMach 12:39-46)

Judas, the Machabean, was not satisfied with just recognizing the fallen with a grand funeral.  Seeing the sins that had been hidden, he commanded a collection be taken up among the remaining soldiers.  This he sent to the Temple in Jerusalem as an offering, so that sacrifice would be offered to wipe out the sins and transgressions they had committed against the law of the Jews, that of worshiping false idols.  Is this not what we do, when we have Masses said for the dead?

The Jews, who have faithfully followed the Old Testament for thousands of years, have always believed in purification in the next world.  The tradition, that of praying for the dead, has been passed down from generation to generation.  For example, a child is required to pray for his deceased parent, for one year, a prayer that is called “Kadis.” (pronounced Kadesh)  This prayer is so holy, so special, that one is never to recite this prayer except for the purpose of praying for a dead parent.  If there is no life after death, then why pray; it is all over; this world is all there is; their prayers are for no purpose.  Why pray?  If there is no remedy, no hope for the soul of the departed parent, or if there is no need for remedy, or if there is no place where the soul can be remedied, then why pray?

Another tradition is that of lighting candles for the dead, called “Yortsite” candles.  Now, if you do not believe in life after death and the resurrection of the dead, why would you light candles for them?  And if the Jews did not believe that there is a middle place between the earth and Heaven, that which we Catholics call Purgatory, then it would be foolishness to light.

St. Paulknew the Jewish Law.  When he was converted by the Lord, he used this knowledge of the law, to try to bring his brothers and sisters of the Hebrew Faith to the Messiah they had been awaiting, Jesus the Christ

Now, Paul had been a Pharisee.  Like them, he believed in a middle state between Heaven and Hell.   At one point, to explain the teaching of the Resurrection,St. Paulreferred to the Jewish custom of devoutly praying for the dead:

“If the dead are not raised, what about those who have themselves baptized on behalf of the dead?  If the raising of the dead is not a reality, why be baptized on their behalf?  And why are we continually putting ourselves in danger?  I swear to you, brothers, by the very pride you take in me, which I cherish in Jesus Christ our Lord, that I face death every day.  If I fought those beasts atEphesusfor purely human motives, what profit was there for me?  If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” (1Cor 15:29-33)

WhatSt. Paulwas saying was: If there is no resurrection, then why pray for the dead, why go through all the pious rituals for the dead?  Is he not also saying: If there is no place where the dead can be purified, why pray for the dead?  For if they are in Heaven, there is no necessity as they are already sanctified; or if they are in Hell there is no hope of sanctification, as they are already damned.  So, there has to be a place where the dead are forgiven; although he does not specifically use the word Purgatory, he is affirming a place of purification which we call Purgatory.

Purgatory and the New Testament

We hear Jesus speaking out about “getting angry,” that he who does so will be liable to judgment.  He warns:

“Lose no time; settle with your opponent while on your way to court with him.  Otherwise your opponent may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to the guard, who will throw you into prison.  I warn you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.” (Matt 5:25-26)

Again, is He not referring here to Purgatory?  Is Jesus not saying, make retribution here on earth rather than suffer the pains of Purgatory from which you will not be released until the debt is fully paid?

Hope did not die on the Cross.  From the Holy Cave of Jesus’ Heart, opened by the centurion’s sword, Hope came to us, once again.  Whereas in theCaveofBethlehem, Hope was born into the world, on Calvary, from His Side new Hope came into the world,MotherChurch.  We call that hope Purgatory.  And that’s how we will be saved, by this Hope!

We love You.

Bob and Penny Lord

http://www.bobandpennylord.com/bookbhhp.htm

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Do You Believe In Heaven?

January 7, 2012

A rainbow is a promise.  God our Father reaffirmed the promise He made about our Redemption in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:15) when Noah landed on the rock after having spent forty days and forty nights in the ark during the  flood.  The Lord stopped the rain, and gave us a double rainbow.

“God said: `Here is the sign of the Covenant I make between Myself and every living creature with you for all generations; I set My bow in the clouds and it shall be a sign of the Covenant between Myself and you and every living creature of every kind.” (Gen 9:12-15)

Our Lord Jesus fulfilled the promise that God the Father made.  As he committed to St. Dismas, the good thief, from the Cross, He also pledges to us:

“Indeed, I promise you, this day you will be with Me inParadise.” (Luke 22:43)

We believe that when we die, when we shake off this mortal coil, (William Shakespeare – Hamlet) we go to the next step in our eternal existence, from a physical, bodily life, to a new life, a new beginning.

We read that in Heaven we will know perfect happiness.  We will see God in His Beatific Vision, in the fullness of His Glory.  St. Thomas Aquinas, after having a vision of Heaven, stopped writing his Summa Theologiae, and stated to one of the brothers, “The end of my labors has come.  All that I have written appears to be as so much straw after the things that have been revealed to me.” (Butler’s Lives of the Saints )

Some questions most asked are: “How close to the Lord will I be in Heaven?  Will I know the Lord like the Saints know Him?”  It reminds us of the time when the mother of James and John asked of Jesus:

“Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at Your right and the other at Your left, in Your kingdom.” (Matt 20:21)

You recall He replied to James and John:

“…to sit at My right and My left, this is not Mine to give but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.”(Matt 20:23)

How well do you know Jesus on earth?  Is He your priority?  Who is your God?  Is it god with a small “g” or the One and true God with a capital “G” Whom you worship?  In Paul’s letters to the Romans, he answers this question most clearly:

“For those who live according to the flesh are concerned with the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit with the things of the spirit.  The concern of the flesh is death, but the concern of the spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:5-6)

How much time do you spend on matters of the spirit, of eternal life, in preparation for life with the Lord in Heaven?  And how much time do you spend on the preservation of the body, the flesh that is decaying and passing away?  It is the spirit which remains with us, our soul.

How much time do you spend getting to know Jesus?  Is it difficult to believe that it would come to pass that those who have loved the Lord more on earth will love Him more and have more of Him in Heaven?  As you cannot love someone you do not know, the more you have gotten to know Him on earth, the greater capacity you will have to love Him in Heaven.  It makes sense!  A thimble full of liquid is as full as a gallon jug.  One is not fuller than the other, but one takes in a greater capacity than the other.  The Mercy of God in Heaven is that you will never know what you are missing.  If you did, it would not be Heaven; it would not be perfect happiness.  We believe you will have the fullness of His Love, but is it to the fullness of how much you have loved Him?  No one really knows; but what do you think?

For me, I want to have the most of Him in Heaven and on earth that I, in my imperfections and weaknesses, can possibly have.  I walk confident, with faith in my Lord Jesus and inSt. Paul’s words which reassure us,

“And the One who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s Will.” (Romans 8:27)

Whatever He deigns to give me, I know I will be ecstatic, for I know that the love that He has for me, and for you, far surpasses our hopes and dreams.  He is the Cup of Love Which runs over.  We can not drink enough to empty the cup of never-ending love which He pours out to us.

To me, Heaven must be like when we are about to go on a pilgrimage.  Our pilgrimages have always been longer than just the weeks at the Shrines, because we are preparing months before, in anticipation of what is to come.  Do we look upon Heaven in the same way?  If we do, then we will be able to sample a little bit of Heaven right here on earth.  When we instruct pilgrims to prepare for their pilgrimage, we always suggest they read background material on the Saints or the Apparitions or perhaps the Miracles of the Eucharist so that when they arrive at the Shrine, they will know and understand more what the Lord has in store for them; and in so doing, will get so much more out of their pilgrimage.

Our time on earth is a pilgrimage to our final Home, with Heaven in our sights.  We need someone with experience to guide us on a pilgrimage to the Shrines.  What makes us think we can find our way to Heaven without assistance?  If you go on a pilgrimage which turns out instead to be a tour, with a guide who knows little about the Shrines and the Apparitions, the Saints and the Miracles, etc., then you will not receive all that the Lord, His Mother, the Angels and the Saints have prepared for you at the different Shrines.  Heaven is the Shrine, we all long to go to, where we will be in the company of the Lord and His whole Heavenly family.  Will we know Him and them?  As most of us studied long and hard to learn professions, so that we could live more fully our time on earth, do we not think it worth it to spend the rest of our lives learning about our Faith, so that we will live more fully our eternal time in Heaven?

Heaven and Holy Scripture

Heaven is mentioned frequently in Holy Scripture.

Jesus spoke of Heaven when He was delivering the Sermon on the Mount, in one of the Beatitudes:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 5:3)

Then in John’s Gospel, Jesus refers to Heaven as His Father’s house:

“In My Father’s house there are many dwelling places.  If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2)

In St. Peter’s epistle, we hear Heaven once again mentioned, as the crown of glory:

“And when the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” (Peter 5:4)

St. Paulmentions Heaven repeatedly, as he brings hope to us, for ourselves and our loved ones.  He also teaches what will be required from us to achieve that crown of glory:

“But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is alive because of righteousness.”

“If the Spirit of the One Who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the One Who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through His Spirit that dwells in you.” (Romans 8:10-11)

“The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”

“I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.” (Romans 8:16-18)

“Those He predestined He likewise called; those He called He also justified; and those He justified He in turn glorified.” (Romans 8:30)

Bob and Penny Lord

http://www.bobandpennylord.com/bookbhhp.htm

 


Is There A Purgatory?

May 24, 2011

Family, to answer your question right off the bat, yes, there is a Purgatory.  If you believe in Scripture, you can accept by the Scripture passages in this book, and the references to the Catholic Catechism, which are also Scripture-based, that there is indeed a Purgatory.  Now, let us explain what we mean.

Holy Mother Church, the Mystical Body of Christ consists of three parts: The Church Militant – we the faithful who dwell on earth, The Church Triumphant – those who have been washed by the Blood of the Lamb – the elect who are in the presence of the Beatific Vision in Heaven, and The Church Suffering – those who are no less members of the Body but who are in Purgatory. 

In this chapter, we want to talk of Purgatory, The Church Suffering.  Those souls who dwell in Purgatory are more privileged than those who dwell on earth, as they are assured of entering into the Kingdom of God one day; whereas, those who are part of the Church Militant are vulnerable and have to fight the wages of sin that are constantly ready to attack and drag them down to Hell.  The Church Suffering plays a compassionate role in God’s Plan to save His children for Himself.  For God has always loved us; and as He is unchanging, His Love is unchanging; and part of that unchanging Love is Purgatory.

The three Churches commune together, praying for one another.  We call that the Communion of Saints.  The Church Triumphant prays for The Church Militant, who in turn prays for The Church Suffering.  We, the faithful who comprise The Church Militant, pray to the Saints in Heaven, The Church Triumphant, for their intercession and they, in turn, plead with the Lord on our behalf.  The Church Suffering cannot pray for themselves; therefore they cannot hope for the intercession of the Saints in Heaven without the faithful, The Church Militant, praying in their behalf.  However, once the Church Suffering becomes the Church Triumphant, after they have entered into the Kingdom, they in turn pray for the Church Militant, that’s us, especially those who prayed to get them out of Purgatory.

It is really awesome when you think of the integral part we play in God’s Symphony for Salvation.  When we think of the three parts of the Church as a grand philharmonic orchestra with God as the Conductor, we can better understand the Communion of Saints, and how each musician has to play his individual instrument in harmony with the rest, in order to achieve the perfect Symphony of Salvation that the Lord, the Perfect Composer has created from the beginning of the world. 

When we die and enter into the realm of Purgatory, we have the assurance that we are going to Heaven.  Our salvation is assured.  We are saved by the Blood of Jesus.  But we have time to spend in Purgatory.  Our first reaction should be, “Thank You Jesus, I’m saved.”  Our next reaction might possibly be, “But Lord, do I have a long time to spend in Purgatory?” 

Our loved ones will not know how long we’re going to be in Purgatory.  They may be assured that we’re saved, if we have made a contrite confession and have been absolved of our sins, but they do not know how much prayer we need and for how long, how many Masses and other means of atonement are necessary for the restitution due the Father.  In not knowing how much time we have to serve, they might have a tendency to forget about us.  Out of sight, out of mind.  They don’t mean to forget the Poor Souls, but the world creeps in, and priorities change.  Really important things have to be done, and before they know it, the friends or relatives they promised to pray for on a daily basis, are put on the back burner.  Not that they necessarily stop praying for the Poor Souls in Purgatory, but maybe they forget the friends who have died some time ago.  These may be the ones who need prayers the most. 

A very holy nun appeared to one of the Saints in this book, and asked for prayers, especially the Mass.  He replied, he never would have thought to pray for her; he was sure she was in Heaven.  She told him she was spending a great deal of time in Purgatory because she was not enthusiastic when she went to Eucharistic Adoration.  Not that she didn’t go, or didn’t spend her hour in reverence before the Lord, but that she just wasn’t excited about going.

 Don’t for a moment think that anyone doesn’t need your prayers.  That’s why a Guardian Angel always comes to you and whispers a name in your ear.  Those who died need Masses!  When we die, if you’re still on earth, be sure to pray for us.  We need prayers, not only now, but when we’re purging ourselves of all our past blemishes in Purgatory.  Say a Mass of thanksgiving that we made it into Purgatory, and then many many Masses that we get out of Purgatory.

Bob and Penny want each one of you to have a copy of their book, Visions of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory and we have a limited time offer at the link below

Go here to check out the offer on this book  www.bobandpennylord.com/bookbhhp.htm


Saint Frances of Rome and Purgatory

March 13, 2010

Saint Frances of Rome and Purgatory

From Visions of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory


Visions of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory book

St. Frances is led to the deepest Dungeon of Purgatory

The Angel brought Frances to the lowest level of Purgatory, to a a cavern filled with a roaring fire, its red-hot flames cutting through the black smoke that darkened the cave.  But as horrible as it was, Frances said it was not as hot as in Hell.  As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she could see bodies being plunged into what appeared to be a cauldron of raging fire, its flames enveloping them, pulling them down.  She was told that these were souls who had been guilty of committing serious sins, had confessed and were absolved of their sins by a priest, but had not satisfied the wrong done by their act against God.[1]

In this vision, she was told that for each mortal sin committed and forgiven, a payment of seven years of reparation[2] in Purgatory was necessary to erase it from the soul.  Since the damage done by each mortal sin affects the world differently, some more deadly and lasting, the length of time and punishment differs.  The type of pain and suffering measured out to each of these souls, was in proportion to the type of sin, the damage done by the sins, and the number of wounds inflicted on our Lord’s Sacred Heart by these sins.

In this level, she found the Poor Souls of the Laity and Religious, alike.  Those of the Laity were souls who had led a life of sin, and converted toward the end of their lives.  Conversion to the Lord and His Church is God’s gift to us, as only the Holy Spirit can convert men’s hearts.  As they had not paid their debt on earth, they had to clear the invoice due the Lord here in Purgatory.

The Souls of the Religious were those who had not kept the vows they had professed.  No sooner had this been explained to her than St. Frances saw the soul of a priest who was very well known.  He had a covering on his face, to try to hide the ugly blemish that had remained.  Now, this priest had led a truly priestly life, faithfully administering the Sacraments and pastoring his flock.  His only sin had been an intemperate need to gouge himself at mealtime, seeking his reward from God’s creation rather than God alone.

The Angel then led Frances to the Intermediate Dungeon

This region was reserved for those souls who had not sinned as seriously as those of the lowest dungeon, nor caused irreparable damage by their transgressions.  As their souls were not free from the ugly blemishes that are a result of sin, they were required to spend time in Purgatory; but because of God’s Justice they did not need to spend time suffering the intense punishment of souls in the dungeons below.  This dungeon had three compartments:

(1) The first was a cavern of ice, sharp icicles threatening the souls below.  It was incredibly cold in here.  She could see the poor souls trying to warm themselves to no avail, as ice seemed to be hemming them in, closing in on them, surrounding them; the walls, the floor, the ceiling, nowhere to get away from the endless freezing cold!

(2) Next, there was an underground prison of boiling oil and pitch.[3] The sickening odor of burning flesh filled the area.  She could see the Poor Souls, covered with black pitch, writhing in pain.  No matter what they did, they could not escape the boiling petroleum nor the sticky hot, black mess which clung to them.

(3) In the third and last level she saw Souls struggling not to drown in what appeared to be a pool filled with liquefied ore, resembling melted gold and silver.  Had these Souls attached too much importance to the rewards of the world, counting the Graces from the Lord as nothing in comparison?

The Saint visits the Upper Dungeon

Our Saint does not go into detail on this level of atonement, only that this is the place where the Poor Souls condemned themselves, upon seeing that one time[4] before the Lord, how they had transgressed against Him.  The more we study about Purgatory, the more I find myself asking the question, “Am I offending You, my Lord?” This is not so much from the viewpoint of suffering in Purgatory (my foremost desire being Heaven), but the thought of Jesus and how He will look, as my unrequited sins pass before me, the many times I failed to put Him first, the missed opportunities to love Him by loving my brothers and sisters.  Oh my Lord, how my heart breaks thinking I may have offended you!

The Souls in this dungeon have the anguish which the Poor Souls in Purgatory say is the most painful, the absence of the Beatific Vision.  Can you imagine knowing that your loved one is somewhere but you cannot see him or her?  Multiply that by a million-fold and you get a small idea of how it must be for those who, having seen Jesus that one time, can no longer see Him.  Oh, Lord, how we long to see Your Face!  The consolation of being in this place is that this is the last place before being united with Jesus, Mary and the whole Celestial Family; they know they are on their way.

For more Miracles about Purgatory click here

We have now edited many of the lives of the Saints and Marian Apparitions available as minibooks. Now known as Penny’s little treasures.


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