Visions of Purgatory

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convertmjh

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As a Protestant converting to Catholicism, purgatory has been the hardest doctrine to deal with. The doctrine of purgatory makes perfectly good sense to me however I struggle with the private revelations of the saints. The saints describe purgatory as a firery dungeon rather than the vestibule of heaven. Do we take these private revelations word for word and is there literal fire in purgatory? Instead of being comforted to know that there is a place/process to finish the work on my character after I die, I am terrified of purgatory and the punishments it entails.
 
I think there are two issues included in your post. From my perspective the most important issue is your journey towards becoming Catholic. From the tone of your post it seems you are prepared to accept the teachings of the Church as they relate to purgatory. Congratulations! If this is the hardest issue for you on this journey, and you can already accept it, then I will pray that your decision to convert will be yes.

The second question is what does Purgatory look like. I can tell you that private revelations do not have to be believed by those who did not receive them for their salvation. They are not considered a part of the Church’s deposit of Faith. While the images you have read about may not be pleasant, remember that if you already accept the truth of purgatory then the reality of purgatory will not change depending on if you become Catholic. (that’s an awkward sentence, I hope you can understand what I’m trying to say.)

Also, remember, that while purgatory isn’t pleasant in the way you would define the term, those in purgatory have a huge advantage, they know they are going to go to Heaven. That must be a huge comfort.
 
Well, I certainly agree with everything that Charles said, except that some private revelations are incorporated into the Church’s teachings. For example, the private revelations of St. Faustina have brought about an entirely new movement in the Church. However, it is important to note that not all private revelations are accepted by the Church, and you should always do research. However, from all that I have read, Purgatory is not a wonderful place. The soul is scourged by fire, it is in this purification that we are made worthy of the kingdom of heaven. I doubt very much that purgatory even remotely resembles hevean except that in Purgatory, there is hope and knowledge of eventual eternal happiness, in Hell, there is no hope. For more information on purgatory, I encourage you to read this article. newadvent.org/cathen/12575a.htm

May God continue to bless you, as I know that he already has, by bringing you home to the Catholic Church.
 
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convertmjh:
As a Protestant converting to Catholicism, purgatory has been the hardest doctrine to deal with. The doctrine of purgatory makes perfectly good sense to me however I struggle with the private revelations of the saints. The saints describe purgatory as a firery dungeon rather than the vestibule of heaven. Do we take these private revelations word for word and is there literal fire in purgatory? Instead of being comforted to know that there is a place/process to finish the work on my character after I die, I am terrified of purgatory and the punishments it entails.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1 ESV)
 
Congratulations on your journey into the Catholic Faith! I think sometimes we are scared of purgatory because (naturally) we are scared of pain.

I have been dealing with a chronic illness for nearly four years now, and sometimes I have a great deal of pain. Through this, I am learning to offer my pain to God for the redemption of souls, as well as for the release of souls in purgatory.

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.” Colossians 1:24

When we join our sufferings to Christ, He helps us get through them. I’d like to think it will be the same in purgatory, only we are so much closer to Him then. Also, because we will have no physical bodies, our suffering will be different than anything we’ve endured on earth. It is a purification.

A good friend of mine, Sr. Rosann, told me this way back in college when I was struggling with purgatory. She said that when we meet Jesus, we want to be sparkling clean; just like if the Pope came to our home, we would be cleaning and preparing for days! So it will be as we prepare to meet our Savior face to face, only we are cleaning our souls!

I don’t think it is anything to fear, because Jesus loves us so much, that anything we endure is only for our own good. Just as our parents have to let go in order for us to learn some hard lessons that may cause us pain; so Our Heavenly Father uses suffering to help us learn of the great love He has for us, and the value of “loving others so much it hurts” as Mother Teresa said.

Hope this helps! :getholy:
 
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pauljmaxmi:
some private revelations are incorporated into the Church’s teachings. For example, the private revelations of St. Faustina have brought about an entirely new movement in the Church. However, it is important to note that not all private revelations are accepted by the Church, and you should always do research.
Thanks Paul, I did not think about this. I suppose another example would be the Fatima prayer which many of us now include with our Rosaries.

Ric,

Purgatory a myth? How so?
 
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Charles:
Ric,

Purgatory a myth? How so?

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1 ESV)

Please read the pariable about Lazarus, a beggar who died and went to Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:19-31). The passage illustrates these truths: (1) destiny is settled at death; (2) no purgatory awaits the righteous; and (3) man has sufficient warning now.​

**Philippians 1:23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; (NIV)

2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. (NIV)**

Paul desired to leave this life and “be with Christ.” Death for him would not be a catastrophe. Paul’s expression here indicates that he did not foresee a soul-sleep while awaiting the resurrection, nor any purgatory. As he had already explained to the Corinthians, absence from the body means immediate presence with the Lord (2Co 5:8).​

There are some thoughts. 👍
 
Ric, your right there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ and remain in him, but remember that purgatory is not condemnation. Just as the church teaches, I beleive that once a person dies, his destiny is decided at that exact moment. However, it is possible for a chrisitan to die with unforgiven sins (which do not lead to death, as it says in 1 John 5) that need to be accounted for before they enter heaven. After all, nothing unclean will enter heaven as Rev 21 says. Purgatory is a discipline by God done out of Love just as any father disciplines his child to make his child a better person. In this case, it is our infinitely perfect Father, purging us from any stain of sin that remains so that we may be in His glory. This is why St. Paul say in 1 cor 3, that some will be saved, but only as through fire. (what would your interpretation of this passage be?)
Also, St. Paul would have good reason to believe that he was righteous before the Lord and could see Him immediately. But I don’t want to put myself on the same level as Paul, an apostle of Christ. Recall in Revelation 1:17 where holy St. John fell down at Jesus’ feet as though dead when cathing sight of him. If John reacts in this way how much more will we in the presence of our Lord who will not allow any imperfection into heaven.
 
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germys9:
St. Paul would have good reason to believe that he was righteous before the Lord and could see Him immediately. But I don’t want to put myself on the same level as Paul, an apostle of Christ. Recall in Revelation 1:17 where holy St. John fell down at Jesus’ feet as though dead when cathing sight of him. If John reacts in this way how much more will we in the presence of our Lord who will not allow any imperfection into heaven.
1 Timothy 1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (NIV)

Right, I too don’t want to see myself on the same level as Paul was, but sad to say that I am! I am the worst of sinners out there, but because I am now saved I have no fear of my earthly death for at that moment in time I will be with my savior Jesus Christ in Heaven.
 
For those who don’t believe in Purgatory can you explain these passages:

Hebrews 12:14 “Strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”

Hebrews 12:22-23 "No, you have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and countless angels in festal gathering, and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven, and God the judge of all, and the spirits of the just made perfect"
sounds alot like the doctrine of purgatory.
 
Ric,

off the subject, but how do post my original message like that and then type your message below.

I don’t dispute the degree of anyone’s state before they are converted to Christ, but I still believe one christian can be closer to Christ than another christian. My point was that after Paul was converted by Christ to become an apostle of Him, he dedicated every last part of his life to Him even unto death. I truly think I would die for Christ if it came to that (as it did for Paul) but who knows what would happen in that moment. I’m weak. After all, the apostles were given thrones in heaven by Jesus himself in the gospel of Matthew so it would be safe to say that they might of had a greater confidence than I sometimes have. Honestly, if I died tonight, I can not say that I have no doubt in my mind that I am perfect enough to go straight to heaven, no questions asked.
 
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germys9:
Ric,

off the subject, but how do post my original message like that and then type your message below.
Just click the quote button in the lower right hand corner. 🙂
 
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germys9:
Ric,

I don’t dispute the degree of anyone’s state before they are converted to Christ, but I still believe one christian can be closer to Christ than another christian. My point was that after Paul was converted by Christ to become an apostle of Him, he dedicated every last part of his life to Him even unto death. I truly think I would die for Christ if it came to that (as it did for Paul) but who knows what would happen in that moment. I’m weak. After all, the apostles were given thrones in heaven by Jesus himself in the gospel of Matthew so it would be safe to say that they might of had a greater confidence than I sometimes have. Honestly, if I died tonight, I can not say that I have no doubt in my mind that I am perfect enough to go straight to heaven, no questions asked.
Well I can say that I am perfect enough to go straight to Heaven no questions asked if I were to die tonight. But keep in mind that it’s not my perfection - but it’s Christ’s perfection covering me to the point where Jesus can and will state to the Father that “I know Ric” and He will let me in Heaven. Remember that Jesus is our mediator - and that has more to do than being a mediator of prayer - He is also my advocate between me and the Father and on the bases of His perfection I am allowed into Heaven. How can one suffer a mythical place of purgatory when we are covered by Christ’s own blood? Christ is perfect and on that bases we are allowed into Heaven!

Praise Jesus! 👍
 
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Ric:
Well I can say that I am perfect enough to go straight to Heaven no questions asked if I were to die tonight. But keep in mind that it’s not my perfection - but it’s Christ’s perfection covering me to the point where Jesus can and will state to the Father that “I know Ric” and He will let me in Heaven. Remember that Jesus is our mediator - and that has more to do than being a mediator of prayer - He is also my advocate between me and the Father and on the bases of His perfection I am allowed into Heaven. How can one suffer a mythical place of purgatory when we are covered by Christ’s own blood? Christ is perfect and on that bases we are allowed into Heaven!

Praise Jesus! 👍
We are getting off the subject of purgatory and onto another subject (which I wouldn’t mind talking about either) but there is still no response to my two bible passages. Here’s another I would like an explanation for:

1 Cor 3:15 “But if someone’s worked is burned up, that one will suffer loss; the person will be saved,** but only as through fire.”**

and just two more questions - if when we are clothed with Christ (which by the way is through baptism, Gal 3:27), and are therefore hidden in his perfection, then why does that passage above say that we will not see the Lord without achieving some level of holiness? Why would we need to strive for anything, if everything we do is hidden by Christ’s perfection?
 
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germys9:
We are getting off the subject of purgatory and onto another subject (which I wouldn’t mind talking about either) but there is still no response to my two bible passages. Here’s another I would like an explanation for:

1 Cor 3:15 “But if someone’s worked is burned up, that one will suffer loss; the person will be saved,** but only as through fire.”**
First let me ask what is burned up in the fire?

1 Corinthians 3:15 If any man’s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire. (NASB)

Those Christians whose works stand the test of fire (1Peter 1:7) will be rewarded (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-27). Those whose works are consumed by the fire will themselves escape the flames (as if they were jumping out of the burning wooden structure they had built) and be saved, but without any works of praise to present to Christ.
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germys9:
and just two more questions - if when we are clothed with Christ (which by the way is through baptism, Gal 3:27), and are therefore hidden in his perfection, then why does that passage above say that we will not see the Lord without achieving some level of holiness? Why would we need to strive for anything, if everything we do is hidden by Christ’s perfection?
And a true mark of one that is saved is obedience to Jesus Christ.
 
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Ric:
First let me ask what is burned up in the fire?

1 Corinthians 3:15 If any man’s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire. (NASB)

Those Christians whose works stand the test of fire (1Peter 1:7) will be rewarded (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-27). Those whose works are consumed by the fire will themselves escape the flames (as if they were jumping out of the burning wooden structure they had built) and be saved, but without any works of praise to present to Christ.

And a true mark of one that is saved is obedience to Jesus Christ.
But wait a second. If we go straight to heaven after we die, there can be no test. No one can suffer any kind of loss whatsoever in heaven. Rev 21:27 says nothing unclean will enter heaven. Whether the works or the man is passed through fire, that would suggest that something entered heaven that was unclean which is a direct contradiction to the passage above.

Even if I take your interpretation on this passage, I still have no answer for “spirits of just men made perfect” - if they are just, then we know they are saved, yet where or when are they made perfect?

and obedience to Christ is a life-long process.
 
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germys9:
But wait a second. If we go straight to heaven after we die, there can be no test. No one can suffer any kind of loss whatsoever in heaven. Rev 21:27 says nothing unclean will enter heaven. Whether the works or the man is passed through fire, that would suggest that something entered heaven that was unclean which is a direct contradiction to the passage above.

Even if I take your interpretation on this passage, I still have no answer for “spirits of just men made perfect” - if they are just, then we know they are saved, yet where or when are they made perfect?
Now we are getting somewhere! Correct, there is no tests after we die - only judgement. These “test” as you call them all happen here on the Earth while we are still alive.
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germys9:
and obedience to Christ is a life-long process.
No doubt! But for a Spirit filled Christian the ability to obey is increased greatly!
 
I am new to this forum, but I believe Ric sounds like a fundamentalist and may just be picking at your faith. Beware of fundamentalist who pose as Catholics.
 
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