Reflecting on Fr Kyle’s homily last Sunday, I thought I’d say a few words on Purgatory. Recall that last Sunday was November second, the feast of All Souls Day, the Commemoration for all the faithful departed. The day before we celebrated the feast of All Saints Day, celebrating all those faithful servants that have “attained the victory of Heaven.”
What’s the difference between ‘All Souls Day’ and ‘All Saints Day’ you say? The fundamental difference is that the Saints we are celebrating on Nov 1st are in heaven and therefore when we pray to them we are celebrating their accomplishment and asking them to pray for us and with us to Jesus. On Nov 2nd though, we are celebrating those souls that are destined for heaven but may be in the final process of being sanctified, ie Purgatory. We pray to God for their early release and/or to ease their suffering.
Paul said: “11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done. 14 If what has been built on the foundation survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If the work is burned up, the builder will suffer loss; the builder will be saved, but only as through fire.(1 Cor 3:11-15)
You’ll notice that Paul is speaking of the Day of one’s particular judgment where his works will be tested through fire on the day of his death, the Day. Paul is describing the method of purifying gold and precious metals and tying it to burning impure works and leaving behind the true works of God. There is a lot of other metals and impurities in raw gold. To remove these impurities we heat the nugget and its impurities so that the impurities burn away leaving behind pure gold. Paul describes the removal impurities from our works. This process is a painful one since the one who goes through this “will suffer loss.” This state of being cannot be Heaven since this process is painful and there is no pain and suffering in Heaven. This state of being cannot be Hell either since we know that he “is saved”. This process is neither Heaven nor Hell, it is what we call Purgatory. It is how we become clean from all our sins and attachment to sins. This is how we are ‘purged’ from our impurities and become worthy of heaven (Rev 21:27).God Bless