Tag Archives: purgatory

UNITY & GREAT SCHISM

WHAT DIVIDES ORTHODOX AND CATHOLICS?

  1. Church unity was expressed through being in communion with the Bishop of Rome, as the successor of St. Peter. Jesus emphasized Peter’s special mission to his apostles and not simply his place of honor among them. 

 The Orthodox do believe in the primacy (a certain leadership position) of our patriarchs, etc., but not their supremacy: the Bishop of Rome is the “first among equals.” Orthodoxy believes that all Orthodox bishops are the successors of Peter. 

  1. Orthodox have always insisted that celibacy had traditionally been optional for clergy since the first century, citing scriptural and other evidence for married priests and bishops                                                                                                            Mark 1:30, I Timothy 3:1-5

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PREPARE FOR DEATH

DEATH, A NEW BIRTH

There comes a time in all our lives when we must prepare for death. When we become old, get seriously ill, or are in great danger, we can’t be preoccupied simply with the question of how to get better unless “getting better” means moving on to a life beyond our death. In our culture, which in so many ways is death oriented, we find little if any creative support for preparing ourselves for a good death. Most people presume that our only desire is to live longer on this earth. Still, dying, like giving birth, is a way to new life, and as Ecclesiastes says: “There is a season for everything: … a time for giving birth, a time for dying”                                                 Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

We have to prepare ourselves for our death with the same care and attention as our parents prepared themselves for our births

DEATH IS INEVITABLE: A BAD DEATH IS NOT!

THE TROUBLE IS THAT YOU THINK YOU HAVE TIME!

There comes a time in all our lives when we must prepare for death. When we become old, get seriously ill, or are in great danger, we can’t be preoccupied simply with the question of how to get better unless “getting better” means moving on to a life beyond our death.

In our culture, which in so many ways is death oriented, we find little if any creative support for preparing ourselves for a good death. Most people presume that our only desire is to live longer on this earth.                                                                                                         Henry Nouwen

Still, dying, like giving birth, is a way to new life, and as Ecclesiastes says: “There is a season for everything: … a time for giving birth, a time for dying.”                                                                               Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

We have to prepare ourselves for our death with the same care and attention as our parents prepared themselves for our births.

better death

In our society we are not used to talk about the ‘D’ word. It seems that everyone is doing everything to avoid this topic. We pretend it will never happen to us, and when we lose someone close to us we find ourselves unable to deal with the loss and get paralyzed with fear. 

Christianity introduced the greatest revolution in human history, because it invites all humans to let go of their fear of death. We can get on with our divine destiny.

We live in an infantile society in which nearly everyone believes they are entitled to free ice-cream forever with absolutely no consequences. As for death, few believe it will really happen to them. Fewer still have the cognitive skills necessary to prepare adequately for a better death.

Comedian Woody Allen concisely summed up most people’s view of death with this quote:  “I’m not afraid to die. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

WHAT CAN YOU SAY?

One of the greatest gifts we can offer our family and friends is helping them to die well. But there is a moment in which we need to give those we love the permission to return to God, from whom they came. We have to sit quietly with them and say: “Do not be afraid … I love you, God loves you … it’s time for you to go in peace. … I won’t cling to you any longer … I set you free to go home … go gently, go with my love.” Saying this from our heart is a true gift. It is the greatest gift love can give.

DEATH BETTER

When Jesus died he said: “Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit”. Luke 23:46 It is good to repeat these words often with our dying friends. With these words on their lips or in their hearts, they can make the passage as Jesus did.

WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP?

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PURGATORY IN THE BIBLE?

WHERE DOES IT SAY PURGATORY IN THE BIBLE?

purgatory bible

Scriptures does imply the existence of the doctrine of purgatory. It implies the need for purification, after death and before attaining Heaven: – “nothing unclean shall enter heaven.” Revelation 21:27

“That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly.                                                                                                    Luke 12: 47,48

A STATE AFTER DEATH OF SUFFERING AND FORGIVENESS

 Jesus teaches us, “Come to terms with your opponent or you will be handed over to the judge and thrown into prison. You will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”                                                                                                                                                       Matthew 5:26,18:34; Luke 12:58-59

HEAVEN’S MUD ROOM

We try to be holy, but surely nobody sincerely believes they are holy by God’s standards. We may need more holiness before we meet. “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”                   Hebrews 12: 14

Think of purgatory as a foyer or porch in front of the front door. You still have filthy boots and your “unholiness” must be cleansed before you enter the house.

IN THE NEXT

Jesus says,“And anyone who says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but no one who speaks against the Holy Spirit will be forgiven either in this world or in the next. Matthew. 12:32

Jesus thus clearly provides that there is forgiveness after death. The phrase “in the next” (from the Greek “en to mellonti”) generally refers to the afterlife

 Forgiveness is not necessary in heaven, and there is no forgiveness in hell. This proves that there is another state after death, and the Church for 2,000 years has called this state purgatory.

COUNTER ARGUMENT

Many Protestants argue that, because Jesus sent the good thief right to heaven, there can be no purgatory. There are several rebuttals.

First, when Jesus uses the word paradise,” He did not mean heaven. Paradise, from the Hebrew “sheol,” meant the realm of the righteous dead. This was the place of the dead who were destined for heaven, but who were captive until the Lord’s resurrection.

Second, since there was no punctuation in the original manuscript, Jesus’ statement “I say to you today you will be with me in paradise” does not mean there was a comma after the first word “you.” This means Jesus could have said, “I say to you today, you will be with me in paradise”                                                                                         Luke 23:43 

Protestants have rejected Maccabees in the Catholic Bible: the reason for the rejection may have been the inference of purgatory. “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.”                             2 Maccabees 12: 46

purgatory bible

POOR SOULS IN PURGATORY

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TRUTH ABOUT PURGATORY

 Purgatory, far from being a “Catholic invention” as most Protestants assume, was believed from the very beginning by Christians.

KEEPING HEAVEN PURE

Those who don’t want their past to be known will experience isolation, until they grow out of their fear and are able to trust. Would their isolation be their purgatory? Purgatory will be our choice not to trust and love, not to open ourselves to the loving, accepting gaze of others. Finally when this stage is passed, those in purgatory will reach the wholeness which God means us to have.

TRUTH ABOUT PURGATORY

“If any person’s work which he has built [on this foundation, that is, any outcome of his effort] remains [and survives this test], he will receive a reward.  But if any person’s work is burned up [by the test], he will suffer the loss [of his reward]; yet he himself will be saved, but only as [one who has barely escaped] through fire.” 
                                                                                                   1 Corinthians. 3:14,15

This purification purges away all the dross that clings to the soul,
things that Paul describes metaphorically as flammable materials
such as “wood, hay, and straw.” These things are burned away in this
judgment by God. Conversely, that man’s good works — which Paul compares with “gold, silver, and precious stones” — are refined and retained.

Since there are only two ultimate destinies possible for all human
beings, heaven or hell, the issue of purgatory must be understood as
simply a part of the process for some souls who are destined for
heaven. Continue reading TRUTH ABOUT PURGATORY

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THE ORTHODOX CATHOLIC UNITY 2

GEOPOLITICAL COMPETITION

Essentially the Orthodox Church shares much with the other Christian Churches. The Orthodox Church differs substantially in the way of life and worship.

 During the early Trinitarian and Christological controversies, after the patriarchs of Alexandria, Jerusalem, Antioch and Constantinople had succumbed to one heresy or another, only the papacy remained constant in witnessing to the orthodox Faith.

Historically, the formal parting between the Christian West and the Christian East occurred in 1054; to some extent it reflected cultural and geopolitical competition between the Greek-speaking “east Roman” empire, in other words Byzantium, and Latin-speaking western Europe where Roman authority had collapsed in the fifth century, but new centers of power had emerged. 

ORTHODOX CATHOLIC UNITY

Constantinople came to regard itself as a “Second Rome” after the fall of the Roman Empire in the west, but after the city’s fall to the Ottomans in 1453, Moscow came to see itself as a “Third Rome.” The Eastern Orthodox communion bases its teachings on Scripture and “the seven ecumenical councils”.ORTHODOX CATHOLIC UNITY

WHAT DIVIDES ORTHODOX AND CATHOLICS?

Continue reading THE ORTHODOX CATHOLIC UNITY 2

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HEAVEN IS FOR REAL

 WHERE WILL YOU READ ABOUT A VISION OF HEAVEN, HELL AND PURGATORY?

heaven

Here are three accounts of visions of heaven, hell and purgatory. Try to be open to these stories.  Try not to be so skeptical this time. It is very revealing and it will be to your benefit.

Heaven is for Real

A young boy emerges from life-saving surgery with remarkable stories of his visit to heaven.

Heaven Is for Real is the true story of the four-year old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who during emergency surgery slips from consciousness and enters heaven. He survives and begins talking about being able to look down and see the doctor operating and his dad praying in the waiting room. The family didn’t know what to believe but soon the evidence was clear.

Heaven is for Real Souls in Purgatory

Colton said he met his miscarried sister, whom no one had told him about, and his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born, then shared impossible-to-know details about each. He describes the horse that only Jesus could ride, about how “reaaally big” God and his chair are, and how the Holy Spirit “shoots down power” from heaven to help us, and how Colton was able to pray for his father on earth . Continue reading HEAVEN IS FOR REAL

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DOES YOUR SOUL LIVE FOREVER?

immortal soul

YOUR SOUL THAT LIVES FOREVER

Almost all religion teaches that man has an immortal soul. Even Plato logically came up with the same conclusion without religion. “The soul of man is immortal and imperishable.” Plato  

Even science proves that nothing disintegrates into nothingness. Your soul, therefore, cannot disintegrate into nothingness, and so are immortal.

Immortal Souls in Purgatory

Biblically, by virtue of its original creation in the image of God, the human soul is naturally immortal: “So God created mankind in his own image.” Genesis 1:27 So your immortal soul is temporarily trapped in your body. Our body is just something that gives our true-self (our soul) a physical existence.

So what really happens when you die? The Bible doesn’t present death as an open door to heaven. That would be too easy and far-fetched. Yes, you have immortal longings: no one but God can satisfy these longings since your heart was made for Him, so He only can fill it.

 But where will this end: heaven, hell or purgatory?Souls in Purgatory hell heaven

Continue reading DOES YOUR SOUL LIVE FOREVER?

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CHINA & DECEASED RELATIVES

In China, 44 percent of religiously unaffiliated people have worshiped at a burial site in the past year. Yet, many young Chinese look down on these traditions, calling them “superstitious” and “old-fashioned.”

CHINA AND DECEASED RELATIVES
A Chinese man brings flowers to the grave site of his deceased relatives to mark the Qingming.

Local funerals involve much pomp and ceremony; the family uses extravagance to demonstrate their love for the deceased. The night vigil shows a sign of respect. 

CHINA DECEASED RELATIVES

How would we both honor the meaning of Christian funerals and also Chinese traditions? Both are different. Some think that Christianity shows excessive love for foreign things.  They say it shows a rejection of one’s roots. Yet, these traditional funeral ceremonies seemed strange to many of a younger generation.

CAN SAINTS IN HEAVEN HEAR OUR PRAYERS?

A Christian funeral with Christian meaning  includes important prayers for the deceased.  Catholics believe in offering prayers for deceased relatives

 “In heaven the elders and angels offer up the prayers of the saints [on earth] as incense before the throne of God”                                                                                                                                                     Revelation 5:8; 8:3-4

This implies that the angels and elders (holy Christians  now in heaven) hear the prayers of every Christian on earth, and join their prayer now with ours: they can hear our prayers for the deceased.

SPIRIT-FILLED CHINA

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A BETTER DEATH

DEATHLY SILENCE

Dying people’s wishes are often unknown or ignored. Doctors often neglect palliative care, which involves giving an opioid for pain, treating breathlessness and counseling patients. Most doctors enter medicine to help people delay death, not to talk about its inevitability. But talk they must. A good start would be the wider use of the “Serious Illness Conversation Guide” drawn up by Atul Gawande. It is a short questionnaire designed to find out what terminally ill patients know about their condition and to understand what their goals are as the end nears. Early research suggests it encourages more, earlier conversations and reduces suffering.

better death

Living wills are rare outside America as illustrated by the following set of questions:

better death

The huge gap between what people want from end-of-life care and what they are likely to get is visible in the above survey. In all four countries the majority of people said they hoped to die at home. But fewer said they expected to do so—and even fewer said that their deceased loved ones had. Continue reading A BETTER DEATH

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IS THERE A PURGATORY?

Purgatory, far from being a “Catholic invention” as most Protestants assume, was believed from the very beginning by Christians.

 “According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw — each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire”.                                                                                                                                                        1 Corinthians 3:10-15

 This purification purges away all the dross that clings to the soul, things that St. Paul describes metaphorically as flammable materials such as “wood, hay, and straw.” These things are burned away in this judgment by God. Conversely, that man’s good works — which St. Paul compares with “gold, silver, and precious stones” — are refined and retained.

Since there are only two ultimate destinies possible for all human beings, heaven or hell, the issue of purgatory must be understood as simply a part of the process for some souls who are destined for heaven.

 In Matthew 12:32, the Lord mentions a sin that cannot be forgiven even “in the world to come,” implying that there are some sins that will be forgiven after death.

 Similarly, in the teaching about the Unforgiving Servant, Christ concludes with the fact that the wicked servant, even after his debt was canceled by the king, was thrown into prison for maltreating his fellow servant and told, “You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt”.                                                                                                Matthew 18:32-34

 Echoing this theme, St. Peter speaks about the souls who are “in prison,” awaiting their entrance into heaven  1 Peter 3:18-19, 4:6.

 VISIONS OF PURGATORY

Continue reading IS THERE A PURGATORY?

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