the ins and outs of purgatory
"If he did this with a 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." —2 Maccabees 12:45-46
The Lord wants us to have no need for purgatory after death. He loves us, and He wants us to rejoice with Him in heaven as soon as possible. The Holy Spirit graces us to be holy in every aspect of our conduct (1 Pt 1:15). The "God of peace" calls us to be "perfect in holiness" (1 Thes 5:23). The Lord always gives us the grace to overcome all temptations to sin. Therefore, if we accept God's graces, there should be no need for purgatory. The Church teaches: "A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain" (Catechism (CCC), 1472).
When we pray for the dead, we:
- communicate with God,
- express and deepen our faith,
- deepen our hope,
- show love to God and to the dead,
- help the dead become purified,
- help people go to the Lord in heaven,
- obey the Lord speaking through His Church, and
- express our faith in the resurrection.
When we pray for the dead, we certainly move toward "a conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity" (CCC, 1472). Thus, praying for the dead helps us complete our purgatory on earth and consequently not need it after death. Pray for the dead. Finish purgatory on earth.
Prayer: Father, through fervent charity convert me.
Promise: "Let him go free." —Jn 11:44
Praise: Missy, a teenager, has a special devotion to the souls in purgatory and prays for them daily.
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, April 24, 2000
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 27, 2000