We have been discussing Purgatory for the last couple of issues. We discussed the idea in general and looked at 1 Cor 3. In this discussion I would like to look at a couple of other Scriptures that help us to demonstrate that Purgatory is consistent with Sacred Scripture.
First, let us look to what Jesus says in Luke 12:57-59. In a section where Jesus is giving advice about how to be His disciple He tells His disciples to settle with their opponent before they are taken before the judge, because the judge may hand them over to the jailer who will throw them into prison. They will stay in that prison until they have paid back the last penny. If the judge is God and this is advice for us on Judgment Day (which it certainly seems to be) then this is describing Purgatory. It is a prison that we go to TEMPORARILY until we pay back the last penny.
In Revelation 21:27 John notes that nothing unclean can enter the New Jerusalem, heaven. Well, I am a disciple of Jesus. I love Him, and I am imperfect. I have uncleanliness about me. This passage seems to demand a place/time or something where I can become perfected and completely clean, free from every stain.
In 2 Sam 12:13-14 Nathan tells King David that the King’s sin has been forgiven by God. But, David is also told that because of his sin there will be a punishment. So we see that there is forgiveness and yet there is a need to somehow pay for what we have done, restitution if you will. What happens if I have been forgiven of my sin, but have not yet made restitution before I die? The Catholic Church teaches that there is a time/place for us to make amends.
In fact, the Church has always taught this. St. Monica died in the year 387 AD. As she was dying she asked for her son, St. Augustine, to pray for her at the altar when he celebrated Mass. Why? Because she believed, as did all Christians of the day, that we can pray for those who have passed from this life into the next. We pray for them as they continue and complete their perfection.
— Pat Arensberg is the Director of the Office for Evangelization and Family Life. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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