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Purgatory and Indulgences from the Catechism of the Catholic Church
    • How do we understand and explain Purgatory?

Think of sin as a self-inflicted wound in your life.

 

When we physically hurt ourselves, many times we have to be brought to the hospital and the doctor or nurse will put an alcoholic disinfectant in our cut or wound. It will hurt ... a lot!!! but it's a good hurt; it's a holy hurt, that is needed to make us physically better.

 

We also have to distinguish between less severe physical injures where we cut ourselves and require stitches and more severe injures, like a NASCAR racing driver who gets into a major collision and ends up with third or fourth-degree burns over 90 percent of their body. There are varying degrees of damage that we do to our bodies, not only physically, but spiritually too!

 

Because Revelation tells us that nothing impure can enter Heaven (Revelation 21:27) and because God Himself is all Holy, we too, have to be all Holy to enter Heaven. To achieve this, any remaining self-inflicted spiritual wounds (meaning self-love) from our pilgrimage on earth have to be burned off and healed.

 

If our spiritual injures are along the line of just needing stitches, that healing period where our self-love has to be burned off will be short; but if our self-inflicted injuries are along the line of third or fourth-degree burns, the healing process will take longer.

 

Saints have had private revelations from the souls in Purgatory who share that while the [healing|burning] fires of God’s Love in Purgatory are painful (Hebrews 12:29, Exodus 3:1-6) at the same time they had an internal burning joy because they knew they were being conformed to the image of God and their final destiny would be total union with Him.

 

Instead of the good healing pain that the alcoholic disinfectant gave us under a doctor’s care to prepare us to re-enter the earthly world again, in Purgatory, we experience a holy, healing pain under Jesus’ Care which purifies our souls and prepares us to enter eternal life with God who is all Holy.


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