Wednesday, May 18, 2005

More on Purgatory

Jesus Christ declares (Matthew 12:32): "And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come."   (Implying that some sins are forgiven in the world to come)
St. Cyril of Jerusalem
St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechet. Mystog., V, 9, P.G., XXXIII, col. 1116) describing the liturgy, writes: "Then we pray for the Holy Fathers and Bishops that are dead; and in short for all those who have departed this life in our communion; believing that the souls of those for whom prayers are offered receive very great relief, while this holy and tremendous victim lies upon the altar."
St. Gregory of Nyssa
St. Gregory of Nyssa (P. G., XLVI, col. 524, 525) states that man's weaknesses are purged in this life by prayer and wisdom, or are expiated in the next by a cleansing fire. "When he has quitted his body and the difference between virtue and vice is known he cannot approach God till the purging fire shall have cleansed the stains with which his soul was infested. That same fire in others will cancel the corruption of matter, and the propensity to evil."
St. Paul
A further argument is supplied by St. Paul in I Cor., iii, 11-1,5: "For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid; which is Christ Jesus. Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay stubble: Every man's work shall be manifest; for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire; and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. If any man's work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work burn, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire."
Second Maccabees
"It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins" (II Mach., xii, 43-46).

(Quotes lifted from New Advent article on purgatory)


Blogger Oblate-Man said...

Interesting stuff. I have decided that almost all of our ideas of heaven, hell, and purgatory are based more on speculation than on scriptural references. I don't know if those references mean there is a purgatory. But there isn't any Scriptural reference that denies a purgatory, so maybe it exists.

I don't mind speculating about the afterlife, provided people don't obsess about it and make it into a litmus test for "true" Christianity. I do think the lack of definitive statements by Jesus or any other Scriptural reference indicates that our main focus should be on this life.

I may have to read that book. I especially like your last statement of the first entry that there has been a lot of change about Jewish and Greek thinking on the afterlife. Again, seems to support the position that most of our ideas are speculation.

10:31 AM  
Blogger xofezura said...

It's a big, long, complicated book.

I don't, though, want to misrepresent it by indicating everything was in a total state of flux in the 1st century AD.

It's a book that would be equally troubling to Christian fundamentalist and to a postmodern Christian, so its very well worth the read IMO.

9:29 AM  
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12:36 PM  

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