From The Hand of Fr. Aaron Ferris…November 19, 2017

Last week I mentioned that we don’t have to die perfect to enter into heaven. We do have to die in the state of grace to enter into heaven, that is, we have to die alive with God’s grace and in fellowship with Him. However, as with our human relationships, our relationship with God is not always perfect. We might be children of God, but we don’t always act like it.

This is the great mercy of Purgatory. Only the perfect get into the heaven, but with our myriad of imperfections and the guilt of our sins that has been accumulated over the years, most are not ready to enter directly into heaven. Purgatory is the stop along the way for the final purification (purgation) so that we will be cleansed and ready to participate in the love and the glory of God forever.

God has invited us to participate in the intimacy of His divine love for all eternity. To do that, though, we must be free to give ourselves fully to God. We must be free from self-love, the root of our sins. One of the essential qualities of sin is to choose one’s self over another person, which impedes our ability to love and live in relationship with others, especially God. To participate in the life and love of God for all eternity entails that our self-love has been purged away, either in this life or in the life to come.

There is also the problem of the guilt that accrues from our sins. By guilt I do not mean feeling guilty; rather, guilt is the fact that our sins have caused harm. Our sins have offended God’s majesty; we have denied Him the faithful service of our lives that we owe Him. Our sins also hurt others, others who are beloved by God. There are consequences to our sins.

Jesus has made up for guilt by His Passion and Death. He has paid the price for our crimes, but we are called to participate in repairing the damage we have done. God gives us the great dignity of incorporating us in the work of salvation, of having us participate in Christ’s work of overcoming our sins. Yes, it is Christ’s work, but as members of His Body, we have a part to play as well.

This is the point of Purgatory. The self-love that has not been purified in this life, the debts that have not been paid, they are purged in Purgatory. It is right to say they are purged, because as you have worked on addressing self-love in your own life, you know how painful it can be. You parents know how painful it is to sacrifice sleep and just about everything else in order to love your children well.

Though it is painful, it is still a great joy. To be freed from the confines of self-love, to be released from the debt, it comes at a cost, but it enables one to enter into the life and love of God for all eternity. If we love those who have gone before us, we can participate in their purification by our prayers and sacrifices, so that they may more quickly enter into the glory of God.

Last week I mentioned that we don’t have to die perfect to enter into heaven. We do have to die in the state of grace to enter into heaven, that is, we have to die alive with God’s grace and in fellowship with Him. However, as with our human relationships, our relationship with God is not always perfect. We might be children of God, but we don’t always act like it.

This is the great mercy of Purgatory. Only the perfect get into the heaven, but with our myriad of imperfections and the guilt of our sins that has been accumulated over the years, most are not ready to enter directly into heaven. Purgatory is the stop along the way for the final purification (purgation) so that we will be cleansed and ready to participate in the love and the glory of God forever.

God has invited us to participate in the intimacy of His divine love for all eternity. To do that, though, we must be free to give ourselves fully to God. We must be free from self-love, the root of our sins. One of the essential qualities of sin is to choose one’s self over another person, which impedes our ability to love and live in relationship with others, especially God. To participate in the life and love of God for all eternity entails that our self-love has been purged away, either in this life or in the life to come.

There is also the problem of the guilt that accrues from our sins. By guilt I do not mean feeling guilty; rather, guilt is the fact that our sins have caused harm. Our sins have offended God’s majesty; we have denied Him the faithful service of our lives that we owe Him. Our sins also hurt others, others who are beloved by God. There are consequences to our sins.

Jesus has made up for guilt by His Passion and Death. He has paid the price for our crimes, but we are called to participate in repairing the damage we have done. God gives us the great dignity of incorporating us in the work of salvation, of having us participate in Christ’s work of overcoming our sins. Yes, it is Christ’s work, but as members of His Body, we have a part to play as well.

This is the point of Purgatory. The self-love that has not been purified in this life, the debts that have not been paid, they are purged in Purgatory. It is right to say they are purged, because as you have worked on addressing self-love in your own life, you know how painful it can be. You parents know how painful it is to sacrifice sleep and just about everything else in order to love your children well.

Though it is painful, it is still a great joy. To be freed from the confines of self-love, to be released from the debt, it comes at a cost, but it enables one to enter into the life and love of God for all eternity. If we love those who have gone before us, we can participate in their purification by our prayers and sacrifices, so that they may more quickly enter into the glory of God.

Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron R. Ferris Ordination Date: June 6, 2009 Pastor, St. Anthony Parish (Saranac) and St. Mary’s Parish (Lowell) 402 Amity Street Lowell, MI 49331 Phone: 616-897-9820
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