Purgatory

“…a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace, are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.” Catholic Encyclopedia

The continuity between the Church Suffering, must, in some way, be connected to the sufferings of Christ on the Cross; all suffering is seemingly being forsaken by God physically, emotionally and spiritually.  We are all called to take up our cross and follow him, to witness to the reality that He is actually there, emptying Himself and us so that we may be filled with Divine Life anew.  The very fact that we define it as the Church Suffering connects it to Christ for the Church is both the Bride and the Body of Christ on earth.  In following Christ, if we have not lived for Him a holy life, enabling Him to work through us on earth, if we have not died for Him, witnessing [as martyrs] to the world the reality of His death and faith in the Resurrection by sharing in His suffering, if we have not shared in His Kenosis, then we owe Him, the Church, the world and ourselves to simultaneously make up for these failings by completing this, our destiny, our calling, in Purgatory.

Paul, in Colossians 1:24 states: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking  in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church.”  Roland Faley, TOR, wrote in “The Paschal Mystery: Reflections on John and Paul, in The Bible Today (Vol 50, No. 2: March/April 2012): “But what could be lacking in the all-sufficient sacrificial death of Christ?  The answer is that the total offering of Christ to the Father will not be completed before the end time.  The offering of Christ is not complete until the afflictions of our daily apostolic life form part of his total offering to the Father.  It is that offering of the total Christ, head and members, that constitutes the entire oblation presented to the Father.”  If we have not been able to complete our portion of this offering here on earth by interfering with our self-oblation to the Father, perhaps we must first render our obedience and finish that oblation in Purgatory before being welcomed into the Heavenly Kingdom.

However, I do not think that this can or will be forced penance.  Indeed, I believe that we will, at that time, see our lives in the context of the building of the Kingdom and the work of the entire Mystical Body and desire with all our hearts, strength and will to contribute our part, and indeed thanking and praising God for the opportunity to serve Him and show his glory by our reception of His Goodness and Mercy.

Perhaps the reason “…[t]here is a purgatory, and that the souls therein are helped by the suffrages of the faithful, but principally by the acceptable Sacrifice of the Altar…” Trent, No. 25., is that we all are called upon and indeed must share in each others sufferings, whether it be by providing that cup of water to the least or by sharing in the greatest of Sufferings, the most holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist.

Though we can do nothing good on our own, without participating fully in turning our will and our lives in and through obedience, perfect listening, over to God, we have not freely chosen the Tree of Life, the Cross and, knowing us perfectly, He knows without such, we will not truly value the gifts of His Adoption and Resurrection.

Walking on Water

One of the odd things is that I often really don’t realize that a graphic image for the spiritual life is Peter’s attempting to walk on water:  Mt 14: 28-31: Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how [strong] the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”  I have been called to a task, the vision and reality of the truth enflame my mind and heart, I started out…and then realized that I am entirely relying on Jesus to make this happen, I have not a clue what’s beyond the next step, whether it will be successful in turning people to Christ, whether I will be able to finish it or not…the immensity of the project is overwhelming…wind and waves impinge on my consciousness….and then I realize that none of these questions are relevant, none of them make the slightest bit of difference in God’s scheme of things.  God has the whole thing worked out; mine portion is just a tiny-winny smidgen of His Grand Plan…and my job is not to worry about whether I am up to the task, whether I finish, what happens next but to just “fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run” in hearing, trusting and following His Will…that is the task at hand.  O I of little faith, that’s why sometimes I doubt…

Parallel Assumptions in the Church

The parallel of the assumption of human nature by the Word, Christ’s assumption into Heaven, the assumption of all that is good in creation by the Church and the Assumption of Mary:

In Thomas, we see the assumption of human nature in all its fragility and glory by the Word of God in the Incarnation when He came down to earth.  Then Christ, body, soul, and Divinity, was assumed into Heaven. 

Fr. Robert Barron points out that the Church reflects the Logos, God manifested in expression, so that “whatever is good, true, and beautiful in other religions, philosophies or cultures can find its home within the Church of Christ,”  in the DVD series, Catholicism, Episode 6: A Body Both Suffering and Glorious: The Mystical Union of Christ and the Church, (Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, 2011) in discussing “The Church is One,” The Church, therefore, reflects and imitates the Son’s assumption of all humanity in his human nature by assuming all that reflects Him in creation and in human thought and activity into itself.  This is most clearly seen in the openness of Vatican to the World in Gaudium et Spes, and to other religions in its three documents: Nostra Aetate, Unitatis Redintegratio, and Orientalium Ecclesiarum.

Finally, with Mary’s, which indeed parallels the others, each being the Divine assumption of the human into closer union with Himself, we see our ultimate end and the crescendo of the other two, the assumption of the saved, body and soul into the life of God in heaven.  At that moment, Christ’s assumption of our human nature, His place at the right hand of the Father, His renewal of all creation and the welcoming of His adopted sisters and brothers will be manifest for all to witness.

AMDG

I had to pass, or at least reach, the milestone of battling hubris before I could honestly post what God has shared with me for God’s Greater Glory…and not to coddle my own much pampered and ridiculously overinflated ego.

From the Theological Virtues

everything in our lives devolves.  Faith governs our intellect, hope our will and charity our actions.  In all things, these are involved to a greater or lesser degree.  Greater if one recalls Col 3:17: And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.