Remember this week there is no CCD Class. It is a semester break with exams. Class will resume on the 24th for grades 1-8. Class for confirmation students will be January 21st after the 10:00 am Mass.
Purgatory – a masterpiece of God’s mercy. Purgatory is a declared doctrine of the Church that’s been part of the deposit of faith since the time of the apostles. As faithful Jews, Jesus and the apostles joined in prayers for the deceased.
The Scriptures speak of a cleansing fire after death. 1 Corinthians 3:15 states: But if someone’s work is burned up, that one will suffer loss; the person will be saved, but only as through fire. 1 Peter 1:7 says: so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
In fact, it wasn’t until the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century that there was any significant opposition to saying prayers for the dead.
The Church formulated her doctrine on purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. St. Clement (the pontiff from 88-97 AD) stated that St. Peter liked to offer prayers for the relief of those who had passed away, an action that clearly implies there’s a purgatory of some kind. St. Ephrem (d. 373) stressed the value of prayer for the dead: “Instead of shedding tears over the grave let them flow at prayers in church.” St. Ambrose (d.397) offered a prayer in the funeral sermon he gave for the Roman Emperor Theodosius: “I will not leave him until by my prayers and lamentations he will be admitted unto they holy mount of the Lord.”
And in our own time, the Catechism of the Catholic Church confirms: All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter they joy of heaven. The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. (CCC, 1030-1031)
And so it will continue….
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