Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

All Souls Day and Purgatory

Today the Church remembers to pray for those souls who are in purgatory.
This has been a practice dating to the early days of Christianity with its roots in the Jewish religion.
In Maccabees we read how it is a good thing to pray for the souls of the departed to release them from their sins.
In the fourth century St Augustine said: "If we had no care for the dead, we would not be in the habit of praying for them."

Purgatory is not a "second chance" for salvation if you blew it in this present life. Those souls in purgatory have already been judged by Christ and found to be sheep, not goats.( Matt 25) Purgatory is a time/place/process of purification so that when we do indeed get to meet the Lord, we will be undefiled because only the pure will see God. Because of the interchange of goods through the Communion of Saints, by the merits of Christ, we are privileged to pray for those who have gone before us. Our prayers can "assist" the process of purification.
BTW, the sale of indulgences to "release" souls from purgatory has never been approved by the Church and has always been condemned, though some still practiced it.

We must not make purgatory into a flaming concentration camp on the brink of hell or even a hell for a short time. It is blasphemous to think of it as a place where a petty God exacts the last pound or ounce of flesh.... St. Catherine of Genoa, a mystic of the 15th century, wrote that the fire of purgatory is God's love burning the soul so that, at last, the soul is wholly aflame. It is the pain of wanting to be made totally worthy of One who is seen as infinitely lovable, the pain of desire for union that is now absolutely assured, but not yet fully tasted (Leonard Foley, O.F.M., Believing in Jesus).


Blogger George Weis said...

Nice Posts Russ!

Ya know what I love about you Russ? You always make it simple :) You know your stuff, and yet you never make it sound overly puffed up. More than that, I just sense love in you. May the Love of Christ abound in you my friend!

A tough idea for an Evangelical to even begin to accept. I understand the thought process behind it, and I don't outright condemn it, I just find it hard to swallow. I appreciate you pointing out the heresies of some, and clearing up the Churches position.

Again, be blessed for the sake of Christ and His Kingdom.

Your friend,

November 02, 2008 8:58 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

thanks for the kind words George. How's it going?

Quite honestly, purgatory was one of the hardest doctrines for me to accept after I returned to the Church. One of my sons bought me a book at our local Catholic bookstore because he knew I was struggling with it. And he isn't Catholic.......yet :)
Once I understood it a bit better, I began to see God's kindness to us in providing us a process to "get cleaned up" before we see the King. CS Lewis has a great little saying on it : “Our souls demand Purgatory, don't they? Would it not break the heart if God said to us, 'It is true, my son, that your breath smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with these things, nor draw away from you. Enter into the joy'? Should we not reply, 'With submission, sir, and if there is no objection, I'd rather be cleaned first.' 'It may hurt, you know' - 'Even so, sir.' CS LEWIS in Letters to Malcolm..

So Purgatory is a positive for us, not a negative but you have 500 years of negative momentum built up behind the concept, so yeah it's not easy to dive in and say yes to it.

St. Catherine of Genoa described purgatory as God's consuming passion and love for us, probably based on the Scripture that "our God is a consuming fire."

November 02, 2008 9:17 PM  
Blogger George Weis said...


Life is great, because God is faithful. We are having a great time with the family and our business. We are thinking about adoption and other opportunities too.

On the Catholic exploration... it is tough to put my thoughts to words. I feel drawn, but also... not. Ashley and I have an excellent opportunity to serve God as partners with our Church over seas. This makes the whole idea a little difficult. I sometimes wonder if my fascination with the Catholic Church is more like a strange enjoyable selfish hobby. My wife and I don't always share the same position about the Church. Other times, she just says... "GO FOR IT". I think making a jump without ones heart being "there" isn't a good thing. Faith is not an experiment... it is serious stuff. Not sure if you saw my post titled "All Prejudice Aside", but this gives a better a picture than I am giving now about where I stand.

Thanks so much for the words on Purgatory... I really can very easily understand the thoughts behind it. If I said that to some Evangelicals, I would suddenly look like I have four eyes to them :) Believe when talking about the ECFs I get the strangest and most frightened responses :)

Much love to you Russ!


November 02, 2008 10:07 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Yes George, I read that post and really appreciate your desire to learn about the Church. It has been rare to find one such as you on the net who is so open to consider the claims of the Ancient Church.
Even if you never become Catholic, there is still such good 'stuff' in the treasures of the Church that can be taken advantage of. The writings of the saints, the devotions,
all can be an aid to our paths to holiness.
Hey, it took me 31 years to come back to Catholicism, so in my experience it's the kind of thing that doesn't happen over night.
God bless you and your family, glad all is going well.

November 03, 2008 7:30 AM  

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