As a young child I always wondered what limbo and purgattory were like…they never made much sense to me. I considered them to be a place to sort of just ‘hang out until you are finally acceptable to God’… And then, just around the time you begin to become acceptable, you would get your wings to fly up to heaven. In this piece I am portraying that the wings are new and she is not quite ready for flight just yet!
Here is the information I found out about it by looking up its origins:
Purgatory is the condition or process of purification or temporary punishment in which, it is believed, the souls of those who die in a state of grace are made ready for Heaven.
In Greece the doctrine of a purgatory was taught by the very chief of the philosophers. Thus Plato, speaking of the future judgment of the dead, holds out the hope of final deliverance for all, but maintains that, of “those who are judged,” some must first “proceed to a subterranean place of judgment, where they shall sustain the punishment they have deserved.” In pagan Rome, purgatory was also held up before the minds of men. Virgil, celebrated poet of pagan Rome, describing its different tortures, puts it thus:
“Nor can the groveling mind, in the dark dungeon of the limbs confined, assert the native skies, or own its heavenly kind. Nor death itself can wholly wash their stains; but long-contacted filth, even in the soul, remains the relics of inveterate vice they wear and spots of sin obscene in every face appear. For this are various penances enjoined; and some are hung to bleach upon the wind, some plunged in water, others purged in fires, till all the dregs are drained, and all the rust expires. All have their Manes, and those Manes bear. The few so cleansed to these abodes repair, and breathe in ample fields the soft Elysian air. Then are they happy, when by length of time the scurf is worn away of each committed crime, no speck is left of their habitual stains, but the pure ether of the soul remains.”
In Egypt, substantially the same doctrine of purgatory was taught. But once this doctrine of purgatory was admitted into the popular mind, then the door was opened to all manner of priestly extortions. Prayers for the dead can be completely efficacious without the priest as intermediary and no priestly functions can be rendered unless there be special pay for them. Therefore, in every land we find the pagan priesthood “devouring widow’s houses,” and making merchandise of the tender feelings of sorrowing relatives sensitively alive to the immortal happiness of their be loved dead.
In addition to accepting the states of heaven and hell, Catholicism envisages a third state before being admitted to heaven. According to Catholic doctrine, some souls are not sufficiently free from the temporal effects of sin and its consequences to enter the state of heaven immediately, nor are they so sinful as to be destined for hell either.] Such souls, ultimately destined to be united with God in heaven, must first endure purgatory— a state of purification. In purgatory, souls “achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.” Temporal punishment and eternal punishment are incurred by mortal sin, but eternal punishment is remitted by the sacrament of reconciliation (known also as the sacrament of penance or confession). The remaining temporal punishment may be remitted by sufferings in this life, indulgences, or time after death in Purgatory.
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