Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Basin & Purgatory

As a Christian, If I'm washed, sanctified & justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, can that ever be changed? If I'm once clean, can I become dirty again? If I'm once sanctified, can I become desecrated? If I'm once justified, can I incur punishment for some new crime? If I have abundant riches, can't I become poor in a moment? How can I logically believe otherwise? Jesus spoke often about such things. 

One such place was at the last supper, where He was washing the disciple's feet. Peter insisted Jesus should instead wash the whole body but Jesus replied that "those who have bathed only need to wash & he is clean all over" (Jn 13:10). Evidently, He saw bathing & washing as 2 different things. To bathe means to immerse oneself in water, while washing is more like taking water to one part or another to refresh the overall purity of the body. If bathing is likened to baptism, what is washing likened to? Jesus told the disciples to wash one another's feet as He had done for them. Why? Was it an an act of hospitality? Did it have physical / cultural applications only or was it more of a symbolic, spiritual gesture? 

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Good News of... Purgatory?

I've always been amazed to think that people would give up their lives for the faith. Why would anyone risk death for righteousness' sake if one already knew their salvation was secure? Is it about honour? Allegiance to the greater good? Could it be a sense of personal pride in that we've accomplished something for Christ, that we've successfully denied ourselves in one way or another or that we'll be richly rewarded in the end? Why would anyone want to press forward to win the race of this earthly life? What are we competing for & who are we competing against? Are we motivated only by the hope that we can somehow "out do" our brothers & sisters in the faith? Is it that the more we do, the more souls we save, the bigger our mansion & status in heaven will be? Isn't that a secular mindset opposed to the very humility God calls us to? "Well done, good & faithful servant" is what everyone wants to hear. But if our salvation is really so secure & there's no such thing as purgatory, what drives any of us forward, even unto death if need be?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Introduction to Purgatory

So I found this book at a thrift store last weekend. Its called "Purgatory" by Fr. F.X. Schouppe, S.J. 

I decided to pick it up because even though I've been a Catholic for a year & a half now, I still don't know much about the doctrine of purgatory. It doesn't seem all that important in the grand scheme of things & very little, if any, time is spent on the subject. Any priest I've had the fortune to talk to says purgatory is not a  "real" place- rather, like indulgences or austere penances, its just one of the many traditions carried over from the superstitious middle ages. So, when, I wonder, did people stop believing in purgatory? And what were the reasons for such a departure?