Purgatory is a Place of Hope

 

 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss, but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

1 Corinthians 3:15

Purgatory is a Place of Hope

The promise of purgatory can strengthen our hope, proving the beauty of God’s love for us.

Purgatory is not always described as a hopeful place. For many, purgatory is illustrated as a place of purification, where we endure a great deal of pain and suffering before entering the courts of Heaven.

This characterization can be deceiving, as it makes it seem like a sort of Hell.

Pope Benedict XVI emphasized that purgatory is meant to be a place of hope, mentioning it in his homily on hope, Spe Salvi.

At the moment of judgment we experience and we absorb the overwhelming power of his love over all the evil in the world and in ourselves. The pain of love becomes our salvation and our joy … The judgement of God is hope, both because it is justice and because it is grace … If it were merely justice, in the end it could bring only fear to us all … grace allows us all to hope, and to go trustfully to meet the Judge whom we know as our “advocate.”

The presence of purgatory can give us hope during our life on earth, affirming to us that God is a just Judge, an “advocate,” rather than an imperious dictator. He wants to cover us with His love, not only in this life but also in the next. This love urges us on, giving us hope that all the virtue we do is not put in vain.

In addition, purgatory has another aspect that should give us hope. It is a place where we are still in solidarity with the Church on earth.

The souls of the departed can, however, receive “solace and refreshment” through the Eucharist, prayer and almsgiving. The belief that love can reach into the afterlife, that reciprocal giving and receiving is possible, in which our affection for one another continues beyond the limits of death—this has been a fundamental conviction of Christianity throughout the ages and it remains a source of comfort today.

Pope Benedict is referring to the ability to pray for the souls of the faithful departed, having a real impact on their experience of purgatory.

 In this way we further clarify an important element of the Christian concept of hope. Our hope is always essentially also hope for others; only thus is it truly hope for me too. As Christians we should never limit ourselves to asking: how can I save myself? We should also ask: what can I do in order that others may be saved and that for them too the star of hope may rise? Then I will have done my utmost for my own personal salvation as well.

If we are in necessity of extra hope in our lives, think about purgatory and the great gift Jesus has given us in that middle place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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