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On Purgatory

For the Catholic Church, All Souls' Day is not simply a day to remember our loved ones who passed away, it is also a day to pray for them and for everybody else to help them purify and get ready for heaven. In that respect, Protestants and Catholics disagree, since only the latter believe in purgatory. This video explains a little bit what purgatory is and why Catholics believe there is such a transitional state before a soul is ready for heaven (believing in "flames" and suffering in such a "place" is, of course, optional, though kind of old-fashioned now).

You can also enjoy here some fine paintings about purgatory.

Hello, this is Father Kubicki and I'd like to share with you an intriguing passage from Saint Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 3. It goes like this:

"According to the grace of God given to me, like a wise master-builder I laid a foundation. No one can lay a foundation other than the One that there is, namely, Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, the work of each will come to light, for the Day will disclose it. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each one's work. If the work stands that someone built upon the foundation, that person will receive a wage. But if someone's work is burned up, that one will suffer loss; the person will be saved, but only as through fire."

In this passage Paul says He gives people the foundation for their lives, Jesus Christ. Then, those people in turn build their lives on Christ, and their lives take different forms, some are good and others are bad. At the end of each one's life, the light of Christ will reveal what they have made of their lives. Some of it, good that was done, will stand, but some of it, sins and their consequences, will be burnt up. In other words, though the sins are forgiven, the bad effects they've had on us, or the habits of sin we haven't broken will need to be "burned up", will need to be purified. This is were Purgatory comes in.

Today we celebrate a day of prayer for our deceased brothers and sisters who are in need of this purification. Let's help them with our prayers:

"Lord, free these holy souls from all that is not worthy of you. Make them pure as you are pure. Amen."

FATHER= A title often received by Catholic priests, as a way of addressing or as a title:
- Are you Father Smith?   - Yes, I am   - Oh, hello, father.

SHARE= If you share information with other people, you tell them so they also know.

INTRIGUING= Something which creates great interest and curiosity (often because it is strange or/and difficult to understand).

IT GOES LIKE THIS= It says this:

ACCORDING TO= On the authority of

THE GRACE OF GOD GIVEN TO ME= A gift, blessing, power or protection that God has given tome (in this case, wisdom to know the truth).

LAID A FOUNDATION= To lay (lay-laid-laid) is to extend over a surface. To lay a foundation is to make a base, inside the ground, on top of which you can build a house. (see picture of foundations in modern building construction)

THE ONE THAT THERE IS= God (= Jesus).

NAMELY= That is to say, specifically.

PRECIOUS= /preʃəs/ Very dear or valuable. A precious stone is a stone which is considered a jewel, very rare and expensive (diamonds, jade, opal, ruby, etc.)

HAY= dried grass use for feeding animals or for construction (roofs).

DISCLOSE= Unveil, show, reveal, make public.

WAGE= Reward (literally: a weekly salary, the money workers receive for their job).

BURNED UP= Completely destroyed by fire.

LOSS= The opposite of gain, the condition of losing.

SAVED= If you are saved, you are protected from a danger. In religion, talking about matters of the spirit, if you are saved you are free from sin and you can go to heaven to be forever happy.

ONLY AS THROUGH FIRE= If you are saved but "only as through fire", you can go to heaven but only after being purified in the same way as an object is purified (sterilized) by passing it through fire (AS implies a comparison, a metaphor). This metaphor is what made people in the past (and some up to present) imagine that in purgatory the souls were surrounded by burning fire tormenting them until they had paid for their sins with suffering (but fire is only used as a metaphor).

HE= God / Jesus (that's why it can be spelled with a capital letter).

IN TURN= If X happens and B happens "in turn", it means that B happens after X (usually with some kind of connection between X and B).

SINS= A moral transgression that hurts yourself and/or other people.

IN OTHER WORDS= To say this in a different form (usually to explain something with words easier to understand).

PURIFIED= To purify is to make something completely clean and remove everything which shouldn't be there. Talking about souls (our spirits), to purify is to clean our soul of all sin and imperfection. Since heaven is a perfect place, no imperfection can possibly enter there, and since nobody is perfect, we all need purification to enter heaven.

PURGATORY= As the video explains, purgatory is a state of purification previous to enter heaven. In all times most people thought of purgatory as a place somewhere between heaven and hell where people burnt in fire suffering a lot to pay for their sins in life before they were clean enough to enter heaven, a bit like a "temporary little hell". That old idea is probably what made Protestants reject the concept of purgatory in the first place, and for a good reason. Now it is considered a transitional state where souls are purified by God before entering heaven, but certainly not with real fire and most probably not through suffering (since that is reserved for hell), although the state of being away from God will probably cause enough unrest in the souls to find the process quite unattractive.

THIS IS WHERE x COMES IN= And that is the reason why we need X to explain this or to solve this problem.

PRAYER= The act of praying. To pray is to talk to God (often to ask Him for a favour or to thank Him for what we have). If we pray FOR someone, we are not asking God a favour for us, but for other people.

DECEASED= (formal) Dead.

BROTHERS AND SISTERS= Other people (especially other Christians), not necessarily family or even known. A community is also called a brotherhood, so all the members of that community are called brothers and sisters.

WHO ARE IN NEED OF= Who need.

LORD= God.

FREE ... FROM= Remove ... from them.
- I'll free you from your pain = I'll take the pain away from you (and make you feel free).

HOLY= Sacred.

SOULS= Spirits (the immaterial part of a person).

WORTHY= If something is worthy of you, it is good enough for you (you deserve it).

PURE= Clean; with no imperfection.

AMEN= A word used to finish a prayer. It is a Hebrew word which means "so be it" or "let it be so" (= may what I say come true)

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