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What the Angelic Doctor Taught on the Nature & Purpose of Purgatory

What the Angelic Doctor Taught on the Nature & Purpose of PurgatoryWhat the Angelic Doctor Taught on the Nature & Purpose of Purgatory

Those who disavow Purgatory speak against the justice of God.

— St. Thomas Aquinas, ST, Supplement, Appendix 2, 1

Does hell exist?

Some who disavow the existence of purgatory cite Revelation 14:13: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord henceforth.’ Blessed surely, ’ says the Spirit,’ that they may rest from their strives, for their deeds follow them! ’” The Catechism obligates it clear, however, that purgatory exists as a region of cleansing or purgation( 1030-1032 ).

St. Thomas Aquinas was pointed out that the poem from Revelation refers to the labor of working to gain spiritual deserve, but does not address the labor of stand to be purged from sin. Any person whose soul is in purgatory has died in charity and virtues the eternal honor of heaven, but merely when you have been purged of any remaining venial sins. A someone in hell may also bear the effects of mortal sins that have been forgiven, but for which the person has not yet became pleasure through penalty. Revelation confirms that “nothing unclean shall enter” heaven( 21:27 ).

Thomas further excuses Church teaching on purgatory with another excerpt from Scripture and a line from the Eastern Church Father St. Gregory of Nyssa( A.D. 335-394 ). Scripture tells us, in reference to Judah Maccabee, that “it was a holy and righteous thought” that “he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin”( 2 Macc. 12:45 ). Thomas elaborates that there is no need to pray for the spirits in heaven, since they already have their reinforce. Neither is a need to pray for those in hell, because they can no longer be freed from their sins.

Yet those who have died in charity can never abide everlasting extinction, since philanthropy cross all sins( Prov. 10:12 ), and all the persons who follow Christ will have life eternal( John 11:26 ). Gregory of Nyssa says that the person who loves and believes in Christ, but dies before his guilts have been washed away, “is set free after death by the fire of Purgatory.”

Here, God’s justice is become clear. He has provided the purify ardours of purgatory so that supporters who were killed still defiled by blasphemy may become clean in the blis. Further, He has provided a necessitates whereby we, through our prayers as the Church Militant on earth, may facilitate slackened the bonds of sin of the Church Suffering in purgatory, so that they might sooner rest eternally with God in heaven. Such devotion is, definitely, “a holy and righteous thing.”

This article is from Dr. Vost’s recent book, Aquinas on the Four Last Things.

Are beings purged and damned within the same place?

While the existence of purgatory is an installed precept of the Church, made clear especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent( CCC 1031 ), Thomas tells us that “nothing is clearly stated in Scripture about the situation of Purgatory , nor is it possible to offer convincing contentions on this question.” In other texts, the Bible does not tell us exactly where purgatory is. Still, Thomas declares that some sentiments are “of no account” — for example, the relevant recommendations that torment is somewhere above us because the state of the beings in purgatory lies between those living on earth and God in heaven. Nonsense, says Thomas, since those beings are not punished for being above us, “but for that which is lowest in them, namely sin.”

Thomas notes that it is “probable, ” according to testimonies make use of holy “mens and” countless private revealings, that “there is a twofold home of Purgatory.” One target is according to the “common law.” This place is below us and near inferno, so the same fire miseries both the beings being cleansed and the someones that are damned in inferno, though the damned, being of lower merit, are relegated to the lowest place. Thomas realizes the important distinction that while the fervors of hell serve to afflict the damned, the barrages of hell, while painful, serve primarily to cleanse someones from sin.

The second place of purgatory is according to a special “dispensation, ” whereby, “as we speak, ” souls are sometimes rewarded in various places so that the living may learn from them, or those spirits themselves may be “succored[ comforted ], seeing that their sanction being made known to the living may be mitigated through the petitions of the Church.”

Indeed, we can all hope that we will never know firsthand where in hell the damned reside, and that, should we come to know purgatory’s location( or locales) firsthand, we will not reside there longer and longer!

Are the achings of hell higher than any aches of this life?

In Purgatory there will be a twofold grief; one are likely to be the aching of loss, namely the interruption of the gues eyesight, and the suffering of smell, namely punishment by corporeal attack. With regard to both the least pain of Purgatory surpasses the greatest pain of “peoples lives”.

— St. Thomas Aquinas, ST, Supplement, Appendix 1, 2, 1

In this citation, Thomas expands upon Augustine’s declaration that “this fire of Purgatory will be more severe than any pain that can be felt, construed, or imagined in this world.” The soul’s pain of losing the gues image of God will be greater than any appreciation of loss of earth because the more we want something, the more we tolerate when it is absent.( Any person who has lost a loved one can attest to this kind of pain .) Yet in torment, our overwhelming desire to see God is completely undiluted. The soul’s desire is not hampered or confused by things of the body. Further, the feeling knows that had it not been held back by the heavines of guilt, it would already have achieved the “Sovereign Good, ” as Thomas articulates it. Therefore, the mind suffers most intensely because the delay of purgatory excludes it from its ultimate goal.

The soul’s pain of ability in torment does not can be attributed to a hurt or trauma itself, but to the sense thereof. “The more sensitive a thing is, ” Thomas explains, “the greater the agony caused by that which hurt it.” We know from experience that hurts foisted upon the most sensitive parts of our mas cause the greatest pain. Because all bodily whizs was derived from the spirit, it follows that the most exquisite pain is suffered when the someone itself is hurt.

Therefore, Thomas concludes that the soreness of hell, both of loss and of impression, surpass all the anguishes we experience during life-time.

Do souls in torment suffer their beating freely?

This is an interesting question with, perhaps, a surprising ask, for we cannot imagine choosing to suffer such immense grief. Evidence recommending the answer is no includes the anecdotes in Gregory’s Dialogues about beings in torment who appear to the living and ask to be set free. Thomas says the answer is yes, but this requires precise “ve been thinking about” just what makes an act voluntary.

First, an act may be voluntary as an absolute achievement of the will. In this ability, the most theme of sanction is contrary to the nature of the will, which always strives the very best, and not agony or penalty. Second, an play may be voluntary as a conditional act of the will, as when people are freely undergoes some tendernes or reward because it allows him to obtain a good he could not attain otherwise. Thomas provides the simple example of submitting to agonizing surgical procedures to restore our health and the extreme example of martyrs, who submit to bodily demise to procure their reward in heaven. It is in this second sense that the punishments in purgatory are voluntary, since the people know they will someday set free and obtain their destination of heaven. This we see in the many floors of beings in torment which seems to be parties on earth and ask for devotions to quicken their purification.

Does the volley of purgatory pay the debt of punishment for sin?

Thomas notes that as the beating one voluntarily digests in this life suffices as satisfaction to atone the shame of sin, all the more so will the more shameful sufferings of torment atone for the debt of punishment for blasphemies. Anyone in debt is freed by what he owes. The obligation incurred by guilt is the debt of punishment, and a person is freed from that indebtednes by undergoing the punishment. Therefore, the answer is yes: “The punishment of Purgatory purifies from the debt of punishment.”

Are some someones exhausted from purgatory before others?

Some argue that because more-grievous guilts warrant more-severe rewards, more-serious sinners would be punished more severely in torment, but all people would accept for the same amount of epoch. Thomas explanations with an interesting observation about a line from the writings of “the Apostle”( St. Paul) comparing venial sins to wood, straw, and fodder( 1 Cor. 3:12 ): as timber remains longer in a barrage than straw and hay, some kinds of venial sins will be punished longer than others in the fervours of hell. Some venial sins “cling” to us more persistently than do others, as we are more inclined to indulge in them frequently, and “since that which clasps more persistently is more slowly cleansed, it follows that some are tormented in Purgatory longer than others, for as much as their desires were immersed in venial sins.” Further, the severity of punishment corresponds to the amount of guilt, while the section corresponds to how securely the sin has made beginning in the being. Therefore, some feelings may devote longer in torment, but tolerate less, and vice versa.

This article is an excerpt taken from Dr. Vost’s latest journal, Aquinas on the Four Last Things: Everything You Need To Know About Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell. It is available as an ebook or paperback from your favorite bookseller or online through Sophia Institute Press.

image: Saints Peter the Martyr and Thomas Aquinas Refute the Heretics, detailed descriptions of the Active and Triumphant Church, Santa Maria Novella Dominican church in Florence via Zvonimir Atletic/ Shutterstock.com

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