Friday, November 15, 2013

"Yes that makes it possible for us to receive God’s mercy"

St. Teresa interceding for souls in Purgatory
Today, anyone who questions theology about Purgatory will be hard put to find an answer. The Bible seems silent on the subject. But, in that case, what ground can Tradition offer for speaking about it? That is why the subject is avoided. But, on the other hand, can we possibly imagine a Church in which the deceased are not prayerfully remembered? We might reply that the self-evident certainty with which the prayer of all ages has always included the deceased is itself a living expression of a deeper knowledge, peculiar to the Faith, that the interrelationship of human beings with and for one another does not end with death but is precisely that which death cannot destroy. But can we not express this knowledge more concretely? It seems clear today that the fire of the judgment of which the Bible speaks is not a form of punishment beyond the grave but rather the Lord himself, whom we encounter at the moment of judgment. But if we consider the matter clearly, just what does that mean? It means that when we come face to face with the Lord in judgment all the “straw and hay” of our life will be consumed and nothing will be left but that which is truly lasting. It means that we are transformed by our encounter with Christ into what we really should and could be. The crucial decision for us is, then, that Yes that makes it possible for us to receive God’s mercy. But this crucial decision is so oppressed and suppressed on all sides that it is only with difficulty that it peers through the latticework of the egoism that we are unable to shed. The encounter with the Lord is the transformation, the fire, that fashions us into the unsullied being that can be the vessel of eternal joy. Joseph Ratzinger (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year (M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans., I. Grassl, Ed.) (pp. 360–361). San Francisco: Ignatius Press

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