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David wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • How are we to understand time associated with Purgatory?

I understand that Purgatory is outside of time, but we are not. After someone we know dies, we pray and have Masses said for those people. Often people do not want to hear that someone they loved is in purgatory. They want to think they are in heaven, but with that perception, they would not feel the need to pray for the person who has died. I have heard people say they have prayed twenty years for their mother who has died.

Another option is that a God who knows everything will know that we will be praying for our dead family member in the future, and our family member may actually be in heaven, and in some manner, will have benefited in Purgatory from our [future|anticipated] prayers.

  • Also, when does one stop praying for a family member who has died?
    It seems that it could be our whole life.

David

  { How are we to understand time associated with Purgatory? }

John replied:

Hi, David —

We really don't know what time is like in the after life. We also don't know if purgatory is condition, a place, or how long it actually lasts.

We do know for sure that purification after death happens and irrespective of how time works, our prayers our efficacious for the dead.

What we need to do is to get away from the juridical paradigm that paints Purgatory are a place of punishment and instead focus on Purgatory as a place of healing.

In effect, Purgatory is nothing but the Love of God, healing the wounds we've inflicted on our souls. This healing process is painful. I'm currently healing from some complications from surgery I had last March. The process of my body healing is painful. The doctor tells me, that the neurological pain I'm feeling shows signs of life. It's good pain. It means I'm healing.

While knowing that doesn't make it any less painful, it does make it more bearable on a psychological level. Well, Purgatory is sort of like that and if we'd only learn to use this paradigm to explain what is, in essence, a Mystery, people would have a better understanding of purgatory (and indeed the Gospel). Fewer people would also be afraid of thinking their loved ones are in purgatory because it doesn't come across as a place of torture as it has been described in the juridical paradigm.

John

Mike replied:

Hi, David —

You said:
Often people do not want to hear that someone they loved is in purgatory. They want to think they are in heaven, but with that perception, they would not feel the need to pray for the person who has died.

That is why I was so disappointed when the Church changed the priestly vestment colors from purple to white after Vatican II. I believe they wanted to emphasis the hope of the resurrection for the faithful departed rather then the Lenten color purple which emphasized doing penance for the faithful departed.

You said:

  • Also, when does one stop praying for a family member who has died?
    It seems that it could be our whole life.

We can never have an absolute assurance when a loved one has been purified of any remaining self-love. That is why perpetual prayer is also recommend.   This is exactly one of the reasons
I started my other web site dedicated to praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

I work on this with a different colleague, Brian Bagley. Our goal is to have Purgatory Prayer Programs started in all fifty states. Our mottos:

God's Guest of tomorrow!
Heaven can't wait!

Just e-mail us the small amount of required information and we will sent you our FREE start-up Purgatory Prayer Program.

GET YOURS TODAY!

Hope this helps,

Mike

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