November 2, 2008

Perhaps it’s fitting on this All Soul’s Day to feel as if, at least work-wise, I’m in Purgatory.

(For all those non-Roman Catholics out there, Purgatory is that state of existence where souls who have departed this world are purified so that they can rest in God’s eternal kingdom in heavenly perfection.)

Now some people freak out over the whole concept of Purgatory, and it’s true that Purgatory got a bad name by the Church taking advantage of people back in those pre-Reformation times by selling indulgences for the purpose of people thinking they could “buy” their loved ones passage into Heaven. But when you think of it, it all makes sense – we’re all sinners, our souls polluted by our sinfulness. Heaven is the purity of God’s eternal existence. So whether it takes a second, a minute, a decade, or hundreds upon hundreds of years, there has to be a state, or rest area, or toll booth (oops, there go those indulgences again!), or some stage where our souls go from sin-stained to shiny-pure, because just as you can’t allow a New York Yankee to pollute a Boston Red Sox clubhouse, you can’t have sinful souls polluting God’s heavenly kingdom. It’s just that simple.

And that’s why it’s important to pray for the souls in Purgatory – after all, as Father Tim preached yesterday, the souls in Purgatory are one of the three primary components of The Church (the other two being the communion of saints in Heaven, and you and I here on earth). We pray for them as we pray for the saints to pray for us in our own faith journeys. Everything is eternal. We do not have souls, we are souls that have bodies. And all Creation, groaning under the weight of sin, awaits the day when everyone and everything will be gathered up into God’s eternal Presence; until then we live our lives in faith and hope of that day coming, praying for God’s mercy upon us and upon those who have departed this life. After all, what goes around, comes around.

The reason it seems as if my work state is something akin to Puragtory is that strange sense that comes from having worked for someone for years and all of a sudden, they’re gone. And his replacement can reassure you all they want, but you never really know where you stand. Perhaps the day comes you acquire a good and trusting working relationship. Perhaps not. But in either case, there’s that feeling out period that just takes time.

One reason why Purgatory is a state so dear to me is that I think we all spend our lives in kind of a purgatory. Very few spend their lives in a state of bliss; we’re all too well well aware of people who spend the majority of their lives in some form of misery. But, praise God, I think most people live their lives between good times and bad, sometimes great, some times awful, most times in between. Me, I prefer those in between times, not getting too high over anything or too low. But there are times where God demands patience, faithfulness, and perseverence when we get rocked out of our comfort zones.

And I’m thinking as much as we don’t like it when that happens, it’s probably a good thing. Keeps everyone on their toes and honest. Which can’t be a bad thing.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:51 | Comments Off on Purgatory
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