Monday, October 4, 2010

Fr. John Bartunek: An Explanation of Indulgences and Purgatory

"Our life on earth is a spiritual war. Our selfishness and sins not only offend God (the offense that confession removes, as God grants us his forgiveness), but they also do damage to our souls. They form and deepen spiritual habits, tendencies, and attitudes that are contrary to the gospel. And that damage needs to be repaired; every last scrap of selfishness and sinfulness has to be removed, or purified, before we are able to live in the perfect intimacy with God that heaven requires."

"This purification can happen either in this life, or after we die. If it happens after we die, it is called purgatory – the state in which all remaining selfishness is purged from our souls."

"Through the favor granted by an indulgence, God’s mercy permits this purification to happen more quickly than otherwise. Instead of having to suffer through the purification oneself, in other words, purification is obtained through the suffering already undergone by Christ and the saints. Indulgences can’t free souls from hell, but they can speed up the purification process for oneself or for souls in purgatory, by remitting this temporal punishment (the restorative purification) that personal sins create the need for. There are two types of indulgences: partial, which repairs some of the self-damage caused by sin, or plenary, which repairs all of the damage."

"The bottom line, however, is charity, love. Obtaining indulgences for souls suffering in purgatory exercises true supernatural love for neighbors whom we may never meet till our family feast in heaven. And when we exercise true, supernatural love, it grows – nothing matters more than that."

~ Fr. John Bartunek, LC, excerpts from here and here. ~

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