"I encourage Catholics to pray fervently for the dead, for their family members and for all our brothers and sisters who have died, that they may obtain the remission of the punishments due to their sins and may hear the Lord's call: 'Come, O my dear soul, to eternal repose in the arms of my goodness, which has prepared eternal delights for you"'.
~ Pope John Paul II

January 31, 2010

Things to come

First off, apologies. I'm trying to balance my new hobby (i.e. blogging) with work, school, a new baby, and some beneficial and therapeutic reading. Admittedly, I'm not finding the balance yet. But this too shall pass.

In the coming weeks, I will be looking at supporting evidence for the doctrine of Purgatory -- first in Scripture, then in Tradition as set forth by the Church Fathers, and finally in the Magisterial teaching of the Universal church. That being said, I reserve the right to update the order as I see fit.

I have no particular training in this area, but I come with enough raw materials to make the endeavor fruitful: an inquisitive nature, a rounded intellect, and the humility to bow to superior wisdom. I welcome comments, both critical and encouraging, but I expect a certain level of respect and charity.

I will begin my examination by looking at the concepts of man's purification and God's holiness in the Old Testament. I'll keep this page updated with the overall outline as things fall into place.

  1. The Holiness of God

  2. Clean vs Unclean

  3. Holiness in God's Servants

January 22, 2010

Repetita Juvant

Repetita juvant! ... Repetition is beneficial.

Since beginning this journey, I have discovered two other blogs (shown on my sidebar) which seem to share a mission with my own: The Friends of the Poor Souls and Grateful for Purgatory. I've spent the past week or so exploring the archives of these sites... trying to determine if I had anything new to say. I mean, these two sites are TREMENDOUS resources! Allow me to give an overview:

  • Friends of the Poor Souls is the web presence of a non-profit apostolate founded on September 15, 2004. Their stated purpose is "helping release the Poor/Holy Souls from Purgatory." They seem to accomplish this through encouraging a devotion to the holy souls by publishing prayers for the holy souls, teaching the faithful how to avoid purgatory through the granting of indulgences and so forth. Since late 2006 the site has primarily been used to publish the newsletter of the FPS Apostolate and has included descriptions by their readers of encounters with the Poor Souls and an encouragement to join as a Prayer Warrior in support of our faithful departed.

  • Grateful for Purgatory has a recent online presence of a "Roman Catholic wife, mother, and grandmother" who also maintains the sister blogs Venite Adoremus Dominum, dedicated to Eucharistic Adoration -- Eucharistic Adoration for Priests, in honor of the present Year of the Priest -- and Grateful for Life, dedicated to the unborn and the pro-life cause. GFP has been online since All Saints Day 2009 and since that time has published prayers and saying of the saints on the Holy Souls as well as current news, funeral sermons, and the like on the same subject.

What can I do, then, which has not already been done by these two (and no doubt many others yet unfound)? Perhaps nothing. Perhaps much. Both sites are written in a style that is somewhat off-putting for someone new to the game. Perhaps a former Southern Baptist, Texan Catholic has something to add -- some perspective or some voice -- that can be of benefit to someone. The souls suffering in Purgatory -- our parent, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, and priests -- need our help, but the truth is that they are forgotten. Catholics of all stripes are compelled to take up devotion to the holy souls as an act of charity for we may well be one step behind them.

Repetita Juvant! If one voice crying in the wilderness is not heard, perhaps another will do.

January 12, 2010

Purgatory Reading List (Updated)

Let me be clear. I don't know much. That's the first thing.

Second, a lack of knowledge can be remedied by a little study. To that end, I'd like to put forth a list of publications (online or otherwise) that I am either reading, have recently purchased, have spotted at the library, or otherwise would like to take a look at. Over the course of my blog-lifetime, I would like to break apart each of these sources and see what there is to see. If any readers have suggestions for additional reading material, please leave a comment. I plan to update this post from time to time.

Here we go:
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 1020-1065)

  • Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas (ST A.1, A.2)

  • Summa Contra Gentiles by St. Thomas Aquinas (SCG IV)

  • Purgatory Explained by Fr. F.X. Schouppe S.J. (Many thanks to my sister-in-law for this)

  • Thirty-day Devotions for the Holy Souls by Susan Tassone

  • Charity for the Suffering Souls: An Explanation of the Catholic Doctrine of Purgatory by Rev. John A. Nageleisen

  • The Birth of Purgatory by Jacques Le Goff

  • An Unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory by Sister M. de L. C.

  • The revelation of the Monk of Eynsham by Adam of Eynsham

  • The supplication of Souls by St. Thomas More

  • The Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude the Great by St. Gertrude

  • Treatise on Pugatory by St. Catherine of Genoa [NB: known as the Apostle of Purgatory... oops]

  • The Legacy of Purgatory: The Continuing English Eschatological Controversy by Chase Machen (Thesis)

  • Purgatorio by Dante Alighieri (for illustrative purposes)

  • Life of St Lidwina by Johannes Brugman and Thomas a' Kempis

  • Stories About Purgatory And What They Reveal Compiled from Traditional Sources

  • On purgatory by St. Robert Bellarmine [I'm having an IMPOSSIBLE time finding the majority of his works in English]

  • Father Paul of Moll by Edward van Speybrouck

  • How to Avoid Purgatory by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, O.P.

January 10, 2010

A single step

It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step. I repeat this here to remind myself that while the task ahead is daunting, and while the road to my destination is unsure, I must have faith that the Holy Spirit will lovingly provide the direction while I commit to gingerly follow behind Him -- one step at a time.

My first step is this: to dedicate this blog to the members of the Church Suffering and to their speedy rest in the arms of Christ our Lord.

My goals in undertaking the management of this blog are the following:
  • To develop a relationship with our forgotten brothers and encourage other Catholics to do the same.

  • To learn from the Church the conditions of Purgatory and to pass on that knowledge.

  • To begin a campaign for the indulgence of the poor souls, that they may not languish much longer.

  • To preserve my soul from the purgative fire through suffering, penance, and charity with the help of my brothers on Earth and in Heaven.

A prayer:
My holy Angel Guardian, ask the Lord to bless the journey which I undertake, that it may profit the health of my soul and body; that I may reach its end, and that, returning safe and sound, I may find my family in good health. Do thou guard, guide and preserve us. Amen.