Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Purgatory… An allegory from a Protestant Minister

Imagine yourself invited to a friend’s Open-House.  They have completed most of the remodeling and are wanting to share their joy with some of their closest friends.  And even though you’ve known your friend for quite some time, you really want to make this a special occasion.  So you go all out and ‘dress to the nines’.  You even splurged for a fancy desert and wine to go with it.  However, upon your arrival, you notice that the front yard landscaping has not even begun.  The yard is a mess.  With recent rain it is a variable mud-pit, and to make matters even worse, a rather strong wind has suddenly come up spreading mud over what little sidewalk remained clean.

As you carefully maneuver on that sidewalk, your shoes are becoming increasingly muddy when suddenly a very strong wind picks up a ‘handful’ of mud and smacks you with it!  Now not only are your shoes muddy but much of your nice clothing, skin, and hair are now caked in mud.  By some miracle you make it to the front door only to have your friend waiting for you with a look of disbelief at your disheveled appearance. You see past your friend into the living room, an area your friend had taken particular care with, and you can see why they did.  The carpet they chose was a plush white carpet that, even from the entrance, looked expensive and pristine.

Not wanting to sully that carpet in any way, you apologize for your appearance with great humility as you know just taking off your shoes won’t be good enough.  All of you is caked in mud!  Your friend though has great compassion on you, and in an act of kindness and mercy they direct you to another entrance.  Upon entering you see the room is something of a utility room, where mud won’t make much of a difference.  Carefully removing your coat and shoes, your friend also offers you a clean fluffy towel and a pristine-white terry bath robe that you can put on after your hot shower, which is just down a small hallway from the utility room.  While you are washing up, your friend will place your things in the washing machine.

The Hot Shower feels wonderful, even though the shame and humility you feel with regards to the turn of events still weighs heavy, you begin to notice that with each clump of mud that drops off that shame begins to also melt away.  When your shower is finally complete – and the hot water never once wavered even though your clothes were in the wash just down the hall – you now feel not just refreshed, but overjoyed, like you are a whole new person!  You can’t explain it, after all it was only a hot shower, but something changed in you during that time.  Dressed in the borrowed robe, your friend meets you with your clothes dried, pressed, and looking cleaner then they’ve ever looked before! “How long was I in that shower?” You ask your friend. “Just long enough.” They reply as they had you your clothes.  Dressing in them you feel as if you are putting on an entirely new garment – and you think to yourself that you’ll have to ask your friend what kind of laundry detergent did they use.

But now you are ready to go upstairs.  Your hair is neat and clean.  Your body refreshed and smelling sweet – you can’t explain the odor, but its definitely there…maybe its part of the detergent or fabric softener my friend used? – you think to yourself.  Many questions are now on your mind, but when you reach the top of the stairs you forget (even if temporarily) every single one of them!  The beauty and apparent grandeur of your friend’s newly remodeled home takes you completely by surprise.  It’s better than you ever dreamed it could be, so many rooms, so much light, how did your friend ever accomplish it?  Your friend then leads you to the living room, that area of pristine, white, and full carpet that you saw from the front door.  They invite you to take off your shoes and just walk on it barefooted.  You take that invitation and you and your friend begin a life long conversation about anything and everything, knowing full within your heart that time will finally stand-still.

The meaning: the mud is our sinfulness – we really can’t help it – sometimes it just comes upon us and smacks us square in the face.  But we can choose to follow through with that sin and sully the fine things in life – like a pristine, white, fluffy carpets;  or we can choose to follow Christ and live in the fullness of His Love.

The Hot Shower: is the Love of Christ that we must pass through if we are ever going to be clean enough to enter into heaven. Our Friend?  Jesus the Christ, Himself!  He cares so much for us, for He has the Love of His Father within Him (cf. 1 Jn 4:16).  He has compassion on us as He leads us through “another door”, which is the Cross, and demonstrates His willingness to cleanse our outer appearance, and at the same time, provide us with the tools to clean-out our inner appearance: Sacrament of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist (communion) – the receiving of Him body, blood, soul and divinity; and the Church with her Sacred Traditions and Sacred ScripturesBOTH/AND – Good Theology!

Every step of the way, He is there to provide assistance until we are ready to receive our “new garments” (cf Mt 22:11 – RSV footnote), and thus are we made ready to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven (cf. Jn 14: 2-3).  Go figure an allegory of Purgatory would come from a Protestant Pastor… so many Protestants are coming so close to the Truth…

“Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
~ (Jesus)
Mt 7:7-8

Return to: Purgatory, an Introduction

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