Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

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Purgatory, an Introduction…

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on April 29, 2009

As I indicated in a previous post, the next few posts will focus on purification from the perspective of Purgatory.  Rest assured, I’ve spoken already on the topic of purification when one prays the Rosary, so this is just an expansion of words already relayed.

My primary sources are: The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition, ©2000; The Holy Bible, Catholic Version, RSV (unless otherwise noted); and stories related in different situations between the years 2000 – 2005 – exact names and resources are unknown at this present time.


To begin: a definition


A state of final purification after death and before entrance into heaven for those who died in God’s friendship, but were only imperfectly purified; a final cleansing of human imperfection before one is able to enter the joy of heaven. ~ CCC Glossary

This purification happens mostly at the moment of passing from this life into the next and only if the deceased accept the Mercy of God and embrace His love – which can and does frequently happen.  But there is another purification that we can go through while we are on this earth.  It is commonly referred to as Purgatory on Earth, by those of us who have asked for it.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states,

…every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the “temporal punishment” of sin. (CCC§1472)

The understanding is, of course, that we desire to be with our God as soon as possible. The only way that will be possible is to not just free ourselves from sin, but also to have ourselves purified from the consequences of that sin. This is why the Solemnity of Divine Mercy Sunday is so important.  By “passing through the gate of [His] Mercy”, we are obtaining from Him the total forgiveness of our sins and from the punishment that accompanies those sins. The Catechism continues,

To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church, it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin (cf CCC§1854-55, 62-63; 1458) deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the “eternal punishment” of sin… These two punishments (Venial and Grave) must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain.” (CCC§1472)

We sin because of our fallen state – this is known as the Original Sin when the first creatures disobeyed the Creator.  We can’t help but sin, it is embedded in our very nature, but we can choose not to follow through with sin:

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. ~ 1Peter 6-7

In other words, we can turn to Christ at every temptation and have Him take on our burdens.  What did Jesus say to us?

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” ~ Mt 11: 28-30

At the hour of death, burdens are very heavy.  The dying person knows that they are leaving this world and entering another – even if they did not previously believe in a heaven or hell – just ask anyone who has had a near death experience.  They will tell you that they understood all things that had happened in their life – both the good and the bad – and they knew they where about to answer for them.Many also have related that they felt they weren’t ready yet.  If only they had some more time, they would make many changes and improve their lives.

Those who believe in God and in His Church – Sacraments and Traditions alike – also know that it is their souls that are not ready, not just their emotional self – at least I’d hope so…

I once heard the following on a Christian radio station, and even though the pastor relating the allegory was not Catholic, his understanding for the need for purification before entering heaven was right on!

Click here.

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Why Humanae Vitae?

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on October 28, 2008

With the result of advances in medicine and science, the culture that was emerging from the 60’s had begun to grapple with its own humanity.  The Free Love, and Make Love Not War, mentality began to give way to other mentalities that demanded equal rights.  The Civil Rights movement had made a definite impact on the state of affairs concerning Negros (now African Americans), so why not also take that influence and apply it to women’s rights?

Mind you, I’m not saying that there was no call for the movements that moved to equalize the pay-scale for women to be “on-par” with men.  Because of that Free Love society mentality from earlier in the century, there were a lot of women finding themselves mothers without husbands. A pay increase was certainly needed.

But we have to be honest here.  Contraception made it possible, or so it seemed possible, to have many sexual partners without the worry about conceiving… that is until one moment of use, the contraception device fails.  Unfortunately for the women involved, the multiple partners thing lead to more and more sexual practice, which will always increase the statistic of contraception failure, thus the rate of birth to unwed mothers also increases.

So no matter how much the pay scale is equalized, until women are told the truth – contraception does not guarantee not conceiving (just ask my parents) – and until we teach our children that sexual activity is reserved for marriage alone – we shall continue in this downward spiral of misconception about contraception.

Which leads us nicely into the next section of the document:

I. New Aspects of the Problem and Competency of the Magisterium

New Formulation of the Problem cont…

(These were the types of questions asked by the commission…)

3. This new state of things gives rise to new questions. Granted the conditions of life today, and granted the meaning which conjugal relations have with respect to the harmony between husband and wife and to their mutual fidelity, would not a revision of the ethical norms, in force up to now, seem to be advisable, especially when it is considered that they cannot be observed without sacrifices, sometimes heroic sacrifices?

(Would it not seem prudent to adapt with the needs of society rather than enforce something “old” and “outdated”? Has society become perfect and less violent as a result of our “progression” ? I don’t think so…)

And again: by extending to this field the application of the so-called “principle of totality,” could it not be admitted that the intention of a less abundant but more rationalized fecundity might transform a materially sterilizing intervention into a licit and wise control of birth?

(Would not the use of condemns and sponges and other means of contraception be advisable to avoid the need for killing the unwanted child? Ya think?…that’s why over 50.5 million babies have lost their lives since 1973, the year abortion was made legal and contraception had been legal since 1960.)

Could it not be admitted, that is, that the finality of procreation pertains to the ensemble of conjugal life, rather than to its single acts? It is also asked whether, in view of the increased sense of responsibility of modern man, the moment has not come for him to entrust to his reason and his will, rather than to the biological rhythms of his organism, the task of regulating birth.

(Modern man would have better “self-control” if he was allowed to use contraception. Okay, so in our contraception-practicing society, rape and incest no longer exist because we are now a society of “self-control” ? )

Competency of the Magisterium

4. Such questions required from the teaching authority of the Church a new and deeper reflection upon the principles of the moral teaching on marriage: a teaching founded on the natural law, illuminated and enriched by divine revelation. Gen 2:21-24

No believer will wish to deny that the teaching authority of the Church is competent to interpret even the natural moral law. It is, in fact, indisputable, as our predecessors have many times declared, that Jesus Christ, when communicating to Peter and to the apostles His divine authority and sending them to teach all nations His commandments, (Mt 28:18-19) constituted them as guardians and authentic interpreters of all the moral law, not only, that is, of the law of the Gospel, but also of the natural law, which is also an expression of the will of God, the faithful fulfillment of which is equally necessary for salvation. (Mt 7:21)

(Those of you who claim Catholicism as your faith, if you do not believe that Jesus established His Church on Peter and the Apostles, you might as well stop right here.  All that follows will reflect this very Pillar of Truth. This very intransigent TRUTH.)

Conformably to this mission of hers, the Church has always provided-and even more amply in recent times-a coherent teaching concerning both the nature of marriage and the correct use of conjugal rights and the duties of husband and wife. (GS§41-52)

(So, here is what the Vatican did to address these questions thoroughly, as I have already alluded to above…)

Special Studies

The consciousness of that same mission induced us to confirm and enlarge the study commission which our predecessor Pope John XXIII of happy memory had instituted in March, 1963. That commission which included, besides several experts in the various pertinent disciplines, also married couples, had as its scope the gathering of opinions on the new questions regarding conjugal life, and in particular on the regulation of births, and of furnishing opportune elements of information so that the magisterium could give an adequate reply to the expectation not only of the faithful, but also of world opinion.

The work of these experts, as well as the successive judgments and counsels spontaneously forwarded by or expressly requested from a good number of our brothers in the episcopate, have permitted us to measure more exactly all the aspects of this complex matter. Hence with all our heart we express to each of them our lively gratitude.

(Many people contributed to the gathering of the information on the questions above.  This was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a biased and “agenda fixed” commission.  Far too many people, from every walk of life, were asked and did participate in this endeavor.)

Reply of the Magisterium

6. The conclusions at which the commission arrived could not, nevertheless, be considered by us as definitive, nor dispense us from a personal examination of this serious question; and this also because, within the commission itself, no full concordance of judgments concerning the moral norms to be proposed had been reached, and above all because certain criteria of solutions had emerged which departed from the moral teaching on marriage proposed with constant firmness by the teaching authority of the Church.

(A friendly reminder : We are a Church of both Scripture AND Tradition: BOTH/AND = Good  Theology!)

Therefore, having attentively sifted the documentation laid before us, after mature reflection and assiduous prayers, we now intend, by virtue of the mandate entrusted to us by Christ, to give our reply to these grave questions.

(These conclusion was not reached in one day.  The commission began in March of ’63, and Paul VI did not publish this encyclical until July of ’65.  It was carefully and thoroughly conducted and reviewed.  If more proof is needed of the validity of this document, just wait and see!  Our very society as it currently exists, is reflected perfectly within the following pages.  Get ready folks, and get comfortable.  Any formed conscious individual will feel a little “slimy” while sitting comfortably in your chair, for all of us are culpable, we have allowed death to reign in our society; and unfortunately, many have even participated in that death.)

Tomorrow: The Meat of Humanae Vitae

Previous Posts:

All Life is Sacred : Part I

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