What do you know about purgatory? What is it exactly and why doesn't everyone just go straight to Heaven? Fr. Mario offers a few insights into the topic and shares why it's so important to consider.
So the topic of purgatory is a hot topic. For us Catholics we find this doctrine of purgatory in the second book of Maccabees. Judas Maccabeus leads his army into the battle and they win, but some of his men die. And so, he begins to pray for them, that they would be delivered from their sins.
So that takes us a step farther, because if people are automatically in heaven or in hell, then there's no reason to pray for them. If you're in hell, you're not getting out.
So if we're praying for people, then it leads us to this conclusion that there's a reason we need to be praying for them. The Church calls this purgatory, and it's this final cleansing before we see God face to face.
When we stand before God we want to be as pure and as holy as we can possibly be, so we want those stains to be blotted out. Now, what we want is to get to heaven. And so, our prayer is that when we die, we'll go right to heaven, and please, God, may that be so. But if it's not, I'm okay with being cleansed and dealing with whatever I have to deal with, because the alternative to that is something we really need to be afraid of.
Purgatory is not a bad thing, it's not a bad place. If this is the way that the Lord chooses to make us ready to meet him, then let's do it.