Saturday of this weekend is Veterans Day, a time for us to be appreciative and thankful for the many men and women who served our country through the Armed Forces. We need to be grateful to those who make personal sacrifices for the greater good of our country. Without their efforts, during both peacetime and war, the world would be very different and for the worse.
As we continue to pray for the souls in purgatory, here is some additional food for thought: no Christian who truly understands the bible denies the “demands of the Kingdom of God”. The bible clearly indicates that we must be “spotless and blameless” because “the pure in heart…shall see God” (2 Pt 3:14, Mt 5:8). Such people, as Jesus indicates, are very close to loving God with all of their heart, mind, soul, and strength. Such people also love their “neighbors” as they love themselves. Where the dilemma begins is how these demands are met by each person.
A very popular thought among many Christians is that God will do this for us, similarly to taking your vehicle through the car wash. They might quote from the bible where it says that “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet…we shall be changed.” (1 Cor 15:52) This passage is referring to the general resurrection at the end of time when each human soul is reunited to his/her own resurrected body, never again to experience physical death, regardless if that person is in heaven or hell. This physical change God will do for us, but the change of heart and mind needed to enter heaven can only be done by us with the grace of God.
We can better understand this in our experience of having to say “I’m sorry” to another person. I remember quarreling with my brothers at various times when I was a young boy. Sometimes, in the midst of being mad at one of them, my parents would make me apologize to my brother and say “I’m sorry”. I didn’t want to do so but I knew my parents weren’t going to let me do otherwise. So, I said the words while giving my brother a scowling look. Regardless of what they did, my parents could never make me sorry. The same is true of God in making us love others. God can teach us and help us to do so, but ultimately, we must do it. Purgatory is finishing the work of loving God and neighbor in the way Jesus showed us at Calvary.
At first glance, Godly love seems demanding, but that is only because we are looking at it through fallen, sinful eyes. For those who have not yet learned and lived the ways of Godly love here on earth, their last hope is Purgatory. It is God’s mercy that gives the human person yet another opportunity to do what they should have been doing here on earth. The saints show us what our life here on earth should look like. Use your freedom to become a saint now and spare yourself the pain of purgatory later.