신앙과 교리

Home > 신앙과 교리 > 미사강론

제목 Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, o Lord, hear my prayer!
작성자 관리자 작성일 2018-11-12





“De profundis clamavi ad Te,

 Domine. Domine, exaudi orationem meam!”(Ps. 129:1)
 

“Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, o Lord. Lord, hear my prayer!” (Ps. 129:1)


St. Paul is likely to talk about Purgatory in his First Epistle to the Corinthians:
“By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.” (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)


This text can be difficult to figure out, but it really isn’t that complicated. Let’s imagine you were contracted to build a house. If you have built your house out of high-quality materials like gold, silver and costly stones, a fire will not burn it down. But if you built your house out of inferior materials like wood, hay or straw, the house is going to burn down when tested by fire.


Now there are two things that can happen to you if you’re inside a burning house: you can either perish in the fire or escape outside to safety! In the latter instance where you escape, the fire proves to be remedial or purifying. Your shoddy workmanship is consumed, but yet you escape and live. In the context of judgment, this image of a saving or purifying fire sounds a lot like Purgatory!


Some Christian workers, whose efforts are shabby and imperfect, will pass through God’s fiery judgment like a man who barely escapes a burning building with his life. This prelude to salvation will involve painful spiritual consequences, which, though severe, will spare them eternal damnation…


Catholic Tradition interprets St. Paul’s teaching in the light of Purgatory…a final stage of purification for those who are destined to heaven but depart from this life still burdened with venial sins or with an unpaid debt of temporal punishment incurred from past sins (i.e., mortal sins already forgiven but imperfectly repented of). Passing through fire is thus a spiritual process where souls are purged of residual selfishness and refined in God’s love.


“Our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:29)
In a certain way, the fire which both burns and saves is Christ himself, the Judge and Saviour.


In the Book of Wisdom, one finds the following passage which talks about the punishment of the righteous who has the hope of life everlasting:


“The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them. In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died, and their departure was thought to be an affliction, and their going from us to be their destruction; but they are at peace. For though in the sight of men they were punished, their hope is full of immortality. Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself; like gold in the furnace he tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them.” (Wis. 3:1-6)


Historically, it is quite clear that the early Christians believed in a state of purification after death. We know, for example, that the Christians living in the catacombs in Rome inscribed prayers for the dead on the walls. In addition, prayers for the dead are contained in some of the earliest Christian writings. Another key proof text in scripture is 2 Maccabees 12:46, which states: “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins.” Obviously, we would not pray for the dead if they were already in heaven. Every Catholic Mass offered throughout the world includes prayers for the living and the dead, and there is an extraordinary list of Catholic saints who have experienced private revelations of purgatory, such as St. Catherine of Genoa or Saint Padre Pio.


Since “Nothing unclean shall enter [heaven]” (Apoc. 21:27) and “without holiness, no one shall see God” (Heb. 12:14), most of the just need to be purified “through fire” in order to enter into the everlasting joy of heaven.


During this month of November, let us keep in mind the compassionate heart of Mary who regularly visits Purgatory to relieve the poor souls. Let us imitate her charity and pray and offer sacrifices for our departed. Amen.


Fr. Wailliez