Tag: Hell and Purgatory

*The Reality of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory*

*The Reality of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory*

(Sunday 11th August, 2019. Read Wisdom 18:6-9, Psalm 33, Hebrews 11:1-2.8-19 & Luke 12:32-48)

_“Sell your possessions and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail where no thief approaches and no moth destroys” *(Luke 12:33).*_

Last Sunday, Jesus refused to intervene in a property dispute of a man who had interrupted Him while He was teaching. Jesus tells us that a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. It is vanity (mere breath) if we dedicate our whole lives only to the pursuit of earthly riches if we fail to be rich towards God. The rich man whose land yielded much is called a fool because, in his plan to enjoy his riches, he failed to consider the hungry, the sick, the homeless and the poor.

Today’s Gospel passage picks up right here. Having quieted the young man who was only thinking of how to get his share of property, Jesus went on to teach us in concrete terms of the reality of heaven, hell and purgatory as well as what we must do or avoid to make heaven.

*Lesson One: It is Only those Things you Give Away that Belong to You.*

To the young man who had come to Jesus seeking for the secret to eternal life, Jesus responded: “You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Mark 10:21, Luke 18:22). Today, Jesus is repeating Himself: *“Sell your possessions and give alms; provide yourselves with … a treasure in the heavens”* (Luke 12:33). Kindness rendered to others selflessly is your ticket to the eternal bliss of heaven.

On the last day, Jesus says, the “King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (Matthew 25:34-36).

When last did you give a serious thought about heaven? Now, when last did you think about your account balance? When last did you think of buying a car, getting a parcel of land or going to purchase more goods for your business? Jesus was not lying at all when he said: “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” St. Basil and St. Ambrose would say, if you are looking for a bank (a safe place or a barn) to store your riches, then consider the bellies of the poor, the houses of the orphans and widows, check under the bridge where the homeless stay, look out for those risking their lives to hawk pure water, sweets or biscuits on our busy streets. Dear friends, it is what you give out, (the help you render to others) that speaks on your behalf when you die. These are your true treasures because they can never be stolen or taken away from you.

*Lesson Two: Heaven is the Reward of Righteousness.*

Jesus says to us today: “Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning and be like men who are waiting for their master to return from the marriage feast.” What does this mean? By asking us to gird our loins, Jesus is saying: “zip up.” Flee from immorality, flee from indecent dressing, do not let down your moral guard, do not allow the devil entrance into your mind through unholy pictures, videos, books, conversations and the like. Girding your loins means placing a filter to what you consume through your phone, the internet and the media.

According to St. Gregory Nazianzen “we gird our loins when by continence we control the lusts of the flesh. For the lust of men is in their loins … But because it is a small thing not to do evil, unless also men strive to labour in good works, it is added, ‘and your lamps burning in your hands; for we hold burning lamps in our hands, when by good works we show forth bright examples to our neighbours.” That is to say, it is not enough that we avoid lust and sins of the flesh, by adding that our lamps must be kept burning, Jesus is teaching us that we must also, carry out good works (show good example to those living in darkness).

For St. Gregory of Nyssa, “for the sake then of keeping watch, our Lord advised above that our loins should be girded, and our lamps burning, for light when placed before the eyes drives away sleep. The loins also when tied with a girdle, make the body incapable of sleep. For he who is girt about with chastity, and illuminated by a pure conscience, continues wakeful.” Heaven is for those who are pure in heart, who never relax into sin, persons who place the light of God’s word before their eyes daily.

When Peter asked if this parable is meant for everyone, Jesus added another quality of those who would go to heaven. “Who then is the faithful and wise steward whom the master has set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? As the saying goes, to whom much is given, much is expected. That is to say, if God blesses you, it is so that you would be a blessing to others. Your gifts in life are not meant only for you. On the other hand, the priest is like a steward put in charge of God’s household to feed the people. “Peter, do you love me? … Feed my Lambs”(Cf. John 21:15-17).

*Lesson Three: Different Types of Punishment Indicates the reality of Purgatory.*

In today’s first reading, the book of Wisdom clearly spelt out the reality of heaven and hell when it says: “The deliverance of the righteous and the destruction of their enemies were expected by thy people. For by the same means by which thou didst punish our enemies thou didst call us to thyself and glorify us” (Wisdom 18:7-8). While the blessed are glorified, the wicked are punished. This is exactly what Jesus teaches us in our Gospel passage. The good and faithful servants are called blessed while those who failed to live up to their master’s expectations are punished. Nevertheless, as Jesus notes, there would be different types of punishment.

a. For him who goes about beating the menservants and the maidservants as well as eating and drinking and getting drunk, Jesus says the master of the house will punish him and put him with the unfaithful. Here Jesus shows us that there is such a place reserved for the unfaithful.

b. For the servant who knew his master’s will but did not make ready or act according to his will, he shall receive a severe beating. Note that unlike the first, this particular servant is not transferred to the place of the unfaithful.

c. Jesus then mentions another servant who did not know his master’s will and yet in his ignorance did what deserved a beating. Such servant according to Jesus would be given only a light beating and still unlike the first, this servant does not go to the place of the unfaithful.

*If we are to understand hell as the place of the unfaithful, it simply follows that there is actually a place other than heaven and hell where souls go to receive either severe or light beating. This place is what the church calls purgatory*. As the Catechism puts it: *“Purgatory is the final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.”* (CCC 1030-1031) This purification is done so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

*Lesson Four: Faith Makes Everything Come Together.*

Our second reading today may be considered as a hymn of the praises of faith. Behind the great achievements of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob was a strong and determined faith; a firm assurance within them of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, without faith, it would be impossible for us to please God as his children. It is true that none of us living has been to heaven to know how the place is, but just like Abraham who did not hesitate to move even when he did not know exactly where God was calling him to, we are called to follow God’s instructions by faith.

Too often we think of faith only in terms of what we stand to receive from God. We are very quick to recite passages such as Mark 11:24 which says: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” What we do not often realize is that faith also applies to the everyday choices that we make. Every sin we commit is a statement of what we actually believe. Abraham did not disobey when he was asked to sacrifice his son Isaac because even though he loved Isaac, he believed God was capable of providing more sons for him.

The question we must ask ourselves today is: ‘What do my actions say about my faith?’

Let us pray: Almighty ever living God, bring to perfection in our hearts the spirit of adoption as your sons and daughters and we may merit to enter heaven which is the inheritance which you have promised, Amen.

*Happy Sunday. Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year C. Bible Study: Wisdom 18:6-9, Psalm 33, Hebrews 11:1-2.8-19 & Luke 12:32-48).*

Q. Indulgences and Purgatory

Q. Indulgences and Purgatory

Q. How can I get indulgences. As a former Protestant I’m still learning the Catholic faith. Can indulgences keep me out of purgatory? If I have to go there it’s apt to be a long sentence. I’ve got a lot of sin and I’ve done confessions but still sin. I’m a rough kind of guy, trying to get to Heaven. Needs LOTS of these indulgences. Please help.

A. Well, you’re also a very honest kind of guy. It’s good that you are aware of your sin, that’s the first step to receiving God’s mercy.

Forgiveness is Not Enough…The Grace of Indulgences

This seems like a strange subheading for this chapter, but it’s true. Forgiveness is not enough to grow holy. Here is a classic question that illustrates the point.

Often it is asked whether someone will go straight to Heaven if they go to confession, confess all their sins, and as they walk out of the church have a heart attack and die. They were just forgiven so this must mean they go straight to Heaven with no time in Purgatory! Right? Wrong.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation does in fact forgive all our sins. For that reason, someone who goes to confession and dies prior to committing an unrepented mortal sin will, indeed, go to Heaven. But getting into Heaven also requires something else. It requires complete freedom from all attachment to sin! And that’s a tall order.

Sin not only hurts our relationship with God, it also strengthens our “relationship” so to speak with sin itself. In other words, the more we sin, the more we are attached to sin. Confession forgives our past sins, and helps us overcome future sins, but we do need additional grace to be freed from the “attachment” we experience.

For example, say someone is a habitual liar. They have become so used to lying that they do it for no real reason. The habit is deep and strong and they practice it daily and throughout the day.

Now let’s say that person goes to confession and receives forgiveness for all past sins of lying. That’s excellent! But does this mean that as soon as the person walks out of the confessional they have also completely broken the habit they have formed? Certainly not. Most likely, within a few hours, they will be tempted to lie again simply because the habit is strong within them. This fact reveals to us that forgiveness is not enough, we also need a special grace to help us become detached from all tendencies toward sin. And this is where an indulgence comes in.

Catechism defines an indulgence in the following way:

“An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints” (Paul VI, apostolic constitution, Indulgentiarum doctrina, Norm 1).

“An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin” (Indulgentiarum doctrina, Norm 2; cf. Norm 3). The faithful can gain indulgences for themselves or apply them to the dead (CIC, can. 994). (#1471)

Now there is a lot packed into this statement which may be confusing. So let’s look at it one piece at a time.

Temporal Punishment:

First of all, punishment due to sin is either eternal or temporal. Eternal punishment (Hell) is removed in confession, but temporal punishment remains. This language can be misleading. This is not a punishment from God. It’s not as if God says, “Because you did this you deserve 10 years in purgatory unless you make up for it now.” The “punishment” is “due to sin.” In other words, sin itself imposes a punishment upon us. What is that punishment? It’s attachment to sin. By sinning we become attached to the sin through our habit and this attachment is a punishment from the sin itself. God wants to break that attachment. The grace of an indulgence is specifically for this purpose.

Prescribed Actions of the Church:

All grace comes from God, but the Church is given the authority to dispense the grace of God through certain means. An indulgence is one of those means. Therefore, when the Church says that certain actions open the warehouse of grace, we can be certain that this is true. For example, one of the indulgences offered by the Church requires the following: Make a holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament, go to confession within seven days of that holy hour, receive communion within seven days, and pray for the pope. Upon the completion of these requirements we can be certain that all the grace we need to completely detach from the sins we confess is given to us. That’s right. The grace is there.

Interior Disposition:

But there is one catch to the above explanation! We have to be open to that grace if it is going to have an effect in our lives. And this is the most important part to remember (and the most difficult to fulfill). To illustrate, let’s go back to our earlier example. Say a person went to confession, completed the requirements of a full indulgence, and THEN walked outside and was hit by a car and died. Does the indulgence mean the person went straight to Heaven? Maybe, but probably not. The person would go straight to Heaven, bypassing Purgatory, if, and only if, that person’s heart was ALSO perfectly open to the infinite grace given through this indulgence. Forgiveness of sin is certain. Therefore, Heaven will happen. But whether one goes to Purgatory or not depends on how open the person is to completely detaching from all sin and all tendency to sin. This is the grace the indulgence seeks to give if we are willing to receive it. And if we do fully open our heart to it, this means we have completely converted to God and are perfectly in His grace. This, of course, must be our goal!

Types of Indulgences:

An indulgence is either “partial”or “full.” “Partial” meaning some of the grace needed for the full conversion is given, and “full” meaning that all of the grace needed is made available if the person’s heart is fully open.

So this is the glorious and transforming Sacrament of Penance, Reconciliation, Confession, and Forgiveness. It’s a gift so many fear, but a gift we ought to love. Examine your approach to this sacrament and let God speak to you, draw you to it and help you fall in love with it. If you do, you’ll find that this is one of the best ways available to encounter the love and mercy of our perfectly loving and merciful God!

Priest Testifies to His Experience of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory After Death and His Return to His Body

Priest Testifies to His Experience of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory After Death and His Return to His Body

A priest who saw heaven, hell, and purgatory on 4/14/85. The following is not a story coming out of the rumor mill. The priest whose testimony is given below is the pastor of a Catholic Church in Florida.

Background On Father Maniyangat

A priest who saw heaven, hell, and purgatory The death experience of Father Jose Maniyangat Francais-Espanol Fr. Jose Maniyangat is currently the pastor of St. Catherine of Sienna Catholic Church in Orange Park, Florida. Here is his personal testimony:

I was born on July 16, 1949 in Kerala, India to my parents, Joseph and Theresa Maniyangat. I am the eldest of seven children: Jose, Mary, Theresa, Lissama, Zachariah, Valsa and Tom.. At the age of fourteen, I entered St. Mary’s Minor Seminary in Thiruvalla to begin my studies for the priesthood. Four years later, I went to St. Joseph’s Pontifical Major Seminary in Alwaye, Kerala to continue my priestly formation. After completing the seven years of philosophy and theology, I was ordained a priest on January 1, 1975 to serve as a missionary in the Diocese of Thiruvalla. On Sunday April 14, 1985, the Feast of the Divine Mercy, I was going to celebrate Mass at a mission church in the north part of Kerala, and I had a fatal accident. I was riding a motorcycle when I was hit head-on by a jeep driven by a man who was intoxicated after a Hindu festival. I was rushed to a hospital about 35 miles away. On the way, my soul came out from my body and I experienced death. Immediately, I met my Guardian Angel. I saw my body and the people who were carrying me to the hospital. I heard them crying and praying for me. At this time my angel told me: “I am going to take you to Heaven, the Lord wants to meet you and talk with you.” He also said that, on the way, he wanted to show me hell and purgatory.

A Visit To Hell

First the angel escorted me to hell. It was an awful sight! I saw Satan and the devils, an unquenchable fire of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, worms crawling, people screaming and fighting, others being tortured by demons. The angel told me that all these sufferings were due to unrepented mortal sins. Then, I understood that there are seven degrees of suffering or levels according to the number and kinds of mortal sins committed in their earthly lives. The souls looked very ugly, cruel and horrific. It was a fearful experience. I saw people whom I knew, but I am not allowed to reveal their identities. The sins that convicted them were mainly abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, hatefulness, unforgiveness and sacrilege. The angel told me that if they had repented, they would have avoided hell and gone instead to purgatory. I also understood that some people who repent from these sins might be purified on earth through their sufferings. This way they can avoid purgatory and go straight to heaven. I was surprised when I saw in hell even priests and Bishops, some of whom I never expected to see. Many of them were there because they had misled the people with false teaching and bad example.

Next Stop Purgatory

After the visit to hell, my Guardian Angel escorted me to purgatory. Here too, there are seven degrees of suffering and unquenchable fire. But it is far less intense than hell and there was neither quarreling nor fighting. The main suffering of these souls is their separation from God. Some of those who are in purgatory committed numerous mortal sins, but they were reconciled with God before their death. Even though these souls are suffering, they enjoy peace and the knowledge that one day they will see God face to face. I had a chance to communicate with the souls in purgatory. They asked me to pray for them and to tell the people to pray for them as well, so they can go to heaven quickly. When we pray for these souls, we will receive their gratitude through their prayers, and once they enter heaven, their prayers become even more meritorious. It is difficult for me to describe how beautiful my Guardian Angel is. He is radiant and bright. He is my constant companion and helps me in all my ministries, especially my healing ministry. I experience his presence everywhere I go and I am grateful for his protection in my daily life.

Finally Heaven

Heaven Next, my angel escorted me to heaven passing through a big dazzling white tunnel. I never experienced this much peace and joy in my life. Then immediately heaven opened up and I heard the most delightful music, which I never heard before. The angels were singing and praising God. I saw all the saints, especially the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, and many dedicated holy Bishops and priests who were shining like stars. And when I appeared before the Lord, Jesus told me: I want you to go back to the world. In your second life, you will be an instrument of peace and healing to My people. You will walk in a foreign land and you will speak in a foreign tongue. Everything is possible for you with My grace.. After these words, the Blessed Mother told me: Do whatever He tells you. I will help you in your ministries. Words can not express the beauty of heaven.. There we find so much peace and happiness, which exceed a million times our imagination. Our Lord is far more beautiful than any image can convey. His face is radiant and luminous and more beautiful than a thousand rising suns. The pictures we see in the world are only a shadow of His magnificence.. The Blessed Mother was next to Jesus; She was so beautiful and radiant. None of the images we see in this world can compare with Her real beauty. Heaven is our real home; we are all created to reach heaven and enjoy God forever. Then, I came back to the world with my angel.

Father’s Soul Returns To His Body

While my body was at the hospital, the doctor completed all examinations and I was pronounced dead. The cause of death was bleeding. My family was notified, and since they were far away, the hospital staff decided to move my dead body to the morgue. Because the hospital did not have air conditioners, they were concerned that the body would decompose quickly. As they were moving my dead body to the morgue, my soul came back to the body. I felt an excruciating pain because of so many wounds and broken bones. I began to scream, and then the people became frightened and ran away screaming. One of them approached the doctor and said: The dead body is screaming. The doctor came to examine the body and found that I was alive. So he said: Father is alive, it is a miracle! Take him back to the hospital. Now, back at the hospital, they gave me blood transfusions and I was taken to surgery to repair the broken bones. They worked on my lower jaw, ribs, pelvic bone, wrists, and right leg. After two months, I was released from the hospital, but my orthopedic doctor said that I would never walk again. I then said to him: The Lord who gave me my life back and sent me back to the world will heal me. Once at home, we were all praying for a miracle. Still after a month, and with the casts removed, I was not able to move. But one day while praying I felt an extraordinary pain in my pelvic area. After a short while the pain disappeared completely and I heard a voice saying: You are healed. Get up and walk. I felt the peace and healing power on my body. I immediately got up and walked. I praised and thanked God for the miracle. I reached my doctor with the news of my healing, and he was amazed. He said: Your God is the true God. I must follow your God. The doctor was Hindu, and he asked me to teach him about our Church. After studying the Faith, I baptized him and he became Catholic. Following the message from my Guardian Angel, I came to the United States on November 10, 1986 as a missionary priest. I am currently the parish priest at St. Catherine Of Sienna Parish in Orange Park, FL.

Originally posted at EWTN.com (with editing)

By Fr. Jose Maniyangat