"Those who love God are always happy, because their whole happiness is to fulfill, even in adversity, the will of God."

St Alphonsus de Liguori

* * *

"The essence of perfection is to embrace the will of God in all things, prosperous or adverse. In prosperity, even sinners find it easy to unite themselves to the divine will; but it takes saints to unite themselves to God's will when things go wrong and are painful to self-love. Our conduct in such instances is the measure of our love of God."

St Alphonsus de Liguori

* * *

"Lord, take from me everything that hinders me from going to You. give me all that will lead me to You. Take me from myself and give me to Yourself."

St Nicholas Flue

* * *

 

Fr Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.  (1877 - 1964)  taught at the Angelicum in Rome from 1909 to 1960, and served for many years as a consulter to the Holy Office and other Roman Congregations.

 
  LIFE EVERLASTING
   

By Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange,OP

 

 PART 4 : PURGATORY (cont)

 

21. ARGUMENTS OF APPROPRIATENESS

 
Here we meet, first of all, a reason of appropriateness open even to non-believers. The order of justice, if violated, demands reparation. Now this reparation, if not made before death, must be undergone after death, and payment by him who has died without repentance must differ by far from payment by him who has repented.

This argument differs from strict theological reasoning because it rests on the principles of natural reason which can be known without revelation.

This argument is confirmed by the religious convictions of many peoples, Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, who speak of various sanctions after death. Plato [376] speaks as follows: "Separated from their bodies, souls come at once before the judge who examines them with care. If he finds one disfigured by faults, he sends it to the place where it will suffer the punishments it has merited. Some among these souls profit by the punishments which they endure since their faults can be expiated. Pain alone delivers them from injustice. But those who committed great crimes and whose perversity is incurable, can serve only as examples." [377]

Believers, too, can find special reasons of appropriateness. The doctrine of purgatory is one of wisdom and consolation.

It emphasizes the sanctity and majesty of God, since nothing soiled can appear before Him. It fortifies our sense of justice. It manifests the disorder, often unperceived, of venial faults. Faith in purgatory
purifies us here on earth.

Further, faith shows us the relations between ourselves and the dead. It urges us to aid them. It gives us a special viewpoint on the mysterious communion of saints, the unity between the Church militant and the Church suffering. It consoles us when death bereaves
us.

These reasons of appropriateness become still stronger when united with the theological reasons which make the existence of purgatory certain. Revelation is like a luminous window, which can be seen in two fashions. First, from without, and under this view we can scarcely discern the figures. Or from within, and then we distinguish details, behold the very features of the persons there depicted. The prophecies of the Old Testament are such windows, seen first by the mere light of reason, seen secondly in the full light of revelation.
 
 
 

   
 
376. Gorgias, 522 ff.
377. Phaedo, 113 ff.