There was a time when I was absolutely convinced that a belief in a place called Purgatory was foolishness. I was sure of the fact that I would never be convinced of anything different. I quite often shake my head and smile as I consider that this doctrinal belief that I at one time so adamantly opposed has become a wellspring of life within my spirit.
My hope is that “Purgatory – Heaven’s Healing Waters” will minister to your spirit. I wrote this book as a resource to help all believers come to a better understanding of this place of our Lord’s healing.
The following is from the chapter titled “The Suffering of Purgatory.”
I picture our journey toward God as a progressive state of purification—God being this “all consuming fire” that we are walking toward. As we walk closer to the fire the “stuff of this world” starts to burn away: the hurts, resentment, jealousy, hatred, and shame, just to name some of the “stuff.” We stop to take breaks along the path because the heat is too much for us to handle, but as we allow this “stuff” to be burned away, we are able to move closer. When we reach the end of our journey, we will be standing in front of God, this all consuming fire, and the flames will not hurt us in any way; they will actually, become our habitation, the place where we live. We will be living in Glory with God in His habitation.
It is when we move closer to God that we start feeling the pain of the “stuff” beginning to burn away. We are being purged of the sin and pain of this life. Purgatory is a place of purging, just like the word sounds. When I speak of Purgatory as a place, I am not speaking of a specific place. Purgatory is not a huge pit of torment as described by so many throughout history. Purgatory is a place in the heart. We often hear people say, “I am in a good place right now in my faith” or conversely “He or she does not seem to be in a good place right now.” Being in the place of Purgatory is the same thing, positional in our walk with the Lord. I have also heard people say that our experience here on Earth is part of Purgatory. If we are drawing closer to God and allowing Him to cleanse us of our hurts and faults, I would agree. Quite often as people draw closer to God, and the pain of Purgatory becomes too great, they pull back. I know I have pulled back. The danger is when we pull back for too long a period of time. Most of us know people who have pulled back never to return. They are just not going to deal with the pain. They retreat instead into the bottle, drugs, or even bad relationships.
One of the things that really got my attention when I was going through my “big breakdown” was when I would wake up out of a sound sleep sobbing or when I would break out in tears for no apparent reason. Although we might not be aware of the pain in our earthly consciousness, the pain is affecting our spirit just the same. I often wonder what people’s spirits would look like if we could see past our earthly facades? Would we see the pain that sits so very close to the surface of our consciousness?
St. John of the Cross, in his poem and commentary, The Dark Night of the Soul, explains this condition of our beings in great detail. He describes the condition of our soul and spirits as being hidden within this “Dark Night.” This is one of those books that I would encourage any person to read at least once a year. The writer’s perception of God’s interaction with our soul has been a great comfort to me through my personal healing process. This work, however, is one of the most misquoted within the church. Please read the writing for yourself. You will not regret the insight and richness that it adds to your walk with our loving Father. St. John details the steps that take place as God heals our fallen souls and spirits during this life. This healing is very painful at times and causes much suffering; however, this suffering is not the reason St. John titles his work The Dark Night of the Soul. When he refers to the “Dark Night” or “Dark Nights of purgation,” he is communicating a state or states of healing in which God places us during this life. The inference is that during this life God has separated our consciousness from being aware of the movements of God as He interacts with our soul and spirit. St. John of the Cross is not describing a really bad depressing period of time in one’s life, although many of these periods of emotion are inevitable during this Dark Night. Our consciousness is separated into darkness from our soul or spirit as it is being ministered to by God in His light.
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