Thursday, December 01, 2011

Avoiding Purgatory via Prayer and Contemplation

Brethren, Peace and Good to you in Jesus Christ. I've been slowy and prayerfully reading The Three Ages of the Interior Life (2 Volume Set), by the late, great Fr. Regiald Garrigou-Lagarance, O.P., and I thought I should share this quote with you:
Finally, as sanctifying grace is essentially ordained to eternal life, it is also ordainedto a proximate disposition for us to receive the light of glory immediately after death without passing through purgatory. Purgatory is a punishment which presupposes a sin that have been completed if we had accepted with better dispositions the sufferings of the present life. Itis certain, in fact, that no one will be detained in purgatory except for sins he coould have avoided or for negligence in making reparation for them. Normally purgatory should be spent in this life while meriting, while growing in love, instead of after death without merit.

The proximate disposition to receive the light of glory immediately after death pressuposes a true purification analogous to that in souls that are about to leave purgatory and that have an ardent desire for the beatific vision. This ardent desire exists ordinarily in this life only in the union with God which results from the infused contemplation of the mysteries of salvation. Hence, contemplation stands out clearly even now, not as an extraordinary grace, but as an eminent grace in the normal way of sanctity.
What does this mean?

First, that Purgatory is meant to be experienced in this life by accepting with the right dispositions the sufferings of this life.

Second, that the same desire that the souls in Purgatory feel to attain the Presence of God is analogous- that is "comparable in certain respects, typically in a way that makes clearer the nature of the things compared" - to the desire that the prayerful soul experiences *in this life* through infused contemplation;

Third and last, that the gift of infused contemplation is not an extraordinary gift of the Holy Spirit - a gratis gratiae datae or "charism" we would say today - but an eminent grace given in the ordinary way of holiness. In other words, God does not grant the gift of infused contemplation only to men and women of extraordinary holiness, rather, He grants it to anyone that asks for it. Then, at the end of one's life, having purged all our sins while alive, we would depart this life with the same desire that the souls in Purgatory experience for the Beatific Vision.

Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange's teaching is so right, is so beautiful, that my reading of it proceeds slowly because I just want to drop the book and pray at every junction.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, pray, pray without ceasing and ask for the gifts of infused contemplation and you shall receive them.