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<<  The Catechism of the Catholic Church Today!

The Catechism of the Catholic Church Today on Purgatory.


  • The Catechism Today
  • All the Church Fathers
  • From the Scriptures

When talking about Purgatory it's important to remember that you won't find the word Purgatory in the Bible nor will you find it among the first Christians before A.D 400. Why? Because Purgatory is a Latin word and up until the beginning of the fifth century, Greek was the spoken language among the people.


That said, Greeks weren't going to give us a Latin word. Nevertheless, you'll see the sediments of the teachings on Purgatory by the Early Church Fathers in the three patristic eras at the top of this page.

Catholics hold that those who die in God's grace and friendship, and who are destine for Heaven, but are still imperfectly purified or not perfectly freed from the blemish of some defects due to venial sins, undergo some temporal punishment and are purged from this imperfection before their admittance into Heaven, where nothing that is defiled can enter. (Revelation 21:27)


So Purgatory has nothing to do with ones salvation, but with some ones personal holiness!


Note: Even if you deny that (2 Maccabees 39-46) is part of the official canon of Scriptures, you can't deny the historicity of the document ... unless you wish to deny history : )


It's highly recommended that your read the entire section for the Catechism, in context.



This is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church states on this issue:


I. The Particular Judgment


1021 Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ. (cf. 2 Timothy 1:9-10) The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. The parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul — a destiny which can be different for some and for others. (cf. Luke 16:22; 23:43; Matthew 16:26; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23; Hebrews 9:27; 12:23)


1022 Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of Heaven -through a purification (cf. Council of Lyons II (1274):DS 857-858; Council of Florence (1439):DS 1304- 1306; Council of Trent (1563):DS 1820) or immediately, (cf. Pope Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336):DS 1000-1001; Pope John XXII, Ne super his (1334):DS 990) — or immediate and everlasting damnation. (cf. Pope Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336):DS 1002)

At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love.


St. John of the Cross, Dichos 64

III. The Final Purification, Or Purgatory


1030 All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of Heaven.


1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.


(cf. Council of Florence (1439):DS 1304; Council of Trent (1563):DS 1820; (1547):1580; see also Pope Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336):DS 1000)


The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire: (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:15; 1 Peter 1:7)

As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.


(St. Gregory the Great, Dial. 4, 39:PL 77, 396; cf. Matthew 12:31)

1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin." (2 Maccabees 12:46) From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. (cf. Council of Lyons II (1274): DS 856) The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:

Let us help and commemorate them. If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.


(St. John Chrysostom, Homily in 1 Corinthians 41,5:PG 61,361; cf. Job 1:5)

V. The Last Judgment


1038 The resurrection of all the dead, "of both the just and the unjust," (Acts 24:15) will precede the Last Judgment. This will be "the hour when all who are in the tombs will hear [the Son of man's] voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment." (John 5:28-29) Then Christ will come "in his glory, and all the angels with him. . . . Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. . . . And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." (Matthew 25:31,32,46)


1039 In the presence of Christ, who is Truth itself, the truth of each man's relationship with God will be laid bare. (cf. John 12:49) The Last Judgment will reveal even to its furthest consequences the good each person has done or failed to do during his earthly life:

All that the wicked do is recorded, and they do not know. When "our God comes, he does not keep silence.". . . he will turn towards those at his left hand: . . . "I placed my poor little ones on earth for you. I as their head was seated in Heaven at the right hand of my Father - but on earth my members were suffering, my members on earth were in need. If you gave anything to my members, what you gave would reach their Head. Would that you had known that my little ones were in need when I placed them on earth for you and appointed them your stewards to bring your good works into my treasury. But you have placed nothing in their hands; therefore you have found nothing in my presence."


(St. Augustine, Sermo 18, 4:PL 38,130-131; cf. Psalm 50:3)

1040 The Last Judgment will come when Christ returns in glory. Only the Father knows the day and the hour; only he determines the moment of its coming. Then through his Son Jesus Christ he will pronounce the final word on all history. We shall know the ultimate meaning of the whole work of creation and of the entire economy of salvation and understand the marvelous ways by which his Providence led everything towards its final end. The Last Judgment will reveal that God's justice triumphs over all the injustices committed by his creatures and that God's love is stronger than death. (cf. Song of Songs 8:6)


1041 The message of the Last Judgment calls men to conversion while God is still giving them "the acceptable time, . . . the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:2) It inspires a holy fear of God and commits them to the justice of the Kingdom of God. It proclaims the "blessed hope" of the Lord's return, when he will come "to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at in all who have believed." (Titus 2:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:10)


*VI. The Hope Of The New Heaven And The New Earth


1042 At the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. After the universal judgment, the righteous will reign for ever with Christ, glorified in body and soul. The universe itself will be renewed:

The Church . . . will receive her perfection only in the glory of Heaven, when will come the time of the renewal of all things. At that time, together with the human race, the universe itself, which is so closely related to man and which attains its destiny through him, will be perfectly re-established in Christ.


(Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 48; cf. Acts 3:21; Ephesians 1:10; Col 1:20; 2 Peter 3:10-13)

1043 Sacred Scripture calls this mysterious renewal, which will transform humanity and the world, "new heavens and a new earth." (2 Peter 3:13; cf. Revelation 21:1) It will be the definitive realization of God's plan to bring under a single head "all things in [Christ], things in Heaven and things on earth." (Ephesians 1:10)


1044 In this new universe, the heavenly Jerusalem, God will have his dwelling among men. (cf. Revelation 21:5) "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away." (Revelation 21:4)


1045 For man, this consummation will be the final realization of the unity of the human race, which God willed from creation and of which the pilgrim Church has been "in the nature of sacrament." (cf. Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 1) Those who are united with Christ will form the community of the redeemed, "the holy city" of God, "the Bride, the wife of the Lamb." (Revelation 21:2,9) She will not be wounded any longer by sin, stains, self-love, that destroy or wound the earthly community. (cf. Revelation 21:27) The beatific vision, in which God opens himself in an inexhaustible way to the elect, will be the ever-flowing well-spring of happiness, peace, and mutual communion.


1046 For the cosmos, Revelation affirms the profound common destiny of the material world and man:

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God . . . in hope because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay. . . . We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.


(Romans 8:19-23)

1047 The visible universe, then, is itself destined to be transformed, "so that the world itself, restored to its original state, facing no further obstacles, should be at the service of the just," sharing their glorification in the risen Jesus Christ. (St. Irenæus, Adv. Hæres. 5,32,1:PG 7/2,210)


1048 "We know neither the moment of the consummation of the earth and of man, nor the way in which the universe will be transformed. The form of this world, distorted by sin, is passing away, and we are taught that God is preparing a new dwelling and a new earth in which righteousness dwells, in which happiness will fill and surpass all the desires of peace arising in the hearts of men." (Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 39 § 1)


1049 "Far from diminishing our concern to develop this earth, the expectancy of a new earth should spur us on, for it is here that the body of a new human family grows, foreshadowing in some way the age which is to come. That is why, although we must be careful to distinguish earthly progress clearly from the increase of the kingdom of Christ, such progress is of vital concern to the kingdom of God, insofar as it can contribute to the better ordering of human society." (Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 39 § 2)


1050 "When we have spread on earth the fruits of our nature and our enterprise . . . according to the command of the Lord and in his Spirit, we will find them once again, cleansed this time from the stain of sin, illuminated and transfigured, when Christ presents to his Father an eternal and universal kingdom." (Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 39 § 3) God will then be "all in all" in eternal life: (1 Corinthians 5:28)

True and subsistent life consists in this: the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit, pouring out his heavenly gifts on all things without exception. Thanks to his mercy, we too, men that we are, have received the inalienable promise of eternal life.


(St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. illum. 18,29:PG 33,1049)

In Brief


1051 Every man receives his eternal recompense in his immortal soul from the moment of his death in a particular judgment by Christ, the judge of the living and the dead.


1052 "We believe that the souls of all who die in Christ's grace . . . are the People of God beyond death. On the day of resurrection, death will be definitively conquered, when these souls will be reunited with their bodies." (Pope Paul VI, Credo of the People of God § 28)


1053 "We believe that the multitude of those gathered around Jesus and Mary in Paradise forms the Church of Heaven, where in eternal blessedness they see God as he is and where they are also, to various degrees, associated with the holy angels in the divine governance exercised by Christ in glory, by interceding for us and helping our weakness by their fraternal concern." (Pope Paul VI, Credo of the People of God § 29)


1054 Those who die in God's grace and friendship imperfectly purified, although they are assured of their eternal salvation, undergo a purification after death, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of God.


1055 By virtue of the "communion of saints," the Church commends the dead to God's mercy and offers her prayers, especially the holy sacrifice of the Eucharist, on their behalf.


1059 "The holy Roman Church firmly believes and confesses that on the Day of Judgment all men will appear in their own bodies before Christ's tribunal to render an account of their own deeds." (Council of Lyons II [1274]:DS 859; cf. DS 1549)


1060 At the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. Then the just will reign with Christ for ever, glorified in body and soul, and the material universe itself will be transformed. God will then be "all in all" (1 Corinthians 15:28), in eternal life.




1061 The Creed, like the last book of the Bible, (cf. Revelation 22:21) ends with the Hebrew word amen. This word frequently concludes prayers in the New Testament. The Church likewise ends her prayers with "Amen."


1062 In Hebrew, amen comes from the same root as the word "believe." This root expresses solidity, trustworthiness, faithfulness. And so we can understand why "Amen" may express both God's faithfulness towards us and our trust in him.


1063 In the book of the prophet Isaiah, we find the expression "God of truth" (literally "God of the Amen"), that is, the God who is faithful to his promises: "He who blesses himself in the land shall bless himself by the God of truth [amen]." (Isaiah 65:16) Our Lord often used the word "Amen," sometimes repeated, (cf. Matthew 6:2,5,16; John 5:19) to emphasize the trustworthiness of his teaching, his authority founded on God's truth.


1064 Thus the Creed's final "Amen" repeats and confirms its first words: "I believe." To believe is to say "Amen" to God's words, promises and commandments; to entrust oneself completely to him who is the "Amen" of infinite love and perfect faithfulness. The Christian's everyday life will then be the "Amen" to the "I believe" of our baptismal profession of faith:

May your Creed be for you as a mirror. Look at yourself in it, to see if you believe everything you say you believe. And rejoice in your faith each day.


(St. Augustine, Sermo 58,11,13:PL 38,399)

1065 Jesus Christ himself is the "Amen." (Revelation 3:14) He is the definitive "Amen" of the Father's love for us. He takes up and completes our "Amen" to the Father: "For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why we utter the Amen through him, to the glory of God": (2 Corinthians 1:20) Through him, with him, in him,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honor is yours,
almighty Father,
God, for ever and ever.





  1. Abercius, (B.C. 5 - A.D. 167)
    St. Clement of Alexandria, (A.D. 150-220)
    Tertullian, (A.D. 160-218)
    St. Hippolytus of Rome, (A.D. 170-236)
    Origen of Alexandria, (A.D. 184-253)
    St. Cyprian of Carthage, (A.D. 200-258)
    Arnobius of Sicca, (unknown - A.D. c.320)
    Eusebius of Cæsarea, (A.D. c.263-338)
    The Apostolic Constitutions (or Constitutions of the Holy Apostles), (A.D. c.270)
    St. Athanasius of Alexandria, (A.D. 296-372)
    St. Ephrem the Syrian, (of Edessa), (A.D. 306-378)
    St. Hilary of Poitiers, (A.D. 315-367)
    St. Cyril of Jerusalem, (A.D. 315-386)
    St. Gregory of Nazianzen, (A.D. 318-389)
    St. Basil the Great, (A.D. 328-379)
    St. Gregory of Nyssa, (A.D. c.335 - c.394)
    St. Macarius of Alexandria, (late 3rd century - A.D. 395)
    St. Epiphanius of Salamis, (A.D. 332-403)
    St. Ambrose of Milan, (A.D. 340-396)
    St. Jerome, (A.D. 342-420)
    St. John Chrysostom, (A.D. 344 - 407)
    St. Paulinus of Nola, (A.D. 353-431)
    St. Augustine of Hippo, (A.D. 354-428)
    St. Nilus the Elder, (c. A.D. 385 - c. 430)
    Theodoret of Cyrus or Cyrrhus, (A.D. 393-458)
    St. Peter Chrysologus, (A.D. 406 - 450)
Abercius, ( B.C. 5 - A.D. 167), bishop of Hieropolis and apologist in Phrygia, composed his own epitaph, conveying a vivid impression of his visit to Rome, and giving valuable information about the importance of the Church of Rome in the 2nd century.

The citizen of a prominent city, I erected this while I lived, that I might have a resting place for my body. Abercius is my name, a disciple of the chaste shepherd who feeds his sheep on the mountains and in the fields, who has great eyes surveying everywhere, who taught me the faithful writings of life. Standing by, I, Abercius, ordered this to be inscribed; truly I was in my seventy-second year. May everyone who is in accord with this and who understands it pray for Abercius.

Epitaph of Abercius [A.D. 190]

St. Clement of Alexandria, (A.D. 150-220), Greek; theologian, a scholar of Pantaenus, to whom he succeeded as head of the Catechetical School at Alexandria, Egypt. His writings display great acquaintance with the Gentile philosophy. He wrote with the express design of hiding the mysteries of the Christian religion from the Pagans, and the uninitiated, while at the same time, laboring to show the immense practical superiority of the Christian code of morals over that of every Pagan sect and system of philosophy.

The believer through discipline divests himself of his passions and passes to the mansion which is better than the former one, passes to the greatest torment, taking with him the characteristic of repentance for the faults he may have committed after baptism. He is tortured then still more, not yet attaining what he sees others have acquired. The greatest torments are assigned to the believer, for God's righteousness is good, and His goodness righteous, and though these punishments cease in the course of the expiation and purification of each one, "yet" etc.

Stromata 6:14 [A.D. 202]

"When then we hear: "Thy faith hath saved thee", we do not understand Him to say, that they who have believed in any way will be saved, if works have not followed: for He used this language only to Jews, who had lived according to the law, and without reproof; to whom only faith in Christ was wanting. A man, therefore, would not be faithful with intemperance; but even though he should depart this flesh, it is necessary for such a one to lay aside the passions, so as to be enabled to arrive at his appropriate station. For to know is more than to believe; even as, besides being saved, to be found worthy of the highest honor, is more than to be saved. Wherefore our faithful man, when he has, through much correction, put off the passions, passes on to the severest punishment, but which is better than his former station: bearing with him the peculiar character of penitence required for those sins which he committed after baptism. He is then punished still more; whilst he attains not yet, or not at all, to those things which he sees others partaking of. In addition to this, he is also ashamed of the offenses of which he has been guilty, and these to the faithful are the greatest punishments. For the justice of God is bountiful, and His bounty just. And though at length the chastisements, (which are) for the completion of the penalty and of the purification of each, cease, they feel a very great abiding grief, that, having been found worthy of another station (fold), they are not with those who have been glorified on account of righteousness."

Strom. L. vi. n. 14, p. 794.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 3, Page 142-143

Tertullian, (A.D. 160-218), North African; ecclesiastical writer, Christian apologist and lawyer, son of a centurion and contemporary of St. Irenæus, a native and citizen of Carthage. The zeal and ability with which he defended the Christian cause, and vindicated its faith and discipline, have immortalized his name, though it has suffered by his adoption, around the year A.D. 200, of some of the Montanist's errors, whose cause he is thought to have supported until his death. His works are numerous, and are written with great ability and erudition, but in an harsh style.

That allegory of the Lord [Matt. 5:25-26] . . . is extremely clear and simple in its meaning . . . [beware lest as] a transgressor of your agreement, before God the judge . . . and lest this judge deliver you over to the angel who is to execute the sentence, and he commit you to the prison of Hell, out of which there will be no dismissal until the smallest even of your delinquencies be paid off in the period before the resurrection. What can be a more fitting sense than this? What a truer interpretation?

The Soul 35 [A.D. 210]

The faithful widow prays for the soul of her husband, and begs for him in the interim repose, and participation in the first resurrection, and offers prayers on the anniversary of his death.

Monogamy 10 [A.D. 213]

"Briefly, since we understand by that prison, which the Gospel points out, the places below (inferos), and the last farthing we interpret to be any small delinquency to be there expiated by a delay of resurrection, no one will doubt that the soul makes some amends in the places below, without the fullness of the resurrection by the flesh also."

De Aniina,, n. 58, p. 307.1
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 3, Page 145

St. Hippolytus of Rome, (A.D. 170-236), Roman; bishop and martyr, probably a scholar of St. Irenæus of Lyons.

"Let the third day of the departed be observed in psalms and prayers, on account of Him who rose again in the space of three days; and the ninth for a memorial of the living and of the dead; and the fortieth according to the ancient pattern, for thus the people bewailed Moses; and the anniversary day in memory of the deceased; and give, of what remains of his substance, to the poor for a memorial of the departed. But we give these directions with regard to the pious; for as regards those without piety, though thou shouldest give the world's substance to the poor, thou wilt nothing profit him. For to him who, when living, God was an enemy, it is manifest that he is also such after he is de parted."

De Charism. Trad. Apost. n. 23, p. 510, Galland.
T. ii. It is also found in the Const. Apost. L. viii. n. 43.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 3, Page 153

In a preceding treatise, entitled (Adv. Grcaec. et Platonem, ap. Galland. t. ii. pp. 451-2), St. Hippolytus thus describes the place or state of departed spirits, called Hades:

"And this indeed is the place for the evil spirits. But we must now speak of Hades, wherein the souls of the just and the unjust are together. Hades is a place in creation, inform; a subterranean spot, wherein the light of the universe shines not. As light, therefore, shines not in that spot, there must needs be darkness there unceasingly. That spot has been fixed as a receptable for souls, over which guardian angels have been placed, who apportion to the deeds of each the temporary punishments of the (different) places (or, kinds). In that region a certain place is separated, a lake of unquench able fire, into which, indeed, we conjecture that no one has as yet been cast, but it has been prepared for a day foreknown of God, in which one sentence of just judgment will be righteously passed upon all. And the unjust and unbelieving towards God, and who worshipped as God fabricated idols, the foolish works of men's hands, will be adjudged, as having defiled themselves, to this eternal punishment; whilst the just will become possessed of an incorruptible and ever-enduring kingdom. These are now together in Hades, but not in the same spot."

He goes on to explain, at some length, the state of both in expectation of the judgment. The following passage from St. Irenacus may be usefully viewed in connection with the above:

"Wherefore the elders, the disciples of the Apostles, say, that those who are translated are translated thither (he is speaking of Paradise, out of which Adam was ejected), for Paradise has been prepared for just men, and such as have (bear) the Spirit; into which also Paul the Apostle, being carried, heard words unutterable as to us in the present world; and there those who are translated remain till the consummation, there together waiting for the incorruptible state."

L. v. Adv. Hæres. c. v. So again, Ib. c. xx.

It may also be added that both St. Justin and St. Irenæus seem to have thought that the punishment, even of the evil spirits, does not begin before the day of judgment:

"Well has Justin said, that prior to the coming of the Lord, Satan never dared blaspheme against God, inasmuch as he as yet knew not of his condemnation; for in parables and allegories was he spoken of by the prophets. But, after the coming of the Lord, learning clearly from the words of Christ to His Apostles that everlasting fire was prepared for him who departs from God of his own will, and for all who persevere, without penitence, in their apostasy, through these men (the Gnostics) he blasphemes that God who brings in judgment, as being (Satan) already condemned, and imputes the sin of his apostasy to his Maker, and not to his own will and judgment."

Adv. Hæres. I. v. c. xxvi. n. 2, p. 324.

Though St. Justin, both in the above place, and frequently elsewhere, asserts the eternity of future punishments, yet, in his Dialogue with Trypho, he has been thought to advance the opinion that they are but to endure: "as long as God shall will." seems to have proved that his words are to be understood as merely denying the inherent immortality or eternity of the soul.

The Faith of Catholics, Volume 3, Page 153-154

Origen of Alexandria, (A.D. 184-253), Alexandrian; born in Egypt, philosopher, theologian, writer.

If a man departs this life with lighter faults, he is condemned to fire which burns away the lighter materials, and prepares the soul for the kingdom of God, where nothing defiled may enter. For if on the foundation of Christ you have built not only gold and silver and precious stones (I Cor., 3); but also wood and hay and stubble, what do you expect when the soul shall be separated from the body? Would you enter into Heaven with your wood and hay and stubble and thus defile the kingdom of God; or on account of these hindrances would you remain without and receive no reward for your gold and silver and precious stones? Neither is this just. It remains then that you be committed to the fire which will burn the light materials; for our God to those who can comprehend heavenly things is called a cleansing fire. But this fire consumes not the creature, but what the creature has himself built, wood, and hay and stubble. It is manifest that the fire destroys the wood of our transgressions and then returns to us the reward of our great works.

Homilies on Jeremias 13: 445, 448 [A.D. 244]

On Origen's writings:

The reader who is at all familiar with Origen s writings, will know that nothing would be easier than to adduce, not four or five, but very passages from his works, in which he teaches all that is of faith on the doctrine of Purgatory a temporary state, that is, in which souls therein detained are purified and fitted for Heaven. But he will also know that, whilst this doctrine is uniformly attested by Origen, he has engrafted on it various, and often not consistent, opinions of his own. An attempt is made to represent his system in the text. It seems to be as follows: 1st. Every soul, on departing this life, instead of entering at once into Heaven, has to be tried by fire.

The Faith of Catholics, Volume 3, Page 145

"For this cause, therefore, he that is saved, is saved by fire, that if he happen to have any thing of the nature of lead commingled with him, that the fire may burn and melt away, that all men may become pure gold; because the gold of the land, which the saints are to possess, is said to be pure: and as the furnace trieth gold, so doth temptation try the just. (Ecclesiastes 26) All, therefore, must come to the fire — all must come to the furnace. "For the Lord sits and refines, and He shall purify the sons of Judah (Malachi 3) But, also, when we shall have come to that place, if one shall have brought many good works, and some little iniquity, that little is melted away and purified in the fire like lead, and all remains pure gold. And if one have carried thither more lead, he suffers the fire more, that he may be the more refined, in order that, although there may be but some little gold, that residue may still be pure. But if any one should come thither all lead, that will be done with him which is written: He shall be swallowed down into the deep, like lead into the mighty waters (Exodus 15)"

T. ii. Hom. vi. in Exod.n. 4, p. 148.
See also T. ii. Hom. xiv. in Levit. p. 259.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 3, Page 145-146

"It is a time of war for us in this world; the battle is against Madianites, whether against the vices of the flesh, or against adverse powers. The choir of angels looks on us; the heavenly powers hang over us in holy expectation, when and how we shall return from the conflict; what spoils each of us shall bring back; and they gaze with deeper curiosity, and examine with greater anxiety which of us bears thence most gold, and which shows the greatest weight of silver, or which returns bearing precious stones. They inquire, too, who brings back brass or iron, or lead; or even if there be such as bring a vessel of wood, or of clay, or anything of the kind needful for the service of a great house. For, in a great house, there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth. (1 Timothy 2) There is, therefore, diligent inquiry when we depart thither, what each one of us carries away with him; and according to what he has brought away, according as his labor is proved by the contemplation of his spoils, even so will be the excellence (merit) of the mansion assigned to him. But all these things are tried, some by fire, some by water. "(Note that Origen, with the Greek church generally, did not admit a material fire in Purgatory)" For the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is (1 Corinthians 3) Therefore it is said: This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord hath commanded Moses. Gold, and silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, and all that passeth through fire, drag through fire, and it shall be purified. But they shall also be purified in the water of purification (Numbers 31:21-23). Seest thou that every one that shall go forth from the battle of this life needs purification. And if this be so — if I may venture to make an assertion after the authority of divine Scripture each one that departs this life cannot be pure. . . . We all, therefore, need purification, yea, purifications. For many and diverse are the purifications that await us. But these things are mystical and ineffable; for who shall be able to tell us what are the purifications prepared for Paul, or Peter, or such as they?"

T. ii. Hom. xxv. in Numb. pp. 368-369.
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"But we have said that there is a type of the Exodus from Egypt, when the soul leaves the darkness of this world, and the blindness of this corporeal nature, and is translated to an other world, which is pointed out either as Abraham's bosom, as in Lazarus, or as Paradise, in the thief that believed on the cross; or also if there be known unto God other places, or other mansions, through which the soul, that believes in God, passing and coming even to that river that gladdens the city of God, may within it receive the portion of inheritance promised to the fathers."

T. ii. Hom. xxvi. in Numb. p. 372.
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"There are other sins, which, when we commit them in ignorance, there is, I believe, decreed and prepared for us, by the command of God, a place where we must dwell for a certain time."

T. ii. Hom. xxviii. in Numb. n. 2, p. 385.
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"The wicked have drawn out the sword." (Psalms 36:14) If we make sin die within us, so as that we never, either by thought, word, or deed, draw out the sword of sin, we shall not need the punishment of the eternal fire, nor be condemned to outer darkness, nor undergo the punishments which hang over sinners. But if we, in this life, despise the warning words of the divine Scripture, and will not be cured and corrected by its reproofs, certain it is that there awaits us that fire which has been prepared for sinners; and we shall come unto the fire in which, the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. And, as I think, we must all come unto that fire. Though a man be a Paul, or a Peter, still he comes to that fire. But such men hear: "Though thou pass through fire, the flame shall not burn thee." (Isaiah 43) Whilst if thou be a sinner like myself, he shall come indeed to that fire as Peter and Paul, but not as Peter and Paul shall he pass through it."

T. ii. Hom. iii. in Ps. n. 1, pp. 663-664.
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"Wherefore Jesus baptizes — perhaps I now attain to the meaning — in the Holy Ghost and in fire. Not that He baptizes the same person in the Holy Ghost and in fire; but the saintly in the Holy Ghost, and him, who, after believing, after having had vouchsafed to him the Holy Ghost, has again fallen into sin, He washes in fire. . . So, God is a consuming fire; and God is light; a consuming fire to sinners; a light to the just and holy. And Blessed is he that hath a part in the first resurrection (Apocalypse 20), he that hath preserved the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Who is he that is reserved for the second resurrection? He that needs baptism when he comes to that fire; and the fire tries him, and finds the wood, hay, and stubble, that it may thoroughly burn them."

T. iii. Hom. ii. in Jerem. n. 3, p. 139.
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"But if, after the remission of our sins, and the economy of the laver of regeneration, we sin, as many of us do who are not perfected as the Apostles; yet, after having sinned, or whilst sinning, we act in some things becomingly, what awaits us is now to be considered. Whether, if we depart this life, having sins, but having also virtues, we shall be saved indeed on account of our virtues, and shall be absolved of our sins knowingly committed. Neither the one, nor the other. For I say, that to accept our good deeds, but not to accept our evil deeds, is in accordance with that just God who wishes to purge away and cut off evil. For, be it that, after that foundation, Christ Jesus, in whom thou hast been instructed, thou hast built no abiding gold, and silver, and precious stone; be it that thou hast gold, either much or little; be it that thou hast silver and precious stone. But I say not these alone, but be it that thou hast also wood, and hay, and stubble, what wouldst thou to become of thee after thy departure? Whether, wouldst thou enter into the holy places with thy wood, and thy hay, and thy stubble, thereby to defile the kingdom of God; or, on the other hand, wouldst thou, on account of the wood, and the hay, and the stubble, remain in the fire and receive nothing for the gold, and the silver, and the precious stone? This is not just. What then, does it follow that thou must first receive on account of the wood? It is manifest that the fire will consume the wood, the hay, and the stubble; for, in His essence, our God is said, by those who have been enabled to know, to be a consuming fire. Yet the prophet, when he says Our God is a consuming fire, is silent as to what He consumes; yet, when he said Our God is a consuming fire, he left it to us to understand that there is a something which is consumed. What then is it that is consumed? Truly, He consumes not that which is according to His image and likeness, but the wood, the hay, and the stubble, which have been built upon it. The passage (Jeremiah 16:18) was very difficult to explain. There were promises, and after the promises He says, "And I shall repay first their double iniquities." The word first is necessarily added; for first the deeds of unrighteousness, and then the deeds of righteousness, are recompensed. . . . All we, therefore, who have matter for that fire, first receive (what is due to) our sins."

T. iii. Hom. xvi. in Jerem. n. 5, 6, pp. 231-2.
See T. i. L. i. Princip. c. 2, n. 23.
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The Commentary of this quote states:

In addition to the passages in the text, in which Origen applies 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 to a state of temporary punishment, numerous other examples are met with in his writings.

"So (as the Baptist) shall the Lord stand in the river of fire near the flaming sword, that whosoever wishes, after his departure out of this life, to pass to Paradise, and yet needs purgation, him He may baptize in this river, and transmit him to the object of His desires; but him who has not the sign of the previous baptisms, He will not baptize in the laver of fire. For a man must needs have been baptized first in water and the Holy Ghost, that so, when he shall come to the river of fire, he may show that he has guarded the baptism of water and of the spirit, and may then deserve to receive also the baptism of fire in Christ Jesus."

T. iii. Hom. xxiv. in Lucam. pp. 961-2.
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In his Homily on St. Luke 12:58-59, he says:

"And when thou goest with thine adversary", he says:

"There is no need of further remark, as it may suffice to say in general, that we have to give an account, and if we be found debtors, we shall be drawn to the judge, and by the judge be delivered to the exacter... If I be a debtor, the exacter will cast me into prison, in the order named above; for the adversary will lead me to the prince, the prince to the judge, and the judge will deliver me to the exacter, and the exacter cast me into prison. What is the law of this prison? I go not thence, neither will the exacter suffer me to depart, until I have completely paid every debt. The exacter has not power to remit me even a farthing, or the slightest particle. . . . Thou hast not been found worthy to hear Thy sins are forgiven thee, but art cast into prison, and there thou art assailed for payment, through toil and work, or through pains and punishment, and thou shalt not go thence until thou hast paid the last farthing, or mite. And if we should owe a great sum of money, like him of whom it is written that he owed ten thousand talents, for what length of time we are shut up in prison before we have paid off the debt, I cannot unhesitatingly pronounce. For if he that owes little, (*) shall not go forth until he has paid the least farthing, assuredly the man that is liable for so great a debt, infinite ages will be numbered for him wherein to pay the debt. Wherefore let us strive to be freed from the adversary, whilst we are on the way, and to be united to the Lord Jesus."

T. iii. Hom. xxv. p. 975.
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(*) For the distinction drawn by Origen between mortal and venial sins, see (t. ii. Hom. xv. in Levit. n. 2, p. 262), where, after making that distinction, he says: "In the more grievous sins, opportunity for penitence is allowed but once; but these common sins, into which we frequently fall, always admit of penitence, and are unceasingly redeemed (sine intermissione redimuntur)."

— In his treatise on St. Paul to the Romans.

St. Cyprian of Carthage, (A.D. 200-258), North African; bishop; biblical scholar, martyr.

It is one thing to stand for pardon, another thing to attain to glory; it is one thing, when cast into prison, not to go out thence until one has paid the uttermost farthing; another thing at once to receive the wages of faith and courage. It is one thing, tortured by long suffering for sins, to be cleansed and long purged by fire; another to have purged all sins by suffering. It is one thing, in fine, to be in suspense till the sentence of God at the Day of Judgment; another to be at once crowned by the Lord.

Letters 51[55]:20 [A.D. 253]

Having mentioned that some of Celerinus relatives had suffered martyrdom, he says:

"We always, as you remember, offer sacrifices for them, as often as we celebrate the sufferings and days of the martyrs on the anniversary commemoration."

Ep. xxxiv. De Celerino, p. 109.
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"It is one thing to stand for pardon, another to arrive at glory; one thing, for him who has been cast into prison, not to go out thence until he pay the last farthing, another to receive immediately the reward of faith and virtue (or courage); one thing for a man tormented by long anguish for his sins, to be cleansed and to be long purged by fire, another to have purged away all sins by suffering (martyrdom); (*) finally, one thing to wait in suspense unto the day of judgment for the sentence of the Lord, another to be crowned by the Lord immediately."

Ep. lii. ad Antonianum, pp. 154-5.
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Commentary on this quote:

(*) In the context, St. Cyprian is defending the practice of his Church, and that of Rome, in receiving the lapsed into the Church, after a due course of penance. He replies to the objections of Antonianus, or rather to his fears, thus: "1. Neither do we forestall the future judgment of the Lord, so as to prevent, that if He find the penitence of the sinner full and just, He may ratify what we have here decreed; whilst, if any one has deceived us by a simulated penitence, God, who is not mocked, and who sees the heart of man, may judge of those things (or persons) which we have not seen through, and the Lord rectify the sentence of His servants." 2. "Nor think that the courage of the brethren will be lessened, or martyrdoms fail, because of opening the door of penitence to the lapsed, and holding out the hope of peace to the penitent. . . . For even to adulterers a time of penitence is allowed, and peace granted. Not therefore does virginity fail in the Church, or the glorious purpose of continency languish, through the sins of others. The Church flourishes with a crown of numerous virgins, and chastity and modesty keep their course of glory, nor is the rigor of continency relaxed because penitence and pardon are meted out to the adulterer."

"The bishops our predecessors religiously considering and wholesomely providing, resolved, that no brother, departing this life, should nominate a cleric to a guardianship or executorship; and that if any one should have done this, there should be no oblation for him, nor sacrifice be celebrated on his falling asleep (for his dormition). For he does not deserve to be named in the prayer of the priests at the altar of God, who wished to withdraw from the altar the priests and ministers. And since Victor, in contravention of the rule lately given by priests in council, has presumed to appoint the presbyter Geminius Faustinus, guardian, it is not lawful that any oblation be made among you on his falling asleep (for his dormition), or any prayer in his name publicly recited in the Church."

Ep. Ixvi. ad Clerum et Plebem Furnis. p. 246.
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Arnobius of Sicca, (unknown - A.D. c.320), was an Early Christian apologist, during the reign of Diocletian (A.D. 284-305), the master of Lactantius: he was a distinguished rhetorician who taught rhetoric at Sicca, in Numidia, at the end of the third or beginning of the fourth century. He has left us seven books against the Pagans.

"In what did our Scriptures merit to be flung into the flames? Why savagely destroy our places of meeting, wherein prayer is offered to the Most High God, peace and pardon implored for all men, the magistrates, the armies, kings, friends, enemies, for those still alive, and for those freed from the trammels of their bodies."

Adv. Gentes, L iv. Lugd. Batav. 1651, p. 152: and
In Galland. T. iv. n. 17, p. 185.
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Eusebius of Cæsarea, (A.D. c.263-338), appointed Bishop of Cæsarea in A.D. 314, Roman historian, exegete and Christian polemicist, scholar of the Biblical canon who was deeply embroiled in the Arian controversy.

"The emperor (Constantine) dedicated (the Church of the Apostles), perpetuating to all ages the memory of our Saviour s Apostles: but he had also another view in building it, which at first was secret, but became in the end manifest to all. He set aside this place for the time that it would be needful at his death; looking forward, with pre-eminent alacrity of faith, to his body after death sharing the appellation of the Apostles, so also that he might be worthy (of partaking in) the prayers which would be offered there in honor of the Apostles . . . Having, therefore, raised these twelve chests, in honor and memory of the apostolic choir, he placed the receptacle for himself in the midst of them. . . . He thus dedicated the building to the Apostles, being confident within himself that the memory of the Apostles would effect aid, useful to his soul."

De Vita Const. I. iv. c. 60.
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Describing the funeral of Constantine, he thus writes:

"When his son (Constantius) had departed with his guard of soldiers, the ministers of God with the crowds, and the whole multitude of the faithful, advanced into the midst, and with prayers performed what pertains to divine worship. And the blessed prince, reposing on high, on a lofty structure, was extolled with many praises: and the whole multitude in concert with those who ministered to God, not without tears, and much lamentation, offered prayers to God for the soul of the emperor; fulfilling what was in accordance with the desires of that religious monarch. God, in this also, having shown kindness to His servant, that He had bestowed the succession to the kingdom, after his death, upon his beloved sons; and that, according to his wishes, He had vouchsafed (to unite him) with the memory of the Apostles, (Or, a burial-place in the church dedicated to their memory.) the tabernacle of his thrice-blessed soul being associated in honor with the name of the Apostles; and was, associated with the people of God, found worthy of the divine rites, and the mystic sacrifice (liturgy); and enjoyed the communion of holy prayers."

De Vita Const. I. iv. c. 71.
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The Apostolic Constitutions (or Constitutions of the Holy Apostles), dated A.D.c 270, is a Christian collection of eight treatises which belongs to genre of the Church Orders.

"We further offer to Thee also for all those holy persons who have pleased Thee from the beginning patriarchs, prophets, righteous men, apostles, martyrs, and all those whose name Thou knowest. . . . Let us be mindful of the holy martyrs, that we may be found worthy to be partakers of their trial. Let us pray for those who have departed in the faith."

Lib. viii. n. 13.
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"Let us pray for all our brethren that are at rest in Christ, that God, the lover of mankind, who has received his soul, may forgive him every sin, voluntary and involuntary, and become merciful and gracious to him, may place him in the land of the pious, who art sent unto the bosom of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, with all those that have pleased Him, and done His will from the beginning of the world, whence sorrow, grief, and lamentation are banished. . . . Do Thou now also look upon this Thy servant, whom Thou hast selected and received into another state, and forgive him if voluntarily or involuntarily he has sinned, and afford him merciful angels, and place him in the bosom of the patriarchs and prophets and Apostles, and of all those that have pleased Thee from the beginning of the world, where is no grief, sorrow, or lamentation, but the peace able reign of the godly, and of those that therein see the glory of Thy Christ."

lbid. L. viii. n. 41.
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"Now when you are invited to their memorials, do you feast with good order and the fear of God, as being able to intercede also for those that are departed."

lbid. n. 44.
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St. Athanasius of Alexandria, (A.D. 296-372), Egyptian; bishop, theologian, and Doctor of the Church. He was present, as an assistant to St. Alexander of Alexandria, at the council of Nicea who he succeeded in A.D. 326. During more than forty years he was the champion of orthodoxy, and suffered much severe persecution from the Arian party.

"To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like to leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened." (Luke 13:20-21).

Let every one that is perplexed at these words consider this, that every one whatsoever that has obtained a little leaven of virtue, but yet has not used it to make bread, though he had a wish so to do, but has not been able to do it, whether through indolence, or carelessness, or irresolution, or from putting it off from day to day, and is thus unexpectedly forestalled and cut off, such a one will not be forgotten by the just judge, but He will raise up unto him after death those of his household, and direct their minds, and draw their hearts, and bend their souls, and being thus moved, they will hasten to his assistance and help. Whence the master having touched their hearts, they will fill up what was wanting in the deceased. Whereas, he whose life has been wicked, surrounded on all sides with thorns, and full of unclean matter, who has never entered into his conscience, but fearlessly and indifferently has lain in the fetid steams of voluptuousness, doing all the incitements of the flesh, and caring nothing whatever for his soul, and having his thoughts wholly carnal, to this man, when forestalled he departs this life, no one at all shall stretch out a hand, but every thing will be so arranged in his regard, as that no assistance whatever shall be given him by wife, or children, or brothers, or relatives, or friends, because neither does God hold any measures with such a one."

Comment. in Lucam, T. ii. p. 48, Nov. Collect. Pair. Gr. (Montfaucon); and
T. iii. p. 36, Patav. 1777.
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St. Ephrem the Syrian, (of Edessa), (A.D. 306-378), Syrian; born in Nisebis, deacon, hymnist, poet. His works were even during his own lifetime almost all translated into Greek, and were, as St. Jerome informs us, held in such high estimation, as to be read in some churches after the Holy Scriptures. We have his life by St. Gregory of Nyssa.

"I now wish, brethren, to forewarn and exhort you, and to have it firmly settled that, after my departure, you make a commemoration of me, according to custom, in your prayers. . . . Do not, I beseech you, bury me with perfumes. . . . Give them not to me, but to God; but me that was conceived in sorrows bury with lamentations; and instead of a sweet odor and perfumes, assist me, I entreat you, with your prayers, always remembering me in them. . . . Come near to me, my brethren, and stretch out and compose my limbs, for my spirit has forcibly left me. And in your prayers vouchsafe to make the customary oblations for my shortcomings; and when I shall have completed the thirtieth day, make a commemoration of me; for the dead are benefited in oblations of commemoration by the living saints, (of the Anamnesis). Behold even an illustration in the individual works of God: thus that produce of the vine, the unripe grape in the field, and the expressed vine that is in the vine vessels. When, therefore, the grapes are ripe on the vine, then the wine which stands in the house, without being shaken is agitated and disturbed.

[He gives a second illustration, and proceeds.]

If then the produce of created things be thus mutually sensitive, ho w much rather are the dead affected in the commemorations of the oblations? And if you give me a scientific answer, that these instances are in accordance with the physical nature of the creatures, you will understand that you are, in some way, the first fruits of God's creatures. And if these illustrations give not full satisfaction, without I produce for you a testimony, give ear patiently to what is written, and if it please you, you will receive into your understanding what is said.

The servant of God, Moses, with blessings blessed Ruben even unto the third generation. Now if the dead are not redeemed, on what account does Moses bless Ruben to the third generation? and, if there be nothing to remind them of the resurrection, listen to what the Apostle proclaimed, "If the dead rise not again, why are they then baptized for the dead?" "For those under the law were kept, until the time of the faith that was to be, shut up in mystery in expectation of the resurrection, which was to be revealed. Since in the oblations of their divine worship, the priests under the law cleansed even those who had been wounded in battle by their unlawful acts, for they were debtors full of the unclean acts which are there recorded then with how much greater reason shall the priests of the New Testament of Christ, in the holy oblations and prayers of their lips, be able to do away with the debts of those who depart before them?"

T. ii. Gr. Testamentum, S. Eph. pp. 231, 237, 238-9.
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We now come to the Neorosima of St. Ephriem. They are eighty-five in number, and with a few exceptions, each of these pieces contains a prayer, and often more than one, for the dead. These prayers would fill, if all were given here, about twenty pages of this work.

A few extracts, as specimens, must, therefore, suffice:

"As to our duty, we undertake that the commemoration of thee shall never be neglected upon the holy altar, at which tliou didst, in chastity and piety, minister. May Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the God whom thou didst holily confess, re ward thy spirit with a life of peace free from every care, a recompense which thou hast merited."

T. iii. Syr. can. vii. pp. 234-5.
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"I conjure you in God's name, my companions and brethren, when you meet in the sacred ministry to sing, to remember me; let your prayer aid me, and wipe away the dust scattered in my eyes, and I will rise and give thanks to Him who raises (us) from the dead."

T. iii. Syr. can. ix. p. 236.
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"And now again do I beseech you, brethren and friends, and all of you that assemble in the Church, and I beg of you with tears, and I conjure you in the name of that God who has commanded me to leave you, to make a commemoration of me, when you assemble to say your prayers, beseeching God, to have mercy on me in the day of His coming, and, according to His clemency, to forgive me whatsoever sins I have committed in His sight."

T. iii. Syr. can. x.p. 239.
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"Let us pray distinctly and by name, my brethren, for our brother who has departed from us. Let us supplicate the judge who hearkens to the prayers of those that love Him. O God, Thou that wiliest not the death, but the life, of the sinner, in Thy goodness have mercy on Thy servant, and in Thy clemency be propitious to Thy worshipper. Enter not, O Lord, into rigorous and just judgment with Thy servant; for no one is clean from debts and faults. Remember not his sins and transgressions. Forgive his debts according to Thy clemency, and place him at Thy right hand."

T. iii. Syr. Carm. Funeb. 16, pp. 261-2.
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"Meanwhile, with tears and prayers overflowing from pious grief, let us supplicate for her who is dead. Receive, O Lord, according to Thy clemency, the spirit of Thy servant in peace, and according to the greatness of Thy mercies establish her in the company of Thy saints and elect; forgive her sins, unbind and pardon them; enter not into judgment with her, nor remember her errors; and as she has commended her spirit into Thy hands, defend and protect it, we beseech Thee, by the sign of Thy cross; and as she invoked Thee, on the day of her death, give heed to the voice of her supplication. Unite her to the choir of holy virgins, that she may join her song to theirs, and praise Thee who art to be praised, both by the living and the dead, for evermore."

T. iii. Syr. Necros. Can. 32, p. 288.
See Ibid. Can 4, p.230, A. B.: Can. 13, p.247, C.D. et passim.
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Commentary on these passages from the Neorosima of St. Ephriem:

In many of these pieces the persons prayed for are also invoked as being accounted saints, and thought to be in the enjoyment of heavenly bliss.

St. Ephraem explains this as follows: "We believe that thou art being translated, by the angels who have separated thee from us, to the abodes of the blessed a wished-for offering to thy Creator. Yet not on that account, less solicitous for thy welfare, do we omit to engage in prayer for thee; and Thee, O Lord, do we implore that Thou wouldst bestow upon Thy servant the overflowing enjoyment of good things, and tranquillize his mind with that most eagerly desired and sought after security in Heaven."

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St. Hilary of Poitiers, (A.D. 315-367), French; husband, theologian, bishop of Poiters around A.D. 355, and Doctor of the Church. Referred to as the "Hammer of the Arians" and the "Athanasius of the West.". He was obviously a firm supporter of St. Athanasius.

"In that He says, "He that believeth in me shall not be judged" (John 3:18), He has exempted believers from the judgment; and in adding, "But he that doth not believe is already judged", He admits not unbelievers to judgment. If then He has exempted believers, and rejected unbelievers, a state of judgment not being permitted either as regards one class, or the other, how is He to be understood to be consistent with Himself when He says in the third place, "But this is the judgment because the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light (19)". For there can be no room left for judgment, when neither believers, nor unbelievers, are to be judged. And this will seem to be the case, to careless hearers, and to uninquiring readers. . . .But, after having set aside the judgment in the case of believers, and unbelievers, the Lord has subjoined the cause for judgment, and the parties on whom it is needful to pass judgment. For some there are who hold a middle place between the pious and the impious, compounded of both, but belonging strictly to neither, men made up at the same time of both; who are not to be associated with the faithful (faith) seeing that there is something of faithlessness mixed up in them, nor to be classed with the faithless, in as much as they have something of faith too. For the fear of God keeps many in the Church, but the blandishments of the world tempt them also to the vices of the world. They pray, but from fear; they sin, from will: they call themselves Christians, because the hope of eternity is good: but their deeds are heathenish, because the things present are pleasant. They do not continue in impiety because the name of God is in honor with them; they are not pious, because they do things alien to piety. . . Upon these, then, is the judgment (which has already been passed upon the unbelieving, and is not necessary for the believing), "because they loved darkness rather than light:" not that they loved not the light also, but their love leant more towards darkness."

Tract, in Ps. i. n. 16-7, pp. 28-9.
See also a similar passage in Tract, in Ps. Ivii. n. 7, p 14-3. 1
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Commentary on this quote

There are scattered through the works of St. Hilary, a great variety of passages relative to the state of the soul after death; but there is no one passage which can be adduced as presenting a complete view of his doctrine on this subject. His obscure and complicated style has also given occasion to various misapprehensions in this instance, as on various other matters. The following will be found to be a summary of his teaching:

"1. That every soul is judged immediately after death. 2. That besides this particular judgment, there is, after the resurrection, a general judgment, at which the wicked will appear, not so much to be judged as to receive their sentence, as also will the saints, to receive theirs. 3. That those who are neither utterly wicked nor perfectly holy, will therefore be alone, strictly speaking, judged, upon the reunion of soul and body. 4. That all, even the most righteous, will, after the resurrection, have to pass through fire, the just unscathed, but not so the wicked. 5. That as regards the state of souls, the martyrs, immediately after their passion, enter into the heavenly kingdom, and the perfectly righteous into rest and happiness in the "bosom of Abraham"; whilst the impious, separated from the just by an immense chaos, are consigned also at once to punishment in the "avenging fire." 6. That besides these, there are others, as stated in the text, who hold a middle place between the just and the unjust, and who are reserved in a condition neither of perfect happiness nor of utter woe, but awaiting the sentence to be passed on them at the final judgment."

From this statement it will be seen that St. Hilary agrees with and illustrates St. Cyprian in (Ep. 52, ad Anton.) See the passages collected in the preface, sect. 7, 8, pp. lxxiv.- lxxxi., Benedictine edition

St. Cyril of Jerusalem, (A.D. 315-386), Palestinian; ordained by Maximus, he was made bishop of Jerusalem in A.D. 345; scholar and Doctor of the Church. None of his writings have been preserved to us, except eighteen catechetical instructions addressed to catechumens, and five mystagogic discourses addressed to neophytes.

Then we make mention also of those who have already fallen asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition, next, we make mention also of the holy fathers and bishops who have already fallen asleep, and, to put it simply, of all among us who have already fallen asleep. For we believe that it will be of very great benefit to the souls of those for whom the petition is carried up, while this holy and most solemn sacrifice is laid out.

Catechetical Lectures 23:5:9 [A.D. 350]

"Then we also commemorate those who have fallen asleep before us, first patriarchs, prophets, Apostles, that God, by their prayers and intercessions, would receive our petition: then also on behalf of the holy fathers, and bishops who have fallen asleep before us, and of all, in short, who have already fallen asleep from amongst us, believing that it will be a very great assistance to the souls, for which the supplication is put up, while the holy and most awful sacrifice lies to open view. And I wish to persuade you by an illustration: for I know many that say this, "What is a soul profited, which departs from this world, either with sins, or without sins, if it be commemorated in the prayer?" . . . Now surely, if a king had banished, certain who had offended him, and their connections, having woven a crown, should offer it to him on behalf of those under his vengeance, would he not grant a respite to their punishments? In the same way, we also, offering up to Him supplications on behalf of those who have fallen asleep before us, even though they be sinners, weave no crown, but offer up for our sins, Christ crucified, propitiating, both on their behalf and our own, the God that loves man."

Catech. Mystag. v. (Alit. Catech. 23), n. 9-10, p. 328.
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St. Gregory of Nazianzen, (A.D. 318-389), Cappadocian; archbishop, theologian, Doctor of the Church.

"We, the pious parents of Gregory, have gladly put on this robe of earth, from the hands of our beloved child, who both by his labors rendered our old age light, and who now follows (or aids) us with sacrifices."

"Flying from evil, pursuing virtue, living to the Spirit walking after the Spirit, from the Spirit drawing knowledge building upon the foundation of faith, not wood, not hay, not stubble; a substance weak and easily utterly consumed, when by fire He shall judge or purify what is ours, but gold, silver, precious stones, things that abide and stand."

T. i. Or. iii. p. 49.
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St. Basil the Great, (A.D. 328-379), Cappadocian; bishop, theologian, monk, or a comtemporary of his.

"Through the wrath of the Lord has the whole earth been burned. (Isaiah 9:19). These words point out that earthly things shall, for the benefit of the soul, be given up to that penal fire, as the Lord also declares, saying, "I came to cast fire upon, the earth." (Luke 12:49), and have wished to see if it be already enkindled. And the people shall be as a man burnt by fire. (Isaiah 9:19) It threatens not extermination, but denotes purgation, agreeably to what is said by the Apostle, that, "If a man's work burn, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire." (1 Corinthians 3:15)

T. i. P. ii. Comm. in Esai. c. ix. n. 231, pp 98-9.
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Commenatary on this quote:

St. Basil says: "If thy sins be manifold, be not cast down at their number, for, Where sin abounded, grace did more abound (Romans 5:20), provided thou receive that grace; for to him that owes much, much also shall be remitted, that his love may be the greater. But if thy sins be little and trifling, and not unto death why are thou troubled about the future, thou who hast gone through the past not unmanfully, and this when not yet instructed in the law?"

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St. Gregory of Nyssa, (A.D. c.335 - c.394), bishop of Nyssa in A.D. 371, an erudite theologian who made significant contributions to the doctrine of the Trinity and the Nicene creed. Gregory's philosophical writings were influenced by Origen. He was the brother of the great St. Basil.

"As they who are purifying gold from matter mingled with it, do not merely melt with fire the alloy, but it is absolutely necessary that the pure gold be melted together with the adulterate matter, and when this has been thoroughly consumed, the gold remains; so is it absolutely necessary that, whilst the evil is being consumed by the fire that rests not, the soul that is united with that evil, be also in that fire, until that alloy and dross and adulterate matter commingled with the soul be utterly destroyed, consumed by the everlasting fire. . . . And the measure of the pain is the quantity of evil in each one. For it is not fitting that he who has lived to so great an extent in forbidden evils, and he who has been engaged in moderate transgressions, should be equally afflicted in the sentence passed on their evil state; but that, according to the quantity of that matter, the painful fire be, either for a longer, or a shorter, time, enkindled, according as there may be wherewith to feed it. For him, therefore, in whom there is a heavy load of alloy, there must needs be a great, and more enduring flame, to consume it; whilst to him, in whom that consuming fire is commingled for a shorter time, so much of the greater activity and bitterness of the punishment is remitted, as the amount of the evil to which it is applied is lessened."

T. iii. De Anim. et Resurr. pp. 226-7.
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Commentary on this quote:

The author proceeds in a similar strain through several pages; but as,
justly or unjustly, this part of St. Gregory's treatise has been suspected of
having been interpolated by the followers of Origen.

Treating of the future state of new-born infants who die unbaptized, he asks:

"What are we to think of such? What are we to hold concerning those who have died in this manner? Will that soul too behold the Judge? Will it stand with the rest before the judgment-seat? Will it receive a recompense according to its deserts, either purified by fire according to the declarations of the Gospel, or refreshed with the dew of benediction?"

T. iii. DePraemat. Abrept.p. 322.
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Commentary on this quote:

In various parts of his writings St. Gregory Nyssa teaches that the souls of
the just are admitted into Heaven immediately after death.

Explaining wherefore, after man's fall, God did not destroy free will, and force man to be virtuous, he says:

"In order, therefore, that the power (of free-will) might continue in human nature, and yet evil cease, the wisdom of God discovered this device, to permit man to be in those things which his will has chosen; that, having tasted of the evil things which he had desired, and learnt by experience what an exchange he had made, he might thereby be impelled to hasten back with gladness to his former happiness, shaking off from his nature, as a burden, whatsoever is contrary to reason, and is the offspring of the passions; being either purified during this present life, by means of prayer and the pursuit of wisdom, or, after his departure from this life, (purified) by means of the furnace of the fire of purgation."

T. iii. De Mortuis, Or. p. 634.
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"If man, indeed, thoroughly distinguish what is the characteristic of an irrational creature, and have respect unto himself by a more befitting mode of life, he will make the present life cleanse away the evil mixed up with him, by reason overcoming what is unreasonable. But if his preference lean towards giving a preponderating weight to the passions which are opposed to reason ... his will, after this, will be turned to what is good, after a different manner, being taught, after quitting this body, the difference between vice and virtue, in the not being able to partake of the Divinity, the purgatorial fire not having cleansed away the filthiness that has been mixed up with the soul."

T. iii. De Mortuis, Or. p. 635.
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"Some there are who, throughout their life in the flesh, regulate their lives in a spiritual manner, and free from (evil) passions; such, we are told, were the patriarchs and prophets, and they who lived with them and after them, men who hastened back to the perfect by means of virtue and the pursuit of wisdom . . . whilst others, through their entry into the future state, have cast aside, in the purgatorial fire, their propensity to the material, and have returned gladly, from an eager desire of good things, to that grace which was at first the inheritance of our nature."

T. iii. De Mortuis, Or. p. 636.
See also t. i. De Beatitudin. p. 809.
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St. Macarius of Alexandria, (late 3rd century - A.D. 395), also known as Marcarius the Younger, an extreme ascetic and disciple of St. Anthony ; he died, at an extreme old age, in the year 395., numerous miracles were ascribed to him. He presided over five thousand Nitric monks.

And the Abbot Macarius continued:

"I beseech you, explain to me this also. Since it has been handed down from the fathers, that an oblation is to be offered up unto God in the Church for the dead, on the third, the ninth, and the thirtieth day, what is the advantage accruing from this to the soul that has passed away?

And he saith: God has not permitted anything to have place in the Church inopportunely or unavailingly, but has permitted His celestial and terrestrial mysteries to have place in His Church; and He commanded (this) to be done. For, on the third day, when the oblation takes place, the departed soul receives from the angel that has it under care, consolation from the grief at having been separated from the body, because benediction and oblation, on its behalf, have followed it in the Church of God. And on this it becomes full of hope.

[He then says that during two days the soul is suffered to wander at pleasure, and to visit its old haunts, but on the third is recalled, raised to Heaven, and there, for the space of six days contemplates its joys.]

Rightly, therefore does the Church hold that oblation and prayer be offered for the soul on the third day."

"But if it is conscious of the guilt of sin, it begins, as it be holds the enjoyments of the saints, to be grieved and to condemn itself, saying, "Alas! how foolishly have I lived in the world in heedlessness, not serving God as became me, that I too might be worthy of His grace and glory. . . . Alas! I know not how I could have been so blind. Woe is me, no one will now be able to help me, that I, unhappy that I am, may also attain to the glory of the Lord." After having contemplated, during six days, all the joy of the just, it is again borne up by angels to adore God. Rightly, therefore, does the Church make an oblation, celebrating liturgical services, and an oblation for the dead on the ninth day. Then, after the second adoration, there comes again the command of the Lord of all, to lead it unto Hell, and to show it the punishments there, and Hell's varied torments, and the various chastisements of the unrighteous, which the souls of the sinners there placed lament unceasingly with gnashing of teeth. And the soul is borne about amidst these varieties of punishment during thirty days, trembling, lest she too be condemned to be kept in so horrible a place. And, on the fortieth day, it is borne up again to adore the Lord. And then, according to its works, the judge appoints the place of its imprisonment. Rightly, therefore, are there observed in the Church commemorations of the baptized dead. But with the souls of those who have not received baptism it is not thus. But unsparing angels rudely seize the unilluminated souls as they quit the bodies, scourging them, and saying, "Here, unrighteous soul, (know) who is thy Lord, and the Lord of all, Christ, whom thou wouldst not acknowledge during thy heedless life in the world. Know Him now,"

Galland, t. vii. Serm. De Excessu, n. 3-5, pp. 238-9.
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St. Epiphanius of Salamis, (A.D. 332-403), Palestinian; bishop, abbot, scholar.

"He Aërius next asks, "On what account do you, after their death, name the names of the departed? For, if the living prays, or shall give his substance to the poor, wherein shall the departed be benefited? But if, in fact, the prayers of those here aid those there, why, then, let no one be henceforward pious, or do any good action, but obtain, in whatever way he chooses, a certain number of friends, whether procured by money or obtained at the close of life, and let those friends pray for them, that they may not suffer anything there, and that what is due to their fearful transgressions may not be required at their hands."

As regards the giving out the names of the departed, what more useful than this? What more opportune than this, and more to be admired, that they that are present may believe that the departed live, and are not in a state of annihilation, hut are, and live with the Lord; and how could any more remarkable proof be exhibited that they that pray for the brethren have hopes of them, as of men that are departed on journey. Furthermore, the prayer that is made on their behalf is of assistance, even though it may not rescind the whole of the accusations against them. And, moreover, as whilst in this world we frequently stumble either wittingly or unwittingly, (this prayer for the dead avails) that what is more perfect be made clear unto us. For we make a commemoration of the just and on behalf of sinners; on behalf of sinners, supplicating for mercy from God; and for the just, both patriarchs, prophets, Apostles, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, bishops also, and anchorites, and of the whole host of the just, in order that on account of the honor which we pay to Christ, we may separate Him from the race of men, and may render homage to Him with the feeling that the Lord is not to be likened to any child of man. . . . And again, to take up the thread of my argument, the Church necessarily does this, having received a tradition to this effect from the fathers. But shall any one be able to annul a mother's command or a father's law? Even as was said by Solomon, "My son hear the words of thy father, and forsake not the laws of thy mother." (Proverbs 1:8), pointing out that the Father (that is, the only-begotten God) and the Holy Spirit, have taught both in the written and in the unwritten word, and that our holy mother the Church has laws abiding in her indissoluble; incapable, that is, of being dissolved. Laws, therefore, which are excellent, and all admirable, having been settled in the Church, this deceiver (Aerius) is again convicted."

T. i. Adv. Hæres. (75) pp. 908, 911, 912.
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Commentary on this quote:

In the Exposition of Faith and Practice, given at the close of his work against heresies, St. Epiphanius again mentions the custom of praying and sacrificing for the dead.

St. Ambrose of Milan, (A.D. 340-396), German; reluctantly made bishop in the A.D. 374., Doctor of the Church. He closed a great and glorious career in A.D. 396. We have his life by Paulinus.

Give perfect rest to thy servant Theodosius, that rest which thou hast prepared for thy saints. . . I have loved him, and therefore will I follow him into the land of the living; nor will I leave him until by tears and prayers I shall lead him wither his merits summon him, unto the holy mountain of the Lord.

Funeral Sermon of Theodosius 36-37 [A.D. 395]

"Thou hast tried us by fire" (Psalms 16:3), says David: Therefore shall we all be "tried by fire". And Ezekiel says; "Behold the Lord Almighty cometh and who shall abide the day of His coming? or who shall stand to see Him?. . . And He shall sit refining and cleansing the gold and silver and He shall purify the sins of Levi and shall pour them out as gold and as silver; and they shall offer sacrifice to the Lord in justice." (Malachi 3:2-3) With fire, therefore, shall be purged the sons of Levi; with fire Ezekiel; with fire Daniel. But these, although they shall be tried by means of fire, yet shall they say, "We have passed through fire and water." (Psalm 65:2) Others shall remain in fire; unto the former the fire shall be as dew, as it was to the Hebrew children, who were cast into the fiery furnace; but the avenging flame shall burn the servants of iniquity. Woe to me if my work burn, and I suffer the loss of this labor! Though the Lord shall save His servants; yet shall we be saved through faith, "saved yet so as by fire;" and if we are not utterly burned, yet shall we burn. How it is that some remain in fire, whilst others pass through it, we are instructed by the divine Scripture in another place. Thus the Egyptian people was sunk in the Red Sea, the Jews passed through it. Moses passed through; Pharaoh was over whelmed, because weightier sins drowned him."

T. i. Enarr. in Ps. xxxvi. n. 26, pp. 789-90..
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"There is more than one baptism: one is the baptism which the Church here confers by water and the Holy Ghost, where with the catechumens must needs be baptized. . . . There is also, on the threshold of Paradise, a baptism, which originally was not; but after that the sinner was cast forth, there began to be a fiery sword, — placed there by God, — which originally was not, when sin was not. Guilt began, and baptism began, wherewith they might be purified who sought to return to Paradise; that having returned they might say: "We have passed through fire and water." Here through water, there through fire. Through water, that sins may be washed away; through fire, that they may be utterly burnt away.... To wit, this baptism is to be after the end of the world, when the angels have been sent to separate the good from the bad: when, by a furnace of fire, iniquity shall be utterly burnt; that in the kingdom of God the just may shine as the sun itself in the kingdom of its Father. And if one be holy as Peter, or John, he is baptized with this fire. The great baptist, therefore, will come, and seeing many standing before the entrance into Paradise, he will wave the moving sword, and will say to those who are on his right hand, and who are without any grievous sins, "Enter in, ye who presume, who fear not the fire." .. Let then the consuming fire come; let it utterly burn away from within us the lead of iniquity, the iron of sin, and make us pure gold. But as he that is cleansed here, must needs be again purified there; may that which the Lord shall say also purify us there. — "Enter into my rest", that so each of us that has been burnt, but not utterly consumed, by that flaming sword, when he has entered upon that lovely paradise, may give thanks to his Lord, saying, "Thou hast brought us into a refreshment." (Psalms 65:12) Whosoever, therefore, shall pass through the fire, enters into rest: he passes from the material and the earthly, to the incorruptible and the eternal. One is this fire, which the Lord Jesus has prepared for His servants, wherewith sins, not voluntary, but casual, are utterly burnt away ...; another that fire which He has appointed for the devil and his angels, concerning which (fire) He says, "Go ye into everlasting fire (Matthew 25:41), in which that rich man was burning", who begged a drop of water from the finger of Lazarus."

T. i. Expos, in Ps. cxviii. (Gimel) n. 14-17, pp. 997-8

A similar passage occurs, Ibid. (Resh) n. 12-15, pp. 1225-26, and he concludes this same discourse in the following manner:

"We must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ; that every one may receive according as he hath done, whether it be good or evil. Thou seest that Paul also will stand there, as himself declares. Beware of wood, beware of stubble; carry not with thee unto the judgment of God what the fire can consume. Beware lest whilst thou hast one or two things which may be approved, thou carry with thee what, in many works, may offend. "If any man's work burn he shall suffer loss; yet he himself can be saved by fire." Whence it is deduced that the same man is both saved in part, and is condemned in part. Knowing therefore that many are the judgments, let us examine all our works. In a just man the serious burning of some one work is a grievous loss; in the impious man the punishment is fraught with woe. Rather let all the judgments be replete with grace, be pregnant with verdant crowns, lest haply while our actions are weighed in the balance, the guilt weigh down the scale." "Thou shalt not go thence until thou pay the very last mite." Luke 12:59

T. i. Expos. Ev. sec. Luc. n. 158, col. 1448.
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Speaking of the death of his brother, Satyrus, he says,

"The poor too wept, and what is far more precious, and more beautiful, they washed away his sins with their tears. These are redeeming tears, these lamentations that hide the pang of death."

"There is, therefore, no doubt but that the patronage of the Apostles is by your tears procured; there is no doubt, I say, but that Christ was moved to pity, at the sight of your tears. Though he has not here touched the bier, yet has He received the soul that has been commended to Him; and though He have not called unto the departed with His voice as when in the body, yet has He, by the authority of His divine power, liberated his soul from the pains of death, and from the assaults of spiritual wickedness."

He thus concludes:

"Do not, I beg, delay me long who am anxious to come unto Thee; wait for me as I hasten to Thee; aid me as I hurry onward; and if I shall seem to Thee to tarry too long, summon me. . . . To Thee now, O Almighty God, do I commend a spotless soul, to Thee do I offer my victim: receive propitiously and serenely a brother's gift, a priest's sacrifice."

T. ii. De Excess. Fr. Satyri, n. 5, pp. 1115; n. 79-80, pp. 1134-35.
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"Give to his soul (manes) (or, give freely) the holy mysteries; with pious affection let us beg rest for his soul. Give the heavenly sacraments; let us follow (or, aid) the nephew's soul with our oblations. Lift up, ye people, your hands with mine unto the holies, that by duty (or, gift) we may make a return for his merits."

T. ii. De Obitu Valentin, n. 56, p. 1189.
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"Blessed shall both of you be (Gratian and Valentinian) if my prayers can avail anything; no one day shall pass you over in silence; no prayer (or discourse) of mine shall omit to honor you; no one night shall hurry by without bestowing on you a mention in my prayers; in every one of the oblations will I remember you."

T. ii. De Obitu Valentin, n. 78, p. 1194.
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"We lately raised up our voices together on the death of this prince (Theodosius), and now, while prince Honorius is present before our altars, we celebrate the fortieth day, because as holy Joseph rendered to his father Jacob the dutiful rites of burial during forty days, so also does this prince perform what is just towards his father, Theodosius.

[He then notices that some observed the third and the thirteenth days, and others the seventh and fortieth.]

I am bruised in heart, because a man has been taken from us whose like we can hardly find; but yet Thou alone, O Lord, art to be invoked, Thou to be implored, to make him stand (present) amongst Thy sons. Do Thou, O Lord, who keepest even the little ones in this state of lowliness, save those who put their hopes in Thee. Give perfect rest to Thy servant Theodosius, that rest which Thou hast prepared for Thy saints: may his soul return thither whence it descended; where it cannot feel the sting of death; where it may learn that this death is the end, not of nature, but of guilt.... I loved him, and therefore will I follow him even unto the land of the living, nor will I leave him, until, by tears and prayers, I shall lead him, whither his merits summon him, unto the holy mountain of the Lord, where is life undying, where corruption is not, nor contagion, nor sighing, nor mourning, nor fellowship with the dead; the true land of the living, where this mortal may put on immortality."

lb. de Obit, Theodos. n. 3, 36-37, pp. 1197 98, 1207-8.
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St. Jerome, (A.D. 342-420), Dalmatian; born in Strido; priest, hermit, abbot, biblical scholar, translator and Doctor of the Church. In an age distinguished by men of the greatest eloquence and learning, St. Jerome, especially in all matters connected with the Sacred Scriptures, was then preeminent, and has probably never since been equalled.

In a letter of consolation to Pammachius, on the death of his wife Paulina, he says:

"Other husbands strew violets, roses ... on the graves of their wives, and soothe with these offices the sorrow of their hearts; our Pammachius bedews the hallowed dust, and the venerable remains of Paulina with balsams of alms. With these pigments and swset odors does he refresh her slumbering ashes, knowing that it is written, that as water quenches fire, so do alms extinguish sin."

T. i. Ep. lxvi. ad Pammach. n. 5, col. 394-5.
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"Then they also that are fallen asleep in Christ, are perished" (1 Corinthians 15); who, though they be dead are not to perish by a perpetual death, because they are not held in mortal sin, but in light and slight sin. . . . For there is a sleep of sin which leads unto death, and there is another slumber of transgression, which is not oppressed with death."

Ib. Ep. cxix. ad Minerv. et Alex—ad. n. 7, col. 800.
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Writing against Jovinian, who taught that all are equal in Heaven, he says:

"If he whose work has burned, and perished, and who has endured the loss of his own labor, shall lose indeed the reward of his labor, but shall himself be saved, not however without the probation of fire, then shall he, whose work shall abide which he built up (or upon), be saved without the probation of fire, and between salvation and salvation there will undoubtedly be a certain diversity."

T. ii. L. ii. contr. Jovin n. 22, col. 360.
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"But whereus thou (Ruffinus) imprecatest against the brethren, that is, against thy accusers, everlasting fires with the devil, thou dost not seem to me so much to weigh heavily on the brethren, as to relieve the devil, when he is (but) to be punished with the same fire as Christians."

lb. L. i. contr. Ruffin. n. 7, col. 495-6.
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"If you cut off a finger, or the tip of the ear, there is pain indeed, but not so grievous a loss, nor, besides the pain, so grievous a deformity, as if you were to pluck out an eye, cut off the nose, or slit the mouth. We can live without some limbs, without others we cannot. There are light sins, and there are grievous ones. It is one thing to owe ten thousand talents, another to owe a farthing. And for an idle word shall we be held guilty, as well as for adultery; but it is not the same thing to be covered with shame, as to be tortured; to blush, as to be tormented for a lengthened period. Think you that we say this of our own. Listen to the Apostle John, "He that knoweth his brother to sin a sin which is not to death, let him ask, and he shall give life to him who sinneth not to death. But who so hath sinned unto death, who shall pray for him? (1 John 5:16.) You see that if we pray for lesser sins, we shall obtain pardon: if for greater, the obtaining pardon of them is difficult; and that between sin and sin there is a wide distance. Wherefore is it also said to Jeremias, concerning the people of Israel, who had sinned a sin unto death, Do not thou pray for this people. (Jeremiah 7:16) But if we all both enter into the world, and leave it with equal merit (equally), and this is a sample of the things to come, it follows that whether we be just or sinners, we shall be held in similar regard before God, seeing that we are now both born, and we die in the same way."

lb. Adv. Jovinian. n. 30, col. 372.
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"If Origen assert that no rational creature is to be utterly lost, and grant penitence to the devil, what is that to us, who declare that the devil and his associates, and all the impious and prevaricators perish everlasting, and that Christians, if they be overtaken in sin by death, are to be saved after being punished."

T. ii. Contr. Pelag. n. 28, col. 712.
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"The worm which shall not die, and the fire which shall not be extinguished, are understood by many to be that consciousness of sins which torments those who are in a state of punishment... so, however, as not to deny that the punishment of prevaricators, and of all those who deny the Lord, is eternal, seeing that the Lord says in the Gospel, "Go into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and, his angels." And elsewhere "bind his hands and feet," (Matthew 22:13). . . Now they who would fain have it that the punishments are some time or other to have an end, and that the torments, though after a long period, yet still, come to a close, make use of these texts: Romans 12:25; Galatians 3:22 ; Micheas 7:9-12; Psalms 30:20; all which testimonies they heap together in their wish to prove their assertion, that, after pains and torments, there will be refreshments, which are now to be kept from the knowledge of those to whom fear is of use, that, in their dread of punishment, they may refrain from sin. This we ought to leave entirely to the knowledge of God alone, not only whose mercies, but also whose chastisements also are nicely balanced, and He knows whom, when, and how long He ought to judge. And let our language be such as alone benefits human frailty. "O Lord, rebuke me not in Thy indignation, nor chastise me in Thy wrath." And as we believe that the torments of the devil, and of all those who deny (the Lord), and of the impious, who "have said in their hearts, There is no God," are eternal, so also do we think that the sentence of the judge upon sinners and impious men, but still Christians, whose works are to be tried and purged in fire, is tempered and mixed with clemency."

T. iv. Z. xviii. in Isai. in fine.
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"Death is that whereby the soul is separated from the body; Hell is the place wherein souls are shut up, either in refreshment, or in pain, according to the nature of their deserts."

T. vi. L. iii. Com. in Osee. col. 152.
See also T. i. Comm. in Matt. col. 28.
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St. John Chrysostom, (A.D. 344 - 407), Syrian; archbishop, Doctor of the Church. Born at Antioch in 344; he was ordained priest in A.D. 383, and raised to the see of Constantinople in the year A.D. 398. His eloquence gained him the title of Chrysostom, or the mouth of gold. His expositions of Scripture, especially the Epistles of St. Paul, are very valuable. This illustrious prelate died on his road to exile, in A.D. 407.

Let us help and commemorate them. If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice [Job l:5), why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them

Homilies on First Corinthians 41:5 [A.D. 392]

Not in vain was it decreed by the apostles that in the awesome mysteries remembrance should be made of the departed. They knew that here there was much gain for them, much benefit. When the entire people stands with hands uplifted, a priestly assembly, and that awesome sacrificial victim is laid out, how, when we are calling upon God, should we not succeed in their defense? But this is done for those who have departed in the faith, while even the catechumens are not reckoned as worthy of this consolation, but are deprived of every means of assistance except one. And what is that? We may give alms to the poor on their behalf.

Homilies on Philippians 3:9-10 [A.D. 402]

"In the world ye shall have distress." (St. John 16) But nothing like this is said of those that are there, but all the contrary; "grief, sorrow and sighing have fled away" (Isaiah 25); and that they shall come from the East and from the West, and shall recline in the bosom of Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob (St. Matthew 8); and that there is a spiritual bridechamber, and shining lamps, and a translation to Heaven. Why then dost thou put to shame the departed? Why dispose others to fear and tremble at death? Why cause many to accuse God, as though He had done very many dreadful things? Yea rather why after this dost thou invite the poor, and beg of priests to pray?

In order, you say, "that he that is dead may depart into rest; in order that he may have the judge propitious." For these things then art thou mourning and wailing. . . .And to whom, you say, "shall we leave our garments, to whom our houses, our servants and our lands?" To him again, and in a safer way, than if he were living: for there is nothing to hinder this. For if even the barbarians burn with the dead their property, much more is it just that thou send away with the dead his property, not that it be reduced to ashes, like those, but that it may invest him with more glory; and if indeed he departed a sinner, that it may loose his sins, but if a just man, that it may become an increase of reward and recompense."

T. vii. Hom. xxxi. in Matt. n. 4, pp. 409-10.
See also T. vi. Hom, xxviii. (al. xxix.) n. 3, p. 381.
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"Not in vain are oblations made on behalf of the departed; not in vain supplications; not in vain alms. All these things has the Spirit ordained, wishing us to be aided by each other. For observe, he is aided by thee; and thou art aided by him. Thou hast not considered money, impelled to do something generous; and thou to him hast become the cause of salvation, and he to thee of almsgiving. Doubt not but he will reap some profit. Not unadvisedly does the deacon cry out, "For the departed in Christ, and for those that are making a memorial of them." It is not the deacon that utters this sentence, but the Holy Spirit, I mean his gift. What sayest thou? The sacrifice is in the hands (of the priest), and all things lie to open view fairly disposed; angels, archangels are present; the Son of God is present; all stand with so great awe; they stand by crying aloud, whilst all the rest are silent; and thinkest thou that all this is done in vain. Then too is all the rest in vain, both what is offered for the Church, and what for the priests, and what for the fullness? Not so; but all is done with faith. What, thinkest thou, that oblation is made for the martyrs, because they are named at that hour? Though they be martyrs, yea, though above martyrs, great is the honor to be named when the Lord is present; when that death is consummated; that awful sacrifice; these ineffable mysteries. For see; that awful mystery, — that God gave Himself for the world, is announced; with that marvel seasonably does He bring to mind those that have sinned. For as, when the trophies of kingly victories are carried forth, both they who had a share in the victory have their praises then celebrated, and they who are in bonds are liberated on account of the occasion; but, when that occasion has passed by, he that has gained nothing, thenceforward derives no benefit from it, — so also in sooth here, this is the season of trophies: for, says he, "As often as you shall eat this bread, you show forth the death of the Lord." For another cause do we make mention of martyrs, and this in testimony of our faith that the Lord is not dead, and that this, his having become a dead man, is a sign that death is dead. Knowing these things, let us think what consolations we are able to afford to the departed; instead of tears, lamentations and monuments; alms, prayers, oblations, that so both they and we may attain to the promised blessings."

T. ix. in Acta Apost. Horn. xxi. n. 4, p. 188-9.1
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The following curious passage occurs earlier in the same homily:

"Wonldst thou learn that this (death) is not the time for tears? This is that great mystery of the wisdom of God. The soul goes forward in haste to its Lord, as though it were leaving a dwelling. . . . Tell me, why dost thou lament? For dost thou thus only over sinners?. . . This man has squandered away his whole life in vain; neither did he live a single day for himself, but for pleasure, for luxury, for avarice, for sin, for the devil. Shall we not bewail such a one? Tell me: shall we not try to snatch him from his dangers? For it is in our power, it is indeed in our power, if we choose, for his punishment to be lessened. If we pray continually for him; if we give alms, even though he himself be unworthy, yet will God hear us. If for Paul's sake He saved others, and for the sake of other men He has spared others, why will He not for our sakes do the same? But out of his wealth; out of thine own; out of what source thou pleasest, aid him. Pour in oil yea, rather, water. Has he not alms of his own to offer? Then at least let him offer those of his relations. Has he not alms that have been given by himself, at least let him have them given for him. Thus with confidence will his wife petition for him, having put down his ransom for him. The more sins he has been subject to, so much the more does he stand in need of alms. And not for this cause only, but that he has not equal power, nay, far less. For it is not the same for him to do a thing himself, and for another to do it for him. As then the power is less, let us make it greater by the abundance of it (alms). Let not our solicitude be about his tomb, and his funeral rites. Place widows round him; that is the most important funeral rite. Tell them his name; bid them all put up their prayers and supplications for him. This will propitiate God; even though not by himself, but another for his sake is the cause of almsgiving. And this is an evidence of the mercy of God. Widows standing round and weeping, are able to snatch not from present, but even from that future death. Many have been benefited by alms given for them even by others. For though not a complete, yet have they experienced some consolation: since, if this be not so, how are little children saved? Whereas in their case they contribute nothing, but their parents all; and women have often had children vouchsafed them, though those children on their parts contribute not anything. God has given us many ways of being saved, only let us neglect them not. "But what", you say, "if one be poor?" Again, I say, the quantity of the alms is not reckoned from what is given, but from the will. Only give not less than thine ability, and thou hast discharged the whole. But, "What, you say, if he be solitary and a stranger, and have no one (to aid him)?" Tell me, why has he no one? For this very thing does he pay the penalty, that he has no one so friendly, so virtuous. This happens in our case, in order that if we ourselves be not virtuous, we may take care to have companions and friends that are virtuous, and wife and child, as reaping some benefit even for their sakes: reaping indeed little. but something nevertheless. If thy care be to marry, not a rich but a religious wife, thou shalt enjoy this consolation: in like manner, if thy care be to leave behind thee, not a rich but a religious son, and a chaste daughter, so also shalt thou enjoy this consolation. If these things be thy care, thou also wilt be the same. And this too is a part of virtue, to choose such persons as friends, as wife, as child."

lb. I.c.n. 3,4, pp. 186-8.
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"But I know not, you say, whither he has gone. Wherefore know you not; tell me? For, whether he lived well or otherwise, it is evident whither he will go. For this very reason, you say, "I do I lament; because he departed a sinner." This is but a pretext and excuse. For if, on this account, you bewail him that is departed, it was thy duty to reform and correct him whilst he was alive. But thou everywhere lookest to what concerns thyself, not him. But if even he departed a sinner, even on this account one ought to rejoice that he was cut short in his sins, and added not to the evil; and to help him, as far as possible, not by tears, but by prayers, and supplications, and alms, and oblations. For these things have not been inconsiderately devised, nor do we in vain make commemoration of the departed during the divine mysteries, and approach (God) in their behalf, beseeching the lamb that lies (before us), "who taketh away the sins of the world", but that some consolation a may therefore arise to them. Nor in vain does he that stands by the altar, when the awful mysteries are being celebrated, cry out — "For all that have fallen asleep in Christ, and for those who are performing commemorations in their behalf." For if there were no commemorations made for them, these words would not have been spoken; for our services are not mere scenery. God forbid! for by the ordinance of the Spirit these things are done. Let us, therefore, help them, and perform commemorations for them. For if the father's sacrifice purged Job's children, why dost thou doubt, whether, when we too offer up for the departed, some consolation accrues to them; for God is wont to grant favors to those (others) who ask for others. And this Paul signified, saying that, "In a manifold person your gift towards us, bestowed by many, thanks may be given in your behalf." (2 Corinthians 1:11) Let us not then grow weary of helping the departed, of offering up prayers for them, for even the common expiation of the world lies (before us). By this made confident, we then pray for the world, and name them with martyrs, with confessors, with priests. Yea, for one body are we all, although some members are more glorious than others. And it is possible to gather from all sides pardon for them, — from the prayers—from the gifts (offered) in their behalf—from those who are named with them. Why then dost thou grieve, why lament, when it is possible to gather so much pardon for the departed?"

T. x. Hom. xli. in Ep. 1, ad Corin. n. 4, 5, pp. 457-8.
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"Grieve for those who departed in wealth, and who thought not of any solace for their souls from that wealth, who had the power to be washed for their sins and would not. . . . Let us grieve for these; let us aid them according to our power; let us think of some help for them, small indeed, but still able to aid. How, and in what way? Both by praying ourselves, and entreating others to make prayers for them; giving continually to the poor for them. This thing contains some solace. For, hearken to God saying, "I will protect this city for my own sake, and for my servant David's sake." (4 Kings 20:6) If the memory only of a just man had so much power, when deeds also are done, how will they not avail? Not in vain have these things been by law ordained by the Apostles, that a commemoration of the departed take place at the awful mysteries. They know that much gain accrues to them, and great assistance. For when the whole people stands with hands uplifted, a priestly assembly, and the awful sacrifice lies to open view, how shall we not propitiate God when supplicating in their behalf? But this indeed concerns those who have departed in the faith; but the catechumens are not even accounted worthy of this solace, but are deprived of all such assistance, save one. And what is this? It is in our power to give to the poor for them. This effects a certain refreshment unto them ... As we pray for living men, who are in nothing different from the dead, so may we also pray for these (the dead)."

T. xi. Hom. iii. in Ep. ad Philipp. n. 4, pp. 250-1.
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St. Paulinus of Nola, (A.D. 353-431), Roman; convert and bishop Of Nola, Born at Bordeaux he was ordained priest in 393, and was appointed bishop of Nola in 409; may have been indirectly responsible for Augustine's Confessions. One who knew St. Paulinus well says he was "meek as Moses, as priestly as Aaron, innocent as Samuel, tender as David, wise as Solomon, apostolic as Peter, loving as John, cautious as Thomas, brilliant as Stephen, fervent as Apollos."

"I confess that I am sorely grieved, not so much at the bodily death of my brother, as at his spiritual negligence. We, therefore, conjure you, that while you sympathize with us in our sorrow, you would, with fatherly love, deign to call to mind that he also was once your spiritual child, begotten to you by the grace of God, and that this is a reason why you especially should take care, lest we, by squandering away the portion of our inheritance, bring shame on your piety which gloried in us as your children; but rather be the mercy granted to your prayers that his soul be sprinkled, with one cooling drop trickling if but from the little finger of your holiness; and to us who have recourse to you, whilst it is yet time, and who cry aloud, "Father, we have sinned against Heaven and against Thee, we are not now worthy to be called Thy sons (Luke 15:18-19), may the divine mercy, at Thy intercession, give relief for the sake of this confession of sin."

Ep. xix. ad Delphinum, p. 200, T. vi. Bib. Max. SS. PP.
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"Whilst writing this, my main anxiety arises out of the grief occasioned me by the recent death of my brother. . . . We therefore earnestly beseech you as a brother, which you deign to be unto us in the Lord, to help your loving brethren; and add this reward to the merits of your faith, sympathizing with our weakness in his regard, and uniting your labor of prayer with mine; that so, a merciful and compassionate God may refresh his soul with the dews of His pity through your prayers. For, as a fire lit up by Him will burn even to the depths of Hell, so doubtless will the dew of His mercy pierce Hell, that they who are scorched in darksome fires may be refreshed with the dewy light of His pity."

Ep. xx. ad Amandum, p. 201, t. vi. Bibl. Max. SS. PP.
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In a letter of condolence addressed to Pammachius on the death of his wife, he says:

"You have rendered what was due to each part; giving tears to the body and alms to the soul. Veritably convinced as you are of the truth, and a child of light, there were your tears where you knew was death, your works where thou believed was life. For this cause did you assemble, in the court (of the Basilica) of the Apostle (St. Peter's at Rome), those patrons of our souls, the poor. . . . Thou hast already in Christ a mighty pledge of thine own, and no lowly petitioner, thy wife prepares for thee in Heaven as much favor as you add unto her wealth from earth: not honoring her as I have said, with vain sorrow, but loading her with living gifts where with she now is gladdened; and even now does she reap the fruit of this thy labor, though thy reward from it still be in the seed. Already is she honored with thy merits, already is she fed with thy bread, and abounds with thy riches. . . . She needs not be refreshed by the finger of a stranger's hand, soaked as she is with dew from her own fingers, that is, with the works of thy right hand. Thou didst not enrich her as thy bride with so ample a dowry, as thou dost now pour wealth upon her that she is at rest. Blessed is she who has suffrages so numerous before Christ.'

Ep. xxxvii. ad Pammach. t. vi. pp. 227-30, Bib. Max. SS. PP.9
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St. Augustine of Hippo, (A.D. 354-428), North African; born in Tagaste in A.D. 354, baptized in Milan in A.D. 387, ordained a priest in A.D. 391 and appointed bishop of Hippo in A.D. 395, Augustine is one of our greatest theologians. His numerous works display genius of the highest order, and have ever had great weight in the Christian churches. He is also a Doctor of the Church.

"It is not to be doubted that the dead are aided by the prayers of holy Church, and by the salutary sacrifice, and by the alms, which are offered for their spirits ; that the Lord may deal with them more mercifully than their sins have deserved. For this, which has been handed down by the Fathers, the universal Church observes,"

T. v. Serm. clxxii. n. 2 col. 1196
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 431

"Lay," she says (his dying mother, St. Monica), "this body anywhere; let not the care of it any way disturb you: this only I request of you, that you would remember me at the altar of the Lord, wherever you be." And when she had delivered this sentiment, in what words she could, she was silent, and was exercised by the increasing disorder."

T. i. L. ix. Confess, n. 27, col. 285.
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"And behold the corpse was carried away; we went and returned without tears. For neither in those prayers which we poured forth unto Thee, when the sacrifice of our price was offered for her, the corpse being placed by the grave's side before being deposited therein, as the custom there is, not even in those prayers did I weep."

Ib. n. 32, col. 287.
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"But I, my heart being now healed of that wound, in which a carnal feeling might have been blamed, pour forth to thee, our God, for that thy servant a far different kind of tears, flowing from a spirit shaken by the consideration of the dangers of every soul which dieth in Adam. Although she, having been vivified in Christ, even when not as yet released from the flesh, so lived as that Thy name is praised in her faith and manners, yet dare I not say, that, from the time that Thou regeneratedst her by baptism, no word has issued from her mouth against Thy precept. And it was said by the truth, Thy Son, "Whosoever shall say to his brother, thou fool, shall be guilty of Hell fire." And woe even to the praiseworthy life of men, if laying aside mercy, Thou examine it. ... I therefore, O my praise and my life, God of my heart, having laid aside for awhile her good actions, for which I give thanks to Thee with joy, do now beseech Thee for the sins of my mother; hear me through the medicine of our wounds, who hung upon the wood, and who sitting "at Thy right hand maketh intercession to Thee for us." (Romans 8) I know that she dealt mercifully, and from her heart "forgave her debtors their debts." Do also forgive her of her debts if she contracted any during so many years after the water of salvation.

Forgive, O Lord, forgive, I beseech Thee; "enter not into judgment with her." (Psalms 142) Let "mercy exalt herself above judgment." (James 2). . . And, I believe, Thou hast already done what I beg Thee, but "the free-offerings of my mouth accept, O Lord," (Psalms 118) For she (St. Monica), the day of her dissolution being at hand, bestowed not a thought.

[He continues:]

Let none sever her from Thy protection. Let neither the lion nor the dragon interpose himself by force or fraud; for neither will she answer that she owes nothing, lest she be convicted and obtained by the crafty accuser: but she will answer that her debts are forgwen by Him, to whom none may repay that which He, who owed nothing, paid for us. May she then be in peace with the husband, before whom to none, and after whom to none was she married. . . . And inspire, my Lord, my God, inspire Thy servants my brethren, Thy sons my masters, whom with voice, and heart, and pen I serve, that as many as shall read these words may remember at Thy altar, Monica, Thy servant, with Patricius, her sometime husband, by whose flesh Thou didst introduce me into this life, how, I know not. May they with pious affection remember my parents in this transitory light, and my brethren under Thee our Father in our Catholic Mother, and my fellow-citizens in the eternal Jerusalem, . that so, what she made her last request to me, may be granted to her more abundantly through my Confessions than through my prayers, in the prayers of many."

Ibid. L. c. n. 34-7, col. 288-90.
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"Rebuke me not, O Lord, in Thy indignation." May I not be amongst those to whom Thou wilt say, "Go into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels. Nor chastise me in Thy wrath;" that Thou mayest purify me, and make me such, that I may no longer need that amending fire, which is for those "who shall be saved yet so as by fire?" Wherefore; but because they here build upon the foundation, wood, hay, stubble? but had they built gold, silver, precious stones, they would be safe even from both fires; not only from that eternal fire which will torment the impious forever, but also from that which will chasten (amend) those who shall be saved by fire. For it is said, "But he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire." And because it is said, "He shall be saved," that fire is despised. Yet, assuredly, though "saved by fire," still will that fire be more grievous than anything that man can suffer in this life."

T. iv. in Ps. xxxvii. n. 3, col. 418- 19.
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"Your first proposition is: "Whether they, who are sinners after baptism, go forth at length from Hell. For, you say, "the opinion of a few on this matter is different", they answering, "that as the rewards of the just, so the torments of the wicked, have no end." For they would fain maintain that the punishment is perpetual, as is the reward. Against whom on the other hand is pleaded that evangelical sentence which says, thou shalt not go thence until thou repay the last farthing. (Matthew 5:26) It follows, therefore, that this having been repaid, he may go thence. We believe this also by the decision of the Apostle, who says, "But he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire. (1 Corinthians 3) But since we read elsewhere, you say, "and he knew her not until she brought forth (Matthew 1:25), which (until) we cannot interpret in this way, we wish to be made certain in this matter." Thus far is your proposition. To which I answer out of my Book entitled, "On Faith and Works", wherein I have spoken on this subject as follows: James, I say, is so vehemently hostile to those who think that faith without works is of avail to salvation, as to compare them to demons, saying, ""You believe there is one God and you believe well; the devils also believe and tremble." (James 2:19) He also says that "Faith without works is dead". How much, then, are they deceived, who, from a dead faith, promise themselves everlasting life? Wherefore we must diligently attend how that sentence of the Apostle — a sentence difficult to be understood — is to be taken, where he says, "Other foundation no man can lay but that which is laid", etc. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15): which some persons think is to be understood in such wise, that they who, to the faith which is in Christ, add good works, are to be thought to build on this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones but they, wood, hay, stubble, who, whereas they have the same faith, do evil works. Whence they fancy that these persons, by certain pains of fire, can be purged so as to partake of salvation by the merit of that foundation."

[He admits that this opinion is "held by Catholics, who seem to be deceived by a certain human compassion" (n. 10, col. 218), but he refutes it from the custom of the Church in refusing baptism to habitual and unrepenting sinners (n. 4, col. 212), and from numerous passages of Scripture as 1 Corinthians 13:2; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Peter 3:21, etc.; which texts being plain, and clearly opposed to this opinion, are to guide our interpretation of that difficult passage of St. Paul (n. 5, col. 214). He then proceeds to a careful examination of that text: the foundation is Christ, the faith, that is, which worketh by charity; he builds thereon gold, silver, and precious stones, who observes not merely the commandments, but keeps what we call the evangelical councils, whereas he builds wood, hay, and stubble, who observes the former, but not the latter (col. 215-16, 218-19), whilst he who observes not even the commandments, loses the foundation, as interpreted above, faith, that is, that worketh by charity. He who observes both the commandments and the councils could suffer no loss from the burning fire; though understanding, as we may, he says, the fire of trials, endured here, both the perfect and imperfect pass through it, and are tried by it. But besides this fire of tribulation endured here, the passage may also refer to a fire endured in another world.]

"For that some such thing takes place even after this life is not incredible; and whether this be the case may be inquired: and it may either be found, or be hidden from us, that some faithful persons are saved by a certain purgatorial fire, sooner or later, in proportion as they have more or less loved perishable goods; not, however, such of whom it is said, "Thou shall not possess the kingdom of God, unless those same crimes be forgiven them as suitably penitent."

[He gives a similar answer to the text, He shall not go out thence, until he repay the last farthing.]

Your second question is, whether "the oblation which is made for those who are at rest confers any benefit on their souls." ... I have said something on this matter in the book which I lately wrote to Paulinus, bishop of Nola, on occasion of his consulting me, whether burial in places dedicated to martyrs is of any benefit to the spirits of the dead. From that book is the following, which I insert in this letter to you: — I have been long, I say, a debtor to your holiness, my fellow-bishop, venerable Paulinus, in a reply, from the time that you wrote to me, ... inquiring if it is of profit, to a person after death, that his body is buried in the place dedicated to the memory of some saint.. . . You say, that it seems to you that these impulses of religious and faithful minds, whose care extends to these things for their own, are not useless. You add also, that it cannot be a vain thing, that the universal Church has had the custom to pray for the dead so that thence this also may be conjectured, that it is of benefit to a man after death, if, by the faith of his friends, such a place be provided for the burial of his body, whereby the assistance of the saints seems to be in this way also sought for. But while these things are as stated, in what way what is said by the Apostle is not contrary to this opinion: "For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive according to those things which He has done in the body, whether they be good or evil (2 Corinthians 5), you signify that you do not quite see. But this question is thus solved, that by a certain kind of life, it is gained, whilst living in this body, that these things be of some aid to the dead; and through this, "according to those things which they have done in the body," they are aided by those things which may be religiously done for them after (their departure from) the body. For some there are whom these things aid not at all; whether they be done on behalf of those whose deserts are so evil, that they are not worthy even to be aided by such things, or on behalf of those, whose deserts are so excellent, that they need not such helps. By the kind of life, therefore, which each one led in the body, it is effected that whatsoever things may be piously done for him, either benefit or do not benefit him, when he has quitted the body. ... I have also said something of the kind to Laurentius; it is as follows: "The time, I remark, which intervenes between the death, and the final resurrection of man, confines souls in hidden receptacles, according as each one is deserving either of rest or of sorrow, as it has provided whilst living in the flesh. Nor is it to be denied that the souls of the departed are relieved by the piety of their living friends, when the sacrifice of the Mediator is offered for them, or alms are performed in the Church. But these things benefit those who merited, when living, that these things should be able to benefit them afterwards. For there is a certain manner of living neither so good as not to require these things after death, nor so bad as to be incapable of being benefited by them after death; whilst there is a manner of living so advanced in good as not to require these things: and again there is another so far advanced in evil as to be incapable of being helped even by these things, when this life has passed away. Let no one, however, hope that he can, after death, merit before God what he has neglected here. These things, therefore, which the Church is used to do to recommend the departed, are not opposed to the Apostolic sentence, wherein it is said, "For we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ etc.", because each one whilst living in the body acquired for himself this merit also, that these things should be able to benefit him. For these things do not benefit all persons; and wherefore do they not benefit all persons, save on account of the difference of the life which each one led in the body? When, therefore, sacrifices, whether of the altar, or of certain alms, are offered for all the baptized dead, they are, for the very good, thanksgivings; for those not very bad, propitiations: for the very evil, though they are no aids to the dead, they are some sort of consolation to the living. Whilst those whom they benefit — they either benefit to this end, that the forgiveness be complete, or certainly that the condemnation itself be more endurable."—

T. vi. De Octo Dulcitii Quaest. col. 211-19-23.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 3, Page 188-192

Having given the passage cited above, as addressed to St. Paulinus of Nola, he adds:

"In the books of Machabees we read that sacrifice was offered for the dead. But even though this were not read at all anywhere in the old Scriptures, the authority of the universal Church, which in this practice is clear, is not small, since in the prayers of the priests, which are poured forth to the Lord God at His altar, the recommendation of the departed has also its appointed place. But whether the place where the body is buried is of any benefit to the soul requires further inquiry.

[After reasoning on this through two or three pages, he thus concludes:]

I do not see of what help this can be to the dead, except for this, that whilst they (the living) keep in mind the places where the bodies of those whom they love are deposited, they may, by praying, commend them to those same saints, as clients to patrons, to be aided with the Lord. Which indeed they might do, even though they might be unable to bury them in such places. . . . When the mind therefore recollects where the body of some dear friend is buried, and there presents itself to it a place made venerable by a martyr's name, the affection of one that remembers and that prays commends the beloved soul to that same martyr. When this affection is shown towards the dead by faithful friends, there is no doubt that it benefits those who merited, while they were living in the body, that such things should benefit them after this life. . . . Supplications for the spirits of the departed are not to be omitted; to make which for all, who have departed in the Christian and Catholic society, the Church has taken upon herself, even though their names are not pronounced, under a general commemoration, that for those who have no parents, children, or any relatives or friends to do these things, they may be done for them by their one holy mother the Church."

T. vi. De Cura pro mortuis, n. 6 (al. iv.), ool. 871.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 3, Page 192-193

Some one may say: "If there be no care amongst the dead, for the living, how is it that the rich man, who was tormented in Hell, besought father Abraham to send Lazarus to his five brethren who were not as yet dead, that he might deal with them, lest they also should come into the same place of torments?" But because the rich man said this, did he therefore know what his brethren were doing, or enduring at that time? He thus felt solicitude for the living, although he was utterly ignorant of what they were doing; in the same manner, as we feel solicitude for the dead, although we assuredly know not what they are doing. For if we had no solicitude for the dead, we should not certainly supplicate God in their behalf.

Ib. De Cura pro mortuis, n. 21 (al xvi.), col. 886.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 3, Page 193-194

"For neither are the souls of the pious dead separated from the Church, which now also is the kingdom of God. Otherwise a commemoration would not be made of them at the altar of God in the communication of the body of Christ."

T. vii. L. xx. c. ix. De Civit. Dei, col. 942.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 3, Page 194

"The prophet Malachias . . . foretells the last judgment, saying, "Behold He cometh, saith the Lord Almighty, and who shall endure the day of His coming, etc." (Malachi 3:1-6) From the things here said, it seems more evidently to appear that, in that judgment, the pains of some will be purgatorial. For whereas it is said, "Who shall endure the day of His coming, or who shall be able to stand to see Him? For He entereth like a refining fire, and like the fuller's herb; and He shall sit refining and cleansing, as if gold and as if silver, and He shall cleanse the sons of Levi, and shall pour them forth like gold and silver", what else is to be understood? Isaiah also says something of the kind (Isaiah 5:47). . . . But this question concerning purgatorial pains must be deferred unto another time for its more careful treatment. But we ought to interpret "the sons of Levi and Juda" and Jerusalem, as being the very Church of God, gathered not out of the Hebrews only, but out of other nations also; not such a church as now is, where "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1 John 1:8), but such as it will be then, cleansed (purged) by the last judgment, like a barn-floor by the winnowing fan; they also being cleansed with fire, unto whom such cleansing is necessary."

Ib. L. xx. c. xxv. col. 997.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 3, Page 194

Having, again, noticed the opinion of those who, like the followers of Plato, "will have it that there are no pains after death, but such as are purgatorial," he says: "We, however, acknowledge that, even in this mortal life, some pains are purgatorial; not those with which they are afflicted whose lives are not thereby amended, or rather who thence become worse, but they are purgatorial to those who, chastened by them, amend. All other punishments, whether temporal or eternal, are inflicted, according as each one is to be dealt with by Divine Providence, whether on account of past sins, or on account of sins wherein he that is punished is living, or for the exercise and manifestation of virtues, by men and angels, either good or bad. . . . But some endure temporary pains in this life only, others after death, others both now and then; but before that most severe and final judgment. But not all they, who endure temporary pains after death, go into the everlasting pains which will have place after that judgment. For as we have already said above, to some that which is not remitted in this world, is remitted in the world to come, that they may not, to wit, be punished by the everlasting punishment of the world to come."

Ib. I. xxi. c. 13, col. 1015-16.
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"If (the child which has not attained to the perfect use of reason) has received the sacraments of the Mediator, even though it may end its life during those years, translated that is, from the power of darkness unto the kingdom of Christ, it not only is not fitted for everlasting pains, but it does not even suffer any purgatorial torments after death."

lb. c. xvi. col 1018.
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Having said that few commit not some "damnable sin," he adds, "Whosoever, therefore, would fain escape the everlasting pains, let him not only be baptized, but be justified in Christ, and so pass veritably from the devil unto Christ. But let him be of opinion that there will be no purgatorial pains, except before that last and tremendous judgment."

Ib. l. c. col. 1019.
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Writing against those who taught that God would, in the end, at the request of His saints, pardon all men; and having stated that, for the lost souls and evil spirits, the Church never prays, he adds "For either the prayer of the Church or of some pious persons is heard in behalf of certain of the departed, but it is in behalf of those whose life, after they had been regenerated in Christ, was not so bad whilst they were in the body as to be accounted not worthy of such a mercy, nor so good as to be found not to need such mercy. So also after the resurrection of the dead has taken place, there will not be wanting those to whom, after the pains which the spirits of the dead endure, will be granted, the mercy that they be not cast into everlasting fire. For it would not be said with truth of some, "that it shall not be forgiven them neither in this world nor in the world to come," unless there were some, to whom, though not "in this, yet in the (world) to come", remission shall be granted."

Ib. l. xxi. c. 24, col. 1028.
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"The Aerians are derived from a certain Aerius, who being a priest, is said to have been embittered at being unable to be ordained bishop; and having fallen into the heresy of the Arians, he added certain dogmas of his own, saying that oblation ought not to be made for the dead; that stated fasts ought not to be celebrated, but that each one was to fast when it seemed good to himself, lest he may seem to be under the law."

T. viii. Lib. de Hæresibus, n. liii. col. 55.
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St. Nilus the Elder, (c. A.D. 385 - c. 430) (also known as Nilus of Sinai, Neilos, Nilus of Ancyra), Syrian, was one of the many disciples and fervent students of St. John Chrysostom; an eyewitness of the martyrdom of Theodotus.

"To grieve and lament inconsolably, and to fast on account of a relation that is dead, is an argument of want of faith and of hope. He that believes that he that has just been placed in the grave will rise again from the dead, will be strengthened by hope, will give thanks to God, will change his lamentations into joy, will pray that he who has fallen asleep may obtain everlasting mercy, will be impelled to a correction of his own failings."

L. i. Ep. cccxi. p. 115.
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Theodoret of Cyrus or Cyrrhus, (A.D. 393-458), Greek; an influential author, theologian, and Christian bishop of Cyrrhus, Syria (A.D. 423-457). He played a pivotal role in many early Byzantine church controversies that led to various ecumenical acts and schisms. His friendship for Nestorius embroiled him, for a time, with his great contemporary, St. Cyril of Alexandria.

Having narrated, in his life of St. James of Nisibis, that a man was brought to the saint as dead, though really alive, in order to obtain money under the pretence of burying him, he says:

"He (St. James) offered up supplications for the dead man, invoking God to remit the transgressions of which he had been guilty in his life-time, and to vouchsafe his admittance amongst the just; and whilst he was thus speaking, the soul of the man who had simulated death took its flight."

T. iii. Hist. Relig. c. i. p. 112.
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"Shortly afterwards the relics of that teacher (St. John Chrysostom) were translated to that royal city. And again the faithful people, the sea being from the crowd of vessels made like the dry land, hid with torches the mouth of the Bosphorus. The present emperor gave that treasure to the city. . . . And applying both his eyes and forehead to the depository of the relics, he offered up prayer on behalf of his parents, praying Him to pardon what they had sinned in through ignorance. For his parents were long since dead, leaving him an orphan in extreme youth."

Hist. Ecdes. l.v.c. xxxvi.p. 236, Valesii. Cantab. 1720.
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St. Peter Chrysologus, (A.D. 406 - 450), deacon, bishop of Imola and Ravenna, and Doctor of the Church, his piety and zeal won for him universal admiration, and his oratory merited for him the name Chrysologus, meaning: golden-worded or golden mouth.

"And Abraham added: "Neither can any one pass from hence to you, nor from thence come hither. (Luke 16) The hearing of this voice, my brethren, terrifies, terrifies me exceedingly, as it shows that they, who after death have once been consigned to penal custody in Hell, cannot be transferred to the repose of the saints, unless, having been already redeemed by the grace of Christ, they be set free from this desperate state (despair) by the intercession of holy Church; that so what their sentence denies (them), the Church may merit, grace bestow."

Serm. cxxiii. p. 181.
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When talking about Purgatory it's important to remember that you won't find the word Purgatory in the Bible nor will you find it among the first Christians before A.D 400. Why? Because Purgatory is a Latin word and, up until the beginning of the fifth century, Greek was the spoken language among the people.


That said, Greeks weren't going to give us a Latin word. Nevertheless, you'll see the sediments of the teachings on Purgatory from the Early Church Fathers.

Catholics hold that there is a Purgatory, a place or state, where souls depart from this life who are absolved of their sins as to the guilt, but yet liable to some temporal punishment still remaining. They are not perfectly freed from the blemish of earthly defects which we call venial sins so they are purified before their admittance into Heaven, where nothing defiled can enter:

27 Nothing impure will ever enter it [Heaven], nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.


Revelation 21:27

Purgatory is the final purification of the elect. Below are Scriptures that address three different areas on this teaching:

  1. Distinction of sins and of their punishment.
  2. Sins to be forgiven in the next world.
  3. A state which is neither Heaven, nor Hell



The Church's Scriptures that support the existence of Purgatory.


On Second Maccabees

This following passage from 2 Maccabees is historical testimony of the belief and practice of the Jewish church. Even though the inspiration of 2 Maccabees may not be admitted by Protestant Christians, it imposes an obligation on the reader of the New Testament, that, in considering our Saviour's words, and those of the Apostles, he reflect on what would be the impression produced by those words and on men brought up in the faith and practice in which those texts embodied.

Prayers for those killed in battle

39 And the day following Judas cam with his company, to take away the bodies of them that were slain, and to bury them with their kinsmen, in the sepulchres of their fathers. 40 And they found under the coats o the slain some of the donaries of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbiddeth the Jews: 41 Then they all blessed the just judgment of the Lord, who had discovered the things that were hidden. 42 And so betaking themselves to prayers, they besought him, that the sin which had been committed might be forgotten. But the most valiant Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves from sin, forasmuch as they saw before their eyes what had happened, because of the sins of those that were slain. 43 And making a gathering, he twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection, 44 (For if he had not hoped that the that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead,) 45 And because he considered that the who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. 46 It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.

2 Maccabees 12:39-46

1. Distinction of sins and of their punishment.


Thou shall not go out from hence until thou repays the last farthing

22 But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council. And whosoever shall say, Thou Fool, shall be in danger of Hell fire. 23 If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath any thing against thee; 24 Leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother: and then coming thou shalt offer thy gift. 25 Be at agreement with thy adversary betimes, whilst thou art in the way with him: lest perhaps the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. 26 Amen I say to thee, thou shalt not go out from thence till thou repay the last farthing.


Matthew 5:22-26

The Faithful and Unfaithful Servant will be beaten with fewer or more stripes

40 Be you then also ready: for at what hour you think not, the Son of man will come. 43 Blessed is that servant, whom when his lord shall come, he shall find so doing. 44 Verily I say to you, he will set him over all that he possesseth. 45 But if that servant shall say in his heart: My lord is long a coming; and shall begin to strike the menservants and maidservants, and to eat and to drink and be drunk: 46 The lord of that servant will come in the day that he hopeth not, and at the hour that he knoweth not, and shall separate him, and shall appoint him his portion with unbelievers. 47 And that servant who knew the will of his lord, and prepared not himself, and did not according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. And unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required: and to whom they have committed much, of him they will demand the more.


Luke 12:40, 43-48

Deadly and non-deadly Sin

15 And we know that he heareth us whatsoever we ask: we know that we have the petitions which we request of him. 16 He that knoweth his brother to sin a sin which is not to death, let him ask, and life shall be given to him, who sinneth not to death. There is a sin unto death: for that I say not that any man ask.


1 John 5:15-16

A Tree and its fruit

36 But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.


Matthew 12:36-37

The Cross and Self-Denial

27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels: and then will he render to every man according to his works.


Matthew 16:27

Compare these previous passages with Revelation 21:27


2. Sins to be forgiven in the next world.


Jesus and Beelzebul

31 Therefore I say to you: Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but the blasphemy of the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 32 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.


Matthew 12:31-32

Thou shalt not go out until you pay back the last farthing

26 Amen I say to thee, thou shalt not go out from thence till thou repay the last farthing.


Matthew 5:26

Compare with 2 Maccabees 12:44-46 above.


Ones works will be tested and some will suffer loss, but be saved through fire.

11 For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid; which is Christ Jesus. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble: 13 Every man's work shall be manifest; for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire; and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. 14 If any man's work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work burn, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.


1 Corinthians 3:11-15

3. A state which is neither Heaven, nor Hell.


Jesus hanging on the Cross with the two thieves.

39 And one of those robbers who were hanged, blasphemed him, saying: If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 40 But the other answering, rebuked him, saying: Neither dost thou fear God, seeing thou art condemned under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done no evil. 42 And he said to Jesus: Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise.


Luke 23:39-43

Why this day is not Heaven.

17 Jesus saith to her: Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God.


John 20:17


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