I BELIEVE IN PURGATORY...
"Of course I pray for the dead. The
action is so spontaneous, so all but inevitable, that
only the most compulsive theological case against it would deter me. And I
how the rest of my prayers would survive if those for the dead were forbidden.
age, the majority of those we love best are dead. What sort of intercourse with
could I have if what I love best were unmentionable to him?
I believe in Purgatory.
Mind you, the Reformers had good
reasons for throwing doubt on the
'Romish doctrine concerning Purgatory' as that Romish doctrine had then
The right view
returns magnificently in Newman's DREAM. There, if I
remember it rightly, the saved soul, at the very foot of the throne,
begs to be taken away and cleansed. It cannot bear for a moment longer
'With its darkness to affront that light'. Religion has claimed
demand Purgatory, don't they? Would it not break
the heart if God said to us, 'It is true, my son,
that your breath
smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here
and no one will upbraid you with these things, nor draw away from you.
Enter into the joy'? Should we not reply, 'With submission, sir, and if
there is no objection, I'd rather be cleaned first.' 'It may hurt, you
know' - 'Even so, sir.'
I assume that
the process of purification will normally involve suffering. Partly from
tradition; partly because most real good that has been done me in this life has
it. But I don't think the suffering is the purpose of the purgation. I can well
believe that people neither much worse nor much better than I will suffer less
than I or more. . . .
The treatment given will be the one required, whether it hurts little or much.
My favorite image on this matter comes from
the dentist's chair. I hope that when the
tooth of life is drawn and I am 'coming round',' a voice will say, 'Rinse your
with this.' This will be Purgatory. The rinsing may take longer than I can now
The taste of this may be more fiery and astringent than my present sensibility
endure. But . . . it will [not] be disgusting and unhallowed."
- C.S.Lewis, Letters To Malcom: Chiefly on Prayer, chapter 20, paragraphs
7-10, pages 108-109