In what seems like a lifetime ago, I used to work as a youth minister for a Church. In my last few years there I had a girl in youth group, shy with braces, who was pushed by her parents to attend with her sister and step-sister. She came on retreats and mission trips and I saw a beautiful young woman start to emerge, but I lost contact with her in my whirlwind of birthing babies. Last week I received the news that at the age of 21, she died in a car accident.
Not the Destination...
The beautiful penitential season of Advent is once more upon us. Advent is a two part symphony as it were, with the first two weeks focusing our attention on the Second Coming of Christ at the end of time. But how often that focus gets pushed aside by all the rush to bring the goodness and beauty of December 25th far too early, and when we are often ill-prepared spiritually and even emotionally for it.
If like me you've often wondered time again what Purgatory might be like [that much neglected -in my view- doctrine of Catholic truth] then naturally our imagination during this month of the Holy Souls might be drawn to ponder on this supernatural reality which lies ahead [hopefully] for most of us if we die in a state of grace and repentance. And if there is a baptism by desire, then surely there has to be a state of purification [after death] by desire too; i.e, purgatory; even if one cannot avail of final absolution [through no fault of one's own] at one's dying hours and moments?