Tuesday 8 January 2019

Purgatory A Mystery of Love - Donncha Ó hAodha - CTS Deeper Christianity Series

Purgatory: A Mystery of Love
CTS Deeper Christianity Series
Donncha Ó hAodha
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781784690465
eISBN 9781784693268
CTS Booklet SP42


I was recently asked about books on Purgatory. I had already purchased this one but had not read it yet. I had read about purgatory extensively during my days in university, and my religious study degree. But going back through the list of books I have read, I had not read books solely about this topic. But that is changing starting with this volume and the excellent list of resources at the end. The description of this volume is:

“Does purgatory exist? If so, where, and why? What does the Bible say? What does the Church teach? What sense can be made of indulgences?  This engaging survey of Scripture, the Church Fathers, Christian history, distinguished writers, and the Catechism, provides answers to these and many other questions. In this examination of the calling and dignity of each person, as well as the context and purpose of our lives here on earth, personal accountability and divine mercy harmoniously combine to make sound common sense. Does purgatory exist? What do the bible and the Church say? This survey of Scripture, the Church Fathers, and the Catechism, provides answers to many such questions.”

And this book does an excellent job answering those questions and more. The first time I read this booklet I highlighted three passages.

“Purgatory highlights the vocation of all to achieve their full human and spiritual potential through the progressive identification with Christ which is holiness. Purgatory evokes what Benedict XVI indicated as “one of the fundamental themes of humanity’s religious history: the question of the purity of the human being before God”.4 It also implies the importance of justice, for God, for man, and for the entire creation.”

“The process of Christian holiness which involves progressive purification is not always completed in this life. In his love, the Lord offers a final cleansing. “Those who die in God’s grace and friendship imperfectly purified…undergo a purification after death, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of God.”14”

“The gradual development of the Church’s understanding of Purgatory has been complex, so that it is impossible to give a detailed account of it here. The Church deepened in her faith in Purgatory in an organic way. The reflection of the Fathers was primarily based on their study of Scripture, while from the very beginning the praxis of prayer for the dead testified both to the doctrine of Scripture and nurtured the teaching of theologians.”

I never really questioned purgatory, from a young age it just always made sense to me. But this book gives us the tools to answer questions. It draws extensively from the biblical verses used to support this doctrine. It draws from Jewish history, and the Christian tradition, the popes, and the saints. The booklet draws 105 quotes from these sources. The further reading section has 7 recommendations from church teachings, 5 from Saints, and 6 theological sources.

This booklet is a wonderful resource. And such an important read. Another great read from the Catholic Truth Society.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Donncha Ó hAodha:
Purgatory: A Mystery of Love
The Beauty of Confession with Pope Francis
Everyday Evangelising with Pope Francis


Catholic Architecture 
Christian Fasting Disciplining the Body, Awakening the Spirit
Deepening Prayer Life Defined by Prayer
Desire & Delight
Faith, Hope and Love The Theological Virtues
Fruits of the Holy Spirit Living a Happy Life
Lectio Divina Spiritual Reading of the Bible
Making Sunday Special

Mary in the Liturgy
Mary Mysteries of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Providence and Prayer
Prayer in Sadness and Sorrow

Prudence, Justice, Courage, and Temperance
Purgatory A Mystery of Love
Spiritual Warfare Fighting the Good Fight
The Call to Evangelise: Founded on loving intimacy with the Lord
The Church's Year Unfolding the Mysteries of Christ
The Name of God The Revelation of the Merciful Presence of God
Understanding The Story Of The Bible
Union with God

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