Thursday, December 11, 2008

10 Easy Ways to Avoid Purgatory

I hope my title catches attention. No, I am not really saying it will be "easy" but there are easy things you can do as an offering to God.

1) Daily Prayer.
Consistently, every day, ask God to give you His Grace to go to Heaven right after death. Remember Luke 18: 1-8, persistent prayer will be answered.

2) Frequent confession.
Going to confession often helps us to avoid sin also. After all, do

Michaelangelo's 'Last Judgement'
on the wall of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

you really want to sit in front of the priest, yet again, and tell him you did that?

3) Frequent Mass and Holy Communion.
Attending Mass every Sunday and Holy Day is not only required but it is so beneficial it is a mystery to me, personally, why people do not see the advantages to attending. Devout attendence removes much of the temporal punishment for sin, and can potential remove it all. Attend as many week day Masses as you can for even more benefit.

4)Regular Penance.
Self-denial is an excellent way to make up for your sins. Reading Scripture, fasting, going without dessert, turning off the your favorite show, playing with your children, giving to charity (give time as well as money or things), serving at Church in some capacity, and making more time for prayer.

5) Daily Rosary.
Mary's 9th promise to St. Dominic was that anyone devoted to the Rosary would be delivered from Purgatory. Praying 5 decades every day fosters this devotion.

6) Offering up your death.
Offer all your pain or suffering or fear as a sacrifice to God for the temporal punishment we all deserve.

7) Offering up your daily crosses.
All your burdens, pains, duties, all those little jobs you hate doing (cleaning up dead mice is my favorite) can be offered up completely to God. These things are going to happen to us anyway. Give it all to God.

8) The Sacrament of Anointing.
This sacrament helps when we are sick and when we die. This sacrament takes away temporal punishment for sin. If you confess your sins, or you are already in a state of Grace, you can maximize the benefit of this Sacrament.

9) Plenary Indulgences.
A plenary indulgence, once granted by God, can potential remove all temporal punishment of confessed sin. Here are four easy to remember potential plenary indulgences:
#1 Spend 30 minutes before the Blessed Sacrament--in devout prayer and/of meditation.
#2 Spend 30 minutes reading Sacred Scripture for devotional purposes.
#3 Make the Stations of the Cross.
#4 Say a public rosary. Say it with a Church group, family, or prayed aloud in a church by yourself.
Don't forget however, that to gain a plenary indulgence you must receive communion, make confession within a week, and say some prayers for the intentions of the Pope (ie, an Our Father and a Hail Mary)

10) Partial indulgences.
A partial indulgence, once granted, potentially remove some of the temporal punishment of confessed sin.
Some ordinary ways to gain a plenary indulgence:
#1 Visit Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament for any length of time
#2 Visit a cemetary and pray for the poor souls in Purgatory
#3 Devoutly wear or display a crucifix, rosary, scapular, or holy medal.
#4 Teach or study Catholic doctrine for any length of time.
For a partial indulgence you must, silently or vocally, express an intention to gain it.

There are many, many more things we can and should do because we owe everything to God. Pray, read, go to Mass, protect and value life, be happy.

Primary source: Beginning Apologetics 8: End Times: What Catholics Believe about the Second Coming, the Rapture, Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, and Indulgences, by Fr. Frank Chacon and Jim Burnham, San Juan Catholic Seminars, 2005.

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