In class this weekend, we took a brief detour from the realm of Ecclesiology back into Christian Anthropology, and the basic truth of who we are as people came up: we are body-and-soul. That’s nothing new. But our professor reminded us that it is a violence to the human person for the soul to be separate from the body. This, of course, is why death freaks us out so much. Even in Heaven, he said, will the Blessed not be totally as they are meant to be until they get their resurrected bodies. (They are unbelievably fulfilled, of course, and joyful at seeing their Maker face to face.)
Anyway, someone asked about Purgatory, and how the suffering is experienced there since the Holy Souls there don’t have bodies. He answered that the intellect knows that Heaven is coming (and how amazing it will be) and the will wants so badly to be united to the Beloved that the suffering of purgatory is waiting for that great day to come. Purgatory is waiting.
This reminded me of my last post. If Purgatory is waiting, can’t it be fairly stated that waiting, done well, is Purgatory? Think about it. When we wait well, for what we know will be God’s amazing perfect will to unfold in our lives (how ever crappy that perfect will may seem at the time), God can burn away those same impurities in us here on earth that will have to go before we enter Heaven anyway. Attachment to our own plans, things, ideas. Inordinant desires for sin or just bad habits. Dependence on self. Impatience, procrastination, distraction… name your vice, and waiting on things we can’t control has a way of demanding things of us that can burn away the bad and elevate the good.
So, what are you waiting for? A job? A conversion of a loved one? For your wedding day? For that new baby? The weekend at the cabin? Let’s not waste it, and instead burn off some Purgatory here on earth.