Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Purgatory .... The Almost Final Frontier

Light Hidden by Darkness, a new novel by John Bradford Branney. 
Purgatory…what does that word conjure up in your mind? Some people may think of a ski area in Colorado or a golf course somewhere they know about. Others may think of that mythical place the Roman Catholics came up with as the afterlife waiting room somewhere between heaven and hell.   

The afterlife place called Purgatory has been a controversial subject between Roman Catholics and Protestants for a very long time. Roman Catholics created the concept of Purgatory eight to nine hundred years ago and Protestants have found ways to ignore it ever since. Roman Catholics created Purgatory to accommodate those people who committed lesser sins and those struck down by death prior to baptism, the sacrament assumed to rid a person of their original sin or the sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden.  

I grew up in the Roman Catholic Church and I remember vividly the first time a nun explained Purgatory to us. It frightened the hell out of me, excuse my intended pun. She told us pre-teens that it was a place of suffering where souls waited to be freed from their sins. According to this nun, who will remain nameless, Purgatory was a place of suffering, gnashing teeth and torture. She explained that it was a stopover on the way to either heaven or hell. From the nun’s description, it did not sound like a fun place, but it gave us all another get out of jail free card. I now knew I had another option besides Hell in case I got caught pulling my sister’s braids or shooting BBs at the neighbor’s cat. I also remember the nun telling us that we could actually save a soul in Purgatory by giving spare change to the church or lighting a prayer candle. Huh, how does that work or how does that resolve a person’s sins? I thought to my confused self. So, if everybody prayed for a soul in Purgatory, they could all be saved.   

It was not until I was older that I began thinking about how Purgatory could possibly work. I
have always been curious about how things work and Purgatory was no different. Since the Catholics and Protestants could not even agree on the existence of Purgatory and since no one had ever made a round trip from there, I was not going to find out much information on the process. That was when I decided to write my own version of how Purgatory works. In an upcoming book, you will be able to read my version of Purgatory. You may have a different view and I welcome all input, since the bottom line is that no one knows how it works. Do you believe in Purgatory? If so, how does it really work?

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