Monday, November 02, 2015

Purgatory, in other words

I have a lot of friends on Facebook whom I've never really met up close, but only know through posts and the occasional Instant Message. A while back I got one of those messages from a Coptic Christian in Egypt, asking prayers for his Dad, who had recently died. I wrote back asking him to also pray for my beloved Dad, who left this life ten years ago (his anniversary is next week).

My Coptic friend wrote back with Coptic consolation: "All Our Beloved People are in the Waiting Beloved Comfortable Place with God and Our Mother Virgin Mary and all Angels and Saints...
a Monk told me that today .....about my father."

The Copts put an interesting spin on what we practical Westerners call by its immediate function (purgation, purification). That antechamber to Paradise, where our loved ones still need and benefit from prayers, is the "Waiting Beloved Comfortable Place" where the deceased are not far from God at all. Sounds a bit like St Angela of Foligno, who insisted that the Poor Souls wouldn't change places with us no matter what they were offered: They love God ardently (ardens means burning!) and are drawn to him like moths to a flame. True, for now the flame appears to burn away what is still ungodly in them: all the better! They become more like God in the process, more "capax Dei" (capable of receiving God). They love their spot in the antechamber, because it is the guarantee of possessing God as he is. 

And that makes Purgatory a "Waiting Beloved Comfortable Place."

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