Joseph Ratzinger om purgatoriet

Ratzinger skreiv dette før han vart pave.

Purgatory is understood in a properly Christian way when it is grasped christologically, in terms of the Lord himself as the judging fire which transforms us and conforms us to his own glorified body (…)

[The] purification involved does not happen through some thing, but through the transforming power of the Lord himself, whose burning flame cuts free our closed-off heart, melting it, and pouring it into a new mold to make it fit for the living organism of his body…

A person’s entry into the realm of manifest reality is an entry into his definitive destiny and thus an immersion in eschatological fire. The transforming “moment” of this encounter cannot be quantified by the measurements of earthly time. It is, indeed, not eternal but a transition, and yet trying to qualify it as of “short” or “long” duration on the basis of temporal measurments derived from physics would be naive and unproductive. The “temporal measure” of this encounter lies in the unsoundable depths of existence, in a passing-over where we are burned ere we are transformed. (…)

The essential Christian understanding of Purgatory has now become clear. Purgatory is not, as Tertullian thought, some kind of supra-worldly concentration camp where one is forced to undergo punishment in a more or less arbitrary fashion. Rather is it the inwardly necessary process of transformation in which a person becomes capable of Christ, capable of God, and thus capable of unity with the whole communion of saints. Simply to look at people with any degree of realism at all is to grasp the necessity of such a process. It does not replace grace by works, but allows the former to achieve its full victory precisely as grace. What actually saves is the full assent of faith. But in most of us, that basic option is buried under a great deal of wood, hay and straw. Only with difficulty can it peer out from behind the latticework of an egoism we are powerless to pull down with our own hands. Man is the recipient of the divine mercy, yet this does not exonerate him from the need to be transformed. Encounter with the Lord is this transformation. It is the fire that burns away our dross and re-forms us to be vessels of eternal joy.

Kjelde:
Ratzinger, Joseph, Eschatology: Death and Eternal Life. Translated by Michael Waldstein; translation edited by Aidan Nichols, OP. Dogmatic Theology, volume 9. (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1988), s. 229 ff. Sitert i ein kommentar i bloggen open book

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