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万维读者网 > 彩虹之约 > 帖子 感谢万维网友为5.12四川地震受难同胞奉献的爱  
ZT 关于炼狱, 以及 枢机主教纽曼
送交者: strangers 2018年08月03日19:25:00 于 [彩虹之约] 发送悄悄话

The Mercy of Purgatory
Br. Isaac Augustine Morales, O.P.
很少有Doctrine,比天主教的炼狱教义,更容易被误解。最常见的错误观念之一是,这一学说否定了救赎的功效,要求尽管基督在十字架上死亡,我们仍会受到惩罚。为了更好地了解炼狱的真实本质,我们可以求助於 John Henry Newman, 一位十九世纪早期的英国圣公会牧师,在他生命的早期, 他不相信这个Doctrine。
在他还是圣公会牧师的时候,Newman 在希伯来书12:14的基础上讲道“Holiness Necessary for Future Blessedness",Hebrews 12:14, which says, “Strive for peace with all, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”在讲道中,纽曼试图解释为什么圣洁是享受永生的先决条件。简而言之,他给出的答案是这样的:“一个不圣洁的人进入天堂,他在那里不会"幸福" /suffered ;因此允许他进入是没有怜悯的。”纽曼是什么意思?
很多人都认为天堂是一个你可以随心所欲的地方。但是,纽曼指出,圣经描绘了一幅不同的画面:我们将在那里,在永恒中,敬拜主。因此,他认为天堂就像一座教堂:“... 没有这个世界的语言......在这里,我们只能,并全然聆听上帝的声音。”对于在这个世界上拒绝上帝的人,进入天堂会更像是进入地狱:“在上帝的这殿里,他不会听到他关心的主题,也没有任何能激发他的希望和恐惧,他的同情和能量的东西。”如果我们这辈子没有品味上帝的事,我们也不会准备好,在下一个阶段,在永恒中享受它们。因此,根据纽曼,成圣growth in holiness 是为天堂的喜乐 joys of heaven,做好准备。对于那些没准备好的人来说, 天堂不仅不完美,甚至如同地狱。
习惯需要时间来发展,我们无法在一夜之间做好准备。由此引出了(late-in-life conversions) 的难题:一个人几乎一辈子弃绝上帝,并陷入恶习,(late-in-life conversions),如何享受永生?纽曼当时的回答:“它立刻就会发生,即使圣经没有明白地告诉我们。没有人能够准备好,也就是说,在短时间内成为圣洁; - 至少我们看不出它是怎么可能的。"在他的英国国教时代,纽曼不相信炼狱的教义,所以他看不出任何方式让一个人通过临终转变进入永生。
如果我们遵循纽曼的逻辑,我们就会看到炼狱的真实含义:那实在是上帝怜悯的另一面。炼狱并不是一个虐待狂的酷刑室,除了基督在十字架上的死亡之外,还有一种惩罚。相反,炼狱是最后的准备, 让我们得以在永恒中享受与上帝同在的永生。在炼狱中,我们将彻底清除我们以自我为中心的倾向, 并重新塑造,以便我们能够进入永无止境的爱的交流,这是三位一体的内心生活(inner life of the Blessed Trinity)。这个过程将是痛苦的,因为即使在这一生中,摆脱我们的罪恶也是痛苦的,但最终结果将远远超过痛苦。
…, 我们感谢上帝,在他的怜悯中,他不会拒绝我们。即使是最顽固的罪人,如果他悔改,也可以希望 永生,in the presence of of the One Who made us for Himself, and in Whom our hearts will ultimately find their rest。


The Mercy of Purgatory
Few doctrines are more widely misunderstood than the Catholic teaching on purgatory. One of the most common misconceptions is that this doctrine denies the efficacy of the redemption by requiring that we be punished despite Christ’s death on the cross. We can get a better sense of the true nature of purgatory with a little help from an early nineteenth-century Anglican curate who early in his life didn’t even believe in the doctrine.
Long before he was reconciled with the Catholic Church, Blessed John Henry Newman preached a sermon titled “Holiness Necessary for Future Blessedness” based on Hebrews 12:14, which says, “Strive for peace with all, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” In the sermon Newman sought to explain why it is that holiness is a precondition for enjoying eternal life. The answer he gave, in a nutshell, is this: “Even supposing a man of unholy life were suffered to enter heaven, he would not be happy there; so that it would be no mercy to permit him to enter.” What does Newman mean?
Many people are under the impression that heaven is a place where you can do whatever you want. But Scripture, Newman points out, paints a different picture: there we will spend eternity worshiping the Lord. Thus, he suggests that heaven is like a church: “For in a place of public worship no language of this world is heard… Here we hear solely and entirely of God.” For the person who rejects God in this world, entering heaven would be more like hell: “In this house of God, he would hear only of that one subject which he cared little or nothing about, and nothing at all of those things which excited his hopes and fears, his sympathies and energies.” If we don’t have a taste for the things of God in this life, we won’t be prepared to enjoy them for all eternity in the next. And so, according to Newman, the purpose of growth in holiness is to prepare ourselves for the joys of heaven—joys that would be hell to those who would enter unprepared.
Because habits take time to develop, it would seem that one cannot prepare himself for heaven overnight. This leads Newman to the difficult question of late-in-life conversions: how can someone who has lived his whole life alienated from God and set in vicious habits hope to enjoy eternal life? Newman’s answer is stark: “It follows at once, even though Scripture did not plainly tell us so, that no one is able to prepare himself for heaven, that is, make himself holy, in a short time; – at least we do not see how it is possible.” In his Anglican days, Newman did not believe in the doctrine of purgatory, and so he could not see any way for a person to enter eternal life by means of a deathbed conversion.
If we follow Newman’s logic, we will see purgatory for what it really is: another aspect of God’s mercy. Purgatory is not a sadistic post-mortem torture chamber, a punishment in addition to Christ’s death on the cross. Rather, purgatory is a final preparation to enjoy life in God’s presence for all eternity. In purgatory we will be completely purged of our self-centered tendencies and refashioned so that we can enter into the never-ending exchange of love that is the inner life of the Blessed Trinity. The process will be painful because ridding ourselves of our sins, even in this life, is painful, but the end result will far outweigh the pain.
Needless to say, we should all strive now with the help of God’s grace to prepare ourselves to enter eternal life. It is true—despite the Anglican Newman’s hesitancy—that someone can have a late-in-life conversion and be received directly into heaven (perhaps, for instance, through the reception of baptism upon one’s deathbed). Nonetheless, for more “typical” cases, if we don’t manage to strip ourselves completely of our vices in this life, we can thank God that in His mercy He will not turn us away. Even the most hardened sinner, provided he repents, can hope to spend eternity joyfully in the presence of the One Who made us for Himself, and in Whom our hearts will ultimately find their rest.

About Author: Br. Isaac Augustine Morales, O.P.

Br. Isaac Morales was born and raised in the northern suburbs of Chicago. He received a BSE in civil engineering from Duke University, an MTS with a concentration in biblical studies from the University of Notre Dame, and a PhD in New Testament from Duke University. Before joining the Order of Preachers, he worked as an assistant professor in the Department of Theology at Marquette University. On DominicanFriars.org


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