If someone asked you to explain the Church’s teaching on purgatory, how would you describe it? Perhaps you would mention that purgatory is a place that removes a person’s imperfections and bad habits before reaching heaven. You might mention that people here on earth can pray for the souls in purgatory who are part of the "Church Suffering." These souls suffer flames with love and long for God. But would you also mention that people have the opportunity for purgation here in this life?
I recently posted the following question in our community: what is the number one thing you could do today to show mercy toward someone who hurt you? What surprised me was not the answers I read from other members, but my own. I had to think about this question for a minute. Not only was I feeling that the possibilities were restricted by physical distance, like living in different places, but I also wanted to choose something I would actually do; otherwise, the question-and-answer process would be a waste of time.
Suffering is supposed to be redemptive, but we often fail to think of its redemptive nature when we're in the midst of suffering. We concentrate on the physical, emotional, or mental pain, sometimes crumble under the weight of the pain (either physically or spiritually), and ultimately, if the pain continues for long enough, break. St. John of the Cross wisely advises us on how to suffer: In tribulation, immediately draw near to God with trust, and you will receive strength, enlightenment, and instruction.
A few days ago, I learned that a friend of mine passed away. I was devastated when I heard the news, and I didn’t believe it at first. It must have been a mistake, I thought. He was too good to die; the world needs him. Grief is a natural process that all people go through when a loved one passes away. Christians go through the stages of grief. They don’t stop being sad just because they’re Christian.
When I watch penguins on video, I always find them to be awkward, yet debonair. A penguin walking on land is definitely awkward, but a penguin in the water is a sight to behold. The penguin's wings make it look like it’s meant for flight in the air, like other birds, but the wings are actually meant for flight in the water (watch a video of a penguin in the water; it looks like it’s flying).