THOUGHTS FROM THE PASTOR
WHAT IS REPARATION?
of us Catholics (although the C.C. would probably excommunicate me if they
saw my site!) take it for granted that other people know the terms that educated
Catholics are familiar with. One of these is "reparation for sin."
Most people honestly don't know what it means so let me tell you.
This is an important item, because if you do it, you will be greatly blessed and God will smile down upon you.
To repair is to fix the damage. Sin causes damage to the soul. If we sin we have to undo the damage. There are two facets or components to sin: The GUILT of sin, and the STAIN of sin. As far as guilt, only the individual can fix that, by repentance. We can pray for someone to receive the grace to repent, but they have to repent themselves. When a person goes to Holy Confession and confesses a sin, the Priest gives them absolution and they are forgiven the guilt. Then the person must repair by doing something that shows they are sorry - whatever the Priest tells them to do. They can also repent directly to God, and if it is sincere, God will forgive them. It is a great thing to examine one's conscience often, and ask God for forgiveness of sin, including the sins we might not be aware of or understand as sins. We often sin through our thoughts and giving into negative emotions, and we need to be sorry about that. We repair or "make reparation" for our own sins by good deeds, charity, prayer, spiritual reading, and things of that nature.
Then there is reparation for the sins of another - especially for the Poor Souls. They can no longer repair for themselves, as they cannot gain merit any more. When we repair we gain merit, you understand. What is merit? It is an action deserving grace. When a person dies repentant of their sins, and therefore forgiven by God, they enter into Purgatory. There, by a slow transmission of grace, their soul is cleansed of the effect of sins; the ugliness and dirtiness, so to speak, that is contained within their soul because of sin. There are untold variations of the states of souls in Purgatory, from pains so intense and horrible that it seems almost like Hell, to rather benign type of "gray" places where there is just a feeling of deprivation and longing for God. (The only experience I ever had of actually BILOCATING into Purgatory was to see my Dad in a "gray" place. He was lifted into Heaven five days later. His stay there was about two years, nine months - not a long sentence.)
You might ask about reparation:
"OK. I understand. The soul sinned. What does it have to do with me? They stay there till they are cleansed, and that is it. What can I do, and if I could, why should I suffer? Don't I have enough troubles of my own?"
are three divisions of the Church, according to Catholic Theology. One, the
Church Triumphant - those in Heaven. Then, the Church Militant, those on earth.
Then, the Church
Suffering, those in Purgatory. It is the explicit mission of us, the Church Militant, not the Church Triumphant, to minister to the Souls in Purgatory. This is the way God made it, and there is an economy and wisdom in this that I shall explain.
The incredible economy in this order is that we, who are still on earth, can gain merit. This merit can be INCREASED and more than DOUBLED if we minister to the Poor Souls! (Those in Heaven no longer gain merit. When life is over, merit is over. You simply reap the rewards of your life and the only increase is called "accidental glory" which is received when the good of your actions manifests on earth.)
you do a good deed, you gain good merit. Then grace comes to you and your
soul improves. But if you are willing to "give away" your merit
to Souls - called the "Heroic Act,"
then you are actually trusting God to take care of you, while the merit of your whole life goes to them. In my opinion, and I believe from all that I know of God I am 100% right - God never deprives you of this merit, but simply gives it to them, and lets you not only keep it, but increases your merit. So in other words, when I gave thousands of dollars for Souls for Masses at one time, I sincerely felt that when I died, those Masses would also apply to me. In this way, I was hoping to totally avoid Purgatory. I do not believe I will go to Purgatory at all because I am doing everything possible to avoid it.
Think of merit as money. When you do what is pleasing to God, God "owes" you money. But you say to God,
"God, please take this money you owe me and give it to Souls so they can join you quicker."
God LOVES this sort of action!
Believe me, you will lose not one iota by it, you will gain.
There is another facet to this ministry: God sometimes will give you, if you are a brave and generous soul, supernatural sufferings. This means that God will just "touch" you, and what seems like for no reason, you will be in some sort of pain for a while. Maybe you will feel frustrated, depressed, anxious, or "in the pits." You will try everything to make it go away, but nothing works. Then all at once, it is gone! It was basically a test, and if you behaved well, you earned great merit, and that merit (like money) goes to Souls in Purgatory. You benefit because your soul has also gotten cleaner and brighter and more beautiful. Every act like this increases your Beatific Vision, or what you will have of God in Eternity.