I am currently healing from cervical spinal surgery. With that experience comes a whole lot of pain. There were years of pain before the surgery, then the surgery, and then recovery pain. I am at the very beginning stages of the healing pain. I would like to relate this to sin and purgatory if I can.
We know that sin can cause all kinds of pain. We know that substance abusers feel pain until they are able to feed their addiction. Those cruel to others find themselves in pain from loneliness. Those hungry for power find themselves wondering who their real friends are. These are just my personal guesses as to some of the pains that come from sin.
To recover from a diseased area in our lives, we also have to undergo a type of surgery. If we are obese, we go on a diet. The diet can be painful as we free ourselves from the snares of overeating. With liberation from something that is pulling us down, we are lighter and happier. A new life is born.
If you decide to have an operation and let the physician try to heal you, you will find yourself in pain from the actual surgery. Your pain may be both internal and external where the incision site is. I have constant pain in my neck, shoulders, throat, and the incision site, as well as fighting nausea on an almost constant basis. When you decide to have an operation, one of the first question you may ask is, “how long is the recovery?” The answer may range from days to years. This is largely due to the severity of the injured part, and the complexity of the surgery. For example, in my spinal surgery they went in from the front of my neck, moved my trachea and esophagus to the side, and pulled out the diseased discs, replacing them with prosthesis. This surgery causes pain to the esophagus and difficulty swallowing, pain to the shoulders and neck, pain to the throat, pain to back muscles, and finally the incision site on the neck. The recovery can be up to nine months, according to a fellow patient with the same spinal procedure.
With recovery window in mind, you know what you are getting into. So with sin, you have a diseased area of your soul the needs to be cleansed. Purgatory is a place for the divine physician to aid you in surgery and recovery so that you may enter heaven blameless. Obviously some people believe in living it up on earth and sinning as much as possible before death, while others prefer to suffer here as opposed to more suffering in purgatory. With that theory comes a whole lot of Church doctrine and dogma that I don’t claim to understand fully. But what I will say is that I am trying to learn from this suffering, and trying to offer it up while I am here on earth.
What I try to do is offer my correct intentions. I try to not just complain about my constant pain and suffering, but try to offer it up for myself and for others. A lot of how we will be judged at the end is based on our intentions. If you do something lovely without love, then it counts for nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-13) So if you suffer much but do not offer up your suffering, or connect yourself to God through the suffering somehow, then it might be in vain. Instead, offer up that pain and that striving for growth and healing to God that it might open many doors for you and others.
My physical therapy is akin to purgatory as well. I go there multiple times a week to get various types of physical manipulation, exercises, and guidance. With purgatory, I imagine that you have your initial surgery and then you have exercises to strengthen your new, healing body and soul. You have to practice and show that you are healed and have a new set of movements that are corrected in order to be admitted to heaven. This is similar to having graduated from physical therapy so you can join the gymnastics team again for competitions or something.
Post “surgery” in purgatory might have a lengthy and painful recovery process. How deeply rooted a sin is may determine the surgery and recovery process. The best way to avoid this however, is to try and root out any area that you believe is diseased now and try to heal here on earth. Try to do your own rehab on earth with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Any suffering you encounter here on earth can also be used for good. Offer it up as I mentioned in my last article. I listed many prayers that you can offer when you are suffering.
Copyright 2019 Marya Hayes