Thursday, October 26, 2017

Some Thoughts on Indulgences

Introduction.

After I was given a practically brand spankin' new laptop (Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Series, Touchscreen) by a fellow Okie Trad reader of the blog, another reader emailed me offering two laptops.  I declined due to the recent gift but they insisted and sent me the laptops.  Now I have 3 new (to me) laptops!

"Anonymous" asks we pray for the Pour Souls in Purgatory, in light of their contribution, and that I write a blog post about Indulgences.  Cracking my knuckles, I'll see what I can do "Anoynmous."  And THANK YOU again for the two laptops.  Wow and double wow.



Indulgences.

Indulgences.  The remittance of temporal punishment due to sin, as a canonical act of mercy by either the pope or the local bishop.  i.e. To reduce Purgatory time. 

And friends, if you haven't ever read what private revelation says about purgatory, (cheapest version: HERE), you might be surprised to learn how real it really is.  The author drives home how horrible it is that you will gladly embrace regular prayer, fasting, and almsgiving to satisfy your sin debt on this side of the River Styx. 

Let's see, you've got your partial indulgence which remits punishment on par with the quality of your devotion when performing the prayer and/or other devotional act.  In fact saying one Hail Mary with complete humility and no holds barred charity for the Almighty can theoretically satisfy the debt for a lifetime of sin.


Priest Dies, Sees Hell,
Purgatory, and Heaven
A Must Watch Folks

And then you've got your plenary indulgence.  That takes care of the whole kit and caboodle. If gained, it remits all temporal punishment due to sin. It ain't as simple though as doing the necessary act.

An example of a plenary indulgence is saying a rosary in a group.  But the kicker is there are a few additional requirements the pope wants us to take care of to get the complete benefit. 


A) Go to confession/communion within 21 days before or after the required act (the previous law stated within one week but was changed in the early 2000s, thanks I think to JP2)

B) Say a prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father (one Our Father and one Hail Mary will suffice).

C) This here is the most challenging part:  "no attachment to venial sin."


That last part, I've observed, often confounds the earnest believer trying to earn the plenary indulgence. 

As an aside, I can imagine some readers being like "Wha Okie Trad?  'Earn?'  We don't 'earn' our salvation!"  To which I would respond, yes we do participate in "earning" our salvation; its not all on God as Martin Luther would have us believe. 

Incidentally, when he objected to indulgences he later admitted he had been ignorant of what the Church teaches on the subject.  Ya'll let me know in the Comm section if any factoid of my presentation is off and I can duly edit it.



                          "Solo Fides, Okie Trad"

Not to worry.  The objection I raised in the last paragraph I heard addressed by a priest once in a conference.  He said the kind of "detachment from venial sin" required to earn the plenary indulgence
is not absolute. 

We don't have to be 100% free of concupiscence, the weakness of the flesh, or sin.  It is a basic kind of detachment.

But that kind of detachment is more a product of moral disposition, or habit of the soul, over time, than mustering all the spiritual strength you can at the time of performing the indulgence act. 

For example, if you are praying a rosary with your family, and at the end offer the indulgence prayers for the pope's intentions, you don't have to grit your teeth, take a deep breath, and drive out all the evil inclinations from your mind in one fell swoop to gain the full, plenary indulgence.  You simply have to be detached from sin. 

But to assure yourself that you are, the habit of detachment from all sin could be cultivated through daily prayer, fasting, and almsgiving--the three forms of penance recommended by the Church since the beginning.

There are all sorts of ways to gain partial indulgences.  Every prayer of the rosary--the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, and Creed are all indulgenced prayers.  "Ejaculatory prayers" are a common way to gain indulgences throughout the day. 

That old school term means to vocalize, even with a whisper, short simple prayers such as:


"Jesus, Mary, and Joseph I give you my heart and my soul;  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph assist me in my last agony and death;" Jesus, Mary, and Joseph I breathe forth my soul and peace to you."

Here is the official list of approved indulgences:

Enchiridion  (cool name)

And rules or general conditions:


My favorite plenary indulgence is the daily family rosary.  But during the time of All Saints Day and All Souls Day you can earn several indulgences, for the Poor Souls: 


A few other interesting aspects about Indulgences.

If you have had the habit of prayer during your lifetime, get this, you can gain a plenary indulgence at the moment of death!  Or, if you are blessed to have Anointing of the Sick, confession, communion, and the "last rites" at the time of your death (remember we're all doing to die!), the priest will/should give you the Apostolic Blessing which carries with it a plenary indulgence from the pope. 

In either case, if properly received, the departed soul will go straight through the Pearly Gates.  That's a comfort for Catholics reading this whose deceased loved ones received this special grace before death.  I remember my father receiving the Apostolic Blessing before passing on.  But I still have Masses said for him.

Conclusion.

Indulgences are a marvelous aspect of the spiritual life, and in fact help give form to the spiritual life.
Just think about it.  Those requirements for indulgences are synonymous with the ordinary means of saving your soul:  prayers, fasting, almsgiving, confession, communion. 

The Saints actually teach that it is a greater act of charity and duty to pray for the dead than spiritual or corporal works of mercy to our fellow man here below.  Yup, that blows my mind too.  But gaining indulgences for them, and us, we participate more fully and intimately in the Communion of the Saints, on the level of the Church Militant (us) praying for and with the Church Suffering (souls in Purgatory).

Did I miss any important aspect of Indulgences?  Let me know in the Comm. Box below.  And thanks again to "Anonymous" for their generous gift of two laptops.  Ya'll please pray for their intentions:  for the Poor Souls in Purgatory.

PS  My next post is a compilation of interesting facts about St. Padre Pio, one of my favorite saints. 

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