When the world ends at the Final Judgment, there will be only two possibilities: heaven and hell.[/quote:32cdvdlp]
The belief in Purgatory comes to us from the first Christians and they learned it from the Apostles of Christ.
St Paul prays for his dead friend:”The Lord grant unto him to find mercy of the Lord in that day. And in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou very well knowest.” 2Ti 1:18
Saint Paul is praying for his friend and asking God to be merciful to him “in that day”.If all good Christians go to Heaven then why is St. Paul praying for his friend? The only reason is because his prayer will help him get to Heaven which means he could be in a different place that is not Heaven. That is what the Church calls Purgatory.
What follows are the Biblical verses and their explanation by some of the Fathers of the Church.
“It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.” 2Mac 12:46
” In the books of the Maccabees we read of sacrifice offered for the dead. Howbeit even if it were no where at all read in the Old Scriptures, not small is the authority, which in this usage is clear, of the whole Church, namely, that in the prayers of the priest which are offered to the Lord God at His altar, the Commendation of the dead hath also its place.” St. Augustine, On Care To Be Had For The Dead, Chapter 1:3 [A.D. 354-430]
And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him:But he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him neither in this world, nor in the world to come.” Mat 12:32
“Hence we may gather that there are some sins that are remitted in this world, some in the world to come; for what is denied of one must be supposed to be admitted of others. And this may be believed in the case of trifling faults; such as much ill discourse, immoderate laughter, or the sin of carefulness in our worldly affairs, which indeed can hardly be managed without sin even by one who knows how he ought to avoid sin; or sins through ignorance (if they be lesser sins) which burden us even after death, if they have not been remitted to us while yet in this life. But it should be known that none will there obtain any purgation even of the least sin, but he who by good actions has merited the same in this life.”
St. Gregory of Nazianzus (fourth century )Catena Aurea
“Each one will be presented to the Judge exactly as he was when he departed this life. Yet there must be a cleansing fire before judgment because of some minor faults that may remain to the purged away. Does not Christ the Truth say that if anyone blasphemes the Holy Spirit he shall not be forgiven either in this world or in the world to come’ From this statement we learn that some sins can be forgiven in this world and some in the world to come. For if forgiveness is refused for a particular sin we conclude logically that it is granted for others. This must apply as I said to slight transgressions.”
St. Gregory the Great ,DIALOGUES 4:39 ML 77 396 FC XXXIX 248″
“And every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labour. ;;.
Every man’s work shall be manifest. For the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire. And the fire shall try every man’s work, of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any mans work burn, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.”
1Co 3:8 & 13-15
“For if on the foundation of Christ you have built not only gold and silver and precious stones (I Cor., 3); but also wood and hay and stubble,what do you expect when the soul shall be separated from the body? Would you enter into heaven with your wood and hay and stubble and thus defile the kingdom of God; or on account of these hindrances would you remain without and receive no reward for your gold and silver and precious stones? Neither is this just. It remains then that you be committed to the fire which will burn the light materials; for our God to those who can comprehend heavenly things is called a cleansing fire. But this fire consumes not the creature, but what the creature has himself built, wood, and hay and stubble. It is manifest that the fire destroys the wood of our transgressions and then returns to us the reward of our great works.”Origen of Alexandria (Homilies on Jeremias [c. AD 244] or Migne PG 13:445,448)
” ‘Neither chasten me in your hot displeasure’ (Ps. 37:2)…. so that you may cleanse me in this life and make me such that I may after that stand in no need of the cleansing fire for those who are to be saved yet so as by fire’ (1 Cor. 3:15). And because it is said he shall be saved that fire is thought lightly of. For all that though we should be saved by fire yet will that fire be more grievous than anything that man can suffer in this life whatsoever.” ST AUGUSTINE EXPOSISTIONS ON THE PSALMS 37:3 ML 36 397 NPNF VIII 103″
“Amen I say to thee thou shalt not go out from thence (from the prison) till thou repay the last farthing” Mt. 5 26
“That allegory of the Lord [Matt 5:25,26] which is extremely clear and simple in its meaning, and ought to be from the first understood in its plain and natural sense…Then, again, should you be disposed to apply the term ‘adversary’ to the devil, you are advised by the (Lord’s) injunction, while you are in the way with him, ‘to make even with him such a compact as may be deemed compatible with the requirements of your true faith. Now the compact you have made respecting him is to renounce him, and his pomp, and his angels. Such is your agreement in this matter. Now the friendly understanding you will have to carry out must arise from your observance of the compact: you must never think of getting back any of the things which you have abjured, and have restored to him, lest he should summon you as a fraudulent man, and a transgressor of your agreement, before God the Judge (for in this light do we read of him, in another passage, as ‘the accuser of the brethren,’ or saints, where reference is made to the actual practice of legal prosecution); and lest this Judge deliver you over to the angel who is to execute the sentence, and he commit you to the prison of hell, out of which there will be no dismissal until the smallest even of your delinquencies be paid off in the period before the resurrection. What can be a more fitting sense than this? What a truer interpretation?” TERTULLIAN (A Treatise on the Soul 35 [c. AD 210] or ANF III:216)
“.It is one thing to stand for pardon, another thing to attain to glory: it is one thing, when cast into prison, not to go out thence until one has paid the uttermost farthing; another thing at once to receive the wages of faith and courage. It is one thing, tortured by long suffering for sins, to be cleansed and long purged by fire; another to have purged all sins by suffering. It is one thing, in fine, to be in suspense till the sentence of God at the day of judgment; another to be at once crowned by the Lord. St. Cyprian Bishop of Carthage,Epistle 51 To Antonianus, Chapter 20 [A.D. 200-258]