I find it strange to see the new public service announcements on TV promoting the phrase “Wash Your Hands.” It’s our rally cry as our nation fights the unseen COVID-19 plaguing our communities. But in my mind, this slogan reminds me of purgatory. Let me explain:
When you were a child and your mother most likely told you to wash your hands before coming to the dinner table.
She painstakingly prepared a delicious meal and did not want you to bring germs to the table and ruin the dinner for the family. Washing your hands was one way to prepare. Mind you, being able to eat the meal was never in question. The meal was waiting for you, you just needed to get ready. The same holds true with heaven.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, when defining purgatory states,
“All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death, they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. The Church gives the name purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned” (CCC 1030–1)
So heaven is akin to the meal at the dinner table. Our Father lovingly prepared a place, without sin, for us to join him in a heavenly banquet.
He made us so we can be with Him.
He wants us at His table with our family in heaven. However, we first have to “wash up.”
As we live through this “new normal” I encourage you to stop and think about what God is wanting us to do with this time of grace. Take the time to prepare for what is next. And remember to “Wash Your Hands.”
And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:3