Will an Indulgence Take Away My Punishment for My Sins
Oh, the devil deceives us, so to keep us from seeking a saving faith
Gift for a Very Few
We all want to go to Heaven when we die. We want to atone for our sins while we are on earth so we don’t have to in Purgatory. But for most of us, we are going about obtaining atonement all wrong and are actually rejecting the gifts we want to be receiving.
Some of us know that for each sin we choose, we also choose its equal consequence/punishment that goes along with it. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense [punishment or reward], according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Yet, even though we have committed many trespasses against God and have accumulated great punishment for ourselves, from God’s unfathomable mercy, He wants to bless us with the removal of our punishments for our sins before we die, so we can go straight to Heaven upon our death.
Our Lord has provided many means to help us atone (remove our punishments) for our sins while we are on earth. Many of us know, if we truly “love [like Christ that] covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
But not only does loving others cover (atone) for our sins. By God granting the pope the right to administer indulgences (the removal of our punishments), to those who are disposed to receive such grace, that is also a means of atonement. But tragically, for most people today, no grace is being received.
Want an Indulgence, We Must Meet the Requirements
To have our punishments removed for all of our sins ever committed (after our baptism) or even for just one sin, there are requirements that must be filled. Requirements that place our hearts into a state that can accept such love from God.
Sadly, most of us today, simply don’t have this kind of heart of love for God, which is the culmination of all the requirements, because we aren’t living the faith correctly.
“Indulgences are obtained…[to] offer souls advancement and redemption, which have been granted by the holy pontiffs and earned [accepted] by the blood [hearts of true sacrificial love] of God’s saints.”
–Jesus to St. Bridget of Sweden
If we were living the faith correctly, growing into saints, which is what happens when we follow Christ properly, the grace needed to transform our hearts into that of true sacrificial love for God (a heart that can obtain grace from an indulgence) would be obtained. But most sadly, today that just isn’t occurring. To learn more please read, “Why Very Few Christians Are Saved.” as St. Augustine teaches.
Yes, tragically, hardly anyone today receives any kind of indulgence (plenary or partial) from God excusing them of even the slightest punishment…leaving most of us still with a life time of unatoned for sin.
Actually, from our lack of really understanding what the requirements are to receive an indulgence and what the true faith we should be living is, the delivering of indulgences–having souls think they are receiving something, when they aren’t–is harming souls, not helping them, as explained in this article.
Also, did you know, the saints don’t want to remove their punishments for their sins because they don’t want to suffer? In this article you will learn why.
Why Do We Reject God’s Grace?
We reject God’s grace from an indulgence, because we don’t REALLY want His love. Sadly, this is true.
The greater our hearts love God, the greater grace we can receive. But when we desire sin, we reject grace from our desire for sin instead of desire to love God. And since most of us still desire many many sins–as our unchanged habitual sins prove–we don’t love God enough to receive grace from indulgences.
Tragically, we have so many attachments to sin….sins that are causing us to reject much grace.
The different sins we are attached to:
- habitual venial sin
- habitual mortal sin
- habitually wanting our will (not God’s)
- habitually seeking the pleasures of the world (people, power and possessions) to bring us happiness and not God alone (our idols)
“People who receive indulgences…while remaining in their previous vicious habits [not stopping their habitual sins]…Their souls are neither fed nor refreshed. When they eat [God’s grace]…they just throw [it] up.”
–Jesus to St. Bridget of Sweden
Yes, it is our habitual sins that are rejecting– “throwing up” –God’s grace. Our habits of sin that we aren’t even striving to amend, are so horrible, they cause us to be without true sorrow for offending God. How can we be truly sorry for offending God, if we aren’t even sincerely trying to stop offending Him? We can’t. Then we wind up habitually rejecting God instead. Tragic!
Now, because of our great lack of love for God (lack of contrition for our sins)…from our vast unrestrained habitual offences, due to our lack of sincere hatred for them, we aren’t in a state of grace and are rejecting all the grace from any indulgence.
“Habitual sin binds down the mind, so that it cannot rise to uprightness [can not obtain a state of grace].
–St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church
State of Grace
“To gain indulgences, whether plenary or partial, it is necessary that the faithful be in the state of grace” (Given in Rome at the offices of the Apostolic Penitentiary, 29 January 2000).
Of course, we can’t read our souls, so we will never know for sure if we are in a state of grace–we will never know if our contrition for our sins is in fact true (that all of our sins have been forgiven). But it is surly easy to see if we aren’t.
If we pray, do good works and have knowledge of the faith, but we are without shame for our sins nor possess true efforts working towards stopping ALL our repeated offences against God, working towards becoming real saints, then we don’t have a love for God that is true, which is obvious. Then we are obviously not in a state of grace. It doesn’t matter if our prayers, works and knowledge are fantastic, without having a horror for sinning, we have still rejected God for sin.
We must be losing our desire for sin and leaving the world’s pleasures that we seek for happiness (our idols) to set out hearts on God, so to become a true self-sacrificing saint or we still have a liking for sin. Please don’t be deceived.
“There is no…indulgence for impenitent [not feeling shame] and obdurate [stubbornly refusing to change] sinners…the invitation is tendered [offered] on the condition that such sinner should repudiate [refuse to accept] sin, and with repentant hearts reformed minds they may participate in the benefits of divine grace.”
–St. John Vianney
Being in a state of grace is when we love God so much, we would sincerely rather suffer any pain even death than commit the slightest offence against Perfect Goodness…even with a VENIAL SIN. Yes, we must have a complete detachment from sin.
We simply don’t have a horror for sin….especially our venial sins.
“To partake of such blessings [indulgences]…we must always be free from mortal sin, have a great horror of all our venial sins, and a firm determination not to commit them any more.”
–St. John Vianney
Most sadly, we haven’t sincerely given our hearts to God. If we did, we would be fervently seeking mercy to help us amend all sin…and growing into saints. But we aren’t. Therefore, we have proven, we aren’t in a state of grace (saved) and are rejecting ALL of the grace from indulgences.
“I learned in the depths of my soul how horrible sin was, even the smallest sin, and how much it tormented the soul of Jesus. I would rather suffer a thousand hells than commit even the smallest venial sin. “
Oh, if we only allowed God’s grace to give us a heart like St. Faustina. We too would truly detest sin and be able to atone for our sins too.
Requirements to Receive a Plenary Pardon
Here are the specific requirements, according to the teaching of the Catholic Church, from the Vatican, that must be met for our souls to be open to receive such wonderful grace from God’s indulgence (love) for a full pardon of punishment (becomes a saint), if God wills it. Someone must:
- Have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin [have no desire to sin at all; are sincerely working to become a saint—working to stop sinning even with the slightest offence];
- Have sacramentally confessed their sins, [with true sorrow; been completely forgiven of each and every sin (be in the state of grace) from having grown in faith to obtain a sorrow so great for literally every sin that we would truly be willing suffer anything, even torture or death, than offend Eternal Goodness with even the slightest sin and have maintained this great horror for sin during the actual delivering of the grace from the indulgence (after the “works”) have been completed, so it can be received]; To learn more please read, “What is True Sorrow?”
- Receive the Holy Eucharist [it is certainly better to receive it while participating in Holy Mass, but for the indulgence only Holy Communion is required (if possible)];
- Pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff (the Pope).
- Perform works of piety (prayer) or mercy (love of neighbor)
- Perform an act of penance (self-denial/fast)
Filling these requirements might seem easy to some, because we feel we are very faithful. But that is the devil using our pride to cause us great blindness. The devil does this so we won’t understand how sinful we really are, nor what true sorrow or true detachment from venial sin really is either. Making us blind, causing us to not want to seek Our Savior to change our hardened hearts into softened hearts that are pleasing to Him…that can accept His grace. Then the devil owns us forever.
Most Indulgences Actually Hurt Souls
From misguided love, sometimes indulgences are given out frequently, by priests, like candy. Perhaps, the priests are trying to cheer us up or to make us feel blessed or special. Perhaps, they want us to think they have given us a gift to escape our due punishment for our sins. But no matter how well-intentioned they are, that isn’t the correct usage nor purpose of this blessing…and these indulgences are actually hurting souls.
Frequently dispensing indulgences is very dangerous to souls, since for the most part, it only tempts the recipient into becoming even more gluttonous: wanting to take mercy from God without even seeking to love Him/to stop sinning. Receiving an indulgence, for most, doesn’t leave souls seeking to grow into an even greater saint, but it leaves them into thinking they magically had their punishment removed, when their hearts are still just as hard.
Indulgences aren't meant to help bring people into the faith; they are meant to help make those, who have achieved the goal (a saving faith), into saints...and oh, so very few are with this kind of faith.
Therefore, if we want to save souls, it is best to humbly follow the examples of what the saints did. They didn’t frequently dispense indulgences, but rather they spent hours daily hearing confessions guiding souls away from their sins and into a greater hatred for them/love for God.
Plus, according to the Law of the Church, only the pope himself (unless special permission has been given by the pope), can administer this blessing.
“No authority below the Roman Pontiff can entrust the power of granting indulgences to others unless the Apostolic See has given this expressly to the person.” (Canon Law 995 2.)
But even with the pope only having the power of granting indulgences, especially today, indulgences should only be given out sparingly.
Since so few are with the faith or who even understand the faith, indulgences should be avoided and if they must be given, like in a Jubilee year, then correct instruction should be given with the emphasis on conversion/repentance.
Indulgences should never be given out to promote us to take mercy without even striving to love God (to stop sinning), that would be HORRIBLY SINFUL. Indulgences must be administered with the intention of promoting us to repent and change so we can PERFECTLY LOVE so generous of a God, as is supposed to be intended by this blessings.
But because of our deprived nature and lack of understanding of the true faith, for most souls, the thought of receiving an indulgence only leads to people into being more selfish and less concerned with the fact that we are supposed to be leaving sin so to love God.
Now, indulgences lead most into selfishly believing we have escaped our due punishment when, from our hearts still remaining hard, we are most certainly still going to be punished, and most likely forever because our hearts still lack true contrition for our sins, which is something everyone should come to understand, so we can have the opportunity to seek Mercy to save us.
Please understand from being deceived into thinking we have received an indulgence, souls are falling even further away from God–having even less of a desire to change, since we think there is no punishment for our sin–than before the indulgence was given. Tragic!
Plus, all of the Precious Blood of Our Lord (grace) that we allowed to fall off of us (“throw up”), from our unloving hearts, we will be accountable for. Yes, indulgences actually increases our condemnation/punishment, if we receive them outside of a state of grace, which is for practically everyone…so, unless we grow in faith and begin to strive to become true saints, they should be avoided.
Indulgences are never to be given to promote the faithful to perform acts of piety for selfish-gain. The horror!
Indulgences should only be given or sought so the grace from the indulgence can HELP US TO BETTER LOVE GOD (to help us stop offending Him) and rejoice in His most generous gifts.
When a soul is freed of some or all of its punishments it moves us even more quickly towards perfectly loving God (sinning no more). This should be our driving intention of why we do everything–to perfectly love God. To learn more please read, “How to Perfectly Love God.”
Seeking an indulgence to “remove our punishment” so we won’t suffer, is a shameful act of self-love. It is just another proof of how far we are from a saving faith (being in a state of grace), since nobody can be in the state of grace if we are full of self-love and not striving to do all for the love of God.
I understand since we are so selfish and far from a saving faith, to motivate others to change and begin to seek Christ, so to soften our hardened hearts, we must be given selfish reasons at first, since our concern for God is so little.
Therefore, telling someone we will choose Hell and not Life if we don’t repent and change is great motivation for us to begin to seek to live the true faith. Then after we work on changing, real love for God will begin to develop from all the grace we receive…and then our concern will be to do all to love God.
Frankly, the thought of our or someone else’s suffering is the only reason that will truly move the greatly prideful soul, that is, if we believe in Hell or suffering on earth from our sins…for if we believe enough, we will change. This is a guarantee.
It is our lack of faith that keeps us stagnate. Sure telling souls how much we are hurting God and harming our relationship with Him by our unrepentant sins must be said, but if that isn’t combined with the fear of personal suffering (since we are full of much self-love), the motivation to change simply won’t be enough. So giving souls a selfish reason to repent and change is good…since our love for God has proven to not be enough to motivate us to amend our lives.
But for those who don’t believe in God/Hell, telling them they will perish in Hell (what they don’t believe in) if they don’t repent and change is no motivation at all. It might get an atheist thinking since most logical people know just because we haven’t experienced something doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t real, but it surely won’t be enough to move an atheist to put forth the hard work needed to change. They must first experience God and come to believe in Him or they won’t fear offending Him out of love for Him or out of fear of suffering because of their sins. to learn more please read, “How to Save Souls.”
But as far as indulgences go, all selfish ambitions should be removed, since it only breeds more selfish souls. There is not the smallest amount of grace that can be received for the self-loving soul through an indulgence. Not a drop.
Saints Don’t Want to Escape Their Punishment
Saints have such contrition for their sins that they desire to suffer because of them. They don’t want their punishment removed for selfish reasons. They feel horrible for their crimes against God and want to atone for their sins so they can more perfectly love God. But they want to be punished. To learn more please read, “What is Penance.”
When someone truly loves God and has true contrition for their sins they feel they deserve any and all punishment because their sins are a simply horrible offences against Perfect Love and deserving of great suffering. It is this kind of heart that actually winds up atoning for our sins…not the soul who wants to escape their punishments so to not suffer. Sure, from our fear of suffering, since we are so weak, this weakness might even make a saint call out to God to not be so harsh on us, but saints want to suffer; they know they deserve it.
Saints do flee to God’s mercy, for a possible indulgence, for whatever GRACE God desires to give them to help strengthen their soul so they can move towards NEVER SINNING AGAIN. They want to become a perfect saint.
They want the strength from the indulgence so they can stop hurting their Beloved and so they can more quickly give God the perfect praise and adoration He deserves in Heaven.
Also, saints want to help the poor souls in purgatory, so they can be in Heaven adoring God too…as this grace from an indulgence can help atone for the sins, of the saved souls, in Purgatory too.
Please know, God doesn’t want us to suffer in Purgatory or in Hell; He wants us in Heaven; He wants us saints. And indulgences are for us to obtain that goal.
Therefore, once our hearts are softened and can accept God’s saving grace, we won’t be concerned for ourselves, hoping to avoid the punishment/suffering we deserve. Our concern will be for God, since we will finally love God more than ourselves…and we will seek indulgences so we can grow in faith to one day be purified and sin no more.
Yet, from our self-loving blindness, sadly many run to indulgences hoping to obtain a “get out of jail for free” card. Many will think God is so merciful, He will allow us to take His love (atonement) when we aren’t even working to stop our offences against Him and clearly lack true sorrow for offending Him. But that isn’t how Love works….that is us trying to abuse God, which God doesn’t allow. We must avoid misleading souls into believing this.
Oh, we are so confused and are rejecting the very mercy that we think we are receiving. Truly no blessing will be received for the selfish heart. If we have ears to hear, now is the time to change. Great conversion is waiting for us. See the rest of this web-site for help…especially the home page, “Why Very Few Christians Are Saved.”
What is an Indulgence?
An indulgence quite different than what most people understand as I have mentioned.
An indulgence is a special blessing–a pardon from our due punishment for one or all sin–from God, for just a few souls, who are properly disposed to receive His magnificent atoning grace.
An indulgence is help from God to make us saints.
For those who can receive God’s love through an indulgence, who have been forgiven of all of our sins (are in the state of grace), it provides:
- strength to sin no more,
- grace to remove some or all of the temporary punishment that is due to a soul from our sins committed after Baptism (atone for them),
- help to become a perfect saint (to grow more perfectly in love with God).
“An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven” (CCC #1471).
Only Love Atones
Even though atonement is sought through sacrifice/pain/penance and good works, sins aren’t atoned for by pain or good works, since there ins’t any good deed nor any amount of pain that could remove the consequence of even the slightest venial sin due to the infinite offence committed against Perfect Goodness–even by the smallest crime.
“Even if you did a hundred good deeds for each wicked one, you still would not be able to pay God back for his goodness and love.”
–St. Bridget of Sweden
Our offences are atoneable through love alone. ” ” (God the Father to St. Catherine of Sienna).
It is our hearts of love that want to perform penance that make our penance of value. And then from that pain [penance] our hearts of sorrow, accept God’s grace, and become even more purified towards a pure love for God.
True Love for God saves us and perfect love atones for our sins–purifies us to the point of sanctity and then perfection.
Any acts of love we perform, if someone isn’t in the state of grace, God does send actual grace (God’s help) to us, if there is anything good being done driven from some amount of faith (even though everything we do outside of a state of grace is corrupted with self-love and isn’t truly good).
But if we are outside of being in the state of grace, our good works, sacrifices, and sufferings, etc. don’t help us to atone for any sin.
Yet, if someone has been so blessed to have grown incredibly in their faith and finally truly detests each and every sin they have ever committed and has accepted God’s saving grace (has accepted forgiveness of all of their sins from their humbled contrite heart) then an indulgence (pardon) is possible–based on their love for God (partial or full).
Who Can Try to Receive an Indulgence?
Anyone can attempt to receive an indulgence, since the Church places no stipulations as to who can try to obtain this grace from God. But like was said, if we proudly approach God, we will only reject His grace and be accountable for the grace we rejected.
But with that said, IF we sincerely would rather suffer death than sin the slightest offence against God, we shouldn’t be too fearful to approach God in any blessing or sacrament worrying about God’s grace we might reject.
God understands and still wants us imperfect souls–who so desire to perfectly love Him–to partake in His gifts. His blessings are made for the conversion of such souls. Jesus has been suffering from the beginning of sin and will continue until the end of time for our souls. He happily endures any rejection of His love to help save us. The grace we do accept will fortify us to one day never reject a drop.
How Few is Few?
God speaks about His “little flock” (Luke 12:32). We are told “many are called [to Heaven] but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). But how few is few?
I read a story a couple of times about St. Philip Neri. It had no citations or quotations and it was a little differed with each version, but the message was still the same, so I will share it.
One day, while St. Philip Neri was was preaching about the jubilee year of indulgence, he received a private revelation from Our Lord that only one person (other than himself) received an indulgence. Sadly, all in the crowded Catholic Church were not able to receive grace except of course the saint and just one old faithful humble cleaning woman.
The other version of this story is even more damning. The saint was at the Holy gates in Rome (St. Peter’s Basicilia) during the Jubilee Year of Indulgence and out of everyone who entered (1000’s) through those gates only one person, other than himself, received an indulgence.
Truly, it is incredibly hard to convert enough in our faith to sincerely hate all of our sins–to have true sorrow for all of them–since we have accepted so many sins just as being part of our daily lives and personalities. Tragically, we don’t even see most of them any more from our great love for them.
The devil has us so confused, thinking we are in the state of grace, when so very few are. If we honestly looked into our thoughts and actions we would see we simply aren’t resolved to stop sinning and are rejecting God’s sanctifying grace and so many other graces as well.
We must seek God’s mercy, especially in the sacrament of reconciliation, to help move our souls to grow into a saving faith. Then we will gain knowledge of our sinfulness and a burning desire to change so we can begin to know what we need to amend and start accepting grace. From there, we can grow into a truly humble contrite heart. Run to God for His help (grace); He will guild us to the correct Way, and save our souls, if we allow Him.
Please know, God doesn’t want to punish us but from His justice sin demands punishment. Not that His punishments on earth and in purgatory aren’t part of His love, they are. But God allows all of those punishments, so we can atone for our sins and live in Heavenly bliss with Him forever.
But tragically so few accept His offer of love. There should be no wonder why all of the images we see of the Lord and His Mother, given to us by true saints, show Our Lord and His Mother sadly looking at us begging for our conversions. We are dying.