Will an Indulgence Take Away the Punishment for My Sins
Oh, the devil deceives us so to keep us from seeking a saving faith
Gift for the VERY Few
For the most part, especially today, as I will explain in this article, hardly anyone receives any kind of indulgence (plenary or partial) from God excusing them of their punishment due to them for their sins.
There is a real reason why most reject God’s grace through indulgences…and it is because we don’t REALLY know what kind of heart is pleasing to God (what heart can receive grace).
“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
If we were only honest with ourselves, we could easily see how most still commit many many habitual sins against Our Beloved Lord, because we have little concern about them and have done little, if anything, to work towards amending them, which causes our hearts to reject mercy, not embrace it.
“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
Horribly, when we habitually sin and put no effort into amending them or if we sin and don’t even look to see where we have offended God, we don’t really love God and hate offending Him. We do this especially with our venial ones–thinking offending God with them is no problem at all. What little love we have for God!
“God will forgive us”, we say. But yet, we are only forgiven if we have a TRULY contrite (sorrowful) heart for ALL of our sins and are resolved/removing our sins, one at a time, so to one day perfectly love God. Please don’t be deceived!
Growing into this kind of faith is hard to obtain. Oh, our hearts are far from true contrition if we aren’t even resolved to “sin no more”–if we aren’t working to become real saints (someone who doesn’t want to sin again). To learn more please read, “What is True Sorrow.”
“Whoever loves me will keep my word [or at least work as hard as we can trying]” (John 14:23).
Therefore, from our pride, we hope for mercy but in vain, since we haven’t sought Our Savior to remove our liking for sin. Now, from being complacent with sin, we still unreservedly habitually offend God, even though we are far from perfect saints from our great desire for sin. To learn more please read, “What is Desire for Sin.”
As a result, from our unrepentant/unchanged sins–since we still desire them/don’t truly love God–if we seek an indulgence to free us from the punishment due to us for our sins, it won’t take effect on our souls.
Most Indulgences Actually Hurt Souls
Some of the time indulgences are given out like candy–trying to cheer us up or to make us “feel” blessed, so we can think we are escaping punishment. They are not given out sparingly, so to not tempt souls into becoming even more gluttonous (since we don’t know The Way), and not with the intention of promoting us to repent and change so we can TRULY LOVE so generous of a GOD, as is supposed to be intended by that blessings.
But rather, indulgence are sadly given out to promote us to take mercy without even striving to love God (to stop sinning), which is HORRIBLY SINFUL.
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 and loving God. Indulgences leads most into selfishly believing we escaped our due punishment by doing practically nothing (not seeking Christ to remove our desire for sin). Therefore, after we “think” we received an indulgence, we fall even further away from God (have less of a desire to change), than before the indulgence was given. Tragic!
Plus, all of the Precious Blood of Our Lord that we ran to selfishly obtain, that we allowed to spill to the floor because we aren’t really striving to leave all of our sins (to become saints) so to truly love God, we will be accountable for.
Today, indulgences should be given most rarely, since the whole of the Church doesn’t understand their purpose; that indulgences are a gift–for those disposed to receive–following our great call to repent and change and LIVE THE FAITH. The exact Church requirements are listed below.
Indulgences are never to be given so to promote the faithful to perform acts of piety for selfish-gain…only so we can better love God and rejoice in His most generous gifts if we are so blessed to receive them.
I understand since we are so selfish and far from a saving faith, to motivate others to change and begin to seek Christ to change our hardened hearts, we must be given a selfish reason, because just having the motive to love God isn’t enough. And telling someone we will choose Hell and not Life if we don’t repent and change is a great motivation for us to begin to seek to live the true faith. Frankly, the thought of suffering is the only reason that will truly move the prideful soul, but as far as indulgences go, they are only for those who have begun and have successfully found and are walking on the path of Life and have removed their self-love (do all for the love of God).
Selfish motives must be removed from partaking in this blessing because there is not the smallest amount of grace to be received for the self-loving soul.
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. 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 God and deserving of great suffering.
But they 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…as this grace from an indulgence can help the saved in Purgatory too.
God doesn’t want us to suffer in Purgatory; He wants us in Heaven; He wants us saints. And indulgences are for us to obtain that goal.
Those in the state of grace aren’t concerned for themselves, hoping to avoid the punishment they deserve. Their concern is for God, since they love God more than themselves.
Yet, sadly many, from their self-love, run to an indulgence hoping to obtain a “get out of jail for free” card and are greatly blind. They are rejecting the very mercy they think is saving them. 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 you. See the rest of this web-site for help.
What is an Indulgence?
An indulgence quite different than what most people understand as I have mentioned.
An indulgence is a special blessing from God for just a few souls, who are properly disposed to receive His magnificent atoning grace. Nobody can begin to atone for a single sin unless we have matured enough to a saving faith: having true love and true contrition for every sins. To learn more please read, “What Are The Requirements of Salvation.”
An indulgence helps souls, who have grown in their faith to have obtained TRUE sorrow for their sins (have had their sins forgiven) and can maintain that great contrition constantly in their souls, at least during the reception of the indulgence, and have fulfilled the other requirements, as listed below, from the Church. To learn more, please read, “What is True Sorrow.”
Despite what the majority of the Church today have been deceived into believing, as The Word says those, who have sought Mercy and matured into a saving faith, are only a “little flock” (Luke 12:32). Yes, few are walking around in the state of grace; obtaining a saving faith should be our goal…actually becoming a perfect saint should be our goal. None of those goals are obtained with out constantly seeking Our Savior to save us. Please don’t be deceived. To learn more please read, “Believing in Christ is Only The Beginning of Faith.”
“Very Few Christians Are Saved” –St. Augustine
But for those who can receive God’s love through an indulgence, 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).
Requirements to Receive an Indulgence
Here are the specific requirements, according to the teaching of the Catholic Church, as depicted 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, 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 working to become a saint—to stop sinning even with the slightest offence];
- Have sacramentally confessed their sins, with true sorrow [been completely forgiven of each and every sins from a disdain for sin so great they would truly suffer anything to avoid offending Eternal Goodness and maintained that state of sorrow to keep saving grace in our souls];
- 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];
- Pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff (the Pope).
Filling these requirements might seem easy to some because we feel we are very faithful, but as I hopefully explained that is because the devil uses our faith and love we feel we have for God to pride us right into great blindness so we won’t understand how sinful we are nor what true sorrow and a true detachment from venial sin really is.
Partial Pardon of Punishment
Now, to receive even a partial pardon of the consequences of sin, we still need to be in a state of grace. I want to mention, we will never know if we are in a state of grace; we can’t read our souls. But if we are completely detached from sin, don’t unreservedly habitually commit them, as is required, we will be in a state of grace, from have great Fear of the Lord.
But yet, again, we will never know for sure, since we can easily lie to ourselves and think we would rather suffer death than sin but we could still be refusing to see plenty of sins we love…only God knows the secrets of the heart. Therefore only by doing our best to leave sin and seek to perfectly love God and hope for Mercy to move us into the state of grace is what we can do.
“To partake in such a blessing [an indulgence] we must be in the state of grace, confess and receive Holy Communion and say the prayers prescribed by the Holy Father in church; only for the way of the cross [through suffering–not being able to receive] is confession and communion not necessary. But we must always be free from mortal sin, have a great horror for all our venial sins and a firm determination not to commit them any more”
–St. John Vianney
Yes, to receive a partial pardon, we still must have a horror so great for sin–even for venial sin–that we would rather suffer even death than sin (have true sorrow for every sin ever committed) and this must be continuous within us or at least present during the reception of the indulgence.
But the love from God (grace) received from an indulgence is based on our love for God. If our love is great enough, we will obtain a full pardon, but if not a partial pardon is all we will obtain. The amount of love we have for God varies from person to person even among the saved. The grace sent from an indulgence can move a soul into having a greater love for God too. But if we are so blessed to have obtained maturity in the faith–a saving faith–then an indulgence can atone for at least one sin and help move us towards becoming a saint.
Why We Would Need an Indulgence
To be welcomed directly into Heaven–and have no time purifying ourselves in the fires of Purgatory from the consequence of sin–if we died saved (in the state of grace)–we must not only have advanced in our faith to the point of having a true disdain and real resolve to stop every sin (true sorrow) because we can’t bear offending God whom we should be loving with all of our heart (be saved), but we must also have a love for God so great that it atones (pays the price) for each and every sin we have committed after baptism–“filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ” (Colossians 1:24)–since every good and bad thing we have done will be rewarded or a punished from our just God.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
If we die with God’s saving grace in our soul, every sin we have committed against Our Creator is punished if they aren’t atoned for while on earth. However, 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). The pain [penance] is meant to move our heart to a pure love for God. True Love for God saves us and perfect love atones for our sins–purifies us. Those who truly love God are more than willing to serve God and work with all of their ability to save souls and suffer and suffer anything God wills, out of beautiful love for Him–just like He loved us. And it is that kind of love–from a soul is in the state of grace–that helps atone for sin. 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 truly being done driven from some amount of faith, but outside of being in the state of grace, our good works, sacrificing etc. don’t help us to atone for any sin.
This is where an indulgence can come in helpful for certain souls. If someone is so blessed to have grown incredibly in their faith and finally truly detests each and every sin they have ever committed, not just in their words, but is at last willing, by their actions, to do what is necessary to reject the world’s pleasures for the cross and truly live the faith whole heartedly working to sin no more, 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–for all or some of their sins.
Who Can Receive an Indulgence
Anyone can attempt to receive an indulgence, since the Church places no stipulation as to who can try to obtain it, but like I said, only a few certain faithful Christians who have the correct conversion of the heart and have filled the Churches requirements can accept God’s mercy and will receive any pardon of the punishment due from their sins, if God deems the soul worthy.
Confusion in the Faith
As many of us know through the history of the Church bounds of people have been quite confused as to what an indulgence really is, and today there is still great confusion as to what it is and who receives it. Sadly scores of people run to church believing if they do x,y,z they are receiving a “get out of jail for free” card from God’s mercy, when sadly they greatly lack true sorrow for their sins and aren’t even in the state of grace.
There are no “get out of jail for free cards.” For someone to obtain such an atonement for their sins committed after baptism, the faithful has to over come great hurdles in the faith and grow incredibly in grace to let go of the sin they still cling to in order to embrace such a gift from God. It surely doesn’t come without great labor of love for God.
Not that anyone can know for sure if they have had all of their sins forgiven from perfect contrition constantly dwelling in their heart, but if someone has advanced so wonderfully in their faith and it does exist then receiving an indulgence can remove all or part of the punishment (atone-pay the price) that is due for all of their grievous crimes against God is possible. The point we must understand to receive a plenary (full) or partial indulgence someone MUST be in the state of grace. And if you have read the rest of this web site you now understand the devil has deceived many into presuming they are saved, when they most certainly aren’t so to keep them lukewarm in their faith. (learn more). To receive this great grace someone must have all mortal sins forgiven and no longer continues to commit them or desire them, and can no longer desire any venial sin as well (which makes the venial sin mortal). And if we look honestly in our lives we can probablly see many venial sins we commmit over and over again from not properlly seeking God’s transforming grace to help us grow towards perfection as God commands of us.
“[A] venial [sin]…becomes mortal,” when someone “fix[es] one’s end in that venial sin [has no desire to amend]” (St. Aquinas).
Since we all loose our saving grace we received at baptism the moment we don’t want to stop any sin, which for most of us was the instant we gained full knowledge of right from wrong, most of us are outside of a saving faith and need to follow Christ to obtain His mercy (grace) so to learn how to truly hate what we have grown to love (sin). To remove horrible sinful behaviors and habbits and truly hate them so to gain a truly contrite (sorrowful) heart. Therefore, unless someone is working painstakingly to stop sinning, making resolutions to change all of their sins because they can’t stand to hurt their beloved Lord again with a single sin, they are still outside of perfect contrition and aren’t able to receive an indulgence.
Having imperfect contrition–a great fear of suffering from our sins–for each and ever sin isn’t enought to obtain this indulgence. To receive an indulgence we must have true sorrow for each and every sin, which means we are daily woking to become a saint because we honestly no longer can tollerate sin since it offends the one we Love. We can’t desire to sin at all and are working hard to stop every sin even their venial ones–working, not just in thought, but with a burning passion to become a saint (someone who wants to love God at all moments and not sin in the slightest way). If we claim to have true sorrow but are still ignoring a single command of God commands even the smallest, or repeating the same sins over and over again from not properlly seeking God’s graace to change, it doesn’t matter how many prayers, works or devotions we pray, we are still rejecting God’s scantifying grace and not in the state of grace. Oh, how few truly love God (are in the state of grace).
And this is what so very few do. Few are under a true life changing conversion making real resolutions daily to live the faith. Most are so caught up in their works of the faith, they aren’t whole heartedly resolved to stop their sins by every day imploring God’s mercy to strengthen and guide them along the hard journey how they need to change to get there. A soul that still desires to commit any sin (isn’t working to stop any sin), is ignoring any of God’s Word, rejects forgiveness, isn’t in the state of grace, and isn’t open to receive (rejects) God’s indulgence grace. And if we truly read the entire Word we will clearly see how we have paid little attention, if any attention, to bounds of commands from God. What little love we have for the Word. And from so many souls not being truly resolved to stop their sins and unwilling to reject the pleasures of the world to spend their time loving God instead, most don’t receive any grace from this sacrament since their souls aren’t properly disposed to receive it.
I read a story a couple of time about St. Philip Neri (it had no citations and differed with each version, but the message was similar) 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 the Lord that only one person received an indulgence. Sadly, all in the crowded Catholic Church were most likely not in the state of grace except of course the saint and just one old faithful humble cleaning woman. The other version of this story was even more damming and the saint was at the Holy gates in Rome during the Year of Indulgence and out of everyone who entered through those gates only one, other than himself, received an indulgence. Truly, it is incredibly hard to convert enough in our faith to hate all of our sins (have true sorrow for all of them) since we have made so many sins part of our daily lives and personalities. Tragically, we don’t even see them any more. The devil has us so confused, thinking we are in the state of grace, when so 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 truly hates the sins we love by first gaining knowledge of our sinfulness and burning desire to change so we can even begin to know what we need to amend with a humble heart. Run to God for His help (grace); He will guild us to the correct Way.
God doesn’t want to punish us (but from His justice there is punishment), He wants to love us and have us love Him, so those with a saving faith–in the state of grace–are simply seeking God’s will.
If God’s so desires to bless them with the removal of their punishment because they were able to accept His gift, they feel so deeply unworthy and unfathomably blessed. Oh, to loose the great punishment we deserve is such a gift of love that God blesses to those who burn in love of Him (want to love Him above themselves). If we do die in that state of grace with our punishment atoned for, we will be able instantly give God great praises in Heaven, which is what God truly desire from us. Please remember, those truly sorry for their sins aren’t focused on their “punishment” and removing it for their sake, but rather are focused on what they can do to help prevent themselves from offending God again so they can love God perfectly in Heaven. They care more about God than themselves. That is the mindset of someone with true contrition. They spend every moment of their day looking for how the can love God…not themselves. Those who are truly sorrowful for their sins, out of love for God, are mostly concerned about God’s will above their own and whatever suffering they might have to endure to fulfill God’s will is more than acceptable for them.