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We all know that Purgatory is a Doctrine of the Catholic church, but is one allowed to believe that there are several levels similar to Hell??

What literature or books are out there that may describe the levels and give an account on who goes there? I gather many Saints/Mystics through the centuries have had encounters with purgatory and its layers?

I'm just interested in this topic since Purgatory is probably the most I could ever attain after this life before I can ever get to heaven God willing!!!!  Pray
My understanding is that Dante's Divine Comedy was the main source (or at least the most comprehensive work) of all the speculation about mutliple levels of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. The idea was probably around long before that, but I think Dante goes into the most speculative depth about that aspect of theology. There are no doctrinal statements or definitions about multiple levels in the Heaven, Hell and Purgatory, so the Divine Comedy is probably the most satisfying book available on the subject.

The title of Thomas Merton's book The Seven Storey Mountain is a reference to the seven levels of the mountain of Purgatory mentioned in the Divine Comedy.
In the Divine Comedy each level of Purgatory represents a mortal sin, and your speed in traveling each level depended how much you had struggled with that level's sin. So if you were never gluttonous, you might run by that level in an hour, but if you were incredibly lustful, you might be stuck on the level corresponding to lust for a few thousand years. 
(08-08-2011, 08:37 AM)Someone1776 Wrote: [ -> ]but if you were incredibly lustful, you might be stuck on the level corresponding to lust for a few thousand years. 

Wonderful!!!  sad
:
(08-08-2011, 09:06 AM)crusaderfortruth3372 Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-08-2011, 08:37 AM)Someone1776 Wrote: [ -> ]but if you were incredibly lustful, you might be stuck on the level corresponding to lust for a few thousand years. 

Wonderful!!!  sad

If it helps, Dante places the Lustful on the highest level of Purgatory...

Aww, there now
(08-08-2011, 09:06 AM)crusaderfortruth3372 Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-08-2011, 08:37 AM)Someone1776 Wrote: [ -> ]but if you were incredibly lustful, you might be stuck on the level corresponding to lust for a few thousand years. 

Wonderful!!!  sad
lol
Im feeling your pain
Could I ask a purgatory question.
We are asked to pray for those in purgatory. And to remember our deceased there. The question is if we are praying for a specific person, how do we know they are even there? Either they went to hell and never made it...or the have graduated to heaven and are no longer there. If we keep dedicating prayers for their release what happens?
(08-08-2011, 09:26 AM)voxpopulisuxx Wrote: [ -> ]Could I ask a purgatory question.
We are asked to pray for those in purgatory. And to remember our deceased there. The question is if we are praying for a specific person, how do we know they are even there? Either they went to hell and never made it...or the have graduated to heaven and are no longer there. If we keep dedicating prayers for their release what happens?

Tough one. I'm not sure there's an official Church teaching on this, either.

My best guess:

- If a person is in Purgatory, our prayers for their soul are beneficial and can help them to be saved.

- If a person is in Hell, then our prayers for them are in vain, but God puts our prayers to good use nonetheless; 'redirecting' their power, so-to-speak (but then again, I'm not so sure about this, because I think it's problematic to think of prayer in this way, i.e., as an sort of independent efficient cause. I think prayer is far more mysterious than that and we can't quantify how it works, blah blah yadda yadda 'sacred mystery' etc).

- If a person is in Heaven, then our prayers for their soul equate to acts of veneration which merit their intercession on our behalf.

...But that's just my guess. However, there's no one whom we could infallibly conclude is in Hell so that's not really a practical issue for any Catholic. We can only ever assume that a person is in Purgatory unless, they were obviously a Saint.
(08-08-2011, 09:22 AM)voxpopulisuxx Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-08-2011, 09:06 AM)crusaderfortruth3372 Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-08-2011, 08:37 AM)Someone1776 Wrote: [ -> ]but if you were incredibly lustful, you might be stuck on the level corresponding to lust for a few thousand years. 

Wonderful!!!  sad
lol
Im feeling your pain

Yes, I hear ya man!  I think I still have mental blindness, blinded by lust still...  For example, I was just looking for a girl on a catholic dating site and i think I lusted in my heart for a minute without even wanting to, but still got excited just at reading her profile!  Did you use to struggle from that too??  It's like I should walk around blindfolded!  sad >sad
(08-08-2011, 09:43 AM)crusaderfortruth3372 Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-08-2011, 09:22 AM)voxpopulisuxx Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-08-2011, 09:06 AM)crusaderfortruth3372 Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-08-2011, 08:37 AM)Someone1776 Wrote: [ -> ]but if you were incredibly lustful, you might be stuck on the level corresponding to lust for a few thousand years. 

Wonderful!!!  sad
lol
Im feeling your pain

Yes, I hear ya man!  I think I still have mental blindness, blinded by lust still...  For example, I was just looking for a girl on a catholic dating site and i think I lusted in my heart for a minute without even wanting to, but still got excited just at reading her profile!  Did you use to struggle from that too??  It's like I should walk around blindfolded!  sad >sad
You need to be carefull there is a natural urge that is not lust, but is powerfull and can quickly become lust. Especially if you have never been with a woman. Scrupilosity in this area could cause you to never find a wife. God loves us in our infirmity. Dont be too hard on your self. There is certain amount of "messyness" that the Good Lord totally understands. We are toddlers after all...spiritually speaking
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