Friday, July 3, 2009

Daily Book Graphics #132 / ¡Purgatory!

I bought this book yesterday at a St. Vincent De Paul thrift store. I like the deeply creepy Saul Bass style illustration. This book was originally published in 1926 and many times sense then. This is the 2005 printing. Just dipping into this book I've discovered that I don't understand the concept of purgatory at all (I was raised Agnostic-Presbyterian). I thought purgatory was some kind of neutral zone, like limbo, but it turns out that purgatory is a pretty rough place. From the back cover:
Father Schouppe presents the ancient Catholic tradition on Purgatory, explaining how its pains are excruciating–greater than any suffering known on earth, how they are adapted to the past sins of each individual soul, how they can vary in duration from less than one minute to a period of several centuries, and how they manifest the infinite mercy of God no less than his justice.
This book is full of stories of Saints dying and coming back to describe the tortures of Purgatory, in many cases they come back to plead with their relatives to do things to shorten their stay in purgatory (masses, alms giving etc.)
. To not do what you can for your relatives is described as "the blackest ingratitude, a hardness of heart entirely opposed to Christian charity..." This book is not about metaphors, it's really trying to tell you how it's going to be. Check out the first sentence of Chapter 20:
According to the saints, there is a great diversity in the corporal pains of Purgatory. Although fire is the principal instrument of torture, there is also the torment of cold, the torture of members, and the torture applied to the different senses of the human body.
Good stuff.

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