indulgence- n. a remission of the temporal punishment due to sin, the guilt of which has been forgiven (according to The Catholic Encyclopedia)
"An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints." CCC 1471.
The basics? When we are forgiven of sin, we are forgiven totally and completely, through the power of God's grace. However, that forgiveness does not take away the consequences and hurt that our sin causes. Think about about the Prodigal Son: his father completely forgave him, but that didn't change the fact that half of the family farm had been sold. Indulgences are not conditions of forgiveness, they are a removal of the consequences of sin.
For more on indulgences:
The Catholic Encyclopedia- Indulgences
Primer on Indulgences
Common Myths About Indulgences
We had a discussion on what indulgences are and are not. The cards that we used for reference and attached in our menu are below. Usually an indulgence is something that we all should be doing anyways- daily prayer, Bible reading, etc. This past year during the Year of Faith, one opportunity to receive an indulgence was to renew your baptismal promises. Read more about that here: Plenary Indulgence During the Year of Faith . We went over to the church and renewed our baptismal promised during Youth Group that night. A card with the renewal is below. (Today is the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord, another cool day to renew our baptismal promises!)
Maybe use this as a reflection song:
Click here for the menu card for Indulgence and Eternal Life: