When we are repentant and God forgives our sin, our guilt is gone, but the far-reaching consequences of our sin do not simply vanish. Even the smallest sin does damage to the Church and the world. Justice, then, demands that we do penance to repair what we have damaged.
One of Christ’s most magnanimous gifts is the infallible teaching of indulgences by the Church.
The merits won by Jesus Christ and all His saints are symbolized by the golden upper portion of this painting. It is this treasury of merit made available to us that we call indulgences.
The Church has prescribed certain prayers and deeds to gain indulgences from this treasury and to apply them either to ourselves or to our deceased loved ones.
Souls in purgatory are painfully being cleansed. Drop by drop the red veins of these souls, as it were, are being filled with gold. I represent this on the left side of the painting.
But to speed up the transfusion, partial indulgences can supply a surge of golden blood from the treasury. This is shown in the middle section of the painting, while on the right side, plenary indulgences change red veins into gold veins all at once.
Why would we not gratefully avail ourselves of these indulgences to make reparation for our sins and free poor souls from purgatory?