Apologetics 101: Purgatory

Let’s clarify an important teaching of the Church. We don’t become angels after we die. Actually, most people will go to Purgatory before they go to Heaven to be purged or purified of their attachments. Anyone who goes to Purgatory will eventually get to Heaven. It’s a matter of when, not if.

· Purgatory is not a place, it’s a state of temporary suffering for a soul.

o The purpose of this suffering is to purify us of the disordered attachments that we should have done while we were alive on earth.


· Souls are ready for Heaven when they are perfect in charity, love of God, love of neighbor and love of self.

o How many of us can truly say that we love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, all our strength and we love our neighbor as ourself?


· We should be very active about praying for the Holy Souls of Purgatory because it’s likely that our deceased loved ones are probably there.

o The souls of Purgatory cannot pray for themselves!

§ Their suffering can only be lessened by our prayers and sacrifices!

§ This is why it is so important to have Masses said for our beloved dead.


· From the YouCat (Youth Catechism):

o When Peter had betrayed Jesus, the Lord turned around and looked at Peter and “Peter went out and wept bitterly.” This feeling is what Purgatory is like. At the moment of our death, the Lord will look at us full of love and we will experience burning shame and painful remorse over our sins and unloving behavior. Only after this purifying pain will we be capable of meeting his loving gaze in untroubled heavenly joy.


· From C.S. Lewis in Letters to Malcom:

o “Our souls demand Purgatory, don’t they? Would it not break the heart if God said to us, ‘It is true, my son, that your breath smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with these things, nor draw away from you. Enter into the joy’? Should we not reply, ‘With submission, sir, and if there is no objection, I’d rather be cleaned first.’ ‘It may hurt, you know’ – ‘Even so, sir.”

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