How Do You Get Out Of Purgatory? (How Long Does It Take To Get Out Of Purgatory + What Happens After Purgatory?)

Recently, I formed an online interdenominational forum to discuss various doctrines in the Christian faith. Last week, we discussed Purgatory in detail.  While we were at it, one member asked me to explain what it takes to get out of Purgatory. As a theologian with vast experience in various doctrines, I was not caught off guard. At theology school, I got an opportunity to participate in a community service program organized by the Catholic Church. During this time, I made amazing Catholic friends and got a deep understanding of their canons. I asked about purgatory and the presiding Father explained this concept in detail. By the end of this program, I had all the answers regarding purgatory and other Catholic doctrines. So, when my online forum members brought this up, I answered it will vigor and by the end of our session, everybody responded with a thumbs-up. So, how do you get out of purgatory?

To get out of purgatory, one’s soul must undergo complete cleansing and purification from their venial sins. As said in Malachi 3:3, this is the only way by which the dead may be reconciled with the Lord. Although through prayer and indulgences, punishment in purgatory can be expedited.

In this article, I researched widely the concept of purgatory and how long it lasts. I also looked at different avenues by which souls may be released from this purification stage. Also, expect to find out what happens after one’s soul is cleansed.

How Long Does It Take to Get Out of Purgatory?

According to the Church, there is no defined time it takes to get out of purgatory. With it being a temporary state of purification, the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that every individual’s experience is different. Depending on one’s sins, one must sever the soul attachment. There is no specific stipulated time for this after-death occurrence. Theologians also explain that purgatory may not have the same understanding of “time” as we do on Earth, thus it cannot be quantified in the same way. For some, it may last “minutes”, while others may remain in that state for “decades”. The only thing for certain is that it is temporary.

Can You Buy Your Way Out of Purgatory?

How Long Does It Take To Get Out Of Purgatory?
Can You Buy Your Way Out of Purgatory? Image source: Pixabay

No, one cannot buy their way out of purgatory. The Church prohibited the purchase of indulgences in 1567, but in modern-day, there are means by which the faithful may get them. Indulgences are sort of amnesties which either reduce (partial) or eliminate punishment instantly and completely (plenary). Even if one gets an indulgence on their behalf or for a soul in purgatory, they are limited according to dioceses and other factors.

How Does Prayer Get Souls Out of Purgatory?

Biblical scholars suggest that we are all part of the Christian family, and praying for souls in purgatory helps us and the entire Church. The Church has a feast day, All Souls Day, which is devoted to praying for the holy souls in purgatory, and this is a great time to pray for the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness on their behalf. Additionally, the souls in purgatory can be helped by the prayers of saints and angels as they undergo purification. The intercession of the Blessed Virgin is also known to be comforting due to her maternal care.

How Long Does It Take to Get Out of Purgatory to Get to Heaven?

There is no specific duration for getting out of purgatory. The Church gives little insight into how long souls stay in purgatory, but the one fact it is certain of is that one’s time in purgatory has a beginning and an end. According to Malachi 3:3, it is described as being a cleansing fire, for the Lord to refine souls like gold and silver. For that reason, only once purification is done, can one come out of purgatory. This also connotates that each soul’s experience is unique for their sins are not the same.

How Does A Catholic Get Out of Purgatory?

Catholics only get out of purgatory once their souls have been cleansed. As stated by Pope Benedict XVI, purgatory is a “passage” by which one comes in communion with God in the Body of Christ”. This communion can only be achieved by ridding oneself of all sin, including venial sin. Therefore, Catholics believe they may only be released from purgatory once they have undergone post-death sanctification.

How Do You Release Souls from Purgatory?

How Do You Get Out Of Purgatory? 
How Do You Release Souls from Purgatory? Image source: Pixabay

According to Catholicism, there are two ways by which souls are released from purgatory: through prayer and indulgences. As earlier stated, a soul can only get out of purgatory when it has been completely purged and cleansed from sin. This process can, however, be sped up through prayers by the living (2 Maccabees 12:38-45). Indulgences can also help release souls from purgatory. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, an indulgence is a partial or complete pardon of sins which will allow a soul to skip purgatory. The living faithful can gain indulgences for the dead by praying for them in a Church or by visiting a cemetery during special feast days.

What Happens After Purgatory?

It is speculated that after purgatory, souls are released into Heaven. Purgatory is not seen as one of the final destinations like Heaven or Hell. Instead, it is a purification stage for souls before they go to Paradise. It is only after gaining a complete state of grace from purgatory that souls will be worthy of being with God in Heaven.

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