How to avoid purgatory? (Ways to avoid purgatory)

In theology school, our lecturer emphasized being holistic and learning all Christian doctrines. In this particular semester, our lessons revolved around doctrines unique to specific churches. One lesson he covered comprehensively was on Purgatory. Since the belief is centered on the Catholic church, he invited the local Catechist to shed light on this doctrine. It was a delightful lesson that impacted us for life. When I became a theology lecturer, I also insisted on learning various doctrines. After last Monday’s class, a student approached me with a question. She had been on a quest to discover what happens after death when she stumbled upon an article on Purgatory. After reading, she was left with more questions than answers. She was even scared and wanted to know how to avoid this place. Since I had extensive knowledge of this subject, I decided to give a complete lesson in class on Purgatory and what one needs to do to avoid it. So, let’s look at how to avoid Purgatory.

According to most Catholics, you can avoid purgatory by living a holy life, repenting and confessing your sins, intercession, and Seeking indulgence and help from the Virgin Mary and guardian angels. Following all these steps makes you more likely to avoid purgatory.

In this article, I invite you to join me as we delve into purgatory, where we will uncover whether souls can avoid purgatory and whether it is easy to avoid purgatory, among other topics. Continue reading to find out the answers to such questions.

Can souls avoid purgatory?

How to avoid purgatory? 
Can souls avoid purgatory? Image source: Pixabay

According to most Catholics, a soul cannot entirely avoid purgatory, especially if they have uncleaned sins or imperfections upon death. A soul is believed to remain in purgatory depending on the verity or intensity and period of their purification. Only after the soul is cleansed will it leave purgatory and enter heaven. It is only a temporary place where a soul goes and can later enter heaven once purified.

However, according to 2 Maccabees 12:40-43, you can pray for a soul to lessen their torment and time in purgatory. Judas Maccabees prayed that the sins of the fallen comrades be entirely erased. He saw that the prayers he made could help those who had died and did not have a chance to atone for their sins.

Is it easy to avoid purgatory?

You can avoid purgatory; however, it is not as easy as you would think. To avoid purgatory, one must reject being attached to all forms of sins, both major and minor, completely detached. Moreover, they must be in a state of grace before death.

Avoiding purgatory is, therefore, not an easy feat as one needs to have a strong aversion to sin, even the small and forgivable type of sins, and you need to have a great love for God. Being human, one may not be entirely sorry for their minor sins or have bad habits due to sins like greed, envy, or gluttony.

Many Catholics believe that if you are not in any state of grace or pure of any sin, you cannot go straight into heaven. Most Catholics believe that you would need to go to purgatory so any sin that you had upon your death is thoroughly cleansed no matter how good someone was; upon their death, it is believed to be vital to pray and hold masses for them rather than leaving them in purgatory, thinking they are in heaven, with no one to pray for them.

Five ways to avoid purgatory

Ways to avoid purgatory
Ways to avoid purgatory. Image source: Pixabay

To avoid purgatory, you can abide by these five rules: Living a virtuous and holy life, Repenting and confessing of sins, Prayers, and intercession, seeking indulgence as well, as Seeking help from the Virgin Mary and Angels.

Living a virtuous and holy life

According to the Catholic faith, it is one of the most common practices to avoid purgatory. You would need to lead a holy and virtuous life on earth by avoiding and staying away from sin. To do that, you would need to practice charity, be kind and show compassion to others, and avoid sinful behavior. Additionally, you would have to do sacraments like confessing, baptisms, attending masses, and receiving the Eucharist.

Repent and confess

It is believed that you can avoid purgatory if you sincerely repent of your sins and do regular sacraments of confessions to your priest to seek forgiveness. You can also look within yourself, confess all you have done, and ask for forgiveness from God. Doing this will reduce the quantity of sins that need purification, and you can spend less time or none in purgatory.

Prayers and intercession

Ask other people, like religious figures or saints, to offer prayers and intercede on your behalf. Moreover, you can pray for the souls who departed and, in return, ask them to pray for you so you avoid going to purgatory.

Seek indulgence

Seeking indulgences is believed to reduce your punishment in purgatory. It has to be done without an attachment to any sin. To gain indulgences, four things have to be done: receiving confession, receiving the eucharist, offering prayers for the pope, and finally, performing a good deed. God will forgive the guilt and the debt we owe as well.

Seeking help from Virgin Mary and Angels

You can use deities like Virgin Mary and Angels to avoid going to purgatory. Get closer to the Virgin Mary, who is a powerful intercessor in matters of purgatory. Virgin Mary is known to intercede and can help you avoid purgatory. Likewise, ask help from your guardian angels to help avoid purgatory or to continue helping you while in purgatory.

4 Prayers to say to avoid purgatory

How to avoid purgatory?
Prayers to say to avoid purgatory. Image source: Pixabay

Five commonly said prayers are believed to help avoid purgatory altogether or reduce your time in purgatory. They are the rosary prayer, The divine mercy chaplet prayer, A prayer by St. Gertrude, the great and general prayer for a soul in purgatory.

However, it is essential to note that prayers alone cannot guarantee that you will avoid purgatory; instead, you can complement the prayers with sacraments, refraining from sin and living a holy life to be guaranteed eternal life. Here are the four commonly used prayers.

A rosary prayer

Hail Mary,

Full of Grace,

The Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou among women,

and blessed is the fruit

of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary,

Mother of God,

pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death.


Catechism of the Catholic Church

The divine mercy chaplet prayer

O Jesus, eternal Truth, our Life, I call upon You, and I beg Your mercy for poor sinners. O sweetest Heart of my Lord, full of pity and unfathomable mercy, I plead with You for poor sinners. O Most Sacred Heart, Fount of Mercy from which gush forth rays of inconceivable graces upon the entire human race, I beg of You light for poor sinners. O Jesus, be mindful of Your own bitter Passion and do not permit the loss of souls redeemed at so dear a price of Your most precious Blood. O Jesus, when I consider the great price of Your Blood, I rejoice at its immensity, for one drop alone would have been enough for the salvation of all sinners. Although sin is an abyss of wickedness and ingratitude, the price paid for us can never be equalled. Therefore, let every soul trust in the Passion of the Lord, and place its hope in His mercy. God will not deny His mercy to anyone. Heaven and earth may change, but God’s mercy will never be exhausted. Oh, what immense joy burns in my heart when I contemplate Your incomprehensible goodness, O Jesus! I desire to bring all sinners to Your feet that they may glorify Your mercy throughout endless ages.

Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska prayer

A prayer by St. Gertrude, the great

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.-The Prayer of St. Gertrude

A general prayer for a soul in purgatory

Heavenly Father, I give you the blood of Jesus, your precious son who dies so we may be saved. I give his blood for all the holy souls who are in purgatory. Hear my plea, show them mercy and help them rest in peace. Amen.-General prayer.

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