What Happens In Purgatory? (What Is The Punishment In Purgatory?)

The idea of Purgatory is fascinating, and as a theologian, I took it upon myself to learn everything about this doctrine. So, while on one of my missions to Rome, I visited the Vatican with only one goal; to learn every fact about Purgatory. Since I knew some of the Priests, I was welcomed with open arms, and that week gave me insight into this doctrine in ways I could have never imagined. When I returned home, I opened this discussion on my online Christian forum, and people from all denominations had something to say regarding what takes place in Purgatory. While the Catholics had some basic knowledge, they still did not get everything right. After the back and forth, I put the matter to rest with an in-depth session on what Purgatory is all about. When I told them about my visit to the Vatican, they all hushed to get first-hand information on this topic. So, what happens in Purgatory?

According to Roman Catholicism, purgatory is a place intricately tied to the prayers for the dead, where the souls of the sinners undergo cleansing by cleansing before they are accepted into heaven. It’s also where the souls of the dead are cleansed and helped by the faithful suffrages and through the acceptance of sacrifices offered at the altar. Here, the souls of the dead are also prayed for and then accepted to heaven.

In this post, I’ll share more about what happens to souls in purgatory and the point of purgatory in Christianity. So, read on to learn all about it. 

What is the point of purgatory?

What Happens In Purgatory? 
What is the point of purgatory? Image source: Pixabay

It’s believed in the Catholic (and some protestant Doctrines) that purgatory is a place where souls undergo purification before going to heaven. It’s believed that after death, some souls require purification and then go to heaven, while the souls without sin don’t need to go through purgatory to get into heaven. So, if an individual passes away with sin, their sins must be purified before getting to heaven, which happens in purgatory. On the other hand, the souls of the people that die with (in) mortal sins go straight to hell.

The Catholic belief in purgatory is believed to be backed by the scripture teachings in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 which outlined it as a place where souls are purified through fire. 

It’s also worth noting that purgatory is considered the place where the souls of the dead undergo judgment after death then they can go to heaven, where they receive rewards for good or evil. Hebrews 9:27.

According to St. Josemaria Escriva, purgatory demonstrates God’s Mercy while also washing away the transgressions of the sinners that long to be one with God in heaven.  

What is the punishment for purgatory?

The punishment for being in purgatory is fire. Purgatory represents a place or a condition for temporal punishment for all who departed from this life living in God’s grace but not entirely free from sins. The punishment may also result from the individual not having for their transgressions to satisfaction. 

Other than fire, the other punishment for purgatory is the temporary exclusion of the deceased person from the beatific vision of heaven and all the good that is believed to be offered in heaven.

What do the souls in purgatory do?

What Is The Punishment In Purgatory?
What do the souls in purgatory do? Image source: Pixabay

It’s believed that the souls in purgatory undergo an after-life purification process that involves burning, cleansing, and judgment, all meant to wash off the filth that the people of God carry. This is believed to be evidenced in Matthew 5:25-26, Isaiah 4:4, and 1 Corinthians 3:13-15. Here, the souls undergo a great deal of suffering as well as joy

Additionally, the souls in purgatory undergo suffering for longing for the Lord. It’s also where the souls hunger for God when they haven’t seen Him. Suffering is the most significant part of purgatory, and they’d be put through the most painful fire, an experience unlike any other that man could ever suffer in their present life.

As an antechamber or a waiting room for heaven, purgatory is where the souls become truly holy and in love with God as they embrace the final cleansing in a manner through which they are filled with deep gratitude in preparation for communing with the Holy Trinity. 

That said, it’s worth noting that the kind of purification, intensity, and duration of the soul purification differs based on an individual’s sins or the level of attachment that they had to sin.

What happens when you pray for the souls in purgatory?

It is believed that praying for the souls in purgatory offers the souls of the people in purgatory a lot of relief because this place is tough and the pain very real. Additionally, prayers for the souls in purgatory bring joy when someone finally reunites with the soul they prayed for in heaven. 

The other reasons for praying for the souls in purgatory include the fact that purgatory represents one of the mysteries of the plans that God has for His people and for His goodness. The prayers are beneficial to the souls while bringing peace to the living.

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