How long shall we spend in purgatory?

Since purgatory is a preparatory stage to paradise, it would seem that we spend a certain amount of time there. But the most pressing question is: how much?

Since purgatory is the preparatory stage to paradise, it would seem that we may spend a certain amount of time there. But what sort of time is it? Also, does time exist in eternity? And most all, a question that may worry us: How long shall we need to spend in purgatory? Don Paul Denizot talks to Guillaume Desanges for RCF in Chronique du purgatoire #5.

How long we spend in purgatory depends on us. First of all, it is nothing like cosmological time measuring a penalty such as: Mr. or Mrs So-and-so will have ten days of purgatory whilst their neighbor will get one month.

The time spent in purgatory depends on our heart

The time we spend in purgatory depends on how open our heart is. If someone’s heart was not very open to love, but nevertheless welcomed God’s mercy at the very end, it may have to spend a little more time in purgatory than someone whose heart was wide open but found it difficult to perform some act or another, or being forgiving , or to give up any self-denial.

Our state in purgatory is as we are, depending on what we’ve been through. Also, the time we will spend in purgatory is specific to each individual.

A time in eternity?

Even in heaven, time exists, since eternity belongs to God alone. He alone is out of time. But time in purgatory is not the same as here. There is no boredom in heaven. Time is felt as full and experienced to its fullest. In purgatory there is fullness and joy, but languor at the same time, because it is a time of longing. In hell, on the other hand, some kind of heaviness is felt.

What shall we be doing in purgatory?

Purgatory is a time for purification, a convalescence if you like. St. Jean-Marie Vianney, the Curé of Ars used to call it ‘the good Lord’s infirmary’. During this time, God restores us little by little. We learn patience. It is also a time when we long to contemplate the face of God. This desire burns deep within us. It is also a cause for great joy, because we feel that we will get hold of it, and a cause for pain, because we are not ready yet. In purgatory, the longing that grows is the longing for God.

Purgatory, a time to know oneself in full truth

Or it is rather about letting yourself be known. God, by restoring us, makes us who we really are. We all long to be good people but this righteousness is often covered with dirt, sin and impurities accumulated during our lives. Purgatory allows us to rediscover ourselves as we are, in God’s eyes. And what we are is a a diamond.”

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