Backup plan from Hell


I am curious, how many view purgatory as a viable back up plan? Do you ever set aside your pursuit of holiness with the thought that your small diversion can be taken care of in the confessional or ultimately in purgatory? Do you think a lot of other Catholics do this?

Here’s more on what I mean if I am not being clear with my question…


Very few would go directly to Heaven. When we die, there is normally Purgatory or Hell. Purgatory is to “cook us” a little longer so we are ready to enter Heaven. Getting to Purgatory is a very good thing. For instance, it’s not a permanent option of falling short of Heaven, like second place. It’s a temporary place we go to be prepared for Heaven. Recommend some study of what Purgatory is.


This sounds like the sin of presumption (presuming upon God’s mercy so that you can sin). Yes, I’ve done it (intending to confess even as I sinned instead of just not sinning). No, it wasn’t healthy, and I learned better while working to better form my conscience. I think I’ve confessed both sins (presumption, and the sin I committed while presuming upon God), but it was a while ago. I have no idea how many other Catholics do this. That there is a name for it indicates that I’m not the first and probably will not be the last. However, I think most people doing this know deep down that this is wrong, even if they don’t know precisely why.

I don’t really see purgatory as a ‘back up’ plan, nor do I know of anyone else who does (not counting children). I understand it more as healing I will likely need to be perfected for Christ’s kingdom, although if God gives me the grace I need to enter Heaven immediately on death I will be eternally grateful (what perfected soul would not?). The thought of suffering in Purgatory is not really frightening, as it is clearly a redemptive suffering. But I would love to taste Heaven while I am still here on earth (or Purgatory - redemptive suffering can happen on earth, too), and the way to do that is to draw as close to God as I may.

I’ve heard that meditating on Christ’s Passion is a wonderful way to curb the tendancy to persevere in sin and deal with it later. Each sin we commit is another burden He carried to Calvary. I haven’t really done this beyond praying the Sorrowful Mysteries, but hope to make more time for this in the near future.

Along these lines, praying a Divine Mercy Chaplet novena starting on Good Friday (ending on Divine Mercy Sunday) is a great way to recall that our sins come at a price, and that Our Lord paid it for us. “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have Mercy on us, and on the whole world.”

I’m writing these notes as much to myself as anyone, BTW.


If your goal is purgatory and not heaven, you won’t make it. :eek:


Wow - interesting and concise statement. I think I agree.


I’ve posted this before, but think it’s worth mentioning again in this thread:

God’s Mercy is Greater: The Teaching of St. Therese of Lisieux on Purgatory

The common teaching within the Church is that Purgatory can hardly be avoided. While still only a novice, the saint commented about this with one of the sisters, Sr. Maria Philomena, who believed in the near impossibility of going to heaven without passing through purgatory:

“You do not have enough trust. You have too much fear before the good God. I can assure you that He is grieved over this. You should not fear Purgatory because of the suffering there, but should instead ask that you not deserve to go there in order to please God, Who so reluctantly imposes this punishment. As soon as you try to please Him in everything and have an unshakable trust He purifies you every moment in His love and He lets no sin remain. And then you can be sure that you will not have to go to Purgatory.”

She even said that we would offend God if we didn’t trust enough that we would get to heaven right after dying.


One who did not know what Purgatory is, may have this goal. Purgatory is not a permanent place, like “didn’t make it to Heaven, but at least I got to Purgatory.” Purgatory is a stop along the way to Heaven, to perfect us, so that we can enter Heaven.

We must not make God an afterthought in our lives, or somewhere less than first on our lists such that we just seek to comply with His rules minimally or attempt to do just enough so that we can have some relief from eternal Hell. This would likely be leading one to break the First Commandment regarding love God above all. Next, are we actually trying to do what Christ asks of us, namely be perfect, even as our Father is perfect?

We must love our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and neighbor as self. We realize that we may likely go to Purgatory before getting into Heaven. However, spending eternity with our God who loves us is the goal.


No one can say, “I might not reach Heaven,” because God wishes you to go directly to Heaven. And He wants you to be as close to Him, as glorified and happy in Heaven, as possible too. That’s why He gives us commandments, prayers, sacraments, sufferings, many ways to be glorified, to exalt in Him, and to increase our union with Him here. If you just shoot for Purgatory, that means you don’t trust God. He has enough omnipotence to support you and enough graces to make you as holy as you can be. Don’t reject Him!

The Catholic Church is a gift of God’s Mercy. The Church is threefold: Heaven, Purgatory, and the world reconciled. Hence, the purification after death is a grace, a gift from the Lord. Do not think little of His graces. Be thankful for them and be wise in using them. You may ask Jesus to help you reach Heaven, and ask Him to purify you in this life and in the next, for this prayer is good and it shows your appreciation and trust toward the Lord.


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