How does one know they have resolved the temporal punishment due their sins?

This is a spiritual equation and maybe there is no way this can be known…
As I review my life I am overwhelmed by the enormity of my sin. I have gone to confession and truly believe I have been forgiven. Now- how does one know they have resolved the temporal punishment due to their sins? As one looks at the treasury of the church there is the very generous plenary indulgence; however the catch phrase, “no attachment to sin”, is ever a struggle.

Here is how I came to terms with it.
My penance here, my way of virtue here, has to be forgiving.

No attachment to sin; perfect love of God and perfect sorrow for sin. Only God knows exactly how efficacious any particular partial indulgence is or whether a plenary indulgence was received at all. I believe you need to trust in God’s mercy and justice.

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You could learn about Divine Mercy day .


Thank you. I am familiar with Divine Mercy Day (Sunday after Easter). I understand however, the official church teaching for at least the past six years has stated that the plenary indulgence offered for that day includes the words, “under the normal conditions”- meaning that it also includes “no attachment to sin.”

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Perhaps, before you perform the acts involved, ask God explicitly to take away any attraction to sin you might be holding on to. Over time it may become easier.

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Thank you for this post. Sometimes the most obvious is the easiest missed. It does center on humility and trust. I accept your advice.

Heard of partial indulgences?

Keep in mind that the Divine Mercy revelations to St. Faustina are all about the overwhelming nature of God’s mercy and love for us as individuals and the essential need for trust in order to receive that mercy. On Divine Mercy Sunday Jesus stated that the “floodgates” of his mercy will be open in an exceptional manner to those who seek the plenary indulgence and perform the activities associated with it. My strong advice is to do it with great sincerity and TRUST that God will cleanse you of all penalty for sin. We can never fully know this on Earth, but we can exercise the trust God asked of us and which He rewards.
And not just on Mercy Sunday, but for all daily plenary indulgences. Yet Mercy Sunday IS exceptional.

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OP, you may know this already, but just pointing out that the benefits associated with the Divine Mercy Promise (established by Jesus via private revelation from Jesus to St. Faustina, and given by Jesus) are different from the benefits associated with the Divine Mercy Indulgence (established by the Church and given by the Church under its binding and loosing power). I try to get both on Divine Mercy Sunday.

Regarding your question of how one can “know” that we’ve resolved the temporal punishment for sin, the answer is, we can’t.

We do the indulgenced works anyway, and we pray, hope, don’t worry, and have confidence in Jesus’ mercy.

It’s also a good idea to pray to God for help in detaching totally from sin in order to do a good indulgence, and also to pray to God that through His mercy you might be spared from Purgatory.

St. Therese also suggested that we should give away all the benefits of our good works and just rely on God’s Mercy to get ourselves to Heaven, because we can never amass enough benefits to compensate for our sinfulness. That sounded like a good plan to me so that’s what I do. it certainly beats sitting around wondering whether I did an indulgence well enough to erase all my temporal punishment for the day.


There is Divine Justice.There is also Divine Mercy.
Please read up on Saints Faustina and Therese. Consider making a consecration to Divine Mercy (33 Days to Merciful Love by Fr. Gaitley).

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Practically speaking, it’s impossible.

In order to know that, one would have to be in a state of grace, complete a plenary indulgence, and not sin again.

Even St Paul says that he’s unable to judge himself. So I think it’s reasonable to say that we cannot judge ourselves and know we’re spotless. (And, of course, indulgences only affect temporal punishment of past sins already forgiven, not present or future sins not yet absolved.)

So, in a certain sense, the only time we’ll know for sure is when Jesus welcomes us into heaven.

By the same token, however, we’re told not to live our lives in fear, but in trust of God and His goodness. So… avail yourself of the sacraments, pray, and trust in God and His promise of salvation!

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Hello Limoncello,
I did not understand the Divine Mercy Sunday events in this way. Thank you! I do need to work on trust :slight_smile: Peace to you.

Hello Tis Bear,
I never knew there was a differentiation between the Divine Mercy Promise and the Indulgence. Wow! Thank you for your post. I am saving the link you sent.
Peace to you and your family- In Christ.

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It may help to go to the bottom line, if you can trust the Bible.
Rom 6:7,23. ‘The wage of all sin is death’. Not ‘life under torture’ in hell or purgatory, but death, the absence of life. Think: Adam was told he would die if he sinned; he sinned; he died. Gen 5:5. Where is he now? Returned to the dust. Gen 3:19.

So, what can you do now? Live your life by God’s requirements. You can’t do anything when you’re dead. Ec 9:5,10; Eze 18:4. His requirements are, of course, in his book. Find out his purpose for man and act on that.

As to sins, serious or otherwise, he does not expect perfection from us. Ps 103, esp. v. 14. That’s by David, who did his share of sinning.

While I appreciate that you’re providing some Protestant viewpoint here, your response is irrelevant to the person’s question, which is specifically concerned with the Catholic teaching of purgatory.
You’re basically off topic.

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