How does intercession after death work exactly? I mean, does God actually send someone who would have gone to hell to heaven if enough saints are praying for that person?


Hey BrooklynBoy. Anyone in Hell will never get out. If your talking about intersession after death to mean those who are in Purgatory awaiting Heaven, then you and I can pray for them as well.


You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

Even if all the saints in Heaven and on Earth prayed for someone, God would never take away free will. Therefore, that person could still use that free will to reject God (and will be damned in Hell).


You have misunderstood this.

  1. There is no intercession of any kind that will removed a person from hell. Hell is the result of the final and deliberate choice to reject the love of God in the sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

  2. Purgatory is the “washroom” of Heaven in that it is the condition (The Church does not teach that it is a place per se.) of cleansing from venial sins and testing of one’s works. (1st Corinthians 3:12-15) that purification is effected by temporal suffering and can be reduced by patiently offering up endured temporal suffering in this life. (Colossians 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church: You might also consider how very many places in the Bible where repentance went hand in hand with penance. Hint: Read the book of Jonah and anyplace where people repented and turned back to God.) Based on this scriptural principal and the Communion of Saints, (Link leads to downloadable MP3 Bible study on this. Notes are HERE.) one begins to better understand the intercession for the faithful departed.

I hope this helps some.
Pax tecum,


As has been pointed out, people in Hell are there to stay.

Our prayers help bring refreshment to the holy souls in Purgatory (who are already guaranteed Heaven). We as fellow members of the Body of Christ can help them in their sanctification by our prayers and other suffrages (penances, indulgences, etc.).

Remember, the Church Militant (on earth), the Church Suffering (in Purgatory), and the Church Triumphant (in Heaven) are all members of the same one Church and one Body–we are all united. Just as we can and should help each other become holy here on earth, so do we in every phase of eternal life :thumbsup:


this is the way I heard it explained at a parish mission by a very good priest, Fr. Hunt, who used the terminology and thought of Thomas Aquinas in his talk. Once we die we are no longer in time, we are in eternity. At the moment of death, when we come face to face with God for the particular judgement, we are given the grace and knowledge to see God’s goodness and love completely, not dimly as we did on earth, and to see with clarity the evil and comprehisity of our sins for what they are. In that moment we are given the choice, eternity with God, or eternity separate from God, clinging to the evil. At that moment we are beyond temptation from the Evil One, with full knowledge to make our choice.

All the grace of all the prayers offered by others on our behalf before or after are death are available to us at the moment of choice (since we are in eternity, remember). If we do choose God, we are purified from our lingering earthly attachments to sin and the effects of sin. The nature of that purification and the time it takes are open to speculation, but in his view, it is instantaneous. Once purified, we enter heaven.

What we express in earthly terminology–years in purgatory etc.-- is a construct of earthly time as we know it. We cannot use that terminology to limit God’s actions, but we do know as matter of doctrine that we have all knowledge and grace necessary to make the right choice at our particular judgement, that we will be purified through his action before we can enter heaven. How long it takes, and what the actual process is we don’t know, except by analogy from theologians and poets. yes, the grace from intercessory prayers is availabe to us at the moment of death and confrontation with God, even those prayers offered on our behalf long after our death in earthly time.


I don’t get how this would work though. God gives you a chance to repent and be saved after death? I thought if you die in mortal sin, you go to hell no matter what, 100%.


puzzleannie probably said that it was at the moment of dying - not after death.


I’m sorry, but i still don’t understand.

You mean you get a chance to enter a state of grace at the moment of death?

closed #10

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