Is my brother in Hell?


My 49-year old *brother ,(I’ll call him, “Harry”), died suddenly, on July 7. He had an untreated bleeding ulcer that took him away, as he got ready for work, in the blink of an eye.
Our Mom had died 12 years earlier, also suddenly to Cancer. My belief in God and Heaven is very strong, however Harry did not believe in God or an afterlife. We were raised Presbyterian, (I’m a Catholic now, 15 years), and even though we went to church each Sunday, our Mom taught us, Harry included, about God’s love for us and His role in our lives each and every day. However, last night I had a dream about him that really hit me hard. Now, I do dream about my loved ones when they pass. I always have, even as a little girl. They usually “come” to me right after they pass on to give me a smile and hug and to reassure me of their return to God. It has always made me feel good and I consider these dreams a blessing as they always center on God. I do not proclaim to be psychic or anything like that, just always have had feeling about these dreams as the “real deal”. I am an epic dreamer and besides the usual nonsensical dreams, I have plenty of lucid, “real” dreams as well. But again, I do not subscribe to new age thinking: Ouija boards, psychic’s, etc… I did have a very 'real" dream of my brother the night he passed who told me to stop crying and when I asked him if he was in Heaven, he didn’t answer me.
Now, three weeks later, I have this dream: I am in our childhood home.
My grandmother on my father’s side, who passed in 1982, came to me. She and I had an extremely joyous reunion! Hugs and laughter and reminiscing! It was wonderful. Then suddenly as she’s there, there is a party going on and she looks over my shoulder and into the room walks my deceased brother. He looked like he did when he was 20, tan, youthful, fit; except he’s sweating and flushed and agitated. I immediately go to him and try to comfort him and as he looks at me hesitantly, I tell him that he needs to go, that he died 3 weeks earlier and that he shouldn’t be here, dream or not. He get’s very upset and then I asked him if he was with God and Mom? He said no. He starts to cry and as I held him, he’s rocking bath and forth and I ask again if he’s in Heaven, and he responds,
“No, I’m in Hell.”
(My brother, when living, was very successful and financially blessed. He worked hard and built himself an empire basically. He was married for 18 years and then divorced 4 years ago and had 5 boys. Yachts, planes, multiple homes, traveled constantly, celebrity friendships, etc. He took everyone; his 5 boys, God, our parents, my other brother and I, his ex, friends, and replaced them with greed and all that goes with that. He was not raised to be this way. We were raised in a very loving home and also with God as the focus of our lives. It was very sad to watch and the destruction he’s left behind emotionally, is devastating to bear, especially with his children. He believed in nothing but himself.)
He then “showed” me where he was and it was a very lonely, desolate and spiritually dead place. As I held him, I told him that when he was living, he never once said the words, “I’m sorry.” He hurt so many people and said and did so many horrible things and never looked back. I told him that he should ask for God’s forgiveness. He turned his head away from me several times when I said this. I was speaking to him in a very gentle and loving voice. Then he looked me in the eyes and I repeated it again and just basically urged him to say, “Lord, I’m sorry, please forgive me.” He did and then asked me if I would pray for him and I told him I would pray for him everyday for the rest of my life, which I will and did anyhow.
I could also hear him pleading with me in my ears, even though he was in front of me, saying my name over and over.
Suddenly, he was a few feet away from me and as he started to fade away, his face sort of morphed into an angry, bitter, mask. And then I woke up, upset and disturbed by all of this.
I have to stress that this dream left me feeling upset and saddened. In his life, he turned away from God. I know that Harry was very unhappy deep down inside and struggled with low self-esteem and feelings of loneliness. This broke my heart as he had a sister and brother with spouses and nephews that would have loved him unconditionally. I have forgiven him in my heart and actually apologized, when he was living, for anything I did to him to hurt him. Again, he never reciprocated, but that was not why I did it. Do people go to Hell solely based in non-belief? (I know Jesus said that the only way to the Father is through Him). He was baptized as a baby. Is it the combination of that and his lack of empathy and his love of money when he was living?
What is the church’s doctrine on souls in Hell? I mean no disrespect, but is there a way to pray (NOT bargain with God!) but pray a loved one into heaven?
Thanks for your support.


katpat, I am sorry for the loss of your brother.
Luckily, we do not know who goes to hell. The church has never declared any specific person damned for eternity.
There is always hope. That is why we are encouraged to pray for the souls in purgatory. No prayer is ever wasted.
It is perfectly natural to dream about your loved ones who have died. This can go on for years after the death. Some dreams can seem more real than others but they are all simply dreams. Dreams bring out our greatest fears, hopes, worries, and shames that we have during daylight hours. Some of our dreams are from our subconscious thoughts.
My advice…pray for your brother.


I asked a priest once if I could pray for my father who died…my father never talked about God, never wanted to talk about God, but he was a good person…anyway, I don’t know if he was a believer…the priest said I should pray for him, pray for God’s mercy that my dad go to heaven…nobody knows for sure what God will do so I say: pray everyday for your brother…


**God’s Infinite Mercy for all of His children will hopefully allow each of us one final chance at the moment of our death to “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” (Mk 1:15)

Pray for your brother, hopefully he is in purgatory or in Heaven today after seeing the error of his ways and accepting the Infinite Love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!**

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!



I think you can have a Mass said for your brother. Not sure, but I think so.
Sorry to hear about this.


I’m so sorry :frowning: this must be so difficult and painful for you.

Definitely pray for your brother and offer Masses for him. You never know, maybe he is in purgatory.


I am very sorry for the loss of your dear brother. Fortunately, you just had a dream, and that is not proof that your brother is in hell. The dream may have been his way of asking you for prayers because he is a very deep, dark place in purgatory.


The quick answer is no one but God and your brother knows. I would continue to pray for him as no prayers are wasted.
I will say that dream sounds super scary and I doubt I would have slept for a week if I had a dream like that.


I want to thank you ALL for your kind and supportive responses. I will pray for my brother until we are, by the grace of God, hopefully reunited someday. I love him very much and will ask the Lord for His will to be done, not MY will. Bless you all and I will keep you all in my prayers as well.


Someone once saw St Padre Pio praying and asked him what he was praying for. He said ‘for a happy death for my father’. His father at the time had been gone for a good twenty years or more.

See, Padre Pio had a firm belief that time was irrelevant to God, and that since He was outside of time He could apply our prayers retroactively if need be.Which is certainly a very consoling thought in situations like yours.


God bless you :slight_smile: that sounds like a good plan.

it is definitely consoling :slight_smile: sometimes I pray for my grandfather who passed away a couple years ago. He didn’t believe in God but I hope that before he died, he turned to Him.

Ask the Blessed Mother to pray… pray the Divine Mercy chaplet too. :slight_smile:


Wow, there are some really excellent, bang-on posts here. Really dead-on…

The bottom line is: pray, always, every day.

Continue to seek plenary indulgences for your brother, and if he does not need them because he is in heaven, then - as mentioned several times - they will not be wasted.

The angry mask - perhaps that was a demon angry at you because your prayers would be snatching victory for your brother (and perhaps for many, many other souls) right from the jaws of defeat…


Sounds like you are already aware that Scripture says we are not to pay attention to dreams unless they are a visitation from God (Sirach 34:1-7), so I won’t belabor that.

But this much is certain: if your brother really did visit you in your dream, he could neither have prayed nor asked you to pray for him if he was in hell. Hell is the place of no reprieve, and the final and utter destruction of all hope; prayers are of no avail to those who are there. If prayers are of any avail to your brother, and if he can pray himself, then he cannot be in hell.

In her Diary, St. Faustina says, let all judgments cease: for there are miracles of grace that take place when all appears to be lost.

P.S. I second, third, fourth and tenth the message: pray for him and have Masses offered for him. And sprinkle holy water on his grave.


This thead is a really good reminder that we must pray for and constantly witness to our unsaved relatives. The bible says: “He who winneth souls is wise” Who knows when God will require our soul? Katpat, sin is not the reason people go to hell. Jesus has already dealt with our sins at the cross (1 Jn.2:2). The only reason one would end up there is because they reject the Gospel.



Kalos, I’m afraid this is not really the Catholic teaching… yes Jesus died for our sins but we have to ask His forgiveness for each sin. Our future sins are not forgiven, though atoned for; we must still repent of them. I’d say that yes people do go to hell for sin…which is of course related to their rejection of God’s mercy, and of the Gospel.

But what I’m trying to say is that not everyone who has accepted the Gospel will go to Heaven because Jesus warns us of this in the Bible… (when He says some will call Him “Lord, Lord”, yet not be saved)

God bless


I have to say again, thank you to all of you who took the time to answer my post! Bless you all!!


I assure you your brother is not in Hell. No one is allowed out of Hell.

He is in Purgatory which has many levels of suffering, just like Hell. He will be detained there (perhaps for many centuries in our sense) until reparation is done for his selfish, thougthless life unless you & many on this site pray for him & do good deeds in his name.

You, your family & friends can lessen his suffering & the duration of his suffering by having Masses said for him, saying the Rosary & Divine Mercy chaplet daily. This is why RCs are so lucky - the Church Militant can help the Church Suffering & vice versa. It has been privately revealed to many saints that Protestants spend longer in Purgatory than Catholics because no one prays for them. It is not over when you die…in fact it is just beginning.

One day you will see your brother in Paradise, thanks to your prayers & good works. Jesus is an all-loving, all-merciful God.


The thought, even the thought, that my brother would go to Hell is so very disturbing to me. I know that my dream was just that, a dream I am so very glad now, that I did have, as this has made me all the more aware of how powerful prayer and true devotion to our Blessed Lord is.
Thank you, all, for guiding me and supporting me on this matter. I am very blessed to know such kind and compassionate people.


[quote="LilyM, post:10, topic:163887"]
Someone once saw St Padre Pio praying and asked him what he was praying for. He said 'for a happy death for my father'. His father at the time had been gone for a good twenty years or more.

See, Padre Pio had a firm belief that time was irrelevant to God, and that since He was outside of time He could apply our prayers retroactively if need be.Which is certainly a very consoling thought in situations like yours.


What a beautiful way to look at things. Padre Pio was such a great saint! I've had family members who weren't that spiritual and died without Confession or anything. I wonder if I pray like that I could save them?


katpat, my condolences for your loss.

I think you are already aware that the dreams, however vivid they might be, are just that - dreams. So, let go of the dream and concentrate on what you know about your brother and on what the Church teaches.

From the way you described him, he certainly does not sound like the kind of person who would say no to God in his final hour. And really, that’s what it takes to go to hell - a big NO, I DON’T WANT YOU, when the Lord extends his hands and heart towards the soul that has departed from the world.

Keep praying for him. One day, you will be praying together with him again.

Peace and God bless.

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