I’m a new Catholic so if I don’t get this quite right then would a more educated Catholic jump in and correct me??
Purgatory is sort of what non-catholic christians would call the different levels of heaven. We can absolutely not enter the kingdom of Heaven and present ourselves to God if we are unclean. So we believe that we go to purgatory to receive that cleansing.
Purgatory is a place to pay pennance for any sin we may have died with.
If you steal a car and get caught, you may be forgiven by the person who owns the car , but you still have to go to court and probably do some time. We must pay for the things we have done.
The thief on the cross next to Jesus was paying his pennance here on earth and he paid dearly… he paid with suffering and his life… He asked for forgiveness…He may at that point have had no pennance left to pay… He may very well have seen the face of God that day… He may also have went to purgatory to continue to pay pennance for other things.
Do you honestly believe that someone like Charles Manson can ask for forgiveness a few seconds before his death and go to the same place Mother Teresa went in the same amount of time??? If that be the case then why would be ever try to live a good life?? Just live like you want to and then hope you’ve got a split second to ask for forgiveness before you die.
The bible speaks of different levels of heaven and of hell (There is a special place in hell for liars). Purgatory is just a separate level on your way to heaven. Pennance will be paid here.
I’m not good with quoting scripture but there is a passage that says something about the Holy Spirit like “for this you will not receive forgiveness in this life nor in the next”. Why would this even be said if there wasn’t somewhere that forgiveness can be given in the next life???
If the most holy christian person you know, who has really lived a good life … does something stupid like curses his wife during an arguement, leaves, jumps angrily into his car and has a car accident, and dies… does he go to hell??? I hope not or a lot of good christian people will end up in hell. Well, he can’t immediately go to heaven if the last things he did on this earth were sinful.
Are your garments spottless?? Are they white as snow?? Thats the only way to see the face of God.
Being a Christian is not being perfect. We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. WE ARE SINNERS striving to sin no more. But only the sin free shall immediately enter the gates of Heaven, the rest of us will enter purgatory and hope that people here on earth are praying for us.