Not wanting to avoid Purgatory


Is it wrong to want to go to Purgatory? My sins are my own fault, my own slap in God’s face. Is it ok to want to pay for those sins? I have always felt that indulgences were get out of jail free cards that I don’t deserve or want. Is it alright to look forward to this state on one’s way to Heaven? (not assuming I make it up there that is in the first place)


Couple of things, firsly you can “pay” I think the word make is better for you sins in this life. This is not sinful but good, you have realised that you have hurt God or your neighbour and you want to do somthing about that.

You need not go to purgatory to do that you can do that in this life by doing pennace. I think some of the best pennaces besides prayer are works of mercy, it could be visiting the elderly who are so often ignored, or something similar.

You should try and make up for your sins in this life, so in that respect it is wrong to want to go to purgatory. Never do something tomorrow that you can do today.

You should talk to your priest about this first. Then decide what to do.


You should never shoot for purgatory. If you shoot for Heaven and miss, you still have purgatory. If you shoot for Purgatory and miss, you won’t be pleased with the results.

What you need to do is not be thinking, “I want to pay for my sins.” Jesus paid for your sins on the cross. It is a “get out of jail free” card, so to speak, in the sense that you don’t have to go to hell - which is what you deserve. If you really wanted to pay for your sins, you would have to go to Hell. You don’t want that, I know. What you need to do is throw your self on the Mercy of Christ. He is the One who pays for your sins.

Point being: You can’t pay for your sins because you are sinful. God requires a perfect sacrifice and you are not it. Only Jesus can do that. Our sufferings only mean anything when they are united with the sufferings of Christ. They are a participation in the sufferings of Christ. So, don’t get the idea that you can pay for your sins. You can’t, but you can participate in the sufferings of Christ which paid for your sins. This is what purgatory is. Either you do it here or you do it there.

You’re right that you don’t deserve it, but you should want it. The fact that Jesus took those slaps right in His own face should make your heart swell with love. It should also make you think how terrible it would be for you to refuse to accept the Mercy He offers you. Purgatory is a mercy, but we shouldn’t want it in the sense that we want to pay for our own sins.

This doesn’t seem all that well written to me, but I hope you can understand what I’m trying to say.


Thanks for your post, I wasn’t intending to wait to do my penance, I just want to make sure I pay for every little insult to God.


Then how is penance justified? I didn’t mean that I wanted to shoot for Purgatory, just that I couldn’t wrap my head around indulgences and such. And you are right about the whole not paying for sin concept, so thanks for the enlightenment, and now I guess I will be much more thankful for God’s ultimate sacrifice :).


[quote=“prayer changes”]My sins are my own fault, my own slap in God’s face. Is it ok to want to pay for those sins?

Of course. :slight_smile: But it’s better to pay for those sins in this life rather than in the next.

In this life, all pain and suffering undergone in the state of grace is meritorious. That means it serves to increase our reward and union with God in heaven. On the other hand, the suffering in purgatory only serves to purify.

Also, it’s commonly believed that the suffering in purgatory is far more painful than anything that could be conceived here below. Being deprived of the beatific vision of God alone (even for a moment) would be enough to cause unimaginable suffering to a soul in the next life.


You’re right. The way I wrote my post didn’t really do justice to what I was trying to say. I have that trouble sometimes.

Basically, don’t get caught up in trying to “pay for every little sin”. It’s not so much a matter of making up for sin as a cleansing of our hearts. True, we need to do our penances, but they don’t so much remove sin as break us away from it. A person who commits the same sin every week goes to confession and does his penance may be able to go to heaven, but his heart is still not cleansed of the tendancy to sin. This is what Purgatory is for. If we cleanse our hearts of the tendacy to sin, then we will have really accomplished the goal. Penances give us self-control over sinful desires.

I may have this wrong and a person who knows the Theology of this better ought to correct me if I am, but this is the way I see it.


I understand the desire to pay for one’s sins, and to experience a little of purgatory in penalty.

I think it’s a good desire.

In a sense, we live in purgatory already, because we live separated from God, and if we had but eyes to see it, we would be in the agony they are there. I like to think of this as motivation.

Purgatory is not just cleansing of the heart, it is payment of justice for sins committed. It is an error to think of it without regard to justice.

But it is also true that indulgences justly pay the penalty. And the penalty paid, we are enabled to serve God the better in this life and better merit. So one must gain what one can, however humiliating it is to not pay more of what one should. This too is a cross to bear. I hate to say it.

That said, I doubt anyone does sufficient penance regardless of indulgences as a norm in these times. One has to look at the penance given for the majority of Catholic history to see how much is due each sin… If I open for example, St. Charles Borromeo, a very recent saint relatively, his penances are not far different from the early Church’s, showing the weight of penance doesn’t change, priests merely may not require it and let people make it up themselves in purgatory.

The penances include years of penance for children talking back and spiting their parents. Years. :frowning:

And the habitual sins throughout the day… the righteous man it is said, falls seven times… :shrug:

So… take what indulgences you may… you still have to do penance… without penance one does not save one’s soul. You probably cannot gain enough indulgences. And too, they can be given to the holy souls and you can entrust that to God and Our Lady, as to the distribution whether to you or them.

Sackcloth and ashes, hair shirts, wooden boards for beds, the discipline, or the equivalent. .

All good. Done in the proper spirit.

‘A person may say I am not much concerned how long I stay in purgatory, provided I may come to eternal life. Let no one reason thus. Purgatory fire will be more dreadful than whatever torments can be seen, imagined, or endured in this world. He who is afraid now to put his finger into the fire, does he not fear lest he be then all buried in torments for a long time?’

St. Caesarius of Arles



Please read:

“God’s Mercy is Greater!” The Teaching of St.Therese of Lisieux on Purgatory by Father Dr. Hubert van Dijk, ORC


– Cadian :knight1:


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