Time in Purgatory


Is there any reference in scripture or church teaching about time in purgatory. I would guess not but just curious.

I lost my brother 4 years ago. My dad has been having lots of dreams about him lately and his parents use to tell him that you have dreams about loved ones when they are getting ready to go from purgatory to Heaven. I’m sure there isn’t any base for this thinking but more of just a comfort thing. My wife and I have both gotten the urge lately to pray for him and after mass on sunday I was praying for my brother and my two year old son came up to me and said what sounded like “Jake”. I said “uncle Jake?” and he said “jake” and pointed to the crucifix . Pretty awesome stuff.


That’s awesome…Back in February, I woke up in the middle of the night with these random thoughts coming to mind…something about a coworker, purgatory, masses.
Two weeks later, I found out that a co-worker on mine had committed suicide. I didn’t even know her…weird.


Pax Christi!

Certainly the Church’s teachings about Purgatory are well-founded, but I have not found teachings about time in Purgatory, other than, “more sins, more time” and that time can be reduced by us if we offer prayers and sacrifices.

Exactly how much reduction isn’t clear to me. The Church used to offer X number of years for this prayer or that devotion, but I don’t see that any more, other than Gregorian Masses.

Since prayer is never wasted, the best thing to do is pray, and pray more. And make sacrifices. I’ll follow this thread, and hope to hear from others.

God bless.


I’ve been reading the fully approved Story of Our Lady of Good Success & the Admirable life of Mariana De Jesus Torres. A lot is mentioned about Purgatory and I’m left with the feeling a place many of us will spend till the end of time. Be that as it may we can effect a speeder release for our loved ones. I strongly suggest we pray for the release of Jake’s soul from there so he can go to heaven. :slight_smile:


People who help the souls in Purgatory get more help when they are in purgatory than people who don’t pray for the dead. That’s why protestants who are in purgatory stay longer than most Catholics.
Unfortunately today Catholics are beginning to disbelieve in Hell or Purgatory.


My Mom used to tell us that when someone comes to our thoughts, to pray for them. Only God knows what’s going on so we should always pray for the Holy Souls. I say the
’ Eternal Rest" prayer every time I pass a cemetery. God Bless, Memaw


The reason why the whole idea of time in Purgatory isn’t really talked about anymore is due to us understanding that Purgatory isn’t eternal (as Heaven and Hell are), but isn’t temporal (as the universe is), either. But it does exist. It’s outside of space and time, but not truly eternal - because if it were eternal, people wouldn’t be able to ever leave Purgatory, though we know they do. Once a person is cleansed of all attachment to sin, he/she can enter Heaven, which is eternal. It’s just interesting, is all.


Yet Purgatory is defined as a place where we suffer temporal punishment for sins committed. So is it temporal or isn’t it?


Pax Christi!

It is temporal. But time isn’t the same, it seems to drag on and on.

At least, that’s what I’ve read from accounts of alleged visions. Our weeks and months become years and years to Poor Souls.

How many years? Dunno.

God bless.


I always thought of purgatory as a spiritual process rather than a ‘place’. The NT reference of purgation tells of a saved man undergoing a test of fire wherein his good works are purified and his bad works are consumed in fire. No time element is given for this probably because it occurs outside of time. As such purgatory remains a mystery to us in that we cannot fully comprehend it with our finite minds.


Our Idea of a “place” may not be the same as God’s. Our ‘words’ are very inadequate when it comes to the Supernatural. God Bless. Memaw


I think that St. Thomas Aquinas taught that there is no time in heaven–there is time on Earth–and purgatory is an odd mixture of both. Someone out there more knowledgeable about St. Thomas and time in purgatory might help us?


If I remember correctly, the X number of days/years for certain actions or indulgences was not in relation to time in Purgatory, but instead to the time here on earth that one could spend performing normal prayers/etc. So an example: you perform a particular set of prayers/actions/etc to obtain a 300-Day Indulgence, your prayers/actions/etc amounted to the similar results of just praying for 300 days for something.

It was a little confusing, so they stopped referring to the time associated with it because it caused more harm than good. Better to just call them partial or full indulgences for clarity.


It is temporal, as in not “eternal.” Here’s what Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) said on the matter. *The transforming ‘moment’ of this encounter [Purgatory] cannot be quantified by the measurements of earthly time. It is, indeed, not eternal but a transition, and yet trying to qualify it as of ‘short’ or ‘long’ duration on the basis of temporal measurements derived from physics would be naive and unproductive. The ‘temporal measure’ of this encounter lies in the unsoundable depths of existence, in a passing-over where we are burned ere we are transformed. To measure such Existenzzeit, such an ‘existential time,’ in terms of the time of this world would be to ignore the specificity of the human spirit in its simultaneous relationship with, and differentation from, the world. (Ratzinger, Eschatology, p. 230)*More quotes and details: What is Purgatory? :wink:


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