What happens between death and the Second Coming?


This question has long fascinated me. I know that immediately after death is the particular judgement and we go either to Heaven, Hell or Purgatory.
What I would like to know is what The Church says about consciousness. Since we are separted from our body at death and are spirit, do we retain our consciousness of self and would we recognize other people in the same state as we are i.e. Heaven, Hell or Purgatory? I know that Christ will return, at which time we will be united with our bodies as glorified and General Judgement takes place - my question is what happens between times - between death and the re uniting with our bodies? I have done a search on the internet without any luck…links would be appreciated too providing they are authentic Catholic sites.

I dont have good imaginary powers at the best of times and I find it impossible actually to imagine myself without a body. This does not mean I question our belief, because I do not…simply that I cannot imagine my selfhood without a body. Hence it is my imagination that is impoverished, not my Faith.

What can we anticipate (if anything is known) of spirit and the interim between death and the Second Coming. We know an aweful lot about what to expect with the Return of Jesus and after…but what about the interim…will we be conscious of time passing or will the interim seem as a blink to us since we will be in eternity outside of time? And what does this say about the Souls in Purgatory - are they while being in eternity conscious of time passing etc. etc.?

Or is it simply that we do not know what to expect of this interim period and need rest in trust?

Blessings - Barb:)


These articles may help:

The Four Last Things:


Thank you very much for the above, Fidelis. It will take me a bit of time to read through them and see if they answer any of my questions. For the interested, these are the topics covered on the above links:

Part I: The Christian Understanding of Death

Part II: Our Judgment Before God\



Blessings and regards…Barb:)


I havnt read those links yet, but I would strongly assume that we do retain consciousness, otherwise the situation would be like “soul sleep”, which is heretical, in which the soul remains unconscious until the Final Judgment.

Consciousness is essential because that soul must know the verdict of their judment and be able to suffer or enjoy their punishment or reward. Further, in order to have intercession of the saints means those saints must know them self and be capable of interceding.

I agree with you, it is hard to imagine ourselves without our bodies, I would guess nobody living can imagine it either.


Makes sense:thumbsup: …thank you for input.
Blessings - Barb:)


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