Where will I go when I die?


#1

If I die today in Christ, where will I go?

Will I go to the place called “hell” that is referred to in the creeds as the place where Christ descended when he died? It is my understanding that it was there that the holy men and women who had died prior to the time of Christ were sent to await their redeemer. When Christ descended he set them free.

Does this holding area still exist for those who die in Christ today while they wait for the final judgement at his second coming?

Or, alternatively, are we judged immediately at the time of our death and sent either to purgatory for further purification or to heaven?


#2

[quote=Chortle]If I die today in Christ, where will I go?

Will I go to the place called “hell” that is referred to in the creeds as the place where Christ descended when he died? It is my understanding that it was there that the holy men and women who had died prior to the time of Christ were sent to await their redeemer. When Christ descended he set them free.

Does this holding area still exist for those who die in Christ today while they wait for the final judgement at his second coming?

Or, alternatively, are we judged immediately at the time of our death and sent either to purgatory for further purification or to heaven?
[/quote]

Purgatory or Heaven. Hell is solely for the damned.


#3

The “holding place” you may be think of was called the Limbo if the Fathers, or in the Hebrew understanding, Sheol, which ceased to exist when Christ opened heaven.

When each of us dies, our souls are immediately taken to the presence of God and judged. This is called the Particular Judgment. At this point we begin our eternal destiny. If we are going to hell, our souls go directly there. If we are deemed worthy of heaven, our souls will go directly to heaven, or if we are going to heaven but are in need of purification, we may go to Purgatory first (everyone in Purgatory will eventually go to heaven). Whatever our fate, our souls will stay there until the end of time.

At the Second Coming at the end of time, those Christians still alive will be taken to heaven (what some Protestants think of as of the rapture). Then will occur the General Judgment. At that time the living and the dead will be reunited with their bodies and brought together in God’s presence and judged before all. Those who have already been judged in the Particular Judgment will be brought from wherever their souls were -heaven, hell or Purgatory-- and have their judgment confirmed before all.

After this, time and Purgatory will be no more and all will enter with their souls and bodies into their eternal destiny, either hell or heaven.

This is an extremely bare-bones sketch, so if you want to get the details, see the five articles linked below:

rosary-center.org/ll57n1.htm
rosary-center.org/ll57n2.htm
rosary-center.org/ll57n3.htm
rosary-center.org/ll57n4.htm
rosary-center.org/ll49n6.htm

.


#4

[quote=Fidelis]…or if we are going to heaven but are in need of purification, we may go to Purgatory first (everyone in Purgatory will eventually go to heaven). Whatever our fate, our souls will stay there until the end of time.
[/quote]

Does this mean that souls in need of purification in Purgatory will remain there until Christ comes again? Or do I misunderstand? I always had the impression that our purification “time” would vary . . . although time wouldn’t exist outside our temporal plane of earth. I think I’m giving myself even more questions!

Thank you!


#5

When we die do we stand before God? If this is true isn’t it the case that all people will go to heaven, even if they are bound for hell. If God is in heaven and our souls go to him to be judged then by simple reasoning doesn’t this mean we go to heaven, at least temporarily?


#6

[quote=Chortle]If I die today in Christ, where will I go?

Will I go to the place called “hell” that is referred to in the creeds as the place where Christ descended when he died? It is my understanding that it was there that the holy men and women who had died prior to the time of Christ were sent to await their redeemer. When Christ descended he set them free.

Does this holding area still exist for those who die in Christ today while they wait for the final judgement at his second coming?

Or, alternatively, are we judged immediately at the time of our death and sent either to purgatory for further purification or to heaven?
[/quote]

The catechism says that hell is to be outside the glory of God… not in His presence.


#7

[quote=krysianka]Does this mean that souls in need of purification in Purgatory will remain there until Christ comes again? Or do I misunderstand? I always had the impression that our purification “time” would vary . . . although time wouldn’t exist outside our temporal plane of earth. I think I’m giving myself even more questions!

Thank you!
[/quote]

Peace be with you!

We don’t know exactly how long people stay in Purgatory before going to Heaven. It may be instantaneous, or it may take “time”…but that term is questionable since we will be dead, and therefore outside of time. The important thing to remember is that if one goes to Purgatory THEY WILL GO TO HEAVEN. You’ve already been saved; no one goes to hell after Purgatory. The only place to go from Purgatory is Heaven.

In Christ,
Rand


#8

OK, I’m on the right track then.

Fidelis, maybe I misinterpreted.

But I am curious about continuing levi’s question: personal judgement must be in a place that is not heaven nor hell . . . ?


#9

I hope I’m right in this - presence in God does not necessarily mean living in and with God…in Purgatory, though in the presence of Heaven where God resides, we are still seperated from being with the Lord until all our sins are washed because “nothing unclean enters Heaven.”


#10

Hey Fidelis,

I read the articles you posted. It talks about how if you have a mortal sin that is unrepented, you will not be able to enter heaven. I have one mortal sin that I engage in from time to time which I am working on, and I feel bad after and ask for the lord’s forgiveness. Is that considered Repentance?


#11

The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity decides where each of us “goes” after we die.

No one else.

I don’t know where I will go, but I have Hope.

There are some things I can do to apply some “English” to my cause … to maybe tilt things slightly in my direction.

Pray constantly.

When faced with a deliberate choice, to do the right thing and to avoid the wrong thing.

To encourage others to do the right thing.

Pray some more.


#12

[quote=levi86]When we die do we stand before God? If this is true isn’t it the case that all people will go to heaven, even if they are bound for hell. If God is in heaven and our souls go to him to be judged then by simple reasoning doesn’t this mean we go to heaven, at least temporarily?
[/quote]

I think we can get into trouble when we start thinking of heaven and hell as places like McDonald’s and Burger King. Try to think of these places as states of being and outside of time.


#13

Let’s see if I’ve caught all these questions:

  1. The “time” one spends “in” Purgatory is indeterminate. Most theologians and spiritual writers seem to think that we only stay in that state until our particular cleansing process is over, not until the Second Coming. The important thing about Purgatory – and what has been defined for us --is not the time we spend there, but it’s purpose and the fact that it exists.

  2. The fact that we will be judged by God does not necessarily mean we have to be in his direct presence in the sense of those already in heaven (i.e., the Beatific Vision). As he did in the OT (and, indeed, as when the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Jesus, did when he took on human flesh) God can veil his presence to us. Heck, he’s God–he can do anything any way he wants.

I read the articles you posted. It talks about how if you have a mortal sin that is unrepented, you will not be able to enter heaven. I have one mortal sin that I engage in from time to time which I am working on, and I feel bad after and ask for the lord’s forgiveness. Is that considered Repentance?

  1. This is tougher to answer since it depends on the state of your soul at the time you die. God isn’t a dummy–he will know whether your repentance is sincere or you are making excuses. That is why mortal sin is such serious business. We can fool ourselves, but not God, so we shouldn’t count on “slipping in” to heaven, but should working on virtue and against vice as the occasion arises. God is both just and merciful --he sees your actions, but knows your heart. Pray, stay close to Jesus, do your sincere best and trust in the Divine Mercy.

#14

Thank you all for sharing your insight with me. You answered my question well.


#15

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