Why purgatory is a place of hope

The promise of purgatory can bolster our hope in the future, showing the beauty of God’s love for us.

Purgatory isn’t always portrayed as a hopeful place. For many, purgatory is depicted as a place of purification, where we experience a great deal of suffering before entering the courts of Heaven.

This description can be misleading, as it can almost make it seem like a type of Hell.

Pope Benedict XVI reiterated that purgatory is meant to be a place of hope, mentioning it in his encyclical on hope, Spe salvi.


At the moment of judgment we experience and we absorb the overwhelming power of his love over all the evil in the world and in ourselves. The pain of love becomes our salvation and our joy … The judgement of God is hope, both because it is justice and because it is grace … If it were merely justice, in the end it could bring only fear to us all … grace allows us all to hope, and to go trustfully to meet the Judge whom we know as our “advocate.”

The existence of purgatory can give us hope during our life on earth, affirming to us that God is a just Judge, an “advocate,” rather than an arbitrary dictator. He wants to clothe us with his love, not only in this life, but also in the next. This love spurs us on, giving us hope that all the good we do is not in vain.

Furthermore, purgatory has another dimension that should give us hope. It is a place where we are still united to the Church on earth.