When we die in God’s friendship but with a heart not yet perfected, we need further purification before entering the holiness of God’s presence. This final purification is called purgatory.
Purgatory is purification—purgation—after death before we can see God face-to-face. If we cooperate with his grace, God will transform and sanctify us during our lives. If, however, we die in a state of grace, but not yet pure or holy enough to enter the full presence of God in heaven, we receive the purification we need to enter the heavenly banquet in purgatory.
“We believe that God—by grace—transforms us through his Son Jesus Christ to be able to be with him and live with him forever.”
The consuming fire of God’s love in purgatory consumes any residue of inordinate self-love or unrepented venial sin. Like heaven and hell, purgatory exists outside of time. It is not a waiting period to see if we “make it” to heaven; souls in purgatory are bound for heaven and the joys of union with God forever.