During our life on earth, we are all called to strive towards being Christ-by living all the virtues to a heroic degree. However, this goal and calling requires effort because of our fallen nature and tendency to sin, dating back to our first parents, Adam and Eve.
In order to be a saint and to enjoy the fullness of life in heaven with God, we are called to purify ourselves of anything that does not reflect Christ such as our bad habits, vices etc. When people die, some will still be imperfectly purified on earth and will spend time in purgatory to be completely purified before they are worthy to go to heaven.
It is common to think that purgatory is a punishment, but this is not true. Everyone in purgatory essentially has already been guaranteed salvation. Those in hell have chosen with their full freedom that they do not want to be saved by Christ and will remain there for eternity.
Those in purgatory have faced God, acknowledged where they fell short and develop a deep appreciation for the ‘’cleansing’’ they receive in purgatory. In a supernatural sense, they acknowledge their unworthiness and understand the need for their purification.
The Catholic Church acknowledges the Holy Souls in Purgatory on November 2, also known as All Souls Day. The Church prays for the souls in Purgatory each day to lifted to heaven during Mass and every time a prayer for the dead is recited.