For you and I, we must face the fact that our mortal bodies will one day give out. There will come a day when our bodies will be weakened or damaged to the point that it can no longer respond to the energy coming from our souls. After death, our body starts to dissolve or disintegrate. But what happens to our soul?
Well, because the soul was created directly by God and because it didn’t receive it’s existence from the body, there is no reason that it will also end when the body does. And since the soul is a spirit, we know that it cannot cease to exist. So, what becomes of the soul once it leaves our body after death? Heaven, hell or purgatory?
Where the soul goes after death is decided by one’s free will to choose either God or himself. In other words, which do we love more. St. Augustine says, “wherever it is that I go, my love is what takes me there.” Scripture talked about the dead Apostle Judas on a grim note by saying “he went to his own place.” He seemed to love himself more than God, and so who he loved the most sent him there. Once we come to the end of our lives, we will have made a choice by who we love. Love of God takes us to God, while a love of self as distinct from God will separate us from God. Jesus talks about the reality of the departure from God and everlasting fire in the Gospel of Matthew (25:41-46).
When a man dies loving himself so greatly that he has a hatred of God, then God lets him go to his own place. That place is what we call hell.
For the man who at the end of his life has chosen to love God, even in an imperfect way, will eventually see his soul go to the presence of God. And some souls, even though it is in sanctifying grace, sometimes will have imperfections with regards to it’s love of God that needs to be purified. There may be small things that we cling to which are not in step with God’s will. In the book of Revelation (21:27), it states that nothing unclean or defiled can enter heaven. For this reason, a persons soul goes to purgatory before ultimately entering into heaven.
For more on purgatory – https://renewedhopeministry.com/2013/06/09/does-purgatory-really-exist/
When the love of self is totally gone, either at death or after the suffering of purgatory, the soul goes to God. It is then that the soul has total union with God and the Beatific Vision of heaven.
Once the world ends, all human souls will be reunited with their bodies, no matter if the soul is in heaven or hell. Christ will return to judge the living and the dead; and the bodies of the dead will reunite with their spirits, which is the soul. Then each person will see, not only why and where they will spend all eternity, but will see the fate of all humanity.
Until next time, God bless.