Some assorted Patristic thoughts (from Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Old Testament VII - Psalms 1-50, Blaising, C.A. and Hardin, C.S. eds., InterVarsity Press. Pp. 47, 51-52)
When you feel the Lord's displeasure, if you see that you are troubled by this, you can say Psalm 6.
Their translation of Ps 6:5: "For in death there is no remembrance of thee; in Sheol who can give thee praise?
The editors also note the following that I find germane to discussion of the psalm:
The sixth pslam, in the Septuagint, bears the title, "To the eighth," which is variously understood as the day of judgment (Augustine), the day of resurrection (Gregory of Nyssa), or the new age of spiritual circumcision (Didymus).
Now is the time for repentance; conversion is not possible after death (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Augustine, Jerome). Now is the time for cleansing; then the time for chastisement (Gregory of Nazianzus).
To the commentaries now of 3 giants (HabteSelassie already quoted Augustine, who is also included in this volume):
(When the psalmist says) "for in death there is no one to remember you," (he is) not implying that our existence lasts only as far as the present life: perish the thought! After all, he is aware of the doctrine of resurrection. Rather, it is that after our departure from here there would be no time for repentance. For the rich man praised God and repented, but in view of its lateness it did him no good. The virgins wanted to get some oil, but no one gave any to them. So this is what this man requests, too, for his sins to be washed away in this life so as to enjoy confidence at the tribunal of the fearsome judge.
Iti s better to be punished and cleansed now than to be transmitted to the torment to come, when it is the time of chastisement, not of cleansing. For as he who remembers God here is conqueror of death (as David has most excellently sung), so the departed have not in the grave confession and restoration; for God has confined life and action to this world, and to the future the scrutiny of what has been done.
For he who has made the inheritance known has also mentioned the octave, which becomes both the boundary of the present time and the beginning of the age to come. Now the characteristic feature of the octave is that it no longer affords those who are in it opportunity to procure things good or bad, but one hands over instead the sheaves from whatever seeds he has sown for himself through his works. For this reason he prescribes here that the one who is exercised in the same victories effect repentance, as such zeal is idle in Hades.
I don't understand the quote from Gregory of Nyssa, as he seems to have believed (and taught) that hell would be emptied.
Also, if there's no growth or change in hades, what happens to those who live no more than a few hours (or who never take their first breath, like my sister)?
In 1958, my dad paid an RC priest $25.00 to have my still born sister baptized, because he believed that if she wasn't shed be stuck in Limbo forever.
A Greek Orthodox priest once told me that this life is a preperation for the next, but what preperation did my sister get?
Is it possible they do learn and grow (and perhaps share in this preperation here thru those of us who live on earth)?