I am teaching the seventh grade about temporal punishment due to sin. One of the students asked if anyone can go straight to heaven after dying since we all need to atone for the temporal punishment. What do I say?
Certainly martyrs and people who have suffered greatly before they die, go directly to heaven. Jesus promised good thief in the Gospel that he would be in paradise that very day—but after he died from being crucified. His Purgatory was here on earth–as it can be for many of us.
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.