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Stanley Gonzales wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • When a person dies do they go straight to Heaven? and
  • What are the Scriptural references related to this?

Thank you,

Stanley

  { When a person dies do they go straight to Heaven and what is the Scriptural support for this? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Stanley —

Thanks for the question.

You said:

  • When a person dies do they go straight to Heaven? and
  • What are the Scriptural references related to this?

There is nothing in the Bible that says when people die, in general, they go straight to Heaven.

I know you mean well, but the problem with questions that include: ... and where is the Scriptural reference for this — is that most, if not all the time, the questioner is treating the Bible like a Catechism or book of beliefs to live by. The Bible is not a Catechism and was never intended to be treated like a Catechism or book of beliefs to live by.

The Bible is a liturgical book that is used for Catholic Masses, our Catholic worship service.

That said, there is Scriptural support for some Catholic teachings.

If you are interested in which ones, check out my Scripture Passages page:

http://www.AskACatholic.com/ScripturePassages

You said:

  • When a person dies do they go straight to Heaven?

It depends if they did all they could to be saved. We don't believe in the predestination of the elect like Calvinists do. We believe, and Our Lord believes, our choices make a difference in whether we go to Heaven or (repudiating His Gospel by our choices and actions) choose Hell.

The important thing to remember is even if someone has publicly repudiated the Gospel for years and years, it is never to late to return to spread the Gospel by words and actions instead.

Only saved souls are in Heaven or being purified in the Holy Hospital of Heaven, Purgatory.

  1. If they knew the Catholic Church was necessary for salvation yet refused to join Her,
    that person could not be saved.
  2. If that person didn't know the Church was necessary for salvation yet followed their conscience to the best they could, they could be saved.

Most of the time during our struggles with sin, we die saved, but not totally purified.

Think of sin as a self-inflicted wound in your life.

When we physically hurt ourselves, many times we have to be brought to the hospital and the doctor or nurse will put an alcoholic disinfectant in our cut or wound. It will hurt ... a lot!!! but it's a good hurt; it's a holy hurt, that is needed to make us physically better.

We also have to distinguish between less severe physical injures where we cut ourselves and require stitches and more severe injures, like a NASCAR racing driver who gets into a major collision and ends up with third or fourth-degree burns over 90 percent of their body. There are varying degrees of damage that we do to our bodies, not only physically, but spiritually too!

Because Revelation tells us that nothing impure can enter Heaven (Revelation 21:27) and because God Himself is all Holy, we too, have to be all Holy to enter Heaven. To achieve this, any remaining self-inflicted spiritual wounds (meaning self-love) from our pilgrimage on earth has to be burned off, healed, and purified.

  • If our spiritual injures are along the line of just needing stitches, that healing period where our self-love has to be burned off will be short;
  • but if our self-inflicted injuries are along the line of third or fourth-degree burns, the healing process will take longer.

Saints in the past have had private revelations from the souls in Purgatory. They [the Holy Souls in Purgatory] have shared that, while the [healing|burning] fires of God’s Love in Purgatory are painful (Hebrews 12:29, Exodus 3:1-6), at the same time they had an internal, burning joy because they knew they were being conformed to the image of God and their final destiny would be total union with Him.

Instead of the good healing pain that the alcoholic disinfectant gave us under a doctor’s care to prepare us to re-enter the earthly world again, in Purgatory, we experience a holy, healing pain under Jesus’ Care which purifies our souls and prepares us to enter eternal life with God who is all Holy.

  • Could people die in a state of 100% holiness and go straight to Heaven from their particular judgment?

Sure!, it's hard, but it is possible.

Finally, it's important to note Purgatory has nothing to do with ones salvation! Those in Purgatory are saved by the Blood of the Lamb, Jesus. Purgatory has to do with personal holiness. The reason why it is specifically personal holiness is because God gave each individual the ability to choose freely while we make our earthly journey.

  • Make sense?

Mike

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