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Purgatory – How should we teach this to kids?

What were you taught about Purgatory as a child?

I was taught that is somewhere where I will need to be ‘purged’ before I can enter Heaven. I felt that this must be painful. It’s not something that I am looking forward to and I don’t think that I am holy enough to skip it altogether!

Is Purgatory biblical?

In 2 Macabees, Juda Macabee, a military leader in ancient Israel, and his men had been fighting for God and some had died in battle. Their sin had played a role in the fact that they had died during this battle. Had they not sinned they would not have died. So, Juda takes up a collection so that a sacrifice could be offered for his dead soldiers in the Temple in Jerusalem. He also prayed for them.

In 1 Corinthians:3 shows that after our salvation is secure, we will still need to be purged of all the last traces of impurities before we go to Heaven

Though the blood of Christ is enough to forgive all our sins, it doesn’t mean we can just swan into Heaven willy-nilly! No! There are still attitudes in me that are not Christ-like and I will definitely need these sorted out before I can stand before the throne of Almighty God.

Temporal punishments?

Take the example of one child breaking another child’s leg. There are more than simply physical hurts that will remain. In both children there are lingering emotional stabbings that have occurred and these need to be healed in them both. So even when the sins have been absolutely forgiven and absolved, what remains-these emotional and in one case an additional physical hurt all need to be healed. These lingering effects are called temporal punishments and can be healed in Purgatory.  

In fact, these need to be healed before we can stand before the lamb of God – We need to be fully healed in order to be able to accept pure love.

So, to Purgatory…many of us will go! These temporal punishments can be resolved through indulgences. But we don’t want to overcomplicate things for children…

Perhaps it’s best to just say that we all need to be healed from the pains & hurts and the attachments of this life as they stop me from allowing myself to be fully hugged by Jesus in Heaven?