Catholics believe that we have indeed been redeemed by the blood of Christ. His passion, death, and resurrection has set us free from the bondage of sin. We are truly blessed by God's amazing grace and mercy. That blessing demands a response from us. We are called to be holy.
Some people criticize Catholics for trying to "earn" their way to heaven. I simply consider myself in good company if I join St. Paul in "working out my salvation in fear and trembling." (See Philippians 2:12) Jesus makes it clear that there are expectations for our behavior. "You are my friends if you do what I command." (John 15:14) So what happens if we fail to live our lives in holiness and die in a state of sin? Is there a purification process before entering heaven since nothing unclean can enter into God's eternal dwelling? If so, what does that purification process entail? Is it beneficial to pray for the dead? I encourage you to invest some time in study, prayer, and meditation on these very serious aspects of life and death. Here are some specific suggestions.
I invite you to spend some time reading the Catechism about this topic.
A little refresher course on indulgences, especially for the faithful departed during the month of November, can be found here:
Finally, I would suggest reading a brief article to gain further insight into Catholic teaching especially based upon the Book of Maccabees.