A fervorino

Jesus said:

You serpents, generation of vipers, how will you flee from the judgment of hell?

(Matthew 23:33)

You who are reading this might not be a "viper"… or even an asp… but this shows that Jesus thought hell existed and that it is very possible to go there.

Yes, folks, it is possible to go to hell.

As a matter of fact, it isn’t very hard at all.

Some will reject the merits of Christ, His offering to confirm us as heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven. 

It is possible to kill the life of grace in the soul. 

When you die, you will be judged with the first judgment by the Judge who is justice itself, but who is also mercy incarnate.

His judgment we will have whether we want it or not. 

His mercy we must beg.

And He will give it swiftly.

When you go to confession and confess all your mortal sins in both number and kind, they are forgiven, removed from your soul, they are no more, they are taken away.

Though your sins be as red as scarlet, they will be made as white as snow.

Again, they are taken away by the Blood of the Lamnb.  They are not merely covered over, or set aside or over looked, as the deadly error of the Protestants has it.

When you sins are forgiven by a priest with valid orders and faculties to absolve they are no more and will never be held against you at your judgment.

"… et ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis…"

"… I absolve you from your sins…"

When was the last time your heard those words?

It may be that at death you will not have done adequate penance for the sins you committed and confessed and which were forgiven by Christ through the priest.

It may be that you have attachment for sins.

In this case, the mercy of God is even more beautifully extended to us.

Can we imagine a binary end of our lives?  Either die in absolute perfection, having done all necessary penance and having no attachment to sin or, on the other hand, die with even the smallest imperfection and therefore passing to the eternity of hell, with its perpetual physical and spiritual agony?

And so God permits those who die in His friendship but with imperfections to be purified and cleansed of their final flaws so that, when the moment is right, the soul may pass into the bliss of heaven and the beatific vision… forever.  

Once you are in hell, no one can vote you out.

But we can "vote" people out of the state of purgatory with our votive offerings and penances and into heaven by taking on some of their penance, by praying for them, by having Masses said. 

We are in this together.

What was the last time you did penance or sought an indulgence or had a Mass said for someone who died or the souls in purgatory?

Imagine the first five seconds of heaven, the greetings given you by those whom you aided to enter more swiftly in to the presence of God, all luminous in the beatific vision.

Now imagine the the first five seconds of hell… the shock of realizing where you are.

When we do things for the least of Christ’s brethren, we do them for Christ.  Souls of purgatory are also in need of your care.

During this long stretch of Sundays of Ordinary Time, of the Time after Pentecost, do not forget the basics of your Catholic identity.

We confess our sins regularly, because Catholics love God, fear hell and know neither the day no the hour of our death and judgment.

We do penance, especially on Fridays, because we Catholics pray for ourselves and others, especially the dead.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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46 Responses to A fervorino

  1. Jeff D. says:

    Fr. Z.,

    Thank you for this post, which is so timely that it seems that it was written especially for me. I will have the opportunity tomorrow to receive the sacrament of reconciliation for the first time in too long, and I cannot wait.

  2. TomG says:

    As regards the Sacrament of Penance, I can tell you as a converted former Reformed Presbyterian – at age 52 – it is indeed the “Balm of Gilead.”

  3. Suzanne says:

    Beautiful! Thank you for the reminder on doing penance for our confessed sins… I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.

  4. Jenny says:

    What are the rules and or traditions around making Mass intentions? Does the person have to be Catholic? I don’t know anything about it except as a list of names in the bulletin.

  5. Father Z,

    What is your thinking on whether the greater number of the souls will be saved or damned? The Fathers of the Church seemed to be very pessimistic as was Aquinas.

  6. Wendy says:

    Greg said: What is your thinking on whether the greater number of the souls will be saved or damned? The Fathers of the Church seemed to be very pessimistic as was Aquinas. [I guess I am rather Augustinian on this point.]

    Hmmm, I don’t think Father could answer that question, God only knows the answer to that. Why not just pray for the number in the tradition of the great monastic Saints? In other words don’t worry about how many just pray and do penance for yourself and others.

  7. Geoffrey says:

    Excellent post, Father! Thank you!

  8. Prof. Basto says:

    Thanks, Father.

    You do wonderful pastoral service on this weblog.

  9. Father Gary V. says:

    Jenny,
    You don’t have to be a Catholic to offer Mass intentions. Our calendar of Mass Intentions in our parish is fully booked until Oct. 20. The Filipinos are big on this tradition.

  10. Private says:

    When one seeks to obtain an indulgence “under the usual conditions”, what does this mean?

    Must it mean that one must go to confession the same day as they perform whatever acts are required for the indulgence? Or just within eight days as I have also heard?

    Also, I have a pancreatic tumour and will undergo major surgery on Aug. 22. What sacramental preparation is suggested? Prayer escapes me these days…I can never do it when I need to.

    Thanks for any advice.

  11. Andraea says:

    Amen.

    I hope many more priests (if not all) will preach about Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell in the pulpit more often. These are absolute realities of our lives and I find it troublesome when some priests and bishops do not even dare to speak on these things. Thank you Fr. Z.

  12. Anne Scanlon says:

    Dear Private,

    Anointing of the Sick may be received prior to your surgery and of course confession Mass and Communion often…You are in my prayers…

    Anne

  13. Susan says:

    I have been thinking much about hell lately, and who goes there, and why, recalling that the children at Fatima said they saw souls falling into hell like snowflakes in a blizzard.

    Many of the unbelievers I meet are not vicious, evil people, just chumps who don’t think any of that ‘religious stuff’ matters. They soil themselves in sin just as an infant soils his diaper…but we don’t hold it against the infant, because he knows no better.

    I have to ask: why will these ignorant chumps be punished for all eternity, when most of them have no idea what’s at stake?

    This question is timely, since I have a friend I am trying to coax (and pray) into the Light, and these are the kind of objections she raises. How do I answer her? Your thoughts are most welcome.

  14. Jenny Z says:

    Amen to that, Father. God bless you for this blog.

  15. Jeff says:

    Wonderful post. A good idea for a homily in November. [Noooo... for right now!]

    Speaking of penance, I remember years ago under Cardinal Cooke there was a Chicago priest who had a yearly (I think) Mass in Reparation for the Sin of Contraception.

    Cooke’s successor put a stop to that.

    But it always seemed to me like SUCH a good idea and something positive priests and parishioners could do VOLUNTARILY when so many Catholics are unaware of the gravity of this act and feel trapped into engaging in it and are unwilling to listen.

  16. Sieber says:

    Confessions from 8-9. Dozen in front of me. 9:55, my turn. Dozen yet to go.
    Be brief, be blunt, be gone-I went. Got to the pew to say my penance &
    realized he forgot to give me one. So I said a rosary in satisfaction & in
    gratitude for the priest’s vocation.
    Question…was the scarament valid?

  17. Jrbrown says:

    Fr Z.-what do you make of priests who decide, on their own authority, to change the words of absolution to something else, such as “May God absolve you…”? It ususally results in people feeling WORSE coming out than when they went in, that is, of course, if they even noticed the difference. Very confusing, if not terrifying, to know that this does occur…

    [HUH? What do you think I think?!?]

  18. Dear Private:

    From the 1991 USCCB “Handbook of Indulgences” based on the 3rd edition of the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, Norms for Indulgences:

    Norm 23
    1. Beside the exclusion of all attachment to sin, even venial sin, the requirements for gaining a plenary indulgence are the performance of the indulgenced work and fulfillment of three conditions: sacramental confession, eucharistic communion, and prayer for the pope’s intention.

    2. Several plenary indulgences may be gained on the basis of a single sacramental confession …

    3. The three conditions may be carried out several days preceding or following performance of the prescribed work. …

    4. [ Only a partial indulgence can be obtained of the conditions are not satisfied. ]

    5. The condition requiring prayer for the pope’s intentions is satisfied by reciting once the Our Father and Hail Mary for his intentions; …

  19. CK says:

    What about the “apostolic pardon or blessing”, Father? I’m told that not all priests include that, perhaps out of ignorance, esp. if they believe that a person only needs the blessing of the sick rather than for a dying situation. Isn’t it supposed to be included in every sacrament of the sick? Also, so many speak of everything as covered by the sacrament of the sick and yet that full anointing of the hands, feet, etc. isn’t given – many times not even at the last. Even though a friend in last stages of cancer received a couple of blessings for the sick I made certain that her final absolution included that apostolic pardon.

    [Every priest should have the Apostolic Benediction memorized... and use it!]

    Also Father, you said:

    Either die in absolute perfection, having done all necessary penance and having no attachment to sin or, on the other hand, die with even the smallest imperfection and therefore passing to the eternity of hell, with its perpetual physical and spiritual agony?

    Why wouldn’t that “smallest imperfection” be likened to venial sin rather than assumed mortal – that which would condemn you to the eternity of hell? I mean, I’m assuming that most here just might have that “smallest imperfection” to be cleansed – since the just man himself sins a number of times daily! [Do you have to ask?]

  20. CK says:

    P.S. From Fr. John Hardon, S.J.:

    Q. Should priests bestow the Apostolic Blessing when they administer the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick?

    A. Yes, the priest should bestow what in the pre-Vatican II liturgy was called the Apostolic Blessing but is now called the Apostolic Pardon. The present liturgy for the pastoral care of the sick declares, “At the Conclusion of the sacrament of penance or the penitential rite, the priest may give the Apostolic Pardon for the dying, using one of the following:

    A. Through the holy mysteries of our redemption, may almighty God release you from all punishments in this life and in the life to come. May He open to you the gates of paradise and welcome you to everlasting joy. R. Amen.

    B. By the authority which the Apostolic See has given me, I grant you a full pardon and the remission of all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit. R. Amen.”

    You will notice that the ritual says the priest “may give the Apostolic Pardon.” I believe this means that, barring unforeseen circumstances, the priest should give what we may still call the Apostolic Blessing.

    == Ask Fr. Hardon by Fr. John Hardon S.J.

  21. danh says:

    CK,

    “Why wouldn’t that “smallest imperfection” be likened to venial sin rather than assumed mortal – that which would condemn you to the eternity of hell? I mean, I’m assuming that most here just might have that “smallest imperfection” to be cleansed – since the just man himself sins a number of times daily!”

    Fr was not saying that this is the case, but that this would be the case without Purgatory!

    Jesus admonished us to, “be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect.”
    He also said that nothing imperfect shall enter heaven.

    The great grace of Purgatory is that these imperfections and attachments will not keep us out of Heaven forever. Without Purgatory there would no way to cleanse these and Hell would be the only alternative. Not only that, but God has also given us yet another means to acquire holiness in works of mercy, by praying for the souls in Purgatory.

  22. CK says:

    Thank you danh. That’s what would now be assumed, but was it ever even possible for a “binary” situation – even before the defining of purgatory – for the just? I mean, the “holding station” awaiting Christ’s death and resurrection wasn’t hell. And in God’s perfect justice one cannot imagine hell being an only choice ever for imperfection. So if it was never a possibility why make it one? But I understand the projection made here.

  23. dark_coven says:

    Father, are u trying to scare us? [Go to confession regularly, do penance, and pray.] Can’t we just stick to wymynpryst, SSPX, Anglicans, Roman rite, etc, etc? Geez!

    Just kidding, I know as a pastor of souls it is your duty to remind us of our accountability before God and what it is that’s waiting for us the moment “Dies Irae” comes. For this, we thank you for reminding us that all these issues in the Church (wymynpryst, SSPX, etc) that we tackle everyday, boils down to that very day, when it finally comes to greet us and we give an account of our lives. Dies Irae!

    Instavrare Omnia In Christo.

  24. Sid Cundiff says:

    We often think of Hell physically: fire, brimstone, sulphur, wormwood, pitchforks, goat-like humanoids. Yet the best explanation of Hell that I ever heard was Trinitarian. Following a great theologian, the experience of God is His Speaking (Father) of a Word (Son) about caritas (Holy Spirit) Now (1) when we do wrong knowing it’s wrong, we have lost The Holy Spirit. Yet we have not lost Those from Whom The Holy Spirit is spirated. So we have hope. (2) When we decide the good to be bad and the bad to be good, we have lost the Word, the Son. Yet in this life we have not lost the Speaker of the Word, The Father. So we still have hope. (3) Thus Hell is the complete loss of Father, Son, Holy Spirit. The damned have lost The Father, the very ability to hear the Word. And thus they have no Hope. So, as a corollary, how one dies is all important.

    In turn, we can define Heaven as the complete recovery of not just The Holy Spirit and The Son, but also The Father, about Whom The Son and The Holy Spirit have told us.

    (Frankly, the big gaping hole in theology is not, What is Hell like?, but rather, What is Heaven like? Folks seem to know all about Hell, thanks to “negative advertising”. But Heaven? Liturgy ought help out here. If folk had even a clue how wonderful, sublime, grand, majestic, “beatific”, Heaven really is, would they really be out cussing, cheating, and coveting their neighbor’s wife, or spitting in his soup? I submit that with such a clue, the line at the confessional would go around the block.)

    [Yah? Well, at the end of things, when the dead rise and the Final Judgment takes place, we'll just see who feels what. ]

  25. danh says:

    Peter W,
    “first five seconds”… in a state without seconds, I’m not sure what you mean. Sounds a bit like an application of this world’s measurement onto God’s time.

    God’s judgement (as well as every other aspect of God) can be a bit like that too I guess – how I judge writ large. Not suprising the atheists are having such a field-day with our poor metaphysics! It seems an especially cruel thing to do (and I think that I mean cruel), to apply poor metaphysics to the pulpit.

    Love is a good way of getting us out of this fix.

    ————————————————–

    On this premise we can say the Jesus Himself applied poor metaphysics. After all, how can there be a Banquet that requires a proper Wedding garment in a non-material Eternity where \”there is no giving and taking in Marriage\” where we will \”be like the Angels\” and \”there will be no hunger.\” How about comparing the Kingdom to a seed and a tree? Ridiculous you say?

    Fr is not making metaphysical statements, he is drawing a word picture in terms that we can immediately relate to so that we can grasp a much greater and important reality. Jesus did this extensively, except that we call them Parables. Note also that the Bible states that these were not understood by the wise, only by the simple.

    As for the atheists having a field day, what about the Gospel that is \”foolishness to the Greeks and a stumbling block for the Jews?\”

    The reason they APPEAR to be having a field day is that we let them set the parameters of the discussion and then try to debate on their terms while thusly decapitated. We should be challenging their terms! Try Aquinas sometime (when you have a lot of time…). They start with a positivism that says everything can be known through the senses and then add a materialism that says what can be measured is all there is. Finally, just in case we have navigated that hurdle, they throw in relativism to question OUR assessment of those measurements (strangely rarely their own).

    Example, \”I am a scientist. I take nothing on faith!\”

    ALL science has several unprovable base assumptions that they all take on faith. The most basic is that any phenomenon observed here will be observed everywhere if the conditions are identical. The experimentation and theorizing of the Scientific Method are very much about repeatability. Another is that our senses are a reliable indicator unless other factors intervene to obscure them. I could go on but I think everyone gets the point.

    The application of this to say, Miracles, is a case in point. They start with the fact that the laws of nature are universal and immutable, therefore there can be no miracles. I believe this too, EXCEPT that miracles are outside of nature and not thus bound; they are \”super-natural.\” The common rebuttal then becomes there is no such thing. Ok, prove it! They cannot, in fact, they will try to reverse the onus on you to prove there is. Don\’t let them. If the natural is all there is and it is measurable, then they should be able to define its limits. We have a wonderful exclusionary principle on our side. Their premise requires that there can never be an exception, we only have to show it once….

    Catholic metaphysics is not so poor after all.

  26. CK says:

    Okay, another “spring butt” question…if we are to be “like the angels” with no marrying and assumed even desire for such, once in paradise, and they are spirits, does something in “eternity” change after the New Heaven and New Earth come forth and we receive the glorified bodies? Obviously the angels can take on human likeness at God’s will, but that isn’t their essence.

    And….if we are like unto (a little biblicalism) angels there, then wouldn’t we also be like “unto” those damned angels in hell – also spirits – so then how is that fire and brimstone gonna penetrate? And if the condemned don’t rate “glorified bodies” just what kind of “bodies” get retreaded there???!!

    And I’ve got more!! Boy, Fr. Z, did you open a can of worms – oops, that brings to mind….

  27. Christine says:

    What a wonderful invitation! I read a great book (in my opinion) by Adrienne von Speyr,Confession, publisher Ignatius Press. She said the church builds herself up by her sacraments. She says it is not just a matter for the private individual, but for the whole Church! I couldn’t wait to get to Saturday morning confession. Reading this book made me ponder some things I’d never considered before: fewer numbers of baptized Catholics making use of the Sacrament of Penance, therefore, muddying her purity,Eucharist received without benefit of Penance in advance, or at all, reducing the power we have in the world, as the Body of Christ. I’m sure I’m saying it all wrong (so please don’t start a verbal battle), just think about the power of Jesus Christ through the priest, in this most necessary of Sacraments: Confession.

  28. Michael B. says:

    What a great post!
    Bread for the hungry! Good news!
    Thank you, good shepherd.

  29. Derik Castillo says:

    Thank you for the remainder, Fr. Z.

    I once heard from a priest that having Mass said for
    a deceased person once was enough. I don’t quite
    remember the exact argument why. So I guess my
    (rather silly) question is how many Masses does it
    take to vote my dear relative out of purgatory?

    Now something not completely related to this thread.
    I read in Redemptionis Sacramentum # 107 that one
    who throws away the consecrated species incurs in
    excommunication. Does this applies to accidental
    dropping of particles when receiving communion
    in the hand? I tend to lick my hand whenever I find
    myself in this situation. In the parish near my job,
    a huge consecrated host is divided into many fragments,
    by the priest and one or two extraordinary ministers.
    I am almost certain that they unintentionally drop
    tiny particles of the Holy Eucharist in the floor.

    Derik Castillo

  30. Hidden One says:

    Someone been reading St. Leonard of Port Maurice lately? That sermon of his beats everything else I’ve ever encountered – and I’ve gone looking – when it comes to instilling proper fear and reverence into souls.

  31. pdt says:

    Many years ago there was a BBC series entitled Bless Me, Father. It was a warm and funny view into the life of the aging pastor of St. Jude’s parish.

    In one episode, a woman was preparing for conversion to Catholicism but had one difficult point: believing in Hell. The pastor cautioned her in words I paraphrase for not having seen the show in 20 years:

    “My dear, you must believe in Hell and eternal punishment. It is a tenet of our Catholic faith and Hell does truly exist.”
    (pause)
    “But you’re a damned fool if you believe there are many people in it.”

    I was offered the thought early on that at our initial judgment immediately after death we are going to come face to face with Christ and then and only then be judged. In his knowledge of our heart we will learn of the suffering we must bear in Purgatory, but only the outright denial of Him and refusal to atone and accept forgiveness at that moment will lead to eternal damnation.

    Something tells me that must be awfully hard to do face to face. But yes, it’s not impossible as Satan and his followers have demonstrated all too well.

  32. Matt Q says:

    Jeff D wrote:

    Fr. Z.,

    Thank you for this post, which is so timely that it seems that it was written especially for me. I will have the opportunity tomorrow to receive the sacrament of reconciliation for the first time in too long, and I cannot wait.”

    )(

    Dear Jeff, I will be praying for you. God bless you in your efforts at Reconciliation. Let God continue to work in your life. It’s a great thing and He does have our best interests at heart. ;)

    Thank you, Father Z for posting this Catechetical piece. Even though most of us essentially know this, it’s something we all need to be reminded of often, and it’s totally great for a priest to be saying it. How cool it would be to hear that preached from the pulpit. Much of we get in the parish is same meaningless drivel week after week.

    Thank you again. God Bless.

  33. Paul says:

    “Many of the unbelievers I meet are not vicious, evil people, just chumps who don’t think any of that ‘religious stuff’ matters.”

    Susan,

    1. Remember the parable of the sheep and the goats. To those condemned to the “everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” what was their crime?

    “For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink.” -> note He did not say “I had food and drink, and you took it away?

    “I was a stranger, and you took me not in:” -> not “I had a home, and you burned it down”

    “naked, and you covered me not:” -> not “I was clothed, and you stripped me naked”

    “sick and in prison, and you did not visit me.” -> not, “I had health, and you injured me; freedom, and you imprisoned me.”

    Remember that in Our Lord’s parable, people go to heaven because they do good, but they go to hell because they do nothing.

    Why is that?

    Let me put it this way. Say you are walking down the street, and a man you’ve never met walks up to you, drops to one knee, hands you a diamond ring and a criminal background check, and says, “I don’t have a criminal record; marry me.” Would that do it for you? Is the mere fact that he is not a “vicious, evil person” enough to make you love him? convince you that he loves you? make you want to enter into a covenant of lifelong love with him?

    People do not go to heaven because of the absence of sin, but because of the presence of love. A person who has never done good nor evil is still in Original Sin, and is damned, for the same reason that a man who has neither eaten food nor poison will die. For our mortal life, we don’t just need “no poison” – we need food. For our eternal life,we don’t just need “no sin” – we need grace. Eternal life is grace, and grace can only live within us through love.

    And love cannot coexist with indifference. A person who doesn’t think “religious stuff” matters is a person who doesn’t think Jesus Christ matters, and perforce, a person who doesn’t love Him. Heaven is the “wedding feast of the Lamb” – the lamb is the groom, our souls are the bride.

    It is by charity, not justice; by charity, not innocence; by charity, not inoffensiveness; by charity, not a lack of viciousness; by charity, and only by charity which we may inherit everlasting life.

    “And we have known, and have believed the charity, which God hath to us. God is charity: and he that abideth in charity, abideth in God, and God in him.” – 1 John 4:16

  34. Ed the Roman says:

    In the School of Christ, Charity is the whole syllabus. – St. Robert Bellarmine.

  35. Malta says:

    the fiercest pang of Hell, according to some Saints, is the utter, complete, and eternal loss of Grace. the complete loss of Divine Providence, of the Maker, the Face of whom the damned knows he will never behold. It is the eternal separation from any goodness which is the most horrible aspect, and is truly a more horrible “fire” burning the soul than any physical fire.

  36. Sid Cundiff says:

    we’ll just see who feels what

    I thank Fr. Z and am in debt to him for all he has said and done for the MEF. I was wrong, and I stand corrected, and I take Fr. Z’s correction fraternally. At present the possibility of damnation indeed isn’t emphasized enough.

    The eschatological element that Fr. Z has rightly introduces prompts the “Parable of the Postman”, told to me by one of my best teachers, The Rev. Ed Meyer of Boone, Iowa, so I claim no credit for it, and I only elaborate upon it.

    A postman one morning is driving his delivery van over a dam at the head of a valley. He sees that the dam (pun intended) is about to break. He floors it and goes to every house in the valley shouting out “[fact:] The dam is about to break! [imperative:] Run and flee for your lives!” Now the burden of proof isn’t on the imperative. If the people really believe that the dam is about to break, they’ll know what to do. The burden of proof is on the claim of fact. Is the dam about to break? The politicians and engineers have told them otherwise. And why should they believe the postman?

    “[fact] The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of of God is at hand. [imperative] Repent, and believe in the Gospel. Mark, chap 1. Same problem in argument. If folks really were believing that the Kingdom of God were at hand, we’d see indeed a line at the confessional around the block. We’d see so much clean living that it wouldn’t even be funny!

    Dr. Meyer pointed out how the language of Grace is, among other things, fact/imperative, “since … therefore”, as opposed to conditional/result, “if … then …” Thus contast:
    i. “If you don’t go to Confession, then you’ll burn in Hell.”
    ii. “Since the Kingdom of God and the Last Judgement are just going to happen anyway, therefore go to Confession”

    Fr. Z’s remarks therefore are in order.

  37. Rachel says:

    Thank you Father.

  38. Matt Robinson says:

    Thank your Fr. Z.

    Yes, the first 5 seconds reflection is excellent….a lot to ponder.
    I would be so relieved just to qualify for purgatory!

    Also glad you brought up the Last Judgement and Resurrection of the Dead. This ends the assertion of hell just being a spiritual state…it will be a “place” too once physical beings are there.
    The one part of the Creed I think Catholics today ignore is the Resurrection of the Dead, both of the good and the bad.

    Particular judgement is just that…so particular. The percentage of people in heaven or hell is not a mathematical, but a metaphysical question. People today think there is strength in numbers (being democratically brainwashed)…many lukewarm people think, well I can’t go to hell for this, everyone is doing it, so how can the majority be wrong? Or how can I go to hell, think of what God will lose by not having me around and all these other wonderful human beings!!

    The reality is that God judges each soul independently of any other. Each judgement is a unique event which doesn’t consist of mathematical probabilities or a bell curve. It is metaphysical number: ie “this soul is not that soul”. Each finite finite soul is on its own. Divine Life is a gift, nothing more.

    How sobering.

  39. Father,
    Thank you for the awesome teaching. Would that we would hear more of this from our pulpits !

  40. Jbrown says:

    Fr Z.,
    I ask because situations do arise when priests with full faculties and valid orders do things like what I described, which then causes some people to wonder whether they have a “moral impediment” to approaching so-called Novus Ordo priests. If it’s a choice between possibly receiving an absolution like I described, or going to a priest who undoubtedly uses valid form but may not have proper faculties (a la, SSPX), it would seem there is a moral dilemma. [I think your question has very little to do with the purpose of a fervorino and that you would do better to ponder your own sins and the mercy of God, leaving this sort of question to other entries.]

  41. VB says:

    “Some will reject the merits of Christ.”

    How do you know this, Father? I believe there is an eternal hell and that it is possible for a soul to go there for all eternity – but how do you know that “some will reject the merits of Christ”? Aren’t we still obliged to hope and pray for the salvation of each and every soul? [Yes.] And if that’s so, doesn’t that also mean it’s at least possible that none will reject the merits of Christ? [No.]

  42. amdg0816 says:

    Excellent post, Father. Thank you for reminding all of us to pray, confess, and do penance. I agree with previous comments…it’s a rather sobering thought to think on the Four Last Things. Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Domine, miserere nobis. Last Sunday, my priest gave a homily which I am very thankful to have heard. He said that, like the deaf and dumb man in the Gospel(11th Sunday After Pentecost – Mark 7:31-37), we must ask to be opened. In order to receive grace, we must be open to grace, and making our requests, wants, needs, etc. known to God is vital for our receiving of such graces. We must ask for forgiveness, ask for strength, ask for wisdom, ask for the grace to endure this life and be happy forever with Him in the next. Thanks for the thought-provoking post, Fr. Z. You are in my prayers.

  43. VB says:

    Why is it not at least possible that none will reject the merits of Christ?

  44. amdg0816 says:

    If I may, VB… Lucifer was the most magnificent, most glorious, most intelligent angel that God created. He and the angels that fell with him knew perfectly well what they were doing. They knew Who God was, what they ultimately owed Him, and they still chose, in their obstinate pride, that it was “Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav’n.” (Although a fictional work, Milton’s “Paradise Lost” sheds a lot of light on a possible situation) If these highly intelligent beings knew full well what the choice was and still chose permanent sin, death, and destruction over light, happiness, and peace, how much more is it inevitable for fickle man to do the same? [It sounds like you believe that man's nature is completely corrupt. But this is a... let's ponder this together now... a FERVORINO.]

  45. Jbrown says:

    Thank you Father, I will do that.