PODCAzT 73: Augustine on Ps. 95(96) and Fr. Z on how to avoid going to Hell

Our frequent guest St. Augustine of Hippo (+430) drills into a couple verses of Ps. 95(96) in his Enarrationes in psalmos 95, an excerpt of which is in in the Office of Readings in the Liturgia horarum for this 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time in the newer calendar. 

We are moving quickly to the end of the liturgical year.  Therefore Holy Church is more and more focusing our attention on the Four Last Things, death, judgment, heaven and hell.

I don’t want to go to Hell for eternity.  Do you?

Augustine and I give you some tips on how to avoid that nasty end. 

Folks, we are going to die and be judged, the Lord will come again, whether we ask Him to or not.

His mercy is ours for the asking.


Along the way you might hear these tunes:

Praise to the Lord –  Faith of our Fathers
Sonata Chquitanas: Andante – Bolivian Baroque – Florilegium
Sanctus/Benedictus – Missa pro defunctis – Palestrina – Chanticleer

The iTunes feed is working.  It stops and starts again… mysteriously.  Beats me!

Some of the last offerings (check out the PODCAzT PAGE):

072 08-11-11 The death of St. Martin; starlings, cuckolds, bell ringing and a skull
071 08-11-06 "Faith inscribed across your heart": Benedict on Cyril of Jerusalem & Cyril on faith, your treasure
070 08-11-01 Venerable Bede on All Saints; a collage; don Camillo (Part IV)
069 08-10-30 Augustine on Ps 103; Benedictines can sing!
068 08-08-04 Interview – Fr. Tim Finigan on the Oxford TLM conference; don Camillo (Part III)
067 08-07-29 St. Augustine on Martha, active v. contemplative lives; don Camillo (part II)
066 08-07-25 don Camillo (part I): VM – advice on getting TLMs & “pro multis”

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. I don’t want to go to Hell for eternity. Do you?

    In the chapter on the Four Last Things in Peter Kreeft’s Fundamentals of the Faith, he asks you to look at your hand and realize that in 100 years it will belong to a skeleton. Perspective is key; you will not live forever.

  2. FYI, you can read the chapter here.

  3. Mike H says:

    Thanks much for the latest podcazt. All of them are instructive. The stories of don Camillo are delightful.

    I’ve always wondered about the meaning of the last verse of Psalm 39 and would be most thankful for your insights.

    13 Look away from me, that I may rejoice again before I depart and am no more.”

    Thanks again, and may God Bless you.

  4. Father: You indicated in this PODCAzT that you are not always sure that people find them useful because you don’t always get feedback. For my part, be assured that I’m listening and I find them very helpful and instructive. I’m not prone to commenting on any blogs unless I feel I have something constructive to add.

    I could not agree more that we need to be ready. That’s why I cling close to the Sacraments, especially Confession. I would tend to say more so these days since I fear for our Nation, but then I realized I should cling close to the Sacraments ALL days since my, personal, Last Day could come at any time.

    Father, I hope you can keep these PODCAzT’s going as your schedule permits. I keep meaning to tell you, but I will now, that they were a great source of strength for me during my pre-election fast.

  5. Matthew says:

    Great Podcazt Father! I particularly found the last 15 minutes, or so, on judgment and Confession useful. When I go to Confession I always feel like I’ve had a load removed from my shoulders. It’s not often that I hear priests talking of that benefit. I guess the load was taken from my shoulders and added to the weight of the Cross?

  6. Frank H says:

    Fr. Z –

    Whenever I sync my iPod I check to see if there’s a new WDTPRS PODCAzT. In fact, I recently went back through your old posts and downloaded those which no longer appear in the iTunes list.

    Keep up the good work!

  7. Juan T. says:

    Pleasant to listen to.

  8. Tecumseh says:

    Marcel….how will God judge Marcel, Fr Z.

  9. A seminarian says:

    A really good podcast today Father. I loved the reading from Augustine when i read it in the Office of Readings this morning, and it was nice to have some further meditation upon it. His point of asking the reader/listener, “if you are scared of judgment, why is that?” I found very powerful.

    Also thanks for the image of the doorway and the room to describe the advent of advent, i had never thought of it that way before, but now you say, it makes sense, especially in the office of readings where we have had daniel and now joel, also with the Mass readings, we has Thessalonians with its expectancy of the Resurrection, and now Revelation, obviously talking about end times.

    Very informative, and spiritually enlightening,

    Thanks father

  10. Janet says:

    Thanks for the podcast, Fr.Z. I’m especially happy when you cover St. Augustine. He is one of my very favorite Saints.
    God bless you!

  11. Birgit says:

    I’m sorry to seem dumb but every time I try to sign up for the podcast I get an error message that asks me to go online to find a program to open the file. My iTunes is up and I receive all of my other podcasts just fine. Can anyone give me a hand? Thanks!

  12. Susan says:

    Dear Father Z,
    I just wanted to let you know I greatly appreciate all of your podcazts! I am not a Catholic, though that has certainly been on my mind lately; I think I am being led down that path and am considering it. I love reading your blog and listening to your podcazts – I really have learned so much from them! Please keep them coming (as time permits, of course) and know that they are very much appreciated.

  13. Patrick says:

    “if you are scared of judgment, why is that?”

    I am scared of my judgment. I have a hard time trusting in God’s forgiveness
    for my past sins. I think I’ve confessed every serious sin I’ve committed
    (there have been many), but I still feel very far from God.

    Do you have any advice for me, Fr. Z, on how to deal with this?

    What can I do to not fear judgment?

  14. Patrick: A couple things. Remember that when you have done your best in confession, God forgives all your sins.

    If you remember something later on that you didn’t confess, confess it.

    But don’t fret. If you have done your best, you sins are forgiven.

    Trust in God’s promises and what He gave to Holy Church.

    You can also spend some time before the Blessed Sacrament. That can provide a marvelous consolation.

    Also, performing works of charity for others can also be a great consolation.

    Some people get into a jam thinking that if they are not like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Simon the Stylite, they somehow aren’t holy enough.

    If you are trying to live your state in life well, and you believe what the Church teaches and try to understand it better,… if you are good to your neighbor and love God and use the sacraments, you have little to fear.

    Say your prayers and be good.

  15. Calleva says:

    Wow! Thank you Father for this podcast. I had read the passage of Augustine on Sunday but hadn’t really digested it. Your words brought out so much more, the light and shadow, and so its teaching really hit home. I liked the way you have music and ended with the Psalm under discussion. You also read the passage well – I had my own Breviary beside me, but didn’t refer to it, as it was clear when you were Augustine-quoting-the-Scriptures and Augustine commenting on them. That’s not especially easy to do, but you managed it well.

    Very worthwhile and edifying.

  16. I wonder whether I should be ashamed to admit that I have downloaded, burned to disk, and (with my wife) listened to every single one of Father Z’s 73 (so far) podcazts. And whether anyone else can (and will) say the same thing.

  17. Martin says:

    Don’t scratch your head Father! This podcast, like all the others I’ve listened to, was excellent. You have a wonderful gift of clarity in explaining things in the most simple and helpful way. God bless you and your work.

  18. Mary Conces says:

    Thank you for using your many talents in your priestly work. It’s always a treat for me when I find a new podcast to listen to–especially at the end of a long, weary day. This one was both elating and sobering, if that’s possible. St. Augustine is one of the saints who always seems very vivid and contemporary to me. I’m trying to keep in mind that at 68, procrastination is no longer an option. No more time to carry grudges. Give now. Love hard–now.

  19. Cliff W says:

    Thank you Fr Z! It is good to hear what we would rather not hear about the permanence of Hell.

  20. Forzajuv says:

    Great podcast, Father. The choral pieces are amazing. Pardon me for bringing something about the last podcast here. I particularly like personal stories (one like when you held the skull of St. Martin), and cultural trivia (Martino for the bellringer’s nickname).

    And yeah, you forgot to tag this podcast in the “PODCAzT” category.

  21. adeodatus says:


    Please keep teaching us by means of your PodcaZts. They are beautifully done and remind me of Matthew 13:52, “ideo omnis scriba doctus in regno caelorum similis est homini patri familias qui profert de thesauro suo nova et vetera.”

    For example, Bede and Don Camillo togther. It doesn’t get much better.

    FYI, I download them via iTunes (which, yes, is quirky. And I wish it would retroactively download all the PodcaZts before I began subscribing. I have had to do this manually.) And I too burn them all to CD and listen in my car.

    May God continue to increase your zeal for this ministry. It helps us out here tremendously!

  22. Jonathan says:


    I too picked up your comment at the end of the PodcaZt that you don’t see as much blogging on their subject matter as you expect. I would like to echoe other posts in thanking you for the effort that goes into them. I look forward to listening in and have learned so much about our faith from them.

    Just before our Christmas party on Saturday I was soaking in the bath listening to this one. My wife was banished to the children’s bathroom to dry her hair so that I could enjoy in peace. I was listening to you reading the latin of the sermon, feeling fairly pleased with my self that I could more or less follow it, when my wife came wandering through the bathroom again, listened for a minte, that went away muttering “he really is losing it as he gets older”.

  23. Jonathan: “he really is losing it as he gets older”


    Does she like the PODCAzTs with the hymns any better? Or don Camillo?

  24. Raphaela says:

    Due to crazy time pressures before the Christmas break, I only just managed to listen to this one last night. Thank you, Father, for another wonderful podcaZt. I always especially appreciate the ones where you read substantial quantities of Latin… especially when it’s something like Augustine (or Leo).

  25. Jillian says:

    I’m sorry I missed this Podcazt earlier, Father, it’s a good one! Thank you, Father Z!

    Do you know why they’ve disappeared from iTunes?

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