It has been sometime since I posted anything from Savage Chickens. (I wonder where the Masked Chicken” got himself off to, anyway. You don’t suppose The Colonel finally caught up to him, do you?)
New Hell! How jolly.
While we, as a preaching teaching Church, shouldn’t be incessantly pushing the Four Last Things in a dire and threatening way, we should be pushing the Four Last Things clearly and often.
Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell. These are not options. Everyone of us will face three out of the four.
We have a say about which three.
But let’s be clear about something: Hell is not nice. It isn’t nice for those in Hell now and it won’t be nice for anyone in Hell in the future.
There won’t be ice cream.
The eternal agony of the damned will come from the eternal and irrevocable loss of the Beatific Vision, the happiness of heaven, the bliss of being with God and experiencing that glorified state with the saints and angels. That is the “pain of loss” to we refer in the classic Act of Contrition when we say we are sorry for our sins because we “dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell”.
But loss of Heaven is not the only painful aspect of Hell. We are creatures of both soul and body. Pain of loss is to be felt in the soul. Pain of the senses will be felt in the senses. Imagery from Scripture suggests “fire”. We don’t know for sure what the pain of senses will be, but “fire” doesn’t sound good at all. Whatever it may be, let’s avoid it, shall we?
How can we avoid the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell?
First, let’s not candy-quote what Hell is.
Let’s talk about Hell and think about it often, if not daily.
Let’s use well all the means of salvation (from Hell, by the way) that Our Lord has given us in the Church. We have the sacraments and the Church’s sure teaching about faith and morals.
Let’s give good examples and encouragement to others, to help keep as many people out of Hell as we can.
Let’s also present and reflect on the joy and the beauty of Heaven, for which we were made if we only will cooperate with God who desires our eternal happiness with Him. The glories of heaven are even more vague, in some ways, than the torments of Hell. And yet we know that we shall be able to see God! We cannot see Him in this life. We see now only foreshadowings and suggestions. Even if we consider just Rev. 24:4, Heaven sounds like a great option: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”
So, I think you know where I am driving this.
Examine your consciences, consider the Four Last Things and…
GO TO CONFESSION!