I often read from visitors here that they rarely, if ever, hear anything about the Four Last Things from their pulpits. I mention the reality of our possible eternal destiny with some frequency here and from the pulpit. It is my obligation to do so, precisely because it is my God-given job to get as many of you as I can to Heaven. Put negatively, to keep as many of you out of Hell as possible. This I do in the spirit of Augustine, who preached hard truths to his flock to save their souls and, importantly, to save his own soul.
The priest or bishop who will not preach hard truths will probably wind up in Hell. And, yes, I really believe that.
As if to fill a gap, today Michael Voris has a video in which he contemplates the eternal fate of the late Card. Danneels. He hopes that Danneels was somehow saved before his demise, but the video is, in the main, less than sanguine.
Voris asks the rhetorical question: Now that you are in Hell forever, was the sin worth it?
In my own attempt to get you to think about your eternal reward, I have often posed a project for your imaginations.
Try to imagine what goes through the mind of a soul during the first 20 seconds of its fresh arrival in Hell. Ready? GO!
I’ll wait while you do that. …
Now that you have done that, I track back to Voris for a moment.
We don’t know what the punishments of Hell will be like. We have some ideas. Some come from pretty solid sources. The first and greatest pain will come from separation from God. In itself, that should be enough to scare the Hell out of you. After the resurrection there will also probably be pain of body, since we are both body and soul. Lots of it. How that will work, we are not sure, but it isn’t going to be good and it is going to end neh-vur.
Voris’ video today provides, on a loop, a verbal painting of Hell worthy of Hieronymus Bosch, but with far less whimsy. A daily diet of this is probably not salutary… but an occasional serving sure is.
Finally, I would remind everyone that our true enemies are not the heretics or schismatics or errant or malevolent or just plain stupid. The real enemy is the Devil and fallen angels behind them.
We are born into this world, each one of us, under the dominion of the Enemy. By baptism we are torn from the grasp of Hell and handed over to the King. God does not compel us to remain united to Him. We must strive with grace and elbow grease to remain in the Kingdom He opened to us through His Passion, Resurrection and Ascension. Grace builds on nature, it doesn’t replace it. Thus, we have a great deal to say about our final end. And the final chapter of our story isn’t written and the cover is not, coffin-like, closed on our personal history until we breathe our last breath and throb that final heartbeat… which will happen.
You can rejoin the Enemy if you want to. It’s your choice.
Pray for the grace of final perseverance, no matter what the earthly cost.
Nothing that we can gain from this passing world, no creaturely good, is in the balance worth the risk of the lost of eternal Heaven.
Consider the Lord’s words in Mark 9:
καὶ ἐὰν ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου σκανδαλίζῃ σε ἔκβαλε αὐτόν καλόν σοι ἐστιν μονόφθαλμον εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ ἢ δύο ὀφθαλμοὺς ἔχοντα βληθῆναι εἰς τὴν γέενναν τοῦ πυρὸς ὅπου ὁ σκώληξ αὐτῶν οὐ τελευτᾷ καὶ τὸ πῦρ οὐ σβέννυται
And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee with one eye to enter into the kingdom of God than having two eyes to be cast into the hell of fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished. [Douay]
NB: Where their worm dieth not. This is personal. Hell is not “one size fits all”, it is tailor made… just for you. And for you priests and bishops out that, that means you. Like Danneels, you’ll be a priest in Heaven or in Hell, for priesthood is eternal and your judgment – and mine – will be more strict (cf. James 3:1).
Sin. It’s just not worth it.
GO TO CONFESSION!