On Hell Again

Gustave Dore’: Charon ferrying the damned.

A couple of days ago, I have let through one comment on hell in answer to a previous blog post. The very confused poster goes on with the usual confused mantras of the liberal and atheist society, as the concept of eternal torment does not seem to agree with oh how oh good oh he oh is.He also had some problems about those whom he thinks wish hell on other people. Those who feel oh so oh good always need to see the others as oh so oh bad…

I have written here my reflections on “wishing hell” to someone, but this was not about this, and the poster’s problems were much deeper seated.

I suggest that everyone with any doubt about hell reads this. Many of the most common answers to the doubts of the skeptical are found there.

Still, in the middle of the rubbish of the above mentioned post there was one observation which merits a more attentive consideration. I think I have written about that, but it is probably fitting to write another few words.

What about the loving mother, writes the horribly instructed poster. Could she really enjoy heaven knowing her beloved son is in hell? He thinks not.

Of course she does. She does it to the full, with a joy that is perfect and unalloyed.

We Christians believe in God the Father, not – if you allow me the expression – God the Mother. The fact that God is ready to forgive everything does not mean that he will forgive those who insist not to be forgiven. His justice – which puts the damned in hell, because hell is the fitting place for them – is as divine, as perfect, as absolute as His mercy.

In heaven, the saints can see and experience the perfect justice and the perfect love of everything. Whilst the reconciliation of perfect love and perfect justice may at first seem difficult for us to understand, it is not difficult to understand for them.   They have attained that superior knowledge  which does not allow the permanence of any question, of any conflict, of any contradiction. 

The suffering of the souls in hell are, therefore, terrible, but at the same time perfectly fitting. Why? Because God says so. How can we be perfectly satisfied with such an answer? When we are – hopefully, one day – in heaven we will have a full understanding of it; for now, we accept it on faith, with the humility of good Christians who do not even think they could question or – ha! – “improve” on Christianity.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  Our instruction must begin and end with this approach. We fear the Lord’s justice because we are told the lord’s justice is – as much as he loves us – frightful indeed.

It is not for us to decide whether we like this or not. It is not for us to theorise about the “justice” of this, let alone decide it cannot be so, because we don’t like  it. We are not here to question, but to learn, accept, and do the best we can to live what we have been taught.

I don’t like the idea of hell. Who does, I wonder, but I accept the truth of hell. As for the logic and justice of hell, I can see – unpleasant as it is; particularly because it means a concrete danger for myself and those I love – the profound sense of it even in this life.

Christianity is not there for our liking, and cannot be bent to what we like. If we believed that, we’d be Presbyterians.

Please also reflect – the booklet linked above also touches on this – that it is not very easy to die in mortal sin. Mortal sin is not the temporary weakness, but the deliberate will to accept evil. If you read the above mentioned booklet – written in times above suspicion – you will read expressions like

“God damns only those who deliberately choose hatred and evil instead of love and goodness”.

or

“[mortal sins] are essentially the complete turning away from goodness and the acceptance of evil. Anything less than that is not mortal sin”

One doesn’t go to hell because he made a mistake, was run over by a bus immediately afterwards and God says to him “sorry, old boy, the bus came at the wrong time”. The deliberate intent is exactly that: deliberate. It’s a conscious choice, a taking side of sort. Obviously there will be a number of ways how one can choose the wrong side of the field without having explicitly “said so to himself” (say: by consciously and deliberately denying the existence of hell, knowing this is the teaching of 2000 years of Christianity, and feeling oh so good in the process); but even here we see a clearly rooted preference for one’s own moral law rather than for the Law of God: one has made himself god, and has gone around saying so.

God may have mercy on him, or not. If God hasn’t, I do not think anyone can complain, because it would be blasphemous to do so.

And when does it leave the mother, you will ask? Exactly where we are now: on the one hand, hell is a mystery which cannot be fully comprehended in our lifetime; on the other hand, when the mother dies she understands the perfect mercy and justice of the entire mechanism; a mechanism which, being now the other side of the human experience, she will not have any difficulty in grasping beyond any human doubt or apparent contradiction.

This is, if you ask me, another of the scary characteristics of hell: if I were to land in Hell – God forbid!  – I would not even have the consolation of knowing those I love miss me and are sad for my fate. Nope. Firstly I would not love them – another extremely scary thought – because in hell I would lose every will to love; secondly they would not be sorry, because they would see the perfect justice and mercy of my – God forbid, again! – being in hell.

Hell is, truly, as terrible as that. It might be wise to reflect on this whilst we still breathe and make our best effort to keep away from there. It might not be easy to get to hell, and daily prayer – and the Rosary! The Rosary!! – will go a great deal in keeping us out of the worst.I strongly encourage everyone to pray daily for his loved ones who might be in danger, and to devoutly remember the Fatima Prayer – a prayer whose power of consolation I find more powerful with every year – in your prayer routine. Actually, if you pray the Rosary daily including the Fatima prayer you kill two birds with one stone.

Wretched sinners as we all are, there is much we can do to avoid hell, and to help others to avoid it.God’s mercy, and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin we must never tire to invoke, may well take us – or our beloved ones – out of very dangerous situations.

But if we think we can make our own religion, we have most certainly set our feet in the wrong direction.

Mundabor

Posted on November 25, 2012, in Catholicism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on On Hell Again.

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