Heaven, Hell and Purgatory

I posted on a Being Frank post about Heaven and Hell. I think this is an important topic, since so many Christians are willing to disbelieve the existence of Hell. It’s asked, “why would a loving God send anyone to Hell?”. That seems reasonable, until one realises that: firstly, justice exists to uphold love, and; secondly, it is not really God but ourselves, by our own choices, that send us to hell. God is not only loving, but he is love. This is why we’re all called to love. Nothing more is required – as St. Augustine said, “love, and do what you like”. Everytime we sin, though, we violate that love, and rightly deserve punishment. The Good News (Gospel) is that Jesus Christ has died for us, so that in believing in him we may be spared God’s justice, and enter into His mercy. If only all of humanity was humble enough to seek Him with a sincere heart! This is our hope, expressed in the Fatima prayer:

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy. Domine Iesu, dimitte nobis debita nostra, salva nos ab igne inferiori, perduc in caelum omnes animas, praesertim eas, quae misericordiae tuae maxime indigent.

Here’s the post:

I’ve heard it said that Heaven, Hell and Purgatory are more like states than physical places. So, while they do exist, they’re not exactly how we’d imagine them being (as within space-time) I think.

I came across a pamphlet about Saint Faustina’s visions of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory a few years ago, which was quite insightful. I could only find on the ‘net the latter (I guess this is more important because people are less inclined to believe in the reality of hell nowadays): Sister Faustina’s vision. Also related is the vision of hell at Fatima. We should keep in mind that these are private revelations, approved by the Holy See.

It dawned on me after reading about those that this present life, even if it be a hundred years, is really nothing compared to eternity. All of life’s pleasures pass in a fleeting moment – “vanity of vanities! All is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2).

I think too that it’s true charity to “instruct the ignorant” (one of the spiritual works of mercy) regarding the existence of hell. It may make the difference of life or death – an eternal difference. This is why I feel annoyed whenever a gospel of fluffy love is preached – it’s really far from loving, when so much is at stake for the souls.

I think we would do well to heed St. Augustin’s teaching:

Two criminals were crucified with Christ.
One was saved; do not despair.
One was not; do not presume.

We can neither act in fear and let despair overtake us, nor be so lax as to be presumptious of God’s mercy. The only option available is the one which transcends the two: trust. I think that’s why the Divine Mercy image is inscribed “Jesus I trust in you.” Trust stems from the virtue of Hope.

So, full of confidence, we should consecrate ourselves to Mary’s immaculate and maternal heart and pray the Divine Mercy chaplet and the Holy Rosary, encouraging others to do the same, for the love of God and for the salvation of souls.

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7 thoughts on “Heaven, Hell and Purgatory”

  1. If what people label as God is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent then

    a) there’s no room for Hell
    b) there’s no true free will for so-called individuals (even though there appears to be, but notice that your sense of free will *always* only comes *after* the deed/decision), and thus, the concept of punishment in the afterlife is patently absurd

    This whole idea of an all-powerful/almighty, all-knowing and everywhere-present deity that creates “sinful” individuals who must somehow prove themselves and are sent to eternal damnation for being too weak to conform to some arbitrary divine standard is something that, while clearly totally incompatible with the idea of an all-loving God who knows *everything* (past/present/future), trips up adherents of mainstream Christianity each and every time when the subject is brought up.

  2. I would like to answer Ray in this sense – that there is always room for hell in the afterlife as there is room for hell here on earth. For whenever sin abounds, whenever there is misunderstanding, lack of compassion and virtue, we create our own hell. Isn’t it hell to live without love? without a sense of purpose? And yet many choose to live a life like that here on earth. If we could choose such a thing here, would we not choose the same in the afterlife?

    1. To continue, as to being an “All Loving” God, let us first define what love is. People seem to think that to be “all loving”, we must love everything, even what is bad or evil. Is that the true concept of love? We could rarely do that in our own lives. If ever we fall ‘in love’ with someone, it is usually because we see something that we like in them, something good, or beautiful. It may not be perfect, but there is a seed of good in there. No one falls in love with pure evil. What is there to fall in love with in darkness?

  3. I HAVE READ SOME OF THE BOOK OF SISTER FAUSTINA, AND IN HER VISIONS OF “PURGATORY” (2 OR 3?) SHE CLAIMS TO SEE DEMONS (!) AMONG THE EXPECTANT SOULS! TO MY UNDERSTANDING “PURGATORY” IS A HOLY PLACE, ALL THE SOULS ARE IN “SANCTIFYING GRACE” (THEY ARE “TEMPLES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT” IN WORDS OF ST. PAUL)… THEREFORE, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO HAVE DEMONS IN PURGATORY! THEREFORE THESE VISIONS OF SR. FAUSTINA ARE NOT “REAL”, THEY ARE MORE A PRODUCT OF IMAGINATION OF A MIND NOT TOO WELL TRAINED IN OUR THEOLOGY… I’D LIKE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTOS ON THIS MATTER. Rafael

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