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.
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.