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Hell is Real and Souls go there

Discussion in 'Scriptural Thoughts' started by padraig, Dec 10, 2017.

  1. padraig

    padraig New Member



    The following homily was given by Father Timothy Reid for the 1st Sunday of Advent. Fr. Reid is pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church and a priest of the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina. It is presented here with his permission.

    As we enter into the very beautiful and theologically rich season of Advent, we are reminded of how our Lord will come again and the final judgment that will occur then. Two Sundays ago I spoke about the particular judgment we all will face when we die. At that moment we will either have entrance into the blessedness of heaven, whether through a purification or immediately, or we will experience immediate and everlasting damnation. That’s it. Those are the only options.

    That same Sunday I spoke about Purgatory, which is a temporary state of purification that takes place after death for those who die in a state of grace (i.e., without mortal sin), but who still have not been completely purified of their sins. (cf. CCC 1030)

    Yet what about hell? As Catholics we know that hell exists and that it’s a real possibility for all of us when we die, but have we ever really considered it as a real possibility for ourselves? As we heard in last Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus will separate the sheep and goats.

    In our western society today (in contrast to centuries past) we are very quick to console ourselves with the false notion that all of our loved ones pass immediately into Heaven upon their death. We see this in the things we say at funerals, such as: “Well, he’s in a better place now,” or “his suffering is over now.” We see it as well when funeral Masses are renamed “Masses of the Resurrection.”

    My brothers and sisters: such words and actions are all very presumptive. Hell is real, and souls really do go there – perhaps even our loved ones.

    The Church teaches that hell is a state of definitive and eternal self-exclusion from God and the blessed souls in Heaven. Eternal union with God requires that we die in God’s friendship – that we truly love God. But if we love God, we keep His commandments.

    Jesus tells us in St. John’s Gospel: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (Jn 14:15). St. John echoes this in his 1st epistle: “For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1 Jn 5:3).

    Simply put, we cannot say that we truly love God if we sin gravely against Him, our neighbors, or ourselves. If we die in mortal sin without repenting – without accepting God’s mercy – this means that we will separate ourselves from Him forever.

    Sacred Scripture provides multiple references to hell, and the Church has always affirmed the existence of hell, with the most “damning” evidence (if you will) coming from Jesus Himself.

    Jesus often speaks of “Gehenna” of “the unquenchable fire” reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost (cf. Mt 5:22)” (CCC 1034).

    “Jesus solemnly proclaims that he ‘will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,’ (cf. Mt. 13:41-42), and that He will pronounce the condemnation: ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!’” (cf. Mt 25:41) (CCC 1034).

    Furthermore, Jesus makes it clear that, not only is there no universal salvation, but that it’s much easier to go to hell than it is to get to Heaven! He says in Matthew’s Gospel: “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Mt 7:13-14). Coming from our Lord Himself, we should weigh these words very carefully!

    Holy Mother Church teaches that, after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer eternal punishments. We don’t know exactly what hell is like, but we do know that there is everlasting fire. This fire is not like fire here on earth, but is a fire that afflicts the body and the soul. There will be a pain that can be sensed, i.e., similar to pain we experience when hurt. But the chief punishment of hell is the pain of loss: the eternal separation from God, in Whom alone man possesses life and finds the happiness for which he was created. It is an awful loneliness, total separation from God, utter despair (cf. CCC 1035).

    Knowing that hell is a real possibility means we must consider carefully how we use the gift of free will. In any moral decision, we must always keep in mind not just the temporal consequences of our decisions, but the eternal consequences as well. So, in a sense, knowing that there really is a hell (and that going there is a real possibility for us all) should be a call to conversion (cf. CCC 1036).

    Keep in mind that God doesn’t want anyone to go to hell. He’s created us all to go to Heaven. In fact, God doesn’t damn anyone to hell. All who go to hell go there because they’ve chosen it by their own free will. God created man with the capacity to choose – He’s given us free will – so that we might choose to love Him, for there can be no real love without true freedom.

    While free will was given to us so that we might choose what is right and just, beginning with our first parents in the Garden of Eden, man has often chosen to misuse the gift of freedom to pursue his own will rather than God’s. Every time that we turn away from God’s will, we damage our relationship with Him to greater or lesser degrees, depending on the severity of our sins. At times man’s pursuit of his own will can be so opposed to God’s will that it completely drives the love of God from man’s soul.

    Our moral choices have consequences, and we have the capacity to say no to God in such a radical way that cuts us off completely from God’s sanctifying grace. This is what we call mortal sin: the free, knowing, and willful commission of a grave sin.

    Going to hell is reserved for those who not only commit a mortal sin, but who persist in it until death, without remorse – without asking for God’s forgiveness. So it is that the Church very beautifully prays for all of us to be saved from damnation in the Canon of the Mass:

    Order our days in your peace, and command that we be delivered from eternal damnation and counted among the flock of those you have chosen.

    Many saints have been given visions of hell, for example St. John Bosco, St. Teresa of Avila, and in our own time, Blessed Francisco and Jacinta from Fatima. What we learn from each of their visions is that the punishments meted out to souls in hell directly correspond to their sins. We see this, too, in Dante’s famous Inferno, where he walks through the 9 circles of hell, describing the punishments meted out there and the corresponding sins that merited those punishments.

    Yet, as sure as there is a hell and that we all have the possibility of going there, it is also sure that God’s mercy is always available to any sinner who desires it. In fact, God cannot resist any sinner who desires His mercy. All we need do is repent and ask for it.

    Brothers and sisters, at the end of time God will be glorified by every soul He has created. The souls in hell will give glory to His justice while the souls in Heaven will give glory to His mercy. With the help of Our Lady and all the saints, may we be among those who know His mercy for all eternity.

    Picture above from Michelangelo’s “Last Judgment” (1536-1541).

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  2. Don_D

    Don_D Powers

    Thanks padraig, this hits home. Repentance is turning from our sin, I believe that this traditionally includes prayer, fasting, and acts of good toward others or making reparation if we have harmed someone through our actions.

    We hear so little about hell these days, it is as if we are all already assured of our salvation. This certainly was not the message of Christ. Yet, it is so easy to simply think we are good enough as we are now. In today's Homily, our Priest stated that Holiness and perfectionism are not the same. This really hits home for me. It is easy to think that they are and that we are good enough.
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  3. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I think Don that there are several terrible effects of not preaching on and not believing in hell. One of the worst is that when people are dying and either they themselves or those who love them do not believe in hell and thus close the doors to Redemptive grace, so they often to not receive the Sacrament of Extreme Unction. This is truly fearsome.

    I think we look around us as societies and think to ourselves everyone is good. everyone is basically loving and even obviously evil people can be corrected by counseling or some form of intervention. But this is not so. People either choose God or they become evil and choose hell. There are no in betweens.

    People can be seen to be good while actually the only God they choose are themselves. For instance for families to survive self giving true love is required. Without it there is no true love. But true love which places the giver on the Cross is grown very rare. Unless we place ourselves on the Cross we will not experience the Resurrection.

    When I was young the Redemptorists used to have a special vow, to preach on hell. They abandoned this. But my father and brothers used to attend a confraternity were hell was preached constantly. This has always stayed with me.

    I am very aware that most of the people around me short of a very special grace are going to hell when they die. How do I know this? Because I can see it with my own eyes. This is quite frightening because people who have abandoned grace are like wild animals. The only thing that holds them in check are the mores and laws of so called civilized society. When Government and leaders give them the nod to attack they will attack and tear us to pieces. In fact the beginnings of this are already apparent.

    We stand like Daniel in the Lions Den.
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  4. AED

    AED Powers

    Padraig this post is so true and so eloquent. My sister’s parish priest does not believe in Hell! This shocked her but to me it was an indication of losing his faith. As Malachi Martin once said “ why didJesus die an agonizing death? To give us more eggs and bacon? To give us a happier world? No! He suffered and died to save our souls from hell!”
    This excising of hell is all part of the “Church of Nice” where everyone can do anything but as long as you are sincere it will all be fine. We are gagging on it. We are suffocating within it. The world is perishing because the salt is no longer salty. I am terrified for the souls I love who have abandoned God for some myth they have adopted that loosely calls itself Christian. I plead withJesus to save them. I trust that He will do everything possible short of violating their free will. But it is an agony for me. And it is always with me under the surface of my daily life. I offer it up and “keep my soul in patience” but I fear for them. And for all these others. It must be a terrible burden to see it in their eyes. I am glad I don’t but I do feel a terrible separation as if we are standing on either side of a great divide.
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  5. Fatima

    Fatima Powers

    It is easy to know who does not believe in hell, because they never speak of it in any context. Its a naughty word today in Church. Sin itself is a naughty word in many parishes, unless it is the sin of social justice......like, not allowing illegal immigrants into ones country so they can bring their drugs and violence in, as it there should be no vetting or laws that govern this. Few come to mass on a Holy Day of Obligation today, yet nothing said about this mortal sin. Social justice issues is the only sin of the liberal church today.
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  6. Don_D

    Don_D Powers

    You hit the nail on the head Fatima. Fortunately, our Parish does not preach this doctrine of SJ but I have yet to hear the consequences for sin brought to their logical end. I was thinking about this yesterday because the Homily was very good and spoke heavily about repentance. Yet, no consequences. Sometimes, it is not what is said but what is not said that speaks the loudest.
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  7. Don_D

    Don_D Powers

    It reminds me of that form of Godliness but denying it's power from Timothy 2. Look at all these acts of supposed good that are proclaimed yet none are proclaimed in the name of God without which absolutely nothing is possible.

    We are in the lions den that is certain.

    I have to say that I am very thankful to God for creating me and keeping me very weak. It seems that He has blessed me in this way because when I was strong I only went my own way. I only have realized any real strength through this weakness and reliance on Him.

    Our Priest told a story at Mass the other day that he was summoned to the Hospital for a man who was dying by his family. On arriving, they stopped him before he entered the room and sent him away because he had deteriorated and were afraid that the sight of the Priest would be too much for him! This was a Catholic family! He did not perform Last rites for this man. :( I could not believe this. The family sent him away! :(
  8. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I think our spirituality is a bit like a painting. We use all the colors to make it real. The bright and beautiful colors , the reds, the yellows , the blues and greens are needed of course. But to make it real we need the darker colours, the browns, the greys, the blacks, the purples, otherwise we are only painting a fairy tale which is not true.

    Hell is not a fairy tale , hell is true. but for some reason we are no longer prepared to paint with the darker colours only the bright ones.

    Actually the Gay Movement is a good example of this. They use the bright colours of the rainbow as their call sign. But scripture specifically tells us that the Great Flood came it was because MEN ENTERED INTO SEXUAL CONTRACTS WITH MEN. Now after the flood God gave us the rainbow as a covenant and a warning. The Gay Movement uses the Rainbow as a Sign to us that they break this Covenant. But when they look at the rainbow they only see the bright colours not the dark ones.

    The consequence of sin, as Scripture teaches; is Death.

    Our Spiritual Fathers often do not want to feed us with with nourishing strong meet but only candies, we their children are also guilty because we protest strongly when fed healthy food we do not wish to eat.


    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
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  9. AED

    AED Powers

    Utterly horrifying!
  10. Fatima

    Fatima Powers

    It is the silence on truth that makes one not fear the Lord as scripture so often attests to. It is said, that Jesus spoke more on hell than he did heaven in scripture. Proverbs: "The beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord". One must plead for his mercy and forgiveness, yet realize that those who don't have much to fear.
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