But, as I recently argued, judgment is not fundamentally about laws. It is fundamentally about whether, at this moment in a human’s eternal life, I have or have not made myself, with the help of His grace, capable of a communion of persons with God. If heaven is a nuptial feast (Matthew 25:1-13), then judgment is whether or not you are capable of being the beloved, the bride.
Thanks for posing the question and linked article. Contained within the article is a link to another article one month earlier “Everything About Death is Disappearing — Except Death” That is also well worth reading. I will post the link to the second article below.
I personally think that the main reason people try and ignore the fact of eternity in Hell, is because the idea is too unpleasant to rationalise and we are all prone to the deadliest sin of Pride, which leads us all to believe that we are simply to good to warrant it. I once read a sermon on this subject and the author posed the question that if we were to leave the church and stand in the cemetery outside and have the ability to summon up those buried there for one hour only, how many graves would empty and the occupants rush to form a que for a final Confession before returning to the grave. He suggested all would do this and I suspect that he was correct.
TBF, it’s scary to think about Hell.
And as our Western civilization unfolds, we’ve come up with more and more ways to numb or distract ourselves from anything ouchy.
We hear about it often from the ambo.
Contrast the idea with the event of one-third of the angels choosing not to serve, even in the state of grace and posessing their superior intelligence.
Once the evil spirit enters in soul, he make sure to hide the thought of hell from the mind to make sure he will have one more soul as company.
We don’t take the body seriously. We don’t take the body seriously because Western thought has marginalized the body, reducing it to something sub-personal while wrongly identifying the person almost totally with consciousness.
our human acts are self-reflexive: they not only do things but they make me into a certain kind of person.
The human person is a body-and-soul unity. Body and soul together act; I make spiritual decisions, but I “enact” them, I make them real, through my senses, through my body. When that corporeal-spiritual unity is sundered by death, so, too, is our ability to change the person we have become. We are what we have made ourselves to be.
Christian theology affirms that the kind of person we’ve made ourselves into at death is the kind of person we are for eternity
I’ve always heard that “you are what you eat”.
What I was taught is that the angels were not in a state of grace before their fall. Nor were they in a state of sin. God did not reveal Himself to them in the Beatific Vision until they had voluntarily chosen to serve Him. Thus their free will was not forced. But once an angelic decision is made, it is permanent.
Christ the King very well should be the final Sunday in Ordinary Time. The problem is that the readings fail to uphold the true meaning of Christ the King: that He will come in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His Kingdom shall have no end. Christ the King looks forward to the Second Coming, and as such, Judgment Day passages like Matthew 25 should be read every year.
Indeed, we Catholics focus too little on the Second Coming; even the devout have a tendency to brush off the issue of the Second Coming in favor of focusing on the death of the individual. This is a terrible thing because it cultivates a fear of death that Christians should not have. As a boy, I instinctively had a yearning for the Resurrection of the Dead, while being “meh” on an incorporeal life in Heaven. However, my parents did not teach me about the Resurrection on the Last Day until I encountered it at my great-aunt’s funeral, and even then, I still didn’t understand for many years how Judgment Day differed from death, so I didn’t see the point of the Resurrection, nor how if Christ is not Risen, then our faith is vain. Indeed, I couldn’t stand to hear about Judgment Day, fleeing in terror from talk about it, even in church. Not until I mustered the courage to read the Book of Revelation in its entirety did I begin to appreciate the Second Coming as our Blessed Hope, and even then, it still took a while to overcome my terror of Judgment Day.
They were in a state of grace in the same sense as Adam and Eve were before their fall. As for a final Confession, most of them had that as they were dying. Indeed, many even receive the Apostolic Pardon and the Anointing of the Sick. With these, it is not necessary even that the faithful departed go to Purgatory, let alone be lost. If anyone, having received the Last Sacraments and Apostolic Pardon, does not go straight to Heaven, it is not because of any lack of God’s Grace, but rather their own inability to receive it fully.
I learned that rational creatures do not merit the Beatific Vision without sanctifying grace, and then making the final choice of charity.
Fr. John Hardon wrote:
Theologians seem agreed that all had sanctifying grace (and hence the Indwelling Trinity) and the infused virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit and actual grace, so that they could freely merit the Beatific Vision. Neither angels nor we could merit heaven by natural powers: grace is needed. For condign merit of the Beatific Vision, love and enjoyment, there must be sanctifying grace, for it is the radical principle of condign merit.
In agreement with your post:
The Catechism of the Catholic Church points out for the angels:
393 It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels’ sin unforgivable. “There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death.” that "It is the irrevocable character of their choice.
Sadly I think this is a large percentage of it.
This is the great deception of our age: the ‘spirit of the present time’ as it were, that false enlightenment that there is no God, no Hell, no afterlife at all. And many fall for it.
I suspect part of the issue is that an eternity in Hell does not make sense as a punishment from a perfectly just God, let alone from a perfectly merciful one. And of course, this is true. If Hell is a punishment there is no amount of sin anyone could do in a finite lifetime that could ever merit it.
It makes quite a bit more sense as the consequence of a deliberate and irrevocable choice, though.
The point is, that sin is not a ‘finite’ thing. A mortal sin which is unrepented at one’s death does not ‘stop existing’ when we die. The unrepented sin existing at death will continue to exist --just as we will continue to exist–for eternity. The person in unrepented mortal sin at death then will exist IN that state of unrepented mortal sin FOR eternity.
Therefore an unrepented mortal sin at one’s death is indeed the cause for the effect of eternal damnation. And it is truly just because the sin itself is mortal and infinite, NOT finite.
Which is what I was getting at. It has nothing to do with how much sin someone does and everything to do with whether their final choice is sin or God. We are saying the same thing from different angles: as a punishment for how much sin someone has done Hell doesn’t make sense. As a consequence of separation from God by our own free choice, it makes a great deal of sense.
Ah. But Catholic teaching never WAS that Hell was a punishment for doing ‘x’ amount of sin, it was always “unrepented MORTAL sin at death”.
I was never challenging catholic teaching, I was breaking down a specific wording that frequently inhibits rather than aids understanding.
Why do so many try to explain away these words below??? These aren’t words from a theologian such as Aquinas or Augustine. These words are from Christ Himself! And they pretty much say what most all of the Church Fathers have always proclaimed. And that is that few are saved.
Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat.
How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!