I have two - “The Hell Dance” - and “Joy”
“The Hell Dance”:
To begin I propose the premise of Christian faith, be it Catholic or otherwise, is salvation. Yet salvation, is defined by our beloved priests and well known apologists/ theologians in a manner that is inconsistent (to put it mildly).
In Catholicism we have the concept of mortal sin. For a sin to be mortal three components need to be present; grave matter, full consent, and full knowledge. This is profoundly loosely defined. Therefore we have no idea, what-so-ever, were we stand.
None of us can agree where a mortal sin begins or ends. We will argue till the cows come home. We have apologists/ priests who are near universalists (all or nearly all go to heaven). We have other apologist/priests (deliberately avoiding names here) who warn us of a strong possibility of hell.
This is line with “The Hell Dance”.
I can possibly see how a single person with no children, or a Catholic who early on brought their family up to love the Lord and thus they all married Catholics, had their children and grand children baptized in the faith and all go to Mass every Sunday may live a joyful life. But what of the rest of us? I ask how we are to be joyful; be a joyful witness to the faith, if we are tormented by the real possibility that our loved ones will not be ‘saved’ (not a fan of the term)?
Our most beloved apologists do the “Hell Dance”. Our beloved priests do the “The Hell Dance”.
We are supposed to be joyful although our loved ones are not practicing the faith. When we reach out to the theologians/priests/apologist regarding our loved one’s, they do the “Hell Dance”.
To be honest with ourselves, there are no concrete answers to our intelligent questions regarding our salvation or the salvation our loved ones. We are left in the dark. We are not only left in the dark, the spectrum of possibility is literally from one extreme to the other. All will saved; hardly any will be saved. 100 or nearly 100% of us, a fraction of percent of us. I’ve heard it all. Some saints (I believe including Augustine) believes most are damned.
I find this confusing. I’d expect more concrete answers.
Even here, we will get people who will respond that it is, in fact, clear. They are usually very conservative Catholics, who, if pushed to the ultimate conclusion will (in not so many words) tell us we are nearly all damned. Yet will get others who will tell us not to worry about it, God reads our heart and justice/ mercy will be served and in the end all will be understood. I guess this means I’ll be ok with my loved one’s in hell ???
Yet logic tells me most people will not convert before their last day. How do I look at them and feel an sense of joy?
How do I “go in peace to love and serve the Lord”? How am I to “be not afraid”?