In *Reconciliatio et Paenitentia * (Reconciliation and Penance) Pope John Paul II exhorts us to trust the merciful love of God:
“Here of course it is a question of external radical manifestations: rejection of God, rejection of his grace and therefore opposition to the very source of salvation -these are manifestations whereby a person seems to exclude himself voluntarily from the path of forgiveness. It is to be hoped that very few persist to the end in this attitude of rebellion or even defiance of God. Moreover, God in his merciful love is greater than our hearts, as St. John further teaches us, and can overcome all our psychological and spiritual resistance. So that, as St. Thomas writes, “considering the omnipotence and mercy of God, no one should despair of the salvation of anyone in this life.”
Then in Crossing the Threshold of Hope, the Holy Father again speaks to this mystery:
”In Christ, God revealed to the world that He desires “everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth” (1 Tm 2:4). This phrase from the First Letter to Timothy is of fundamental importance for understanding and preaching the Last Things. If God desires this-if, for this reason, God has given His Son, who in turn is at work in the Church through the Holy Spirit-can man be damned, can he be rejected by God?
Can God, who has loved man so much, permit the man who rejects Him to be condemned to eternal torment? And yet, the words of Christ are unequivocal. In Matthew’s Gospel He speaks clearly of those who will go to eternal punishment (cf. Mt 25:46). Who will these be? The Church has never made any pronouncement in this regard. This is a mystery, truly inscrutable, which embraces the holiness of God and the conscience of man. The silence of the Church is, therefore, the only appropriate position for Christian faith. Even when Jesus says of Judas, the traitor, “It would be better for that man if he had never been born” (Mt 26:24), His words do not allude for certain to eternal damnation.
At the same time, however, there is something in man’s moral conscience itself that rebels against any loss of this conviction: Is not God who is Love also ultimate Justice? Can He tolerate these terrible crimes, can they go unpunished? Isn’t final punishment in some way necessary in order to reestablish moral equilibrium in the complex history of humanity? Is not hell in a certain sense the ultimate safeguard of man’s moral conscience?”
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Lastly, in his General Audience of Wednesday, July 28, 1999 (*L’Osservatore Romano * 4 August 1999) the Holy Father states: “Eternal damnation remains a real possibility, we are not granted, without special divine revelation, the knowledge of which or which human beings are effectively involved in it. The thought of hell…must not create anxiety or despair, but is a necessary and healthy reminder of freedom within the proclamation that the risen Jesus has conquered Satan, giving us the, Spirit of God who makes us cry “Abba, Father” (Rm. 8:15; Gal. 4:6).
This prospect, rich in hope, prevails in Christian proclamation. It is effectively reflected in the liturgical tradition of the Church, as the words of the Roman Canon attest: “Father, accept this offering from your whole family…save us from final damnation, and count us among those you have chosen”. And, “In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want “any to perish, but all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
I hope this brings you peace.