Everything you always needed to know about Hell


Courtesy of Saint Thomas Aquinas, as explained by Msgr. Charles Pope

The teachings of the Lord on Hell are difficult, especially in today’s climate. The most difficult questions that arise relate to its eternal nature and how to square its existence with a God who is loving and rich in mercy.

1. Does God love the souls in Hell? Yes.

How could they continue to exist if He did not love them, sustain them, and continue to provide for them? God loves because He is love. Although we may fail to be able to experience or accept His love, God loves every being He has made, human or angelic.

The souls in Hell may have refused to empty their arms to receive His embrace, but God has not withdrawn His love for them. He permits those who have rejected Him to live apart from him. God honors their freedom to say no, even respecting it when it becomes permanent, as it has for fallen angels and the souls in Hell.

God is not tormenting the damned. The fire and other miseries are largely expressions of the sad condition of those who have rejected the one thing for which they were made: to be caught up into the love and perfection of God and the joy of all the saints.

2. Is there any good at all in Hell? Yes. Are all the damned punished equally? No.

More….

Today’s Question: God loves everyone, but within a time frame and within limits… Do you agree?


Today’s Question:
God loves everyone, but within a time frame and within limits… Do you agree?

Answer: No. God’s love is truly infinite and inestimable. Only our perception of that divine love is limited; and that’s primarily due to our fallen human nature, which has been mortally wounded, by sin.

Asked and answered today on Yahoo! Answers. Edited for clarity and content.

Today’s question: What biblical thoughts or Scriptures bring you great peace?

Today’s question: What biblical thoughts or Scriptures bring you great peace?

Answer: Knowing and loving God is what leads to peace and joy, beyond all understanding, which is eternal salvation, in Jesus Christ. That is the ongoing mission of the holy Church and the Lord’s enduring promise to its’ members.

Philippians 4:4-9 Rejoice in the Lord always: again, I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men.

The Lord is nigh.

Be nothing solicitous: but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline: think on these things. The things which you have both learned and received and heard and seen in me, these do ye: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Asked and answered today on Yahoo! Answers. Edited for clarity and content.

Question of the day: If god loves us so much why does he go through all these games and shenanigans? Why did he send his son to jump through hoops and die?


Question:
If god loves us so much why does he go through all these games and shenanigans? Why did he send his son to jump through hoops and die?

Answer: The Fall of Man unwittingly transferred dominion over the whole earth from Adam to Satan, with mankind ending up hopelessly and perpetually enslaved to Satan, sin and death.

So, mere forgiveness would have changed nothing.
The only hope for mankind
was divine intervention of a very particular type,
something only God was capable of accomplishing, for us.

Once redeemed from perpetual slavery to Satan, sin and death by Jesus Christ, it would be supremely foolish and wasteful for man to be voluntarily compromised by sin, once again. That’s why God holds us to high standards, yet mercifully forgives, so long as we remain faithful (to him) and are truly repentant.

God typically accomplishes this for us by means of his grace and through our full, faithful and consistent participation in all the work, worship, sacraments and devotions of his Holy Catholic Church.

Asked and answered on Yahoo!Answers. Edited for clarity and content.

Today’s question: What you do not like about the Catholics?

Question: What you do not like about the Catholics?

Answer: Catholics are the spoiled, rich kids of the Christian faith, on whom God has always lavished his inestimable love, sanctifying grace, awesome power and tender mercies.

God provides Catholics with a wide array of extraordinarily effective, spiritual “tools” with which Catholics might act to secure their eternal salvation, in Jesus Christ.

Jesus also never fails to appear on every altar, in every Catholic Church, all around the world, every hour of every day, every day of every year, at Holy Mass, so that Catholics might (through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, while giving great honor and glory to God the Father) faithfully renew the divine promise of Jesus’ one time, once for all, perfect and atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world.

It’s just not fair! Not fair, I tell you!

Asked and answered today on Yahoo!Answers. (Slightly edited for clarity and content.)

In light of all the scandals oppressing today’s Catholics, a query that needs to be addressed…

Q: Often, we hear about what’s bad within the Catholic church and its history. Tell us of the good you’ve seen within the Catholic church.

A: Peace beyond all understanding and freedom from the fear of death, along with genuine faith, hope and charity, writ large and long, the world over, courtesy of our Savior Jesus Christ, who remains the head of the Catholic Church, the Holy Spirit, who remains its constant Advocate/Spirit of Truth and God the Father, whose inestimable power, love and grace makes it all possible, in spite of rampant, human corruption and sin.

(Posted today on Yahoo Answers)

In light of the recently concluded papal visit, what are we to make of this?

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Counter-cultural Catholicism and a remarkable conversion story

Growing up, I wasn’t exposed to God, or the Catholic Church. I knew that my grandparents were Catholic, but no one talked about this, and I didn’t know what “Catholic” even was.

Due to terrible abuse, I was removed from my home at nine. I lived in an asylum for a weekend, an orphanage for eight months, and then once a space became available in a foster home, there until I was twelve.

The courts ordered my mother to take me, and this was how we met.

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Gospel reflection: In the Old Testament, men found their spouses at wells.

 

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“Give me a drink.”

In the Old Testament, men found their spouses at wells—Moses meets Zipporah, Isaac meets Rebecca, and Jacob meets the beautiful Rachel at watering holes. And so, again at Jacob’s well, a woman comes up, alone, and Jesus is thirsty. Mother Teresa described the thirst of Jesus: “I Thirst is something much deeper than Jesus just saying ‘I love you.’ Even more—he longs for you. He misses you when you don’t come close.” The Samaritan woman approaches, and Jesus draws her close to him. How does He do it?

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Submitted by Bob Stanley

Archbishop’s homily: Hope is the grace to trust that God is who he claims to be…

Over the past 41 years, the prolife movement has been written off as dying too many times to count.  Yet here we are, again and again, disappointing our critics and refusing to die.  And why is that?  It’s because the Word of God and the works of God do not pass away.  No court decision, no law and no political lobby can ever change the truth about when human life begins and the sanctity that God attaches to each and every human life.

The truth about the dignity of the human person is burned into our hearts by the fire of God’s love.  And we can only deal with the heat of that love in two ways.  We can turn our hearts to stone.  Or we can make our hearts and our witness a source of light for the world.

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Love does not let a little thing like death stand in its way.

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We pray for our beloved in Purgatory so that they may enjoy the Beatific Vision and for our loved ones in Heaven in memoriam and so that they may intercede for us, just as those we love in Purgatory and Heaven pray for us.  Thus the bonds of love expressed in prayer keep us linked to those we cannot see, except in priceless memories, and who we long to be reunited with after our days in this Vale of Tears are done.

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I love this pope. He reminds me of my (now dearly departed) maiden Aunt Genevieve.

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1955 Chevy Bel Air – Proof of God’s Abiding Love?

by Doug Lawrence

My aunt Gene (Genevieve) never married, always held down a good job, and for most of her life, lived in a modest apartment, along with her two unmarried sisters.

By the time I was two years of age there was already no doubt in my mind that aunt Gene was also a good Catholic. She never failed to attend Sunday Mass – and as further proof of God’s abiding love, she actually won a a three-speed, red and white, 1955 Chevy – at the Saint John of God Church Raffle. In Chicago, during the 1950’s you couldn’t be much more publicly Catholic than that!

She was a charitable and helpful person, willing to do just about anything for anybody. She loved little babies, she loved her family and she loved her food. Gene was also a bit “quirky” – holding to her own opinions on certain things, in spite of obvious and abundant evidence to the contrary – stubbornly clinging to certain mysterious habits, rituals and personal preferences. It wasn’t always easy figuring out precisely what she meant, when she was speaking. But she was my aunt and I loved her, without qualification or exception. That’s what family is all about.

It wasn’t until several decades later, after aunt Gene had been diagnosed with a particularly fast-growing strain of lung cancer, that I would begin to understand the true depth and utter practicality of her Catholic faith.

Learning that all available treatments had failed and she would surely die very soon, Gene remained upbeat and generally unconcerned. She certainly didn’t like what the cancer had done and was continuing to do to her body, but as a woman of faith, she always knew the end would come – whatever the circumstances – and she had always relied on Jesus Christ and his Catholic Church to keep her fully prepared for that day.

She was a true daughter of the Catholic Church who fully accepted (to the very best of her ability) all that the Catholic Church practiced and proclaimed. She had for a long, long time now, been a very close friend of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist and of his Blessed Mother, so she had absolutely nothing to fear.

Aunt Gene also found great solace in this type of traditional Catholic stuff which many today – unfortunately – think is out of date. But unless and until death itself goes out of style, I must respectfully disagree!

She told me all this the day before she died. It was a life (and faith) lesson that I will never forget. I also have little doubt that her prayers were answered – both here – and in the next life. We should all pray for similar graces.

So … how does Pope Francis remind me of my “sainted” Aunt Genevieve?

Other than the physical resemblance (they could pass for brother and sister) they’re both a bit quirky and sometimes difficult to understand; neither ever married; both had a penchant for relatively unusual, minimalist living arrangements; both made extensive use of public transportation; both are well-traveled; both worked long and hard at their chosen professions; both are by virtue of baptism, undeniably Catholic and people of faith.

As such, they are both “family” to me, a fellow Catholic and adopted child of God – so I love them, without qualification or exception.

This would remain true even if it became necessary for me to go out of my way to charitably correct, defend and/or explain occasional incongruous, irrational, embarrassing conduct or “quirky” personal opinions.

Nobody’s perfect – so who am I to judge – right?

In the end, that’s what “family” – and authentic Catholicism – is all about!

Photo: Wikipedia

A Catholic convert theologian writes about faith, love, death, God and “other stuff”

CloudsCross

My first glimpse of God was the love which my parents shared with one another. It was a life-giving love centered upon a common faith that despite all the challenges of living out a common life together, they could entrust themselves to one another and find a path to their salvation through one another.

The true character of this love was revealed most poignantly to me when my mother was on her deathbed, emaciated and disfigured by the effects of aggressive cancer treatment. As the options dwindled, my father became more and more desperate, trying every possible medical and spiritual avenue to avoid losing my mom.

One afternoon, as he was venting his frustrations to God before a simple wooden crucifix, he heard God interrupt his stream of thoughts almost as if he were speaking audibly: “Do you trust me?” was the simple question posed to him.

Later, closer to the time of her death, my dad was able to look down at my mother’s unconscious face, and say “I have never loved your mother more than I do right now.” It is an inestimable blessing to be able to root one’s analogical appeal to God as “Father” in that kind of experience.

Hospitality and community were also key parts of my religious formation.

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Cardinal Reinhard Marx seems to have some strange ideas about God and his mercy

Unfortunately, the church is often still accused of wanting to steer people in directions they did not want to take, he continued. It would have to ask itself whether it hadn’t set the wrong priorities when proclaiming the Gospel message.

“Many older people have grown up with the idea that the church is a moral institution and that God is only a merciful God if we keep his commandments. But God doesn’t say, ‘If you’re good, then I’ll also be good to you.’ Jesus proclaims a God who says, ‘I love you — so live,’ and thus gives us the freedom to decide whether we want to accept and return his love.”

Link

Editor’s note: Yes, Marx is a Catholic Cardinal – although his thinking on sin and mercy are much more in tune with the Lutherans.

“Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly.” ― Martin Luther

Does God really give us license to sin? I doubt it! And why does the Cardinal make no mention of the necessity of contrition and repentance – or are those outmoded theological concepts, as well? More importantly, we have to wonder if this an example of Pope Francis’ thinking on these matters.

How’s this for Gospel, your eminence?:

“If you love me, keep my commandments.” ― Jesus Christ

A mere fifty or sixty years ago I doubt you’d find any practicing Catholic who would say they supported gay ‘marriage’.

People are getting weary of fighting immorality on all levels because what is and isn’t moral has been warped.  Things aren’t always so black and white anymore.  Where black and white once held the bounds of moral and immoral firmly in place, they have now given way to shades of grey.

What God determined as immoral, has been redefined. Lust has become love. Marriage between a man and a woman as God defined it, as been redefined by mere man.

When lust was redefined as “love” people forgot when REAL LOVE meant.
Today’s “love” is a rip off.  A counterfeit of what real love is.

So women read “romance” novels and sigh over what they see as romantic love. While men read porn magazines and lust after the very thing that will lead them to Hell.

We are being desensitized and most of us don’t even know it.

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5 keys to better discernment

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Five general principles of discernment of God’s will that apply to all questions about it, and therefore to our question too, are the following:

  1. Always begin with data, with what we know for sure. Judge the unknown by the known, the uncertain by the certain. Adam and Eve neglected that principle in Eden and ignored God’s clear command and warning for the devil’s promised pig in a poke.
  2. Let your heart educate your mind. Let your love of God educate your reason in discerning his will. Jesus teaches this principle in John 7:17 to the Pharisees. (Would that certain Scripture scholars today would heed it!) They were asking how they could interpret his words, and he gave them the first principle of hermeneutics (the science of interpretation): “If your will were to do the will of my Father, you would understand my teaching.” The saints understand the Bible better than the theologians, because they understand its primary author, God, by loving him with their whole heart and their whole mind.
  3. Have a soft heart but a hard head. We should be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves,” sharp as a fox in thought but loyal as a dog in will and deed. Soft-heartedness does not excuse soft-headedness, and hard-headedness does not excuse hard-heartedness. In our hearts we should be “bleeding-heart liberals” and in our heads “stuck-in-the-mud conservatives.”
  4. All God’s signs should line up, by a kind of trigonometry. There are at least seven such signs: (1) Scripture, (2) church teaching, (3) human reason (which God created), (4) the appropriate situation, or circumstances (which he controls by his providence), (5) conscience, our innate sense of right and wrong, (6) our individual personal bent or desire or instincts, and (7) prayer. Test your choice by holding it up before God’s face. If one of these seven voices says no, don’t do it. If none say no, do it.
  5. Look for the fruits of the spirit, especially the first three: love, joy, and peace. If we are angry and anxious and worried, loveless and joyless and peaceless, we have no right to say we are sure of being securely in God’s will. Discernment itself should not be a stiff, brittle, anxious thing, but—since it too is part of God’s will for our lives—loving and joyful and peace-filled, more like a game than a war, more like writing love letters than taking final exams.

Read more from Peter Kreeft

Catholics are called to love the poor in a fundamentally different way than Americans.

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Christian love is not leveling of differences that results in equality. It is precisely a love of people with all their differences, and is thus an unequal love, proper to unequal people.

So we arrive back at the point. The Church loves the poor with a preferential love. The good we should desire for them is a greater good than that which we desire for others. (This is obviously connected to the lack of due goods those oppressed by poverty may have — we must desire greater and more goods for the poor than we desire for those who are already secure in material and spiritual goods.) So the first difference between the Church and the culture is that what the culture claims is a good “addition” to life, or just another way of loving, the Church claims as a priority and a love above other loves.

There’s more

Editor’s note: The big question is … should the Church rely on government money … which has many significant, anti-Catholic “strings” attached … in order to “preferentially” help the poor?

Exquisite timing of “Miracle Priest’s” appearance reveals God’s loving providence

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After officials allowed him to approach the accident, Dowling reached his arm well into the car to touch Lentz’s head with oil. “Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit,” he said. “May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.”

The prayer was the Anointing of the Sick, an ancient ritual with roots in Judaism that is one of Catholicism’s seven sacraments.

As the priest walked away from the Mercedes, Lentz — a member of an Assemblies of God Pentecostal church — asked him to return and pray aloud with her, which he did. He then moved out of the way so rescue efforts could resume.

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Submitted by Bob Stanley

Editor’s note: From an obscure corner of the planet we witness a kind of genuine Ecumenism, as a Catholic priest lives the Gospel, ministering to a person of faith, in her time of greatest need.

This “grand coincidence” serves as a very timely reminder of God’s inestimable love, tender mercies and unbounded providence.

The Heavens and the Earth rejoice, as we give Him thanks and praise!

Fathering With Intentionality: The Importance of Creating a Family Culture.

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My family preferred “Aqua-Culture”

Have you ever met one of those families that just seem to have it all together? Maybe you knew such a family growing up and loved hanging out over at their house – there was such a great atmosphere there that you kind of felt like you were coming home whenever you stopped over.

The parents were happy. The kids were all well-adjusted and generally did the right thing. Everyone in the family seemed to genuinely love, respect, and care about each other. They all truly enjoyed each other’s company and had a blast doing things together.

Sure, they had problems and struggles like any other family, but they supported each other and rallied together to take care of whatever they were going through. Maybe you joked about them being so good it was creepy – perhaps they were perfect aliens from another planet — but you envied them nonetheless.

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Editor’s note: The above photo is a self-portrait I took of my family while we were on a shipwreck diving trip beneath the chilly but clear waters of Lake Superior. It’s actually a composite of two different photos, shot using a wide-angle lens with good, old-fashioned “film”.

To avoid obscuring anyone with my exhaust bubbles it was necessary for me to break the cardinal rule of SCUBA diving, which is, “Never hold your breath.”

Warning: Don’t try this at home!

Here’s another wreck diving pic, shot at a different location, about 60 feet below the surface of Lake Michigan:

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Rejecting and/or destroying the gifts of God can’t lead to anything good.

We began our discussion with the Papal theologian how the Catholic Church could defend its ‘hard teaching’ on contraception.

Fr. Giertych emphasized that the issue is about a reality that applies to everyone. He explained, “it’s not only a question of being in sync with Church teaching, it’s being in sync with reality, with the nature of the human person and the nature of love, which we received from God, whereas the Church’s teaching is showing us the way towards that supreme love.”

For Fr. Giertych there is nothing difficult about the answer of why the Catholic Church forbids contraception. “Because it distorts the human sexuality, and elevates the moment of sexual pleasure, whereas it denies the fundamental finality of sexuality, which is the transmission of life,” he said. “Sexual activity has been created, devised by God, as a way of transmitting life and expressing love, whereas contraception separates the transmission of life which it excludes, and then focuses uniquely on the pleasure, which generates, as a result, egoism.”

“The main reason why the Church says ‘no’ [to] contraception,” said Fr. Geirtych, “is that it destroys the quality of love, and marital love, which is a way of expressing the graces of the sacrament of matrimony, which is a way of living out the divine charity which is infused in the body and soul of the spouses.”

He explained that “marital love is to be of the supreme quality” but “contraception boils down to the saying of the spouse, ‘There’s something in you that I love, but there’s something in you that I hate, and I hate the fact that you can be a mother. So I require that this will be poisoned.’ Well, this is not love. It is not possible for a husband to say to his wife, ‘I love you truly,’ if at the same time he demands that she poisons in her body the capacity to transmit life, to be a mother.”

“That distortion of sexuality,” he said, “distorts human relationships, distorts the entire living-out of human sexuality.”

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