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A Thing Called Mercy

Hell is a mercy. I know the vast majority of people out there will disagree with me because we have all been taught to think of hell as a fiery place where souls are tortured for eternity because they were "bad" during their time on earth. However, this is a very simplified description of hell. Hell isn't just a fiery place where bad people go. It is far more than just an eternal punishment. It is also a place that is tailored to fit you. In a sense, it is a place that you create yourself with the life you live, the things you grow to accept, and the things you grow to reject. If you reject God in life, then hell allows you to remain separated from Him in eternity.

I think the Father Steven Scheier  in the video below may help you understand the idea of choosing hell best. This Father Scheier was involved in a head-on collision that should have killed him...and did kill him. This priest found himself in front of Christ, hearing an account of all that he had done in his life as a priest. He had slacked off on his duties, choosing comfort and easy ways through his ministry...always believing that he would have a chance at the end to turn his life around at the last minute. Well, that chance didn't come and he found himself sentenced to hell for eternity. The way he describes accepting this punishment is exactly the way I imagine many souls accepting their sentence for eternity when they stand before Christ's judgment. Deep down, I am sure that we all understand God's justice as well as the consequences of our actions whenever we chose the easy versus the right. In the end, those that deserve hell will accept and, like this priest mentions, will not consider making excuses for themselves or seeking a way out.

(For a more in depth version of the store, check out this clip of Father Scheier from a 1997 taping of Mother Angelica Live on EWTN)

Does that mean all atheists, agnostics, non-Catholics all go to hell? Absolutely not. There could very well be a bunch of atheists in purgatory now, challenging and, thus, perfecting the understanding of the lukewarm souls that ended up in purgatory. There could be agnostics who made it to heaven and are now exploring God with other souls that ended up in heaven. Atheists may not believe in God or may not be ready to believe in God, but that does not mean that they fully reject Him in the way that some who do believe in Him may reject Him. In my experience, quite a few atheists/agnostics/etc simply don't understand Him or don't realize that they already know him. Some of them may even know Him better than I do. 

Personally, I think atheists serve a great purpose on earth when it comes to the education of lukewarm souls that believe in God, but are on the fence when it comes to other essentials in faith. I know, because I used to be a lukewarm soul who started dating an agnostic and who made friends with all kinds of people on the agnostic/atheist spectrum. I don't think God ever intended for me to be one of those super-involved youth group, altar-serving, church choir Catholic chicks. He had other plans for me...and that is why he put me in very non-Catholic (and sometimes anti-Catholic) environments throughout my life. The people in these environments challenged me and I became a better Catholic for it. I also challenged them and, at the very least, they learned a little more about God and His mercy.

This Lent, I encourage you to consider your role in God's plan. Try to think about ways in which you are fulfilling (or avoiding) God's plans for you. Think about the decisions you are making in your everyday life. Ask yourself if there are any improvements or adjustments that you can make to ensure that you are one day worthy of standing before Christ and telling him that yes, you do deserve a place in heaven....and yes, you did all you could to lead others there too.

Pax Vobiscum

1 comment:

  1. As a fellow Catholic, female, geek of the scientific persuasion (though more computer science than any other type), I quite enjoy your blog, although I usually don't comment. But I found this post particularly helpful, so I thought I'd write a quick note to thank you.