Saturday, 21 July 2012

On entering eternity by a priest part 2

There are two hiding places where we may flee, where we will not have to endure the terrible presence of this absolute perfection. Hell: — One of them is called hell, where the sinner will never have to endure this absolutely pure light. There he will never have to face that perfect goodness of God which he finds so unbearable. There also all hopes, desires and needs, all that man was created for will never be satisfied, but rather be totally and eternally frustrated. This is for the .sinner who has nothing of God's life in him, no sanctifying grace. There will be terrible suffering of fire, not to purify for better things, for such a one does not ever belong with God, but to punish as is due forever and ever, with a fire that burns the soul, and will burn the body also. There will be no escape, no way to change this terrible state. There will be much company with others who hate the true good, those in heresy and error, those who promoted discord, the earthly, and those who did not truly love Him Who is infinitely lovable The company there will be with others who are the same as the sinner entering hell. There will be disgust and horror without end. The many vices that were practiced and sought after on earth will bring punishment of the same kind in hell, coming to the sinner (for he sought these as his 'god'), until long after satisfaction is reached and then more yet and on without end to disgust and nausea. So each is given that which he chose here, as his 'god', but only that, and not Him Who is the true God and Who only can fill all our needs and desires and bring true happiness. The true Good will never be his, or happiness, or peace or rest, in fact all that man was made for will be lacking him. No suicide, so that one can end it all, will be possible, but there will be an overwhelming urge and constant desire to do so, to totally annihilate the very being given by the Creator, for in hell there is no hope — only despair and eternal fire!!! Purgatory: — The other place to hide from this infinite divine goodness is purgatory. In so many ways it is like hell, having similar punishments of fire and frustration of all desires, etc., but being very different in a very important way. Purgatory is a place to flee from God for the unworthy who nevertheless have God's life in them, sanctifying grace. Purgatory too is a terrible place, a place of punishment, a place of much terror, so terrible that the worst punishments and sufferings on earth are as nothing compared with it. But this fire which burns the spiritual soul, as in hellfire, is not to endure forever. It burns rather to purify one of the impurities of this world which have been contracted, to purify our charity, and to purify us of our unjust wrath, our excessive pride, our too great attachments to creatures rather than God their Creator, and all vices man is capable of, which have been forgiven but not atoned for. It is a thousand times easier to suffer before death for these impurities, for the suffering is so terrible. The book by Fr. Shouppe, S. J. gives many examples, which all graphically illustrate this point. But this terrible suffering is not everlasting as that of hell. It is a place to flee for those who are unworthy of God yet, but who have something of God in them, i.e., the true Faith and sanctifying grace. In Purgatory there is hope, instead of despair; there is some genuine love of God. This fire burns rather to cleanse so that we may be worthy of the divine presence. It is a merciful fire, and punishment of God's love for the sinner. All know they need this cleansing, they know they as yet do not belong in God's company. They are grateful for this punishment, because it will ready them for God one day, perhaps long in the future, many years by earthly standards, perhaps even centuries, as Fr. Shouppe indicates. This is the teaching of Our Lord and therefore of the Church and the Saints.
You and I still have time to contemplate these facts seriously. The light of God's glory shines for us here on earth already now, only it is too often not recognized. It can be recognized only by a humble acceptance of God's words in a Faith resting on grace. Revelation of divine truths, God's institutions here on earth, such as the true Mass and Sacraments, and laws to govern his children here are all instances of this divine light and glory already now. How terrible it is to reject any of these, as they are of God and His glory, and what a sure sign that is of eternal ruin for us. So God reveals and gives us a little of His divine light and life already now, only here we must accept it on Faith, whereas in Heaven it will be plain to see and will bring great joy for all there, since one's understanding and appreciation will then be supported by God. As St. John the evangelist, the beloved disciple says, "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men, and the light shines in the darkness; and the darkness grasped it not" (I, 4). The world is darkness, as is the mind of man so often when preoccupied with this darkness, so this divine light is often not seen or appreciated. Yet the light of God is present already, if only we will see it with the eyes of Faith; i. e., humbly and wholeheartedly accept what we cannot understand and usually not appreciate now. But if we will not believe God's words and works now, we will not see this light of God in eternity either. Our failure to atone adequately for our sins, our seeking after pleasures and goods of this world so totally, and many other evils, only assure us there will be punishment to come. Our failure to pray fervently and often is another sign of future trouble. One who will not pray well is by that fact showing he does not care for the company of God, there are other matters he prefers. Such a one will not find that blessed company thrust upon him after death either. But in our day when there are so many who are in the state of mortal sin, and who do not choose to have God's life and light, His grace and Faith, in them, that punishment will certainly be non-ending in hell, for that is their choice. How awful it is to tamper with any of God's works, for these are of Heaven and are bringing joy now to the angels and saints there. Also to be so satisfied with the cheap earthly light of man's wonders, such as T.V., the movie screen and all his deeds, only closes the door to us of the heavenly light of God. We read of a wondrous new invention claimed by Thos. Edison, when he lit up his house and all the grounds around with electric lights, as a show to others of what man can do. This was such a marvel compared to the darkness of night-time otherwise, and made others marvel at the earthly paradise being brought about by man. Of course electricity has done many good things. But the heavenly light of God is far, far greater, and is referred to often in the Bible as well as other spiritual writings. This is the light that surrounds God; a light of intense beauty; so wonderful that it brings tears of joy to the eyes of mortals even at the briefest glimpse, as in near death. Here there is all truth, all mysteries are contained here and without end. There is no obstacle to overcome of strange words or languages for we will know directly and at first hand, and there is the fullness of joy without end for all those found worthy to abide near this heavenly Being and Presence. But the vast majority of mankind today is satisfied with the cheap lights of this world and is totally engrossed in these. Would this alone not indicate that they are headed for hell?! One cannot follow the works of satan in this life and then expect to spend eternity with God, as common sense tells us. He whose company man seeks here below, shall be his companion (if we can call him that), after death and forever and ever.  But God now offers us a little of His divine light of truth and His works. To reject that light now is to reject it in eternity. "Beneath, behind and through it all there is the stupendous truth that no man loses God by accident, no man wanders off the road home in spite of himself, no man is in rebellion against the will of God except by his own open declaration of war" (My Way of Life, p. 35). We cannot choose to act in defiance of God's words and works now, and then expect to be in union with Him forever. Our company then can only be that of him who first defied God. Each moment of life we make the choice between Heaven and hell. How precious is then, each moment of time, for all eternity rests on it and our use of it. "Great riches are found in each moment's choice between Heaven or hell" (My Way of Life).
Then carefully consider your life now; how it pleases God, how obedient to Him you are, how much you comply with His word, and that in spite of what any man says otherwise. Obedience to any man is no excuse for disobedience to God. Many of the Saints had to give their lives for the 'pearl of great price', the true Faith, because it is more valuable than all else, for in it the light of God is found. Then we too must be prepared to make such a sacrifice for this inestimable treasure. Also we must obey all of God's laws to the fullest, and receive His institutions, as He instituted them, and not some man-made version of them. These all we find in the centuries old, and continuous tradition of the Church in her official teaching in all its sameness and continuity. Anything new or different cannot be of God, because God does not ever change.  Are you totally loyal to God? Do you accept all his truths and institutions just as He formed them long ago? Are you obedient to His Will? Consider how great is the terrible danger you face. What a horror to spend eternity in hell!! How much remorse and regret for what could have been. How terrible to come before God and recognize that one does not belong in that divine company. We are made to be with God and in union with Him. Then let us adore God properly now, that we may share in the wonders of God and the joy of that adoration in eternity. It is only in truly adoring God that any creature can find happiness, for that is his proper place as a creature. How wonderful is the reward for true love and fidelity, and how easily it can be ours. We so easily love creatures now; then how much easier it should be to love their Creator now too, and to adore Him in the manner He has determined and with the means He has given us. All of you who have found new and different ways of adoration or whatever, ask yourselves whether you are really adoring God, or perhaps only each other and serving your pleasures. These ideas which you profess today, so contrary
to all tradition, do you think they will win you salvation. If they, in their entirety, did not come from God, then you who follow them, can only be rejecting God and His works now and in eternity. It is surely wise to think about this matter; after death it will be too late. Don't worry about your neighbor and what he will think; what does God think of you? If you are not completely loyal to Almighty God now, you are headed for a harsh judgment. Our Lord may tell you in judgment, that since you served man so well, get your reward from him too, and that you have already had this reward on earth. He who seeks Heaven does not seek a reward or acclaim from man. Rather he quietly serves God first and always, and then trusts in God for a reward, forever in Heaven. We must always obey God, but of course abuses or misuses of God's authority in man may not be obeyed. But God is still a kind Father Who cares for His children on earth and helps them in every way to eternal life, in fact holds it out for us to take. For those who will take these precious gifts now there is waiting a perfection of happiness, a satisfaction of all desires, in the wonders of life with God in His divine light.
Surround yourselves with beautiful images of Our Lord and His saints in picture and statue, as constant reminders of Heaven where the saints are and where you hope to be. Keep and use blessed sacramentals as means of heavenly grace and divine helps. Receive the Sacraments truly; and with devotion and frequency, thereby living now in the divine presence in preparation for permanent union with God in Heaven. Strengthen and preserve your Faith in all God's revelations through your practices of Faith, devout, readings and meditation. Always fulfill God's holy Will as lovingly and perfectly as possible. Also, humility is a most important virtue for those who hope for Heaven, and closely with it, that of resignation to God's Will. He who humbly resigns himself into the hands of God, no matter what happens to him, is by that very fact very close to God. So the veil of this life which stands before eternity is really only a testing ground and a time to prepare. Let us not fall in love with the veil, and dedicate our time and efforts to it. "What does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his own soul" (Mark, 8:36). It will soon disintegrate for each of us. This life is a mere preparation for the life to come and therein only lies its importance. How we live it and cooperate with grace determines our life for all eternity, and that is our real life.
Death will bring a great revelation to all; it can be a revelation of God, an eternal Christmas; instead of an end of life, it should be really only a beginning of a most wonderful life for the blessed. Every task under God's Will, every suffering, every proper act of love of God, all lead to this most wonderful reward. So seek God now, but do so wholeheartedly; love God now, but do so with all your powers and at every opportunity and all the time. Seek, wait for, and try to acquire now, the divine light of eternity in Faith, rather than be satisfied with the earthly false lights which are around us. Let us serve the true God always, for that is why He created us; and let us do so entirely and with the power of His graces, and all His divine means. No matter what the cost, be ready for Heaven at death. Let us pray for each other that we may meet again before and with God in eternity, in the eternal light, and be there forever in the most blessed company of the Saints. A most important prayer for every day should be that of three Hail Mary's for a happy death, as the child turning to its mother for help in this most urgent need. It is also a great work of charity to pray daily for the dying. St. Joseph is the patron of the dying; pray for his intercession with God. Pray to St. Sylvester, who upon seeing the body of a friend at his funeral, gave up everything and gave himself to penance and prayer because he then realized how passing is this life. "In order to go straight to Heaven, one must make a close acquaintance with the Queen of Heaven" (Fr. Paul, p. 221). "Eye hath not seen or ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love Him" Cor. 2:9.