Category Archives: Hell

Pope Francis’ Missionaries of Mercy preaching hell: “age inappropriate”?

fatima children hell

It’s July in the Fatima Century. On July 13, 1917, Our Lady of Fatima said:

“Make sacrifices for sinners, and say often, especially while making a sacrifice: O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offences committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” Lucia continues the account: As Our Lady spoke these words she opened her hands once more, as had during the two previous months. The rays of light seemed to penetrate the earth, and we saw as it were a sea of fire. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now following back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear.

hell is real

It must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me do. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. Terrified and as if to plead for succor, we looked up at Our Lady, who said to us, so kindly and so sadly: “You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. It is to save them that God wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace.”

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pope francis fatima

There are those who think that it is not only lacking in mercy but a downright aggression to mention hell in preaching especially if any children are present. Of course, kids are able to take in a great deal of reality of how things really are, and adults merely use children (that’s an offense) to attack any mention of hell that they, the adults, don’t want to hear, knowing themselves to be guilty of that which may well bring them to hell unless they go to Confession.

Our Lady doesn’t pull any punches, but for the benefit of all tells it and shows it like it is. Great. That helps us to say: “O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offences committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

I often say that kids often save their parents as parents should want for themselves what they want for their kids, eternal life. I think we will also be surprised in heaven (please God we make it!) to see that it is the prayers of the little ones which saved so many adults.

When preaching about any topic whatsoever, it’s all about how you do it. If the scene, if you will, included the love and security provided by the Holy Family, that makes all the difference. Jesus and Mary love us so very much. There is bad stuff around, but Jesus and His good mom want us in heaven!

By the way, as it is said, there is perhaps no other Roman Pontiff in the history of the Church who has mentioned hell and the devil and exorcism more than Pope Francis. So, what’s a Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis to do?

Look: Jesus in the Gospel pulled no punches about telling people about hell. Jesus was extremely blunt in telling people that they WILL go to hell unless they change their ways. Telling people the way things actually are is the greatest mercy.

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The fires of hell with Hilaire Belloc

sacred heartsSometimes people think that the fires of hell mean real fire (only), because they are afraid of WHO that fire actually is, namely, God, that is, God’s love. Yes, in hell. It’s not universal salvationistic to say that God loves all regardless of whether or not they love him, regardless of whether they are in heaven or in hell or here upon this earth for that matter. The difference involves the reception of that love or not:

  • Those in heaven rejoice in this ardent fiery love.
  • Those on earth who follow Jesus are purified by this fiery love.
  • Those in purgatory are purged by this fiery love.
  • Those on earth who reject Jesus are thrown into agonizing frustration by this fiery love.
  • Those in hell, upon whom God’s love shines, scream in the agony that this love brings to them, for they want nothing to do with such love; their intellectual burning frustration sets their souls on fire.

But it’s all God’s love. I’m sure there are those who just won’t get this, and who will insist that I’m not a priest anyway for the fact of being Pope Francis’ Missionary of Mercy, and will stomp their feet while shouting that I’m a heretic for saying that God’s love is in hell and that that’s what makes hell hell for those in hell. But, hey, I can only say what is right. Irony is scary. And somehow, I can’t apologize for that. Maybe I’m evil. Hilaire Belloc might say so. I haven’t put this up for a little while, so, here it goes up again (I think I should memorize this; it would do anyone good to memorize it):

hilaire bellocTo the young, the pure, and the ingenuous, irony must always appear to have a quality of something evil, and so it has, for […] it is a sword to wound. It is so directly the product or reflex of evil that, though it can never be used – nay, can hardly exist – save in the chastisement of evil, yet irony always carries with it some reflections of the bad spirit against which it was directed. […] It suggests most powerfully the evil against which it is directed, and those innocent of evil shun so terrible an instrument. […] The mere truth is vivid with ironical power […] when the mere utterance of a plain truth labouriously concealed by hypocrisy, denied by contemporary falsehood, and forgotten in the moral lethargy of the populace, takes upon itself an ironical quality more powerful than any elaboration of special ironies could have taken in the past. […] No man possessed of irony and using it has lived happily; nor has any man possessing it and using it died without having done great good to his fellows and secured a singular advantage to his own soul. [Hilaire Belloc, “On Irony” (pages 124-127; Penguin books 1325. Selected Essays (2/6), edited by J.B. Morton; Harmondsworth – Baltimore – Mitcham 1958).]

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My meditation on hell. Thanks go to Pope Francis for his words on hell.

moloch

My favorite meditation is perhaps presumptuous, but it is about going before Jesus at the gates of heaven, falling down in reverence before him, crying my eyes out not in supplication, but rather in humble thanksgiving and joy: look at those wounds my sin engraved in his hands and feet and side, his Heart. Thank you for bringing even me to heaven, Jesus.

But that mediation has a backdrop, the all too real possibility of going to hell. Jesus spoke of it, so must we. Pope Francis speaks about it perhaps more than all other Roman Pontiffs put together. He doesn’t want us to go there. The very homily which the fake-news mongers claim to be the smoking gun in which Pope Francis denies hell and the pain of hell is the very homily where he underlines the horrific and eternal nature of hell, namely, distance from God and frustration. It deserves some extra commentary. So, just some notes:

In Mark 9:48, Jesus speaks of those who go to hell, that is, analogously, Gehenna, the valley below the temple mount where children were burned alive on a hollowed out bronze statue-stove of Moloch, Satan. Quite the image of suffering and, in the time of Jesus, the symbol of judgment regarding eternal damnation. How fitting that it’s below the “Dung Gate.”

Anyway, Jesus says that their worm dies not, that is, their σκώληξ, that is, that kind of worm which feeds on corpses, that is, a maggot. Jesus’ justice is only outdone, as it were, by his mercy, for it is based on his justice. Thus:

Psalm 22, which speaks of the future crucifixion of Jesus, puts these words in the mouth of the Suffering Servant: “I am a worm and no man” (Ps 22:6). That worm bit is again σκώληξ, maggot, in the Septuagint, and, in the Hebrew, תוֹלַעַת, that is, maggot. Jesus cites the beginning of Psalm 22 from the cross. Jesus took our place on the cross as a maggot in hell so that he might have the right in his own justice to have mercy on us so that we might not go to hell. That‘s how much he loves us.

saraph-serpent

The maggot-worm in hell, that is, therefore, the fire-serpent, recalls Jesus speaking of himself as the fiery saraph-serpent: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, even so must the Son of man be lifted up” (John 3:14). You’ll recall that the fiery saraph-serpents were killing the people in the desert during the exodus, and that Moses made an image of such a serpent in bronze, raising this up on a stake, a cross, so that all who might look at it might be healed. Jesus came among us looking like us, we who kill each other in sin, and he was raised up on a stake, on a cross, that all who look to him might be healed of the eternal death that the fiery serpent Satan intends for us. He takes our place that he might have the right in his own justice to have mercy on us so that we might not go to hell. That‘s how much he loves us.

But Jesus speaks of their worm dying not. Let’s drill down into this “worm” and “not dying” bit.

The part about the worm is actually about Satan back in Genesis, that fallen monster angel who deceived Adam through his wife. The ill-advised translation about his being cursed is that he will go about on his belly. What a stupid translation into ultra-derived meanings. Why not just translate what it says?… “You will go about on your writhingness.” This “writhingness” refers to frustration. Have you ever seen someone super-frustrated, throwing a tantrum, going about on their writhingness?

Here’s a sad bit about a woman who missed her flight. What might it be to miss one’s flight to heaven and end up in hell forever?

Now, couple that writhingness not with repentance for having been late, as it were, but with belligerent arrogance and hatred of all and not being repentant at all. This is a fire worse than any fire a match could light. This is internal, intellectual frustration. Horrific. Pope Francis has it right. Intellectual frustration coupled with hatred is worse than any torture chamber we might think is in hell.

There is that kind of thing of course, with those in hell harassing each other, with the fallen angels harassing all. It’s a place of hatred, after all, forever and ever. Why go there? Go to confession. Go to heaven! I want to go to heaven.

Meanwhile, some fun with writhing worms, except if they’re you in hell forever:

So, maybe this is more on target:

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Anti-Pope-Francis Fake-News-Blogs

fake-news

A couple of months back a number of purportedly Catholic blogs put up a condemnation of Pope Francis for his denial of any hell worth the name of hell. The problem is, he didn’t deny the existence of hell, nor even the pains of hell. In fact, he has the most eloquent and biblical explanation of hell I’ve seen for a long time. He’s spot on. He speaks about it because he doesn’t want us to go there. And he’s also right about the rigidity of some of these bloggers, who want the fires of hell to mean only physical fire, rigidly so. Sorry. There is more to hell than just that. There’s frustration and, yes, distance from God, a distance, yes, of separation. But that’s for another post. It has to do with the worm not dying. Don’t go to hell. Go to confession.

Oh, did I mention that those posts on those blogs disappeared when these guys were caught out? They took them down, but other lesser web-sites who seemed to have followed their example still have their posts up, doing untold harm to the faithful. What I would like to see is those fake-news anti-Pope-Francis blogs which claim to be so very Catholic put up apologies for their having promoted the fake-news cycle risking the eternal damnation of those who follow them.

I doubt if we will see that. For instance, one of them put up a post about how much they, the workers who have borne the heat of the day, how much they hate and despise and belittle and spit on those who are scandalized only just recently by this or that event wrought by this or that individual in the Church, saying that those who are only newly scandalized are to be most condemned and forever ostracized into the peripheries for the reason that they didn’t jump on board with the fake-news mongers earlier, because, hey!, that’s the way to be inviting of people to a deeper appreciation of the faith, right? Just kick everyone in the teeth, right?

That’s just a small example of the bitter hatred and frustration and arrogance that one will find in hell, where the worm of that frustration does not die. Yikes!

Although they have set themselves up to be judges of all humanity, those who hate Jesus even in the midst of their rigidity will not come to judge, with Jesus, the living and the dead and the world by fire. They will instead be judged. And we’ll see what the ferocity of that fire is in another post. Stay tuned. It’s more frightening than the rigid will ever want to admit. But perhaps it will scare them into reconsidering their self-righteousness that seems to absolve them in their own eyes of the fake-news stories they put up in order to attack the Holy Father.

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Filed under Fake News Cycle, Hell, Pope Francis