the State of Those who Reject God
Hell is the ultimate consequence of sin itself, rather than a place,
it indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate
themselves from God, according to Pope John Paul II.
God’s love and mercy is infinite. But he gave man the free will,
that man can unfortunately choose to reject His love and forgiveness
once and for all, thus separating himself forever from joyful communion
with Him. It is precisely this tragic situation that Christian doctrine
explains when it speaks of eternal damnation or hell. It is nor a
punishment imposed externally by God but a development of premises
already set by people in this life. The very dimension of unhappiness
which this obscure condition brings can in a certain way be sensed
in the light of some of the terrible experiences we have suffered
which make life “hell”.
In a theological sense however, hell is something else. It is the
ultimate consequence of sin itself which turns against the person
who committed it. It is the state of those who definitely reject the
Father’s mercy, even at the last moment of their life.
According to the scriptures, hell indicated the state of those who
freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of
all life and joy (2 Thes 1:9). This is summarized in the Catechism
of the Catholic Church: “ To die is mortal sin without repenting
and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated
from Him forever by our own free choice. The state of definitive self-exclusion
from communion with God and the blessed is called ‘hell’”.
Therefore, “eternal damnation” is not attributed to God’s
initiative because in his merciful love he can only desire the salvation
of the beings he created. In reality, it is the creature who closes
himself to His love. Damnation consists precisely in definitive separation
from god, freely chosen by the human person and confirmed with death
that seals his choice forever. God’s judgment ratifies this
Christian faith teaches that in taking the risk of saying "yes"
or "no", which marks the human creature's freedom, some
have already said no. They are the spiritual creatures that rebelled
against God's love and are called demons (cf. Fourth Lateran Council,
DS 800-801). What happened to them is a warning to us: it is a continuous
call to avoid the tragedy which leads to sin and to conform our life
to that of Jesus who lived his life with a "yes" to God.
Eternal damnation remains a real possibility, but we are not granted,
without special divine revelation, the knowledge of whether or which
human beings are effectively involved in it. The thought of hell —
and even less the improper use of biblical images — 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".
OF THE SAINTS
ST. EDMUND CAMPION
St. Edmund lived in the sixteenth century. He was a very popular young English student who was a great speaker.
St. Bibiana's father Flavian had been prefect of the city of Rome in early Christian times.
ST. FRANCIS XAVIER
St. Francis Xavier, the great missionary, was born at Xavier Castle in Spain in 1506.
ST. JOHN DAMASCENE
St. John lived in the eighth century. He was born in the city of Damascus of a good Christian family
St. Sabas, born in 439, is one of the most famous monks of Palestine.
St. Nicholas is the great patron of children and of Christmas giving.
St. Ambrose was born around 340. He was the son of the Roman governor of Gaul.
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF MARY
Our first parents offended God by sinning seriously.
BLESSED JUAN DIEGO
St. Juan Diego is well-known because the Mother of God appeared to him.
ST. JOHN ROBERTS
St. John was born in Wales in 1577. Although he was not a Catholic, he was taught by an elderly priest.
ST. DAMASUS I
ST. Damasus was born in Rome and lived in the fourth century-exciting times for the Church.
OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE
We celebrate the event of Mary's appearances on Tepyac Hill in Mexico.
St. Lucy, the beloved saint, lived in Syracuse, Sicily. She was born toward the end of the third century.
ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS
St. John was born in Spain in 1542. He was the son of a weaver.
St. Nino was a Christian girl who lived in the fourth century.
St. Adelaide was born in 931. At the age of sixteen, this Burgundian princess was married to King Lothair.
St. Olympias was born around the year 361. She belonged to a great family of Constantinople.
St. Flannan lived around the seventh century. He was the son of an Irish chieftain named Turlough. Flannan was educated by the monks.
BLESSED URBAN V
Blessed Urban's name before he became pope was William de Grimoard.
ST. DOMINIC OF SILOS
St. Dominic, a Spanish shepherd boy, was born at the beginning of the eleventh century.
ST. PETER CANISIUS
ST. Peter, a Dutch man, was born in 1521. His father wanted him to be a lawyer.
ST. CHAEREMON AND ST. ISCHYRION AND OTHER MARTYRS
The third century was marked by Roman persecutions of the Church.
ST. JOHN OF KANTY
St. John, the Polish saint, was born in 1390, the son of good country folk.
ST. MARGUERITE D'YOUVILLE
St. Marguerite was born in Quebec, Canada, on October 15, 1701.
St. Charbel was born Youssef Makhlouf on May 8, 1828, in a mountain village in Lebanon.
CHRISTMAS, THE BIRTHDAY OF JESUS
The time had come for the Son of God to become man for love of us.
St. Stephen's name means crown. He was the first disciple of Jesus to receive the martyr's crown.
ST. JOHN THE APOSTLE
St. John was a fisherman in Galilee. He was called to be an apostle.
THE HOLY INNOCENTS
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Wise Men came from the east to worship him.
ST. THOMAS BECKET
St. Thomas Becket was born in 1118, in London, England.
St. Anysia lived in Thessalonica toward the end of the second century.
St. Sylvester dates back to early Christian times, to the reign of Constantine.
PHOTO OF THE MONTH
of the Relics of the Passion
for Holy Relics)
Why did Jesus, the sinless one sent from the Father in heaven,
submit himself to John’s baptism? John preached a
baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke
3:3). In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of
the “baptism” of Jesus bloody death upon the
cross. Jesus’ baptism is the acceptance and the beginning
of his mission as God’s suffering Servant (Isaiah
52:13-15; 53:1-12). He allowed himself to be numbered among
sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father’s
will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death
for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust
and submission to God?