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
BLESSED JUNIPERO SERRA
Blessed Junipero Serra was born in Petra, Spain, on November 24, 1713. The boy became a student at the Franciscan school in Palma
St. Otto lived in the twelfth century. He was born in Swabia, present-day Bavaria.
St. Thomas was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. His name in the Syriac language means "twin."
ST. ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL
St. Elizabeth, a Spanish princess, was born in 1271. She married King Denis of Portugal at the age of twelve.
ST. ANTHONY MARY ZACCARIA
St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria was born in Italy in 1502. While he was still young, his father died.
ST. MARIA GORETTI
St. Maria Goretti was born in 1890. Her father died when she and the other five children in her family were small. At twelve, Maria was already very pretty.
BLESSED ROGER DICKENSON, BLESSED RALPH MILNER AND BLESSED LAWRENCE HUMPHREY
These three martyrs lived in England during the time of Church persecution by Queen Elizabeth I.
BLESSED EUGENE III
Blessed Eugene III was born near Pisa, Italy, in the twelfth century. He was baptized Peter.
ST. FELICITY AND HER SEVEN SONS.
St. Felicity was a noble Christian woman of Rome. She lived during the second century.
St. Benedict was born in 480. He was from a rich Italian family. His life was full of adventure and wonderful deeds.
ST. JOHN GAULBERT
St. John Gaulbert was born in Florence, Italy, at the end of the tenth century. He and his father were devastated when John's only brother, Hugh, was murdered.
ST. HENRY II.
St. Henry II was born in 972. He became the duke of Bavaria in 995. One night he had an unusual vision. St. Wolfgang, who had been his beloved teacher when he was a boy, appeared to him.
BLESSED KATERI TEKAKWITHA
Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha was born in Auriesville, New York, in 1656. Her mother was a Christian Algonquin. Her father was a non-Christian Mohawk chief.
St. was born in 1221 in Tuscany, Italy, and was baptized John.
FEAST OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL
This feast was instituted by the Carmelites between 1376 and 1386 under the title "Commemoratio B. Marif Virg.
ST. LEO IV.
St. Leo IV lived in the ninth century. He was a Roman by birth and spent his life in that city. Leo was educated in the Benedictine monastery near St. Peter's Basilica.
St. Frederick lived in ninth-century Utrecht, in the central part of the Netherlands. When he was ordained a priest, Bishop Ricfried put him in charge of instructing converts.
St. Macrina was the first child of St. Basil the Elder and St. Emmelia.
St. Charbel was born to a poor Maronite Family on May 8, 1828 in a mountain village of Biqa-Kafra, Lebanon.
ST. LAWRENCE OF BRINDISI.
St. Lawrence was born Caesar Rossi in Brindisi, Italy, in 1559. Brindisi was part of the Kingdom of Naples, Italy.
ST. MARY MAGDALENE.
St. Mary Magdalene was from Magdala near the Sea of Galilee. Some people identify her as a well-known sinner when she first saw Our Lord.
ST. BRIDGET OF SWEDEN.
St. Bridget was born in Sweden in 1303. From the time she was a child, she was greatly devoted to the passion of Jesus.
ST. BORIS AND ST. GLEB
St. Boris and St. Gleb, the brothers, were born toward the end of the tenth century.
ST. JAMES THE GREATER
St. James was a fisherman like his father Zebedee and his brother John.
ST. JOACHIM AND ST. ANNE
St. Anne and St. Joachim are the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
St. Pantaleon came from Nicomedia, near the Black Sea, in Asia. He lived in the fourth century.
St. Martha was the sister of Mary and Lazarus.
ST. PETER CHRYSOLOGUS
St. Peter Chrysologus was born in the small town of Imola, Italy.
ST. IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA
St. Ignatius, the famous founder of the Jesuits, was born in 1491.
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?