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. Felix II
St Felix II, the pope is an ancestor of the future Pope St. Gregory the Great who lived from 540 to 604.
Blessed Charles the Good
Count Charles of Flanders, was called "the good" by the people of his kingdom. They named him for what they found him to truly be.
Blessed Katharine Drexel
Blessed Katharine was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 26, 1858. Katharine's mother died when she was a baby.
St. Casimir was born in 1458, son of Casimir IV, king of Poland. Casimir was one of thirteen children.
St. John Joseph of the Cross
St. John Joseph of the Cross was born in southern Italy on the feast of the Assumption, 1654. He was a young noble, but he dressed like a poor man.
St. Nicolette was named in honor of St. Nicholas of Myra. She was born in 1380. Her loving parents nicknamed her Colette from the time she was a baby.
St. Perpetua and St. Felicity
St. Perpetua and St. Felicity lived in Carthage, North Africa, in the third century. It was the time of the fierce persecution of Christians by Emperor Septimus Severus.
St. John of God
St. John was born in Portugal on March 8, 1495. His parents were poor, but deeply Christian. John was a restless boy.
St. Frances of Rome
St. Frances was born in 1384. Her parents were wealthy, but they taught Frances to be concerned about people and to live a good Christian life.
St. Simplicius became pope in 468. Sometimes it seemed to him that he was all alone in trying to correct evils that were everywhere.
St. Eulogius of Spain
St. Eulogius lived in the ninth century. His family was well-known and he received an excellent education. While he learned his lessons, he also learned from the good example of his teachers.
St. Fina (Seraphina)
St. Fina was born in a little Italian town called San Geminiano. Her parents had once been well off, but misfortune had left them poor.
St. Euphrasia was born in the fifth century to deeply Christian parents. Her father, a relative of the emperor, died when she was a year old.
St. Matilda was born about 895, the daughter of a German count. When she was still quite young, her parents arranged her marriage to a nobleman named Henry.
St. Zachary was a Benedictine monk from Greece who lived in the eighth century. He became a cardinal and then pope.
Blessed Torello was born in 1202, in Poppi, Italy. His life as a child in the village was ordinary and uneventful. But after his father's death.
St. Patrick was believed born in fifth-century Britain to Roman parents. When he was sixteen, he was captured by pirates and taken to Ireland.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem
St. Cyril was born around 315 when a new phase was beginning for Christians. Before that date, the Church was persecuted by the emperors.
St. Joseph is a great saint. He was Jesus' foster-father and Mary's husband.
St. Cuthbert lived in England in the seventh century. He was a poor shepherd boy who loved to play games with his friends.
St. Serapion lived in Egypt in the fourth century. Those were exciting times for the Church and for St. Serapion.
St. Deogratias was ordained bishop of the City of Carthage when it was taken over by barbarian armies in 439.
St. Turibius of Mongrovejo
St. Turibius was born in 1538 in Leon, Spain. He became a university professor and then a famous judge.
Blessed Didacus Joseph was born on March 29, 1743, in Cadiz, Spain. He was baptized Joseph Francis.
ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD
The time arrived for Jesus to come down from heaven. God sent the Archangel Gabriel to the town of Nazareth where Mary lived.
St. Ludger was born in northern Europe in the eighth century. After he had studied hard for many years, he was ordained a priest.
St. John of Egypt
St. John was man who desired to be alone with God was to become one of the most famous hermits of his time.
St. Tutilo lived in the late ninth and early tenth centuries. He was educated at the Benedictine monastery of Saint-Gall.
St. Jonas and St. Barachisius
King Sapor of Persia reigned in the fourth century. He hated Christians and persecuted them cruelly. He destroyed their churches and monasteries.
St. John Climacus
St. John was believed born in Palestine in the seventh century. He seems to have been a disciple of St. Gregory Nazianzen.
Blessed Joan of Toulouse
In 1240, some Carmelite brothers from Palestine started a monastery in Toulouse, France.
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?