We have arrived at November, the last month of the liturgical year, during which we give special attention to prayer for the dead, the Poor Souls in Purgatory, as well as to meditation on the Four Last Things, Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. The fact is, dear reader, that you and I are going to face our God, the Just Judge, from whom nothing can be concealed. Either Our Lord will come in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His judgment will be upon us, or our hearts will cease to beat, we will stop breathing, our souls shall separate from our bodies and we will die. Either way.
Speaking of hell, it really does exist and you can go there. We won’t be consigned to the eternity of separation from God against our will. People choose hell. While we live, we have a choice. We can dedicate ourselves to our vocations, engage in good works and acts of penance, pray, confess our sins and receive the sacraments with joyful confidence in Christ’s promises. In every moment of our lives we are being offered graces.
We must never presume that we will automatically be saved. We must submit ourselves to God and apply ourselves. My experience as a priest suggests to me that people tend to die as they have lived. If they have given little thought to the Four Last Things, and have made little effort to live as if those things were coming down the pike, their last moments – if they are compos sui – can be fraught with real fear. Others, who have sought during life to live their Catholic lives in concrete ways, who have, in other words, practised dying every day, have peace. People tend to die as they have lived. Let us practise dying daily.
Many who die as God’s friends have not done adequate penance for their sins while alive. These souls now experience their final purification before being admitted to the happiness of heaven. We can lighten their burden by our prayers. Help our friends by gaining indulgences, by which God, through the Church, applies to souls the merits of Christ and the saints. We can gain plenary indulgences daily from November 1 to November 8 for the Poor Souls. Look up the details online.
One last thing: priests and bishops who don’t teach about hell will probably end up there.
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