Good Intentions May Not Be Good

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2013/11/06 at 1:00 AM

I have attended many Catholic funerals in which the deceased is declared by the priest to be in Heaven. In one of these funerals, the deceased was an avowed atheist who had a Catholic funeral because his family of lapsed Catholics “had to do something.” The priest declared the atheist to be in Heaven at least 4-5 times.  I have heard Mother Angelica of EWTN declare twice in one program that a deceased was in Heaven. A nun who works with the elderly reminds them constantly that God is just waiting for them to die in order to sweep them into Heaven. And we have heard for decades about the “unconditional love” God has for people. Unfortunately, these efforts to make the living feel good is not  good theology.

There is a false teaching going around that God is so good that He could not possibly condemn anyone to Hell, and everyone eventually gets to Heaven. How many people have fallen for this idea, and decided that, no matter what they did, they couldn’t lose in the end?

It is very true that God condemns no one to Hell; we condemn ourselves by the type of life we have led on earth. In fact, our entire eternal destiny is in our hands and no one else’s.

One would not have to read very far in the divinely-inspired Psalms to learn what God thinks of sinners. He not only does not like them, but he warns of their ultimate destruction. Christ Himself referred to Hell more than to Heaven because He knew anyone can end up there if he/she so chooses, and it will not be pleasant at all. So much for the wishful thinking of universal salvation.

God’s love is unconditional and infinite in capacity.  What does that mean?  Simply put, it means that God will give every person the grace needed to do His will, but if a person decides to go his own way, then God will say to him: “Depart from me, I know you not.” It is true that God’s love for humans is unconditional but not in its application which respects human will. The love of God is always available, but it is not a matter of, “I will love you no matter what you do, no matter how sinful your life.” It is your choice.  As the sinner goes, he has a claim on infinite mercy, but he must ask for and seek it.

The Catholic who stopped attending Sunday Mass or is harboring other habitual mortal sins has severed his relationship with God (again, by his own choice). His only real hope is to receive the grace of repentance and to reform. At this point, God owes him nothing because such a person has rejected his status as a creature and refused to worship his Creator, or he insists on doing things his way regardless of the will of God. These are the real daredevils in life because there is no guarantee that they will even live to repent. Then what?

( Of course, I can speak only objectively here because no living person knows the status of another person in God’s eyes; we don’t really know our own status, for that matter.  (We are not judging; we are describing a condition of soul.)

The problem with sin, especially mortal sin, is that it always has negative consequences. First of all, sin is attractive; some sins are quite enjoyable (at the time). It is easy  to develop habits of sin, thereby compounding our predicament. I am always a bit amused at the Christmas and Easter attendees who skip the rest of the year. Who are they kidding?  Habits of mortal sin turn us away from God and things of God. They turn us away from the very purpose of human life, union with God for eternity. The habitual sinner will get to eternity, but he will spend it regretting his stupidity for falling for the Devil’s games.

There IS another false idea in circulation, namely, that at the moment after death we will get a chance to repent. There is not one bit of Biblical or theological or even rational evidence to support this. In fact, our last chance is the moment of death. After death, our fate is sealed.

Why are these perhaps well-intentioned “canonizations” at a funeral so wrong?

For a person to go immediately on death to heaven requires two conditions. One is that he be free of any sin, and that he not owe any temporal punishment due to his past sins.

Sins may be forgiven, but they still have a penalty due which is usually dealt with in Purgatory. I would think very few could qualify on both counts. (Martyrs are in a different category.)

In summary then, the mortal sinner, especially the habitual mortal sinner has in effect:

Rejected God

Added to the sufferings of Christ,

Defied the Divine Will,

Declared himself superior to God,

Decided that he is exempt from the moral law,

Possibly deprived himself of necessary graces  and blessings,

Become, in effect, a follower of Satan who hopes to lead him into his kingdom (Hell).

We live in a time when Christianity and religion in general are not only not respected, but are barely tolerated. The movers and shakers of the world are atheists in practice at least. Too many Catholics have jumped right into the culture propagated by these anti-God “leaders.”  Only about 20% of Catholics attend Sunday Mass regularly; 63% do not believe the Holy Eucharist is what Christ and the Church says It is. And on it goes!

The problem for Catholics who embrace the contemporary culture is that this culture cannot give anyone eternal salvation…just the opposite.

In the last analysis, we must choose eternal life or eternal death, God or Satan, Heaven or Hell. Whether you believe it or not, that’s all there is according to both Revelation and Reason.

Try to imagine what you will say immediately after you die, and you realize  “I blew it.” Worth it?


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