We don’t like to talk about Hell. It’s not pleasant, it’s not polite, and it definitely makes us uncomfortable. We like to stick to the happy stuff, the infinite love and mercy of God and the glory of His Heavenly Kingdom. Some people joke about the ‘fire and brimstone’ pastors who seem determined to show the world that sinners will be punished. Sure, scaring people into a Christian lifestyle isn’t always the best approach. However, if we focus too much on salvation and neglect to consider the reality of Hell, we get to where we are today, with more and more Christians beginning to deny the very existence of Hell.
According to a 2014 Pew Research Study, 85% of people who self-identified as Catholics said that they believe in Heaven. Only 63% of those people believed in Hell. Fr. Robert McTeigue, discussed on Morning Air® his belief that meditating on Hell can be a fruitful Lenten practice.
Why don’t we like talking about Hell? “It’s too awful to consider. We only play being sinners so we can only play at being saved. If we admit that we are sinners who have merited infinite loss of God, that’s horrifying and then we can’t count on ourselves anymore, we can’t trust ourselves anymore,” said Fr. McTeigue.
“We have to absolutely abandon ourselves to the mercy of God and the saving work of his Christ. And we don’t want to surrender that power—we want to be able to save ourselves. On one hand, we want to think that we’re powerless, that we don’t have the power to say no to God; on the other hand we want to think that we’re divine and we can save ourselves. It’s a dual illusion. And honestly, at the root of it is we really like our sin. We find our sin comforting, we find it entertaining, we find it reassuring. And we wonder, how can we live without our sin?”
“We deny ourselves of our dignity if we deny the reality of Hell. If everybody goes to Heaven no matter what, then it doesn’t matter whether you’re a coward or a martyr; it’s doesn’t matter if you’re a believer or careless about the Truth; it doesn’t matter if you’re faithful or unfaithful to your spouse, because all roads end up in the same destination,” says Fr. McTeigue. “That sucks the meaning out of life and it deprives us of the opportunity for heroism and for sacrifice. But if we are capable of responding to God’s grace and attaining union with Him, then we have to be equally capable of rejecting God.”
Lent is a great opportunity to meditate on the reality of death, Heaven and Hell, and our free will to choose our eternal destination. During this Lenten season, accept the reality of Hell and then choose to reject it through rejection of sin and evil and by embracing God’s will for your life.
Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.