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DEATH, JUDGMENT, HEAVEN & HELL
Jesus Christ spoke about the certainties of Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell more than just about anyone else (before or since His time on Earth). Present day, many Church leaders have expressed a need for the latter of the 4 Last Things to be exhorted more often in homilies, Religious Education classes and church bulletins, for we cannot teach half of the message, yet expect our flock or those desiring to join our Faith to feel spiritually nourished with The Truth if a pivotal piece of the spiritual discourse is missing.
A few Scriptural references regarding our Day of Judgment- whether we spend eternity with Christ or in Hell- includes, but is certainly not limited to:
Disregarding the real presence of Hell, in part or completely, discounts the entire purpose of Christ's Resurrection and, therefore, our Hope. For, if there is no Hell, that translates into there being no Enemy. And if there is no Enemy, we may come to believe that we can do all things on our strength, rather than rely on Power from the Most High. Minimizing the existence and capabilities of the King of Liars, who prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour, is exactly what Satan wants us to do, for it permits the seeds of doubt to be cunningly planted in our soul. We begin to ask - as the serpent did with Eve- "Did God really say that?"
The Word is unrelenting regarding this scenario. When we regress from our desired state of vigilance, Satan sees an opportunity to woo our hearts far from the bosom of Christ Jesus. A portion of our elect- yes, believers!- will then be lulled into a spiritual slumber and allow a very real and powerful Enemy to steal from us, slaughter us and destroy our lives (John 10:10).
Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, proclaiming the fullness of sound doctrine prepares our brethren to stand firm during the unscheduled trials and persecutions that Jesus warned us about, while derailing any teachable spirit from blaming God for the cunning works of the enemy.
As the Good News discloses, "Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ," it is paramount that we exhort the Entire Message, rather than omit what some may not want to hear. This may have been what one of our beloved Church Fathers (Saint Augustine of Hippo) meant when he said, “If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don't like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.”
The Good News is that God has given us an escape hatch from the world's dysfunction that is authored by the ruler of this world. By putting on the Full Armor of God, we can be spiritually dressed for success to repel the attacks of the Enemy while advancing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the four corners of the Earth.
Additionally, when we deeply discern upon the Fruits and Gifts of the Holy Spirit and implant them in our everyday lives, we become transformed from leaning on our own way of thinking and, instead, come to believe that God can direct our paths if we allow Him to. It's a win-win for Jesus and for us. Amen!
Please take a few moments to view this video that shares what gets us to Heaven, as well as some misconceptions that exist in today's society:
The Holy Bible is a pillar in the Catholic Church's very own foundation, as all Scripture is inspired by God Himself. The Living Word of Jesus Christ provides great detail about Hell. Many Popes and Church Fathers - other sources of accepted teachings in the Catholic Church- have spoken extensively about Hell throughout our 2,000 year existence.
Our Faith Doctrine, the CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, paragraphs 1005-1037, is also very clear on the Church's stance regarding Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell.
Read below for more info; please share this link with our Catholic Sisters and Brothers, so that we all may be equipped to give an account of our Faith and why we believe what we believe. Thanks very much!
WHAT DO CATHOLICS BELIEVE
HAPPENS AFTER DEATH?
(from Catholics Come Home website)
"The Church believes that a person faces the particular judgment at death. God judges our souls and finds us either able to enter heaven immediately, needing to go through further purification in purgatory or capable of hell because of our refusal to detach ourselves from sin and our unwillingness to repent.
At the end of time, there will be a general judgment, at which time our bodies will be resurrected to join our souls in our eternal life, whether that be in heaven or hell.
What happens to us after death is an indication of our own personal, free choice to choose God and the path to holiness or to turn against Him. What happens after death also indicates who our God is—a God of both justice and mercy.
As Christians, we should not fear death, but rather ready ourselves for it, by growing in holiness and striving for eternal life."
PURGATORY (CCC 1030-1032)
CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
THE PROFESSION OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
I BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST, THE ONLY SON OF GOD
Article 12: "I Believe in the Life Everlasting"
1030 All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.
1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.606 The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:607
As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.608
1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin."609 From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God.610 The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:
Let us help and commemorate them. If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.611
Cf. Council of Florence (1439):DS 1304; Council of Trent (1563):DS 1820; (1547):1580; see also Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336):DS 1000.
Cf. 1 Cor 3:15; 1 Pet 1:7.
St. Gregory the Great, Dial. 4,39:PL 77,396; cf. Mt 12:31.
2 Maccabees 12:46.
Cf. Council of Lyons II (1274):DS 856.
St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in 1 Cor. 41,5:PG 61,361; cf. Job 1:5.