The Truly Scariest Place beyond the Universe: Heaven
By Joseph Andrew Settanni
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” – G. K. Chesterton
This article will invoke the keen paradoxical sense or, perhaps, “irritating” or provoking attitude of G. K. Chesterton to talk about the Christian idea of the supernatural afterlife. Justly pious souls, one can comment, ought to be frightened of ever going straight to Heaven upon their mortal deaths. But, does this seem logical?
Fortunately, Roman Catholicism, meaning the orthodox, traditionalist practicing of it, offers the best means for keeping a pious fear of offending the Lord God; this is by not being frightened enough of losing the love of God, especially through committing mortal sin. Only a totally naïve person would dare to approach Paradise, a place set necessarily far beyond the limits of human imagination or wildest speculation, without having a profound sense of real trepidation and frightening admiration.
What is critically meant here as a thoughtful warning and severe admonition filled with awe? Only a blandly complacent fool would simply think that it should be quite so easy a mere transition from this terrene reality, often filled with pain, suffering and torment, to go to the mystical-metaphysical reality of an entirely different place ultimately inconceivable, in purely earthly terms of mortal cognition. For as Jesus Christ said, “Many are called, few are chosen.”
Oh, yes, this goes always directly against the “new” heresy (revival of the old Pelagian heresy) of there being a universal salvation placed at the end of all time, set after the General Judgment and Particular Judgments, supposedly. But, as the Angelic Doctor, Aquinas states clearly, in his always impressive Summa Theologica:
“After the general resurrection when bodies and souls will be reunited, the blessed will not behold God’s essence with their bodily eyes. For bodily eyes, even when they are glorified, behold bodily things, and God’s essence is not bodily. Those that see God in heaven (before or after the resurrection of the body) see him with the mind, the intellect – strengthened, elevated, and illumined by the Light of Glory.”
Corporeal substance, related to a glorified body, still would have its inherent and logical limits. However, of course, the naïve and willingly credulous (even as to universal salvation) are always present in this sad world, for Chesterton had so wittily remarked that all hope is lost when optimism appears.
The Sheer Hellishness of Salvation
How dare sinful failures, being then fallen creatures in a fallen world, think that an exclusive entrance to the unimaginably most holy of locations must be without any real peril? Even John Calvin, wrongly thought a raw pessimist, is so easily revealed here to be merely a blatant optimist of extreme proportions, by stating that he was certain that some were automatically predestined and (all) others simply not predestined. Nonsense.
At birth, all human beings are axiomatically destined for Hell. Calvin’s absolutely inordinate and absurd optimism notwithstanding. Only the Sacrament of Baptism allows for the opportunity to be saved by sanctifying Grace, if that person does lead a good Christian life by repenting deeply of all mortal sins of both commission and omission inclusively, and not ever otherwise.
Now hear this, salvation is not a free ride. Faith alone, contrary to those who are still other kinds of various optimistic Protestantisms, just does not cut it. Works and prayer are both absolutely requisite, in the face of what might be called the sheer hellishness of (seeking to obtain) a wanted salvation. To paraphrase what has been written, only the violent can storm the ramparts of Heaven as the prize worth dying for, as to eternal life with the Supreme Being.
No one just simply gets born (with the one exception of the Blessed Virgin Mary) with a then supposed, pre-stamped free admission ticket (read: Predestination), as according to that arch-heretic Calvin. The old-fashioned Christians used to really believe in the much needed and proper righteous fear of the Lord, and for good reason. Today, millions simply assume that salvation is not any problem for them, because they blissfully believe that all is well; grievous woe unto those souls who, thus, will have a severely rude awakening upon their deaths.
The anger of God, especially as it is revealed many times in the Old Testament, was a surely considerable fact of terrene reality and punishments were, consequently, repeatedly sent against the Jews, for massive disobedience and their acts of vile sinfulness before the Lord God Almighty. [Of course, one may note that both sin and damnation are foreign or, rather, totally meaningless concepts to “sophisticated” modernists and, especially, true postmodernists.]
Forty years of wandering in the wilderness before crossing the Jordan River into the Promised Land, which was then denied to Moses, is still but one very small example of God’s certainly just punishment. Of course, the Lord’s Justice and Mercy are equal and the same forever, though modernists would say, as Chesterton might have joked, that the peripatetic Hebrews merely had lacked a good compass, that’s all.
At both the Particular Judgment and General Judgment, however, there is to be both the Mercy of God and, what too many, many people tend increasingly to conveniently ignore and forget with their absurd dreams of universal salvation, the equally perfect Justice of God, which, of course, is from everlasting to everlasting and, therefore, totally without benefit of any later appeal whatsoever. The latter point, one rightly suspects, should inform any who wish to be appropriately careful and sagacious Christians. Can the correct Christian tone and attitude be suitably illustrated to avoid any ingratitude toward the Lord?
Many people, e. g., proclaimed as putative “saints” during their lifetimes have, nonetheless, still very wisely condemned themselves mightily, as being great sinners, for fear the Lord. Perhaps, they knew more about religion or theology, or should have known better at a minimum, and did logically and fearfully expect a rather severe judgment so quite well deserved, not only pleasant mercy alone to be shown.
Thus, as the ever reliable guide Chesterton might have remarked, all good Christians should, therefore, have a sober fear of Heaven, ouranophobia or uranophobia, and not ever be smiley-faced, ho-hum, or so idiotically smug about their own chances of a hard-won salvation.
Furthermore, the Roman Catholic Churchy teaches that a priest’s conditional forgiveness of sins presupposes both true and profound repentance and, in addition, any recompense that must be given to God by suffering in Purgatory, until such time as the debt is fully forgiven. How might this knowledge be better put? People, these days, with hopes for universal salvation or its equivalent, forget that the Lord Almighty can be forgiving but not stupid.
And, with nominalist philosophizing being awfully present and pervasive, this should be or, these days especially, greatly deserves to be the prominent and informative title of so many Christian sermons. Unfortunately, such important sermons are, increasingly, nonexistent, for fear, one easily guesses, of offending the parishioners too much, especially by mentioning such unpleasant things as pain, suffering, and death.
There are notable consequences, moreover, to being fallen humans living in a fallen world that always go well beyond all Christian pious thoughts and hopes so supremely proclaimed or, by Protestants and others, believed in quite fervently; one perceives that much religious ignorance internalized, thus, seems to become a so suitable synonym for what usually passes for popular Christianity.
Hellfire appears largely forgotten, as just a supposed barbarous relic of inherently reactionary ancient or medieval times, which need not distract today’s enlightened ones; they who have “reasonably” or moderately compromised themselves by adjusting to the modern or, better yet, postmodern world of praised relativist values and situation ethics galore.
This proclaimed post-Enlightenment world has surely enshrined moral mediocrity as the highest achievement to be attained by “shrewd” people freely engaging a degenerate society and decadent culture with so much sophisticated zest.
But, those who have made their ugly separate peace with the aggressively secular society and culture are willingly stamping their own tickets for a future passage to the fiery Netherworld, whether they know it or not. For such Enlightenment necessarily yields forth its bizarre forms of urbane superstitions, usually known as pragmatism, positivism, materialism, hedonism, and nihilism, for the wages of sin is death, not a trip to any supposed Disneyland-in-the-Sky.
Many feel that their own spectacular reception or entrance into Heaven will definitely be like a quite terrifically grandiose, Hollywood-style production, with the substantially above-average equivalent of the Triumphal Procession from Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida. Expectations may include many sorts of interesting adventures and excitements, innumerable meetings with the many illustrious and great saints of the past, fantastic and literally highly incredible wonderments and simply awe-inspiring sights and sounds galore, experiencing all to the nth degree of any or all endlessly delightful imaginings. Really? Get real!
Almost all are, probably, to be then so sorely disappointed for ever actually believing in such preposterous stuff. Few, if any, souls would properly deserve to be so fantastically honored, in an absolutely extravagant fashion, better to just humbly assume more of a standard or routine processing event, especially for the only predominant or average majority of lesser souls, just logically unworthy of any such great notice. After all, it is clearly not a Disneyland-in-the-Sky.
No egotistical people can ever reach Heaven, for their bulging egos are simply way too big. More simply thought out, after the assured Beatific Vision is given according to existing Catholic teachings, St. Peter may, supposedly, take the equivalent of a pair of tweezers and pick up the typical “microscopic” soul and put the said soul into its “isolation chamber” for the hoped-for “eternal rest.” It would, therefore, seem to be an appropriate place for spiritual commoners.
The oddly choice location might just be in a subbasement or further lower level, as if a crack in a corner of a wall, of one of those noted “many mansions” talked about in Holy Scripture. For almost all people, that is, realistically speaking, it would spiritually be the very best that they ought to think that they truly may somehow deserve.
Those who are, on earth, so concerned mightily about their own (supposed) importance, or presumed prominence, will be extremely lucky if they only have to spend a long, long time in Purgatory, instead of going to the other place filled, as it necessarily is, with everlasting hate and a raging fury. The larger point of the broader discussion is that Heaven may not be at all what popular or general beliefs might expect or suppose it to really be, as such a place is, in fact, necessarily supernatural as to its super-reality.
One can guess that peoples’ imaginations, therefore, do not give verifiable true approximations of what is essentially unimaginable, as to both its true nature and absolute magnitude, for the semblance of (biased) cognition of it within mortal minds. Ultimately, inclusive of the existence of the world to come, it importantly relates to the divine Beingness of God and how people may be able to know about the Divinity. It relates, of course, to meta-ontological speculations of a rather high order.
Among the Scholastics, Aquinas had referred to this so significant matter as the human mind’s knowing ability qua perception to be at most an analogia entis, an ability to frame theological knowledge, doctrinal cognizance, in defined terms of analogical thought or thinking. One learns that analogia entis, therefore, postures an inevitable problem for advanced theologians, that of how mere human creatures must somehow try to understand the relationship of God’s Being to human beings; this noetical exercise is for humans, thus, to be able to intelligently converse or properly dialogue about the Supreme Being. And, this is no small matter, indeed.
Grace and Hellfire: More Inseparable than is Popularly Thought
The current Catechism of the Catholic Church, Canon 1023, declares that, “Those who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified [whether in this life, or in the next life in Purgatory] and live forever with Christ. They are like God forever, for they ‘see him as he is,’ face to face.” This is, moreover, theologically known as the aforementioned Beatific Vision.
What the contemporary world really desperately needs, but has greatly lost requisite respect and profound admiration for, is the true power of sanctifying Grace and the clearly educative knowledge of Hellfire. Only then, moreover, could a most righteous and sincerely holy fear of Heaven be properly inculcated in worthy Christians, meaning those truly worthy of the name Christian. Lives dedicated to holiness, to the love of Jesus Christ, will then generate the ability to obtain needed Grace from God, not otherwise.
Contrary to Calvin, there is no gratuitous Grace, as with his certainty that the Predestined must all be saved (because, after all, he said so, meaning according to his highly peculiar reading of Scripture, etc.). Calvinism, moreover, lives by his arbiter dicta, not so much by Christianity’s will, as to how salvation gets achieved, so one ought not to be surprised if John is experiencing Hellfire for such so extreme theological presumptuousness in claiming to actually know the thought of God Himself. And yet, what can one expect from a religion thought up by a lawyer?
More than that is ultimately implied by “legalistic” Calvinism, however, he knew, one assumes, both the will and mind of the Lord better than the Supreme Being Himself did. For that alone, Calvin deserved to find his own unusual reward in the Fiery Kingdom of Satan, which point can be explicated more surely, by citing that St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that such severe sins of the intellect are always much worse than the sins of the flesh. Q. E. D.
The life of a Christian oriented, more and more, toward the required efforts to obtain an advancing and active holiness can be seen, therefore, as basically successful and spiritually rewarding, for the committed believer in Christ and His Church, the Roman Catholic Church. Yes, sin and damnation, the effects of not seeking out holiness, do not get as much publicity from the pulpits as they used to do, nor is Chesterton’s Orthodoxy read much these days.
Opportunities for Grace, among other vital matters, are routinely neglected as a direct result of not understanding and comprehending the need for a fearful approach to the subject of Christ’s Kingdom; the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and dedicated Christians ought to exemplify the meaning of the need for such fear toward gaining a true perception of Heaven as not being a right easily guaranteed to the believers by faith alone.
This is a blasphemous (or Protestant) faith in faith itself, not the love of Christ to be manifested in those who use prayer and good works as both being necessary to prove one’s worthiness of a longed-for salvation. God’s Grace, thus, is not overtly or otherwise simply gratuitous, as is ever erroneously taught by Protestantism, for the Christian must always take up his cross daily to follow Christ. No ridiculous complacency, therefore, is to be allowed the Christian believers, though the Puritans, admittedly, did haughtily refer to themselves as being the saints.1
Alas, Protestants do not logically and reasonably see this enormous religious and theological error of placing one’s faith in faith itself because of their nominalism in cognition that blinds them to the Catholic Truth, the Catholic Faith.
Moreover, the doctrine of Sola Scriptura just reinforces this wrongly adamant and spiritually destructive blindness to the open verity of Catholicism that allows so-called Reformed Religion people to actually have belief in the belief, quite a bizarre tautology, that they will all be, somehow or other, saved by just having faith alone, the Sola Fides of the Reformed Religion. But, this shows overt contempt for the Lord’s sanctifying Grace.
If Sola Fides as a defining primary principle, both religiously and theologically considered, were really true, then Jesus the Christ need not to have died on the Cross at Calvary. It would have been, moreover, an entirely superfluous and metaphysically disproportionate act done by the Savior of Mankind.
There are very different understandings and approaches to Heaven because Catholicism and Protestantism, which seems to be Christian in orientation, are actually very different and, in fact, directly opposed religions. Why?
If faith in and of itself is all that actually mattered, meaning as to truly what the Lord’s salvation significantly and unquestionably meant, then mere belief in that overarching principle, logically and reasonably, would be all that was truly needed for salvation, not the entire rigmarole, the painful and suffering-filled elaborateness, of the Crucifixion. It would be a great superfluity of unwarranted and, in effect, so needless excess.
Upon a rather cogent analysis, the Protestants want, in effect, Easter Sunday without any Good Friday being involved; it is ever highly illustrative of how they, being committed nominalists, do deliberately split faith from reason to produce this version of the two truths theory: Something is said to be true by reason but can be still false by faith. And, vice versa, of course.
St. Thomas Aquinas and, literally, many others have thoroughly refuted this grievous error for many centuries by now, yet, the proper message never has reached those who are stubbornly or, perhaps, ignorantly unwilling to accept Catholicism as being true. Acceptance can only be done by the workings of the Holy Ghost within those souls who will freely take the time and effort to convert themselves to the truth, by the Grace of God.
More than all this, however, any Christian who is not emotionally or psychologically upset by this article has, therefore, become much too complacent and thinks in an un-Christian manner.
Far better to possess a righteous, Christian ouranophobia than to haplessly assume one can, somehow or other, absentmindedly get to Paradise, as if by sleepwalking through life and one day finding that the world to come has simply arrived upon death. A too rude awakening in Hell, and with it consequent Hellfire, ought to so easily dispossess any miscreant’s thoughts about an easy passage to the Lord’s Kingdom.
Only dedicated and resolved Christian soldiers, having mightily done God’s will as determined by both the Particular and General Judgments, can then righteously storm the very heights of Heaven, unlike the quite simplistic Viking belief that any warrior at all, merely with a sword in hand dying in battle, just goes right straight to Valhalla and with no questions asked.
And, the Moslem jihadi, guided by a unidimensional theology-religion, wins his place by then dying and butchering infidels in the process. Unsurprisingly, both Valhalla and the Muslim Paradise, both wild, erotic, ethereal adventure lands, are forever extremely far from Heaven. Consequently, the bloodthirsty Viking or Saracen’s soul, for its efforts, necessarily landed in Hell, an unpleasant place of everlasting torment, suffering, anguish, pain, misery, woe, etc.
But, however, not just being frightened of Hell, a fear of Heaven ought, also, to exist in that, e. g., just a single unrepented mortal sin, even regardless of many thousands of good deeds, still then earns that damned soul a ticket to the fiery Netherworld.
Juxtaposed to this is the now highly prevalent notion, encouraged freely by most post-Vatican II thinking, that a “universal salvation,” (or whatever its equivalent/comparable belief) by an all-loving, just all-forgiving Supreme Being qua Santa Klaus-like character in the sky, will so simply redeem all.
At the least, being extremely afraid of not getting to Heaven should, logically and reasonably, supersede idiotic idyllic notions of a free ride to the supposed perpetual Disneyland-in-the-Sky. A Christian’s life should be filled with a circumspective trepidation, a cautious apprehension, lest complacency or just sloth overcome the requisite reality of needed work and prayer aimed at a properly wanted redemption from this obviously fallen world.
The orientation toward the Christian need to gain Grace, by living a life dedicated to holiness, especially as is appropriately noted by the strictures of (orthodox) Roman Catholicism, is so manifestly mandatory for salvation, not optional. Too much ingratitude toward God has been manifested by “sophisticated” people who unwisely forget that they are ever indebted to their Supreme Being, lest their chastisement be eternal and harsh.
Related to this overall discussion, Cardinal Ratzinger, in his Eschatology: Death and Eternal Life (1988), cautioned contrary to the often popular but ignorant notion of merely depicting Heaven as some sort of an extension of this life but simply made so much nicer or, perhaps, pleasanter there forever. He was fully correct as regards eschatology, of course, that this rather bland or silly pedestrian conception is not really consistent with Catholic teachings, meaning as to the rightly appropriate theological comprehension of the world to come.
For many people or, at times, most people, while the projected sufferings of Purgatory or Hell can represent how folks on earth have experienced torments or pain, in small analogous ways, so that those places are at least intelligible enough, however, Heaven is still an entirely other matter filled with the Grace of God.
Infinite joy, ultimate happiness, and bliss untold to the nth degree are not exactly things ever experienced on earth in any sensate ways whatsoever; no analogous means exist by which to create truly comparable substantive references by which to properly both understand and comprehend such a place as to its eternal magnitude and (literally beyond comprehension) degree as well.
Some startling example needs to be rendered here for a related thought. In science, there is what is known as “the control” versus “the experiment;” as surely nothing existing in science, however, equals, for example, the initial Act of Creation by God, there is neither control nor experiment possible regarding the past Creation itself.
While one can have, to some relative extent, an understanding and vague comprehension of either Hell or Purgatory, because human beings are always fully capable of experiencing some sort or type of pain or suffering to some degree, nonetheless, a joy unbounded absolutely forever cannot ever actually supply a ready referent to (limited) mortal minds. Q. E. D.
A fear of Heaven is like fearing the logically unknown in that it is so clearly disproportionate, incomprehensible, and incommensurate, meaning as to normal human knowledge and reality; this is, one posits, held upon a normal mortal scale of reasonable human understanding and comprehension of the unimaginable supernatural realm of reality, of the heavenly abode.
No fully adequate meta-epistemology, therefore, can truly grasp what must be, by definition, a meta-ontology that is defined by a meta-axiology, meaning as to all such ultimates existing beyond the universe itself. 2 If human noetic conception of such a super-reality is extremely difficult, can one imagine the great torments of Heaven for a displaced soul, if it were ever accidentally not forwarded to Hell (because of mortal sin(s) unrepented) where it so should belong?
For Paradise, as to the Blessed Souls, is eternally ever without any pain, envy, vice, torment, jealousy, hatred, and all other such plainly normal realities of a fallen world; in a permanent contradistinction, the perpetual super-life of the world to come is a perfect order inconceivable in substance, by definition, on earth but, of course, simply a mandatory supernatural absolute in Heaven.
But, the requisite meta-logic, considerably involved in all this, then axiomatically demands that this supremely magnificent place cannot be anything like a mere recapitulation (or simply a greatly better version of) a supposedly reified earth in substance. A timid soul may very well be frightened, though not terrified, upon conceiving of all the exceedingly brilliant magnificence and unparalleled glory that is so easily represented by the blessed heavenly order.
And yet, these matters do, ultimately, encompass perceptions and speculations about teleology, ontology, and cosmology.3 As to theology, one finds that soteriology and eschatology are not far behind such thoughts, inclusive of the world to come upheld, as it is, by the Grace of God.
Since Heaven, according to clear Catholic teachings, is manifestly a hierarchical reality, there, logically, are to reside greater and lesser souls. Either heroic virtue and/or the purest humility determines a soul’s worth in taking up the cross, with the avoidance of the sins of omission and commision.4
Of course, a mind such as Chesterton’s could so perceive truth, through seeming paradoxes, by which heroic virtue and great humility are, ultimately, one and the same. The great Saints and Martyrs and other such highly ranked Beatified Souls would, therefore, rightly deserve the best available in Heaven, though their humility, of course, is part of what certainly had made them so great.
The common souls, those after being thoroughly purified by the needed cleansing flames of Purgatory, after seemingly unknown periods of time (in human terms), should be so satisfied after the Beatific Vision, to be then so simply placed into, perhaps supposedly, “microscopic” chambers. The full Light of Glory Revealed Everlastingly, the aforementioned Beatific Vision, is so much more than they ever really deserve, being then profoundly ashamed, in a sense, by this permitted access to such abundant righteousness galore and holiness supreme.
Extravagantly embellished notions of the life of the world to come, the Place of Blessedness, will be chastened greatly by the supernatural reality that will inevitably shock the minor souls into having a recognition of their own then instantaneously obvious lowliness, as compared rightfully to the Almighty Supreme Being, of course.
This perpetually ideal situation could not be ever otherwise, moreover, due to the absolutely ethereal and hierarchical gradations involved, inclusive of the ever magnificent and glorious nine Choirs of Angels. Minor souls ought never to expect a high ranking there, for human souls, directly contrary to some heretical myths, are not transformed into becoming angels.
They are those who lacked whatever could be reasonably thought of as major degrees of virtue or humility; neither being that heroic nor quite humble enough to more than satisfy the sniff test; supposedly, during their lifetimes, they did what they could but just could not quite reach the heights of what might have been done; one may, perhaps, perceive the typically dubious achievement of a spiritual mediocrity, though thought to be a bit above average, more or less.
Prior to Heaven, such souls ought to be in great fear thinking that a supposed mistake was, perhaps, somehow made as to their not, thus, properly going to the Fiery Furnace instead. If it were then possible, they supposedly should “beg” for needed forgiveness for even daring to be in Paradise.
Since nothing of importance, by definition, is ever lacking in Heaven, thus, in those various provided chambers or mansions (Holy Scripture speaks of many mansions), the common souls are to just rest in peace eternally as to their then proper reward. They should expect nor dare to demand anything else, for they had not greatly taken up their own crosses to bear when they lived on earth.
All, whether the great and the common, would easily know the love of God for them forever, and the Lord would be aware, of course, where all the souls are all of the time. Everything would, thus, surely be so quite heavenly by the Grace of God and His Eternal Will.
Scripturally speaking, for instance, a totally New Heaven and a New Earth are, thus, to come to exist and be forever occupied by the all the Beatified Souls, nine glorious Choirs of Angels, and the Godhead Eternal. Unsurprisingly, any displaced evil soul, if appearing there by a definitely bizarre accident, would be quickly horrified and utterly crushed beyond measure by all that so freely uninhibited and ever abundant greatness on regal display to the nth degree of absolute infinitude. And yes, of course, all of it is everlastingly heavenly, for how could it not be?
Because, however, Heaven is actually, in fact, a real location in that known beatified bodies, Jesus, Virgin Mary, do exist there beyond all necessarily deficient human concepts of space and time. Mortal minds usually find such, by definition, supernatural matters rather hard to grasp.
Many learned theologians, through the centuries, have held the opinion that St. Joseph, like Our Lady, enjoys the high honor of being raised bodily from the grave at the time of Christ’s Resurrection, and is, in fact, living in Paradise, body and soul. Why is this belief, however, fairly confidently said? There are both important empirical and understandable reasons and valid justifications involved, including, of course, notable theological reasons. One can, e. g., read, in the Douay-Rheims Bible, the explicit citation given in Luke 20:38, “For he is not the God of the dead, but of the living: for all live to him.”
No physical relics whatsoever exist of St. Joseph anywhere; and, neither is there any celebrated tomb for so honoring his (supposed) physical remains on earth. Therefore, the full, bodily salvific assumption of him is, thus, something logically expected, meaning as to his proper reward for a verified holy life of purity and devotion, fatherly concern and familial dedication, concerning the Holy Family.
It is, moreover, reasonably thought that Mary’s loyal spouse so righteously deserved this honor, and the obviously dedicated foster father who lovingly took good care of Jesus, saving both Him and Mary during the Flight into Egypt, with such a great commitment, had been granted a clear sort of justified privilege to it. Through a much resolved Catholic piety and religiousness, one may, thus, justly believe that St. Joseph stands, appropriately, united with the Holy Family now forever. Amen.
Of course, admittedly, Conciliar Popes have been wrongfully telling the faithful that both Hell and Heaven are not physical places at all but merely conditional states of mind, directly always contrary to (orthodox) Catholic doctrines. With their physical appearances made manifest on Mount Tabor with Jesus Christ, nonetheless, one can then properly note that both Moses and Elijah must, presumably, be in Heaven also somehow.
Thus, this supreme ultra-reality, Paradise, is not ever within the scope of the merely human or imperfect intellect confined to many quite petty mortal constructs; moreover, no amount of sapiential cognizance can be conjured into just corporeal existence for comprehending even adequately the basic substance of the ever absolute supernatural order defined by unutterable holiness sublime and the very incarnation of gratitude supreme.
Near to his death, to better put this matter in a larger useful context for illustrative purposes, Aquinas told people that all he had studiously or laboriously written was just “so much straw,” as to the true unimportance of it all, compared to the supremely magnificent vision of Heaven he was allowed to briefly see, by the Grace of God.
Contrary to so much of the above thinking, today, at the Novus Ordo’s community funerals it is fairly typical to hear beatifications announced or pronounced pertaining to the deceased party. Indeed, there is a profound and tremendous Crisis of Faith, within the Church and especially its mostly corrupted hierarchy, as the people of God must desperately live through these terribly dark times; this is with a Holy Father who so eagerly adds to the horrid darkness continually. The greatly destructive aftermath of the Second Vatican Council still viciously rots and destroys the foundations of Catholicism with its nominalist Hegelian dialectic of decay and relativism.
But, what can one ignorantly expect, seeing how evil Pope Francis himself, a quite blasphemous and sacrilegious fellow though not often rightly recognized as such, is so very certain of his own future canonization?5
To common people, who are not granted a glimpse of the world to come, however, the manifest combined incomprehensibility and incommensurability of Heaven can be a surely frightening prospect, especially for any pitiable sinful mortals, fallen creatures, given over to their severe failures (read: sins) in this sad fallen world. For its existence relates intimately to the limitless ontological Beingness of God.
The scariest place set far beyond the limits of this mere universe, therefore, must seem to be Paradise, when thought of as an exceptional place, for only righteously perfect souls, suitably forever made necessarily qualified to perceive the Beatific Vision, can hope to get there. This is at the full end of life’s often torturous and difficult journey.
Salvation, thus, is not impossible but difficult to attain, especially by those who are fixated with thoughts of a supposed universal salvation. It is better, much better, to be aware, especially as a practicing Roman Catholic, of the reality of Hellfire, meaning by the important need to avoid it, and to try to seek out ways and opportunities of gaining requisite Grace, through prayer and good works. Catholicism, as ought to be properly known, does not really lend itself to an either/or proposition, both are requisite to the surely significant task of one’s achieving a final redemption.
Athanasius contra mundum!
1.) There were thought to be, among the Puritans of the so-called Reformed Religion, visible saints, they who gave the appearance of being “Godly Christians” who were, thus, thought to be going to Heaven upon their deaths. Obviously, among other indicative matters, they did not believe that appearances can be deceiving. Or, perhaps, as the thoughtful mystic William Blake put it best, “Puritanism was an honorable mood; it was a noble fad. In other words, it was a highly creditable mistake.”
Thus, in the colonial days of early America, only those Christians thought to be these “visible saints” were to be allowed to worship with their Godly fellow Puritans; a criticism they had of Anglicanism (especially all High Church religion) was that the impure Church of England had just irreverently or indiscriminately permitted people to all worship in the same way. For easy confirmation of this Puritan theological attitude, one can, e. g., read such works as Edmund S. Morgan’s Visible Saints: The History of an Idea or Worldly Saints: The Puritans As They Really Were by Leland Ryken.
2.) An advanced discussion of related philosophical-theological matters can be found at: https://callthepatriot.wordpress.com/2016/09/08/theology-and-ontology-roman-catholic-reflections-on-ontological-theology/
3.) For further explication, see: http://teleologyontologyandcosmology.blogspot.com/#!
4.) Most people do not know that they will, in fact, be judged both by their sins of commission and sins of omission; the latter is usually not readily at the top of most minds, especially these days. One of the grave sins to have studiously avoided is, e. g., complete ingratitude to God, a mortal sin of omission. The Christian who has a healthy fear of the Lord Almighty should and, really, ought to always avoid such an extreme transgression leading automatically to Hell, if ever unrepented deeply.
Sadly, many millions of people are seemingly unaware of such sins of omission in their lives, and this lack of (Christian) consciousness and cognate conscientiousness, will not be easily forgiven, especially if it is both excessive and totally unrepented as well. A proper concern for maintaining the cardinal virtues can help. Or, as Chesterton, in his The Defendant, cleverly said, “The act of defending any of the cardinal virtues has today all the exhilaration of a vice.”
The other millions of folks who truly believe that just their Christian faith alone will then get them, somehow automatically, into Heaven will get a quite a rude awakening, indeed. Those who did not do the Will of God, while on earth, cannot logically expect to ever reach Paradise, for all related Roman Catholic beliefs, on needed good works and other matters, can be either proven or, at a minimum, properly sustained by the Bible, by Holy Writ.
5.) Although it was said that he was “almost certainly speaking tongue in cheek.” However, one can interestingly read, in fact, about this vilely egregious, hubristic, contemptible joke at: http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2018/02/19/pope-francis-says-he-is-on-waiting-list-to-become-a-saint/
Knowing well the accumulating and massive negative data, on the dissembling and abrasive character of this highly contentious and clearly egotistic Pope, many do, yet, doubt greatly, nevertheless, that he was (supposedly) merely speaking facetiously only. For one thoughtfully knows that it has been quite so sagaciously said, moreover, that in every jest, no matter how seemingly glib or, perhaps, passingly facile, there is yet a truth contained.
There appears to be, therefore, a definite and empirically observed movement toward the canonization of the post-Vatican II popes for “canonizing” (so to speak) that entire Council. Witness: Pope John XXIII, Pope John Paul II, and, just waiting the wings, as it were, Pope Paul VI as well.
It would, thus, not be very surprising if Pope Francis got his canonization, though the wild theological-semantic gymnastics of a high order of (quite dubious) tergiversation will later be absolutely needed to put over one for Pope John Paul I, who was, in fact, the Holy Pontiff for less than two months! [And, … they say the age of miracles has passed?]
One can know that the recent book, The Dictator Pope by Marcantonio Colonna (actual name: Henry Sire), reveals the awful truth about this now presumably would-be saint among men: http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2018/03/23/vatican-cracks-critics-pope-francis/