Meditating on the four last things. Of course, we started with death. It's inevitable for all of us. Last night I spoke about judgment again, inevitable for all of us. And for tonight. And tomorrow I'll do hell. And then heaven. And this is where the divide comes in regards to our own personal experiences. Everybody is going to experience one or the other, heaven or hell.It all depends on the judgment. But tonight we're going to address hell. I thought it would be more appropriate to address heaven tomorrow for the feast of or the solemnity of our patron saint, Dorothy. So there are some very clear teachings that our Lord gives about shale or the place of the dead, the damned hell, Hades. Right. Whatever you want to call it.
I'm just going to go through and read a few of them. But as for cowards, the unfaithful, the depraved murderer is the young, chaste sorcerers, idle worshipers and deceivers of every sort. Their lot is the burning pool of fire and sulfur, which is the second death. Of course, there is referring to hell. The devil who had led them astray was thrown into the pool of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were There. They would be tormented day and night forever and ever there in hell. They would be tormented day and night, forever and ever. Then the Lord will say to those on his left, depart from you are cursed into the eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels, the eternal fire. Jesus also says, If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gahanna, into the unquenchable fire. And lastly, thus, it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. There are, of course, many other passages, but one of the things that is very consistent in our Lord's teaching about hell is an unquenchable fire that consumes you, body, and soul for all of eternity. And that's why we often picture the devil with flames right around him dressed in red or something of that sort. So, fire, of course, is an essential element. We know. And the idea that Christ is presenting what we call or what they called shale, right. It comes from a very actual place just outside the city of Jerusalem. I don't know how many people actually know this. You can imagine for large cities or towns, they usually over the years and decades and centuries, collect a lot of trash and so one of the things that the ancient world used to do was they would have these large trash piles and they would burn them because it was the easiest way to get rid of a lot of human waste and filth and refuse whatever it was, you know, broken pottery that they couldn't use anymore. So outside of the city of Jerusalem, there was a small valley on one part, and that was the trash heap for however many hundreds of years the Jews had been living there and it was always on fire because new rubbish was always daily being thrown into it. Any time of day or night you would walk by that area. It was always on fire. There were always red-hot coals, always stench again, human waste and everything was thrown there just to consume it so it wouldn't grow too large. This was called shale, and this is the imagery that our Lord is evoking and teaching about hell, where the refuge goes to burn. That's why he's using this imagery. Now, are there physical flames in hell? We don't know. But whatever it is, it is like standing in a fire. Body and soul. Forever. Forever. Just as heaven is forever.
Hell is forever. It's one of the heresies among Christians that God in his mercy is going to eventually either let everybody out of hell or just blink them out of existence so they don't have to suffer for eternity. No, it's doctrine. It's the teaching of Christ that hell is forever. The demons that are assigned there, the humans that will go there will suffer forever and ever and as I think is appropriate, that should scare the hell out of you. Obviously, nobody wants that right? Nobody wants to go to a place of torment. You know, a lot of people don't realize that when somebody is either tempted or seeking or accomplishes suicide, you think they want to end their life. They want to cease to exist.
This is actually not true psychologically. They want to end their suffering. They don't want to stop existing. It is impossible for anyone to want to cease to exist. It's actually psychologically impossible. If you do, then there's something mentally wrong with you. We know the statement of Satan when he was cast out of heaven. I would rather reign in hell than serve in heaven. He didn't want to stop existing. He would rather suffer for the rest of eternity and still do what he wanted to do than to live peacefully, forever doing the will of God. In essence, that's why anyone goes to hell. Its following that same mindset. My will over the will of God. I once heard years ago a great phrase that in the end, when you're judged only one thing will be said.
Only one thing will be said. Either God will say it, or you will say it, and that will determine where you'll go. If you say thy will, be done to the Lord, he'll be able to save you. But if he says Thy will be done to you, you are lost forever. That's really the determining factor. Are we striving to conform our will to Christ, to the Lord, or do we want His will and others around us to conform them to ourselves? This eternal punishment, I've spent years and years reading, studying and meditating on this and trying to ask the Lord to understand it. Because one of the things I've struggled with the most personally is a very simple question. If God is as good and loving this merciful as He claims to be, as we believe Him to be, how could well be a good.
You have to understand everything that God makes is good. Everything that God does is good. Even when He dams a soul to hell, it is good. That's just theologically true. How could it be good? How could an eternity of suffering in hell be good? And for years I struggled with this because I knew there had to be an answer. Not that I had to understand it, but I wanted to. And I don't know if this was an inspiration of God or if this is just me trying to figure it out on my own. But I want to share with you how I understand it. God doesn't need us. Never has, never will. We know fundamentally, He made us for our own benefit just out of his largesse, his, his love, his goodness angels, humans. He doesn't need any of us. He just wanted to create something so that it could share in his life and holiness. Pure gift. God doesn't lose anything when anyone goes to hell. This is also an important point. God doesn't suffer when anyone goes to hell. Why? Because he's not happier when anyone goes to heaven either. God is perfect and unchanging.
How could his happiness increase when it's already perfect? How could he suffer when he's perfectly happy? He can't. How can God? Who teaches us? Who reveals himself to us as true goodness and love and compassion not suffer over the damned? How is that possible? It's because hell is good. You can picture over the gates of hell. This place was created out of love.
Now, why might it say that over the gates of hell. And this is what I think the Lord showed me. Because for God to force any of the demons or any human who is going to be damned to go to heaven, that would be a worse hell for them. It would be more agonizing for Satan to be forced to go to heaven than to reign in a place of eternal torment. It would be worse for any human being to enter into heavenly glory than to go to hell. If that was ultimately God's judgment. Because there's only one will in heaven. There is only one will in heaven, and that is the will of God. But I want you to think in your life how many times you have encountered somebody else who had a different will than yours, and you disagreed with them because you wanted it your way and you didn't care whether they were right or wrong. We do this all the time. You didn't care whether they were right or wrong. It's just not what I want. You can see this oftentimes with children, they do something wrong. They get caught. Mom and dad say all you have to do is say you're sorry and you can have your dessert. No, they could get dessert. They could get everything they want. All of their suffering would end. All they have to do is say that they're sorry, and yet they refuse. They're willing to suffer more just so that they can do what they want. Do you think those children are any different than us as adults? Do you think we've really changed that much just after a few decades in this world? We do it all the time. How many times do I make a choice knowing it's going to cause me pain and suffering, whether it's sinful or not, just because I want it?
You know, I've had a problem with caffeine my whole life. It's like an allergy. And so whenever I would eat anything with caffeine or drink anything with caffeine, I'd get sick. The problem is chocolate exists. And growing up, I did not always have the strength of will to stay away from it. And I knew exactly what's going to happen when I eat it. I knew exactly what was going to happen. I didn't care. I wanted that chocolate. I was willing to take the suffering to get what I wanted and that's a small thing. You know, there was no sin in that necessarily. It didn't cause any real damage or harm to my body. It just gave me a lot of pain and made me sick. And that's just a small way in which we do this every time a creature angelic. We're not the angels and the demons are already their decision is or have already been made. But any time a human, any time they make a decision, you always have to weigh the pros and cons. Is is this worth it to me? And that's what it comes down to. It doesn't matter if it's worth it to anybody else. Is it worth it to me? And how many times have I? Have you made a decision knowing it was wrong and knowing you would suffer more because of it?
That is hell. That's all hell is. Did you know God did not make hell to be a place of torment. He didn't designed hell to be a place where the people that go there are the demons, and the humans will suffer just because of how he. He set it up right. God is the one who lit it on fire.
No. All hell is, is a place where the will of God doesn't exist. That's it. Everybody in hell gets exactly what their will wants. Why do you think it's a place of torment? Because most of the time, when we get what we want, we suffer. And so does everybody else. I don't think for a moment God created hell to be a place of torment. He simply gave to his creation what they wanted. A place to exist for eternity without him. We know that broke the heart of Christ. But if God the Father had a heart, it would have broken as well. But that's part of the beauty of God. He loves us so much, even after he made us and offers himself to us. All we have to do is what he made us for and what we're told. It's not that big a deal. He will reward us for the eternity. And even when we refuse again, justice demands will. You know there are consequences. But he's not going to go out of his way to. To make your life wretched or miserable. Do you really think it makes God happy when anyone goes to hell? No, because it also doesn't make him sad. God is unmoved by such things. This is a very important theological truth. God is unmoved. Nothing you and I could ever do could move God. Because if he's perfect and infinite, how can perfect infinite nature be moved in any direction? It's all worked already, everywhere. So this place that he made, it's just a place without him, without goodness and whoever goes there seeks and obtains whatever they want. Now, there are plenty of people who say, hey, that doesn't sound too bad, right? I mean, there are plenty of simple things I like, and if I can get that for the rest of eternity, I'd be okay with that. Sure. Okay. Send me to hell. But there's a very simple, obvious problem. When you ever you look at a person, especially in regards to addiction, who is getting exactly what they want, it's ruining their life. Not only do they love the thing that they're addicted to, but they hate it at the same time. Not only do they love with that thing does for them, but they also hate all of the consequences of using it or having it.
Whenever you study addiction, the majority of time, especially if it's a chemical addiction of any level, they say it takes the person to finally hit as they hit rock bottom before they can make the choice to begin to turn away from it. They have to lose everything, and it's devastating to see. I can't tell you how many lives I have seen go through that and yet even that is a mercy, because on some level our Lord is allowing them to taste damnation so that they can reject it and be saved every time we choose what we want, regardless of the consequences, suffering to us or suffering to others, that is hell. That's all healers and the demons and the damned humans that go their torment themselves and torment each other. There is a fascinating idea for the triad. Rebecca believes that one of the one of the qualities of Satan's damnation is that his personality was split into three squares. Personal theory. No teaching on this. But he's probably right. He believes that Satan has three personalities, basically all fractured, none of them whole. One is Satan, one is Lucifer, one is Beelzebub. They're all the same person. And the reason that this is the perfect hell for him, the perfect suffering, is because it's exactly what he wanted. He wanted to be God. I'm sorry, Satan. God is three persons. You can't do that by yourself. He didn't care. I want to be God in the justice of his torment with this fractured personality. He is exactly what he wanted to be. That's the beauty of it. God gives us exactly what we want. But if we want him above all things, then that's what we get. But if we choose ourselves before him or before others, if we don't love our neighbor as ourselves as we're taught, then we get that I truly believe the damned get everything they want and they hate it. I'll end with this. It's it’s a very interesting analogy for the difference between heaven and hell. Hell is like a great banquet with all the richest food you could ever want or imagine. Unending. The problem is, all of the forks and knives and spoons are ten feet long, and so you can't ever reach your mouth. Heaven is actually the same place.
A giant banquet table. All the richest foods you could ever imagine. Forks, spoons, knives, ten feet long. But everybody's serving everyone else what they want. Everybody gets what they want. In the end, that is the goodness of God. And how could a single damned soul resent God for getting what they wanted all along? They do. That's the disordered nature of evil, because when it comes right down to it, damnation is when you love and hate the same thing. But that is intrinsically contrary to God. God never loves and hates the same thing. He loves certain things, and he hates other things that are contrary to the things that he loves. Looking to your own heart, think about the ways in which you make decisions. The choices you make in this life that in essence are are small acts of damnation might not go to hell for them. They're not gravely immoral, but it's still a taint of imperfection within us. My will. I must have my will, no matter the cost, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Homily begin at 15:33