Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
August 30th, 2011


There are those who say they cannot accept the Christian God because a God of Love and Goodness could never make a person that He knew would end up in an eternal hell.  Surely a God of Mercy would want everyone to be saved and enjoy the heavenly bliss that is prepared for them.

The usual response to this argument is that God doesn’t send anyone to Hell; they choose it themselves.

To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him forever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “hell.” — Catholic Catechism

Apparently God thinks Free Will is very important.  He is a God of Love and Love is something that has to be freely chosen.   If we HAD to love God, and love Good, and love Truth and Beauty, we would not be persons, only robots.   Love MUST be chosen, or it means nothing.

So God, being a God of Love, wanted to share his Love with us and wanted us to enjoy an eternity where Love ruled.  Love is nothing if it is not shared with someone.  It is the very nature of Love to involve someone else.    And God wanted to share an eternity of happiness with others — i.e. us.

There you have it.  Love requires Free Will.  How God can create a creature with Free Will is beyond me.  It means that the creature can actually choose A or B or even C without constraint in any direction.  However, we know, from experience, that we do have free will.

We all know that in God’s original plan we were to enjoy his presence in a beautiful garden where we would have no cares or worries.  But, of course we also know that, using their free will, Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s only command.  They did not love enough to believe and trust.  Knowing that God was their Father, knowing that He loved them, knowing he wanted the best for them and was much wiser than them, it would have been smart to do as he said.  But they did not want to accept their creaturehood – they wanted to be “like God.”

Trying to understand the relationship of God to our world, it is not unusual for philosopher-types  to compare God to a watchmaker.   Suppose God made a beautiful watch and its only obligation was to keep time.   It could do what it was designed to do and have a long happy life in the vest pocket of a loving God.   If it refused to keep time and refused to be repaired and wanted instead to be a computer, there is nothing to be done but toss it away – into the outer darkness.   We are imagining that the watch has some sort of mind and will and in its rebellion it has deprived itself of a happy life in the service of its maker.   It says, instead, I WILL NOT SERVE!

So, face it.   We are not God.  We do not understand the universe or a single cell or even our own selves.  We are CREATURES!   We, unlike the watch, really do have free will.   We can say I WILL NOT SERVE or we can say I CHOOSE TO  DO YOUR WILL.  “I trust that your plan for me is loving and good.”

Many of us have a rebellious streak in us and want to “do it our way.”  Some of us find it hard to trust God because we have not experienced a love that is trustworthy.  We can turn away from  a plan for us that comes from a loving Father but if we do not surrender eventually to God’s plan there is nothing to be done but let us stew in our own juice.   That’s Hell.   There is simply no place for a person who will not love in a place where love rules.

There are numerous scriptural references to the fire of hell, a lake of fire, such as Mark 9:43-44 which reads:

And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Hell is a place without love.  I do not know if a spiritual body can experience the kind of fire we have on earth.    But it can experience a burning hate that cannot be quenched  and consumes the vessel that contains it.   The loss of the very reason for one’s existence must be an  indescribable  torment.   However terrible Jesus’   suffering was during the crucifixion, it seems that the worst part of all was the feeling of having been forsaken by his Father.

The Lord’s prayer tells us to do two things:  The first is to do God’s will.   The second is to forgive the trespasses of others.    This is  just another version of the Old Testament commands to love God and to love our neighbor.   This is why forgiveness is essential to enter the kingdom of Heaven.   There is no place in heaven for hate.

Like all analogies, this one breaks down but it is how I explain things to myself – so far.  We have to remember that we are in time and God is in eternity and sees the end from the beginning.  It is useless to try to outsmart God.  Scripture tells us God is Love and we do well to obey when he speaks.  Otherwise, like the unwilling watch,  we are good for nothing but to be tossed aside.

My God has given me some gifts, more than some people have,  and less than others, as is true for all mankind.     He has tried me and blessed me and on retrospect I realize I  have much to thank him for.  Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20.   To me it seems good and fitting to trust in him going forward.    I am in awe of what he has done for me and I know the meaning of the joy of the Lord.

“All things  work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.”  Matt. 8:28.


Here I am, Lord.  I come to do your will.   Make of me what pleases you.   Here I am, here I am, Lord.

Into the hand that made the rose, shall I with trembling fall?

The saying of Damascene that “God preknows but does not predetermine the things which are in our power” are to be understood as meaning that the things which are in our power are not subject to the divine predetermination in such a way as to be necessitated thereby. — St. Thomas, Summa Contra Gentiles, Ch. XC

You say, “The LORD’S way is not fair!” Hear now, house of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair?  When a virtuous man turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies, it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die.  But if a wicked man, turning from the wickedness he has committed, does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life;  since he has turned away from all the sins which he committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. — Ezekiel 18:25-28

I have recently come across the following video by Fr. Barron on the subject of God “sending” people to an everlasting hell.





February 5th, 2009


There are well over 3000 surgical abortions performed in the United States every day of the year, as well as countless non-surgical abortions brought about by drugs designed to interrupt a very early pregnancy.  With all these babies being cut off at the start, it is small wonder that there are literally millions of women walking about with the pain of knowing that once there was a baby on the way that never made it.  Some initially feel relieved  — it was not a “planned” pregnancy — but the thought of the “child that could have been” crops up in the future and haunts them.  Others grieve from the very beginning – they feel a terrible loss, they become depressed, they try various things to soothe the pain. If they aborted because of pressure from the boyfriend they often feel an animosity toward him and the relationship comes undone.   Through the years they notice children of the age their child might have been.  Some learn, much to their despair, that they have rid themselves of the only child they would ever conceive.   Or when they eventually do bear a child they appreciate more fully what they ended in the past.  The pro-life signs are spot-on when they say ABORTION  =  ONE DEAD,  ONE WOUNDED

Most women are naturally nurturers.   Most women have a kind of built-in desire to mother.  But on top of their normal womanly feeling of loss, those who have aborted often experience a kind of spiritual despair.  If they ever believed that abortion is morally wrong, if they ever believed in the commandment, “thou shalt not kill,”  they know in their heart that something, someone, has died and they feel responsible.    They may think they can’t go to church any more, they can’t tell anyone what they’ve done.  It is just too awful.  In short, they cannot forgive themselves and doubt that anyone else can.

Last month following the annual March for Life in Washington DC a group of 100 woman from Silent No More told their stories of healing and forgiveness after abortion from the steps of the Supreme Court building.    Their page of resources on their website for women after abortion is impressive.    Some of these groups have been around, serving post-abortive women, for years.

Another newer group I recently learned of, which actually prompted this post, is PATH (which stands for Post Abortion Treatment and Healing)

Many millions of women have felt the pain of abortion.  Years later they are still suffering.  They need to know that countless others have not only suffered but have learned and grown and healed.   Because these women  have been there, raw and suffering,  they want to help others who are still there, still unhealed.    There is a path to healing, wholeness, and peace.  To any woman with an abortion in her past I would urge that she click on one of the above websites.  Read the testimonies.   Be aware of the groups that exist for no other reason than to help you.  Look at the books that have been written about post-abortion syndrome and finding wholeness.   Know that even if you can’t forgive yourself, if perhaps others may not forgive, God always forgives……and is waiting to do just that.   It is never too late.


For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, “It might have been.”  —  Whittier