From the Pastor: More Terrorism
Over and over it seems that we hear of demonic Islamic madmen (and madwomen) detonating bombs and/or going on shooting rampages, maiming and killing random people. I hope and pray that you all, when hearing about these attacks, take some time to pray for the souls of the victims, to pray for the families, friends and communities so gravely harmed and to--brace yourselves, this is hard--pray for the terrorists as well. I cannot stress enough the need to use the news as a tool for prayer rather than just as a form of gruesome entertainment. I also cannot stress enough the need to pray for the perpetrators of crimes and violence, not just the victims, though the victims deserve the first and most fervent prayers. This is an area where the Catholic Church teachings, coming straight from our Lord Himself (for instance: to pray for those who persecute you; to return a blessing for a curse; to love your enemies) exemplify true sacrificial love and help conquer satanic hatred.
As difficult as it is to do, we must put aside our fallen human nature’s instinct to wish that those who do evil go straight to hell. We must absolutely rely on the grace of God to find in our heart love for the sinner while detesting and denouncing the evil done. We must sacrifice our desire for revenge and for vengeance (calling it “justice”), for the sake of not only the evildoer’s soul but perhaps even for our own.
I believe most people today, even Catholics, have either lost or never had the knowledge of the true horrors of hell. A sign of this lack of knowledge is the fact that we can openly utter a phrase like “go to hell” while raising nary an eyebrow. We can say, even in “polite company,” that a vicious mass murder should go to hell and find agreement rather than revulsion. We can make arguments that “he deserves it” and find nods of approval all around. And if anyone, even a priest, mentions praying for conversion as a noble alternative, he is written off as either naive or so “liberal” as to not believe in Divine Justice.
In reality, though, the more “liberal” (heretical by ignorance or purpose) a Catholic is, the less likely he is to wish someone avoid hell, assuming he believes in hell at all. The “liberals” do not believe that a damned soul will spend eternity in hell but will be welcomed to Heaven--if it exists--sooner or later, if not immediately upon death. The “liberals” do not grasp the intensity of the pains of hell but rather think of them as hard but manageable. It is the “liberals” who, because they think this way, do not mind telling others to go there and are not too worried about the state of their own soul, either, since they think hell really isn’t too bad anyway. Pray for conversion? Why bother? God loves everyone except conservatives!
It is the “conservative” (orthodox) Catholics who, though the struggle may be great, pray for the conversion of those on the path to damnation rather than wishing them a quick journey. Even though they have a better understanding than liberals as to who is most likely to end up in hell, they, against all odds, pray for a miraculous conversion of the most hardened of hearts. The “conservatives” know that hell is for eternity, not for a while. The “conservative” Catholic accepts the revealed teaching that the physical, mental and spiritual pains of hell will be harsher than any torture, fear, anguish or sense of loss one could possibly imagine, let alone experience, here upon earth. The “conservative” Catholic wants to avoid hell at all cost and strives to help others do so as well. They know that even mortal sins can be repented of, confessed and forgiven. They have a genuine concern for the salvation of themselves, their friends and their enemies. True “conservative” Catholics want nobody to be damned.
Hell exists. It is real. It is horrible. It is forever. Please take some time to read good Catholic material on the last four things: death, judgment, Heaven and hell. The more you learn about these realities, the more you will: try to warn others about the dangers of sin, especially mortal sin; fight against its acceptance and legalization; pray for the conversion (including necessary repentance and acceptance of harsh punishment), rather than the condemnation, of even those who cold-bloodedly murder children,whether by bomb, gun, scalpel, or pill; demand that cowardly politicians and heretical religious leaders, who cannot even bring themselves to fault “radical” Islamic terrorists, finally admit that Islam itself is a radically evil political movement (not simply a religion and certainly not a “peaceful” one) which is, at its very essence, out to destroy all that is good and holy, namely, the Catholic Church; and, finally, you will put much more effort into your attempts to become a Saint, no matter what the temporal cost, as you learn to truly fear hell and desire Heaven.
With prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka