Anonymous said: If God really loves us, why would he damn us to hell?
Inscribed on the gates of hell is the very same apparent paradox that you present me now. It says on those gates:
Justice urged on my high artificer;
My maker was Divine Authority,
The Highest Wisdom, and the Primal Love.
(Inferno, Canto III, Lines 4-6)
Primal Love, it says, when a few lines later, you have Dante weeping when he beheld the grotesque torment in hell. Weird, huh?
But here is the point to be made: as the Catechism says, “we cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love Him” (1033). The tyrannical god is not the one who lets his creatures spend eternity in hell for mistakes they made in their lifetime; rather, the tyrannical god is the one who essentially trumps free will by choosing an inevitable ending for all creatures, even if that ending is a glorious one. To love is to allow the beloved to ultimately be free, even if the bad choices they make hurt us too, and even if their choice is to refuse to love us.
Interesting question, Anon, and I thank you for throwing it to me even if I have been unforgivably inactive in the past months. I’m a bit rusty but I really hope this clears things up. :)
As many as 10,000 people are believed dead in one Philippine city alone after one of the worst storms ever recorded unleashed ferocious winds and giant waves that washed away homes and schools. Corpses hung from tree branches and were scattered along sidewalks and among flattened buildings, while looters raided grocery stores and gas stations in search of food, fuel and water.
Ora pro nobis. My heart breaks for my country.
Apologies for the lack of posts lately. I have one too many ideas running in circles in my head but alas, my available time is heavily disproportional to said abundance of thoughts. I will get back to writing soon, at the very least for the survival of my brain cells.
I’ve never at all liked Southern Gothic literature (hate it, even), so it comes to no surprise that I did not have much affection for Flannery O’Connor’s work. What is surprising though is that I voluntarily picked up (figuratively speaking) a copy of The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor. Upon reading this letter she wrote Louise Abbot in 1959, I am happy to say that my opinion of her has just completely changed.
I think there is no suffering greater than what is caused by the doubts of those who want to believe. I know what torment this is, but I can only see it, in my self anyway, as the process by which faith is deepened. A faith that just accepts is a child’s faith and all right for children, but eventually you have to grow religiously as every other way, though some never do.
What people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross. It is much harder to believe than not to believe. If you feel you can’t believe, you must at least do this: keep an open mind. Keep it open toward faith, keep wanting it, keep asking for it, and leave the rest to God.
Penance rightly considered is not acts performed in order to attract God’s attention or get credit for oneself. It is something natural that follows sorrow. If I were you, I’d forget about penance until I felt called to perform it. Don’t anticipate too much. I have the feeling that you irritate your soul with a lot of things that it isn’t time to irritate it with.
My reading of the priest’s article on hell was that hell is what God’s love becomes to those who reject it. Now no one has to reject it. God made us to love Him. it takes two to love. It takes liberty. It takes the right to reject. If there were no hell, we would be like the animals. No hell, no dignity. And remember the mercy of God. It is easy to put this down as a formula and hard to believe it, but try believing the opposite, and you will find it too easy. Life has no meaning that way…
Whatever you do anyway, remember that these things are mysteries and that if they were such that we could understand them, they wouldn’t be worth understanding. A God you understood would be less than yourself.
This letter is full of non-sequiturs (sp?). I don’t set myself up to give spiritual advice but all I would like you to know is that I sympathize and I suffer this way myself. When we get our spiritual house in order, we’ll be dead. This goes on. You arrive at enough certainty to be able to make your way, but it is making it in darkness. Don’t expect faith to clear things up for you. It is trust, not certainty…
Come to see us whenever you can. We are building two extra rooms and a bath onto the house - a back parlor. We will let you set in it. Cheers.
You cannot sanctify work which humanly speaking is slapdash, for we must not offer God badly-done jobs.
By neglecting small details you could work on and on without rest and yet live the life of a perfect idler.
You asked what you could offer the Lord. — I don’t have to think twice about the answer: offer the same things as before, but do them better, finishing them off with a loving touch that will lead you to think more about Him and less about yourself.
So there’s this.
tricked convinced me to talk about my conversion this Saturday at the center. I’m nervous because 1) you all know that my “conversion story” is something I’ve always been generally evasive about, and 2) public speaking always freaks me out. In any case, it’ll be interesting. If any female follower of mine would like to attend, hit me up. :)
They forecasted light to heavy rain throughout the day but the weather here at Siem Reap turned out beautiful - short bouts of light rain left the flora looking its best for photos, and the cool breeze more than compensated for the muddy shoes. We visited 7 temples and a museum today. Here’s a sneak peek. :)