…Surely the point is – are the eternal truths actually true? If they are, it is supremely important that people know about them, and negligent for a priest to ignore them in his preaching. Unless the Lord returns first, we are all going to die within a few decades – that we know. If we believe Our Lord’s teaching in the Gospels, there is going to be a judgement and we are all going either to heaven or to hell. Most of us should hope that we will be given the merciful provision of purgatory to make us fit for heaven.
In fact meditating on the eternal truths, the four last things, is consoling, not a psychologically damaging threat. Take for example the sermon of St Alphonsus on the threefold remorse of the damned. In summary, the soul in hell is aware of
- The little he required to save his soul
- The trifles for which he lost his soul
- The great good which he has lost through his own fault
This rather stark reminder of the anguish of the soul in hell teaches us that we should do that little that we require to save our souls – pray each day, keep the commandments, receive the sacraments, especially the sacrament of penance, and carry out works of charity. We are also drawn to see that the things which might cause the loss of our soul are trifles compared with the eternal bliss of heaven…. (Source)
Very sobering. When was the last time you heard any bishop talk about Hell? Too busy with the “New Evangelization” to worry about it, I guess.