|"The Fall of the Damned" by Peter Paul Rubens|
If I had my way, I would prefer to skip Purgatory. However, I realize that my soul is in need of a good cleansing and purging. Only after it is properly cleansed and purged of all impurities left behind by my many sins will I be deemed ready for Heaven. Even though I am not looking forward to spending time in Purgatory, I would hate to be a soul that damns his or herself to Hell.
The other day while baking cookies I carelessly touched the hot cookie sheet onto my arm. It immediately began to hurt and blister. Then yesterday, I carelessly went near the whistling of the tea kettle, burning my finger. Both times the pain was very intense.
That pain helped me to reflect on eternity.
Can you imagine what it will be like for the souls who up to the very end of their lives continued to reject God's love and mercy? Our loving Father will have given them every chance He could possibly give them to repent, to turn back into His loving arms. But these obstinate souls in their misguided pride will reject Him still again for the final time, and will go of their own volition, into the waiting arms of the Prince of Darkness and Father of Lies.
I am currently reading The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life by Father Charles Arminjon*. He quotes an eminent yet nameless theologian regarding the resurrection of our bodies. It is my understanding that not only the sheep will have their bodies reunited with their soul but the goats will too.
"in the body of a man...there is both something essential and something secondary and accessory. The essential part is what he shares with no one, what he alone possess and will possess forever; it is the part of him that existed at the moment he was formed, animated and vivified by his soul. These essential elements he will always keep. They will always be his. The rest, that which is produced by nutrition, digestion, and assimilation, is not he. He can lose it, and does lose it, without ceasing to be himself. It will be with these essential, personal elements that God will resurrect the glorious, spiritual bodies, as also He will resurrect the immortal corruption of the damned. The soul being the same, the real kernel, the constitutive element remaining the same, the rest is of little importance and its identity will remain eternally...."
The above description of the body's resurrection seems to indicate that the damned will not only feel physical pain...actually agonizing physical pain of the burning fires of Hell, but that pain will never cease. It will be for all eternity. They will never have a respite from that agony. Yet even this endless torture will not compare to the spiritual pain they will feel knowing they have lost God's love forever because of their rejection, not of Satan and all his empty promises, but that of their loving creator.
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