In this meditation we continue our journey through the Last Things, praying today about hell. Hell is a reality and if we pray about it from time to time we are most unlikely to end up there. But God needs us to help others avoid hell too. In this meditation we use texts from Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the writings of saints like St John Vianney to consider:
Christ’s teaching on hell
God’s mercy and desire to save all souls
That those who go to hell choose it by failing to repent of their serious sins
The vision of hell seen by the three children at Fatima
In the moment of our death we will undergo a particular judgment which will decide whether we go to hell, purgatory or immediately to heaven. The judge will be Jesus himself, the Son of Man and his judgment will be just as well as merciful. In this meditation we consider how:
we should not care about how others judge us
pride colours our judgment about ourselves
in the particular judgment we will be judged on how we made use of the many gifts God has given us
we can prepare for the judgment by being very sincere in our prayer, our daily examination of conscience and in spiritual direction
We can sometimes take our priests for granted, or even complain about them. In this meditation we look at what our priests do for us and how we can help them. We consider:
Jesus Christ, the eternal high priest, instituted the priesthood to continue his priestly ministry down the ages
Priests do so much for us: celebrating the sacrifice of the Mass in order to offer this pure sacrifice to the Father, to leave Christ in the tabernacle and give him to us in holy Communion; forgiving our sins, anointing us when we are in danger of death, teaching us the faith…
St John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, has beautiful things to say about the priesthood
Our Lady asked the children at Fatima in 1917 to pray the rosary each day. We would all do well to heed that request, if only because it pleases our Mother. But we benefit too from praying the rosary, which is a very powerful prayer. In this meditation we consider how:
The rosary arose out of popular piety.
Our Lady urged us to pray the rosary at Lourdes and Fatima.
Many Popes and saints have recommended the rosary.
The rosary is a powerful prayer which contributed to the conversion of heretics by St Dominic, victory in the battle of Lepanto, the collapse of communist regimes in the 20th century and the conversion of sinners.
In the ups and downs of life there are many events which are not in our control, where we can only put our hope in God. In this meditation we use texts of Scripture and Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Saved by hope to put our life on a sure foundation. We consider that:
The foundation of our hope is God, who is always with us.
Our hope in God enables us to find peace and joy even amidst the uncertainties and sufferings of life.
The ultimate object of our hope is eternal life with God in heaven.
We can grow in hope through prayer in its various forms.
Mary, our Mother, is our hope: she brings us hope in the person of Jesus, she lives hope herself in many moments, and she intercedes powerfully for us in heaven.
Many people look on death with dread, as the sad ending of it all. With Christian faith we look on it very differently, as our final journey home to eternal life with God. Our Lord has told us that he has gone ahead to prepare a room for us in the Father’s house (cf. John 14: 2-3). This is what awaits us if we live and die well. In this meditation we consider:
The Christian meaning of life and death
The many passages of the Bible that speak to us of our preparation for eternal life with God
The need to be prepared at every moment to meet Our Lord
The importance of storing up treasure in heaven, not on earth