Category Archives: Four Last Things

The Four Last Things

Some articles may overlap between this section and the spiritual life, but, in general, here you will find any postings that treat of death, the judgment, heaven, or hell. Purgatory also fits into this category, closely associated as it is with judgment. Three of the four last things are inevitable for us all. The purpose of meditating on these realities is to instill a wholesome fear of God and a dread of His power, especially His power to cast into hell. Eternity may also be a proper subject for this section because it is the measure of duration that the saved will experience forever. Technically, the life of the damned is everlasting, not eternal. Only God lives in eternity, for that immutable now belongs to His own nature, which is without beginning or end, past or future. The blessed share in His eternal life, so their everlasting happiness, or beatitude, is also called eternal life. The beatific vision of God is eternal life. “This is eternal life,” Jesus taught His apostles, “to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent” (John 17:3).

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Reflections on the End of Time

“In the revealed prophecy of the end of history a catastrophic end within history is foretold. Whoever believingly accepts this [apocalyptic] prophecy, that is to say, whoever takes it to be revelation, has no possibility of ignoring the fact that the end of Time [Apoc. 10:5], within history, will be a downfall, a catastrophe. Nonetheless, his attitude to history, his attitude to the future, may … More →

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‘The Penalties of Truth’ and Belloc’s Traveller

It is often the case, well known to the close readers of Hilaire Belloc’s varied essays, that he surprises us with some of his profoundest reflections and most memorable formulations in those lighter essays of his so full of banter and irony; or even in his brief, magnanimous considerations of other prose writers and poets, such as Dr. Samuel Johnson or Lord Byron, neither of … More →


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Why Hell Needs to Be Preached from the Housetops

Over the last fifty years, the Catholic faithful have become increasingly more presumptuous, believing that if one is judged to be a “good person” by his fellow human beings, his soul would immediately go to heaven. The notion that he might be condemned to Hell or sent to Purgatory escapes them. Their reasoning would be something like the following: “How could a good and merciful … More →


Posted in Articles, Catechesis and Fundamentals, Current Issues in the Church, Four Last Things, Heresies and Errors | 14 Comments
The Holy Souls in Purgatory

Getting to Know the Holy Souls

It is November here in Southern California, and we are at last getting the kind of weather (save Hurricane Sandy) that the Northeast has had since September — it is autumn at last. While we do not have the blaze of brilliant colours New Englanders enjoy, we do have impossibly blue skies and dream-like golden sunlight that tell the native Angelino that the season has … More →


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“Next”

My first thought when I saw in my e-mail one morning a few weeks ago that Sister Mary Bernadette had died: What would things be like at the Center now that she was gone? I wasn’t wondering what they would be like for me when next I was in Richmond. When I was there in October for the latest SBC conference, Sister no longer recognized … More →


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Supernaturally Pro-Life Meditations

As something of a follow-up to The Real Gospel of Life, I compiled a small collection of supernaturally pro-life statements that have the authority of Holy Scripture or the Church’s Liturgy. These will help us establish our pro-life priorities, and provide us with abundant material for meditation.


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The Real Gospel of Life

The moral teachings of the Church are of a piece with her teachings on faith. Christ’s supernatural revelation to the Church, along with the natural law also entrusted to her, constitute a “seamless garment”1 of truth about God, man, and the destiny of man in God. To abstract one or another of the constituent truths out of this totality, and reduce the rest to a … More →


Posted in Catholic America, Current Issues in the Church, Four Last Things, Heresies and Errors, Outside the Church there is no Salvation, Politics and Society, «Ad Rem» A Weekly Email Message from the Prior | 9 Comments

Charity for Gentiles and Jews

There is a lot of talk about the Pope’s new book. I have not read Volume II of Jesus of Nazareth, so I cannot and will not comment on it. Rather, I will use one short article about the book as a springboard into a purely theological, biblical, and, if you will, “missiological” issue of tremendous import. This issue touches on the very heart of … More →


Posted in Current Issues in the Church, Four Last Things, Holy Scripture, Outside the Church there is no Salvation, Theology, «Ad Rem» A Weekly Email Message from the Prior | 6 Comments

Pray for the Dead and the Dead Will Pray for You!

I’ll never forget my maternal grandfather telling me this boyhood recollection of his Catholic upbringing in New Orleans. It seems that the good Sisters who taught him in grammar school imposed upon the children a vivid awareness of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, and the communion that exists between the militant Church and the suffering Church. They taught their young charges a little ditty that … More →

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Purgatory, Indulgences, Predestination, and Relics – an Apologetical Wrapup

[Questions Asked by Protestants on Purgatory, Indulgences, Predestination and Relics briefly answered by Father M. Philipps, Rector of St. Joseph’s Church, Buffalo, NY. Cabinet of Catholic Information, 1903 Imprimatur: Archbishop John Farley] Purgatory Does the Bible say that there is a purgatory? The Bible does not mention the word purgatory, but it says we should pray for the dead: “It is, therefore, a holy and … More →

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Posted in Apologetics, Articles, Catechesis and Fundamentals, Four Last Things, Sacramentals and Relics | 2 Comments

Proving Purgatory

The doctrine of Purgatory, central to Christianity, is brutally attacked by certain non-Catholic polemicists. Their typical view of the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory is that it was either concocted by the Church in the Middle Ages for filthy lucre’s sake, or that, if there are any ancient precedents for it among the Church Fathers, it gradually developed in scope and meaning so as to become … More →

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The Jesse Romero Story: From Doubting Sheriff to Catholic Apostle

This is a very inspiring story from Jim Graves of the National Catholic Register. The Church needs lay leaders like Jesse Romero, who are not afraid to take the Faith out into the marketplace and highways and byways. His last comment highlights the touchstone of his spiritual “reality check”: “After nearly a quarter century of evangelizing, Romero has maintained his zeal, in part by meditating … More →

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The Fire of Pentecost

Summer begins on my calendar after our May Procession. In meteorological time, it begins June 1. What this means is that the season of summer extends through the warmest months of the year, which in the Northern Hemisphere are June, July, and August. I only discovered today, while beginning this article, that in Great Britain and Ireland (and other northern countries) summer follows weather, or … More →

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Posted in Angels and Demons, Columns, Four Last Things | 2 Comments

Who is next?

It need not be the one, expecting to depart, The one with the ailing lungs or failing heart. Not always one engaged in a bloody strife Or one embracing danger in a ventureful life.


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There Is a Hell, and It Makes Perfect Sense

Father Charles had just finished his sermon on Hell. Being a good orator — partly his native “Irish gift,” partly his good seminary training and experience — he had kept the congregation on the edge of their seats. True, the chandelier falling midway through the sermon (causing one lady to faint), added some dramatic tension, but this sermon was good even without the unintended special … More →


Posted in Angels and Demons, Articles, Four Last Things, Theology | 9 Comments