“To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “hell.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1033)
There comes a time when you have to be completed – a definite time where there is victory and finality in who you are and what you shall be for all eternity.
Saint Paul talks about this being made complete, this being made perfect, in many of his letters. “Let God who has begun a good work in you bring it to completion” (see Phil. 1:6).
We are going to be made complete…either in our decision to affirm God and goodness, or in our decision to reject God and embrace evil. There are only two absolute possibilities ahead of us: possession of God (Heaven), or the loss of God (Hell). “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both.”
On earth we sometimes travel both roads, but upon death the road we really desired will be our final lot. Dear God: give us the grace to choose Life! (Deuteronomy 30:19).
Jesus teaches quite unambiguously that an “absolute achievement” in history is accomplished in and through every human being, and this achievement involves two, and only two, “radical possibilities”: salvation or eternal loss. Man, a free creature, is an “eternal person.” This deep longing for eternal life finds expression in even the earliest literature of the human race, most especially in the Epic of Gilgamesh.
Yes, there have been times when we chose to “sample” the knowledge of evil. But God is merciful, and continues to offer us mercy, and through His merciful interferences we have the power to turn back from the road that leads to eternal ruin and find LIFE again!
“Death is not merely an ending, a terminal point, but the finalization of a person’s life choices, the sealing of the process of a person’s free self-creation. In death, what one has made of oneself in life becomes ‘set’ forever.” There will be a “final and irrevocable” ending to your life. May the “personal history” of our own free decisions – never removed from grace – lead us to the ETERNAL LIFE promised by Jesus Christ, who reveals the mystery of God to us.
Tom Mulcahy, M.A.
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