Life After Life: The Catholic View of Heaven and Hell | Catholic Central

(crickets chirping) (whooshing) KAI: Hello? (ominous music) DEATH LIBBY: It is I, Kaiser Johnson! Remember that you will be
called to your judgment. KAI: What, me? Not yet! I’m young, I’m healthy,
I’m in my prime, see! I can do burpees too. I’m not going to. DEATH LIBBY: For all earthly mortals,
the earthly pilgrimage comes to an end. KAI: Where am I going? Is Heaven for real? Where is it? What about my
unbelieving friends? Will Jesus judge me? Am I going to the other place? DEATH LIBBY: Those are good
questions, Kaiser Johnson, but it is not I who
can answer them. Maybe you’ll find out
more on this episode, called “Life After Life.” KAI: “Life After Life?” Maybe I can finally
jump through walls! DEATH LIBBY: Yeah, you’re not dead yet. (crashing) Ouch. (upbeat music) LIBBY: Hello, I’m Libby. KAI: And I’m Kai. LIBBY: And welcome to
Catholic Central. Today we’re exploring
life after life. KAI: To be or not to be? LIBBY: Is not really the question, because we believe
we be forever. We never stop existing. The question is, what is it
like to be in the next life? KAI: Good point, what
did Hamlet know? (crashing) LIBBY: That’s not what I was… KAI: Most people who grew
up in the Catholic faith were taught that when we die, we go to Heaven,
Hell, or Purgatory. LIBBY: Yeah,
depending on whether you were really good,
really bad, or meh. KAI: The theology of the afterlife is much deeper than that. Eternity’s not so much
a long stretch of time after we die, but
eternity exists in a kind of forever now. There isn’t a before or after. LIBBY: Yes, time is an
earthly construct. There’s another
dimension beyond. KAI: So, if Heaven and Hell exist, does that mean
they’re real places? LIBBY: The Catholic answer
is absolutely yes, but not like physical
spaces on Earth like you could locate
on Google Maps. KAI: And when Catholics speak about the resurrection of the body, they don’t mean your
current flesh and bones will be the same. LIBBY: It’s a different kind of real, but it’s totally
real and really you. KAI: But let’s get to
the burning questions: how good do you have
to be to get to Heaven and how bad do you have
to be to land in Hell? LIBBY: Why don’t we
start with Heaven? KAI: Heaven, a heavenly place
where you live with God and all the souls
who’ve gone before you, like grandma, who’s
singing only slightly off-key with the angels. LIBBY: It’s great, and by
great, I mean so boring. KAI: We have to ditch our Sunday
School images of Heaven. It’s not about harps
and people in sheets. The truth is, we
are being invited to be one with the
creator of the galaxies, and in communion with all the
blessed people who ever were. LIBBY: And while we don’t really
know what Heaven looks like, we are told what it
feels like: coming home. KAI: Never lonely, always loved. Every human feels
that restless longing for a home that doesn’t
fully exist here on Earth. LIBBY: But Jesus also said the
Kingdom of Heaven is within you. We can have a taste
of eternity now. KAI: Now? LIBBY: Jesus said, “Love the
creator of the universe “and your neighbor as much
as you love yourself.” Is life all about me, or can I
give up my self-centeredness? That’s what it takes. KAI: That’s all? Okay, yeah.
LIBBY: Exactly, which is why we tend to want to put
off Heaven till we die. KAI: Which I guess brings
us to Purgatory, the place for people
not quite ready for prime time Heaven. LIBBY: The word Purgatory is
not found in scripture, but the idea of an
in-between place does have a scriptural basis, a place where
people are purified and healed from what
the Church calls the enduring effects of sin and
a life of self-centeredness. ST. PETER KAI: Welcome! LIBBY: Am I really going
to get into Heaven? ST. PETER KAI: Sure, kid, you’re
metaphorical inches and/or minutes away
from entering into the ultimate, totally
awesome beauty of the mystery of the
universe, the Holy Trinity. Were you given your cards? LIBBY: Oh, yes, here are my
sins and my bad stuff, my greed, my vanity,
my fears, my mistakes. ST. PETER KAI: Jesus is already
working on those. He judged you, and
if you asked him, he forgave all that. LIBBY: I did, so why am I
being sent to Purgatory? ST. PETER KAI: Because sins
have consequences, even after they’re forgiven. LIBBY: What? ST. PETER KAI: Okay, think of it this way: I’m in bed with a
terrible illness. The day comes when
the germs are gone and I’m healed from the disease, but I’m still weak, maybe from the lingering effects of it and I need time to recover. The same with sin. LIBBY: I get it, Purgatory,
purged, purified completely. ST. PETER KAI: Yes, but there’s more. Your other cards. LIBBY: These? Oh, yes, the things I
value most about myself and what I love. I have my hometown, my
collection of minute
horse figurines, my regular church
attendance, my career. ST. PETER KAI: Very good, but
I need those too. LIBBY: What? ST. PETER KAI: Give up all
earthly attachments, good and bad, and enter
freely, with pure love for God. LIBBY: I do love God, but these
cards are good things. I can’t imagine
myself without them. ST. PETER KAI: Purify, complete surrender. Your choice. Purgatory’s that-a-way. LIBBY: Okay, good, well, that
sums up today’s topic. KAI: Libby! LIBBY: We’ve all got some
letting go to do, I imagine. KAI: Libby, we still
haven’t discussed the final destination. LIBBY: Aw, Hell, I was hoping
we could skip that. KAI: Hell, Hades, Sheol, the infernal fire and brimstone, pitchforks and devils
in red pajamas! LIBBY: Wrong. If Heaven is being
at one with God in communion with
all good things, for Catholics, Hell
is utter isolation, being totally
separated from love, from God, and all others. KAI: Eternal solitary confinement with me, myself, and I. LIBBY: When Jesus spoke of Hell,
he used the term Gehenna, a place near Jerusalem of
pagan child sacrifice in fire. KAI: These images
aren’t meant to be literal, but to illustrate
how a soul must feel when it’s outside Jerusalem. LIBBY: We’ve all had a
sense of that feeling, being outside of Jerusalem, separated from people you love, especially when
you’ve been betrayed or you have betrayed someone. KAI: It’s Hell. LIBBY: The Catechism
of the Catholic Church describes Hell as “a
state of definitive “self-exclusion from God and
from those who love God.” KAI: Self-exclusion, which
means that God doesn’t send anyone to Hell. A person chooses Hell by
absolutely rejecting God through his or her words,
actions, and attitudes towards God and
towards other people. LIBBY: The question is, have a
person’s words and actions in this life made them
ready for the next? Of course, even if
people do reject God, God still loves them. The Church teaches
that Hell exists, but that God created
everyone for Heaven. KAI: Finally, you might be asking, what of the person who’s
never heard of Jesus? LIBBY: Catholics believe
that salvation is only possible through Jesus, but also that God reveals Jesus to everyone by whatever
means possible. KAI: So, those who’ve
never heard of Jesus may have honestly
sought the truth and lived lives of
self-giving love and goodwill to all. It’s like they were
followers of Jesus without even knowing it. LIBBY: The Church says that,
through God’s grace, the possibility of Heaven
is open to them too. KAI: And maybe even to
that unbelieving friend you lost in a balloon accident. That really great guy who
cared about everybody, would give you the
shirt off his back, but you did have to wonder about the whole ballooning thing. LIBBY: As for believing Christians, they have the gift
of added confidence because of their faith
in life in Christ. KAI: But it’s still up
to each one of them to choose to follow Jesus daily. Not always the easy thing,
but as Jesus promised them, a chance to really matter,
to push the world forward, a path to the fullest
life possible, and beyond. LIBBY: Choice, it always
comes back to choice. KAI: So, today, we presented
the Catholic view of life after life, Heaven,
Hell, and Purgatory. LIBBY: We talked about eternity,
where our transformed bodies exist outside of time
and the physical world. KAI: We talked about Purgatory, where you can finally let go of all earthly attachments. LIBBY: We talked about
Heaven and Hell, not as some place
out there based on a reward or punishment system, but as a part of an
eternal invitation from God to eternal communion. KAI: So, that’s it for this
episode of Catholic Central. I’m Kai. LIBBY: And I’m Libby. And remember, eternity
is a state of being you can begin to
live now, day by day. KAI: Absolutely, my
thoughts exactly. No worries, I’m ready. DEATH LIBBY: What were you saying? (upbeat music)

You May Also Like

About the Author: Emmet Marks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *