Imagine What A Lost Soul Looks Like To God
Thomas A. Droleskey
Pater Noster, qui es in caelis: sanctificetur nomen tuum: adveniat regnun tuum: fiat voluntas tua sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie: et dimmite nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimmitimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentantionem. Sed libera nos a malo. Amen.
Fiat voluntas tua sicut in caelo et in terra.
Each time we pray the Pater Noster we pray that God's Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. We are thus instructed by God Himself to accept His Holy Will with equanimity. A serene acceptance of God's Holy Will means that we must have a sense of detachment from the things, people and places of this passing world, being ready to lose everything as we remain attached solely to God as He has revealed Himself to us through His true Church. A sense of detachment from the things of this passing life must be cultivated over the course of a lifetime. Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ really did mean it when He said that He comes like a thief in the night. We must count only one thing as a genuine, eternal loss: to die in a state of final impenitence.
That is, as devastating as the material and personal losses being experienced by the over two million people who have been made refugees as a result of the catastrophic earthquake that hit near Concepcion, Chile, on Saturday, February 26, 2010, to say nothing of the the terrible loss of life and displacement in Haiti as a result of the earthquake that took place there on Tuesday, January 12, 2010, these material and personal losses pale into insignificance when one considers the loss of just one soul for all eternity. The photographs that I have seen on the internet of one completely destroyed building after another in Chile represent, of course, the immediate tragedy being suffered by those affected in Chile. We must pray that those who have been so devastated will be relieved by our prayers and by the generosity of others who will perform for them the Corporal Works of Mercy.
The photographs of the physical devastation wrought by the earthquake in Chile two days ago, however, also serve to remind us of the devastation caused in a soul when it is in a state of Mortal Sin. The photographs of physical disaster and loss of life in Chile can serve to remind us how disastrous a soul looks to God when it has suffered the loss of His own very inner life by the commission of a deliberate Mortal Sin. A soul that is in a state of Mortal Sin is particularly hideous to God, Who loves to behold the beauty of a soul in a state of Sanctifying Grace, which is the necessary precondition for that soul beholding His glory for all eternity in Heaven the Beatific Vision of Himself--God the Father, God, the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.
It is quite sadly the case that souls are being lost in the modern world because of the anti-Incarnational errors upon which it is founded, resulting in the cultural embrace of religious indifferentism, cultural pluralism, moral relativism, legal and political positivism, and the amorality of contemporary economics. Even more millions of souls are being lost today as a result of the profanations and apostasies and blasphemies and sacrileges sanctioned by the counterfeit church of conciliarism. The loss of large numbers of people as a result of devastating earthquakes is a reminder from God Himself that millions of living human beings are lost in a sea of diabolical machinations that are the direct and inevitable result, proximately speaking, of the overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King and the triumph of the demonic spirit of the deification of man and his disordered, perverted sense of narcissistic self-love and the deconstruction of the Holy Faith represented by Modernism.
Mind you, noting these facts is in no way to minimize the suffering of those who have been displaced in Chile and Haiti and who have lost relatives and friends. We must pray for the living and for the dead. We must pray for the success of the relief and rescue efforts that have been underway for two days now in Chile. We must pray that those who have been displaced will be provided with food, clothing and shelter as they seek to rebuild the physical aspect of their lives. We must, however, never lose sight of the simple fact that the most terrible loss of all is that of our immortal sin. Only a handful of genuine mystics have been given to understand the horror of the commission of just one Mortal Sin in the eyes of God. The most terrible tragedy of all is to lose our immortal souls for all eternity by dying in a state of Mortal Sin, a state of final impenitence.
The Venerable Anne Katherine Emmerich was one of those mystics. She described the horror that Our Lord experienced in His Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane as He was given to see the horror of sin of each human being from the beginning to the end of time, a horror that caused Him to suffer in His Sacred Humanity as He approached personal contact with the antithesis of His Sacred Divinity, sin:
When Jesus, unrelieved of all the weight of his sufferings, returned to the grotto, he fell prostrate, with his face on the ground and his arms extended, and prayed to his Eternal Father; but his soul had to sustain a second interior combat, which lasted three-quarters of an hour. Angels came and showed him, in a series of visions, all the sufferings that he was to endure in order to expiate sin; how great was the beauty of man, the image of God, before the fall, and how that beauty was changed and obliterated when sin entered the world. He beheld how all sins originated in that of Adam, the signification and essence of concupiscence, its terrible effects on the powers of the soul, and likewise the signification and essence of all the sufferings entailed by concupiscence. They showed him the satisfaction which he would have to offer to Divine Justice, and how it would consist of a degree of suffering in his soul and body which would comprehend all the sufferings due to the concupiscence of all mankind, since the debt of the whole human race had to be paid by that humanity which alone was sinless—the humanity of the Son of God. The angels showed him all these things under different forms, and I felt what they were saying, although I heard no voice. No tongue can describe what anguish and what horror overwhelmed the soul of Jesus at the sight of so terrible an expiation—his sufferings were so great, indeed, that a bloody sweat issued forth from all the pores of his sacred body.
The soul of Jesus beheld all the future sufferings of his Apostles, disciples, and friends; after which he saw the primitive Church, numbering but few souls in her fold at first, and then in proportion as her numbers increased, disturbed by heresies and schisms breaking out among her children, who repeated the sin of Adam by pride and disobedience. He saw the tepidity, malice, and corruption of an infinite number of Christians, the lies and deceptions of proud teachers, all the sacrileges of wicked priests, the fatal consequences of each sin, and the abomination of desolation in the kingdom of God, in the sanctuary of those ungrateful human beings whom he was about to redeem with his blood at the cost of unspeakable sufferings.. . .
The scandals of all ages, down to the present day and even to the end of the world—every species of error, deception, mad fanaticism, obstinacy, and malice—were displayed before his eyes, and he beheld, as it were floating before him, all the apostates, heresiarchs, and pretended reformers, who deceive men by an appearance of sanctity. The corrupters and the corrupted of all ages outraged and tormented him for not having been crucified after their fashion, or for not having suffered precisely as they settled or imagined he should have done. They vied with each other in tearing the seamless robe of his Church; many ill-treated, insulted, and denied him, and many turned contemptuously away, shaking their heads at him, avoiding his compassionate embrace, and hurrying on to the abyss where they were finally swallowed up. He saw countless numbers of other men who did not dare openly to deny him, but who passed on in disgust at the sight of the wounds of his Church, as the Levite. passed by the poor man who had fallen among robbers. Like unto cowardly and faithless children, who desert their mother in the middle of the night, at the sight of the thieves and robbers to whom their negligence or their malice has opened the door, they fled from his wounded Spouse. He beheld all these men, sometimes separated from the True Vine, and taking their rest amid the wild fruit trees, sometimes like lost sheep, left to the mercy of the wolves, led by base hirelings into bad pasturages, and refusing to enter the fold of the Good Shepherd who gave his life for his sheep. They were wandering homeless in the desert in the midst of the sand blown about by the wind, and were obstinately determined not to see his City placed upon a hill, which could not be hidden, the House of his Spouse, his Church built upon a rock, and with which he had promised to remain to the end of ages. They built upon the sand wretched tenements, which they were continually pulling down and rebuilding, but in which there was neither altar nor sacrifice; they had weathercocks on their roofs, and their doctrines changed with the wind, consequently they were for ever in opposition one with the other. They never could come to a mutual understanding, and were for ever unsettled, often destroying their own dwellings and hurling the fragments against the Corner Stone of the Church, which always remained unshaken.
As there was nothing but darkness in the dwellings of these men, many among them, instead of directing their steps towards the Candle placed on the Candlestick in the House of the Spouse of Christ, wandered with closed eyes around the gardens of the Church, sustaining life only by inhaling the sweet odours which were diffused from them far and near, stretching forth their hands towards shadowy idols, and following wandering stars which led them to wells where there was no water. Even when on the very brink of the precipice, they refused to listen to the voice of the Spouse calling them, and, though dying with hunger, derided, insulted, and mocked at those servants and messengers who were sent to invite them to the Nuptial Feast. They obstinately refused to enter the garden, because they feared the thorns of the hedge, although they had neither wheat with which to satisfy their hunger nor wine to quench their thirst, but were simply intoxicated with pride and self-esteem, and being blinded by their own false lights, persisted in asserting that the Church of the Word made flesh was invisible. Jesus beheld them all, he wept over them, and was pleased to suffer for all those who do not see him and who will not carry their crosses after him in his City built upon a hill—his Church founded upon a rock, to which he has given himself in the Holy Eucharist, and against which the gates of Hell will never prevail.. . .
It was made known to me that these apparitions were all those persons who in divers ways insult and outrage Jesus, really and truly present in the Holy Sacrament. I recognised among them all those who in any way profane the Blessed Eucharist. I beheld with horror all the outrages thus offered to our Lord, whether by neglect, irreverence, and omission of what was due to him; by open contempt, abuse, and the most awful sacrileges; by the worship of worldly idols; by spiritual darkness and false knowledge; or, finally, by error, incredulity, fanaticism, hatred, and open persecution. Among these men I saw many who were blind, paralysed, deaf, and dumb, and even children;—blind men who would not see the truth; paralytic men who would not advance, according to its directions, on the road leading to eternal life; deaf men who refused to listen to its warnings and threats; dumb men who would never use their voices in its defence; and, finally, children who were led astray by following parents and teachers filled with the love of the world and forgetfulness of God, who were fed on earthly luxuries, drunk with false wisdom, and loathing all that pertained to religion. Among the latter, the sight of whom grieved me especially, because Jesus so loved children, I saw many irreverent, ill-behaved acolytes, who did not honour our Lord in the holy ceremonies in which they took a part. I beheld with terror that many priests, some of whom even fancied themselves full of faith and piety, also outraged Jesus in the Adorable Sacrament. I saw many who believed and taught the doctrine of the Real Presence, but did not sufficiently take it to heart, for they forgot and neglected the palace, throne, and seat of the Living God; that is to say, the church, the altar, the tabernacle, the chalice, the monstrance, the vases and ornaments; in one word, all that is used in his worship, or to adorn his house.
Entire neglect reigned everywhere, all things were left to moulder away in dust and filth, and the worship of God was, if not inwardly profaned, at least outwardly dishonoured. Nor did this arise from real poverty, but from indifference, sloth, preoccupation of mind about vain earthly concerns, and often also from egotism and spiritual death; for I saw neglect of this kind in churches the pastors and congregations of which were rich, or at least tolerably well off. I saw many others in which worldly, tasteless, unsuitable ornaments had replaced the magnificent adornments of a more pious age. (The Venerable Anne Katherine Emmerich, The Dolorous Passion of The Christ, "The Passion," CHAPTER 1)
How do our souls look--right now, at this very moment--in the eyes of God? How many times have we offended Him, either mortally or venially or both, sometimes doing so casually, if not habitually? How grateful are we to have access in this time of apostasy and betrayal to the Sacrament of Penance that can never be denied to a Catholic who is in good standing with Holy Mother Church? Do we take to the time to make a good, full Examination of Conscience every night before we go to sleep? Are our confessions fully integral, leaving nothing out and seeking not to cast our sins in the confessional in such a way as to paint the circumstances of their commission in a better light? Are we resolved to live more penitentially as the consecrated slaves of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, earnest about praying more Rosaries each day rather than immerse ourselves unnecessarily in the ways of the world?
Each of us must be prepared for the moment our Particular Judgments. Death can come to us at any time and in any manner. Indeed, Saint Alphonsus De Liguori wrote in his Preparation for Death that God uses catastrophes (such a hurricanes and earthquakes and wars and invasions) and the physical illnesses that afflict our bodies to remind us of the imminence of death and how to prepare for it. Consider the words of the Doctor of Moral Theologians as it pertains to the total acceptance of the will of God in the midst of tragedies and disasters:
He who is united with the divine will, enjoys, even in this life, a perpetual peace. Whatsoever shall befall the just man, it shall not make him sad. Yes, for a man cannot enjoy greater happiness than that which arises from the accomplishment of all his wishes. He who wills only what God wills, possesses all he desires; for whatever happens to him, happens by the will of God. If, says Salvian, the soul that is resigned to be humbled, it desires humiliations; if it is poor, it delights in poverty; in a word, it wishes whatever happens, and thus leads a happy life. Let cold, heat, wind, or rain come, and he that is united with the will of God says: I wish for this cold, this heat, this wind, and this rain, because God wills them. If loss of property, persecution, or sickness befall him, he says: I wish to be miserable, to be persecuted, to be sick, because such is the will of God. He who reposes in the divine will, and is resigned to whatever the Lord does, is like a man who stands above the tempest raging below. This is the peace which, according to the Apostle, surpasseth all understanding, which exceeds all the delights of the world; a perpetual peace, subject to no vicissitudes. A fool is changed like the moon. . . . A holy man continueth in wisdom like the sun. . . . . When the will is united with the will of God, crosses may produce some pain in the inferior part, but in the superior part peace shall always reign.
Accepting the will of God, Saint Alphonsus teaches us, means understanding the shortness and the frailty of our mortal lives in this vale of tears:
What is your life? It is like a vapor, which is dissipated by a blast of wind, and is seen no more. All know that they must die, but the delusion of many is, that they imagine death as far off as if it were never to arrive. But Job tells us that the life of man is short. Man born of a woman, living for a short time. . . . who cometh forth like a flower, and is destroyed. This truth the Lord commanded Isaias to preach to the people. Cry. . . . All flesh is grass. . . . Indeed, the people is grass. The grass is withered, and the flower is fallen. The life of man is like the life of a blade of grass.; death comes, the grass dried up: behold life ends, and the flower of all greatness and of all worldly goods falls off.
My days, says Job, have been swifter than a post. death runs to meet us more swiftly than a post, and we at every moment run towards death. Every step, every breath, brings us nearer to the end. "What I write," says Jerome, "is so much taken away from life." "During the time I write, I draw near to death." We all die, and like the waters that return no more, we fall into the earth. Behold how the stream flows to the sea, and the passing waters never return! Thus, my brother, your days pass by, and you approach death. Pleasures, amusements, pomps, praises, and acclamations pass away; and what remains? And only the grave remaineth for me. We shall be throw into a grave, and there we shall remain to rot, stripped of all things. At the hour of death the remembrance of the delights enjoyed, and of all the honors acquired in this life, will serve only to increase our pain. and our diffidence of obtaining eternal salvation. then the miserable worldling will say: "My house, my gardens, my fashionable furniture, my pleasures, my garments, will in a little time be no longer mine, and 'only the grave remaineth for me.'"
Ah! at that hour all earthly goods are viewed only with pain by those who have had an attachment for them. And this pain will serve only to increase the danger of their eternal salvation; for we see by experience, that persons attached to the world wish at death to speak only of their sickness, of the physicians to be called to attend the, and of the remedies which may restore their health. When any one speaks of the state of the soul, they soon grow weary, and beg to be allowed to repose. They complain of headache, and say that it pains them to hear any one speak. And if they sometimes answer, they are confused, and know not what to say. It often happens that the confessor gives them absolution, not because he knows that they are disposed for the sacrament, but because it is dangerous to defer it. Such is the death of those who think but little of death.
We should take heed of the fact that natural disasters and other calamities are a sign of our own morality and of our utter dependence upon God as He has revealed Himself to us solely through the Catholic Church and upon the supernatural helps that are available to souls only through that same Church. Again, to Saint Alphonsus's Preparation for Death:
The Lord does not wish us to be lost; and therefore, by the threat of chastisement, he unceasingly exhorts us to a change of life. Except you will be converted, He will brandish His sword. Behold, he says in another place, how many, because they would not cease to offend me, have met with a sudden death, when they were least expecting it, and were living in peace, secure of a life of many years. For whey they shall say: Peace and security: then shall sudden destruction come upon them. Again he says: Unless you shall do penance, you shall likewise perish. Why so many threats of chastisements before the execution of vengeance? It is because he wishes that we amend our lives, and thus avoid an unhappy death. "He," says Saint Augustine, "who tells you to beware, does not wish to take away your life." It is necessary, then, to prepare our accounts before the day of account arrives. Dearly beloved Christians, were you to die, and were your lot for eternity to be decided before night would your accounts be ready? Oh! how much would you give to obtain from God another year or month, or even another day, to prepare for judgment? Why then do yo not now, that God gives you this time, settle the accounts of your conscience? Perhaps is cannot happen that this shall be the last day for you? Delay not to be converted to the Lord, and defer it not from day to day; for His wrath shall come on a sudden, and in a the time of vengeance He will destroy thee. My brother, to save your soul you must give up your sin. "If then you must renounce it at some time, why do you not abandon it at this moment?" says Saint Augustine. Perhaps you are waiting till death arrives? But for obstinate sinners, the hour of death is the time, not of pardon, but of vengeance. In the time of vengeance He will destroy thee.
Our Lady explained Our Lady of La Salette told Melanie Calvat and
about the terrible effects of sin in the world on September 19, 1846:
The Church will be in eclipse, the world will be in dismay. But now Enoch and Eli will come, filled with the Spirit of God. They will preach with the might of God, and men of good will will believe in God, and many souls will be comforted. They will make great steps forward through the power of the Holy Spirit and will condemn the devilish lapses of the Antichrist. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth! There will be bloody wars and famines, plagues and infectious diseases. It will rain with a fearful hail of animals. There will be thunderstorms which will shake cities, earthquakes which will swallow up countries. Voices will be heard in the air. Men will beat their heads against walls, call for their death, and on another side death will be their torment. Blood will flow on all sides. Who will be the victor if God does not shorten the length of the test? At the blood, the tears and prayers of the righteous, God will relent. Enoch and Eli will be put to death. Pagan Rome will disappear. The fire of Heaven will fall and consume three cities. All the universe will be struck with terror and many will let themselves be lead astray because they have not worshipped the true Christ who lives among them. It is time; the sun is darkening; only faith will survive.
Now is the time; the abyss is opening. Here is the King of Kings of darkness, here is the Beast with his subjects, calling himself the Savior of the world. He will rise proudly into the air to go to Heaven. He will be smothered by the breath of the Archangel Saint Michael. He will fall, and the earth, which will have been in a continuous series of evolutions for three days, will open up its fiery bowels; and he will have plunged for all eternity with all his followers into the everlasting chasms of hell. And then water and fire will purge the earth and consume all the works of men's pride and all will be renewed. God will be served and glorified."
As recorded in The Mystical City of God, Our Lady explained to the Venerable Mary of Agreda, the earth itself will be shaken of the work of the devil to inspire us to commit unrepentant after unrepentant sin, and that she, Our Lady, will make possible our salvation by her perfect fiat to the will of God the Father at the Annunciation:
"Woe to the earth, and to the sea, because the devil is come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time." Woe to the earth, where so many sins and such wickedness shall be perpetuated! Woe to the sea, which refused to pour forth its floods and annihilate the transgressors at the sight of so great offenses against its Creator, and to avenge the insults against its Maker and Lord! But more woe to the profound and raging sea of those that follow the demon, after he had descended in their midst in order to war against them with great wrath and with such unheard of cruelty! It is the wrath of the most ferocious dragon, and greater than that of the devouring lion (I Pet. 5, 8), who attempts to annihilate all creation and to whom all the days of the world seem a short time to execute his fury. Such is his hunger and thirst to do damage to mortals, that all the days of their life do not satisfy him, for they come to an end, whereas he desires eternal ages, if possible, in order to wage war against the sons of God. But incomparably greater than against all others is his rage against that most blessed Woman, who was to crush his head (Gen. 3, 15).
Yes, our trust must be placed totally in Our Lady to help us save our immortal souls. Saint Alphonsus wrote in Preparation for Death of the confidence we must place Mary our Immaculate Queen , the Mother of God:
Oh! how great will be our thankfulness for the mercy of God, for having given us for our advocate, Mary, who, by her prayers, can obtain for us all the graces we stand in need of. "Truly wonderful," exclaims St. Bonaventure, "is the bound of our God, who has given thee, O Lady, to his guilty subjects as their advocate, so that thou art able to obtain for them by thy assistance whatever thou wilt." Sinners, brethren, if we find ourselves debtors to the divine justice, and commended to hell by our sins, let us not despair; let us have recourse to this divine mother; let us put ourselves under her protection, and she will save us. But we must have a sincere purpose of amending our lives. If we have such a purpose, and place confidence in Mary, we shall be saved. And why? Because Mary is a powerful advocate, a merciful advocate, an advocate that desires to save all."
Our hope must then be in Our Lady, to whom we commend the particular needs of those who have been rendered refugees by earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. We trust in Our Lady to help us to save our own souls, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. We must trust in Our Lady to save our souls from the destruction power of sin, even venial sin, in our own souls, which shone so brilliantly at the moment of our baptism but. We need to ask Our Lady every day to help us to be prepared for the moment of our own deaths, recognizing that we live at a time in salvation history when the forces unleashed by the social toleration and promotion of sin are exacting a heavy toll on us all and might take us from this mortal life when we least expect it.
We do indeed need Our Lady's help so that our souls will not be lost for all eternity, which is why, of course, we must pray our Rosaries every day without fail and to pray them so very well. We never know when our next Rosary will be our last Rosary.
With prayers for the victims, both living and dead, of the recent catastrophes in Chile and Haiti, may we keep Our Lady's Fatima requests so that the day will soon arrive when all hearts in this country and around the world, consecrated to Our Lord through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, will exclaim:
Vivat Christus Rex! Viva Cristo Rey!
Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now?
Immaculate Heart of Mary, triumph soon!
Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us, especially on your feast day today!
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints