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One of the darkest cellars in which people choose to live is the 'cellar' of disbelief which is atheism. A person who refuses to believe in the existence of God cannot therefore thank God for the gift of life, or turn to Him in sorrow-for-sin. By his own acts, he locks himself in a dark cellar, perhaps loses the key, and is unable to follow Christ when, at the end of his life, Christ calls to him.
When a person deliberately commits grievous sin, it's as if he leaps out of the Kingdom or out of a state of grace, into a dark area which slopes steadily downwards into a deep pit. No-one gets out of that by his own power, but needs to pray for grace - or to be helped by the intercession of those who love Christ.
When a person deliberately commits grievous sin, it's as if he falls down upon ground which slopes steeply downwards towards a deep pit in the ground. No-one can get out of it by his own power; although the Divine help given through the prayer of friends, during this life, is like a rope by which the sinner can allow himself to be pulled up towards the life of grace.
A wise person tries to lead a life worthy of Heaven, and so is already living in God's glorious light, when at death, she is called to step forward into Heaven. People who are trapped in mortal sin, by their own free choices, are as if held in a deep pit, in this life. If they do not repent before they die, they will be in that pit at death, unable to enter Heaven, separated from God for all Eternity, by their own fault.
When we die, perhaps unexpectedly, a person is in one of three states: either standing in the Light of God, ready to enter Heaven, or still at the foot of the stairway to Heaven, so that our Purgatory will consist of necessary purification, or else still trapped, by our free choice, in a grossly selfish way of life: trapped in unrepented sin, unable to enter Heaven, and therefore in Hell for all Eternity.
A man who carelessly and deliberately commits mortal sin, but who does not walk away from the Church is like a man on a narrow ladder in a mineshaft, above a fiery pit, in danger, but who has a safety-rope round his waist - from Heaven. If he begins to climb upwards, he can find safety at last, and avoid the flames.
The Lord explained about a further image of Hell, where people are trapped as a result of their own free choices, if they have not repented before they die. He said that very few people preach today about Hell; but if more will speak of it, a greater number of sinners can be helped to repent, and be saved.
To meet Christ at death whilst in a state of grace is to be wearing the wedding garment necessary for Heaven, even if it is stained, and must be washed clean in Purgatory. Good people who have never known Christ meet Him at the edge of Heaven; some greet Him gladly, when told He is the Saviour of the world and so receive a white garment. Others refuse to accept Him, and condemn themselves, and cannot therefore enter Heaven.
The Lord asks us to persevere in prayer for atheists. When we do so, it's as if He lets down a rope from Heaven, into the hole in the ground where they choose to live. They have blinded themselves to His existence by ignoring the glory of the natural world, the weight of human testimony, and the call of conscience.
When a person lives in a state of serious sin, it's as if his soul is like a great Cathedral, of which the doors and windows are firmly shut. As the Holy Spirit moves around the walls, outside, He can find no way in; and so by the soul's free choice, the soul is quite without light and peace.
It is a dreadful thing, in God's sight, that elected law-makers can, of their free will, vote for abortion, that is, make possible the killing of tiny babies in the womb. They are as blameworthy, in God's eyes, as people who carry out those barbaric procedures.
In a story, a kind king told His children that He would give them every advantage, and make them very happy, but they must learn to take responsibility for their behaviour. He said: When you are grown-up, and if you deliberately do grave wrong, you will go to prison. They all agreed that the king's words are wise and just. And so it is, with the warnings given to us by Jesus Christ our God and King, about persistant grave sin, and Hell.
Christ is overjoyed by those who love and obey Him. One of the worst experiences of Christ's Passion, as He hung on the Cross, was the sight He saw - by His Divine insight - of those who would take no notice of His words, or of His desire to save them. His heartache was indescribable, as He saw souls walking away, towards damnation, through their own choices.
Some people are catapulted into Hell, at death, having turned away from God and having refused to repent. Other people, not yet perfect, but sincerely loving God, are swept by a tide of Divine grace towards the safety of Purgatory where they can be purified and prepared for Heaven.
A teacher or theologian who freely fixes a curtain between herself and the Papacy, so that she need not put into practice the constant teaching of the Church, will be in danger, when called home to God at death. She will be entangled in the 'curtain' of dissent and heresy which she herself erected, and will risk being unable to rise up to glory, and risk going down to Hell.
People who do God's Will are carried steadily Heavenward on a river of grace, despite opposition, darkness and personal failings, whereas people who insist on following their own route stumble in the darkness of the muddy fields they try to cross, hampered by weeds, rough ground and broken fences.
God is a spiritual fire of love, and all who have become like living flames of love, in earthly life, transformed by God at their consent through prayer and penance, can enter God in peace when they die, because they are like Him. Those who have refused to be changed, are so unlike Him that His nearness brings only torment. Having finally turned away from God they suffer forever, in Hell.
It is a terrible sight for Christ to see, from Heaven, as people walk resolutely towards the flames of Hell: people who have refused to listen to His wise words about repentance and transformation: people who will be separated from Him eternally, through their own fault, if they do not repent of their sins before they die.
This is what Christ sees all the time, from Heaven above: people walking steadily towards Hell, people who have refused to listen to Him, refused to give up all their sins - particularly grave sexual sins which they could abandon, by His grace, if they were willing.
Just as an astronaut who deliberately cuts himself free from his spacecraft risks floating away alone into space, to die, so a person in mortal sin risks finding himself eternally 'lost' without any of the joy and peace and love of God, his Eternal 'Home'
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