The solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a good day to think about last things. No?

Most reasonable Catholics would agree that we don’t hear too much about the 4 last things. For some this is a good thing; for me I lament the absence. But why do we always have to avoid the last things that are a natural part of the Divine Plan? Are we THAT afraid of God? Are we THAT skeptical about the promises of Jesus? Do we really lack hope? Perhaps we are too comfortable in being self-contained to care.

You know what the 4 last things are: death judgment, heaven and hell.  Preachers, Catholic school curricula and CCD programs and parents don’t often address the 4 last things in their respective venues. Why? Likely because there’s a perceptible allergy against an honest look at the human condition and the supreme justice and mercy of God. Also, about the fact that we can and often do, turn our backs on God and His promises. We’d rather think of “good things” or “nice things” about ourselves and others than sin and the possible ugly. OK. I don’t relish looking at my ugly side either. At the same time I want an honest assessment of my soul and to live in a reasonable hope of what may or may not come of my relationship with God. At last I knew, the only person conceived without sin is the Mary, the Mother of God. Plus, I would hate to think I am going to heaven (or purgatory) when I really merited hell.
In case you need a fast primer on the 4 last things, see these links. I’d also suggest closely reading Avery Cardinal Dulles’ essay “The Population of Hell,” found in Church and Society unless you can get it for free on the First Things website (but I’d recommend buying the book for all the other excellent essays!).

Not long ago a friend sent me a blog where the blogger talked about a recent homily of Canterbury’s Rowan Williams where he wonders if Henry VII is in hell. Good question. What do you think? The Archbishop’s homily can be read here.