Purgatory and hell
Purgatory and hell do not attract much attention any more,
even among those who practice Christian faith. Truly they were
linked to the idea of punishment, transitory or eternal, imposed
by a Judge who takes revenge.
And yet? If they were having nothing to do with a God without
mercy but they were relating to a vital and essential property
of a human person, his liberty? In fact, the offer for an Alliance
in love, coming from God, has a sense only if there is no constraint;
if one can freely adheres to it. It is then possible that a creature
could, in full knowledge, put himself in a position of total
and definite denial of a relationship with the others and God
who is the Other by essence. Experience tells us how one can
be carried along the spiral of misunderstanding, dissension;
one can risk to be trapped in more and more.
In fact for many, hell is already in our world, it is not any
more up there. Unfortunately it is among us, in the unbearable
We have to accept the possibility, at least in theory, of hell.
However, removed from the darkness of our terrestrial condition,
is it possible that one can isolate oneself in a total and definite
denial of the infinite Love who is offering himself to us? And
also how are disproportionate an eternity of misery and a few
years on earth? Bypassing retaliation, how to be happy when some,
relatives or not, do not enjoy the final bliss? Jesus could not
rest before finding the hundredth ewe.
For the purgatory, isn't it normal to terminate one's life knowing
that a project is not achieved, a progression is far to be accomplished?
Once again, it would be less a question of penalty and more a
question of life becoming progressively better taking advantage
of a new proximity with the Eternal, liberated from the contingencies
and darkness' of the terrestrial condition.
In the very name of our faith we cannot any more agree with the
image of a God deprived of mercy, not very mindful of the difficulties
and the winding ways of human condition, with a God standing
up with his sovereign Justice.
But it is also the perspective of eternal punishments, too often
used to keep us on the right way, that has progressively lost
its impact on the way the Christians do. The experience of mutual
aid, the solidarity, the confidence received and given, the happiness
to share, the calls to love, are more stimulating than exclusions
Through Jesus of Nazareth, it is the image of God that has been
transformed. He was helping every body to stand up what ever
his misery or paralysis, in that way he was letting sees the
density of eternity in the heart of the daily life.
In giving confidence to the mystery of God, what's happening
after death is not any more focused on the torments of the purgatory
or the eternal punishments, but on the burning love which purifies
and makes alive.