Dear Father Bloom,

Reading one of your homilies, I came upon the following, rather scary, passage:

Even those who used their bodies selfishly will have them raised up on the last day. But God will say to them, "You refused to use your body to serve me. You took drugs. You stay in bed on Sunday morning. You used your body--and those of others--for your own selfish pleasure. Well, I give you what you yourself always demanded. You kept saying my body. It is now yours alone for all eternity."

Would you please explain this further? You clearly hint at some dire consequence in the last sentence. However, I am unsure of your complete meaning. "It is now yours alone for all eternity." What does this portend? I ask this as one who long travelled such a road as you mentioned above.

I always assumed that, whatever our sins, a true faith and hearty repentance would remove us from eternal peril. If, I were to "acknowledge and bewail (my) manifold sins and wickedness, which (I), from time to time have committed" would this not remove the possibility of such punishment as you have suggested?




Dear Pat,

Thanks for the question. I should have been more explicit in the homily. Eternal separation from God (hell) is a freely chosen consequence of our own sins. In the end it is either a matter of us saying to God, "thy will be done," or him saying to you or me, "thy will be done." (I'm not being original, just paraphasing C.S. Lewis. Have you read The Great Divorce?)

By your last paragraph, Pat, I would conclude rather that you are on the road to heaven. Thru Jesus God freely forgives our sins when we turn to him. If you ever doubt that, remember that in the creed we say that we believe in the forgiveness of sins. It's not so much a matter of feeling, tho sometimes the realization can bring a flood of emotion. In the book of Revelation the devil is called "the accuser of the brethren, who accuses them day and nite..." Before we sin he says, "It's no big deal." But afterwards he says, "It is a big deal--and you are all alone."

You may also be dealing with the consequences of your past sins. It's there in your nerves, the emotional patterns in your psyche. You might be easily ambushed by something which triggers a whole flood of memories. Recall it was only when Peter took his eyes off Jesus that he started sinking. And the storm will always pass.

Are you a Catholic? If so I assume you have confessed your past sins to a priest. Regular confession will be a great help.

Feel free to write again. My prayers. And remember me in yours. You might guess that very much identify with the struggle you describe.

God bless,

Fr. Phil Bloom

Jesus' Teaching Concerning Hell