Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Hell – and Vocations

 From The Catholic Thing:

If there is no Hell, or, at least, if we pretend that no one goes to Hell, then why do priests labor so hard? Why even have priests at all? If everyone goes to Heaven, then the priest has no supernatural work to do. In worldly affairs, he may serve a counseling role of some kind, but anyone can do that. The supernatural order defines the priest’s role. Cancelling Hell distorts this order, for, as recent decades have taught, it is a short step from “let’s only talk about Heaven” to “we’ll make Heaven a place on earth.” What intelligent man would want to sacrifice his life to serve materialistic ends?

Only by rebalancing our supernatural view – that sin does real damage, that Hell is real, that sacraments convey real grace, and that we need God’s grace to get to Heaven – will we see an increase in priestly vocations after decades of decline. Men, by nature, are attracted to the hero’s part, and they are willing to make sacrifices to get there. This is why superheroes have proven so popular: they speak to a primordial longing in the male heart to be a savior.

In order to bloom, this innate desire has to be cultivated from without. Men need to see other men making sacrifices, and they need these heroes to invite them personally to join them. They need material and moral support from the communities they serve as reminders that what they do is valued. And they need to know that the dangers that they have offered to fight are still threats.

The same goes for potential priest-heroes. They need to see ordained priests energetically working to save souls from Hell and for Heaven. They need these priests to invite them to pursue a priestly vocation. They need moral and material support from their families, friends, bishops, and seminary directors. And they need to know that every sacrament they confer has eternal significance for the souls in their care, since, without the sacraments, their fellow Catholics are more susceptible to follow Satan’s empty promises to eternal punishment.

In other words, the priest is a hero because what he does every day is a matter of life or death – eternal life or eternal death. (Read more.)



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