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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Purity of God

Dante Seeing Beatrice for the First Time: Holiday
I hear so many people today say that they do not believe in Hell, because "a good God would not send anyone to such a place." Love without Justice is sentiment, not Love. I try to explain to such ladies and gentlemen that God is so Perfect, that one small indiscretion on our part is an affront to Purity Himself.

God is Just, not as a human judge, but because He is All-Good and All-Loving. In the Face of Perfect Love, one sees one's limitations, failings imperfections, sins.

Last year, I know a person who had such an experience of the Purity of God. In one purgatorial moment, in December of 2011, he experienced being in the Presence of Pure Goodness, Pure Innocence, and how the smallest transgression was like the worst sin in the proximity of God. This he experienced, and wept for his sin, for failing God. This was very much like the particular judgement, except that he did not die, and that he knew that if he said yes to suffering, he was saying yes to life, to love. And, yet, experiencing Love, Who is God, had been through an other, his beloved friend, whom he wanted to marry, whom he had hurt rather inadvertently, which caused this moment of grace. This person said that his small imperfection, which many would think is not even a sin, caused him such grief in the Face of the Living Purity Who is God, that he sobbed for two and one-half hours. He felt two things and he knew two things: that God is all Just and that God is all Love. And, that if God did move the heart of his loved one to love him, it would be grace and not anything he deserved. He was, metaphorically, stripped naked in the Sight of God. All of his life and history was in the Will of God. He also understood that his one small imperfection merited hell, not merely purgatory, and that the Passion of Christ had taken away his own punishment. I do not know the end of the story. But, I am sure the man was changed forever. He does not mind that I share this with you. He thought, perhaps, that his moment of a glimpse of the particular judgement would help others understand the magnitude of the Love and Purity of God.

This story, which is true, is amazing. That a man could see his imperfection, and in Love, in the Presence of God, still know that he could have been damned showed me that God's Justice is actually God's Love. Any other understanding is pure sentimentality and far from the teaching of the Church.

Dante meeting Beatrice in Heaven: Rossetti