Monday, January 30, 2012
It's the End of the World as We Know It
It's not rocket science.
Here you go, into the afterlife.
1. You are a saint, or die the death of a martyr. Straight to Heaven with you. We'll be asking for you intercession and congratulations on your canonization!
2. You are normal. You're not a bad person. You're fairly decent. You try hard. But you've never been able to forgive Aunt Minnie for totaling your car that New Year's Eve in 1982. You have worn your skirts too short until someone pulled you aside and explained to you that you're 52 and no one is interested in your thighs. You feel entitled to some paper clips and legal pads from work because heaven knows they don't pay you enough. You're jealous of your sister. You don't even know why.
Purgatory for you, my dear. We don't know for how long. We'll pray for your fast release. Watch for St. Patrick. Some believe he delivers a few souls every Saturday. You might want to shoot for a Friday passing.
3. You are Hitler. Straight to Hell with you.
(Now....we never say that anyone is in Hell for sure. Even Hitler. In his final moments, he may have realized what he did wrong and been deeply sorry and asked Jesus for forgiveness. Short of that, straight to Hell.)
So that's that. But....
4. You're still alive when the Mayan calendar gives out and here comes Jesus. You've lived until Judgment day. Scary! There's no time left for Purgatory, so Jesus is going to have to make a snap assessment. Heaven or Hell for you?
So, you might want to check your hemline now, because we both know the Mayans have no clue when Judgment day will actually occur. You will be so chagrined if the ground opens up and swallows you, as you watch Aunt Minnie get shot up to Heaven because she was so very sorry about your car and she never touched another drop.
The Last Judgment is for people who are alive to experience it. Everyone else is already where they are going or about to go. Heaven and Hell are permanent. Purgatory is a guarantee of an eventual trip to Heaven.
Does this help? Because otherwise you can do what I do when I don't understand what God is planning. Chalk it up to "It's a Sacred Mystery" which is "Catholic" for "just let it go."