The Bishop of Shrewsbury urged Catholics to confront the “terrifying reality” of hell in a Lenten pastoral letter this past Sunday.
Quoting from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Bishop Mark Davies reminded his flock of the “terrifying reality of which the Gospel repeatedly speaks: ‘immediate and everlasting damnation’”.
“For ‘to die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love,’ the Catechism explains, ‘means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice.’ Yes, this is the real and everlasting choice of our lives,” he will say.
Bishop Davies also encouraged the faithful to regain their “perspective of eternity” during Lent.
He said: “Being aware of this limited time on earth and all that is to follow – our judgment, our purgatory, heaven or hell forever – becomes an urgent invitation to conversion in our lives.”
The bishop also noted the observation of Blessed Pope John Paul II in his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, that many have lost a sense of the “Last Things”, the body of teaching that deals with death, judgment, the destination of immortal souls and bodily resurrection.
“This is the urgency to which Lent and Easter now recalls us with the poignant mark of ashes,” he said. “It is the realisation of what the Psalmist calls ‘the shortness of lives’ which helps shape our priorities and gives each day a new urgency in the light of all eternity before us.”