Happy feast day to my beautiful Kate! She went all day without seeing me and I wasn’t able to wish her well until just now.
But I want to touch on something dark, in this bonus construction blog.
We start with the controversy, Fr Hans Urs Von Balthasar’s book, Dare We Hope that All Men be Saved? Now right off the bat, I hear Reader-land cry, “Heresy!”, and some would decry him as church of nice and Church Militant doesn’t like it. But you would be wrong, and Catholic Stuff You Should Know already talked about it. Ratzinger didn’t think him a heretic, nor did SAINT JPII. Friends of his.
His book comes down to, we don’t know, but we have a duty to work and hope that mankind go to heaven. It really is a fascinating topic. Here’s where it gets dark. St Catherine, doctor of the was given a vision or revelation from God. Approved by the church, so it is ok to believe it.
Judas is in hell. Dialogue, (section 37):
This is that sin which is never forgiven, now or ever: the refusal, the scorning of my mercy. For this offends me more than all the other sins they have committed. So the despair of Judas displeased me more and was a greater insult to my Son than his betrayal had been. Therefore, such as these are reproved for this false judgement of considering their sins to be greater than my mercy, and for this they are punished with the demons and tortured eternally with them.
Now the church will never definitely say if someone is in hell, only heaven, so this is private revelation. I just found out about it this weekend. But that is kinda freaky and dark, right? I know! But in this same phrase is the precursor to St Faustina. God’s mercy!
I don’t think we think enough about Judas during Easter. Imagine the anger, the sadness at the betrayal, maybe even loss of a brother. And he didn’t do anything different than Peter did, deny his Lord to fit his worldview. We all do it, every time we sin. Dark, yeah?
Ok, but we are the Easter people, and Alleluia is our song!
So let’s compare Peter and Judas. They both sinned, and both repented of their sin. Remember, Judas tried to give the money back? Peter, legend has it, wept so bitterly over the guilt and memory of his denial that two furrows went down his cheeks from crying. But, he was forgiven. Judas, on the other hand, repented, then hung himself. And for that act of despair, according to St Catherine, he is in hell.
You see, there is nothing we have done that God would not forgive, except believing he won’t forgive us. God isn’t me who holds grudges, or petty and spiteful. He forgives, we just have to ask.
I thought the Judas scene from the Passion movie too unreal, that he was driven mad would almost excuse the suicide from despair. And as we cannot fathom the mercy of God, even in this we can hope, for a man deprived of sanity cannot be held to the same standard, even as humans!
The two topics come together here. We cannot fathom the depths of God’s mercy, that even the most hardened sinner asks for forgiveness at the death. St Dismas, hanging on a cross, asked for mercy and received it. We can’t know. What we can know is that joy of forgiveness if we ask for it and the confidence to know that you ARE forgiven. I know! I’ve done some stuff! I feel the guilt! But like Peter, I will weep for my sins because I have offended God, and like Peter can strive to be God’s church, especially on this week of divine mercy.
Dismas should be our patron saint, for he embodies the infinite mercy of God. When we are tempted to think we are so bad and unforgivable, remember him. And remember bumbling Peter, who was the first pope even after his denial, because he repented!