Tuesday, May 28, 2002


Uncharity is afoot in the countryside again. This time, a blogger offers a prayer for the soul of a deceased atheist, and some cad takes him to task for it. At what point, precisely, did Jesus tell us, “Be proud of the fact that you will be saved, while those dummies who aren’t as smart as you go straight to hell!”? Do we not pray every Sunday that the Father will “bring…all the departed into the light” of His presence? Are we now to be in the business of declaring we have distinct knowledge of what is in the hearts of men as they pass from the world? I am afraid I will have to get off the train at this station, for my own heart is often opaque to me.

The Baltimore Catechism tells us that our Church teaches there is no salvation possible after death. I don’t know whether this is correct: I choose to believe it, because believing it is safer than the alternative. But might there not come a moment before death and after animal life, when Christ might stand before those who implicitly acknowledged Him in their hearts while denying Him with their minds? Has no one ever fooled himself into thinking that he did not love that which he did love?

Is it not possible for the all powerful God who wants all of us to be saved that Jesus might present Himself to a dying man in an infinitely long space at the final moment of life? Is it not possible for death to occur outside of time, for the transition from bastard half-spirit and half-animal to wholly spirit in a moment that has no “after”? None of this prevents a rejection of Christ even then, and so does not violate that teaching.

Please. What harm can possibly come from praying for the soul of a dead man? We are all beyond redemption, except that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit make it possible. The only person I will damn is myself, and only by God’s Grace will I avoid it. It is well and proper for us to act in our own cases as though I am wrong. But there is little danger in hoping that God’s mercy in the case of others is greater than we can know.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home