Friday, November 20, 2009

Pax Sinica: 地獄 Hell

地 獄

本欄今天談到「萬民四末」的第四末,也是最後的題項 —— 地獄。

天主教教理#1035指出:教會訓導聲明地獄的存在和永久性。那些在死罪中過世的靈魂(在私審判後)會立刻下地獄,受地獄的苦痛,就是「永火」。地獄主要的痛苦是與天主永遠的分離,因為人只可從天主那裡得到生命和福樂,人是為此被創造,並不斷地渴求這生命和福樂。

失落和感覺之苦

地獄之苦總概有「失落之苦」和「感覺之苦」。靈魂因在地獄中永遠不能見到美善的天主,且原屬於祂的卻永遠與祂分離,故此感到極度「失落之苦」。路加福音13:28記載耶穌向猶太人論及地獄之苦:『幾時你們望見亞巴郎、依撒格、雅各伯及眾先知在天主的國裏,你們卻被棄在外,那裏要有哀號和切齒。』「感覺之苦」主要是指火燒的懲罰。耶穌會會士若望.赫頓John Hardon神父寫道:「(地獄的)那火使人身心受到極度煎熬、折磨,而卻不被燒毁。」瑪竇福音3:12記載耶穌說過:『... 至於糠秕,卻要用不滅的火焚燒。』

無可置疑,「地獄」是令人感到難解的概念,而「天譴」更是費解的奧秘。我們會質疑:美善的天主為何要懲罰祂的受造物入地獄?赫頓神父認為:「美善的天主尊重和不予干涉祂受造物的自由,包括他們梗要把自己帶進地獄。他們自主地拒絕天主,故此,在天主的公義內,他們的選擇使他們離棄他們所拒絕的天主。」

熙篤會會士安日納.博楠Eugene Boylan邀請我們從天主的愛去看地獄的懲罰:

「基督深知離開祂就是地獄,與祂在一起就是天堂。祂亦明白,有很多靈魂卻沒有領會,那永久離開祂的痛苦是何等可怕,實際上比感覺上的痛苦更為痛苦、更為可怕;所以,祂給我們強調了地獄內被火燒痛苦的可怕 —— 雖然這會使我們覺得祂是易怒和嚴厲的判官,而非令人嚮往和渴望那位仁愛和慈悲的天主 —— 讓我們因害怕火燒,傾向尋求天堂的永福。」

真福雅仙達.瑪圖Jacinta Marto

一九一七年七月十三日,聖母在花地瑪Fatima給三個小童,一睹地獄的恐佈;八月十九日,她呼籲道:「多祈禱!為罪人多做補贖!很多靈魂失救入地獄,皆因沒有人為他們做補贖、為他們祈禱!」恐佈的地獄景象,深深刻入小雅仙達的腦海,讓她常記掛着那些「可憐的罪人」,他們快要掉進地獄去。她喊叫說:「啊,地獄!地獄!我為要進入地獄的靈魂感到悲哀。他們要活生生地被燒,就像烈焰中的燒木!」有時她喊道:「那麽多人跌進地獄裏去!真是那麽多...!而竟然沒有人聽從,還是繼續重複犯罪。」死前不久,雅仙達說:「引致最多靈魂進入地獄的原因就是情慾的罪。」她經常為罪人回頭而祈禱,為他們做補贖,為他們奉獻自己的病苦及死亡。

讓我們向真福雅仙達學習,為更多靈魂得救而努力,多祈禱、做補贖。

 


To hell in a handbasket

In this article we look into the last of the four things to be ever remembered: hell.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell.

“The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in Whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs” (CCC #1035).

Pain of loss and pain of sense

The above passage from the Catechism reminds us the souls in hell suffer the pain of loss and the pain of sense. The pain of loss consists in the everlasting deprivation of the vision of God for which man was created.

Jesus foretold, “There will be weeping and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves turned outside” (Lk. 13:28).

The pain of sense consists principally in punishment by fire. Father John Hardon, SJ, wrote, “It is a fire that causes pain to body and soul without consuming the one in torment.” Jesus Himself said, “The chaff He will burn in fire that will never go out” (Mt. 3:12).

Hell is difficult to conceptualize and damnation is a mystery. Why does an all-good God condemn His creatures to hell? Father Hardon answers, “God, Who is all-good, allows His creatures to condemn themselves to hell because He does not interfere with their freedom. They voluntarily choose to reject Him, and in His justice He permits them to remain separated from the God they rejected.”

Dom Eugene Boylan, OCSO, invited us to view the punishment of hell in light of the love of God. He wrote, “He [Christ] knew that to be without Him would be a grievous hell, to be with Him sweet paradise. He knew too, that many souls would never understand the fearful suffering which eternal separation from Him would cause.

“In showing to them the lesser sufferings of the fires of hell, He hopes to deter them from ruining their eternal happiness, even though He sees the danger that they may regard Him rather as an angry and stern judge than as their ardent and merciful lover, as someone to be dreaded rather than to be desired.”

Blessed Jacinta Marto

On July 13, 1917, Our Lady showed three children in Fatima, Portugal, a terrifying vision of hell. On Aug. 19 she said, “Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them.”

The vision made a great impression on Jacinta Marto, and from then on her life was marked by the constant concern over the “poor sinners” in danger of hell. She would exclaim, “Oh, hell! hell! How sorry I am for the souls who go to hell, and the people down there, burning alive, like wood in the fire!”

Sometimes she would cry out, “So many people fall down into hell! so many people! and nobody pays any heed; they continue to commit the same sins.”

Shortly before her death Jacinta said, “More souls go to hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.” Jacinta prayed a lot, did many acts of penance, and offered up her sufferings of illness and death for the conversion of sinners.

Following the example of Blessed Jacinta, let us pray, suffer, and labour for the salvation of souls.

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