So I led a retreat about a year ago and was reminded of a moment on the weekend when we talked in a Question Box session about purgatory. I took a survey of the room.
"How many people here think that they are going to heaven?"
Not one hand went up and then sheepishly one person dared to say that she merited heaven.
"OK, how many people think that they're going to hell?"
Immediately about 6 hands went up without hesitation.
I slumped in my chair. Do we all think we're doomed? Is this how little we think of God's love?
Now I suppose, I don't think I merit heaven either--at least not immediately, which I think gives a lot of credence to the church's teaching on purgatory. Innately, perhaps we all don't think that we are perfect, but I also don't think that many of us reallythink that God is going to dump us off to eternal damnation either (although I don't doubt that some of us can indeed choose to ignore God's mercy and refuse to change our own ways in response to that and end up there).
So I'd like to throw this out there to y'all...
What do you think about heaven and hell? Purgatory? Where do you think you'll end up?
Your humble blogger is Mike Hayes, a well-known expert in the world of young adult ministry (20s and 30s) in the Catholic Church. Mike is the author of Googling God (Paulist, 2007) where he explores both the chaotic world that young people live in and their religious reactions to that world. He also explores the age of instant gratification and how churches can respond to the needs of the young adult age by using technology alongside more traditional ministry methods.
Mike founded the award winning BustedHalo.com® in 2001 and continues to contribute to it as the editor of their catechetical section appropriately named Googling God.
Recently, he left BustedHalo® to focus on more direct ministry with young people at St Joseph University Parish as a Campus Minister for the South Campus at the University at Buffalo.
He has only two loves: his adorable wife, Marion and a nine pound chihuahua named Haze, who still find him amusing enough to let them live in their home.