A TRAGIC FUNERAL MASS Prompts Questions About Heaven, Hell, Eternity

There never seems to be a good time to write an article like this. Inevitably, someone gets offended. I was born and raised in a devout Catholic family. Catholic people have loved and nurtured me my whole life. I don’t think there is another population I love more and sincerely never want to hurt. My love for Catholics is my motivation for writing this. If you love someone and you know they are being led astray, the most unloving thing you can do is stay silent. It is truly heartbreaking for me to sit through a funeral Mass and watch so many people sincerely believing exactly what the priest is preaching and have no doubt they are going to Heaven. I believe so many have total faith in the Catholic Church, which contradicts the Biblical message of salvation.

This past winter, my husband and one of my sons went on a snowmobile trip with three of my husband’s riding buddies. One of the men hit a tree and died instantly. The man was only 45 years old and left behind his wife and two teenagers. The trip turned into a horrible tragedy. The wake and funeral were very surreal. I never met this man’s widow or children until the wake. Saying anything to the widow but, “I am so sorry,” and hugging her tightly just seemed highly inappropriate when emotions are so fragile and everything seems so uncertain. This man’s life here on earth was clearly cut short. So many people had stories about how loved this man was and what a good guy he was. He will obviously be very missed. During this man’s funeral Mass, I leaned over to my husband and said, “I honestly don’t know what is more tragic, the accident or this Mass!” Losing a loved one is so sad, but assuming you will see them again if you possibly never will is the real tragedy.

Ever since I left the Catholic Church, I have felt this way at every funeral Mass I attended. I listen to priests talk about how the person who passed away is in a “better place.” The priests and loved ones inevitably share stories about how “good” the person was and how much they were loved, yet I read in my Bible that there is no one good but God! (Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23)

How do they know they are in a “better place?” What if they believed the Catholic Church and ended up someplace worse and there really is no way out? When I ask Catholic people I know how they know they will get to Heaven, I mostly get the answer that they are good people. I agree in the eyes of the world, pretty much everyone is, right?

When listening to the priests today, it is very easy to just believe that the deceased person is just fine and we will all see them again someday. It seems to me that nowadays everyone gets to Heaven one way or another. The frightening part of this is that most people don’t give this a second thought. Why should they? The priests and many other preachers sound like everything will be alright.

I realize that a Christian is a Christian regardless of denomination. Only God can judge the human heart, but the Bible clearly encourages unity in doctrine. The Bible says we are all united in Jesus Christ. Which is true, but what if our denominations are masking the message of the Cross? What if what someone believes is actually keeping them from an eternity with God? We have so many different denominations these days. When we ask questions about the denominations, we find out that there are denominations within the denominations. That is if the conversation even takes place in our politically correct world.

Do not talk about religion is a clear message. Honest, healthy debate among Christians is taboo now. How are we supposed to become unified if we are so afraid of conflict that we don’t talk about critical differences among ourselves? Did Christians buy into the “don’t talk about religion” trend too?

I left the Catholic Church because I was truly scared to teach my three children this denomination. I saw all the obstacles they would have to sift through to get to the Cross if they even thought sifting was necessary! Catholics literally have to sort through the teachings on salvation that come from Rome to find the pure gospel message. I am sure some Catholics have done this and are saved, but this is no easy task. In this system we are led to believe that we get baptized, participate in all the sacraments, attend church on Sundays, be a “good person” and even if you don’t make it to Heaven right away, you can will go to purgatory and eventually get to Heaven.

Every Catholic goes to Heaven is what is implied. If you are a member of the Catholic Church, you are in! Why would you give it a second thought, unless someone suggested you should? When I started reading the Bible I found things to be much different.

Now that I suggested this to you, why wouldn’t you want to make sure you are on your way to Heaven and so are your loved ones? What will it take to convince you?

I can hear Matthew 7:1 coming from some of you now. Do not judge!!!! How do I know if someone is going to Heaven or not? Well, let’s be honest, none of us can be 100% sure that anyone is going. Only God knows who sincerely believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and nothing else for their salvation. God tells us not to judge the human heart, but I see plenty of scripture encouraging us to judge false teachers and teachings.

If I piqued your curiosity, please consider reading The Gospel According to Rome by James McCarthy. McCarthy shares my love for Catholics and is very sincere and honest in his writings.

Image: http://www.practicalpedal.com/photographcfo/Offertory-Prayers-Baptist.html

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Judy Rice

About the author, Judy Rice: Judy Rice is the proud mother of teenage triplets, Jillian, Spencer and Derek and wife to Gary, one of the most loving, hardworking, honorable men in the world. She is a Christian who is a huge fan of traditional marriage, freedom, and is pro- life to the core. She has a Masters in Counseling from DePaul University in Chicago and a Bachelors degree in Communications from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Before kids, she worked as a counselor, advisor and teacher at the university level. She clarified her world view in her thirties and believes her most valuable education continues to come from reading the Bible, reading in general, listening, paying attention and participating in meaningful communication wherever it occurs. View all articles by Judy Rice

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