Long overdue reflections on my experience of the Spiritual Exercises – Week 2 and 3: Sin and its consequences.
These two weeks were difficult, meditating and contemplating on the subject of sin and its consequences. And it looks like another difficult week might be coming up. Fr. Broom went over the sins of David – lust, and violence. How its consequences filtered down to his children and women. Absalom, who raped Dinah and tried to kill David. And Solomon, who became the wisest man in the world and then became a fool because of lust.
The next subject was the five last things, which are death, judgment, Heaven, hell, and purgatory. The five last things are the pathway to conversion if taken seriously. Death is spiritually the separation of the soul from the body after clinical death.
Three keys to a happy holy death:
- St. Augustine says he who prays well lives well. Our sinfulness is directly related to a lack of prayer or praying poorly.
Daily Mass and Holy Communion
The Hail Mary or the Rosary and also the Divine Mercy Chaplet
We are judged at the moment of death on our entire life and if we are found to be on the side of Heaven, at the end of time we will be reunited with our body in the general judgment and completely enjoy heaven. Or we will suffer more in hell.
It is good to offer our sufferings for the Salvation of our souls and the souls of our family. To have an ardent yearning towards heaven is to have a greater desire to go to heaven. A shortcut to avoid purgatory and go to heaven faster is to make fervent and loving communions.
Meditating on heaven, or what I imagine heaven will be like helps me to cultivate this ardent yearning. To be with my loved ones again. In perfect relationship without all our faults. To fully marvel at and enjoy the wonders of this world on a perfect plane.
Meditations on hell are important because we will develop the fear of hell and want to avoid it. This will directly affect our choice to sin or not. Sins of omission are very important because we don’t think about them. We don’t always realize we’re doing them. But we have to think about it because we will be judged on what we fail to do as well.
All those times I felt like I was going through hell on earth? Meditating upon that without even multiplying it by anything is enough to make me want to avoid hell. Plus the absence of (hopefully) all of my loved ones and of God. The void.
Not good enough for heaven but want to avoid hell? Notice I didn’t say “not bad enough for hell”. A place to purge our dirt and grime. Painful, uncomfortable, agony perhaps. But at least the outer courtyard with the eventual reward of heaven. Still, what if we could avoid even this place and go straight to the good stuff? One can dare to dream.