The pope that led the Catholic Church into the 13th century was Pope Innocent III. He reigned from 1198 AD to 1216 AD. During his pontificate he proclaimed the fourth crusade, he approved a band of begging brothers founded by Saint Francis, and he convened the Lateran Council in 1215 to deliberate on the improvement of morals, the extinction of heresy, and the strengthening of the faith. In 1216 at the age of 56 he died. Three days later Pope Honorius III was named his successor. In the Netherlands on the day that Pope Innocent III died, St. Lutgarda was praying in her convent when suddenly appeared a man completely engulfed in flames. When she inquired who this was the person responded that he was Pope Innocent III. When she questioned how he could be in such a state he informed her that he was expiating three faults which might have caused his eternal damnation. He explained that thanks to the Blessed Mother he had obtained pardon for them though that he needed to make atonement. He further stated that this expiation was terrible and would go on for centuries unless she came to his assistance. A highly regarded pope was judged worthy of purgatory for centuries for three faults. He begged for assistance in the name of Mary and then disappeared. St. Lutgarda announced that this appearance had occurred to her sisters and they began to pray and perform works of penance to deliver him from purgatory. Some weeks later the announcement that the pope had died arrived at the convent through normal channels.
Father Ripperger, FSSP opens his discussion on Hell with a quote from Sister Lucia from her memoires regarding what she was shown by Our Lady as her vision of Hell when she was a child at Fatima. She says “She opened Her hands once more, as She had done the two previous months. The rays [of light] appeared to penetrate the earth, and we saw, as it were, a vast sea of fire. Plunged in this fire, we saw the demons and the souls [of the damned]. The latter were like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, having human forms. They were floating about in that conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames which issued from within themselves, together with great clouds of smoke. Now they fell back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fright (it must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me). The demons were distinguished [from the souls of the damned] by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. That vision only lasted for a moment, thanks to our good Heavenly Mother, Who at the first apparition had promised to take us to Heaven. Without that, I think that we would have died of terror and fear.” [Read more…]
All of us will die!
The Church’s definition for death is the separation of the immortal soul from the body. The soul is the substantial form of the body. This means that it is the soul that makes our body human. The soul remains in the body as long as the body can maintain the activities that are proper to the soul – like thinking and eating. Once the body gets to the point where the soul can no longer act through the body, then the soul departs from it. Death is God’s dose of reality. It brings man to a state of sobriety about his condition and his state. It brings home to man that he is sinful. Because he is plagued both by original and actual sin, his sentence is death. Death is something that makes us sober from the drunkenness that the things of this world can bring. Death brings us away from the pleasures of this world that come and go. Death reminds us that all things in this life are passing and meaningless unless they are referred back to the One who carries out the sentencing for our sinfulness – God. St. Paul tells us that the wages of sin is death. If we turn from God searching for things that cannot provide life, He will give us what we asked for. Through death we learn that we are not the final arbiters of right and wrong, of truth and falsity, or reality. While many people do not want to accept that there is an absolute truth out there, one thing that they will agree upon is that we are all going to die. [Read more…]