Hell has been on my mind this week. Maybe it’s because of the whole “ashes you are and to ashes you will return” of the beginning of Lent. My Lenten reading material probably isn’t helping either.

This year I choose St. Faustina’s diary. It’s a book that I have had for years and picked at here and there — an even attempted it during Lent several years ago. I guess I wasn’t ready for it yet.

This year every page seems to have a message for me — seemingly an example of “when the student is ready the teacher will appear.”

In my Dominican laity community, we have been working through Frank Sheed’s Theology and Sanity and this week reached the section on death, judgement and the end of the world. Great timing, huh?

St. Faustina says that God condemns no one — the soul freely chooses. What would lead a soul to choose eternal separation from the source of all its life and happiness? Our day to day life here on earth. Do we give all of our life to God? Do we keep part of it back for ourselves? Do we turn our back completely on God? As we go throughout our life, our will becomes set by the habits we keep. So much so, that at the end, faced with a final choice, some souls will choose eternal separation, literally Hell, as their final destination.

The moderator of our discussion was pointing out how “majestic” this freedom really is when you think about it. God loves and respects us so much that he doesn’t demand our love, even to the point of our tragic damnation.