terrified of hell. I grew up terrified of hell and because of the abusive
situation and growing up feeling like I was evil, I was certain I was headed
for hell. Then I grew up and stopped believing in hell. I stopped believing
because the whole thing just doesnt seem fair, considering all the
child abuse in the world. . . .
Then I found your website and everything makes sense to me. Because what
you say makes sense based on my own experience of myself, I now believe that
you must know what youre talking about. . . .
This puts me in a state of fear: fear that Ill go to hell if I dont
follow these rules, fear that if I do follow the rules and refrain from sex
my marriage will suffer severly (my husband would not tolerate no sex), fear
that if I do keep getting pregnant Ill be even more overwhelmed than
I am now. And I fear how all of this will affect the kids I do have.
The fear Im feeling over this is intense. . . . Im terrified
of hell and Im terrified of having more kids and Im terrified
of my husband being unhappy.
o matter how much you
worry about going to hell,
it wont prevent you from going to hell. Souls end up in hell because
they reject Gods love and mercy, and,
in so doing, they fail to repent their
sins. Those who end up in hell, then, have no one
to blame but themselves for rejecting Gods mercy.
Worrying about what might
happen will not do anything to change it. Furthermore, the act of worrying
about the unknown is itself a rejection of Gods merciful
So try considering a different
strategy. Instead of fearing hell, which is characterized by selfishness and
hatred, think of its
oppositeloveand let love
motivate you to change your behavior.
God is love.
But only Christ can tell us what
love really requires of us. And only Christ can tell us what offends love.
And He did tell us, as is recorded in the Scriptures and through the
Tradition of the Catholic Church. Christianity
therefore teaches us to purify ourselves of whatever offends love because no
soul committed to offending love can enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Because God is love, He wants us
to seek purification. God is not like an arrogant emperor who demands adoration
and praise from everyone around him to satisfy his
inflated ego. Souls who love God dont serve Him because He demands their
obedience like an irrational parent; souls who love God love Him in love
for the sake of love, and, through His grace, they become
is Not Love
Now, when speaking about love,
we have to become very clear about something very important:
sexual activity is not love. Those who pursue sexual
pleasure apart from its reproductive meaningthat is, those who pursue
erotic pleasure to gain someones attention, to avoid feeling abandoned,
or just to feel good about
themselvesreject love. Erotic pleasure pursued for the mere
sake of your own emotional needs is lust; thats a rejection of love
and a grave sin.
children conceived in lust will be
emotionally and spiritually crippled throughout their lives. Anyone who
inflicts such a burden on a child has rejected love. Thus its an act of
love to refuse to cooperate in any act that rejects love and willingly inflicts
grave injury on a child.
Those who love God, despite the
malevolent social consequences, declare their desire for heaven. But those who
reject love have no place in the Kingdom of Heaven. Their only place is
hell, because hell, with all its selfishness and
hatred, is the place of those who reject love.
Those who have been
abused in childhood almost invariably get caught up in the illusions
of sexuality. In order to survive, abused children
will learn to use sexuality as a way to appease others, to gain their attention, and
to avoid being abandonedor killed. These illusions,
which keep children alive in childhood, will persist unchanged, as
defenses, into adulthood unless they are brought to conscious awareness and
healed. Thus you, too, can be healed from the abuse inflicted on you in the past.
If its an option for you,
psychotherapy can help your healing from abuse and fear. But unless the treatment is
with a Catholic psychotherapist, most likely
it will be imperfect, because most
psychotherapists are themselves still carrying
their own illusions about sexuality. Through Catholic psychotherapy you can
face the emotional pain you have kept hidden most of your life, and you can
but if your psychotherapist has not overcome his or her own illusions about
sexuality, you will remain stuck in your illusions. It will be like the blind
leading the blind.
It would be a
disaster if anyone became a psychotherapist without having first overcome
his or her illusions about sexuality. Without knowing what love really is,
a psychotherapist cannot teach clients to love. And the psychotherapist will
be held responsible by Christ for leading those clients astray, because not
teaching others to love is a defilement of love.
healing can occur through genuine surrender to
Christ in love. When you surrender your needs for
attention, surrender your fear of abandonment, and
surrender your desire to satisfy your ego through bodily pleasure, you will
have died to yourself. Having overcome the
selfishness of your ego, you will be capable of growing in love.
The cure for Terror:
Therefore, your immediate need is
to learn love. Dedicate your life and prayer to loving God, not to fearing
Commit yourself to living a
chaste and holy life
in love. Then you can trust in Christ to take care of you and protect you.
Then you wont have to worry about hellat least, not for yourself.
But you will have to pray constantly for all the other souls in danger of
hellincluding your husband who demands your sexual
servicebecause they still cling to their childhood illusions, and,
in so doing, commit themselves to offending love.
If, after you
explain these things to your husband, he continues to place his desire for
bodily pleasure above the welfare of his soul, the welfare of your
childrens souls, and the welfare of your soul, then he has openly renounced
his baptismal vows for the sake of
lust. His state of
spiritual blindness and
mortal sin give you full justification to distance
yourself from him physically, to protect your own soul.
And if he tries
to claim that you have forced him to seek relief elsewhere, well, thats
just a lot of horsefeathers. Thats victim talk;
it has nothing to do with Christianity, and its further evidence of
the depth to which he has sunk into spiritual blindness.
Pray earnestly, then, for your
husband, your children, and yourself. Remember Christs own words, repeated
throughout the Gospels: Do not be
A treasure of a resource for psychological and spiritual healing. Information
gathered from my websites (including this webpage) is now available at your fingertips
in book form.
Healing by Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D. explains how psychological
defenses help to protect us from emotional injury. But if you cling to the
defense mechanisms that were created in your childhood and carry them on
into adulthood—as most everyone does unconsciously— your quest for spiritual
healing will be thwarted by overwhelming resentments and conflicts. Still, God
has been trying to show you that there is more to life than resentment and
conflict, something so beautiful and desirable that only one thing can resist its
pull: hate So now, and in every moment until you die, you will have a profound choice
between your enslavement to old defenses and the beauty of God. That decision has to
come from you. You will go where you desire.