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in the Catholic Mystic Tradition

Questions and Answers

In John 12:32 Jesus says, “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” How can one understand these words when so many people die without even having heard about Jesus, and if so many people die within so many non-Christian religious denominations. Could the answer be that Christ will fulfill his promise for all these people in eternity, i.e., when they have already died? If this is so, how can the existence of “the eternal fires of hell” have any sense or fit into Christ’s promise?

No, the promise will be fulfilled in this life. Jesus will draw everyone to Himself through His resurrection, and, as we pray in the Fátima prayer, He will lead all souls to heaven. Sadly, though, many of those souls will refuse to be drawn or led.

Remember the old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”? Well, many souls will be lost to the eternal fires of hell not because they are not drawn to heaven but because they refuse to repent their wickedness, take up their cross, and follow Christ. It’s that simple.


Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum, “Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.” Whoever listens to you [1] listens to Me. Whoever rejects you rejects Me. And whoever rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.


—Luke 10:13-16


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1. Jesus is speaking here to those “whom He sent ahead of Him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit” (Luke 10:1). He is warning these missionaries of the indifference and ingratitude they will encounter from those who deny their own wretchedness.


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