I've heard it said that the idea of selling one's soul is a myth. It is something that comes from tale and lore of past times that have long been surpassed by the advancement of modern man. In this day and age some deny they have a soul. Yet, who can deny that there is an animating life to the body which contains a unique personality attached to unique actions identifiable to each person, and when that animating force leaves, despite the body remaining, there is a loss of that unique personality? It is not my intention to prove the existence of the soul in this post. It is my intention to show that those who believe they have a soul can actually sell it, and that many people are doing this every day without even realizing it.
One of the most self destructing behaviors of modern man is his lukewarmness towards God. The majority of people in this country, and even across the globe still believe that a God or Creator exists. Most still believe they have a soul that will continue on after it separates from the body. Most believe that that depending on how they live they will inherit some type of eternal bliss or some form of punishment. Those identifying themselves as being Christian however seem to assume that heaven is a given for them, and that only the Hitlers, Stalins and other unsavory characters are destined for eternal damnation. The idea of sin for them has been lost. This idea combined with the heresy that promotes a false sense of eternal security, has caused the loss of countless souls. Most Christians today seem to forget the words of Christ Himself, "Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it! Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." (Matthew 7:13-15)
One of the worst chastisements from God is not material chastisements as many talk about today. This seems to be the focus of many Christians. As we see our country and Western civilization turn from its Christian moral foundation, many who are trying to remain faithful to Christ look to prophesy and tend to focus on material chastisements that are to come in the future. I am not denying the reality of material chastisements, but what seems to be lost is the sense of the spiritual chastisement that the material rests upon. In other words, God sometimes uses material means to awaken the souls of men who are mired in the cesspool of sin. He allows the consequences of sin to awaken the sinful slumber of man. However, the worst punishment is when God allows men to remain blinded by their sin to ruination of their eternal souls.
As we progress towards a world that denies the reality of absolute moral truths, we are seeing what a great spiritual chastisement looks like. Across the world much of humanity acts as if God does not exist, yet most will pay lip service to Him. Worse, many act as if they are their own gods, denying the existence of evil and sin. A portion of our population believes it has now "progressed to the point of calling good evil, and evil good. "Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. Woe to you that are wise in your own eyes, and prudent in your own conceits." (Isaiah 5:20-21) As a result we are seeing the loss of souls at an exponential rate, including many who call themselves Christian. If we recall the vision of hell the children of Fatima were shown by Our Lady, they said that the they saw souls falling into hell at such as volume that it almost resembled a snowstorm.
Why are all of these people falling into hell after their earthly lives have ended? Was it because they were like Hitler or Stalin? Was it because they murdered or were armed bandits of some sort? Were they the lowest of the bunch? Are there so many of these types of villanous people that hell could be flooded with them on a daily basis? I don't think so. A large portion of them are those who are apathetic to God. They are the average man or women living material focused lives. They are those who continue to live in sin without seeking the life giving grace and love of God. They are those living in adultery, those living in impurity, those who steal just a little bit, those whose greed leads to usury and defrauding workers of their wages, those who have told that little white lie, those whose pride causes the loss of charity for one another, those who abuse themselves in drink, those who speak ill of their neighbors, those who are complicit with evil and the list goes on. In other words, these people falling into hell are the average Joe Schmoes who have committed average sins for which they have not repented.
As society turns apathetic to God, God has let us have our way. Thus, the vision of the children at Fatima of people falling into hell was a vision of a spiritual chastisement. God leaves man in his apathetic ways to the ruination of his soul. "Wherefore God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness, to dishonour their own bodies among themselves. Who changed the truth of God into a lie; and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator..." (Romans 1:24-25)Yet, what are to think of material chastisements? I think that the material chastisements are less of a punishment for they can be tools used by God to get the attention of those who are apathetic to Him. Some may say that this presents a cruel God that was invented by the Jews as is presented in the Old Testament. What many fail to see is that man's sins are the primary cause of many material chastisements. Wars, murder, the spread of many diseases, physical and emotional trauma, depression etc. are caused by man's own immoral choices. They are caused by man himself living outside the grace of God. It is my belief that when these consequences of sin are lessened by God that this is a more severe punishment. When God allows the consequences of sin to remain, man can often find his way back to God. It is a way that God leaves His fingerprints, or a bread trail so that man can find his way back to Him. When God removes the bread trail, then the real disaster begins. This is where we find ourselves today. Many of us live in the soft circumstances of sin.
Today man lives apathetic to God with all the luxuries of life, at least here in the US and most of Western civilization. Most of us are fat and happy and have a good meal on our plates each evening and a warm bed to sleep in. Just look at the average American who is overweight and overeats and enjoys the fruits of life. Many of these people however are living in a state of unrepentant sin and suffer no real consequences for them. Many take anti-depressants to deaden their conscience, or lose themselves in a bottle of wine or in empty chatter. In essence, the end result is in man selling his soul to the devil. A person who lives in a state of sin without the grace of God will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. That means that not only will the Hitlers and Stalins of the world suffer the loss of their souls to eternal ruin, but those who live average lives apathetic to God. Those who say they believe in God but never give Him the worship that is due to Him, and who do not seek His loving grace as He has revealed it to them, will join the ranks of the Hitlers and Stalins. Are we to run to the Church out of fear for losing our souls?
A fear of God is a good thing if it is properly understood. The fear of God goes hand in hand with the love of God. God the Father loves us so much that he Sacrificed His only begotten Son. He is not a cruel God, but one that loves and deserves our love, for He loved us first. We should then set our eyes upon the cross if we are to set our souls free from the hands of sin and the evil one. Gaze and meditate upon a crucifix. We are held in chains by sin until we gaze our eyes upon the loving Savior Jesus Christ. For those who seek Him, we find ourselves in a time of great mercy, while those who do not will perish in their sins as a frog dies in a slowly boiled pot. Christ calls us from the cross to His one and only Church, the Catholic Church. He calls us to be baptized, and to receive the Holy Spirit by giving ourselves to Him wholly. We not only give Him the honor and worship that is due to Him in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, but He sustains us by His love in the Most Holy Sacrament of His Body Blood, Soul and Divinity. He also calls us when we fall into sin to the Sacrament of Confession so we can reconcile ourselves to the Holy Trinity by repenting of our sin. We can either sell our souls to the devil or we can let Christ free our souls by His most pure Sacrifice on the cross. Indeed we "preach Christ crucified." (1 Cor 1:23)
Yes the material chastisements must come. When they do come this will be a sign of great things to follow. Many will turn to God when they see the horror of sin manifested in material ways. As long as we lay in the slumber of sin, things will become progressively worse. This is the year of mercy and indeed God offers us great graces for those who seek them. For those of us who are practicing the faith, let us not think we are above anyone, lest we too shall die in our pride. We have not sacrificed enough for others as Our Lady has asked of us. We have not prayed enough and we had not loved our brothers and sisters enough. Do we have true charity in our souls? "If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." (1 Cor 13:1-3) So let us also who practice the Catholic faith live in the love of God so that others may come to love Him, lest we also end up selling our souls.
Let St. Catherine of Sienna's words penetrate our hearts, "...dearest brother! Sleep no longer in the death or mortal sin. I tell you, the ax is already laid to the root of the tree. Pick up the shovel of holy fear of God and let the and of love guide it. Come! Shovel our of the filth of your soul and body!... Run back to your creator. Open your souls eye and see how great is the fire of His charity, that He has put up with you and hasn't commanded the earth to open and swallow you, or the wild beasts to devour you! On the contrary, the earth has shared its fruits with you, the sun its warmth and light, and the sky its movement, so that you might live, giving you a bit of time that you might be able to change your ways. And this he has done for love alone." (Letter T21/G306)