When looking at the facts of the Dogma and the logical reasons why it's true, it can be seen as factual, theoretical, and as solid as cement. Often, when discussing it with other people, I can't understand why they wouldn't believe it! But now I understand.
It's a lot harder to admit that your friend's soul is probably in Hell than to put that label on some theoretical "person" whom you've never met. I never really had anyone close to me die, and never experienced the feeling of loss until now.
A friend from my childhood died unexpectedly this weekend. Knowing that she wasn't Catholic and had a lot of issues, I knew that her soul was in grave danger, if not lost altogether. Suddenly, EENS became real in my mind. These are actual souls we're talking about. Actual souls that lived, that are living, and are going to Hell. Daily, they are falling into Hell, by the multitudes, "like snowflakes," as St. Theresa of Avila described.
Suddenly I couldn't help but be distraught, discouraged, enraged at God, saddened, and fearful.
I called the family the day I found out and offered to be available to chat if her parents or sister needed to vent. But now that I think about it, I'm not sure what I would do. It would be wrong to lie to them and console them by saying she's in a better place. We know that, even souls destined for Heaven must go through Purgatory first, and Purgatory is no walk in the park...
I went to her wake, and as I knelt before her open casket, I couldn't help but think of her soul. Her body was so still, seeming to be so peaceful, so youthful. But I know that if she wasn't in favor with God, her soul is going through unimaginable torments at this same moment. What a horrifying thing to realize!
Did all this make it harder to believe EENS? Perhaps. But do I believe it any less? Not one bit. I'm still praying for her soul; it would be uncharitable to give up hope and to doubt God's Mercy. But this experience has truly prompted me to want to convert more people to the Faith, in hopes that they will be spared this destiny to eternal fire. And it certainly gave me a kick in the behind. Knowing that I am certainly far from perfect, and have committed many grievous sins in my lifetime, I now must commit myself to reparation and renewal. May we all be given the grace to see the state of our souls and the importance of being "right with God." And may no others need to witness a death to come to this realization.
You know not the day nor the hour.
Go to Confession!!!!
Please pray for the soul of Rachel Smith, as well as all those who have departed.