The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 1 year ago

The Immense Terror of Hell | The Rich Man and Lazarus 2021


The Arena Podcast is the flagship of Patristic Nectar Publications and contains the Sunday Sermons and other theological reflections by Father Josiah Trenham delivered from the ambon of St. Andrew Church in Riverside, California and begun in 2010. Currently there are more than 550 sermons and lectures covering ten years worth of preaching through the liturgical calendar.

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Now available at patristic nectar dot Org. patristic nectar publications is pleased to present a four part lecture series by Father Josiah trenum entitled Male and Female Reflections on transgenderism. These lectures directly address this latest iteration of the sexual revolution and the sexual anarchy unleashed by a cultural rejection of the Christian theological foundations of creation, anthropology, sexuality and the traditional therapeutic paths of the church. These lectures explain why Christians cannot reasonably avoid studying transgender ideology in today's cultural climate, how this new world view on sexuality finds itself deficient in explaining and healing are falling human condition, and how love must compel believers to open their arms to persons seeking God from a transgendered background. For these and other available titles, please visit our website at patristic nectar dot org. And now the arena with Father Josiah Trennem the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit. Blessed Lords. They to all of you, brothers and sisters. My my heart is heavy listening to the Gospel text. I think the only Sunday more difficult to preach than today. The Sunday of the rich man and Lazarus is the Sunday of meat fair, the Sunday of the great judgment. These two Sundays every year are placed by the church, our pious mother, into...

...the cycle of teachings so that we can be made sober, so that we can face the truth. Nowhere else, nowhere else where you hear what you just heard, and we're deeply grateful, even though it's so painful to hear it, it's so frightening. Meet Fair and the Sunday of Lazarus bring to our attention two aspects of what we call the last things. Meet fare is all about the judgment that each of us will stand for. Word will account for every thought and word and deed that we have thought, spoken or done. Forgive me, but I can hardly grasp that idea. Today, the Sunday of the rich man and Lazarus, the church presents to us not a focus on judgment as much as on hell. It's a horrible scene, just a horrible scene. And Jesus, in this most disturbing of all his parables, no other parable that that our master spoke is anything like this parable and it's the sheer magnitude of its horror. It's a matter of fact, I think I'll title this sermon the immense terror of Hell. Who wants their priests to preach about this? Who What priest wants to preach about this? I don't know anyone. Priests and Bishops Preach about this because the church insists that we preach about it and we have our own souls to worry about. No...

...priest is becomes appreciated doesn't have a nice encouragement because he speaks on about the truth on me fair Sunday or on the Sunday of the rich man and Lazarus. But forgive me, I need to hear it as well as you. I need to have it in my mind as well as you. I have to account. I have to fear Hell like you do. It's a terrible thought, a terrible thought. As a confessor, I'm so blessed, as every confessor is, to hear the confessions of the people of God. Such a grace and such a happiness to see sins washed the way. It's also a terrible fright and a terrible horror when repeated sins are confessed over and over and over again. And sometimes we confessors have a a worry, a deep worry, that there's not a seriousness about overcoming sin, there's not a resolve to be done with it. I hate to say it, but sometimes we can even get comfortable confessing. Oh I'll just confess it. You know that idea that comes right from hell. Oh I'll just confess it. And then sometimes when we do a sin and we think well now I have to go to confess and that means I can make a few more sins because I'm going to go to confession anyway. I have it scheduled. This is from the sulphuric regions. This thought. What's the meaning of the parable? What's the teaching of this parable? The context is that the Pharisees were lovers of money...

...and Jesus wanted to show them that you can have a religious life. Pharisees were fine, upstanding church people. That's what how we would see them today. Fine upstanding. True, they did Miss Church, they didn't miss their religious duties. They fast it, they gave alms. Jesus wanted us to know, and wanted them to know, that all of their religion, all of their exterior works, which was not in any way an expression of a changed heart, because, he says, in their heart they loved money. It's what they really wanted, not love, not piety, not the character of God. Know, what they really wanted was the good feelings that come from religiosity, from being upright, and they wanted money, they wanted the earth, they wanted to have their cake and eat it too. and Jesus wanted to show them by this parable that there is a coming great reversal and that many people who never dreamed, not in a thousand years, that they could end up in hell, end up there. That rich man didn't have the thought, ever, that he's going to end up in the flames, complete total surprise. And the Humble Lazarus who was there him me look at the piety the rich man. He didn't throw the man off his property. He left them be there. He didn't pay an attention to him. He was so insulated by his bogus religion and by his material possessions that the pain of another simply couldn't penetrate his life. He was insulated from the spirit of repentance and he was insulated from needs that were all around him. and Jesus...

...says. If you find yourself like that, just know the destiny is horrible. The destiny is horrible. There's a coming great reversal. There's going to be a lot of surprises for sure, and we certainly don't want those surprises to be personal. Right. We don't want to be surprised. What's the value, what's the value of setting this before us, this teaching about hell that is so uncomfortable? In fact, it has a very central place in the life of the church, this teaching. Do you know how many saints talked about this on their their last moments? I sat at home and just went through in my mind saint after saint after Saint who talked about hell just before they were martyred. St Catherine, the great of Alexandria, who you get to see so often when you come to church, such a magnificent shrine there. She spoke about hell in great detail before the greatest philosophers of the earth while she was in the process of being martyred. St James, the person Persian right there told his gave a homily, a detailed homily on hell, to his persecutors just before they killed him. I could just keep going. Saint after Saint, after saying, the very embodiment of love on the earth, these saints, and yet they took hell very, very seriously. There has to be a reason that the church asks us to think about this. There have to be many reasons that it's set before us. What are they? There's a lot. Actually there's a lot, but I'm holding the latter to share one with you. One incredible reason that the church sets before us the sobriety of the teaching on eternal punishment. It comes from the seventh...

...chapter. You might remember, because I quote a lot from chapter six, which is on the remembrance of death. Might Remember that Chapter Seven is on Joey way making mourning. Some translations just entitled the chapter on Mourning Meaning on blessed morning, the kind of morning Jesus pronounces a blessing about right. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted, the character of Christians. Some translate, though, the title on joy making mourning on Harmleipe, the kind of Christian mourning that is also joyful for us. In this chapter, amazing chapter, St John Explains why the Church asks us to meditate upon the Truth About Hell. Listen to his words this is paragraph ten of Chapter Seven of the ladder of divine ascent. Do Not Cease to picture and scrutinize the dark abyss of eternal fire. Scrutinize. It's hard enough just to think about it for a minute, let alone an entire sermon. And here St John is saying don't ever cease thinking about it, and don't think about it lightning, but scrutinize it. Why are you asking of this great teacher of the spiritual life? Do Not Cease to picture and scrutinize the dark abyss of eternal fire and the merciless servants, the uncompassionate and Eg inexhorable judge, the bottomless pit of subterranean flame, the narrow descents to the awful underground chambers and...

...yawning gulfs and all such things, so that here you have it, so that lost in our soul may be checked by great terror and give place to incorruptible chastity and itself received the shining of the immaterial light which radiates more than any fire. There you have it. Why? Why constantly remember it? Why scrutinize the truth about it? Why seriously contemplate on a day like this, that we might end up in Lazarus issues. Well, one so that we don't end up in Lazarus issues, so that we don't fall prey like he did, to the lusts of this life. He loved eating, he loved it. He feasted sumptuously every single day, every day. Forgive me, he would have made a very good American. He would have made a very good contemporary American, because we eat like no one has ever eaten before. We're upset. If we, you know, have to have am in milk, we're never going to take our sins seriously enough to uproot them, to throw them out of our life. We're never going to stop trivializing our sins. Without this thought, this is what he's saying. If you want power to make changes in your life, meditate on hell, dear ones, don't cease thinking about it. Scrutinize it carefully every day. This is what he's saying. Keep it in your mind. Keep it in your mind to...

...offset yourself love. We have this in us. We have this horrible feel Offtya that lives inside of us. Then loves to make excuses for ourselves, that loves to say, you know, tomorrow I'll do that tomorrow. I'll stop acting this way tomorrow, and then we never do this can help us. This is why the church is presenting it to us, so that we can really make the use of our time now, for the reason that God gave us time, which is so that we really can change. You heard it at the end of the Gospel, didn't you? And we don't want to miss this. He really don't want to miss this. How can I, father, how can I show a serious disposition to take my life seriously like this? How can I escape that place where the man was in such total anguish, she was in such total grief that he wanted Abraham just to take his spinky and to stick it in water and touch the tip of his tongue? How how much suffering must you be in to want that? He wasn't asking to get out. He knew he wasn't getting at but he thought if I could just have a little water on the tip of his finger touch my tongue, oh maybe I'd be a bit better. What is that grief? Why is it so terrible? There, you know, saying Gregory Paulymas, our great father of the fourteen century. He wrote a beautiful letter to a dear friend of his who was a nun, a very accomplished nun. Her name was Xanya, and he wrote a letter to her because she was thinking about this very question, and he explained what the nature of the grief... Can I read it to you? Can I read that paragraph to you? I just happened to have it right here. This is what he said. What, then, is this prophet less, unconsoling and endless grief experienced in hell? It is the grief stirred up in those who have sinned against God when they become aware of their offenses there in hell, convicted of their sins, stripped of all hope of salvation or of any improvement in their condition, they feel yet greater anguish in grief because of the unsought reproof of their conscience. And this itself, and the everlasting nature of their grief, gives rise to yet another form of grief and to another dreadful darkness, to unbearable heat and a helpless abyss of despondency. The grief of hell is the conscience pounding and pounding and pounding, the remembrance of how many times are conscience bore witness that we needed to change and we didn't change. Abraham told the rich man that it doesn't matter if people rise from the dead. It doesn't matter if I send Lazarus back to talk to your five brothers, who are living evidently the same way as you, so comfortable, so into this life, all your ambitions on living the way you want to in this temporary life.

He said, even if all of those things happen, no one's going to change. He said if they have Moses and the prophets, that's just language. mean. If they have the sacred scriptures and they don't listen to them, they won't even repent, which is the issue right non repentance. They won't even repent if they see someone rise from the dead. This is a huge encouragement to us. Brothers and sisters, please cease, cease ignoring the scriptures in your life. Pay attention to the scriptures, listen when they're read very carefully, when you hear the Epistle and you hear the Gospel, recognize these are God's words to us and that your soul hangs in the balance. You're literally holding your heart when the scriptures are read. If only the rich man had listened to Moses in the prophets, he wouldn't have ended up in hating peace and nothing except the scriptures, except the word of God, brings us soul to life. Nothing is more powerful to help us be who we want to be and who God's asking us to be. Accept the word of God. So pay attention to it. Don't let it sit on your shelf, don't read it quickly, open it every single day. Listen to the words of God as though your soul depends upon how you respond to them, because your soul does depend upon how you respond. Where sober people, at least today, we are, aren't we? I think so. I'm completely sober ezed. I don't want to go there and I certainly don't want you to go there. None of us want to look across the chasm at...

...those that we love and see them on the other side in a place that can't be breached, with a chasm that can't be overcome. So this is why you have to pray for me and this is why I have to pray for you and you have to pray for each other and we have to encourage each other to live in the truth and not be mad. Don't be mad that the church speaks about these things. There's no pleasure in it. No one who loves God has any Glee even hearing the word Hell. It's the most hideous, horrible thing, and possibly we could hear but we have to hear it. It's a bitter medicine that we have to swallow for our own health, and may we do this. May We help each other to live in the truth so that we can recline with Lazarus, that beautiful man, the only man with the name in the whole account. May We live with him by the grace of God. Alment. We hope that you have enjoyed and have been edified by this presentation offered to you by patristic nectar publications, a non profit organization committed to nourishing the spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. If you are interested in other available titles or if you would like more information on patristic nectar publications, please visit our website at www dot patristic nectar dot org. Again, that's W W W dot patristic nectar dot org.

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