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The Christian tradition speaks of a moment of judgment in which we become who we are once and for all. In death we are thrust out into God. Some find themselves at home with God. That is where they belong – in heaven. Others are not yet ready for God and they experience the purification that we call purgatory.Others still find that they do not belong with God at all but have nowhere else to go and so they are stuck – as stuck in death as they were in life. Yes, that much at least no one will want to dispute: You don’t have to wait for death to experience hell. Hell is the reality of a great many people’s lives here and now: cut off from God, cut off from their true selves, cut off from those around them in the isolation of compulsion and fantasy.
Fr James O’Kane