Monday, October 10, 2011

Hell to Heaven and back, minus the Inferno

In explaining what the after-life may look like, Fr. Groeschel does make reference to Dante's Inferno, but he places much more of an emphasis The Dream of Gerontius by John Henry Newman and other poetic and theological sources. Fr. Groeschel writes as he speaks - clear and directly, with occasional anecdotal or humorous tidbits to spice up the narrative.

Fr. Groeschel is, as always, well grounded in history, theology, psychology, science, and the literary, giving a very well-rounded shape to his discussions of heaven, hell, and purgatory. For a short book (only about a 100 pages) he packs a punch. There is much worthy of rereading in this thought-provoking book. I read it rather quickly, but I have already gone back over sections to read it slowly and ponder more deeply some of the content. The book is theologically dense, and yet a pleasurable and easy read. Fr. Groeschel explains the divine in human terms, and makes some of the more difficult concepts quite simple and graspable.

I had the pleasure of hearing Fr. Groeschel speak last winter in Albany, NY, where I purchased this book and had the chance to receive Fr. Groeschel's blessing and autograph. The talk was on life after death, a subject of much interest to me these days, but I have not gotten to the book till recently. This topic seems to come up a lot, especially in my work as a catechist, so I am glad I finally got around to reading this short book. I recommend it to all who catechize, defend the faith, or are simply curious as to what our eternal moment with the Lord might be like. If you sit with this text it may well impact your faith-life, as it has mine.

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