Who determines who goes to Heaven? Is Hitler in Heaven? Is Hugh Hefner in Heaven? These are thoughts I had recently, when I did my Lectio Divina prayers and meditated on Philippians 2:5.  Don’t ask me why I thought of Mr. Hefner. It just came to me. Here is what I thought.

Who determines who goes to Heaven? Are just those baptized in Heaven and no one else? Is our Church the sole purveyor of tickets to Heaven and the rest of us are doomed to whatever? Does God have the power to allow someone in Heaven, if they have sinned or have not been baptized with water and the Spirit, even if we say they should not be there?

One of the great tricks that Satan plays on humans is to trick them into thinking that they are the sole interpreter of what God does or does not do.  No one knows the human heart except God, and no one, no church, no clergy can tell who is in Heaven or not.  What you can say is, you must be baptized with water and the Spirit to enter the kingdom of Heaven. What that means in practice is God. realm  Heaven is God’s playground, not yours, and He can let in anyone He wants for any reason. God makes the rules in His playground and He can let in anyone He wants. The ooly way to change this idea that you are judge, jury and executioner, is to be God. Adam and Eve tried that. Christ’s death and resurrection gave us power over our death and the hope of the resurrection. (See John 11:25-27.)  Only God is judge over humans, not you, not me, not Mr. Hefner.

Adam and Eve wanted to control and manipulate God to their image and likeness and you know where that led. I must think twice before I just others as to who is going to Heaven or not. I am not God, nor do I want to place limits on God.  That is First Commandment stuff we are talking about. Read Matthew 7: 1-3  “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?” 

When I was in my 20’s, a young preacher thought he would gain a trophy by converting me to the religion of Christ. He was a good man and seemed sincere, so I had pity on him and did not do to him what he was doing to me. I just smiled and said, “Peace be with you you.” It nearly drove him crazy and he screamed at me that I was going to Hell because I did not believe that Jesus was Lord. I would never condemn him for believing in Christ Jesus, nor for praying to the Holy Spirit for enlightenment.  In the same way, I would never say that Hugh Hefner is in Hell. What I would say is, “I hope God is merciful to both him and me, especially me.”  I don’t know what ever happened to that minister. He thought he was righteous.

When each of us dies, as we all will, we will have a particular judgement. The Catholic Catechism states it like this:


1021 Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ.592 The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. The parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul–a destiny which can be different for some and for others.593

1022 Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through a purification or immediately, — or immediate and everlasting damnation.

My focus here is not on if Hugh Hefner is in Heaven or not, but rather on those who consider themselves righteous and interpreters of who goes to Heaven or Hell. To look at this in detain, I turn to Matthew’s Chapter 23  and the sevenfold indictment of the scribes and Pharisees for a cautionary tale about those so eager to condemn others like Hugh Hefner. Let God do the judging and you keep asking for mercy for yourself.

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them.”

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the sanctuary is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gold of the sanctuary is bound by the oath.’

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous,
We are the Scribes and Pharasees. We must guard against false pride and worshipping false gods (ourselves). We must recognize the tempation to judge others is from Satan to do to us what he tried to do to Christ in the desert, to be god.
  • There is a lesson to be learned in our age from Christ’s invectives about hypocrisy and pompous pride because we think we are the chosen ones and everyone else is garbage.
  • Don’t judge others. Be merciful to others as you would have God be merciful to you.
  • As a Lay Cistercian, on the journey to becoming more like Christ each day, humility and obedience to God’s will is key to ensuring that I don’t slip into the sin of Adam and Eve.
  • Being in a community of faith with direct links to the Apostles is another thread in the unbreakable rope that stretches back in time to what is true.
  • The sign of contradiction is having core convictions of what is true that are handed down from the Apostles through each generation of the Church, yet having the humility to be open to the Holy Spirit and flexible not to judge what outwardly may seem like a profligate lifestyle not in keeping with those truths, e.g. the case of Hugh Hefner.
I have place Mr. Hefner and all people who have been less than orthodox in their view of reality, in my golden book of life. I pray that God may loose them from their sins, as it says in Macabees, and I hope to see them someday.
Praise to the God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who is to come at the end of the ages. Amen and Amen. –Cistercian doxology.

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