Monthly Archives: June 2012
Questions 156 to 165
Among the topics studied in this section are the Personal Judgment, the Last Judgment; Heaven, Hell and Purgatory.
See The Vocation of the Soul to Eternal Life by St Edith Stein:
The individual soul with its unique individuality is thus not something transitory, destined merely to impress upon itself for a limited span of time the stamp of its specific particularity, and during this span of time to hand on this specific particularity to its progeny so as to preserve it beyond the duration of the life of the individual. Rather, the soul is destined for eternal being, and this destination explains why the soul is called upon to be an image of God in a wholly personal manner.
Read The Catholic Encyclopedia on Particular Judgment.
Go to Thirty-five Facts About Eternity by Peter Kreeft:
In the light of Heaven, everything we do and everything we experience takes on two new meanings. On the one hand, everything becomes infinitely more important, more serious, more weighted with glory than before. If we are practicing only for a casual pastime, our practice is not terribly important, but if we are practicing for the world championship, it is.
On the other hand, Heaven makes everything earthly seem light and trivial by comparison. Saint Theresa says that the most horrible, suffering-filled life on Earth, looked at from Heaven, will seem no more than a night in an inconvenient hotel. Saints and martyrs know the value of this life and this world; they love it because God loves it. But they lightly give it all up for Heaven.
See The Obvious Truth About Purgatory by Pope Benedict XVI:
A great many of us hope that there is something in us that can be saved, that there may be in us a final desire to serve God and serve human beings, to live in accordance with God. Yet there are so very many wounds, there is so much filth. We need to be prepared, to be purified. This is our hope: even with so much dirt in our souls, in the end the Lord will give us the possibility, he will wash us at last with his goodness that comes from his cross. In this way he makes us capable of being for him in eternity …
Read Purgatory and Prayer for the Dead:
But the practice of praying for the dead is very ancient. It goes back to Judaism and is mentioned in the second book of Maccabees (2 Mac. 12,43-46). The author tells how a number of Jews, who had fallen in battle, were found with idolatrous amulets, forbidden by the law, and how Judas Maccabeus took up a collection and sent the money to Jerusalem to have a sacrifice offered for their sin.
See How to Win the Culture War by Peter Kreeft.
Read Why Do Some Go To Hell If God Loves Them?:
Love doesn’t always equal nice, clean and pretty. Love isn’t about feeling good. It is about what is best for the other, despite the cost to myself. As a parent this is certainly the case. I see parents make the common mistake of being a friend to their children and end up not disciplining them, which leads to spoiled brats. They then ask how they could have turned out as they did. I remember the first time I punished my oldest child. I cried more than she did. But, I did it because I truly love her.
Read The Catholic Encyclopedia on General Judgment.
This explains the Catholic view compared to other Christian views on the end times.
Find out what the word ‘Amen’ means from here:
Amen is a Hebrew word related to the word for “believe”. It expresses solidity, trustworthiness, faithfulness. “Amen” expresses both God’s faithfulness towards us and our trust in him. (1062)
“Thus the Creed’s final ‘Amen’ repeats and confirms its first words: ‘I believe.’ To believe is to say ‘Amen’ to God’s words, promises and commandments; to entrust oneself completely to him who is the ‘Amen’ of infinite love and perfect faithfulness. The Christian’s everyday life will then be the ‘Amen’ to the ‘I believe’ of our baptismal profession of faith: ‘May your Creed be for you as a mirror. Look at yourself in it, to see if you believe everything you say you believe. And rejoice in your faith each day.'” (1064)
“Jesus Christ himself is the ‘Amen.’ He is the definitive ‘Amen’ of the Father’s love for us. He takes up and completes our ‘Amen’ to the Father: ‘For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why we utter the Amen through him, to the glory of God.'” (1065)
• What is Americanism?
See The Happy-Clappy, Individualist and Subjective Americanist Church.
• What is Humanism?
See True and False Humanism.
Questions 152 to 155
Jesus in His resurrection from the dead models for us our own bodily resurrection and redemption in both body and soul.
See Resurrection of the Dead.
The atheist Karl Marx called religion “the opiate of the people” because he thought our belief in the resurrection led us to be unconcerned about establishing justice on this earth. On the contrary, our faith in the Resurrection should lead us to be more concerned about fighting injustice. In his encyclical on the Eucharist Pope John Paul II wrote “Certainly the Christian vision leads to the expectation of “new heavens” and “a new earth” (Rev 21:1), but this increases, rather than lessens, our sense of responsibility for the world today. I wish to reaffirm this forcefully at the beginning of the new millennium, so that Christians will feel more obliged than ever not to neglect their duties as citizens in this world. Theirs is the task of contributing with the light of the Gospel to the building of a more human world, a world fully in harmony with God’s plan. (Ecclesia de Eucharistia #20)
See The Case for Life After Death by Peter Kreeft.
From St Therese the Little Flower’s autobiography called ” Story of a Soul”:
O Eternal Word! O my Saviour! Thou art the Divine Eagle Whom I love—Who lurest me. Thou Who, descending to this land of exile, didst will to suffer and to die, in order to bear away the souls of men and plunge them into the very heart of the Blessed Trinity—Love’s Eternal Home! Thou Who, reascending into inaccessible light, dost still remain concealed here in our vale of tears under the snow-white semblance of the Host, and this, to nourish me with Thine own substance! O Jesus! forgive me if I tell Thee that Thy Love reacheth even unto folly. And in face of this folly, what wilt Thou, but that my heart leap up to Thee? How could my trust have any limits?
(I highly recommend reading it all)!
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Questions 150 to 151
This section looks at why priests have the authority to forgive sin, and at the different ways in which our sins are forgiven.
See Your Sins are Forgiven.
The sin against the Holy Ghost which Christ warned us would not be forgiven in heaven or on earth is persistent impenitence, the sin of one who rejects conversion and dies in mortal sin. One guilty of this sin can never obtain forgiveness of God, because at the hour of death he continues to thrust God away from him.
Questions 146 to 149
A discussion on the Communion of Saints and the significance of the Blessed Virgin Mary who has a preeminent place in the Communion as Our Holy Mother.
See The Communion of Saints.
For this, read Homily on the Feast of the Assumption Pope Benedict XVI, 2005:
Thus, Mary speaks with us, speaks to us, invites us to know the Word of God, to love the Word of God, to live with the Word of God, to think with the Word of God. And we can do so in many different ways: by reading Sacred Scripture, by participating especially in the Liturgy, in which Holy Church throughout the year opens the entire book of Sacred Scripture to us. She opens it to our lives and makes it present in our lives.
Go to Now and at the Hour of Our Death:
What we need is the liturgy, the rote prayers, the Rosary, and the grief of God’s Son and Sorrowful Mother, crying our bitter tears in the Sorrowful Mysteries and reassuring us of the adamantine truth of the Glorious Mysteries. Here we discover the great truth that it is precisely in what is common to all men and women that we discover what is also most intensely personal – the joys, griefs, and glories of human existence that are the common patrimony of us all. It is here, in the ordinary public prayers of the Church and not in some mystic cave of contemplation far from the madding crowd, where we meet again the profound consolation of the Mother of Sorrows who sits enthroned in Heaven, reminding us that she too has been through the Worst Thing in the World – and that even that could not defeat the incredible Hope of the Risen Christ. This hope she freely shares with us in the astonishing promise that she shall indeed remember you to her Son at that most inevitable hour of your life: when it ends and you are born to eternal life.
• How can consumerism distort the Christian message?
See Marriage as a consumer product
• What are the dangers involved in reading erotica?
See I’m Not Reading “Fifty Shades of Grey”
Questions 129 to 145
A close look at the four conditions that establish the truth of the Church and what this means for us as believers.
This question is very well written about here.
Those then who tell us: You are not our brothers, are saying that we are pagans. That is why they want to baptise us again, claiming that we do not have what they can give. Hence their error of denying that we are their brothers. Why then did the prophet tell us: Say to them: You are our brothers? It is because we acknowledge in them that which we do not repeat. By not recognising our baptism, they deny that we are their brothers; on the other hand, when we do not repeat their baptism but acknowledge it to be our own, we are saying to them: You are our brothers.
If they say, “Why do you seek us? What do you want of us?” we should reply: You are our brothers. They may say, “Leave us alone. We have nothing to do with you.” But we have everything to do with you, for we are one in our belief in Christ; and so we should be in one body, under one head.
And so, dear brothers, we entreat you on their behalf, in the name of the very source of our love, by whose milk we are nourished, and whose bread is our strength, in the name of Christ our Lord and his gentle love. For it is time now for us to show them great love and abundant compassion by praying to God for them. May he one day give them a clear mind to repent and to realise that they have nothing now but the sickness of their hatred, and the stronger they think they are, the weaker they become. We entreat you then to pray for them, for they are weak, given to the wisdom of the flesh, to fleshly and carnal things, but yet they are our brothers. They celebrate the same sacraments as we, not indeed with us, but still the same. They respond with the same Amen, not with us, but still the same. And so pour out your hearts for them in prayer to God.
Saint Augustine, Ex Enarratiónibus sancti Augustíni epíscopi in psalmos (Ps 32, 29: CCL 38, 272-273).
See the Encyclical Ut Unum Sint on the commitment to ecumenism:
2. No one is unaware of the challenge which all this poses to believers. They cannot fail to meet this challenge. Indeed, how could they refuse to do everything possible, with God’s help, to break down the walls of division and distrust, to overcome obstacles and prejudices which thwart the proclamation of the Gospel of salvation in the Cross of Jesus, the one Redeemer of man, of every individual?
See The Church is Holy.
See How Did the Catholic Church Get Her Name?
This is superb:
“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you”. Lord, you desire us, you desire me. You eagerly desire to share yourself with us in the Holy Eucharist, to be one with us. Lord, awaken in us the desire for you. Strengthen us in unity with you and with one another. Grant unity to your Church, so that the world may believe. Amen.
Full text of Pope Benedict XVI’s quote on p. 84.
See Religious Freedom, Path to Peace:
Religious freedom expresses what is unique about the human person, for it allows us to direct our personal and social life to God, in whose light the identity, meaning and purpose of the person are fully understood. To deny or arbitrarily restrict this freedom is to foster a reductive vision of the human person; to eclipse the public role of religion is to create a society which is unjust, inasmuch as it fails to take account of the true nature of the human person; it is to stifle the growth of the authentic and lasting peace of the whole human family.
Also Nostra aetate from Vatican II.
See the Catholic Encyclopedia on Apolstolicity.
See Church Hierarchy:
When he established His Church, Jesus placed the Apostles in charge of caring for the faithful, of teaching them the faith and caring for their souls. And He placed Peter at the head of the Apostles. Through Apostolic Succession, that same hierarchy willed by Jesus, exists today in the Church with the Pope (the successor of St Peter) at her head, leading the Bishops (the successors of the Apostles) who themselves lead the faithful in their local Churches.
See Decree on the Apostalate of the Laity.
See The Church Isn’t a Democracy.
Here is a letter about the removal of a bishop who publically went against the magisterium.
A very good discussion on The Church’s Magisterium:
The Magisterium is a wonderful gift from God. Faithfulness to it will preserve us from intellectual slavery to trendy theology, personal prejudices, secularism, and all the other forces that threaten to rob us of the truth.
See The Duties of the Bishop:
The Bishop is a representative of Christ, commissioned to bear witness to him, to speak in his name, and to preserve all that has been handed down by means of the apostolic body. “And what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well.”
See Chastity, Poverty and Obedience:
Truth Shall Set You Free
“[Jesus’] way of living in chastity, poverty and obedience appears as the most radical way of living the Gospel on this earth, a way which may be called divine, for it was embraced by him, God and man… This is why Christian tradition has always spoken of the objective superiority of the consecrated life” (John Paul II, On Consecrated Life, n. 18).
Don’t let the world get you down. Be strong and know that if you long to give yourself fully to God through chastity, poverty and obedience, you aspire to a noble way. Such was the path chosen by Our Lord. Such is the way he chooses for many privileged souls who come after him.
If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me (Mt 19:21).
• What does the term ‘banality of evil’ mean?
See Eichmann, the Banality of Evil, and Thinking in Arendt’s Thought
• What is the sin of human respect?
See A Reflection on the Sin of Human Respect and its Antidote, the Holy Fear of the Lord