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YOUCAT Series 19 – What We Believe: “I Believe … in Life Everlasting

Questions 156 to 165
Among the topics studied in this section are the Personal Judgment, the Last Judgment; Heaven, Hell and Purgatory.

Q. 156
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.

Q. 157
Read The Catholic Encyclopedia on Particular Judgment.

Q. 158
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.

Q. 159
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 …

Q. 160
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.

Q. 161
See How to Win the Culture War by Peter Kreeft.

Q. 162
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.

Q. 163
Read The Catholic Encyclopedia on General Judgment.

Q. 164
This explains the Catholic view compared to other Christian views on the end times.

Q. 165
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)

Reflection Questions
• What is Americanism?
See The Happy-Clappy, Individualist and Subjective Americanist Church.

• What is Humanism?
See True and False Humanism.

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YOUCAT Series 9 – What We Believe: Heaven and Heavenly Creatures

Questions 52 to 55
In this section we delve a bit deeper into the realities of Heaven, Hell and the Angels.

Q. 52
Here the philosopher Peter Kreeft looks at all those tricky questions that one asks about Heaven with some interesting insights;

Thus, we must learn detachment to enter Heaven. Willy-nilly, death detaches us from everything, even ourselves. We must learn to “die before you die. There is no chance after.”[58] Learning detachment from the world, which can be possessed, is our training for learning detachment from the desire to possess Heaven, which cannot be possessed. Asked whether he thought he would possess any of his beloved library books in Heaven, C. S. Lewis replied, “Only those I gave away on earth.[59]

Q. 53
From Heaven we now look at Hell.

Again I’m using one of Peter Kreeft’s articles because I find him so easy to understand.

This time he warns us not to be complacent about Hell;

We desperately need to hear this truth about hell again, simply out of honesty, because it is there. And also out of compassion. For when an abyss looms ahead, the least compassionate thing to tell the traveler is “peace, peace, when there is no peace”. Out of love for God and man, let us tell the truth about hell!
Sure, we’ll be mocked as vindictive, manipulative, or fundamentalist. Let it be so. Sometimes it seems that we’re more afraid of sharing our Lord’s holy unrespectability than of hell itself. It’s a small price to pay for the salvation of a single infinitely precious soul. And that is the business we’re supposed to be in.

Q. 54
This is a summary of the teachings on the Angels from St Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica.

Here’s an excerpt;

5. By natural love, angels love God more than they love themselves. All creatures belong absolutely to God; they naturally tend to God as their ultimate end or goal. Freely loving creatures must recognize God as their end or goal and tend to him before all else. Hence love of God comes naturally (in free creatures) before love of self, and is the greater love. If this were not so, natural love would be a contradiction, for it would not be perfected by attaining its true object, but would be fruitless and self-destroying.

Q. 55
St Gemma is well known for her devotion to her Guardian Angel.

Here is the Prayer to Our Guardian Angel;

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Angel of God,
my Guardian dear,
To whom God’s love
commits me here,
Ever this day,
be at my side,
To light and guard,
Rule and guide.
Amen.

Reflection Questions
• What is Totalitarianism?
See Pope Benedict XVI: Totalitarianism and Relativism Arise from the Failure to Respect the Natural Law

• What is Reductionism?
See Four Arguments for Transcendence