Friday, September 19, 2008

For the sake of justice

Eucharistic Adoration, tonight, 7-8 pm, SAA Church. Come join us!!
The following is a comment from an anonymous blogger regarding the 2nd talk on Heaven, Hell & Purgatory during our summer Adoration series. I have included the notes from the second talk, and will post the notes from the 1st talk on H, H, & P tomorrow.

Anon: “This was the first time I’d ever heard of justice being of issue (with Purgatory). That was something to hear! I knew there was purgatory, but I didn’t quite understand that a system of justice applied. I thought purgatory was about what we didn’t confess, what we weren’t sorry for, all the times we didn’t do what we thought we should. Now- I get that it’s (also) about justice. That simple fact changes quite a bit.”

3. How long does Heaven last?

Jesus speaks of heaven many times as "everlasting life…eternal life…living forever"

Paul (1 Cor 9:25) + St Peter (1 Pet 5:4): "imperishable crown"

Church: "the enjoyment (of those in heaven) has continued and will continue without any interruption and without end until the last Judgement and from then on forever" (Pope Benedict XII, 1336)

4. Who goes to Heaven?
- Jn 3:16- "everyone who believes in (God’s only Son) may not perish but may have eternal life"

- Jn 6:54, 58 – "whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life…and will live forever"
- Mk 16:16- "whoever believes and is baptized will be saved"
- Mt 25: 35-36-whoever feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, etc.
- Lk 10: 25-28 (the lawyer) / Mt 19: 16-22 (the rich young man)- whoever keeps the Commandments

Paul- "it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith; not by anything of your own, but by a gift from God" (Eph 2:8)

St. James- "if good deeds do not go with (faith), (faith) is quite dead" (2:17)
John: "whoever does the will of God remains for ever" (Jn 2:17)
Revelation: "the people who have been through the great trial" (7:14)

Magisterium-"those who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live for ever with Christ" (CCC, #1023)
-baptized by water (#1228), by desire (#1260), or by blood (#1258)
-in union with the bride of Christ, the Church (Eph 5:25-27): Heaven is the wedding feast of Christ and his bride, the Church (Rev 19:7-8, 21:9-14, previewed in Isa 61:10-11)

c. How long does it last?
- “eternal fire, eternal punishment, eternal separation”
- Lk 16:19-31 The rich man and Lazarus- “a great gulf has been fixed, to prevent those who want to cross from our side to yours or from your side to ours”

d. Who goes there? (we know there are souls in Hell, but can’t know specifically whom)

- Jesus :
-“all evil doers” (Mt 13:41)
- “many take the road that leads to destruction” (Mt 7:13)
- “the elect are few” (Mt 22:14)
- “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for someone rich to enter the kingdom of Heaven” (Mt 19:24)
- referring to someone whose god is money
- is Judas in Hell? can't say for sure, but Jesus says it is “better for that man (by whom the Son of Man is betrayed) if he had never been born!” (Mt 26:24)
-“anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a branch-and withers; these branches are collected and thrown on the fire and burnt” (Jn 15:6)

Paul: Gal 5: 18-21 (cf. 1 Cor 6:10)
-"those who behave in these ways (sexual vice, impurity and sensuality, the worship of false gods and sorcery, antagonisms and rivalry, jealousy, bad temper and quarrels, disagreements, factions and malice, drunkenness, orgies and such things) will not inherit the kingdom of God"

John: “sin that leads to death” (1 Jn 5:16)
-i.e., mortal sin

- “those who die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love” (CCC, # 1033)

- mortal sin:
1. grave offense (it's wrong) -mainly, direct offenses against the Ten Commandments
2. full knowledge (I know it's wrong)
3. full consent (I freely choose to do it)

- CCC: #1861
- "mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace.
- "if it is not redeemed by repentance and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back.
- "However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God" (in other words, we can judge an action as a grave offense, but only God can judge what's in a person's heart; that's why we can never say that "so and so" is in Hell; also, we don't know if at the moment of death that he/she showed some sign of repentance-'Lord, have mercy' - that God would take into account in his infinite Mercy)

- 3 distinctions of Hell:
a) damned - eternal punishment
b) limbo (Abraham’s bosom) - holy souls (from OT) there until Christ freed them
c) purgatory - temporal punishment-“God predestines no one to go to Hell" (CCC, #1037)

- Hell is the result of free will, and ultimately, God's Love
- God loves us so much that He has given us free will in order that we will choose to be with Him in Heaven
- He respects our free will so much that He allows us to choose to reject Him; He helps us so much in our lives (with His grace) to choose Him, but won't ever force us to love Him
- our free will is REAL (the "power to make choices for ever, with no turning back")
- God wills each of us to choose Heaven, but allows us to choose Hell
*Fatima prayer: "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of thy mercy."

c. How long does it last?

see Mt 25:34-41 : general judgement will only have 2 states, Heaven and Hell, so Purgatory will not continue after the general judgement

Council of Trent (1551): Purgatory is a state of purification which frees one from what is called the “temporal punishment” of sin (Hell is eternal punishment)

- so, we understand Purgatory to be temporal, “in time”; while it may not be in 24-hour days as on Earth, we do associate a soul’s stay in Purgatory with a number of days
- the amount of “time” a soul stays in Purgatory is based on the amount of purification needed- we stay in Purgatory until we “love as God loves” (Msgr. Hill, SSM pastor)
- we can do works (of mercy, penance, prayer, almsgiving, gain indulgences, etc.) on Earth to remove days from our temporal punishment in Purgatory for ourselves or for others; but, once in Purgatory we can’t lessen our own punishment

d. Who goes there?
Scripture (see above)

Catechism (CCC) - “all who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified; (they) are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of Heaven” (# 1030).

Council of Florence (1439): “souls who die with true repentance and in God’s love before having rendered satisfaction for their sins of omission and commission by the worthy fruits of penance”

- what about the person who dies just after having gone to Confession and completed the penance? He / she would go to Purgatory to satisfy the temporal punishment due to his / her sins (kind of like a criminal who still has to serve his prison sentence, for the sake of justice, even if he is truly sorry for the crime he has committed)
- serious reparation is needed for serious sins, especially- can repair those sins in this life through a penitential life (like the saints), acts of faith, hope, and love, corporal and spiritual works of mercy, etc.

- Mt 19:21 – “If you wish to be perfect, go and sell your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven; then, come follow me”
- Mt 5:48 - “ Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”


At 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

St. Paul said, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church.” How do St. Paul’s sufferings make up for what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions? I thought Christ accomplished all necessary for salvation.

St Paul does speak to his audience about their sufferings and how Christ will take it and do ongoing works of salvation. So, is our suffering what St. Paul is talking about as this completion? I don’t understand.

Also, after that particular talk (Heaven, Hell & Purgatory), I read a little on temporal punishment, and that leads me to a second question about indulgences. All forgiven sin carries a punishment. We can do good deeds to lessen that punishment- acts of mercy, charity, penance, etc. The catechism says:

“No. 1478: An indulgence is obtained through the Church who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishments due for their sins. Thus the Church does not want simply to come to the aid of these Christians, but also to spur them to works of devotion, penance, and charity.”

I don’t think I understand what an indulgence is. I’m confused- does your priest grant you some kind of an indulgence when he gives and you perform penance? Are you granted an indulgence by doing something specific that the church defines? Also- what is the date so many go to church for the granting of indulgences? That happening made little sense to me the last time it occurred.

At 4:01 PM, Blogger CynthiaBC said...

The first time I attended Stations of the Cross, I saw in the booklet that one would receive a plenary indulgence, and that one could receive a partial indulgence if one had to leave early due to uncontrollable circumstances.

My daughter C, then not quite 3, was a bit squirmy but, plied with Cheerios and a coloring book, fairly quiet.

Until Station 13.

For some reason C decided that was the time to stand up in the pew and sing If You're Happy And You Know It Stomp Your Feet (complete with Stomp Stomp). My husband was no help shushing her because he was too busy stifling his laughter.

Fortunately we were back near Station 7, so Fr K (probably) didn't hear C. Otherwise, I may have had to whisk her into the narthex, and thus ended up with only 13/14ths of an indulgence.

At 11:40 PM, Blogger fran said...

First Anon,

The bible has a footnote which interprets the passage you posted.

"What is lacking" - although variously interpreted, this phrase does not imply that Christ's atoning death on the cross was defective. It may refer to the apocalyptic concept of a quota of "messianic woes" to be endured before the end comes."

"Others suggest that Paul's mystical unity with Christ allowed him to call his own sufferings the afflictions of Christ."

I hope that helps, somewhat. I find St. Paul's wording to be confusing at times too.

Also, there is detailed discussion of indulgences in the April 1, 2008post.

At 4:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Fran- I didn't see that post and clicked on the title link- wow!

I don't know why I hear something that, perhaps I've been told a number of times in a number of ways and then one day I hear it (again) and am like, "Whaaat?!" That's what happened when I heard the word "justice." I knew sin carried penalty but, as w/many things, I hadn't really thought about what that meant, what it entailed.

Indulgences are, yet another, topic that falls into that grey area for me- familiar with an idea but devoid of fact. I can't help but wonder at what point in time I was supplied with those facts. Was I asleep?


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