Sunday, August 8, 2010

Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell, and Warm Fuzzies

'Those Catholics think they can work their way into Heaven.'

I've heard that. Maybe some of us believe that: but that's not what the Church teaches.

The parish priest here in Sauk Centre's Our Lady of the Angels church mentioned the particular judgment in today's homily. "Particular judgment" is what the Church calls the one-on-one face time I get with my Lord, when I die. What I've done with my life matters: but that's not the whole picture:
"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"
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1021)
Repeating one sentence, with emphasis:
"...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...."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1021)
Can I work my way into Heaven? Doesn't look like it.

Can I say, "I believe! I believe!" and get in on faith alone? Doesn't look like it. Besides the Catechism's paragraph 1021, there's that James 2:19-20 thing.

Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell, and This Catholic

That excerpt is from Article 12 of the Catechism, "I Believe in Life Everlasting." (1020-1065) It's got it's 'warm fuzzy' parts:
"This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity—this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed—is called 'heaven.' Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness."
(Catechism, 1024)
For me, though, most of Article 12 is rather sobering. I'm very glad that my Lord made it possible (1026) for me to enter "the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings" - I rely on my Lord's death and resurrection for entry into God's kingdom: and I'm expected to do something about what I say that I believe. (1021, 1032, 1039, for starters)

I can't say that I'm looking forward to giving an accounting of what I've done with the life I was given. Still, like it or not: that's the way it works.

Somewhat-related posts:
Post script:

You'll notice, in this blog's Label Cloud, that there's no "works" label. I've been using labels to identify posts on what I do, besides 'just believing:' like prayer, charity, and Sunday Obligation.

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