Saturday, August 27, 2011

An Eternal Life I can Live With

I will live forever. So will you.

As I've mentioned before, that's a sort of 'good news, bad news' thing. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 988-1014) I'm talking about resurrection, by the way, which isn't reincarnation. My life, and particular judgment, is my one shot at a desirable eternal life. (Catechism, 1013, 1021)

The criteria, by the way, is faith and works. That's 'and,' not 'or.' (Catechism, 1021) I've gone over faith, works, particular judgment, and getting a grip, before. ("Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell, and Warm Fuzzies," (August 8, 2010)) Also the disclaimer that I've got the authority of "some guy with a blog."

Who Said I'll Live Forever?

'I read it in the Bible' says why I believe that I'll have eternal life: partly. (Daniel 12: 2; John 5:26-29)

I've opined about the 'dark side' of Bible study before. Also why I think it's a good thing to have the Bible, Tradition, and the Magisterium for guidance.

Live Forever? How?

My Lord spelled out what it was that gave eternal life: or, rather, Who. (John 6:53-59) About two millennia later, folks still say, in effect, "...'This saying is hard; who can accept it?.'" (John 6:60)

As a convert, I found the Eucharist hard to swallow: figuratively speaking. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains - in part. (Catechism, 1322-1419) I've read that section, and more: and still don't fully understand the Eucharist, transubstantiation, or exactly how the Sacrifice on the Cross works. I don't expect to.

God's God, I'm not, and that's another topic.

Why Live Forever?

Someone who's in reasonably good health, isn't facing some crisis, and doesn't foresee troubles, could reasonably want to keep on keeping on indefinitely. I've been in that position. I've also experienced times when an unending extension of the present was very sincerely not what I wanted.

I've also wondered, fairly often, exactly why I exist. The simple answer is that I have the same purpose as every other human being. I'm here to seek God, to know Him, and to love Him. (Catechism, 1) Happily, God loves each of us, and made knowing Him possible. (Catechism, 68-73)

God also wants us to live forever. (Catechism, 55) Again, we need God for that. (Catechism, 1998) And we need to recognize God "as the supreme Good and the source of all good." (Catechism, 2052)

There's more to it, of course: Catechism, 1020-1065, for starters.


Some painfully 'religious' folks give me the impression that they believe:
  • Someone who 'really' believes has absolute certainty about
    • Their own salvation
    • God
    • Anything else important
  • Lack of absolute certainty is
    • A sign of Satan
    • An attack on their faith
Again, that's just my impression. Judging them is a sort of trouble I don't need. (Matthew 7:1-5)

I've decided that God knows more than I do, and is smarter than I am. Sounds obvious, putting it like that. I've written about "uncertainty, 'being religious,' and this catholic" before. (February 12, 2011)

It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over

I hope to spend the vast bulk of my life in my Lord's kingdom. Actually getting there depends on whether I want to enter Heaven when I face my Lord. I can't be absolutely sure that I'll make a sensible choice.

It's not because I don't 'really believe.' It's because I have free will. (Catechism, 1730-1742, for starters)

I could, in principle, tell my Lord that I'd rather cling to some petty grievance, than enjoy an eternity with God. I think that'd be a stupid decision: but that doesn't make it impossible.

Harps, Halos, and Heaven

I know what Heaven is 'supposed' to look like - according to American cartoons of the 20th century.

Show an American a pastel cloudscape, where people wear white robes, have wings, and sport a halo and harp as wardrobe accessories - I think most folks will recognize "Heaven." Or, rather, a conventional representation of Heaven.

Restful vistas aside, the place looks dull. For starters, those harps don't look like they've got much sounding range.

Seriously, I don't think there's much point in trying to guess what Heaven will look like. Much less what I'll be doing when - God willing - I get there. I wouldn't mind if "singing God's praise" was literally what happened. I've sung in choirs, and would enjoy being able to keep singing: without dealing with vocal cords that need rest periodically.

Or maybe my place will involve using my knack for scrabbling through piles of data, in search of some nugget of knowledge.

Bottom line, though: I have no clue about what Heaven will be like. Happily, I can trust God to take care of details there.


Finally, my plan is to keep working at conforming my will to God's. That, and ask for my Lord's mercy when we meet.

And that's another topic. Topics.

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.