Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 1091-1098, 1112 – The Holy Spirit and the Church in the Liturgy

clock February 18, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the Holy Spirit and the Liturgy, Supporting material comes from the Pastoral Constitution, “Sacrosanctum Concilium”.

III. The Holy Spirit and the Church in the Liturgy

1091 In the liturgy the Holy Spirit is teacher of the faith of the People of God and artisan of "God's masterpieces," the sacraments of the New Covenant. The desire and work of the Spirit in the heart of the Church is that we may live from the life of the risen Christ. When the Spirit encounters in us the response of faith which he has aroused in us, he brings about genuine cooperation. Through it, the liturgy becomes the common work of the Holy Spirit and the Church.

1092 In this sacramental dispensation of Christ's mystery the Holy Spirit acts in the same way as at other times in the economy of salvation: he prepares the Church to encounter her Lord; he recalls and makes Christ manifest to the faith of the assembly. By his transforming power, he makes the mystery of Christ present here and now. Finally the Spirit of communion unites the Church to the life and mission of Christ.
The Holy Spirit prepares for the reception of Christ

1093 In the sacramental economy the Holy Spirit fulfills what was prefigured in the Old Covenant. Since Christ's Church was "prepared in marvellous fashion in the history of the people of Israel and in the Old Covenant,"14 The Church's liturgy has retained certain elements of the worship of the Old Covenant as integral and irreplaceable, adopting them as her own:
-notably, reading the Old Testament;
-praying the Psalms;
-above all, recalling the saving events and significant realities which have found their fulfillment in the mystery of Christ (promise and covenant, Exodus and Passover, kingdom and temple, exile and return).

1094 It is on this harmony of the two Testaments that the Paschal catechesis of the Lord is built,15 and then, that of the Apostles and the Fathers of the Church. This catechesis unveils what lay hidden under the letter of the Old Testament: the mystery of Christ. It is called "typological" because it reveals the newness of Christ on the basis of the "figures" (types) which announce him in the deeds, words, and symbols of the first covenant. By this re-reading in the Spirit of Truth, starting from Christ, the figures are unveiled.16 Thus the flood and Noah's ark prefigured salvation by Baptism,17 as did the cloud and the crossing of the Red Sea. Water from the rock was the figure of the spiritual gifts of Christ, and manna in the desert prefigured the Eucharist, "the true bread from heaven."18

1095 For this reason the Church, especially during Advent and Lent and above all at the Easter Vigil, re-reads and re-lives the great events of salvation history in the "today" of her liturgy. But this also demands that catechesis help the faithful to open themselves to this spiritual understanding of the economy of salvation as the Church's liturgy reveals it and enables us to live it.

1096 Jewish liturgy and Christian liturgy. A better knowledge of the Jewish people's faith and religious life as professed and lived even now can help our better understanding of certain aspects of Christian liturgy. For both Jews and Christians Sacred Scripture is an essential part of their respective liturgies: in the proclamation of the Word of God, the response to this word, prayer of praise and intercession for the living and the dead, invocation of God's mercy. In its characteristic structure the Liturgy of the Word originates in Jewish prayer. The Liturgy of the Hours and other liturgical texts and formularies, as well as those of our most venerable prayers, including the Lord's Prayer, have parallels in Jewish prayer. The Eucharistic Prayers also draw their inspiration from the Jewish tradition. The relationship between Jewish liturgy and Christian liturgy, but also their differences in content, are particularly evident in the great feasts of the liturgical year, such as Passover. Christians and Jews both celebrate the Passover. For Jews, it is the Passover of history, tending toward the future; for Christians, it is the Passover fulfilled in the death and Resurrection of Christ, though always in expectation of its definitive consummation.

1097 In the liturgy of the New Covenant every liturgical action, especially the celebration of the Eucharist and the sacraments, is an encounter between Christ and the Church. The liturgical assembly derives its unity from the "communion of the Holy Spirit" who gathers the children of God into the one Body of Christ. This assembly transcends racial, cultural, social - indeed, all human affinities.

1098 The assembly should prepare itself to encounter its Lord and to become "a people well disposed." the preparation of hearts is the joint work of the Holy Spirit and the assembly, especially of its ministers. The grace of the Holy Spirit seeks to awaken faith, conversion of heart, and adherence to the Father's will. These dispositions are the precondition both for the reception of other graces conferred in the celebration itself and the fruits of new life which the celebration is intended to produce afterward.

IN BRIEF

1112 The mission of the Holy Spirit in the liturgy of the Church is to prepare the assembly to encounter Christ; to recall and manifest Christ to the faith of the assembly; to make the saving work of Christ present and active by his transforming power; and to make the gift of communion bear fruit in the Church.

The Pastoral Constitution, “Sacrosanctum Concilium” (6) discusses the Holy Spirit and the Liturgy.

6. Just as Christ was sent by the Father, so also He sent the apostles, filled with the Holy Spirit. This He did that, by preaching the gospel to every creature [14], they might proclaim that the Son of God, by His death and resurrection, had freed us from the power of Satan [15] and from death, and brought us into the kingdom of His Father. His purpose also was that they might accomplish the work of salvation which they had proclaimed, by means of sacrifice and sacraments, around which the entire liturgical life revolves. Thus by baptism men are plunged into the paschal mystery of Christ: they die with Him, are buried with Him, and rise with Him [16]; they receive the spirit of adoption as sons "in which we cry: Abba, Father" ( Rom. 8 :15), and thus become true adorers whom the Father seeks [17]. In like manner, as often as they eat the supper of the Lord they proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes [18]. For that reason, on the very day of Pentecost, when the Church appeared before the world, "those who received the word" of Peter "were baptized." And "they continued steadfastly in the teaching of the apostles and in the communion of the breaking of bread and in prayers . . . praising God and being in favor with all the people" (Acts 2:41-47). From that time onwards the Church has never failed to come together to celebrate the paschal mystery: reading those things "which were in all the scriptures concerning him" (Luke 24:27), celebrating the Eucharist in which "the victory and triumph of his death are again made present" [19], and at the same time giving thanks "to God for his unspeakable gift" (2 Cor. 9:15) in Christ Jesus, "in praise of his glory" (Eph. 1:12), through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Footnotes

14 LG 2.
15 Cf. DV 14-16; ⇒ Lk 24:13-49.
16 Cf. ⇒ 2 Cor 3:14-16.
17 Cf. ⇒ 1 Pet 3:21.
18 ⇒ Jn 6:32; cf. ⇒ 1 Cor 10:1-6.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 1084-1090, 1111 – Christ’s Work in the Liturgy

clock February 17, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the Liturgy in relation to Christ Jesus. Supporting material comes from the Pastoral Constitution, “Sacrosanctum Concilium”.

II. Christ's Work in the Liturgy

Christ glorified . . .

1084 "Seated at the right hand of the Father" and pouring out the Holy Spirit on his Body which is the Church, Christ now acts through the sacraments he instituted to communicate his grace. The sacraments are perceptible signs (words and actions) accessible to our human nature. By the action of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit they make present efficaciously the grace that they signify.

1085 In the liturgy of the Church, it is principally his own Paschal mystery that Christ signifies and makes present. During his earthly life Jesus announced his Paschal mystery by his teaching and anticipated it by his actions. When his Hour comes, he lives out the unique event of history which does not pass away: Jesus dies, is buried, rises from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father "once for all."8 His Paschal mystery is a real event that occurred in our history, but it is unique: all other historical events happen once, and then they pass away, swallowed up in the past. The Paschal mystery of Christ, by contrast, cannot remain only in the past, because by his death he destroyed death, and all that Christ is - all that he did and suffered for all men - participates in the divine eternity, and so transcends all times while being made present in them all. The event of the Cross and Resurrection abides and draws everything toward life.

. . . from the time of the Church of the Apostles . . .

1086 "Accordingly, just as Christ was sent by the Father so also he sent the apostles, filled with the Holy Spirit. This he did so that they might preach the Gospel to every creature and proclaim that the Son of God by his death and resurrection had freed us from the power of Satan and from death and brought us into the Kingdom of his Father. But he also willed that the work of salvation which they preached should be set in train through the sacrifice and sacraments, around which the entire liturgical life revolves."9

1087 Thus the risen Christ, by giving the Holy Spirit to the apostles, entrusted to them his power of sanctifying:10 they became sacramental signs of Christ. By the power of the same Holy Spirit they entrusted this power to their successors. This "apostolic succession" structures the whole liturgical life of the Church and is itself sacramental, handed on by the sacrament of Holy Orders.

. . . is present in the earthly liturgy . . .

1088 "To accomplish so great a work" - the dispensation or communication of his work of salvation - "Christ is always present in his Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the Sacrifice of the Mass not only in the person of his minister, 'the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross,' but especially in the Eucharistic species. By his power he is present in the sacraments so that when anybody baptizes, it is really Christ himself who baptizes. He is present in his word since it is he himself who speaks when the holy Scriptures are read in the Church. Lastly, he is present when the Church prays and sings, for he has promised 'where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them."'11

1089 "Christ, indeed, always associates the Church with himself in this great work in which God is perfectly glorified and men are sanctified. The Church is his beloved Bride who calls to her Lord and through him offers worship to the eternal Father."12

. . . which participates in the liturgy of heaven

1090 "In the earthly liturgy we share in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the Holy City of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle. With all the warriors of the heavenly army we sing a hymn of glory to the Lord; venerating the memory of the saints, we hope for some part and fellowship with them; we eagerly await the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, until he, our life, shall appear and we too will appear with him in glory."13

IN BRIEF

1111 Christ's work in the liturgy is sacramental: because his mystery of salvation is made present there by the power of his Holy Spirit; because his Body, which is the Church, is like a sacrament (sign and instrument) in which the Holy Spirit dispenses the mystery of salvation; and because through her liturgical actions the pilgrim Church already participates, as by a foretaste, in the heavenly liturgy.

The Pastoral Constitution, “Sacrosanctum Concilium” (7) discusses the liturgy in relation to Christ Jesus.

Christ indeed always associates the Church with Himself in this great work wherein God is perfectly glorified and men are sanctified. The Church is His beloved Bride who calls to her Lord, and through Him offers worship to the Eternal Father.

Rightly, then, the liturgy is considered as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. In the liturgy the sanctification of the man is signified by signs perceptible to the senses, and is effected in a way which corresponds with each of these signs; in the liturgy the whole public worship is performed by the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the Head and His members.

From this it follows that every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of His Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others; no other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree.

Footnotes

8 ⇒ Rom 6:10; ⇒ Heb 7:27; ⇒ 9:12; cf. ⇒ Jn 13:1; ⇒ 17:1.
9 SC 6.
10 Cf. ⇒ Jn 20:21-23.
11 SC 7; ⇒ Mt 18:20.
12 SC 7.
13 SC 8; cf. LG 50.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 1076-1083, 1110 – The Father-Source and Goal of the Liturgy

clock February 16, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the liturgy in relation to God the Father. Supporting material comes from the Pastoral Constitution, “Sacrosanctum Concilium”.

SECTION ONE

THE SACRAMENTAL ECONOMY

1076 The Church was made manifest to the world on the day of Pentecost by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.1 The gift of the Spirit ushers in a new era in the "dispensation of the mystery" the age of the Church, during which Christ manifests, makes present, and communicates his work of salvation through the liturgy of his Church, "until he comes."2 In this age of the Church Christ now lives and acts in and with his Church, in a new way appropriate to this new age. He acts through the sacraments in what the common Tradition of the East and the West calls "the sacramental economy"; this is the communication (or "dispensation") of the fruits of Christ's Paschal mystery in the celebration of the Church's "sacramental" liturgy.

It is therefore important first to explain this "sacramental dispensation" (chapter one). The nature and essential features of liturgical celebration will then appear more clearly (chapter two).

Article 1

THE LITURGY - WORK OF THE HOLY TRINITY

I. The Father-Source and Goal of the Liturgy

1077 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He destined us before him in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved."3

1078 Blessing is a divine and life-giving action, the source of which is the Father; his blessing is both word and gift.4 When applied to man, the word "blessing" means adoration and surrender to his Creator in thanksgiving.

1079 From the beginning until the end of time the whole of God's work is a blessing. From the liturgical poem of the first creation to the canticles of the heavenly Jerusalem, the inspired authors proclaim the plan of salvation as one vast divine blessing.

1080 From the very beginning God blessed all living beings, especially man and woman. The covenant with Noah and with all living things renewed this blessing of fruitfulness despite man's sin which had brought a curse on the ground. But with Abraham, the divine blessing entered into human history which was moving toward death, to redirect it toward life, toward its source. By the faith of "the father of all believers," who embraced the blessing, the history of salvation is inaugurated.

1081 The divine blessings were made manifest in astonishing and saving events: the birth of Isaac, the escape from Egypt (Passover and Exodus), the gift of the promised land, the election of David, the presence of God in the Temple, the purifying exile, and return of a "small remnant." the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, interwoven in the liturgy of the Chosen People, recall these divine blessings and at the same time respond to them with blessings of praise and thanksgiving.

1082 In the Church's liturgy the divine blessing is fully revealed and communicated. The Father is acknowledged and adored as the source and the end of all the blessings of creation and salvation. In his Word who became incarnate, died, and rose for us, he fills us with his blessings. Through his Word, he pours into our hearts the Gift that contains all gifts, the Holy Spirit.

1083 The dual dimension of the Christian liturgy as a response of faith and love to the spiritual blessings the Father bestows on us is thus evident. On the one hand, the Church, united with her Lord and "in the Holy Spirit,"5 blesses the Father "for his inexpressible gift6 in her adoration, praise, and thanksgiving. On the other hand, until the consummation of God's plan, the Church never ceases to present to the Father the offering of his own gifts and to beg him to send the Holy Spirit upon that offering, upon herself, upon the faithful, and upon the whole world, so that through communion in the death and resurrection of Christ the Priest, and by the power of the Spirit, these divine blessings will bring forth the fruits of life "to the praise of his glorious grace."7

IN BRIEF

1110 In the liturgy of the Church, God the Father is blessed and adored as the source of all the blessings of creation and salvation with which he has blessed us in his Son, in order to give us the Spirit of filial adoption.

The Pastoral Constitution, “Sacrosanctum Concilium” discusses the orientation of the liturgy toward God the Father.

9. The sacred liturgy does not exhaust the entire activity of the Church. Before men can come to the liturgy they must be called to faith and to conversion: "How then are they to call upon him in whom they have not yet believed? But how are they to believe him whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear if no one preaches? And how are men to preach unless they be sent?" (Rom. 10:14-15).

Therefore the Church announces the good tidings of salvation to those who do not believe, so that all men may know the true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, and may be converted from their ways, doing penance [24]. To believers also the Church must ever preach faith and penance, she must prepare them for the sacraments, teach them to observe all that Christ has commanded [25], and invite them to all the works of charity, piety, and the apostolate. For all these works make it clear that Christ's faithful, though not of this world, are to be the light of the world and to glorify the Father before men.

Footnotes

1 Cf. SC 6; LG 2.
2 ⇒ 1 Cor 11:26.
3 ⇒ Eph 1:3-6.
4 eu-logia, bene-dictio.
5 ⇒ Lk 10:21.
6 ⇒ 2 Cor 9:15.
7 ⇒ Eph 1:6.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 1066-1075 – The Liturgy

clock February 15, 2013 20:38 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections begin the study of the Liturgy. Supporting material comes from the Pastoral Constitution, “Sacrosanctum Concilium”.

PART TWO:

THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY

Why the liturgy?

1066 In the Symbol of the faith the Church confesses the mystery of the Holy Trinity and of the plan of God's "good pleasure" for all creation: the Father accomplishes the "mystery of his will" by giving his beloved Son and his Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world and for the glory of his name.1

Such is the mystery of Christ, revealed and fulfilled in history according to the wisely ordered plan that St. Paul calls the "plan of the mystery"2 and the patristic tradition will call the "economy of the Word incarnate" or the "economy of salvation."

1067 "The wonderful works of God among the people of the Old Testament were but a prelude to the work of Christ the Lord in redeeming mankind and giving perfect glory to God. He accomplished this work principally by the Paschal mystery of his blessed Passion, Resurrection from the dead, and glorious Ascension, whereby 'dying he destroyed our death, rising he restored our life.' For it was from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth 'the wondrous sacrament of the whole Church."'3

For this reason, the Church celebrates in the liturgy above all the Paschal mystery by which Christ accomplished the work of our salvation.

1068 It is this mystery of Christ that the Church proclaims and celebrates in her liturgy so that the faithful may live from it and bear witness to it in the world:

For it is in the liturgy, especially in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, that "the work of our redemption is accomplished," and it is through the liturgy especially that the faithful are enabled to express in their lives and manifest to others the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church.4

What does the word liturgy mean?

1069 The word "liturgy" originally meant a "public work" or a "service in the name of/on behalf of the people."
In Christian tradition it means the participation of the People of God in "the work of God."5
Through the liturgy Christ, our redeemer and high priest, continues the work of our redemption in, with, and through his Church.

1070 In the New Testament the word "liturgy" refers not only to the celebration of divine worship but also to the proclamation of the Gospel and to active charity.6 In all of these situations it is a question of the service of God and neighbor.
In a liturgical celebration the Church is servant in the image of her Lord, the one "leitourgos";7 she shares in Christ's priesthood (worship), which is both prophetic (proclamation) and kingly (service of charity):

The liturgy then is rightly seen as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ.
It involves the presentation of man's sanctification under the guise of signs perceptible by the senses and its accomplishment in ways appropriate to each of these signs.
In it full public worship is performed by the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the Head and his members.
From this it follows that every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of his Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others.
No other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree.8

Liturgy as source of life

1071 As the work of Christ liturgy is also an action of his Church. It makes the Church present and manifests her as the visible sign of the communion in Christ between God and men. It engages the faithful in the new life of the community and involves the "conscious, active, and fruitful participation" of everyone.9

1072 "The sacred liturgy does not exhaust the entire activity of the Church":10 it must be preceded by evangelization, faith, and conversion. It can then produce its fruits in the lives of the faithful: new life in the Spirit, involvement in the mission of the Church, and service to her unity.

Prayer and liturgy

1073 The liturgy is also a participation in Christ's own prayer addressed to the Father in the Holy Spirit. In the liturgy, all Christian prayer finds its source and goal. Through the liturgy the inner man is rooted and grounded in "the great love with which [the Father] loved us" in his beloved Son.11 It is the same "marvelous work of God" that is lived and internalized by all prayer, "at all times in the Spirit."12

Catechesis and liturgy

1074 "The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the font from which all her power flows."13
It is therefore the privileged place for catechizing the People of God.
"Catechesis is intrinsically linked with the whole of liturgical and sacramental activity, for it is in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist, that Christ Jesus works in fullness for the transformation of men."14

1075 Liturgical catechesis aims to initiate people into the mystery of Christ (It is "mystagogy.”) by proceeding from the visible to the invisible, from the sign to the thing signified, from the "sacraments" to the "mysteries."
Such catechesis is to be presented by local and regional catechisms.
This Catechism, which aims to serve the whole Church in all the diversity of her rites and cultures,15 will present what is fundamental and common to the whole Church in the liturgy as mystery and as celebration, and then the seven sacraments and the sacramentals.

The Pastoral Constitution, “Sacrosanctum Concilium” discusses the power of the Liturgy.

2. For the liturgy, "through which the work of our redemption is accomplished," [1] most of all in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, is the outstanding means whereby the faithful may express in their lives, and manifest to others, the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church. It is of the essence of the Church that she be both human and divine, visible and yet invisibly equipped, eager to act and yet intent on contemplation, present in this world and yet not at home in it; and she is all these things in such wise that in her the human is directed and subordinated to the divine, the visible likewise to the invisible, action to contemplation, and this present world to that city yet to come, which we seek [2]. While the liturgy daily builds up those who are within into a holy temple of the Lord, into a dwelling place for God in the Spirit [3], to the mature measure of the fullness of Christ [4], at the same time it marvelously strengthens their power to preach Christ, and thus shows forth the Church to those who are outside as a sign lifted up among the nations [5] under which the scattered children of God may be gathered together [6], until there is one sheepfold and one shepherd [7].

Footnotes

1 ⇒ Eph 1:9.
2 ⇒ Eph 3:9; cf. ⇒ 3:4.
3 SC 5 # 2; cf. St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 138, 2: PL 37, 1784-1785.
4 SC 2.
5 Cf. ⇒ Jn 17:4.
6 Cf. ⇒ Lk 1:23; ⇒ Acts 13:2; ⇒ Rom 15:16, ⇒ 27; ⇒ 2 Cor 9:12; ⇒ Phil 2:14-17, ⇒ 25, ⇒ 30.
7 Cf. ⇒ Heb 8:2, 6.
8 SC 7 # 2-3.
9 SC 11.
10 SC 9.
11 ⇒ Eph 2:4; ⇒ 3:16-17.
12 ⇒ Eph 6:18.
13 SC 10.
14 John Paul II, CT 23.
15 Cf. SC 3-4.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 1061-1065 – Amen – I Believe

clock February 14, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the word “Amen”. Supporting material comes from the “Catholic Encyclopedia”.

"Amen"

1061 The Creed, like the last book of the Bible,644 ends with the Hebrew word amen. This word frequently concludes prayers in the New Testament. The Church likewise ends her prayers with "Amen."

1062 In Hebrew, amen comes from the same root as the word "believe." This root expresses solidity, trustworthiness, faithfulness. And so we can understand why "Amen" may express both God's faithfulness towards us and our trust in him.

1063 In the book of the prophet Isaiah, we find the expression "God of truth" (literally "God of the Amen"), that is, the God who is faithful to his promises: "He who blesses himself in the land shall bless himself by the God of truth [amen]."645 Our Lord often used the word "Amen," sometimes repeated,646 to emphasize the trustworthiness of his teaching, his authority founded on God's truth.

1064 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.647

1065 Jesus Christ himself is the "Amen."648 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":649

Through him, with him, in him,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honor is yours,
almighty Father,
God, for ever and ever.
AMEN.

The “Catholic Encyclopedia” describes the word “Amen” in this way:

The word Amen is one of a small number of Hebrew words which have been imported unchanged into the liturgy of the Church, propter sanctiorem as St. Augustine expresses it, in virtue of an exceptionally sacred example. "So frequent was this Hebrew in the mouth of Our Saviour", observes the Catechism of the Council of Trent, "that it pleased the Holy Ghost to have it perpetuated in the Church of God". In point of fact St. Matthew attributes it to Our Lord twenty-eight times, and St. John in its doubled form twenty-six times. As regards the etymology, Amen is a derivative from the Hebrew verb aman "to strengthen" or "Confirm".

Footnotes

644 Cf. ⇒ Rev 22:21.
645 ⇒ Isa 65:16.
646 Cf. ⇒ Mt 6:2, 5, ⇒ 16; ⇒ Jn 5:19.
647 St. Augustine, Sermo 58, 11, 13: PL 38, 399.
648 ⇒ Rev 3:14.
649 ⇒ 2 Cor 1:20.



The Catholic Meaning of Ash Wednesday

clock February 13, 2013 05:22 by author John |

Ash WednesdayIt always makes me cringe when I have to explain to my non-Catholic (and many times even the Catholic ones) why I receive ashes on Ash Wednesday. It isn’t that I don’t like talking about my faith. It isn’t that people don’t respect my faith. The problem is that people are too comfortable. The ideas that Ash Wednesday calls to mind are so foreign – austere, morbid and penitential. These are all things that modern people and Americans particularly are not eager to talk about.

Ash Wednesday is a solemn reminder of our mortality, our short life, and our impending death. The question invariably is a simple one. “Why”?  Why do we want to think about our death? Why not just live for today and be happy? The answer is as simple as the question. We must think of our death because we do not know when it will be.

We must not let the affairs of this world overshadow the realities of the next. Whatever we do on earth will be forgotten by future generations. This thought should temper our pride and help us to focus on what is important. The words of Ecclesiastes 1:3-4 bring this reality home: “What profit has man from all the labor which he toils at under the sun? One generation passes and another comes, but the world forever stays.” Matthew 24:44 exhorts us to remember that we do not know when we will die: ‘So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

The imposition of Ashes upon our foreheads reminds us of our fleeting existence on earth: “Remember that thou art dust and to dust thou shall return”. The use of ashes was a symbol of grief, humility, and despair in the Old Testament. In Jeremiah, 6:26, sackcloth and ashes are used as a sign of mourning:  “O daughter of my people, gird on sackcloth, roll in the ashes. Mourn as for an only child with bitter wailing, For sudden upon us comes the destroyer.” 2 Samuel 13:19 brings us the use of ashes as a sign of sadness: “Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the long tunic in which she was clothed. Then, putting her hands to her head, she went away crying loudly.”

Ash Wednesday brings us a second reality that we must acknowledge, which is our judgment before God when our earthly life is over. We must always be prepared for it, get our affairs in order, and clear our souls of the sinful baggage we haul around with us. If we are clinging to sin when we meet our death, then we must answer for it at our judgment.  Hebrews 9:27 reminds us: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment”. Wisdom 4:20 tells us: “They shall come with fear at the thought of their sins, and their iniquities shall stand against them to convict them.”

Ash Wednesday is a mandatory day of fasting and abstinence according to the laws of the Church. Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The Guidelines for fasting are that we are allowed one normal meal and two smaller meals, which when added together are smaller than a normal meal. Snacks are not permitted, but beverages are permitted unless they are filling or constitute a meal like a shake. In addition, all Catholics 14 years old and older must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Fridays of Lent. Fish and meat products such as milk or eggs are permitted.

Fasting and abstinence, like the Lenten sacrifices that we are called to do help us order our priorities toward God. We give up things that we like so that we can remember what is truly important: God. Fasting and abstinence also help us build our resolve against sin by practicing deprivation of things that we enjoy. By saying no to meat or regulating our diet, we help control our urges, strengthening our will.

Finally, Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent. During this season, we keep our sins always in mind, remembering the tremendous cost of our rejection of God through these sins. We look ahead to Good Friday and the passion of Our Lord, which was brought about by the sins of the word, including our own. Jesus was tortured and killed because of our sinfulness. This should cause us to make a firm resolution to avoid sin.

 



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 1042-1050, 1060 – The New Heaven and the New Earth

clock February 13, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the New Heaven and the New Earth. Supporting material comes from the Pastoral Constitution “Gaudium et Spes”.

VI. Hope of the New Heaven and the New Earth

1042 At the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. After the universal judgment, the righteous will reign for ever with Christ, glorified in body and soul. The universe itself will be renewed:

The Church . . . will receive her perfection only in the glory of heaven, when will come the time of the renewal of all things. At that time, together with the human race, the universe itself, which is so closely related to man and which attains its destiny through him, will be perfectly re-established in Christ.629

1043 Sacred Scripture calls this mysterious renewal, which will transform humanity and the world, "new heavens and a new earth."630 It will be the definitive realization of God's plan to bring under a single head "all things in [Christ], things in heaven and things on earth."631

1044 In this new universe, the heavenly Jerusalem, God will have his dwelling among men.632 "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away."633

1045 For man, this consummation will be the final realization of the unity of the human race, which God willed from creation and of which the pilgrim Church has been "in the nature of sacrament."634 Those who are united with Christ will form the community of the redeemed, "the holy city" of God, "the Bride, the wife of the Lamb."635 She will not be wounded any longer by sin, stains, self-love, that destroy or wound the earthly community.636 The beatific vision, in which God opens himself in an inexhaustible way to the elect, will be the ever-flowing well-spring of happiness, peace, and mutual communion.

1046 For the cosmos, Revelation affirms the profound common destiny of the material world and man:

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God . . . in hope because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay.... We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.637

1047 The visible universe, then, is itself destined to be transformed, "so that the world itself, restored to its original state, facing no further obstacles, should be at the service of the just," sharing their glorification in the risen Jesus Christ.638

1048 "We know neither the moment of the consummation of the earth and of man, nor the way in which the universe will be transformed. The form of this world, distorted by sin, is passing away, and we are taught that God is preparing a new dwelling and a new earth in which righteousness dwells, in which happiness will fill and surpass all the desires of peace arising in the hearts of men."639

1049 "Far from diminishing our concern to develop this earth, the expectancy of a new earth should spur us on, for it is here that the body of a new human family grows, foreshadowing in some way the age which is to come. That is why, although we must be careful to distinguish earthly progress clearly from the increase of the kingdom of Christ, such progress is of vital concern to the kingdom of God, insofar as it can contribute to the better ordering of human society."640

1050 "When we have spread on earth the fruits of our nature and our enterprise . . . according to the command of the Lord and in his Spirit, we will find them once again, cleansed this time from the stain of sin, illuminated and transfigured, when Christ presents to his Father an eternal and universal kingdom."641 God will then be "all in all" in eternal life:642

True and subsistent life consists in this: the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit, pouring out his heavenly gifts on all things without exception. Thanks to his mercy, we too, men that we are, have received the inalienable promise of eternal life.643

IN BRIEF

1060 At the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. Then the just will reign with Christ for ever, glorified in body and soul, and the material universe itself will be transformed. God will then be "all in all" (⇒ 1 Cor 15:28), in eternal life.

The Pastoral Constitution, “Gaudium et Spes” (39) discusses the New Heaven and the New Earth.

39. We do not know the time for the consummation of the earth and of humanity,(15) nor do we know how all things will be transformed. As deformed by sin, the shape of this world will pass away;(16) but we are taught that God is preparing a new dwelling place and a new earth where justice will abide,(17) and whose blessedness will answer and surpass all the longings for peace which spring up in the human heart.(18) Then, with death overcome, the sons of God will be raised up in Christ, and what was sown in weakness and corruption will be invested with incorruptibility.(19) Enduring with charity and its fruits,(20) all that creation(21) which God made on man's account will be unchained from the bondage of vanity.

Therefore, while we are warned that it profits a man nothing if he gain the whole world and lose himself,(22) the expectation of a new earth must not weaken but rather stimulate our concern for cultivating this one. For here grows the body of a new human family, a body which even now is able to give some kind of foreshadowing of the new age.

Hence, while earthly progress must be carefully distinguished from the growth of Christ's kingdom, to the extent that the former can contribute to the better ordering of human society, it is of vital concern to the Kingdom of God.(23)

For after we have obeyed the Lord, and in His Spirit nurtured on earth the values of human dignity, brotherhood and freedom, and indeed all the good fruits of our nature and enterprise, we will find them again, but freed of stain, burnished and transfigured, when Christ hands over to the Father: "a kingdom eternal and universal, a kingdom of truth and life, of holiness and grace, of justice, love and peace."(24) On this earth that Kingdom is already present in mystery. When the Lord returns it will be brought into full flower.

Footnotes

629 LG 48; Cf. ⇒ Acts 3:21; ⇒ Eph 1:10; ⇒ Col 1:20; ⇒ 2 Pet 3:10-13.
630 ⇒ 2 Pet 3:13; Cf. ⇒ Rev 21:1.
631 ⇒ Eph 1:10.
632 Cf. ⇒ Rev 21:5.
633 ⇒ Rev 21:4.
634 Cf. LG 1.
635 ⇒ Rev 21:2, 9.
636 Cf. ⇒ Rev 21:27.
637 ⇒ Rom 8:19-23.
638 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 5, 32, 1 PG 7/2, 210.
639 GS 39 # 1.
640 GS 39 # 2.
641 GS 39 # 3.
642 1 Cor 5:28.
643 St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. illum. 18, 29: PG 33, 1049.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 1038-1041, 1059 – The Last Judgment

clock February 12, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the last judgment. Supporting material comes from St. Augustine’s “City of God”.

V. The Last Judgment

1038 The resurrection of all the dead, "of both the just and the unjust,"621 will precede the Last Judgment. This will be "the hour when all who are in the tombs will hear [the Son of man's] voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment."622 Then Christ will come "in his glory, and all the angels with him .... Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left.... and they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."623

1039 In the presence of Christ, who is Truth itself, the truth of each man's relationship with God will be laid bare.624 The Last Judgment will reveal even to its furthest consequences the good each person has done or failed to do during his earthly life:

All that the wicked do is recorded, and they do not know. When "our God comes, he does not keep silence.". . . he will turn towards those at his left hand: . . . "I placed my poor little ones on earth for you. I as their head was seated in heaven at the right hand of my Father - but on earth my members were suffering, my members on earth were in need. If you gave anything to my members, what you gave would reach their Head. Would that you had known that my little ones were in need when I placed them on earth for you and appointed them your stewards to bring your good works into my treasury. But you have placed nothing in their hands; therefore you have found nothing in my presence."625

1040 The Last Judgment will come when Christ returns in glory. Only the Father knows the day and the hour; only he determines the moment of its coming. Then through his Son Jesus Christ he will pronounce the final word on all history. We shall know the ultimate meaning of the whole work of creation and of the entire economy of salvation and understand the marvellous ways by which his Providence led everything towards its final end. The Last Judgment will reveal that God's justice triumphs over all the injustices committed by his creatures and that God's love is stronger than death.626

1041 The message of the Last Judgment calls men to conversion while God is still giving them "the acceptable time, . . . the day of salvation."627 It inspires a holy fear of God and commits them to the justice of the Kingdom of God. It proclaims the "blessed hope" of the Lord's return, when he will come "to be glorified in his saints, and to be marvelled at in all who have believed."628

IN BRIEF

1059 "The holy Roman Church firmly believes and confesses that on the Day of Judgment all men will appear in their own bodies before Christ's tribunal to render an account of their own deeds" (Council of Lyons II [1274]: DS 859; cf. DS 1549).

St. Augustine in “City of God” (20, 3) discusses the Last Judgment.

Solomon, the wisest king of Israel, who reigned in Jerusalem, thus commences the book called Ecclesiastes, which the Jews number among their canonical Scriptures: Vanity of vanities, said Ecclesiastes, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit has a man of all his labor which he has taken under the sun? And after going on to enumerate, with this as his text, the calamities and delusions of this life, and the shifting nature of the present time, in which there is nothing substantial, nothing lasting, he bewails, among the other vanities that are under the sun, this also, that though wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness, and though the eyes of the wise man are in his head, while the fool walks in darkness, Ecclesiastes 2:13-14 yet one event happens to them all, that is to say, in this life under the sun, unquestionably alluding to those evils which we see befall good and bad men alike. He says, further, that the good suffer the ills of life as if they were evil doers, and the bad enjoy the good of life as if they were good. There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men unto whom it happens according to the work of the wicked: again, there be wicked men, to whom it happens according to the work of the righteous. I said, that this also is vanity. Ecclesiastes 8:14 This wisest man devoted this whole book to a full exposure of this vanity, evidently with no other object than that we might long for that life in which there is no vanity under the sun, but verity under Him who made the sun. In this vanity, then, was it not by the just and righteous judgment of God that man, made like to vanity, was destined to pass away? But in these days of vanity it makes an important difference whether he resists or yields to the truth, and whether he is destitute of true piety or a partaker of it—important not so far as regards the acquirement of the blessings or the evasion of the calamities of this transitory and vain life, but in connection with the future judgment which shall make over to good men good things, and to bad men bad things, in permanent, inalienable possession. In fine, this wise man concludes this book of his by saying, Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is every man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every despised person, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 What truer, terser, more salutary enouncement could be made? Fear God, he says, and keep His commandments: for this is every man. For whosoever has real existence, is this, is a keeper of God's commandments; and he who is not this, is nothing. For so long as he remains in the likeness of vanity, he is not renewed in the image of the truth. For God shall bring into judgment every work,— that is, whatever man does in this life—whether it be good or whether it be evil, with every despised person,— that is, with every man who here seems despicable, and is therefore not considered; for God sees even him and does not despise him nor pass him over in His judgment.

Footnotes

621 ⇒ Acts 24:15.
622 ⇒ Jn 5:28-29.
623 ⇒ Mt 25:31, ⇒ 32, ⇒ 46.
624 Cf. ⇒ Jn 12:49.
625 St. Augustine, Sermo 18, 4: PL 38, 130-131; cf. ⇒ Ps 50:3.
626 Cf. ⇒ Song 8:6.
627 ⇒ 2 Cor 6:2.
628 ⇒ Titus 2:13; ⇒ 2 Thess 1:10.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 1030-1037, 1054-1058 – Purgatory and Hell

clock February 11, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss Purgatory and Hell. Supporting material comes from the “Summa Theologica”.

III. The Final Purification, or Purgatory

1030 All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, 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.

1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.604 The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:605

As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.606

1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin."607 From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God.608 The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:

Let us help and commemorate them. If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.609

IV. Hell

1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."610 Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren.611 To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "hell."

1034 Jesus often speaks of "Gehenna" of "the unquenchable fire" reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost.612 Jesus solemnly proclaims that he "will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,"613 and that he will pronounce the condemnation: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!"614

1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire."615 The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

1036 The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few."616

Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where "men will weep and gnash their teeth."617

1037 God predestines no one to go to hell;618 for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want "any to perish, but all to come to repentance":619

Father, accept this offering
from your whole family.
Grant us your peace in this life,
save us from final damnation,
and count us among those you have chosen.620

IN BRIEF

1054 Those who die in God's grace and friendship imperfectly purified, although they are assured of their eternal salvation, undergo a purification after death, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of God.

1055 By virtue of the "communion of saints," the Church commends the dead to God's mercy and offers her prayers, especially the holy sacrifice of the Eucharist, on their behalf.

1056 Following the example of Christ, the Church warns the faithful of the "sad and lamentable reality of eternal death" (GCD 69), also called "hell."

1057 Hell's principal punishment consists of eternal separation from God in whom alone man can have the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

1058 The Church prays that no one should be lost: "Lord, let me never be parted from you." If it is true that no one can save himself, it is also true that God "desires all men to be saved" (⇒ 1 Tim 2:4), and that for him "all things are possible" (⇒ Mt 19:26).

The “Summa Theologica” (Supplement) discusses Purgatory.

Article 1. Whether there is a Purgatory after this life?

Objection 1. It would seem that there is not a Purgatory after this life. For it is said (Apocalypse 14:13): "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. From henceforth now, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors." Therefore after this life no cleansing labor awaits those who die in the Lord, nor those who do not die in the Lord, since they cannot be cleansed. Therefore there is no Purgatory after this life.

Objection 2. Further, as charity is to an eternal reward, so is mortal sin to eternal punishment. Now those who die in mortal sin are forthwith consigned to eternal punishment. Therefore those who die in charity go at once to their reward; and consequently no Purgatory awaits them after this life.

Objection 3. Further, God Who is supremely merciful is more inclined to reward good than to punish evil. Now just as those who are in the state of charity, do certain evil things which are not deserving of eternal punishment, so those who are in mortal sin, at times perform actions, generically good, which are not deserving of an eternal reward. Therefore since these good actions are not rewarded after this life in those who will be damned, neither should those evil actions be punished after this life. Hence the same conclusion follows.

On the contrary, It is said (2 Maccabees 12:46): "It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins." Now there is no need to pray for the dead who are in heaven, for they are in no need; nor again for those who are in hell, because they cannot be loosed from sins. Therefore after this life, there are some not yet loosed from sins, who can be loosed therefrom; and the like have charity, without which sins cannot be loosed, for "charity covereth all sins" [Proverbs 10:12]. Hence they will not be consigned to everlasting death, since "he that liveth and believeth in Me, shall not die for ever" [John 11:26]: nor will they obtain glory without being cleansed, because nothing unclean shall obtain it, as stated in the last chapter of the Apocalypse (verse 14). Therefore some kind of cleansing remains after this life.

Further, Gregory of Nyssa [De iis qui in fide dormiunt] says: "If one who loves and believes in Christ," has failed to wash away his sins in this life, "he is set free after death by the fire of Purgatory." Therefore there remains some kind of cleansing after this life.

I answer that, From the conclusions we have drawn above (III, 86, 4-5; Supplement, 12, 1) it is sufficiently clear that there is a Purgatory after this life. For if the debt of punishment is not paid in full after the stain of sin has been washed away by contrition, nor again are venial sins always removed when mortal sins are remitted, and if justice demands that sin be set in order by due punishment, it follows that one who after contrition for his fault and after being absolved, dies before making due satisfaction, is punished after this life. Wherefore those who deny Purgatory speak against the justice of God: for which reason such a statement is erroneous and contrary to faith. Hence Gregory of Nyssa, after the words quoted above, adds: "This we preach, holding to the teaching of truth, and this is our belief; this the universal Church holds, by praying for the dead that they may be loosed from sins." This cannot be understood except as referring to Purgatory: and whosoever resists the authority of the Church, incurs the note of heresy.

Reply to Objection 1. The authority quoted is speaking of the labor of working for merit, and not of the labor of suffering to be cleansed.

Reply to Objection 2. Evil has not a perfect cause, but results from each single defect: whereas good arises from one perfect cause, as Dionysius asserts [Div. Nom. iv, 4]. Hence each defect is an obstacle to the perfection of good; while not every good hinders some consummation of evil, since there is never evil without some good. Consequently venial sin prevents one who has charity from obtaining the perfect good, namely eternal life, until he be cleansed; whereas mortal sin cannot be hindered by some conjoined good from bringing a man forthwith to the extreme of evils.

Reply to Objection 3. He that falls into mortal sin, deadens all the good he has done before, and what he does, while in mortal sin, is dead: since by offending God he deserves to lose all the good he has from God. Wherefore no reward after this life awaits him who dies in mortal sin, whereas sometimes punishment awaits him who dies in charity, which does not always wash away the sin which it finds, but only that which is contrary to it.

Footnotes

604 Cf. Council of Florence (1439): DS 1304; Council of Trent (1563): DS 1820; (1547): 1580; see also Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336): DS 1000.
605 Cf. ⇒ 1 Cor 3:15; ⇒ 1 Pet 1:7.
606 St. Gregory the Great, Dial. 4, 39: PL 77, 396; cf. ⇒ Mt 12:31.
607 ⇒ 2 Macc 12:46.
608 Cf. Council of Lyons II (1274): DS 856.
609 St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in 1 Cor. 41, 5: PG 61, 361; cf. ⇒ Job 1:5.
610 1 ⇒ Jn 3:14-15.
611 Cf. ⇒ Mt 25:31-46.
612 Cf. ⇒ Mt 5:22, ⇒ 29; ⇒ 10:28; ⇒ 13:42, ⇒ 50; ⇒ Mk 9:43-48.
613 ⇒ Mt 13:41-42.
614 ⇒ Mt 25:41.
615 Cf. DS 76; 409; 411; 801; 858; 1002; 1351; 1575; Paul VI, CPG # 12.
616 ⇒ Mt 7:13-14.
617 LG 48 # 3; ⇒ Mt 22:13; cf. ⇒ Heb 9:27; ⇒ Mt 25:13, ⇒ 26, ⇒ 30, ⇒ 31 ⇒ 46.
618 Cf. Council of Orange II (529): DS 397; Council of Trent (1547):1567.
619 ⇒ 2 Pet 3:9.
620 Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 88.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 1020-1029, 1051-1053 – The Particular Judgment and Heaven

clock February 10, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the particular judgment and Heaven. Supporting material comes from St. Thomas Aquinas’ “Summa Theologica”.

Article 12

"I BELIEVE IN LIFE EVERLASTING"

1020 The Christian who unites his own death to that of Jesus views it as a step towards him and an entrance into everlasting life. When the Church for the last time speaks Christ's words of pardon and absolution over the dying Christian, seals him for the last time with a strengthening anointing, and gives him Christ in viaticum as nourishment for the journey, she speaks with gentle assurance:

Go forth, Christian soul, from this world
in the name of God the almighty Father,
who created you,
in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God,
who suffered for you,
in the name of the Holy Spirit,
who was poured out upon you.
Go forth, faithful Christian!
May you live in peace this day,
may your home be with God in Zion,
with Mary, the virgin Mother of God,
with Joseph, and all the angels and saints....
May you return to [your Creator]
who formed you from the dust of the earth.
May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints
come to meet you as you go forth from this life....
May you see your Redeemer face to face. 589

I. The Particular Judgment

1021 Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ.590 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.591

1022 Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through a purification592 or immediately,593-or immediate and everlasting damnation.594

At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love.595

II. Heaven

1023 Those who die in God's grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live for ever with Christ. They are like God for ever, for they "see him as he is," face to face:596

By virtue of our apostolic authority, we define the following: According to the general disposition of God, the souls of all the saints . . . and other faithful who died after receiving Christ's holy Baptism (provided they were not in need of purification when they died, . . . or, if they then did need or will need some purification, when they have been purified after death, . . .) already before they take up their bodies again and before the general judgment - and this since the Ascension of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into heaven - have been, are and will be in heaven, in the heavenly Kingdom and celestial paradise with Christ, joined to the company of the holy angels. Since the Passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, these souls have seen and do see the divine essence with an intuitive vision, and even face to face, without the mediation of any creature.597

1024 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.

1025 To live in heaven is "to be with Christ." the elect live "in Christ,"598 but they retain, or rather find, their true identity, their own name.599

For life is to be with Christ; where Christ is, there is life, there is the kingdom.600

1026 By his death and Resurrection, Jesus Christ has "opened" heaven to us. The life of the blessed consists in the full and perfect possession of the fruits of the redemption accomplished by Christ. He makes partners in his heavenly glorification those who have believed in him and remained faithful to his will. Heaven is the blessed community of all who are perfectly incorporated into Christ.

1027 This mystery of blessed communion with God and all who are in Christ is beyond all understanding and description. Scripture speaks of it in images: life, light, peace, wedding feast, wine of the kingdom, the Father's house, the heavenly Jerusalem, paradise: "no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him."601

1028 Because of his transcendence, God cannot be seen as he is, unless he himself opens up his mystery to man's immediate contemplation and gives him the capacity for it. The Church calls this contemplation of God in his heavenly glory "the beatific vision":

How great will your glory and happiness be, to be allowed to see God, to be honored with sharing the joy of salvation and eternal light with Christ your Lord and God, . . . to delight in the joy of immortality in the Kingdom of heaven with the righteous and God's friends.602

1029 In the glory of heaven the blessed continue joyfully to fulfill God's will in relation to other men and to all creation. Already they reign with Christ; with him "they shall reign for ever and ever."603

IN BRIEF

1051 Every man receives his eternal recompense in his immortal soul from the moment of his death in a particular judgment by Christ, the judge of the living and the dead.

1052 "We believe that the souls of all who die in Christ's grace . . . are the People of God beyond death. On the day of resurrection, death will be definitively conquered, when these souls will be reunited with their bodies" (Paul VI, CPG # 28).

1053 "We believe that the multitude of those gathered around Jesus and Mary in Paradise forms the Church of heaven, where in eternal blessedness they see God as he is and where they are also, to various degrees, associated with the holy angels in the divine governance exercised by Christ in glory, by interceding for us and helping our weakness by their fraternal concern" (Paul VI, CPG # 29).

St. Thomas Aquinas’ “Summa Theologica” (Supplement, 69) discusses the existence of Heaven:

Article 1. Whether places are appointed to receive souls after death?

Objection 1. It would seem that places are not appointed to receive souls after death. For as Boethius says (De Hebdom.): "Wise men are agreed that incorporeal things are not in a place," and this agrees with the words of Augustine (Gen. ad lit. xii, 32): "We can answer without hesitation that the soul is not conveyed to corporeal places, except with a body, or that it is not conveyed locally." Now the soul separated from the body is without a body, as Augustine also says (Gen. ad lit. xii, 32). Therefore it is absurd to assign any places for the reception of souls.

Objection 2. Further, whatever has a definite place has more in common with that place than with any other. Now separated souls, like certain other spiritual substances, are indifferent to all places; for it cannot be said that they agree with certain bodies, and differ from others, since they are utterly removed from all corporeal conditions. Therefore places should not be assigned for their reception.

Objection 3. Further, nothing is assigned to separated souls after death, except what conduces to their punishment or to their reward. But a corporeal place cannot conduce to their punishment or reward, since they receive nothing from bodies. Therefore definite places should not be assigned to receive them.

On the contrary, The empyrean heaven is a corporeal place, and yet as soon as it was made it was filled with the holy angels, as Bede [Hexaem. i, ad Gn. 1:2] says. Since then angels even as separated souls are incorporeal, it would seem that some place should also be assigned to receive separated souls.

Further, this appears from Gregory's statement (Dial. iv) that souls after death are conveyed to various corporeal places, as in the case of Paschasius whom Germanus, Bishop of Capua, found at the baths, and of the soul of King Theodoric, which he asserts to have been conveyed to hell. Therefore after death souls have certain places for their reception.

I answer that, Although spiritual substances do not depend on a body in respect of their being, nevertheless the corporeal world is governed by God by means of the spiritual world, as asserted by Augustine (De Trin. iii, 4) and Gregory (Dial. iv, 6). Hence it is that there is a certain fittingness by way of congruity of spiritual substances to corporeal substances, in that the more noble bodies are adapted to the more noble substances: wherefore also the philosophers held that the order of separate substances is according to the order of movables. And though after death souls have no bodies assigned to them whereof they be the forms or determinate motors, nevertheless certain corporeal places are appointed to them by way of congruity in reference to their degree of nobility (wherein they are as though in a place, after the manner in which incorporeal things can be in a place), according as they more or less approach to the first substance (to which the highest place it fittingly assigned), namely God, whose throne the Scriptures proclaim heaven to be (Psalm 102:19, Isaiah 66:1). Wherefore we hold that those souls that have a perfect share of the Godhead are in heaven, and that those souls that are deprived of that share are assigned to a contrary place.

Reply to Objection 1. Incorporeal things are not in place after a manner known and familiar to us, in which way we say that bodies are properly in place; but they are in place after a manner befitting spiritual substances, a manner that cannot be fully manifest to us.

Reply to Objection 2. Things have something in common with or a likeness to one another in two ways. First, by sharing a same quality: thus hot things have something in common, and incorporeal things can have nothing in common with corporeal things in this way. Secondly, by a kind of proportionateness, by reason of which the Scriptures apply the corporeal world to the spiritual metaphorically. Thus the Scriptures speak of God as the sun, because He is the principle of spiritual life, as the sun is of corporeal life. In this way certain souls have more in common with certain places: for instance, souls that are spiritually enlightened, with luminous bodies, and souls that are plunged in darkness by sin, with dark places.

Reply to Objection 3. The separated soul receives nothing directly from corporeal places in the same way as bodies which are maintained by their respective places: yet these same souls, through knowing themselves to be appointed to such places, gather joy or sorrow therefrom; and thus their place conduces to their punishment or reward.

Footnotes

589 OCF, Prayer of Commendation.
590 Cf. ⇒ 2 Tim 1:9-10.
591 Cf. ⇒ Lk 16:22; ⇒ 23:43; ⇒ Mt 16:26; ⇒ 2 Cor 5:8; ⇒ Phil 1:23; ⇒ Heb 9:27; ⇒ 12:23.
592 Cf. Council of Lyons II (1274): DS 857-858; Council of Florence (1439): DS 1304- 1306; Council of Trent (1563): DS 1820.
593 Cf. Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336): DS 1000-1001; John XXII, Ne super his (1334): DS 990.
594 Cf. Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336): DS 1002.
595 St. John of the Cross, Dichos 64.
596 ⇒ 1 Jn 3:2; cf. ⇒ 1 Cor 13:12; ⇒ Rev 22:4.
597 Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336): DS 1000; cf. LG 49.
598 ⇒ Phil 1:23; cf. ⇒ Jn 14:3; ⇒ 1 Thess 4:17.
599 Cf. ⇒ Rev 2:17.
600 St. Ambrose, In Luc., 10, 121: PL 15, 1834A.
601 ⇒ 1 Cor 2:9.
602 St. Cyprian, Ep. 58, 10, 1: CSEL 3/2, 665.
603 ⇒ Rev 22:5; cf. ⇒ Mt 25:21, ⇒ 23.