My original title was going to be “Saints, Transfiguration, Total Sanctification before physical death (before Purgatory). Faith+Protestant Shenanigans” but this is too long Apologies also for a long series of posts. Wanted to get this off my chest.
I come from a protestant background where the philosophy is “Even if you’re saved you’re going to be a sinner till the day that you die”. I bought into that but have recently been heavily rebuked.
I was talking to the Priest at my local Catholic Church and he mentioned that the Saints experienced transfiguration during their time on earth. I was wondering about the implications about this and where I can learn more information/details?
Does this mean that the saints got to a point where they were so full of faith, love, the Holy spirit etc, that they could resist all temptation and simply became incapable of sinning?
“Resist the Devil and he will flee from you” comes to mind although I forget where that comes from and I may be misquoting it.
My understanding is that salvation in the catholic church is perceived as a journey, not an instantaneous event. With sanctification being tied up with justification. So is it fair to say that the saints managed to arrive at “heaven on earth” because before they even died, they successfully made it to the end of their sanctification journey?
(And was Jesus capable of sinning? He went through all the temptations… but this is a side question)
Also, one last thing. Is faith a one-off thing? Or something that grows with prayer and devotion? Because I find in the protestant church everything is very “absolute”: Either you have the holy spirit or you don’t, you have faith or you don’t, you are saved or you are not saved. Either you are Fully justified and sanctified or you’re a scum-of-the-earth dirty sinner. I’ve tried to buy this for so long but I just can’t any more because it doesn’t match up with my experience at all and the cognitive dissonance is getting to me. (and if I’m sanctified, why the heck do I still sin??? It honestly seems like more of a sliding scale. I know I sin LESS than I used to, but I haven’t stopped sinning completely…)
My experience seems to be more that there are days and moments when I feel much more “full of love” and “full of the spirit”. Sometimes it feels like I’m Holy, protected, sinless, completely loving and humble, and staring God/Truth itself in the face, the words I’m speaking to the people around me feel like my words, and they make sense, but at the same time they don’t feel like my words at all, it feels like God is speaking through me. I know that we have to test the spirits and I always encourage who I’m talking to to do this, and I’m always careful not to overstep what I know to be true. I will be gently but effectively rebuking or leading the person I’m speaking with towards Christ. Is this prophecy?
At these times the gospel makes complete sense and people just want to sit and talk with me and listen to what I’m saying. In such moments people are attracted to me, but I also humbly realize that it’s not me they’re attracted to: it’s God and his holy spirit within me! :eek: In these moments I feel as if I’m serving god with all of my mind and my heart, and this overflows to the people around me. I am free of pride and just amazed at Gods grace, amazed at the ultimate expression of love he demonstrated on the cross. I’m full to the top with an overflowing faith and love and I am “Radiating godliness” (someone has actually, honestly said this to me before), and it’s absolutely wonderful, the only word that I know which would come close to describing it would be “heaven”, although I would be careful to describe it like this.
But I have a relativist background, and so most of the time I’m fighting against sin/the devil and my mind and heart are FULL of doubts about what I’m believing. This simply doesn’t match up with the idea that the protestants are pushing at me that “Just have faith in Christ and you will be saved”. Well, how the heck do I know if I have faith??? Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t! Sometimes I have a little bit of faith, sometimes I have a lot of faith (I would love to have a faith that moves mountains one day). Some times I’m sharing the love of God and witnessing moments of conversion written all over the face of whoever I’m talking to, some times I’m being grabbed by the devil and dragged down into darkness to commit lust, fornication, adultery, theft, lying etc etc etc
Right now, as well as faith I actually pray for doubt, because my experiences tell me that my doubts have led to rapid growth in faith. Doubts are important too! Can’t just ignore them. And I don’t just want more faith, I want a RIGHT faith, with correct doctrine. I don’t want to dishonour our lord by spreading heresy. So far this mindset has lead me to the Catholic church, which is simultaneously scary and exciting for me because my background has been so anti-catholic for so long.