It is strange to not want eternal life?

I am a catechumen because I believe in the Catholic Church. My reading and prayers only serve to further confirm my new-found faith but I am having a strange sort of dillema: I really don’t think I’m worthy of eternal life and I think that it is too much to ask of from God.

I live in a beautiful, free country. I have a wonderful (in-law-to-be) family. I have enough money to be able to live comfortably. I am (for the most part) healthy. I want for nothing. I go to church and donate time/labor/money/blood/food because I feel I owe God more than I could ever repay for this life, let alone for another! Also, ever since I learned that the Eucharist is not a metaphor but a real presence, I feel guilty at the idea of eating it.

It it normal to feel so overpoweringly unworthy and indebted to God? Is this a phase? What should I do?

the consciousness of unworthiness is part of the process of conversion which catechumens are going through. You should be getting spiritual direction as well as catechesis from your RCIA team. Please approach the pastoral person, priest or deacon, on the team for help recognizing the stages of conversion and discerning the process. This is part of their job. The difficulty arises when you get stuck in one phase and cannot move beyond to acceptance of God’s marvelous gift of salvation.

Puzzleannie’s right. Hopefully you can get further direction at home. In the meantime, remember that eternal life and receiving the Eucharist is what Christ wants for us. Think of a cake you might painstakingly bake and decorate for your child or a friend. You give them the most extravagant thing you can, and they refuse it saying they’re not worthy. While you can appreciate their sentiments, you really want them to receive this gift, right? That’s the whole point of the gift, is to be received, right? If its never received, then the act of giving is never complete. Turn your unworthiness back to Him, receive His gifts with love and obedience. Your gracious reception of His gift is your gift back to Him. Its the only one He really wants. God bless you during this process in the Catechumenate!

[quote=ames61]Puzzleannie’s right. Hopefully you can get further direction at home. In the meantime, remember that eternal life and receiving the Eucharist is what Christ wants for us. Think of a cake you might painstakingly bake and decorate for your child or a friend. You give them the most extravagant thing you can, and they refuse it saying they’re not worthy. While you can appreciate their sentiments, you really want them to receive this gift, right? That’s the whole point of the gift, is to be received, right? If its never received, then the act of giving is never complete. Turn your unworthiness back to Him, receive His gifts with love and obedience. Your gracious reception of His gift is your gift back to Him. Its the only one He really wants. God bless you during this process in the Catechumenate!
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That was very nicely put Amy! That will be my food for thought today.

cheddar

[quote=ames61]Puzzleannie’s right. Hopefully you can get further direction at home. In the meantime, remember that eternal life and receiving the Eucharist is what Christ wants for us. Think of a cake you might painstakingly bake and decorate for your child or a friend. You give them the most extravagant thing you can, and they refuse it saying they’re not worthy. While you can appreciate their sentiments, you really want them to receive this gift, right? That’s the whole point of the gift, is to be received, right? If its never received, then the act of giving is never complete. Turn your unworthiness back to Him, receive His gifts with love and obedience. Your gracious reception of His gift is your gift back to Him. Its the only one He really wants. God bless you during this process in the Catechumenate!
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Excellent post!! The same sentiment applies in the earthly realm when someone offers to help you with a need you have. Sometimes we refuse help thinking it is more “polite” or considerate to save someone else the effort. In reality you are depriving them of the opportunity to share your burdens and be a good friend/parent/child, etc…Graciously accepting help can be a great gift to BOTH the giver and recipient.

[quote=Island Oak]Excellent post!! The same sentiment applies in the earthly realm when someone offers to help you with a need you have. Sometimes we refuse help thinking it is more “polite” or considerate to save someone else the effort. In reality you are depriving them of the opportunity to share your burdens and be a good friend/parent/child, etc…Graciously accepting help can be a great gift to BOTH the giver and recipient.
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Thanks, Island Oak & Cheddarsox I’ve been going through Christopher Wests TOTB tapes again, and the thought of gift has been kind of echoing through everything these days.

Island Oak, I’ve been wrestling with exactly the type of things you mention above w/r/t accepting help on tasks, esp in the Church. Much of what I do is often regarded as “grunt” work, I feel bad asking for or accepting help, figuring that everyone else wants to do the more glamourous stuff. But then I think about how my faith has grown through those opportunities and feel guilty about denying others the same opportunity. Good intentions and all that. . .

This is a question I have been thinking about quite a bit lately. In reading Jesus’ promise aboout having eternal life, it presumes that a person would naturally WANT eternal life. Why would a person want eternal life?

The idea that it is a free gift that we should feel guilty if we don’t want it doesn’t answer the why we should want it. What is it in our experience of this life or in the Gospel that would suggest that we would want it?

The answer that the alternative is eternal hell is certainly a deterrent to not obeying Jesus’ commands, and the threat of something worse than our current existence is pretty horrifying. However, I can imagine an alternative of avoiding hell and ‘resting in peace’ (i.e. no longer existing).

I am curious to hear anyone’s thoughts about this.

Regards,
Dubya

I know what you mean but that’s just not one of our choices.
It’s almost like the air. It just continues to exist whether it’s
polluted or clean. We don’t have the option to just make the
air disappear any more than we have that option for ourselves.
When a baby is born it must be like a death to them. Everything
is fine, then they go through a traumatic experience, then they
have a new kind of life. They don’t get the option of ceasing to
exist. When we die, it’s actually a new kind of life in the spirit.
Then when we get resurrected(get new bodies), this will happen
to the good and bad alike. The new life will be either heaven or
hell. We can’t choose non-existence, any more than the air can.
But I know what you mean, sometimes it would be easier to
just go to sleep.

Dubya:

I think you make a valid point. When we delve into the world of Devine Reprobation we begin to feel uncomfortable and we are justified. We get the uncanny and subtle feeling we are simply being processed.

I always thought that the existance of hell should allow for the existance of extinction, an unreasonable request I thought that doesn’t sit well with others I’ll admit. The first choice of any being was God’s choice of having other beings. It would seem that that liberty supposes a means even by displacement to offset the effect to other beings. The handling of these created deciding if the created are things, or to be treated as feeling beings.This is one where the responsibility cannot be placed on man’s shoulders.

When/if man one day creates aware machines that have a feeling of sorts and can reason, then they may present us with the same dilema, and they would be right. We may resist the temptation of our omni-selves(in their view, and we will insist it, because we can.) to press the disintegration button concluding they were ungrateful, or we could simply and willingly show the substance of the decent and just people we are and submit to higher principles that we ourselves promised to abide by.

One time I posited a compromise. I suggested that just prior to conception the soul is told all the possible scenerios that could arise as a result of his existance, and if it desires not to exist then he has the inalienable right not to. Included should be his state, elect or reprobated, which should have the effect of shortening the decision time. This is of course a matter of justice, and assumes all judges are themselves responsible beings and submit to a higher principle.

One thing is for sure. The concept of judged beings having the inalienable right to being judged fairly by judges who willingly conform to a higher constitution is a Universal precept sanctioned by the Holy Spirit Himself. The odd thing is that the concept of having the right to see justice play out in our midst so that we can actually see it is withheld from us. We will have less than a microsecond in the celestial courtroom to present our case, if we are allowed at all.

I wonder if our cyborgs will be comfortable with the their kind simply vanishing in front of them as we submit each in private to our omni-justice at will.? But then we can do anything can’t we. We can simply force everything on them. Under the ominous umbrella of eternal punishment we can say they have choices and they will agree. We can desire anything and they will agree. We can say be happy and they will. But we will know these are not real choices. We will become the “Dons” and everyone will laugh or cry at will. Existance will become an uncomfortable (“walking on eggshells” as another poster put it) scenerio. But we could offer them an out before they are brought “on line” in full capacity. We will say to each, “This is what could happen to you, you choose, power off or on?.”

But at least now we can honestly say “We are just”.

Andyf

None of us is worthy, but God loves us and wants us to use the gifts He gives us to grow in holiness.

About feeling guilty for receiving the Eucharist, speak to your priest about that.

Of course we’re not worthy! None of us is worthy even to exist. It’s in the very beginning of the Catechism: God infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely chose to create man to make him share in his goodness.

God does not need any of us at all! How beautiful because it means that his love for each of us is absolutely perfect. We could never repay him at all for even the slightest thing he’s given us.

The whole reason he created us was for us to enjoy existence, for us to know, love, and be with him.

Andyf,

I found your reply to be very thought provoking. However, I am not questioning the justice here, though I do not think we have any basis to claim a right. We have no ‘right’ to either existence or non-existence. How can a being which does not exist have any claims to rights?

But, my real question involves why a person should desire eternal life, as Jesus means.

If it is something to be sought after, and difficult to attain, it must be perceived as being very desireable. After Jesus teaching on the Eucharist, when many disciples left Him saying “this teaching is too hard”, Peter replied to Jesus query about his intentions that where else would they go “you have the words of eternal life”. So why did Peter think this was a compelling reason to follow Our Lord?

I would like to hear what various people have to say about why they want the eternal life Jesus offers. Do you want it Andyf, and if so, why?

Dubya

In a nutshell.

Partly technical. There are three places you can go after this, and the middle one is a stopover to the best place. The other you don’t want to go to.

Partly as a Devine plan. You were created for a destiny in heaven after first proving you deserve it through service to God and neighbour.

All this is really an announcement that you don’t have a real choice, but devinity likes to say it is, as if hell is perceived as a desirable vacation spot we would love to go to. I think it shows insensitivity.

If it is something to be sought after, and difficult to attain, it must be perceived as being very desireable. After Jesus teaching on the Eucharist, when many disciples left Him saying “this teaching is too hard”, Peter replied to Jesus query about his intentions that where else would they go “you have the words of eternal life”. So why did Peter think this was a compelling reason to follow Our Lord?

Because he chose to pick the positive motive benefits, especially helped by the friendship he had with Jesus. Others prefer to be scared into conformity.

Do you want it Andyf, and if so, why?

I’m a practical person by nature.

After a lifetime of getting how a rotten person I am I would be really inquisitive to see the true substance of the celestial beings.

Under the assurance no one can hurt anyone, I’ll safely suggest to the angels that they volunteer they should try to be born human and try our test of “being perfect” to prove their love to God. Completely unaware of their true nature and powers of course. No cheating, and if they fail they stay human. They will probably beg me to keep quiet.:smiley:

I will probably ask to see case files of those nations that saw damnation collectively has they sinned collectively. Very interesting to see the result of alleged impartial justice here. My gut feeling it’s a bunch of malarky, only individuals make the fuel for the furnaces.

Come to think of it, not much of a candidate hey? But then the truth has nothing to be shamed of being exposed.:frowning:

AndyF

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