Need some help...


#1

Hi, I’m new to the boards. I’ve been having some trouble lately dealing with the afterlife. It’s something I never really thought about until about a week ago.

I’m 18(19 tomorrow :slight_smile: ), I went to Catholic school for 13 years and was taught about heaven, hell and purgatory, and for the most part never questioned it. Well, for the last about 4 years, I’ve lost touch with the church. I haven’t attended mass many times and I’ve rarely prayed. Yet I’ve kept God in my life to some extent, occasionally I’ll find myself just talking to him or looking to him for strength when things get a little rough.

But recently, I’ve had some time on my hands and I’ve started wondering about the teachings. I guess because I tend to apply logic to most things rather than faith and beliefs, although I admire those who can rely on their faith. But I started questioning the teaching of eternal life. I started fearing death and it really shook me. I didn’t want to just die and that be it. Tears came to my eyes as I pondered the idea of being just a lifeless body buried in the ground. I had no idea what to do. I was completely lost.

But then I went into my mother’s room and looked at a very common picture of Jesus that was on her wall. I was still scared, but I just looked at the picture. Something strange happened, something I still don’t understand. Everything else became a blur except for his eyes, everything seemed to stop for a single moment. It felt like a weight had literally been lifted off my shoulders. I always thought those who claimed to have this sort of religious experience were just lying or crazy for whatever reason(immaturity I guess.) But this was as real as it gets. It was as if the fear was just removed from my body. Now, I have a re-newed faith in God and I went to go back to church and get closer to God.

Despite this, unfortunately, I still have a feeling of uncertainty. I don’t fear death like I did, and I don’t doubt the teachings of the Catholic church. But I cannot fathom everlasting life, nor can I fathom only living for 60, 70, 80 however many years. I’m going to talk to a priest at my church later on this week, but I’d like to hear some others perspective on this. It would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


#2

Happy birthday!

Don’t feel bad if you can’t understand or imagine everlasting life–none of us can! We, as human beings here on earth, have no real concept of something that never ends. Our lives are constantly marked by beginnings and endings. But eternal life is different, it is a mystery which we only know of through Divine Revelation. We know that it is radically different than life here on earth. We know that it is not so much time stretching forever than an existence wholly outside of time. The words past and future really have no meaning, because it is always present. Anything more than that, we will have to wait to understand until we can experience it ourselves.


#3

It sounds like you could use the help and support of your peers that a Young Adult Ministry may provide. During the summer, many dioceses have a Theology-on-Tap program, or even a young adult’s retreat that may benefit you and help you find answers to the questions you are longing for. Check with your local family ministry office of your diocese, or contact the group within your parish.
You are not alone in any of your questions! Pray, Pray and Pray some more. Even a spiritual director would help you with your questions.


#4

[quote=Dr. Colossus]Happy birthday!
[/quote]

Thank you.

[quote=Dr. Colossus]Don’t feel bad if you can’t understand or imagine everlasting life–none of us can! We, as human beings here on earth, have no real concept of something that never ends. Our lives are constantly marked by beginnings and endings. But eternal life is different, it is a mystery which we only know of through Divine Revelation. We know that it is radically different than life here on earth. We know that it is not so much time stretching forever than an existence wholly outside of time. The words past and future really have no meaning, because it is always present. Anything more than that, we will have to wait to understand until we can experience it ourselves.
[/quote]

Your post makes a lot of sense. Although, I can’t help but still have questions. Are our human senses gone when we die? How will I experience heaven without seeing, feeling, hearing?

And still, this idea of living forever baffles me. Will it feel like forever? Will I even be aware that it’s forever? And I’ve really grown to like my life here on earth, why does it have to end? I guess trying to find the answers to impossible questions and the mysteries of life, death, and the afterlife aren’t the best idea for a 19 year old? But I can’t help it…:frowning:


#5

Happy birthday db!

Sounds like you really had a wakeup call in there. Believe me, if God wants to touch your life, He will. No ifs, ands, buts or detours. That’s a good thing about being all-powerful: if you want to make a point, you do.

I would say the first step is to get back to Mass. There’s a lot of meaning there in the liturgies. “Whosoever eats of My flesh and drinks of My blood shall not perish, but shall have eternal life,” for instance. THat was God’s promise to us. We remind ourselves of this promise of eternal life whenever we go to Mass.

I wouldn’t worry about the details of eternal life - yes, I know, easier said than done - but relax. Not every experience depends on seeing and hearing; your experience with the picture of Christ had more of a spiritual feeling than a physical, didn’t it? In heaven, i don’t think we’ll need to experience things physically. It’s all about spirituality. Jesus explained it in human terms to get the point across, but I don’t think we have humanity in heaven.


#6

[quote=The_Angelus]Happy birthday db!

Sounds like you really had a wakeup call in there. Believe me, if God wants to touch your life, He will. No ifs, ands, buts or detours. That’s a good thing about being all-powerful: if you want to make a point, you do.

I would say the first step is to get back to Mass. There’s a lot of meaning there in the liturgies. “Whosoever eats of My flesh and drinks of My blood shall not perish, but shall have eternal life,” for instance. THat was God’s promise to us. We remind ourselves of this promise of eternal life whenever we go to Mass.

I wouldn’t worry about the details of eternal life - yes, I know, easier said than done - but relax. Not every experience depends on seeing and hearing; your experience with the picture of Christ had more of a spiritual feeling than a physical, didn’t it? In heaven, i don’t think we’ll need to experience things physically. It’s all about spirituality. Jesus explained it in human terms to get the point across, but I don’t think we have humanity in heaven.
[/quote]

Yes, it was more spiritual than physical. You make a lot of good points, and I will be sure to go back to mass. :slight_smile:

I guess I’m just worried about the unknown, but I can’t let that consume me like it did for a very short time. It’s all just so much, and so confusing and mind-boggling. But I suppose that’s where the whole “faith” thing comes in…


#7

[quote=stbruno]It sounds like you could use the help and support of your peers that a Young Adult Ministry may provide. During the summer, many dioceses have a Theology-on-Tap program, or even a young adult’s retreat that may benefit you and help you find answers to the questions you are longing for. Check with your local family ministry office of your diocese, or contact the group within your parish.
You are not alone in any of your questions! Pray, Pray and Pray some more. Even a spiritual director would help you with your questions.
[/quote]

Will do, stbruno. :thumbsup: Thanks for the suggestion.


#8

First off, Happy 19th Birthday

This was pointed out to me by a Religion teacher, but we get a glimpse of a body from the afterlife in the Bible.
After Christ’s resurrection, when he returns and talks to his apostles and such, they do not recognize him at first glance. He talks to them, eats with them, walks with and all…
Some say this might be a look at what those in Heaven recieve.

When one would go to Heaven, I would like to think we will be in so love with God that everything else will not matter to us. I try to imagine a time when my Heart was just lifted and everything felt like it made sense… And hope it will be 1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000^100000000 greater… Think of your experience and how great it must have felt.

:eek:

I mean…

:thumbsup:


#9

Wow, that is an awesome experience you had with Christ! I have found in my times of worry and doubt he has “spoken” to me in one way or another. Once it was in a dream, sometimes with a thought that comes to my mind. For example, last month I was deeply troubled by a circumstance that was out of my control. I was praying to God and I was very scared. Out of nowhere, while I was praying a thought came to my head, “have faith”, and I said to myself, “have faith?”, and then another thought came, “that is all you need”.
As for your questions, I wish I had an answer for you, but my mind cannot comprehend things such as eternal life. My brother struggles with the concept and I have told him that we as humans do not have the capacity to understand things like that, just as Dr. Colossus said. That is why the Bible says that we must have the faith of a child to enter the kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 18:2-4). My advice to you is pray to God and ask Him for peace and understanding, and don’t hesitate to seek the counsel of Christians stronger in their faith. God puts people like that in our lives for a reason!


#10

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