What's the point?


#1

I am wondering what is the point in trying to understand or pursue more knowledge of the church when it has been repeatedly stated that it is not okay to call yourself Catholic unless you are in complete agreement with the church on absolutely everything. No amount of going to mass, confession, or anything else will count if you do not agree one hundred and ten percent.

I feel completely lost and have stopped going to church because it will all be pointless in the end anyway. There is no point to any of it. We are all going to die and where we end up nobody can truly say because we do not know the mind of God. Has anybody spoken directly to God lately? I am not trying to be disrespectful I am just curious as to how you “know” so many things beyond any and all doubt. Yes, I realize that many of you have a very strong faith and don’t need to speak directly to God. I need explanations that make sense to a complete and utter idiot, dummy, heathen.

I have seen the requirements for mortal sin listed on CAF, the Catechism, and elsewhere repeatedly but I still wonder how one can know for certain that one has committed a mortal sin. While in RCIA, the priest made it very clear that we are not to join a church or follow anything because we are coerced to do so. We must make our choices based on undertanding and do it of our own free will. We must constantly work to form our consciences. Somebody running around telling us that we are going to hell because we disagree seems a bit coercive to me. I do not want to follow any religion that is going to run around threatening me with eternal damnation if I don’t accept and follow every little thing they say. I want to follow out of love and true understanding, not out of fear.

If we truly do not understand a specific teaching and continue to read and pray about it, yet still do not come to the same conclusion as the church does that mean that I am a horrible person that is not worthy of the church? This is what I have been led to feel and believe from reading these forums. Yes, I am immature in my faith. Yes, I do not completely understand the authority of the Pope and other church leaders. I was not born and raised with that kind of mentality. I was raised to question things and do my homework so that I am not duped by some well meaning person or group that is misguided.

I completed RCIA and joined the church with what I thought was a good understanding. I have since come to the conclusion that my understanding is completely wrong and there is no room for questioning or disagreement. Now, I have to wonder what is the point of calling myself Catholic or even pursuing it any further. It will never be enough.


#2

A newborn baby does’nt know the nutritional elements or the protein make up of the food that’s fed to him or her,it just takes the food in and it grows,without the food the baby would die.The Sacraments are our nutritional food that our Lord Jesus left us to grow and sustain us on this journey to Heaven,without them we would wither away and surely die.Just keep receiving the Bread of Life as often as you can and you will be fine.


#3

Dear one,

You don’t need to believe **everything **the Church teaches. It may sound shocking to you, but it’s true. I assure you.

Here’s the catch – you simply can’t dis-believe. Don’t be certain the Church is wrong, and don’t blatantly disregard what she says. Give the Church the benefit of the doubt. If you don’t yet see the reason, trust. Have faith. Know that God wants you more than you think.

Do you realize how much God wants you? If you were the only person in all creation, God would have done no less than the cross for you. He would have endured the shame for you. He would have suffered the scourge repeatedly just to show *you *how much He loves you. He has loved you more in an instant than anyone could ever love you in a thousand lifetimes.

What’s the point, you ask? That’s the point. To love and be loved. That’s the point of the mass, that’s the point of the sacraments, and that’s the point of all the seemingly-pointless rules the Church asks us to follow. I wrote this post to you a few days ago, but I don’t think you saw it. Would you please read it now?

God Bless,
RyanL

P.S.,
The Church is not a house of saints, it’s a hospital for sinners. None of us are good enough to deserve salvation. Not one. And yet people are saved…


#4

The teachings on mortal sin are a bit scary because, well, it is *mortal *sin and all. But knowing if you have done a mortal sin or not is not supposed to be a scary, unknown sort of thing. Following God is a calm, peaceful sort of thing. We can get ourselves into knots anyway, though. :smiley: If you are not aware of having done a mortal sin, and you are going to confession when the HS draws you or on a regular schedule, and you are trying to maintain your faith, then don’t worry that you might have done some unknown mortal sin. If you have deliberately given up, then worry. But that is not an unknown sort of thing. You know it is wrong to give up on your faith.

Yes, I do not completely understand the authority of the Pope and other church leaders. I was not born and raised with that kind of mentality. I was raised to question things and do my homework so that I am not duped by some well meaning person or group that is misguided.

This sounds like a good place to start investigating. I don’t think the official teachings of the Church are the result of some well meaning, but misguided person. Look into it! The Church teaches about the Holy Spirit and how he guides the Church, so those official teachings can be trusted. Investigate how Jesus left things so that the good news could be passed on reliably. I suspect you know to look in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.:slight_smile:


#5

[quote=antonius]Existence has purpose. God, as the author of existence, calls all things into being for His purposes – not for His entertainment; the perception of life as a “high-stakes game” may not be the most accurate way to look at it. We were not created to pursue whatever we think we want at any given point in time, but to share in the ultimate eternal reality, which is perfect love. Love requires free choice, experience, growth, and a willingness to place others above oneself. Love is not easy, but it is the highest and most compelling purpose of existence.

I don’t think of the two possible results, eternal life and eternal “punishment,” as some kind of arbitrary reward/punishment system. Eternal life is our calling, our reason for being, our destiny. To live in eternal communion with God and others is the reason we exist at all, and I believe it to be God’s supreme desire. He desires it more than we ourselves do. What we often call “eternal punishment” is really no more than the absence of God – and no one gets it unless he freely and emphatically chooses it. Those who choose themselves above all else, will reject the invitation to become “one with” God and others. That’s what love is – a one-ness with others.

I think that this thought of oneness with others will ultimately be repugnant to the stubbornly selfish – and they will decline heaven as something they cannot be happy with. This will be their own choice to separate from God and His communion of love. They will actually be more comfortable with what they have chosen.

I know there are some who think God (and the Church) is some kind of scorekeeper who just looks for infractions that disqualify people from heaven. Eternal fire for missing a Holy Day of Obligation? For reading risqué novels? I suppose that could well be true, but maybe not for the reasons you presume. In and of themselves, do instances like blowing off mass or indulging the sexual imagination represent an intentional “in your face” rebellion against God and his plan for humanity? If so, then yes, I guess you could say by doing those things, we are choosing deliberately to remain outside of communion with God and His purposes. But I would suggest that we rarely do these things in an attitude of outright contempt for holiness. Mostly, they are more like small “dings” on a new car – small, careless little imperfections that nevertheless steadily deteriorate the car’s finish, and allow rust to take hold and destroy it. So you cannot really say, “If you get a ding on your car, it goes to the scrapyard;” but you can say, “If you don’t avoid or repair the dings, one day your car will surely go to the scrapyard.” It is not a threat of punishment, but of natural, unavoidable consequence.
[/quote]


#6

I must be a complete idiot because I understood disbelief to be the inability to believe or accept something as true. While studying some of the church teachings, I am unable to accept some of them as true therefore I am in a state of disbelief. I am not certain that the Church is wrong but I am also not certain that it is correct either.

If I have been doing something that the Church clearly states is wrong, when I discover this, I am supposed to quit doing it immediately without any thought on my part without understanding as to why for fear of going to hell. I find this attitude to be a be coercive and cult like and it is quite contrary to the way things were presented to me in RCIA. In RCIA, it was emphasized that we are to form our consciences through rigorous study and prayer and that we should never make decisions regarding religion because we have been coerced to do so. We must follow because we choose to out of our free will.

Do you realize how much God wants you? If you were the only person in all creation, God would have done no less than the cross for you. He would have endured the shame for you. He would have suffered the scourge repeatedly just to show *you *how much He loves you. He has loved you more in an instant than anyone could ever love you in a thousand lifetimes.

If God is so loving and forgiving and loves me more in an instant than anyone could ever love me, then he will love me even more when I follow him out of love, obedience, and understanding rather than fear. As a parent, I would rather my children obey me because they understand me rather than fear some kind of physical retribution or torment.

What’s the point, you ask? That’s the point. To love and be loved. That’s the point of the mass, that’s the point of the sacraments, and that’s the point of all the seemingly-pointless rules the Church asks us to follow. I wrote this post to you a few days ago, but I don’t think you saw it. Would you please read it now?

If the point is to love and be loved, then why is it so important to follow every little nuance, cross every “t” and dot every “i”. If I disagree with the church and do not accept everything, does that mean that I am not loving enough?

BTW, I did read your other post in the other forum. I did not find it to be very enlightening. I will try to go back to that forum and respond to you there.


#7

Gogo girl

you have allowed the harsh opinions of others on a forum of anonymous people cause you to doubt yourself.
This is a good place to come to if you are wondering about the opinions of others. It is not a good place to come to if you are seeking help in your own spritual growth and discernment.
Seeking the guidance and counsel of a competent priest, your RCIA director, and fellow church members will be more helpful to you. Those people know you much better than anyone here.

God loves you and if that message isn’t coming through when certain people address you - that is their problem and not yours.


#8

Job 38:4 (RSV)
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of my Church?”

If Jesus,The Son of God,The creator of the Universe, and sustainer of everything that exists in it,established his Church,The Catholic Church,built on the foundation of the Apostles,and guided by the third person of the Trinity,The Holy Spirit,with the assurance that the Gates of Hell will not prevail against it,who are we to question anything ,but instead praise Jesus for leaving us this precious gift of his Catholic Church.


#9

I highly doubt you’re an idiot. This is a fine distinction I’ll admit, but if we’re going to critically examine something it helps to be precise.

CCC 2088:
…Voluntary doubt about the faith disregards or refuses to hold as true what God has revealed and the Church proposes for belief. Involuntary doubt refers to hesitation in believing, difficulty in overcoming objections connected with the faith, or also anxiety aroused by its obscurity. If deliberately cultivated doubt can lead to spiritual blindness.

Involuntary doubt is not a sin - Voluntary doubt is. You can “not be convinced” without sinning; if you say “the Church is wrong” (either in word or deed), it’s voluntary. See the difference?

If I have been doing something that the Church clearly states is wrong, when I discover this, I am supposed to quit doing it immediately without any thought on my part without understanding as to why for fear of going to hell.

Actually, you should quit doing it out of love for Christ, whose body is the Church. Because God is a lover, He’ll accept your most pathetic attempts to come to Him (like fear), but perfect contrition involves love. If you found out your husband hated X, would you quit doing X out of fear for the termination of your marriage or out of love for your husband? Would it require extensive thought or understanding on your part? It’s the same thing here.

I find this attitude to be a be coercive and cult like and it is quite contrary to the way things were presented to me in RCIA.

You can certainly make that claim, but you’d be wrong. If you tell your child, “STOP!” because she’s about to run into traffic, do you prevent her from thinking if you expect her to obey? She might not understand, but she’d better stop! You can explain later. Ever wonder why God is called a Father? Ever wonder why we call the Church “mother”? We’re about as smart as the child – we’ll understand eventually, but right now you simply do as you’re told. Trust that there’s a reason.

In RCIA, it was emphasized that we are to form our consciences through rigorous study and prayer and that we should never make decisions regarding religion because we have been coerced to do so. We must follow because we choose to out of our free will.

This is right in so far as it goes, but it’s incomplete. I recommend the Chapter in the Catechism about it, but here’s something which should be noted:

1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

The conscience must be well formed in order for it to be legitimately obeyed. That takes work, and you measure your conscience against the word of God (which comes to us through Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium). If there’s discord, the problem isn’t with the word of God.

If God is so loving and forgiving and loves me more in an instant than anyone could ever love me, then he will love me even more when I follow him out of love, obedience, and understanding rather than fear.

He will be more pleased with you, it is true.

As a parent, I would rather my children obey me because they understand me rather than fear some kind of physical retribution or torment.

But when your child is about to run into traffic, does it matter to you if she obeys out of fear or out of love? Sin is a car wreck waiting to happen. The Church is telling you to stop before you get hit.

If the point is to love and be loved, then why is it so important to follow every little nuance, cross every “t” and dot every “i”. If I disagree with the church and do not accept everything, does that mean that I am not loving enough?

What it means is that you’re not loving with the fullness of which you are capable. Just like there are rules to art (perspective, light, the frame, etc.), there are rules to love. Love does not commit adultry. Love does not lie. Love does not covet or steal. Love honors. Can you see the commandments in this? Are the commandments merely “suggestions”? Of course not. They are the rules of love, and if you do not obey them you are not loving with the fullness of which you are capable. It’s not about crossing "t"s or dotting "i"s – it’s about complete self giving. That can only be perfectly done when we do as God asks – indeed, that’s the only reason God asks it of us.

BTW, I did read your other post in the other forum. I did not find it to be very enlightening.

You might try re-reading it.

God Bless,
RyanL


#10

Gogogirl,

Your opening post has quite a bit to it. All in all, the answer to your title is that the point is to get to know God better and to grow in His grace. To do this we need to speak to Him and listen to Him (pray), learn about Him (study), worship Him and get fed (go to Mass), and do what He tells us to do (works). If we spend our lives doing that, Heaven will be the next logical step rather than a roll of the dice.

While we are required to be in complete agreement with all the teachings of the Church, that agreement can be implicit: “If that is what the Church teaches, then I will assent to that.” There is no requirement that we understand all the subtleties of Catholic doctrine. You don’t need to understand the details of the internal combustion engine in order to ride in a car; nor do you need to know the chemical kinetics of turbulent diffusion flames in order to enjoy a campfire.

If I may answer a few specific questions in your post:

(1) “Has anybody spoken directly to God lately?” Yes, I was just speaking to Him a few minutes ago, praising Him for a particular great work He is doing at the moment.

A question that is implicit in this is whether God personally explains Catholic doctrine to me, and the answer is no. Certainly I understand some Catholic teachings, but there are a lot more that I do not understand. When somebody asks about some Catholic doctrine, “I don’t know” is an acceptable answer; when God gives us our personal judgment, it will be on whether we loved our neighbors and not on whether we understood doctrines.

(2) “I still wonder how one can know for certain that one has committed a mortal sin.” I can’t speak for others, but the thing that I watch for is whether my prayer life is suffering. If it is, then I need to get myself to the confessional as soon as possible.

(3) “If we truly do not understand a specific teaching and continue to read and pray about it, yet still do not come to the same conclusion as the church does that mean that I am a horrible person that is not worthy of the church?” No. It means that you haven’t figured this particular doctrine out yet. By all means question things; John Paul II said that the Church has nothing to fear from honest inquiry. I’ve questioned the Church on a lot of things.

  • Liberian

#11

Those who have told you that have lied to you. They may very well believe what they told you, because so many Catholics go around judging each other.

The whole bit about “not OK to call yourself Catholic” is a lie. The Church teaches that once you are baptized into the Church or accepted into her after valid baptism elsewhere, remains a Catholic forever even if excommunicated or renounce your faith. Many Catholics then continue to divide the Body of Christ into “practicing Catholics” or “faithful Catholics” or whatever, but these are both a means to describe behavior and a weapon of judgment as one Catholic thinks himself a better Catholic than another because they are more “in line” with Rome or because they go to Church more often or act more pious or whatever.

I feel completely lost and have stopped going to church because it will all be pointless in the end anyway. There is no point to any of it. We are all going to die and where we end up nobody can truly say because we do not know the mind of God. Has anybody spoken directly to God lately? I am not trying to be disrespectful I am just curious as to how you “know” so many things beyond any and all doubt. Yes, I realize that many of you have a very strong faith and don’t need to speak directly to God. I need explanations that make sense to a complete and utter idiot, dummy, heathen.

Personally, I have spoken to God several times in the last few days, and yes I do tell Him my opinions. IMO God can handle that. I am a scientist so I had to find my faith in somewhat of a cross-referenced manner.

What is important to me, is that we learn how to allow our minds and hearts to be renewed with the Holy Spirit. Following the traditions and going to Mass and learning what is normally taught to Catholics is not sufficient, I don’t think, for most of us – especially those of us who have brains that can’t just buy what someone else said as fact without at least having a feasibility argument for some of this stuff – to really move us along on the spiritual journey. That’s where active Catholics who wish to go further in their faith can tap into the “contemplative” dimension of the Church, by which we can experience Divine Union with God. Of course Divine Union, and Transforming Union leading up to it, don’t require any particular practices or disciplines but there are ways to open ourselves up to it.

I have seen the requirements for mortal sin listed on CAF, the Catechism, and elsewhere repeatedly but I still wonder how one can know for certain that one has committed a mortal sin.

Bingo! I have come to the same conclusion, but it seems to catch on very slowly in terms of people’s adjusting their way of pretending they aren’t judging each other. Since two of the three requirements of mortal sin are subjective to the human mind, one can never actually know whether any given act constitutes a mortal sin – even the person who actually did it.

People go around saying this or that person has committed a mortal sin, and then they go ahead and justify themselves as saying “but I’m judging the action not the sinner.” That’s nonsense too. You simply cannot judge a mortal sin based on outward observation, period. You can, now, say that a person is doing something that involves “grave matter” but you can’t say it is a sin.

The biggest lie a lot of people like to toss around is that it is a mortal sin to miss Mass on Sunday. Oh yeah, it is a mortal sin to miss for a “good” reason. Then we go on to define what is a “good” reason, for those whom we think need a cookbook to tell them they are tentatively going to hell so that we may modify their behavior through that fear. Especially for people who are undergoing spiritual crises like you, or people who are mentally ill, if they don’t show up at Church then others automatically assume they are in mortal sin and cannot receive Communion without going to confession. That is a dangerous presumption. I’m not giving you a license to miss Mass, just taking away the licenses of others to judge based on this outward criterion.

(cont’d)


#12

(cont’d)

Exactly, and I personally feel we systematically turn kids into lab rats by modifying their behavior – and remaining deluded this will somehow also form their hearts – based on threats and promises. Really they paint quite an ugly face on God, and put His people into a double-bind. You are hereby required and commanded to believe this or that, and to love us – but none of that matters unless you do it of free will. It is any reason people become possessed with stupidity so deep they never actually experience the peace of Christ for running around worrying about superstitious attitudes they will somehow accidentally fall into sin and then die that day and go to eternal hell.

To me the whole argument of heaven and hell after we die is overrated and represent spiritual baby food, if not mixed with poison. Christ shows us how not to worry about tomorrow. If we learn to live in Christ’s peace and in the moment, we don’t have time to worry about after we die. If we can live in peace and love every moment, then if that isn’t good enough what is?

To me, religion is supposed to be an antidote for society, and the problem is that the religion in this regard is often its own worst enemy as much of what Christ teaches tries to undo the false and nasty images of God that are placed into us at a young age when adults try to control our behavior with such threats. It’s like God is up there with a list of ten things you can’t do, and a list of 100,000 interpretations of what those ten things could involve, and if you go wrong on any of them He’s going to hurt you. Kind of like a divine Santa Clause. We love to speak for God and how much he will hurt another person if they don’t conform in their behavior to our standards.

Of course, behaving like King David and dancing for the joy of the Lord is right out, in terms of disgraceful behavior. :wink:

Plus, we seem to be confused about what it means to “be like Christ.” Christ associated with sinners and didn’t try to “clean up their acts” so they could be pious around Church people; instead He called down the so-called “righteous” who presumed to judge others. Basically He made friends with sinners and protected them against the judgment of the righteousness. For some reason most people I know seem to miss that little fact, but I can think of no example where the righteous said, “you must be punished for you have sinned,” and Christ agreed with them and went along with the punishment. Christ said he came for the sick. I think there are none sicker than those who are deluded into believing that they are going to find peace through pious acts and judging of the behavior of others. I guess it’s always possible, if they have a Saul-to-Paul type conversion.

If we truly do not understand a specific teaching and continue to read and pray about it, yet still do not come to the same conclusion as the church does that mean that I am a horrible person that is not worthy of the church? This is what I have been led to feel and believe from reading these forums.

That is not an uncommon feeling. I cannot judge another person as “high and mighty” except as they come across to me, but I can tell you that I’ve gotten the same impression but have gotten over it, because at long last and with help from those who are more persistent at carrying on discussions instead of pious posturing, I have found that in many cases the Church really doesn’t teach what is touted by “traditionalist” Catholics as truth. For example, the observation you made about mortal sin. How recklessly some go around accusing others of it, thereby judging themselves, but they go around unabated because they like to back each other up.


#13

(cont’d)

So was I, and I hope you stay in the Church because we need more people like you.

Please consider reading the document “See, I’m Doing Something New” about the prophetic vocation. I’ve published a copy at wordsfree.org/propheticministry.html on one of my web sites and you can see how the Church is in need of critical feedback.

As prophets, it is our job in part to present views that may not be officially endorsed. People don’t always understand that because it is honesty from the heart that is going to bring us to truth, not everybody trying to parrot whatever they think they were told to say in any given situation. They reduce Christ’s work to nothing as they try to make cookbooks out of the law – which is exactly what the law was incapable of doing thus requiring Christ to save us from its sin and death.

Sometimes it takes a child or a new convert to see that the “Emporer has no clothes” but the problem is people don’t behave as if they have eyes.

I completed RCIA and joined the church with what I thought was a good understanding. I have since come to the conclusion that my understanding is completely wrong and there is no room for questioning or disagreement. Now, I have to wonder what is the point of calling myself Catholic or even pursuing it any further. It will never be enough.

That is the worldly reasoning that faithless fools seem to use as a substitute for faith. They think we are to work ourselves into heaven by our many good works. In fact, good works will come naturally if we get our hearts right. Jesus did not come to bind us to yet even more rules than the Jews were under, upgrading externally observed sins with thought crimes as well, but that seems to be what many believe.

When you think about it, Jesus fixed it up so we didn’t have to go around worrying about sin at every moment of the day. He fixed it so that we would not have to undergo punishment that we may “deserve” under the old law. The prostitute is thus healed through love and acceptance, not through persecution. Yet we like to use religion as a bludgeon to get other people to cooperate with our image of what they are supposed to do with their lives.

Alan


#14

Hello Gogo, hope you are well and happy. I too struggle with what is the point. I find comfort in the mass. I find comfort in the sacraments. I find comfort in the rosary. I find comfort in my priest being my friend. I find comfort in penance. I find comfort in adoration. Our God wants you exactly where you are right now.

I do not find comfort in debating the catholic cops here on this website about who can be a greater christian. Take a break from this place and try to just love God a little more. There are lots of wonderful resources here, but please remember that the advise given here by and large is free and you get what you pay for.


#15

I’m not sure which argument you mean here. That you mention food calls to mind Hebrews 5:14 and the stuff following it.

But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

Plus, we seem to be confused about what it means to “be like Christ.” Christ associated with sinners and didn’t try to “clean up their acts”

I think you may only be pointing out that he didn’t come to judge or destroy, but to save, but I’m confused by your words. Christ did ask sinners to go and sin no more. That’s more what “clean up their acts” means to me. But you seem to reference it to punishment.

Are you saying that warning people that certain acts or behaviors are dangerous is wrong? You could just be worried about those who are appear to be hypocrites as they do so, and you have no issue with such warnings. I am unsure.


#16

Dear gogogirl,

I have literally just joined this forum, and your post was the first I read. What jumped out at me was the above quote which speaks to the very heart of fallen man…fear.
The scriptures tell us that “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” From this quote I note that anything that leads us to wisdom must be good…but also it is the beginning of wisdom and not wisdom itself. Wisdom is at the other end of the scale and it is called love.
I am a father of six, and I always tell my children that the two great motives for doing anything are fear and love. Most of us are acting with a combination of the two. As we mature in faith we hope to move along that sliding scale from fear to love.
If my children obey me for fear that I will punish them, it will suffice. But of course it would please me more if they obey me out of love. Once again I say that they act out of a combination of the two, but I always entreat them to purify their motives to love.
St. Paul descibed this purified state as “freedom from the law” not because the law no longer exists, but because the law no longer feels like a kick in the rear. St. Paul’s heart was conformed to the law. Our Lord said "If you love me, you will keep my commandments."
There is a direct correlation between these two great motives and what we call in the sacrament of reconcilliation ‘perfect and imperfect contrition’. If we tell God we are sorry purely for fear of Hell, He will forgive us of course… but it is the minimum. He wants us to be sorry for love and for having offended him. Our whole lives are really the pusuit of the state of perfect contrition. If and when it comes, it will come as a gift. Many saints described it as the gift of tears. We should pray for this gift. If we cannot weep for our offences against Him then He will lament, as he did in the Gospel, that our hearts are hard.
St. Francis De Sales was experiencing despair at one time and was convinced that he was going to hell. He didn’t get out of bed for over a week. Then he got up. Why? He was still filled with dread and despair but he said to the Lord…"If I cannot serve you forever in Heaven at least I can serve you today!"
That’s love. Can we honestly say that we would serve God with our lives on earth if there was nothing in it at the end for us? Wouldn’t most of us just party? Incidently, this is precisely what the children of Israel were doing while Moses was receiving the law.

A few more parting thoughts…

Our Lady of Fatima showed Hell to three children…surely her motives were pure? Surely she reminded us of this peril in these times of unbelief out of love…and to children no less. If there was a snake in the grass wouldn’t a loving mother (or father) warn their child?

Fulton Sheen used to talk about two types of fear…

  1. The fear of Hell, sin and all that is behind us.
  2. Fear of the light and what we are going to. This is by far the greatest fear of the two when you really think about it, particularly because this path to the light is…the way of the cross.

St. Teresa of Avila said…“I don’t fear Satan but I fear those who fear him.” She gave our mortal enemy no regard as she knew that it only feeds him.

The loss of a soul in my mind goes something like this…
Pride…self pity…despair…death.

The salvation of a soul on the other hand…
Humility…self knowledge…hope…life.

I pray and hope this all helps.


#17

It sounds to me like you’re earnestly seeking God’s will for your life and I wish I could give you a hug because you’re a dear person. I’ll keep you in my prayers as you continue on your journey.:blessyou:


#18

Most people question the church on something and just still remain Catholic. You don’t have to leave the faith ebcause of it. I can think of a couple things I don’t completely agree with the Church on which I will not say since I don’t want to argue about them here, yet I am still Catholic. I just don’t try to go against it and convince others to not accept that teaching. Therefore I can silently not understand that current teaching. If i do argue about the teachings it is always with someone who I know is not going to change their mind and perhaps might convince me to a better understanding of it.


#19

Gosh it was kind of a “purge” post I guess – I had to go back and see what I was talking about. When I post like that I often mix several things together. :o

Anyway my main issue is that we are, by and large, brought up to “do the right thing” for the main issue that it would please God and consequently get us into heaven and out of hell. Most of us, I think, at one level or another have this nagging, anxious fear that we are somehow going to mess up at just the wrong time, die, and go to eternal torture.

To me, the law of sin and death have several purposes, the main one of which is to identify sin to that people have some guidelines. The problem is, guidelines alone, with a corresponding conversion of the heart (thus the law being fullfilled in Christ), can neither save a person nor bring them to true peace. Why not? One reason is that if everything is by rules to do this and do that and without guidance from an indwelling spirit, one simply never knows whether one is going to heaven or hell but is convinced that the decision will be made based on something they do or haven’t done or thought or whatever.

The mentality I see it producing is that “we have these rules for you to follow and you’d better not go against them because if we don’t catch you then God will and you will burn in hell. Therefore it is very important for you to listen to exactly what we say and do what we tell you to do” in the minds of those who are trying to obey the authorities. Every day becomes like a game against fate when I, a sinner, just might do the wrong thing that God cannot or will not (for whatever divine reason beyond my understanding) forgive me for, and I’m lost.

To me, that is a very unhealthy way of living, and in fact the way of living that Christ came to save us for. He disregarded the rules when they didn’t make sense as applied to his situation, and when the “righteous” called Him on it He defended His followers in performing an act that was objectively considered a sin – such as picking grain to eat on Sunday. Little did the “righteous” realize there was an OT precedent for it, which was a good thing because Jesus used that precedent to illustrate that the law, when carried out by those who have not been converted in mind and heart from the Spirit as Jesus was calling for all of us to be, does not bring life but in fact, sin and death.

I hope that makes a little more sense. These are things that have bothered me a long time but I haven’t put them into words often enough I still stumble a bit.

I think you may only be pointing out that he didn’t come to judge or destroy, but to save, but I’m confused by your words. Christ did ask sinners to go and sin no more. That’s more what “clean up their acts” means to me. But you seem to reference it to punishment.

Are you saying that warning people that certain acts or behaviors are dangerous is wrong? You could just be worried about those who are appear to be hypocrites as they do so, and you have no issue with such warnings. I am unsure.

No, I’m thinking more like Jesus is hanging out with friends who are sinners, such as those who drink and were sexually immoral, etc. When the righteous people let him know “what kind of woman” was washing His feet, He did not rare back and say, “OMG you are right. Woman, please have nothing to do with me until you establish a pattern of sinlessness.” No, He went off on the righteous people for being judgmental.

Again, when they admonished Him for letting His friends pick grain on Sunday or eat with hands that were not washed, He defended His friends against the righteous.

He did tell the woman at the well and the woman he saved from her just punishment of stoning, to go and sin no more but He did it PRIVATELY and after He had already saved them from worldly punishment and in fact shown them that God Himself, fully qualified to judge them since He was without sin, was not going to punish them – and I might assume sending them to hell for what they’ve done.

Alan


#20

Hey, that’s okay!:slight_smile:

Most of us, I think, at one level or another have this nagging, anxious fear that we are somehow going to mess up at just the wrong time, die, and go to eternal torture.

I think you are right, there is a tendency to this fear or one really close to it. I like this poem by St. Teresa, Nada Te Turbe (it’s Spanish). Why not give it here:

[quote=St. Teresa]Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing frighten you.

All things are passing.
God alone is unchanging.
Patience attains the good.

One who has God lacks nothing.
God alone suffices.

[/quote]

And somewhere in a letter by St. John is says that perfect love casts out fear. It is difficult to get there, but I do think working through confession and communion and prayer one can move that way. Somehow I find the Church comforting that way. But if a person doesn’t have that comfort, they probably can’t give it to a person who is frightened. I think there are many that don’t seem to feel it. But that is okay.

The mentality I see it producing is that "we have these rules for you to follow and you’d better not go against them because if we don’t catch you then God will and you will burn in hell. Therefore it is very important for you to listen to exactly what we say

This seems off, I agree. It does not begin with a list of rules, really. But they are there to clarify and show truth. Trust. This is far more how to relate to our Father. I think out loud here, but I know you do that too.:wink: Rest in His hands.

He did not rare back and say, “OMG you are right. Woman, please have nothing to do with me until you establish a pattern of sinlessness.” No, He went off on the righteous people for being judgmental.

Ah. Yes, I see what you mean now. Be willing to spend time with the imperfect. Hey, we’d be lonely otherwise. In fact we might implode trying to get away from our own selves.:smiley:

He did tell the woman at the well and the woman he saved from her just punishment of stoning, to go and sin no more but He did it PRIVATELY and after He had already saved them from worldly punishment and in fact shown them that God Himself, fully qualified to judge them since He was without sin, was not going to punish them

In a way we can imitate him, but sometimes when I encounter his forgiveness, how people perceived it from him, that they were really forgiven by God, and truly free, they changed after meeting him. I don’t know how to imitate that. I can’t forgive anyone. I haven’t quite worked this out in my mind yet.


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