Deep in our hearts, we are uneasy. We do not know the time or place of our death. We do not like to think about it. Maybe it will be far in the future. Maybe it is tomorrow. One thing is for sure – after every hour of every day, we are one hour closer to it. A lot of hours have passed already. The only thing unknown to us is the exact time remaining on our clock.
Archives for January 2010
I was thrilled to meet Archbishop Gregory and delighted to attend a Mass at which he presided. The thing that impressed me the most, however, was that this bishop from the unbroken line of bishops originating with the apostles selected by Jesus, took the time in our large archdiocese, to visit one of our many schools and personally handout academic awards.
I didn’t look at my watch, but I think it was about 20 minutes or so, which I read is roughly typical for the first time. It turns out that Father Paul did not immediately have another appointment, so we just talked for about an hour more! We talked about our childhoods, views on various Church issues, our likes and dislikes, our vocations and so on. It was a wonderful opportunity to get to know each other.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the primary reference guide for the Catholic faith (after the Bible, of course). The current version dates from 1985 through 1997 and is the first major update in 400 years. It is the first book I read when I became seriously interested in joining the Church. I read it daily for hours, over a period of 2 weeks, until I was done. At over 750 pages it is not a “quick read.”
Wait you say – stop right there. If I have been saved and am going to heaven, then are not my sins forgiven? Yes, absolutely. However the sins you committed, while forgiven, have left a scar on your soul. Sometimes this is compared to a nail driven into wood. The nail represents sin, and the wood is your soul. When the nail is removed (forgiven) it leaves the hole which represents the lasting damage. When you look back on the sins you have committed, forgiven though they are, how does that make you feel? That is what I am talking about.
Reconciliation is not punishment but more of a celebration. Not because you have sinned, but because you have examined your conscience, are sincerely sorry, wish to do better in the future and are returning to God. Like the prodigal son’s father, you are forgiven and brought back into harmony with Him. In the sacrament a Priest, acting “in persona Christi” (“in the person of Christ”) absolves you of your sins restoring your relationship with the Father.
Catholics give sin a lot of thought. When God created the world He created a paradise free of sin. In that world, God placed Adam, then Eve. He gave them free will and clear instructions. Life was good. Good until Satan succeeded in tempting Eve. That changed everything.