I meant to start this much earlier so as to go into fuller depth but at this point I’ll just post what I intend to blog about and write the depth tomorrow. Hopefully.
Yesterday morning as I was driving into school, waiting in traffic, and listening to Evanescence, I thought about the Four Final things: Death, Judgement, Heaven, and Hell. We as Catholics do not give as much emphasis on these topics as we used to. Now that is not to say they are never mentioned but rather the depth and consideration they are due have been lacking.
Now we will all die. That’s a fact of life and cannot change, regardless of those that search after immortality and super long lives. It ain’t gonna happen folks. Now death is not something to be feared. We should always be aware that at any moment we could die. Everyone dies. Jesus died and did so for us, to save us from death. From the consequences of our sin. To save us from ourselves. Lent reminds us not only about physical death but about spiritual death caused by sin. Lent is a season of repentence, penance. We walk the path that Jesus did: through temptation (1st Sunday of Lent Gospel reading) which leads to sin, His entrance into Jerusalem (Passion/Palm Sunday), to the Institution of the Eucharist (Holy Thursday), His handing over to be crucified (Holy Thursday and Good Friday), His Crucifixion (Good Friday), and His Resurrection (Easter Vigil, Easter Sunday). His Death broke death’s hold over us.
We are reminded that we are sinners in need of a Savior and that that Savior is Jesus who knew what it was like to be human, who understands our weaknesses. We are called to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to repair the damage, the death to our souls caused by sin. Not only that but to repair the “death” in our relationship with Jesus that was caused by our sin. When we sin, we kill our relationship with Christ. His grace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation heals that death, that injury to make us whole again, to heal our relationship with Him. He understands that there are temptations and that by making use of this Sacrament and of Holy Communion along with prayer He will give us the grace and ability to fight these temptations and for us not to choose sin.
Judgement comes when we die. There is the Particular Judgement which we will face completely on our own and the Final Judgement comes when Jesus returns. When we die it will not matter if we made millions of dollars or wore the latest fashions or belonged to the best clubs or attended the best schools. It will come down to how we lived our lives. Did we follow Jesus’s command to Love God and Love our Neighbors as Ourselves? Did we clothe the naked, feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, visit the imprisoned, care for the sick? In essence, did we just talk the talk or did we actually walk the walk?
Heaven and Hell are the two possible places we could end up. We want Heaven, to be in God’s presence for eternity. But there are those through their own choice who want to go to Hell because they do not want to be in the presence of the Loving God and God will not force His presence on those who do not want it. We choose are destination through our actions, our desire to love God or our decision to be disobedient and reject God. We have free will. I suggest a reading of the Catechism for a better understanding of the Church’s teaching on Heaven and Hell. We don’t know what Heaven or Hell will be like, only that they exist. God desires us to be with Him but He won’t force us to love Him or follow Him.
As for Lent and Holy Week, which I briefly touched on earlier, they model many key events in our faith. I hope to write about them in other posts.
I will clarify and add Catechism references tomorrow, hopefully.
Have a Blessed and Prayer-filled Lent.