Learning to love Heaven – It’s not as automatic as you think

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It is generally presumed, at least among those who believe in God and the afterlife, that everyone naturally wants to go to heaven.

But of course, “Heaven” is usually understood in a sort of self-defined way. In other words heaven is a paradise of my own design, the place is perfect as Ithink perfect should be. Yes, for most people, their conception of heaven is merely what they think it should be, and this usually includes things like: golf courses, seeing my relatives and friends, there are my own self-selected pleasures, and the absence of struggles such as losing a job for saying farewell.

Thus, the heaven that most people have in mind is a designer heaven it and is built on the rather egocentric notion that whatever makes me happy is what heaven will be.

The problem with this thinking is that heaven is not of our own design, or merely what we think it should be. Heaven is the kingdom of God and all of its fullness. In heaven are fulfilled and realized all the values of the kingdom of God, values such as mercy, justice, truth, love, compassion, chastity, forgiveness, and so forth.

Further, heaven is consistently described in the Scriptures in liturgical terms, as a place, and a reality rooted in praise and worship. Is a place of prayer and adoration. In all of this is our true happiness, the heart of heaven is to be with God forever, and to be caught up in the beauty of his presence and of his truth.

And heaven, is thus a place that is not merely happy in human terms, but is truly happy on God’s terms. Regarding the liturgical vision of heaven, and the values realized, experience and fulfilled there, it will be noted that many things on the list do not at all appeal to many people. Frankly, many people are dead set against things like the love of enemies, forgiveness, and chastity. Many to find the Mass, and all Church liturgy to be boring and irrelevant.

Imagine showing up at the gates of heaven only to discover that its heart is essentially the liturgy, and that is daily fair is not only hymns, candles, incense and praise, but also chastity, love, forgiveness, mercy and compassion, etc.

Many are averse to such things and even find them odious. God will not force such souls to inherit what they hate. Thus they are free to make other arrangements for eternity. Surely God must regret this deeply, but he has made us free and summoned us to love, and thus he respects, even reverences, our freedom.

But all this reflection, reminds us that heaven is something we must learn to love. It is like many of the finer things in life. Its appeal may not be immediate and obvious, but, having been trained in its ways we learn to love it very deeply.

It was this way for me and classical music. Its appeal was not immediately obvious to me, I was more enamored of driving rock beats and toe-tapping dance music. But gradually, through stages, classical music’s subtlety, beauty and intricacy began to speak to my soul, and I became more sensitive and aware of its majestic beauty. I learned to love symphonic music, and the magnificent patrimony of Gregorian Chant and sacred polyphony. And OH how it speaks to my soul now.

And so it is also of my soul with God and the things of God. Early in my life, my rebellious flesh was only averse to God and the parameters of his Kingdom. But now I have grown deeply to love the Lord, and appreciate the beauty and the wisdom of his truth. Yes, I am learning to love heaven. I love God, and the things of God, and the people God loves.

So it must be for us all, that we learn to love heaven. And for this purpose, the Lord left us His Church, like a caring mother, to teach us and lead us to learn to love the things of God, and of heaven. He also left us a sacred liturgy as a great foretaste, and his Word as a kind of blueprint describing what he loves and the architecture of the kingdom of love and truth. The Saints too blaze a trail ahead of us show us the way. In all of this God gives us a kind of pedagogy of the heavenly Kingdom and a healing remedy for our darkened intellects and hardened hearts.

But make no mistake, we must learn to love heaven, to love God and the things of God. And here we speak of the true God and the real heaven not a fake God, not some idol we have constructed for ourselves, but the true God and the true heaven which is his Kingdom and all his fullness. We must avail ourselves of his many helps and learn to love him and his kingdom.

If we think it is only natural to love heaven, we must become more sober. The fact is we have very obtuse spirits. We live in a fallen world, governed by a fallen angel, and we have fallen natures. We tend to love that which is destructive and harmful. And even knowing that it is harmful we still tend to be attracted to it. We tend to esteem that which is foolish and passing, and to glamorize evil. We tend to call good or no big deal what God calls sinful. Yes, we are obtuse and up to 180 degrees out of phase with the Kingdom

GK Chesterton observes an astonishing facts recorded in Scripture and Tradition:

The point of the story of Satan is not that he revolted against being in hell, but that he revolted against being in heaven. The point about Adam is not that he was discontented with the conditions of this earth, but that he was discontented with the conditions of paradise. (New York American, 12-15-1932)

If Satan revolted against heaven even while still in heaven and Adam preferred something to paradise while still in paradise, how much more should we be sober over the fact that we who have not yet seen paradise or heaven can easily despise or hold of little value the glory of God’s Kingdom.

Add to this that we live in a world that is utterly upside down, a world where we are not rich and what matters to God, a world which obsesses over passing and trivial things and pays little mind to eternal and heavenly things. Learning to love heaven can mean some pretty radical things. It means often being willing to 180° out of phase with the world’s priorities and preoccupations.

To draw free of this and learn to love heaven requires an often painful journey on our part. And many are simply unwilling to make it, or to live out of phase with the world. Perhaps for this reason the Lord recorded with sadness, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it (Mat 7:13-14). Perhaps too we can understand why we need a savior: we are not only obtuse, but frankly not all that bright, and we like sheep tend to be wayward. Only with difficulty are we even willing to be shepherded.

Yes, we must make a journey and learn to love heaven,

Perhaps, to conclude, we might ponder a couple brief details from Simon Peter’s life. At the lakeside Jesus asked Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Jesus was seeking an agape love (ἀγαπᾷς με). Peter, with uncharacteristic honesty, at that stage, answered the Lord indicating he had only brotherly love (κύριε, σὺ οἶδας ὅτι φιλῶ σε). The triple dialogue seeking agape love ended with the Lord’s respectful acceptance that Peter had but brotherly love.

But the Lord also promised one day Peter would find agape love, one day Peter would finally learn to love heaven and the Lord above all things, above all people, above his very self. How? He had to make the journey and learn to love heaven.

And indeed, the Lord prophesied: When you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will lead you where you do not want to go. Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God (Jn 21:18-19)

But in order for that to happen, the world would have to be turned upside down for Peter. Peter would have to learn to see the world 180° differently than he did that day at the Lakeside. Of this we need to turn our lives over 180° GK Chesterton again writes very beautifully as he meditates that Peter was crucified upside down:

I’ve often fancied that [Peter’s] humility was rewarded was rewarded by seeing in death the beautiful vision of the landscape as it really is: with the stars like flowers, and the clouds like hills and all men hanging on the mercy of God. (The Poet and the Lunatics Sheed and Ward p. 22)

Yes, learning to love heaven means learning to see the world as it really its, and to seem to the world to be upside down. But God’s ways are not our ways, his priorities are not our priorities. We have a lot of learning to do. At the end of the day heaven will not change to suit us (if it did it wouldn’t be heaven any more). So we must be changed for it, we must learn to love it even if that means being crucified upside down.

Help us Lord to desire heaven, to learn its ways, to learn of you and love you above all things.

N.B. The Chesterton insights come to me from a a fine book called The Complete Thinker by Dale Ahlquist.

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68 Responses to Learning to love Heaven – It’s not as automatic as you think

  1. clementaustin says:

    If heaven’s in the liturgy what rite is it, latin? Maronite? As long as there’s incense and lots of singing to Gods wonderous glory.

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  2. Dan says:

    I don’t suppose there would be singing as we know it, as we would not have physical bodies capable of such sounds.

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  3. Toad says:

    Well Dan, we all get our bodies back eventually, I’m told – and ‘glorified,’ to boot – so not only will you be able to sing but you will be able to sound like Maria Bartoldi if you want.
    (I think I got that right. Kathleen will confirm this.)

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  4. golden chersonnese says:

    Roman Pontiff Emeritus Benedict XVI:

    According to the evangelist [Luke], the angels “said” this.

    But Christianity has always understood that the speech of angels is actually song, in which all the glory of the great joy that they proclaim becomes tangibly present.

    And so, from that moment, the angels’ song of praise has never gone silent.

    It continues down the centuries in constantly new forms and it resounds ever anew at the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

    “So however the shepherds may have perceived the angels’ message (as speech, chant, or full song), it is entirely natural for us to envision and celebrate this event in song.”

    There’s a lot in that.

    http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/9-things-you-need-to-know-about-pope-benedicts-new-book-about-baby-jesus#ixzz2SuDTy0ih

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  5. golden chersonnese says:

    Yes, for most people, their conception of heaven is merely what they think it should be, and this usually includes things like: golf courses, seeing my relatives and friends, there are my own self-selected pleasures . . .

    I think the mons. is being a bit harsh on the seeing my relatives bit. I have more or less accepted that family life, the love life among mother, father and child is at least analogous to the blessed life of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as we have been taught.

    The pure love within the family among parents, children and their brothers and sisters (how I loathe that “siblings” word) is, in my life at least, a very good way of previewing the happiness of Heaven, living with the Trinity. It must be very much like the love of parents with their children but even more perfect, perfectly perfect in fact. Sounds rather appealing to me anyway.

    “God is Love [Deus caritas est]; whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” (1 John 4)

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  6. johnhenrycn says:

    Please ignore my last comment (^) in favour of this corrected version, and in fact, if the Blog Team can delete my last effort, I would be grateful:

    Thus, the heaven that most people have in mind is a designer heaven…and is built on the rather egocentric notion that whatever makes me happy is what heaven will be.

    An interesting point along the same lines is made in this recent article about people who’ve had ‘near death’ experiences (NDEs) and whose post-resuscitation statements about the things they encountered while clinically dead seem to depend somewhat upon their earliest childhood memories:

    “Elisabeth Kübler-Ross…became a doyenne of NDEs—her lectures on her NDE patients…first published in 1991, were reissued in 2008…Even in her rather homogenous western European clientele, Kübler-Ross could see the effects of early enculturation: ‘I never encountered a Protestant child who saw the Virgin Mary in his last minutes, yet she was perceived by many Catholic children.’ “

    I wonder if Muslims or Bhuddists or Hindus ever come back from the dead to tell of meeting Jesus? Yes, I believe in Jesus and in His divinity and in everything else the Church holds to be true; but because NDEs do seem to be culturally specific, I’m not convinced they are true glimpses of the hereafter, rather than biochemical and neurological events that may be eventually explained by medicine and psychology.

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  7. Toad says:

    JH won’t be amazed to learn that Toad agrees 100% with him.

    In fact, he will go a little bit further – and suggest that a great many religious ‘experiences’ might well turn out to be “…biochemical and neurological events that may be eventually explained by medicine and psychology.”

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  8. johnhenrycn says:

    …and I agree with you, Toad (isn’t this just so cozy?) and so does the Church, which is why we are not enjoined by the Church to believe in any post-biblical miracles, such as Lourdes, Fatima and scores of other visionary events, which is not to say they are unworthy of belief. Some are worthy of belief, some aren’t. Much depends on how close one is to the event in question, or alternatively, how closely one has studied it. The Church never asks us to depreciate discernment.

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  9. golden chersonnese says:

    “. . . a great many religious ‘experiences’ might well turn out to be “…biochemical and neurological events that may be eventually explained by medicine and psychology.”

    Ah Toad, I read about that in Mr theintrepidpage’s blog:

    More recently, scientistic accounts of religion have claimed that the phenomena will one day be exhaustively accounted for through evolutionary biology or neurology.

    Well, at least you’re recent, Toad.

    As far as I know, Toad, Christian philosophy has always suggested that humans (not sure about toads, but) are a union of soul and body. Hardly surprising then that a religious experience would also show up in physical ways. Get out your St Teresa of Avila, who often seems to be swooning or in agony all over the place.

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  10. johnhenrycn says:

    I agree with Golden and Toad – mainly with Golden, but also with Toad, because although my Catholic faith grew and has only come to semi-fruition after reading about Catholic heroes and saints, all of us who wish to follow Christ’s bidding to live our lives in truth, service and Love recognise, I think, that miracles and visions are a small part of the equation.

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  11. Toad says:

    When I was in Avila, I was struck by several accounts of other female saints, all young, mostly nuns, all physically unwell, some bedridden for long stretches, who saw visions, got instructions directly from Jesus, etc. Most died young. A distinct pattern. Nuff said.

    Is the soul the ‘ghost in the machine’ ?
    Can it be ‘removed’ and continue functioning independently of the body? I think not.
    No Cartesian, Toad. But he may be wrong.

    JH is right. “Be good,” is about 99% of it.,

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  12. johnhenrycn says:

    What? No action here for 7+ hours, except from me? Granddaughter just sent a note:
    I ran away. Frome Ronnie
    I feel her pain. I wanted to run away from her mother, too. But what poor spelling for a 7 year old!
    Until next time:)

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  13. johnhenrycn says:

    p.s. Not to worry, she left a note saying she was in the garage… and to send a sandwich 🙂

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  14. johnhenrycn says:

    Oh, Toad has arisen from his bed, I see. Good. Toad, when you quote Arthur Koestler, in asking if the soul is the “ghost in the machine“, and then asking if it (the soul) can be removed and continue functioning independently of the body, and then answering your rhetorical with a simplistic: “ I think not” – all I can say is – think what you like, but like Koestler, you seem unable to offer cogent reasons why you “think not“? I think. What do you think?

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  15. johnhenrycn says:

    …and, Toad, while I see – sexist though it may be – and understand the import of your last comment about young, physically unwell, bedridden nuns, I do not – generous and open-minded person though I am – actually accept the import of your Avila memoir which, as you concede, is mere hearsay. Your conduct is unbecoming of a journalist. Or not.

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  16. johnhenrycn says:

    …not hearsay, Toad? Can we please be privileged to read some (redacted, if you wish) extracts from your interviews with these: “female saints, all young, mostly nuns, all physically unwell, some bedridden for long stretches, who saw visions…” persons to whom you refer, hmmm? If you were so “struck” by those “accounts“, as you say you were, one would think you’d’ve written them down in preparation for your next shot at a Pulitzer.

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  17. clementaustin says:

    If allgood things are I heaven does that include coonhounds? William F. Buckley says they very well could be.

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  18. johnhenrycn says:

    clementaustin:
    Buckley also said, in replying to a “Letter to the Editor” from a left-wing dentist by the name of Louis B. Prickman, in which he personally insulted Buckley over some issue: Thank you, Dr. Prickman. Please feel free to use my nickname, ‘Bill’. Can I use yours?”
    National Review, c.1970s. I can’t remember the year or issue, but it’s true. I saw it.
    Also can’t recall that “coonhounds” quote of yours (got a link?), which seems uncharacteristic of WFB, who was very much a Yankee blueblood, who never lived in the southern States.

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  19. Roger says:

    When Christ returns WILL HE FIND ANY FAITH?

    “..we are not enjoined by the Church to believe in any post-biblical miracles, such as Lourdes, Fatima and scores of other visionary events ..”

    Well a look at the liturgical calendar throws that opinion out does it not?

    Anything which is post-biblical lets see Popes (Popes had visions) , Councils, the Doctors of the Church (Aquinas had visions) , traditions (the source of traditions Visions). We don’t have to be believe in the Sacred Heart!! Don Bosco (lets see can be explained by psychology!!)

    SO WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS A PROTESTANT?

    Lets see St Paul on the road to Damascus “…biochemical and neurological events that may be eventually explained by medicine and psychology.” Lets throw in Moses shall we and how about the Visitation? I mean where is the medical and psychological evidence??

    What is language if not the sharing of thoughts (framed into words by the need of the body to vocalise, But does a soul need a physical organ to vocalise? )

    Heaven in human terms?
    Satan was never in Heaven. Adam wasn’t in Heaven he was in Paradise. He was thrown out of Paradise so Paradise isn’t what we call the Earth!

    Now lets look at Hitler and Political theory including Evolution “…biochemical and neurological events that may be eventually explained by medicine and psychology.” Great its about time Darwin was examined in biochemical and pyschology terms!
    Then throw in Gilbert Ryle and Richard Dawkins. We can also examine Adam Smith (his robotic view of humans) and Marx.

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  20. johnhenrycn says:

    Oh good, Roger’s here. Fine chap. I can go, knowing the blog’s in capable hands, or incapable hands. English is so confusing.

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  21. I think Monsignor Pope will be pleasantly surprised when he arrives in heaven. He may very well find that it is not at all a place he will have had to “learn to love,” like learning to love classical music. It may be neither golf courses nor our kind of liturgy. It may be a place where he finds

    “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
    and which have not entered the heart of man,
    all that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

    (And on another topic: as has been pointed out, Monsignor Pope really should have someone proofread what he writes before he submits it for publication on this website or elsewhere. The number of typographical and even grammatical errors really spoils – for people like me, anyway – the truth and eloquence of what he writes.)

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  22. Toad says:

    JH, when I referred to “the ghost in the machine,” I was thinking of Ryle’s comment on Descartes, from where I suspect Koestler pinched it. Not that it probably matters all that much.

    And you are correct in suggesting that I should have made notes in Avila.
    But – sadly – I suffer from a life-long and little-known medical condition, known to professionals in that sphere such as Burro, as “incorrigible idleness.”
    It is apparently incurable, though not always fatal.

    But I bet Kathleen and Gertrude could put names to a few of the sickly girls in question.

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  23. JabbaPapa says:

    we are not enjoined by the Church to believe in any post-biblical miracles, such as Lourdes, Fatima and scores of other visionary events

    This is a complete falsity.

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  24. johnhenrycn says:

    Depends on what is meant by enjoined, no? The principal meaning is “commanded”. Does the Church command us to believe in the miracles of Lourdes and Fatima? I await your learned instruction.

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  25. johnhenrycn says:

    Toadmeister: Your condition – “Incorrigible Idleness” sounds much like the one I was diagnosed with last year, known by the acronym – SLAC – but mine is a real one. Our resident MD might be able to enlighten you as to what it stands for, although it’s outside his specialty.

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  26. Toad says:

    “… you seem unable to offer cogent reasons why you “think not“? I think. What do you think?”
    JH asks Toad. (Who will risk saying, “Fair enough.”)
    Well, first the words “I think not,” that you remark on, imply no great depth of confidence on my part.
    So. A fair analogy, these days – I think – might be that of computers.
    In humans (and, in fact, all other animals) the ‘soul’ is the electricity – the animating factor.
    Without it, the flesh and blood computer will not work. When the ‘soul’ stops functioning – ‘dies’ in fact – no more walking computer. Scrap heap.
    Of course, this is only my current “theory.”.
    Might have a different one in an hour’s time.
    And I have, at present, no more cogent reason for ‘knowing’ that the soul dies, than you have for ‘knowing’ it does not.
    This is simplistic, I know – but it’s a blog, and long stuff is boring.

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  27. johnhenrycn says:

    I like your analogy, Toad, but even if the soul is to the body as electricity is to the computer – and I think that’s a very apt analogy – what makes you think that electricity can ever die? In answer to your question (at 05:33 above) : “Can it [the soul] be ‘removed’ and continue functioning independently of the body?, I say: why not? Electricity does not stop functioning when you shut down your computer. It just goes elsewhere.

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  28. Toad says:

    Yes, you’ve put your finger in the nub JH. Electricity may be eternal, for all I know – but without a ‘receiver,’ a “little pot of blood” computer – electricity is meaningless and useless to us. Electricity with no power drill is no more use than a soul with no body.

    Which reminds me of Thurber’s grandmother who insisted there be a light bulb in every socket in the house to stop electricity leaking out all over the floor.

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  29. johnhenrycn says:

    Robert John Bennett says :
    “Monsignor Pope really should have someone proofread what he writes…”
    I agree, that’s not to much to ask, especially since he probably has been given the gift of an “edit” button. I see he’s in DC. I shall look him up when I’m next at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception – this Autumn probably – and pass on your advice 😉

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  30. johnhenrycn says:

    …without a ‘receiver,’ a “little pot of blood” computer – electricity is meaningless and useless to us. Electricity with no power drill is no more use than a soul with no body.

    How very Benthamite thou art, Toad; but you’re carrying your original clever analogy too far. You know no more about what happens to electricity after the power drill is shut down than you know about the life of the soul after the body is buried. To say electricity is “meaningless and useless” unless you are using it is absurd. It exists. It is immortal. That doesn’t sound meaningless and useless to me.

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  31. johnhenrycn says:

    Toad’s wise (probably accidental) comparison of electricity to the soul, reminds me of a saying by another of our separated brethren, Rowan Williams, who once said: “the smile is to the face as the tea is to the cup”.

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  32. Toad says:

    I do think the same electricity that runs your telly is the same stuff that runs my dogs and you and and me, JH. But I don’t know, of course.
    What I meant is it’s useless to us when we’re not using it, not that it’s utterly useless.
    I think you know that..
    Like gasoline was until they found a use for it.
    It is my deep (shallow, if you like) suspicion that a soul without a body is nothing at all. But I might be wrong.

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  33. kathleen says:

    Toad @ 15:33 on 10/5

    Yes Toad, full marks for this reply: “Well Dan, we all get our bodies back eventually, I’m told – and ‘glorified,’ to boot…”
    (Good to know you were paying attention in catechism classes at least once in a while!)

    Continuing on from Toad‘s and JH‘s banter about getting our (glorified) bodies back in Heaven ‘one day’, there is this to bear in mind – there is no time in the next world. Therefore it’s an unrealistic view to see ourselves as hanging or floating around as spirits, impatiently waiting to be reunited with our bodies. We may well experience the simultaneous resurrection of our bodies and souls after death in this world beyond time, although no one can know for certain

    “I believe in…. the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen”

    Usually I enjoy Msgr. Pope’s articles, but in the hope that no one feels offended, his musings about Heaven in this article are a bit banal (IMHO) and not up to his usual high standard.
    In fact I think Robert John‘s short comment, and Golden‘s way above, are both far superior! 🙂

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  34. kathleen says:

    we are not enjoined by the Church to believe in any post-biblical miracles, such as Lourdes, Fatima and scores of other visionary events”

    Jabba says this is “a complete falsity”. The word ‘enjoined’ in my dictionary is translated as being ‘urged’ (rather than ‘commanded’), and it is evident that the Church most certainly does urge us to believe in these apparitions that have been endorsed by many Popes and bishops since the events took place.
    Can one still be Catholic and not believe in them?
    I don’t know for sure, but the only so-called Catholics who I have come across, who disbelieve in these Marian apparitions, are typical liberals/modernists who one could barely call ‘Catholic’! It seems to me that faithful Catholics, in accordance with the Church, do indeed believe Our Blessed Lady appeared at Lourdes and Fatima.

    There are other apparition sites where Our Blessed Lady is said to have appeared, and here we should definitely retain an open mind. To flatly deny them is as dangerous as adamantly supporting them, for who can put limits on the actions of the Almighty? Caution, and a humble bending to the Church’s God-given authority in endorsing (or not) of these other Marian sites, is the wisest and surest course to take. In the meantime, I cannot see any harm in visiting these places of piety and devotion to the Blessed Virgin, so long as this attitude of obedience to the Church’s teaching is foremost in one’s heart.

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  35. kathleen says:

    Toad,
    I have no idea who these “sickly” girls (young nuns) are that you are referring to. I agree with JH that I find your story more than a little dubious!
    I know (or have heard of) many orders of plenty of young nuns, or novices, all who radiate a joy and purpose hard to find anywhere else. Nothing to do with fantasies or sickliness. They show a well-balanced and rational demeanour, and most of them are highly intelligent and well-educated. Even the members who come from third world countries, who have not had the privilege of further eduction such as we have easy access to here in the West, demonstrate an interior peace and down-to-earth wisdom that could only come from a person of perfectly sound mind.

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  36. golden chersonnese says:

    Well things must have improved, Kathleen, since Toad’s passing through the Toadious time-warp back to 16th century Al-Andalus. Nuns (as distinct from ‘sisters’) are almost routinely ‘studied’ these days to unlock the secret of their longevity and freedom from Alzheimer’s.

    Here in the Chersonese we didn’t have Ascension today but the 7th Sunday of Easter. Readings were Acts’ account of the martyrdom of Stephen, who saw Jesus sitting at the right hand of the Father, Revelation assuring John and us that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end (nota bene, Toad) and then John going to extraordinary lengths to tell us quite several times that Jesus is in the Father and we are in Him and He is in us. Why, if we had a Holy Ghost in the line-up as well, we’d probably have something similar to a Trinity.

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  37. golden chersonnese says:

    I’ve already said a prayer for your Pentecost pilgrimage in France, Kathleen. It obviously does your soul a lot of good although, according to Toad, with all that energy you expend along the way, it must entail at least a partial depletion of it. As would dieting by anybody and losing the spare tyre.

    And how about this? The benefit of pilgrimages according to a contemporary associate professor of philosophy who is a panpsychist (like Lord Russel? Toad will know):

    To experience for ourselves the intimately apposite poetic responsiveness of place or landscape to our communicative overtures, of creek or river or mountain to our pilgrimage, is to be shifted on our metaphysical moorings. It is to feel graced, even loved, by world, and flooded with a gratitude, a loyalty, that rearranges in us the deepest wellsprings of desire.

    Mmmmm, interesting.

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  38. Roger says:

    The soul , spirit and the body?
    Well first for kathleen and Holy Chartes the pious tradition and belief is that each shrine has especially blessings and graces its the Poetry aspect (many and different verses building and conributing to the whole). What happens when these are destroyed? deliberately and wilfully destroyed? This happened in 1534 onwards in England! But like Jerusalem in Heavens wisdom and Heavens time nothing is ever lost.
    Electricity , computers and the soul? Unbelievable!!
    Look at the Transfiguration Matthew 17
    “..
    [2] And he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow.
    [3] And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him.

    [5] And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And lo, a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him.
    ..”
    Now Josaphat says that Moses did not die!
    The Bible that Henoch (before the Flood note!) didn’t die and neither did Elias.
    The Faith tells Us that nobody could enter Heaven until Our Lord had suffered and died on Calvary and the Ascension is when Our Lord swept into Heaven.
    So if Moses and Elias and Henoch are alive where are they? Are they dead or not? Where are their bodies? Where are their spirits and where are their souls?

    The transfiguration of Our Lord from what to what?
    When Our Lord rose from the dead was he seen by vast crowds? 500 witnessed his Ascension. Why didn’t Our Lord simply walk into the Temple after His Resurrection?

    This body that we have is a prison of suffering for Man! It rules him with its demands for food, sleep, sex the body is self centred. If the body is a prison what is encased and held captive?
    The resurrected Christ had the hole in his side and the wounds in his hands he even ate in that resurrected state.
    Just because there is a common skeleton structure in flesh and animals of flesh is little different from sticking wheels commonly on vehicles or that ships and boats look the same! Commonality doesn’t prove evolution it points to the efficency of design.
    The Shroud shows a dead body reduced to pulp and lynched. The image is an dreadful depiction of brutality and the capitol punishment of a man.
    That crucified image contrast with the Transfiguration and is at complete variance with the image of the Ascension and indeed of the Resurrected Christ.
    Christ True God and True Man, the Word made Flesh and dwelt amongst Us! We should and can see the Flesh in that Body image of the Shroud.
    But there is a difference between Christ Flesh (without Sin ) and Our Flesh (Fallen Body of Adam)
    The computer , electric just doesn’t come anywhere near Self (body), Spirit (with spirtual senses) and Soul

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  39. Toad says:

    “So if Moses and Elias and Henoch are alive where are they? Are they dead or not? “

    If you are expecting a funny answer on that one Roger, you are quite out of luck.
    From Toad anyway,

    Like

  40. Toad says:

    Surely. re “Toad’s” sickly young female saints, someone else has heard of Terese of Lisieux, Blessed Elizabeth of The Trinity, or St Rosa of Lima?
    Still, Toad will gracefully yield on this.
    Or else he might have to do a bit of tedious work.

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  41. Toad says:

    A CP&S discussion on the virtues of pilgrimage might prove enlightening.
    I’m in favour of them myself,
    Better than walking the streets.

    How on earth did we get along on CP&S before Roger?
    What a muddle we must have been in!

    Like

  42. johnhenrycn says:

    …it is evident that the Church most certainly does urge us to believe in these apparitions that have been endorsed by many Popes and bishops…

    No argument from me on that score, Kathleen, which I why, in replying to Jabba, I said it depends on what is meant by enjoined. This goes to show why simple words are to be preferred over exotic ones, especially when discussing and debating ideas. Best wishes on your pilgrimage, K.

    Like

  43. Roger says:

    Now Elias is confirmed in the New Testament in fact his name resounds throughout the New Testament. Now the Transfiguration is a really good place for considering the Body, Spirit and Soul and especially the Trinity. Its also an excellent place for those derisory of the first books of the Bible because of the presence of Elias and Moses!

    Lets now go to Mark 9
    [1] And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter and James and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves, and was transfigured before them.
    [2] And his garments became shining and exceeding white as snow, so as no fuller upon earth can make white.
    [3] And there appeared to them Elias with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus.
    [4] And Peter answering, said to Jesus: Rabbi, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
    [5] For he knew not what he said: for they were struck with fear.
    [6] And there was a cloud overshadowing them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying: This is my most beloved son; hear ye him.

    For those interested in the various modern approved Apparations the presence of a cloud, ball of light etc. is very familiar. Especially those dumbfounded by the ascension.

    I think this is a very good place to point out that the Papacy was coffered by Our Lord AFTER his Resurrection. In other words the Whole Roman Catholic Church and the Papacy and its Authority rest on the acceptance of the Resurrection!

    The point is that Elias whom modernists would like to call a myth because they consider the eraly books of the bible myths! But here is Elias hail and hearty conversing 2000 years ago and witnessed by the Apostles of the New Testament. Even more interesting for modernists to chew over is Moses because of course he is also here alive and chatting heartily . The tradition is that he Moses is reponsible for Genesis. No matter he appears in the second book Exodus does he not and there is the story of the crossing of the Red Sea! But wait a minute what were the Israels doing in Egypt (thats in Genesis, in fact isn’t Genesis the argument for the State of modern Israel)
    We have now discovered Elias and Moses alive and chatting 2000 years ago and even better that Genesis explains the claim for modern Israel! So much for myths!
    (Also notice how Our Lords cloths also changed and then later reverted back.
    At this time Our Lord was just about to enter Jerusalem to be Crucified.
    Interestingly for those readers who delight in the saints St Peter Thomas (Carmelite) was instructed by Our Lady as to Elias request at the Transfiguration. The Carmelites by tradition originate from Elias.

    To assists Toad even more with paranoid religious dying young and sickly we can go off course to say St Francis (shame about the stigma!!) or what about Mary of Agreda “..One of the most remarkable episodes in the early history of the Southwest is the bilocation of Mother Mary of Agreda to New Mexico and Texas..” He is in Southern Spain and no doubt will enjoy the story of St. Pontius Pilate celebrated June 25 by Orthodox Church and Coptics who is linked to that part of the world.

    Like

  44. Roger says:

    I thought it appropriate to provide further interesting information about Mary of Agreda (these young and sickly nuns and their physcological issues) . She died in 1665 as at 1989 her body was still found to be incorrupt.
    A mystic, visionary, writer and bilocution with 500 such accounts of visits to New Mexico, Texas and Arizona during her life time and before the missionaries could reached the native injuns in those regions. Obviously she never left Agreda. Her case was thoroughly examined as was the testimony of various tribes of injuns and the memory of the white lady in blue who used to appear amongst them.
    The interesting aspect of bilocution cases or these blessed is that their bodies are in both places at the same time. One soul but two (or more) bodies in two different places. Of course this is completely at odds with the “..biological and neurological..” theory on conscience. Can one conscience occupy more than one body?
    Enough to drive a modernist and materialist to distraction.

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  45. Toad says:

    “Enough to drive a modernist and materialist to distraction.”
    Well, your logic is impeccable there, Roger.

    Toad lives in fact, in Northern Spain, which will not prevent him enjoying hearing about Saint Pontius Pilot one bit.

    Saint Bernadette was a bit sickly, wasn’t she? Died young?

    Like

  46. golden chersonnese says:

    Well yes, Toad, I do believe that tuberculosis does make you feel a bit off colour. Even young nuns like St Thérèse and St Bernadette. Though I’ve never heard it referred to as “young nuns’ disease”.

    St Thérèse, 1897, on becoming like little children:

    This, then, is what I think about the Justice of God; my own way is all confidence and love, and I cannot understand those souls who are afraid of so affectionate a Friend. Sometimes, when I read books in which perfection is put before us with the goal obstructed by a thousand obstacles, my poor little head is quickly fatigued. I close the learned treatise, which tires my brain and dries up my heart, and I turn to the Sacred Scriptures. Then all becomes clear and lightsome—a single word opens out infinite vistas, perfection appears easy, and I see that it is enough to acknowledge our nothingness, and like children surrender ourselves into the Arms of the Good God. Leaving to great and lofty minds the beautiful books which I cannot understand, still less put in practice, I rejoice in my littleness because “only little children and those who are like them shall be admitted to the Heavenly banquet.”[6] Fortunately—”there are many mansions in my Father’s House”:[7] if there were only those—to me—incomprehensible mansions with their baffling roads, I should certainly never enter there . . .

    Like

  47. Toad says:

    “Even young nuns like St Thérèse and St Bernadette. Though I’ve never heard it referred to as “young nuns’ disease”.”

    Really, Goledn? Really? Never?
    Neither has Toad, actually – come to thinks of it. Perhaps it isn’t.

    Like

  48. kathleen says:

    Dear Golden, Roger, JH, et al….. many thanks for your kind wishes and much-needed prayers as the day of departure for the Chartres pilgrimage draws nearer. I promise to pray for all of you, and all your intentions, during the pilgrimage.
    I just loved that quote Golden… shall put it on my hard disc. 🙂
    And Roger, your comment of 16:27 yesterday showed some fascinating insight re body and soul.

    Yes, I am feeling a strange mixture of joyful anticipation and fear! Certainly one experiences a little taste of Heaven in all the beautiful traditional Holy Masses, the many lovely prayers, meditations and talks as we trudge along (at an amazingly fast pace) the 70 miles between the two cathedrals dedicated to Our Lady, Notre Dame of Paris and Chartres respectively. The company of so many like-minded Catholics fired up with love for our Holy Church, including my many friends, is another great perk of course.
    But on the down side (and this is why it provides plenty of opportunity for making sacrifices) are the aching muscles, blisters, exhaustion and rough sleeping conditions. Being on the ‘wrong’ side of 50, it just gets harder each time!
    Yet, in my opinion, the pilgrimage to Chartres is still one of the most spiritually uplifting experiences one could hope for this side of Heaven.

    Like

  49. johnhenrycn says:

    Toad lives in fact, in Northern Spain, which will not prevent him enjoying hearing about Saint Pontius Pilot one bit.

    Toad, it’s not really fair to make fun of Roger by mangling his comment. He said “St. Pontius Pilate” – not Pilot – and I think, though I don’t have time to look it up, Pilate is indeed a Coptic saint. I do, however, look askance at his rererence to “injuns”, although again, I don’t see anything ulterior in his motives – just plain ignorance. I occasionally quote slave poetry by racists, but Roger doesn’t strike me as capable of distinguishing between ignorance and racism, so I give him the benefit.

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  50. Toad says:

    Toad stands correctly rebuked. In fact, until JH pointed it out, he hadn’t even noticed he’d spelled “Pilate’ in such a stupid way.
    Go figure. Freudian, perhaps. More like plain thoughtlessness, probably. Still, apologies to Roger. Honest injun.

    Like

  51. Roger says:

    Glorified bodies. The reason for bringing in the Transfiguration off course and what a mysterious episode this is in Our Lords Life is because He permitted His Apostles to witness His Glory.

    Man is Body, Spirit, Soul (st Paul)
    Now the Body dies BUT as Our Lord pointed out the greater death isn’t of the body its off the Soul.
    So there is a Real Death which is the death of the soul. Could St Peter have raised Tabitha back to life if she had been judged? If her soul was in Heaven or Hell what then? It was because Tabitha hadn’t yet been judged that she was raised from the dead!

    The Resurrection of the dead unites Body, Spirit, Soul BUT
    The Saved will have Glorified Bodies there souls are Alive and full of Light.
    But NOT the Damned! The Damned are spiritually Dead there is No Light in their souls.
    The Damned are Destined to suffer in their Bodies for Eternity. There is NO basis for believing that for the Damned that their Bodily suffering will end! On the contrary the bodily suffering will remain and intensify for Eternity. For the damned they cannot escape bodily suffering through death!

    The Children at Fatima were shown Hell!
    Hell is real and so is Our Judgment before God.

    This sad age is storing up a Eternity of pain for its adherents! Fatima far from being a matter of private opinion is a matter of the greatest importance to mankind.

    Like

  52. Toad says:

    “The Damned are Destined to suffer in their Bodies for Eternity. There is NO basis for believing that for the Damned that their Bodily suffering will end! On the contrary the bodily suffering will remain and intensify for Eternity.

    Some people might think Roger either wicked or, to be charitable – totally off his rocker – to entertain the notion of such condign and infinite castigation meted out by a purportedly loving and benevolent God..
    Toad has no clue.
    Maybe Roger is right.
    Pascal had a solution. Of sorts.

    “Fatima, far from being a matter of private opinion, is a matter of the greatest importance…”
    All opinions are ultimately private ones, Roger, even regarding Fatima.
    Nobody can have opinions on your behalf.
    (Except various religious institutions of course. But, even then, only if you allow them.)

    Like

  53. kathleen says:

    Roger is none of those nasty things you say Toad! In fact he is being charitable (not uncharitable) in warning people going around in blinkered self-denial of the consequences for those who choose to live evil, sinful lives. He is absolutely correct in what he says about Hell, this being the teaching of Our Blessed Lord Himself, and part of the Doctrine of the Catholic Church (and most other Christian churches too). Roger did not make it up.

    This reminds me of the true story of the woman who confronted St. Padre Pio, stating: “I do not believe in Hell!” He looked deeply into her eyes and responded: “Well you will when you get there”!!
    Scary words, huh?

    FYI, there is a post coming up now on CP&S about this subject. It was prepared yesterday, i.e. before Roger wrote his above comment.
    Warning: you won’t like it!

    Like

  54. Toad says:

    “This reminds me of the true story of the woman who confronted St. Padre Pio, stating: “I do not believe in Hell!” He looked deeply into her eyes and responded: “Well you will when you get there”!! Scary words, huh?”
    Yes, Kathleen, and when Toad was tiny, around six or so, they scared him witless. Which was, I now think, in retrospect – evil of the good nuns who petrified him with their rubbish..
    So, I will not – for very logical reasons – which I’ve reiterated several times – believe in eternal damnation for any non-eternal human being. It is illogical, as well as evil,
    And, if it ultimately turns out I’m wrong, and there really is a god cruel enough to allow it – then so be it.
    I want no part of such a monster or his heaven, and I suppose I must then be condemned to the alternative.
    But I don’t for a moment believe that such a scenario is, or ever will be, the case.
    If there is a God, he must be nice, not nasty.
    So you and I will cheerfully continue to differ on this. ‘Til kingdom come, possibly.

    Like

  55. Toad says:

    “Warning: you won’t like it!”

    Au contraire, as Glodne would – and, indeed, frequently does – say, Kathleen – Toad fully expects to love it – and revel in it.
    And might even feel it worth a comment or two.

    But what does he know?

    Like

  56. kathleen says:

    We should not have an inordinate fear of Hell, Toad.
    (I’m always sad when I hear people say they were terrified as children of this prospect of going to Hell.) God is Love and yearns for our Salvation more than we do ourselves! No one goes to Hell, who wants to be with God in Heaven….. although a little sojourn in Purgatory might be necessary first before entering through those ‘pearly gates’.

    Like

  57. Toad says:

    Were you not terrified like that by threats of Hell, as a child, Kathleen?
    Honestly?
    Apparently not, Lucky old you.
    Gertrude, like Toad, also was.
    (At least I think I’m right in saying that .)
    …sorry if I’m wrong,

    And anyway, how can you – in any sane way – tell us to accept Roger’s lurid comment, and then tell us all, despite that, we need not have “…an inordinate fear of Hell”?

    What else can we do, if any of us are dopey enough to believe it?
    Laugh?
    Well, yes.
    Without a doubt.
    No matter what Padre Pio said to the lady.

    Like

  58. kathleen says:

    With the conversation about Hell going on simultaneously on two different threads, this is getting a bit confusing! 😉

    Was I scared of Hell as a child? Well, a little bit, yes, to tell the truth, but perhaps because I am a bit younger than you and Gertrude, and my upbringing in the sixties was not as, eh, strict?… I was given far more emphasis on God’s very real Merciful Love than on His ‘punishments’.
    Still, I was lucky, thanks to a good Catholic school and my wonderful Catholic parents, that I was not hoodwinked into believing Hell did not exist, like other unfortunate contemporaries of mine.

    Like

  59. Toad says:

    “Was I scared of Hell as a child? Well, a little bit, yes, to tell the truth,”
    This seems a grudging admission.
    Forgive me if I’m wrong.

    But, if I’m right – why should you feel even mildly guilty about it now?
    Could it be that you secretly believe it was disgraceful to stuff a small child’s head with such vicious obscenities?
    No?
    Thought not. Oh, well. Though it’s comforting that you were told that God make a habit of punishing people. But then his Mother is quite clear on that.

    And, if all that’s necessary to be in Heaven with God is to want to,, what’s with all the fuss about sin, including the Original variety?
    And how could Toad have been threatened with Hell for the sin of doing a paper round on a Sunday, age 13, for example?

    (Sorry Rabit, but I’ve had to wait over 60 years to get a sensible answer to questions like these. If indeed I get one now. Which I doubt. But you never know.)

    Like

  60. Toad says:

    I appreciate that you are busy Kathleen – what with a family to look after and Toad eternally skulking in the backyard under a bucket.
    And, once again, I appreciate your patience.
    So, forget about his paper round.

    Like

  61. kathleen says:

    ‘Morning Toad. Oh yes, sorry, I see I never replied to you here yesterday.

    Guilty? I don’t feel guilty about having felt just a little natural fear about Hell as a small child! I was high-spirited and willful, so I might have been quite uncontrollable if I’d been taught there was no punishment for bad behaviour. 😉

    Seriously though, God does not “punish” us with Hell; all actions have consequences, so if we dangerously choose a path of wanton evil we will be punishing ourselves. God is just – that is what we must always remember. Some people have been meted out only a small number of ‘talents’ (or opportunities for good in this life), and this will be taken into account on judgement day. St. John of the Cross said that everyone will be judged on how they have loved in life…. love in its true sense of course.
    Believe me, if we want Heaven, it means we want to love, and that will nudge us into the right direction. And the more we want it, the more we will be inclined to love and spread that love.

    Doing a paper round on Sunday is sinful? Well someone has to, don’t they? You might well find you will be congratulated one day for having done so, instead of punished. Avoiding Hell does not mean we have to be over-scrupulous….. that in itself is sinful!
    Oh dear, now I’ve really sent you skulking back to your bucket….

    Like

  62. Roger says:

    Fatima and the Vision of Hell and the explosion of modernism and materialism in 20th century. Our Lord (Luke) specifically told the rich man (materialism and wealth) that it was almost impossible for the materialist/modernist Rich to enter Heaven!
    Modernism and materialism are Riches of the Body!! In other words the tryanny of SELF!
    The Body and SELF awareness are why souls are pouring into Hell!
    SELF first is the opposite of God First , Love of Neighbour Then Self!

    Like

  63. Roger says:

    St Pio was the spiritual child of St Francis. Holy Poverty in 20th century held as an example against materialism and a society of wealth.

    Like

  64. Toad says:

    Kathleen,
    1: Muy Buen Camino. Ultreia!

    2: Yes I was told categorically, at school, that ‘servile work,’ i.e. a paper round, was definitely a sin, very possibly mortal, thus involving burning in Hell for all eternity. ‘tho I confess I don’t recall the sordid details. It seemed, on enquiry, that priests’ “work” on Sundays was not considered ‘servile,’ to which my response was that it ought to be, which did not go down well during “Religious Knowledge,” (there’s an oxymoron for yer!) classes and earned me a sound thrashing from father Doyle, who didn’t even bother taking the cigarette out of his mouth while executing his task.
    Certainly, delivering the Telegraph these days ought to involve a certain amount of celestial ‘punishment’ – so idiotic is it. But burning for eternity over Damian? Well, maybe.

    3: Unless, as usual, I am in error, “punishment” is a word that figures very frequently indeed in the Virgin’s homilies to her chosen audiences of small, semi-literate children. Naturally, I suppose.
    Indeed, she seems obsessed with it, including “visual aids.”
    Mostly, presumably, for those who fail to rattle off fifteen decades of The Holy Rosary in under seven and a quarter minutes. (Insert smiley face.)

    Like

  65. Toad says:

    Roger, “modernism and materialism” are not sole products of the 20th or 21st centuries. All centuries are “modern” at the time. and the 19th is particularly notable for it. Thanks to largely Darwin, we can see in retrospect.
    And the revulsion against materialism is a pronounced now as ever.
    Far more, in my opinion, than fifty or sixty years ago. But, like then, it will come to nothing.

    The grasping, imbecile, and vulgar always win. “To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost.” said Flaubert and he was right. Thinks Toad.

    Like

  66. Roger says:

    Yes BUT the 20th century was especially targetted. The point is Free Will, there is a balance between Good and Evil this so that Man’s Free Will is a genuine choice. This balance was changed after the Passion because of the Public miracles and manifestion of Our Lord and should explain why Israel was reduced to waste land for 2000 years. The Battle between Heaven and Hell was taken to a higher level. We are now 2 days (1000 years is a day to God) since the Passion and the Holy Land has been revitalised. Christianity and the Bible are known around the entire world. So we know this is a logically crucial time.
    Fatima was an extrodinary public intervention with a publicised Miracle of Old Testament proportions. At the same time Leo XIII revealed the sifting of the Church for 100 years!
    Free Will is Man’s gift to accept or reject Heaven. So the Battle is now at a higher level than before 1917. St Pio was the first priest to have the Stigmata! This is very very significant.
    The 20th century is a century of satanic sifting!
    So what has happened? Wars and the destruction of the Faith. Divorce, Abortion, Atheism and the dechristianising of Europe. The secularisation and destruction of Christianty.
    Sunday is a Holy Day to be kept Holy so Father Doyle was right!
    What has happened is that the Faith has been turned on its Head and questioned, watered down and polluted so that it is unrecognisable from earlier centuries.
    The Rosary? Mine takes me an hour each day?
    It is very disrespectful to treat the Rosary and its mysteries like a rapid firing prattle. The prayers should not be rattled off but rather a gentle rhthym like murmuring water.
    We are praying to seeking the intercession of the Mother Of God and far to many Rosary’s are actually offensive to her and Our Lord because they are empty of devotion.
    Fatima is being revealed before Our eyes because of this secularisation (and this was the social reengineering that came out of Russia) Secular Governments ignoring God.
    Wars are Gods punishment for Sin. Emmerich also had a vision of burned and charred Church, its a spiritual death of course the killing of the spirit because of the materialism of the Flesh!!
    Fatima is immediately before Us because the secularisation and public Sinning is unstoppable. The global economic/financial and now political crisis is without question part of Fatima . Father Malachy Martin said of the third secret that it was dire and a breakdown in the world system.
    So we have satanic sifting to destroy the Faith and the Loss of the sense of Sin and this means Souls falling into Hell!

    Like

  67. kathleen says:

    @ Toad
    Modernism is not the same as ‘being modern’. They are two quite different concepts. Modernism is an attack on all the Church’s Divinely inspired teachings on Doctrine and Dogma. Popes Pius IX and X in particular strongly condemned its heresies.

    Roger is right, the Holy Rosary should be prayed slowly and devoutly, savouring the deep lessons in each beautiful mystery.
    The Angel of Peace instructed the little seers of Fatima (the year before the appearance of Our Blessed Lady) how to pray the Rosary properly. They had been praying in hurriedly too…. like you!

    Like

  68. kathleen says:

    Sunday is a Holy Day to be kept Holy so Father Doyle was right!”

    Roger, I quite agree that Sunday is indeed a holy day, one that we should dedicate to God, and also to resting and our families. Certainly businesses and shops should not open on Sundays. But as we well know, there are people who have to work on Sunday: policemen, hospital workers, train drivers, busy mothers etc. Jesus said that the ‘Sabbath’ was made for men, and not the other way round, so we must be sensible here.

    Poor old Toad…. I don’t think Fr. Doyle should have spanked him for simply doing a paper round, do you?

    Like

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