Summer of Grace - Ss. Mary and Joseph Catholic Church

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“We Believe”
Life, Death, Heaven,
Hell, Purgatory and
other weighty matters…
Wednesday, April 16
Life and Death
How can we believe that there is an afterlife?
It’s ‘logical’? Why doubt it?
Near death experiences?
There is no hope without it?
What do you mean by afterlife?
Does it need to be a ‘personal’ afterlife?
Faith is the only sure bet.
Life and Death
First possibility: nothing but body
parent
death
Life and Death
Second possibility: reincarnation
Body
Soul
parent
death
parent
Life and Death
Third possibility: soul trapped in body
Body
Soul
parent
death
Life and Death
Catholic proposal: soul and body in union
Body
Soul
parent
death
Life and Death
In heaven, the human body and
soul will be reunited in new life.
Look to the Garden of Eden for
a hint: death only came as an
effect of sin.
Life and Death

What is the destiny of the human person?
–
–
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Creation in an act of a loving God.
God created out of love to share life and show forth
his unique glory.
The destiny of humanity is to be happy with God
Life and Death

What is sin?
Life and Death

Sin
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–
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Sin defaces creation, making it something God did
not intend.
Sin is willful disobedience to the will of the Creator.
Sin makes a person something other than what he
was created to be.
Sin turns a person in on himself/herself… it is not
about the glory of God, but the glory of self.

–
“You will be gods”
A savior was to be sent to set things right again.
Life and Death

Death
–
–
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–
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Sin is a ‘turning way’ from God.
We were created for life, but in sin we die.
Death is a consequence of sin…
…and that consequence affects all of creation.
The effects of sin from even our earliest ancestors
abounds in creation, separating us all from intimate
union with God we were created for.
Life and Death: Our Destiny

Our destiny is heaven.
–
–

In heaven, we find the fulfillment of our savior’s
mission, that our life as created beings will be
restored to the original perfection of the garden.
We are made for heaven, not for death.
The greatest joy of heaven is the “beatific
vision”, the happy, blessed vision of God, our
creator.
Life and Death

Heaven is without time or place in creation.
–
–


God is not ‘contained’ in heaven.
Think of it as a ‘state of being’
The “Kingdom” of Heaven
Heaven is a pure gift from God.
–
–
Heaven is not a reward for the goodness of creation
God alone judges who is in heaven and…
Life and Death




So what about sin?
Christ came to take away the guilt of sin,
placing all sin upon himself as he offered
himself to God the Father in sacrifice.
Every sin is redeemed in the cross.
Jesus, who is the ‘way and the truth and the
life’ calls sinners to follow him that they may
receive the merits of the cross.
Life and Death

Those who accept the cross join Christ in
overcoming the power of sin remaining in
creation…
–

an economy of plenty… God’s grace.
Those who do not accept the cross of Christ
find themselves hopelessly caught in the power
of the world
–
an economy of scarcity… lacking God’s grace.
Life and Death

Judgment:
–
“Particular Judgment” – the judgment each person
faces before the throne of God. Are you prepared to
partake in the “beatific vision”



–
Pass/Fail?
Has that been determined by God or really by the person?
What of those who are turned away from God and turned
into ones self?
Following our natural death, our ‘orientation’ is set.
Life and Death

Hell
Life and Death

Dante’s Vision:
Life and Death

Dante’s vision:
Life and Death



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Can a good God allow Hell to exist?
God is a God of Love; he wants to fulfill us with
our deepest desire (God himself).
If we turn away from God, all we have is what
we can see and grasp. (Which isn’t God.)
If a person truly refuses to love God, God’s
love is punishment in itself.
Life and Death


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What else is there?
Purgatory: a place of purification for those
whose love of God is not perfect.
Those in purgatory have hope… they know
that they are heaven-bound, but they do not
have the full vision of God.
The sacrifices of the Church assist these souls.
Purgatory is ‘resolved’ in the ‘final judgment’
when Jesus returns.
Life and Death

Other destinies?
–
–
Limbo?
Universal Salvation?
Questions for Consideration
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Why do you believe in an afterlife?
How do you explain heaven to a child?
How do you explain heaven to a non-believer?
Is Dante right in his vision of hell? Does it
make a difference?
“Dare we hope that all are saved?” Is this a
reasonable hope in your mind?
Do you view limbo as part of heaven, part of
hell, or something else altogether?
Next Week
Sacraments:
Baptism and
Confirmation
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