Every day we present a short point that helps bring into focus the treasures of the Roman Catholic Church that comprise the great Deposit of Faith.
It is no secret that over the past thirty years fewer and fewer know their Faith and it shows with the declining number of vocations, parish participation and attendance at Holy Mass. We have the new Catechism of the Catholic Church but for the common man, the one brought up on sound bites and instant gratification, it is more of a text book and that in itself prompts them to shy away from such a tome. So what's a loyal Catholic to do in evangelizing to fellow Catholics and understand their Faith? Our answer: go back to basics - to the great Deposit of Faith. We have the Baltimore Catechism which, for unknown and ridiculous reasons, was shelved after Vatican II. We have the Holy Bible but there are so many newer versions that the Douay-Rheims and Confraternity Latin Vulgate in English versions, the ones used for so long as the official Scriptural text authorized by the Church, seem lost in a maze of new interpretations that water down the Word. This is further complicated by the fact there are so few Douay-Rheims editions in circulation though it is available on the net at
DOUAY-RHEIMS BIBLE. We have so many Vatican documents available at the Vatican web site and other excellent Catholic resource sites that detail Doctrine, Dogma and Canon Law. We have the traditions, and the means of grace but how do we consolidate all these sources into one where it is succinct and easy to understand? We have the perfect vehicle. It is called "My Catholic Faith", now out of print, that was compiled by Bishop Louis Laravoire Morrow and published by My Mission House. This work ties in Scriptural references, the Sacraments, Dogmas, Doctrines, Traditions, Church documents, Encyclical and Papal decrees to clearly illustrate the Faith in simple, solid and concise terms that all can understand and put into practice. We will quote from this work while adding in more recent events and persons when applicable since the book was written in the late forties during the pontificate of Pope Pius XII. We also quote from the Catholic Almanac published by Our Sunday Visitor for the Roman Curial offices.
Nothing in Holy Mother Church's teaching has changed and therefore we feel confident that these daily "points of enlightenment" will help more Catholics better understand their faith, especially those who were not blessed with early formation of the faith in the home and their parish school. Regardless of where any Catholic is in his or her journey toward salvation, he or she has to recognize that the Faith they were initiated into at the Sacrament of Baptism is the most precious gift they have been given in life.
LIFE EVERLASTING: HEAVEN
Holy Scripture says of Heaven: "Eye has not seen, or ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Corinthians 2:9). "The sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that will be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18).
This bliss will last for all eternity. The joys of Heaven will always delight. And we shall have no fear of their ending, for Heaven will be everlasting. Eternity has no measure. It is like a circle: We can spend our whole life going around a circle, but we shall never find an end. Each part is only the beginning. Eternity has no end. We can never have a proper conception of its duration, because we have nothing similar to eternity. Millions of ages are as nothing compared to eternity. If a bird were to carry away from the ocean one drop of water every thousand years, a time will come when it will have carried away the whole ocean. But that time is less than the shortest moment, if compared to eternity.
The bliss of Heaven will not be the same for all. The Heavenly reward is given according to the goodness of the life each led on earth. In the same measure as we have loved God, He will reward us. However, each will be completely and supremely happy, because each will receive according to the fulness of his capacity, "There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another of the stars" (1 Corinthians 15:41).
In a similar way, if we fill a small glass and a great glass full to overflowing with water, one contains more than the other, yet neither can receive one more drop. Martyrs, Virgins, Doctors, that is, teachers of truth and religion, are promised a special joy and glory in Heaven.
In the same way bodies, after joining the souls at the resurrection, will differ in brilliancy and beauty as star differs from star in glory, but all will be perfect. Yet among the blessed there will be no envy. As Saint Francis of Sales said: two children receive from their faither each a piece of cloth to make a garment. The smaller child will not envy his brother the bigger garment, but will be quite satisfied with the one that fits him.
The degree of glory of the blessed in Heaven can neither be added to nor diminished for all eternity. And yet there are what we might term incidental glories: as for example, on the feast days of the Saints, when special Masses and commemorations are held in their honor, or when more people pay veneration, etc.
"And night shall be no more, and they shall have no need of light of lamp, or light of sun, for the Lord God will shed light upon them; and they shall reign forever and ever" (Apocalypse/Revelation 22:5).
It will be the "Greatest of Amens." By the word "Amen", with which we end the Apostles' Creed, is meant "So it is", or "So be it"; the word expresses our firm belief in all the doctrines that the Creed contains. Our Lord often used the word "Amen", usually as a solemnly positive affirmation: "Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). "Amen, amen, I say to you, you shall see Heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man" (John 1:51).
Tomorrow: Religion and the End of Man