Fear of God at foot of the mountain

Rocky Mountain Sunset

Rocky Mountain Sunset

    Do not let fear of God make you tremble like a child who touched the cookie jar, or the Israelites at the foot of Mount Sinai. Such fear keeps you from internalizing a healthy Fear of God. We should dread disappointing both God and ourselves by not keeping his law close to our hearts, and expressing it in our every thought and deed.

    This healthy Fear of God is what moves families by generation to generation to know and love the Lord. It is this Fear of God which builds Faith, gives Hope and binds us through Charity to other God Fearing people and families. Together we must build an earthly Body of Christ outsiders will recognize as a Catholic (I.e. universal) sign of God’s glory visible in the world. We can do no less in our pursuit of the prize of heaven for ourselves and posterity.

-ehw

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The Harvest of Salvation

    Many modern Catholic theologians, and clergy, assert the world’s population has a reasonable assumption of reaching heaven.  This theological viewpoint by nature runs over quite quickly into how they interact with the world through preaching, parish life and politics.  Although I am just a novice in understanding grand theological ideas; the assumption cannot be true due to conflicts with sacred scripture, Church Fathers teaching, and natural law.

    We are created in the image of God and built to share in knowledge and the life of God (CCC356).  Our capacity to do so however depends on each of us freely choosing to offer back to God all of the creation he provided to us (CCC358).  The stain of original sin on our nature makes it impossible to do be completely intimate with God without constant reliance on our Lord’s sacraments and teaching (CCC 402-406).  This results in the “hard battle…” of life in the real world where one who lives in ignorance of man’s wounded nature “gives rise to serious error in the areas of education, politics, social action and morals.”(CCC407)

    Our Lord also clearly repeats this theme in scripture through his parables.  In the parable of the sower we find all the seed is good.  The seed just lands on different ground.  The seed only thrives when it can find enriching soil and few external dangers.  Some ground is easily fertile, some is fertile but full of thorns, and some falls on rocky infertile soil.  The end result is two thirds of the seed yields very little healthy wheat.  Meanwhile the fertile soil thrives with the fewest plant failures.  The moral of the story becomes the minority of people grow into wheat the Father takes into heaven.

    Now the great philosopher would reply, any man can have their own faith in God which generates hope.  The same person could then use their intellect, and observations of nature to do good works of charity for others.   So therefore the scripture, tradition and sacraments are not required for assumption into heaven for eternal life.  So therefore reasonably people can assume God has a wide entrance to everyone to obtain heaven.

    The philosopher would err however in his final assessment.  By relying solely on our own intellect for decisions, we in fact prevent ourself from submitting our intellect to the will of God.    This fact, in and of itself, means the person living alone is not ready to become one with God.   No being ready to form complete union with almighty God prevents us from obtaining the gifts of heaven.  Giving back everything to God includes submitting all of our intellect to the words and commands of Jesus for introspection.  

    The lone person also becomes one against the fallen world, with all of its physical and spiritual dangers. With no community in which to find refuge from hostile forces, the lone person must fight alone and will be unaided by the wisdom of others on their quest for heaven.  So at the end of the lone journeyman’s life, it will not be a final chance to beg for God’s mercy (which those who submitted our lives before hand may possibly receive).  It would be a complete act of mercy from God to grant mercy to someone who did not submit completely to his rule, and is still defiantly saying they are their own judge on matters of faith and morals.

    We have scriptural evidence for this when Jesus himself tells Saul his work of persecuting christians hurt his body, and he needed to change.  Saul becomes the Apostle Paul, and every day begged for mercy he did not deserve.  Paul submitted his teachings, and service to the guidance of the other apostles in Jerusalem to insure their continuity with those of the remainder of Christ’s body.  Paul celebrated the eucharist with the rest of the church as daily nourishment for his journey.  Paul did this because the Body of Christ on earth was the church, and its sacraments is God’s life blood poured forth to the nourishment of the individuals in that body.

    If men as great as St Paul and other church fathers realized how thin the path to heaven was, then the historical and theological evidence clearly comes down against a “reasonable assumption” for each person to reach heaven.  It is time to recognize how this carefree attitude hurts moral decision making in our daily lives and the governance of our church.  If we recognize the real rocky path towards heaven, maybe we’ll re-acquire the missionary zeal of those first christians once again.

-ehw

Faith from the Shadows of Life

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Hebrews 11:1

    Shadows may give us a little insight into the theological virtue of faith.  In a shadow we have evidence of things unseen.  Scientists use the observation of a shadow on the moon during an eclipse to begin a search for the substantive event causing the eclipse. In the photo of a person’s shadow we have evidence that something resembling a person blocked the sun’s light from hitting the ground directly.  In both of these examples, if we desire to search for truth, we must freely give our entire intellect towards understanding the substance of the event we witnessed.

    Freely giving one’s intellect to the search for truth means we must look at all potential theories for the substantive event we witnessed.  Then we must objectively test the theories, and discard those proven false.  At the end of our objective testing we will come up with a few questions which we may not be able to prove in any way with a scientific approach.  Those remaining theories may need subjective testing to provide us the most reasonable answer to our question as to what was the substance of the event.

    It is in the subjective analysis in which we will make observations of the world around us to form an opinion on what substantively occurred.  The resulting final opinion will be our “best reasonable guess.”  The decisions we make off that “best reasonable guess” becomes our guide for future actions or opinions in our lives.

    If the scientist reviewing either of our events held back on their search for truth, and allowed a predisposition to properly evaluate and answer, they will not find the truth.   No matter how hard the seeker tries, any supposition based on a falsehood cannot be true.  This is why Thomas Aquinas says: “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”

    If we subject ourselves to the mission of discovering God’s will for our lives, we must give ourselves over to faith.  We must submit our lives to totally seeking truth, discarding falsehood, and applying faith in our lives through charity.  There will always be countering theories to the ones proposed by the Catholic Church for what constitutes a “good life” which will obtain for us eternal rewards.   The subjective analysis of the shadows Saints of the church left on the earth says both objectively and subjectively their faith was well placed.  

   I will learn from their shadows, and keep my faith in Jesus Christ through the Church of the Apostles.  I hope you will too.

-ehw

Six Months and Going Strong

John Paul Tracking along at six months...in 12 months duds.

John Paul Tracking along at six months…in 12 months duds.

    Amidst the winter illnesses and stresses of life comes one great story…John Paul celebrated six months Friday!  He continues to excel in the growth department, weighing in around 19 pounds and long enough to DEMAND twelve month duds.  As the bib says, he is heaven sent and on a mission to be 100% cuteness (so others besides the Dad says).

    I cannot believe we are so lucky to have John Paul.  I cannot believe the love the other children show him, and the care they give him every day.  I am so blessed to watch the creation of new hearts open to life and the work required to bring it to fruition.  It is a series of observations which through pretenses of materialism into the shredder, because their work for John Paul demonstrates the power of agape love.  John Paul detracts nothing from the older kids, and in the big kids work for John Paul they glorify God.

    We still need prayers for Mom to get fully healthy, but for just a minute I want to bask in a moment of God’s Glory captured in a digital form.  I hope it gives you as much hope and joy as I get when I see it.  For if our lives are to be full of toil (or so says Proverbs) seeing a moment of God’s makes the work worth it to survive to see another day.

-ehw