Sunday 29th November 2020

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When I Was Too Little…

November 20, 2020 Frontpage No Comments

By JOE SIXPACK

Little Janie was coloring in her coloring book while her mother sewed a few feet away. All at once, Janie got up and ran over to her mother. She climbed up into her mother’s lap and threw her arms around her neck and kissed her. Then laying her little head on her mother’s shoulder, she whispered into her mother’s ear, “Mommy, I love you.”
Her mother hugged Janie and asked, “Why do you love me, sweetheart?”
With tears in her eyes, she answered, “Because you loved me when I was too little to love you back.”
As I recall from my reading, the very first question in the old Baltimore Catechism is, “Why did God create me?” If you think about it, that’s one of the most profound questions man has ever asked. And this is a question man has asked in every age, baffled in search of an answer. Maybe even you have asked that question. Although it’s baffled people throughout the centuries, our Old Covenant brethren, the Jews, have had the answer to that question for over 5,000 years, and we Catholics have had it passed on to us for 2,000 years. Unfortunately, most of us seem to have forgotten the answer, and in the uncertain times we live in we need to know and understand the answer now more than ever.
God created us to know Him, love Him, and serve Him in this life so we may be happy with Him forever in the next life. Once we come to know God we can’t help but to love Him. After we learn to love Him it’s a natural extension to want to serve Him. If we persevere in our service to Him, God will reward us with eternity in Heaven with Him.
Think for a moment about the explanation the Church teaches for why God created us. He created us to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this life so we can be forever happy with Him in the next life. In other words, God created us from no other motive than love. It’s difficult, perhaps even impossible, for us to grasp the concept of infinity, but God is Infinite Love. He has (is) so much love that He created us just so we could one day be forever happy with Him.
And He has engrained on our nature that same concept so as to help us better understand Him. After all, as Janie’s story points out, our only motive for cooperating with God to procreate our children and to care for them is love. I suppose that means we could view our journey as pilgrims here on Earth as our being in the womb awaiting our birth into eternity. Unfortunately, not all of us are going to make it…many will be stillborn.
Man is a creature composed of a physical body and a spiritual soul. The soul possesses intellect and free will, and it is created in the image and likeness of God. Yes, it’s our soul that is created in God’s image, not the body. And the soul is immortal, which means it will live forever, created by God at the moment of our conception.
The soul is what gives us life. This means when we look at the Joe Sixpack sitting next to us we’re not really seeing Joe. Rather we are looking at the house he lives in. It’s the soul that possesses the personality, free will, intelligence, and reasoning ability. This is why there’s so much emphasis placed on the soul in Christianity.
God created us with free will so we could love Him by our own choice. After all, what good is the love of a robot who is programmed to love? When I was learning how to use a computer, I fixed mine so that when I turned it on it would say in a feminine, “Good morning, Joe. I love you.” Did my computer love me? Of course not! What good did it do to program my computer to say it loved me? It serves no purpose, because my computer has no free will and is incapable of love.
This is why God gave us free will. By giving us free will, He allows us to choose — with His help — what is good and avoid evil. In this way He can reward us for our good choices.
When God is defined as Infinite Love, many people follow up by asking, “How can a loving God send anyone to Hell? Your explanation of God proves there can be no Hell, if God is truly love.” That question and follow-up comment isn’t even logical, if you think about it. People say these things because they want to justify how they choose to live, thinking God won’t punish them for sin if they can convince themselves (and by extension God) He won’t send anyone to Hell. Still, we Catholics have to be prepared to answer such objections.
In actuality, God doesn’t send anyone to Hell, but rather we send ourselves. He created us with free will, then gave us an objective set of moral norms to live by. He respects the free will He gave us, so He won’t interfere when we choose to abuse our gift of free will with sin. He will, however, punish us for that abuse. That means we choose Hell.
Parents who love the children God has given them possess such love for those children they’re willing to die for them — the closest thing to infinite love humans can grasp. Therefore, a loving parent expresses love for the child by setting down rules and disciplining them. Why? Because the parent wants the child to have a good life as an adult. Children who don’t have rules to live by at home and aren’t disciplined when they violate rules end up being punished as adults in society. They’re called prisons, and we have over two-million people in them in America today — the result of what happens when the state tells parents they can’t discipline their children. But I digress.
So God gives us rules to live by called the Ten Commandments and all they imply. When we violate them, He punishes us some in this life with the consequences of our actions, and in the next life with Purgatory if our violations aren’t very serious. However, like the recalcitrant child who one day ends up in prison by his own choices, if we choose mortal sin, we end up in Hell by our own choices.
Hell is a place of eternal punishment for those who refuse to repent of their mortal sins and ask forgiveness during life on Earth. They will suffer for all eternity with every sort of torment…with no relief. The worst of these torments is eternal separation from God. You see, you don’t experience any sort of separation from God in this life now, even if you’re in a state of mortal sin. God stays connected to you by constantly offering you the actual graces that enable you to choose good over evil.
But in Hell, God even withdraws those actual graces. Therefore, you become the very embodiment of hate — you hate God, you hate yourself, you hate the other souls in your eternal prison with you, you hate everything. Hell is eternally dying.
Heaven, on the other hand, is a place of everlasting possession and vision of God (called the beatific vision), in which the souls of the just will be filled with a complete happiness that is totally free from suffering and the fear of loss. The souls rewarded in Heaven are those who did good works and died in a state of grace, and who are free from all venial sin and purified with punishment due to venial sin from their time in Purgatory.
To attain Heaven we must fulfill the purpose for which God made us; that is, to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this life. This means knowing and living our Catholic faith in obedience to Him…which is being obedient to Christ and His Catholic Church.
If you have a question or comment you can reach out to me through the “Ask Joe” page of JoeSixpackAnswers.com, or you can email me at Joe@CantankerousCatholic.com.
Hey, how would you like to see things like this article every week in your parish bulletin as an insert? You or your pastor can learn more about how to do that by emailing me at Joe@CantankerousCatholic.com.

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