Reading this post on Father Z’s blog, I thought I would give my personal, imperfect, and possibly, wrong, but deeply felt perspective on the matter of those who will not be with us when (if) we get to Heaven.
I am getting fairly old. As such, very many of the generation before me, and everybody of the generation before them, have died. As I get older, the memory of old relatives and their friends become, in some way, more vivid. It’s difficult to explain it but yes, it is true what they say in Italy, that as it gets more difficult to remember what you had for breakfast, it gets easier to remember episodes many decades away.
It is, therefore, unavoidable to think that, realistically, if I make it to Heaven one day I will not find a number of people I have loved down here.
From an earthly point of view, this is something that can never be repaired, that can never be made whole. How can one be happy knowing that people he loved all his life are suffering, and will suffer for all eternity?
My answer to that is very simple and reverts around 1) the kind of happiness those in Heaven enjoy and 2) the way God organises things. Before I start, mind that I am not a theologian. As the man said, si sbalio mi corigerete.
Whilst on this earth, we are only able to think of happiness in a natural way. There is, in other words, only so much happiness we can imagine. Where the, so to speak, computing ability of our little brain stops, there ends our conception of happiness. This is, as I understand, the happiness of the souls in Limbo; who are, as it is commonly said, “happy as can be”, because they have natural happiness.
However, the happiness of the Saints it’s not a natural happiness, but a supernatural one. It is a kind of happiness that simply surpasses everything our little brains can even imagine, a happiness that is infinitely vaster than anything our our minds can even fathom.
I have read that the state of ecstasy has been described as a happiness without wishes; a state, that is, of such complete joy that nothing, absolutely nothing, could be desired by a person in such a state. The person who is experiencing a state of ecstasy is unable to harbour even the slightest desire, because his cup is already so full that there is no possibility of even another drop of happiness.
This state, my friends, is, unless I am mistaken, still a state of natural happiness, because the brain can experience it. Granted, there is a Divine “kick” that is, in fact, nothing more than the faintest hint at the immeasurable joy the saints experience in Paradise; but it is, still, something that our little “head computer” can still work with.
If, therefore, already on this earth, and be it in exceptional circumstances, a person can experience a happiness that is so absolute, so (humanly) perfect that it harbours no desire at all, how much more complete, how infinitely vaster will the joy of those in heaven be? And how can they, then, be “sad” (as in: in mental pain, suffering) for anything?
The other way I look at it is from a different angle. God loves us more than we can imagine. He orders all things so that they can be used for our profit, in one way or the other. But he “never disturbs the joy of his children, unless it is in order to prepare for them a more certain and bigger one”.
Providence works in everything God does, it is the in-built, Divine modus operandi. This does not apply solely to our little lives on earth, but to all of Creation, including heaven and hell. Why would Providence fail to operate in our little human events, but then make us eternally sad as we “miss” some of our loved ones? No. For a soul in heaven, Providence must be all-encompassing, and seen with a keenness and a depth that we could never have here on earth. As we are nearer to God, we will think more like him and understand more of Him. As we understand more of Him, we will immediately love His every judgment. We will see the Goodness (that is: the Mercy and the Justice) of everything God does, and this will be our supernatural fulfillment.
Providence means that everything is, and always will be, exactly as it has to be. Mind, I do not think that this means a kind of stupefied state, as if one were on drugs and unable to see the suffering of others. Of course, we will be aware of the suffering of those in hell, and we will be acutely conscious of all that they are missing. But there will be no sadness in this, as there can be no sadness where there is perfect, indescribable, supernatural joy. It will be, I think, the same as if you saw, whilst in a state as of ecstasy, but infinitely more powerful than that, the execution of Saddam Hussein. Yep, it’s not pleasant for him. Yep, you still know that if he had behaved differently, he would have ended differently. But in the end, this does not disturb your joy as you know, in an extremely intimate way, that everything is exactly the way it should be.
Whenever I exert my little brain with that kind of considerations – which, between you and me, happens more and more often as the years advance – I always end up with the same conclusion: that, ultimately, and when all is said and done, there is only one thing I have to achieve. If I achieve it, my life will have been an infinite success, vastly superior to all that Jeff Bezos or John D Rockefeller have achieved on earth. If I fail to achieve it, I will have been a total failure, no matter if, in life, I was another JP Morgan or John D Rockefeller.
That one thing I need to achieve is Salvation. If I do that, everything else will take care of itself.
We are taught, since we were children, to pray for the things we desire: from health for us and our beloved to a job, a wife, a house, and obviously salvation. We pray for other reasons too, of course, but today I will focus on this one.
However, we are also told that nothing happened that has not been preordained. Non si muove foglia che Dio non voglia, “not one leave moves, but God wants it so”.
How do we reconcile these two apparently antithetical positions? With the most difficult phrase of the first of all prayers: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Prayer is not a magic ritual with which I can, in a way, move God to change His mind. God is – whatever idiots and perverts like Francis and Father Jeanine Martin tell you – unchangeable. Perfection can only be omnipotence and immutability of will and being.
God does not change his mind. You do.
Prayer is the process by which I allow myself to wish for a desired outcome that seems good to me, whilst accepting not only that God's will will be done, but that God's will is exactly what is best for me in the end.
My prayer is, at the same time, my submission and my acceptance of whatever outcome God has already established. My prayer is, in fact, the willed embrace of whatever outcome God has already decreed. I am not trying to make God behave the way I want. I am trying to become what God wants me to become. In my prayer, and in my acceptance of what the Lord has providentially decreed, I strive to conform myself to His wish, rather than trying to conform Him to mine.
The Lord has, as we have said, providentially decreed, already now, whether my prayer will be answered. Whatever happens it is good that it be so (in which way exactly I will see after death).
Why, then, pray?
Because it is part of God's providential plan that we pray. Because if God wants to give a certain desired good – say: a job, a wife, a house, and most of all salvation – He is very likely to want me to pray for it, uniting my collaboration to His already made, immutable will and unchangeable decision; so that, once again, I may be changed as I receive what I asked for. And if he does not want to answer my prayer, it is because it is better for me that He doesn't (which can happen in a varieties of ways, some of which very clear to me: to teach me submission, obedience and abandonment to His will are the easiest to understand).
God wants that we ask Him for both what he gives us and what he does not give us. And he wants us to ask for it with stubborn determination. The wife who sees, after 50 years of prayers, her husband abandoning his atheism has not decided, after 17.5 years, that she has prayed for long enough. She does not stop asking, she does not stop hoping. She accepts the final outcome all the time. But what joy, to know that God has allowed one to collaborate with Him in the salvation of her husband's soul, with 50 years of prayer!
In this way, prayer and Providence are intertwined; our prayers are the threads of our life, and God is the one who, after giving us the threads in the first place, weaves with them the canvas He has decreed.
In this understanding of prayer is the key to a much happier life, because it teaches us to grow in humility and to submit to God's providential work, knowing that what he sends us is, without exception, what we need to grow in faith and get nearer to Him.
In his catechesis during today’s Wednesday audience Pope Francis called God in the grammatical present “a dreamer who dreams about the transformation of the world”. At the same time he claimed that God “has realised the transformation of the world in the mystery of the resurrection.”
This is drunk nonsense even for the standard of The Francis.
God in His Providence has made the world in the way the world it is supposed to be made. Whatever sinfulness there is in it, God has providentially allowed it in order to make a greater good emerge out of it. God has not created a faulty toy of which He dreams it would work properly. God does not sighs about a perfect world whilst he listens to John Lennon’s “Imagine”. God is not only Omniscient, but Omnipotent. There is no “dreaming” in Him. There is no separation between what things are and what He would have them to be, if He only could. God has allowed the Fall as He has allowed all the rest, from the Holocaust to… Pope Francis.
The Death and Resurrection of Our Lord, which the man mentions without having any idea of what he is talking about, is exactly the way through which this faulty existence and fallen nature – which is by no means meant to go away – is given the possibility of redemption. It isn’t the shaping of a new earth. It isn’t a promise of an earth in which hounds and foxes say “good night” to each other before going to sleep. It isn’t the promise of a paradise on earth. On the contrary, Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life we must follow exactly because of the fundamental flaw we had since birth: Original Sin. The reality of Original Sin is not going to change. Therefore, the reality of evil is not going to go away, either.
The reality of sinfulness due to the Fall has been, once again, allowed by God, with all the consequences and all the sins, all the injustices and all the atrocities; not only from the beginning to the end of time, but from all eternity.
Dreams of fundamental transformation of this world are the most obvious indication of lack of faith in the next one.
What we once again see here is a stupid, ignorant old bloke who never understood jack of anything Catholic and keeps going around spreading sugary nonsense for adolescent cretins like, no doubt, he once was (I mean by that that he is not an adolescent anymore).
There is in him no concept whatsoever of Providence. There is clearly no belief in the Original Sin. Therefore, there is no explanation for the evil in the world. On the contrary, there is this completely bonkers idea of God standing there like a spot-plagued teenager, dreaming of a better world. This is part of the humanisation and banalisation of absolutely everything that has been a trademark of this disgraceful Papacy.
“Imagine” was an openly atheist song. It had to be, as the Christian vision of the world and of the fallen human nature is radically opposed to Lennon’s and Francis’ idea of radical transformation of the human being, and of the possibility of creating a paradise of social justice and harmony on earth, if he only behave. There will always be injustice, there will always be conflict, there will always be evil in the world. At the root of the evil is not human laziness, but the serpent.
The reality of the Fall will be part of the human condition for as long as the world exists. All this escapes Francis. He is aligned with John Lennon instead.
Francis is not only stupid. He is clearly either an atheist or a person so confused about God that he thinks Him a sort of Dalai Lama In The Sky, prisoner of all sort of sentimental rubbish.
The ignorance of this man should be an embarrassment to every Catholic. Unfortunately, it seems that around 6000 bishops prefers to keep schtum about it, lest their career should suffer.
Uebersodomite Stephen Fry has just given to us another lesson on “how to go to hell with the express train”.
If you have the stomach to listen to the rubbish above, you will notice the following:
1) Fry is, or so he thinks, utterly superior to God. So much so, that he considers Him “monstrous”, and many other such expressions. The logical impossibility of the very concept escapes him.
2) Fry declares that if he were to discover that God exists, he would not want to enter Paradise “on God’s terms”. Lord, give me strenght! Not only is here another contradiction in terms, but again the proud affirmation that Stephen Fry has made of himself god. This obvious, public, televised self-condemnation to hell does not seem to bother him in the least. Satanic.
3) Fry doesn’t know the first thing about Christianity, because he complains about children suffering, and the like. He talks as if Christians would listen to him and go: “look, he is right! There is suffering in this world! Look at those children suffering! We had not thought of that!”. But in his utter senseless, the man (if I may call him so) states he would prefer the pagan gods of the Greek, because… they have no divine attributes. Sorry, girl, but this is just stupid.
Fry is not an intelligent man. His being the conductor of a TV show in which he gives answers to people which he reads from a paper in front of him makes him appear smart in the eyes of the stupid, but every eight years old with a functioning brain thinks better than he does.
It’s not difficult. If there is a God, this God can only be the very embodiment of all perfections. It must be so, if He is to be God. If there is a Creator, this creator must necessarily be infinitely superior to his creatures: superior not only in wisdom, but in providential goodness.
Therefore, Fry’s answer should have been on the lines of: “I do not think that there is a God because yada yada. But if there is one, it is obvious that He is utterly right and I am utterly wrong, and that I have been evil and blasphemous all my life. The moment I knew that there is a God would be the moment I know that I am not only utterly evil, but utterly screwed”.
Fry isn’t capable, in his childlike arrogance, to think (ahem) straight. He assumes that even if there is a God, this little obese faggot is morally superior to Him. I am sure there are smarter ways to be blasphemous.
This, my dear readers, is a think process common to many perverts. “God says I am an evil bastard, and unless I repent I will go to hell. Therefore, I will erect myself as superior to him, call Him a bastard and, by feeling or at least appearing good, I will for the moment lightly assuage the deep misery of my miserable existence and my very strong hate of myself”.
Satan works in us. He tries to get a foot in the door exploiting our sinful nature. Prayer and a constant effort of a life without sin help us greatly, with God’s grace, to avoid hell. The more we sin, the more we allow Satan to eat our soul like a cancer. In the case of very grave sins – like perversion acted upon – it is clear Satan’s cancer can easily metastasise. In this case, it is very clear it has.
Fry rebels to God by willingly embracing his disgusting sexual perversion. At this point, he has no other choice than either repent, or sink deeper into rebellion. The interview above is the result of a lifetime of disgusting behaviour, and of the rebellion to God this behaviour demands of him if he does not want to reform.
Fry is not an intelligent man. He is, in fact, just plain stupid. He is unable to think logically, and his love for sodomy clouds his judgment in the most obvious way. But as the Country as a whole isn’t much smarter than him he will probably get away with his blasphemous kindergarten slogans, and help those who want to be lost with him to reach their objective.
Pray for this man. Pray for this man. Think of his poor Guardian Angel! This is an immortal soul obviously so ensnared by the Devil, that he openly declares his refusal of even a hypothetical Paradise! (no sodomy there, you see).
Pray for him. But consider that the stench of Reprobation is strong in this one, and warn all those who would express their admiration for Fry who is “oh so intelligent” that the man thinks like a poorly instructed eight years old, but he gets TV time because he happens to be a pervert with some rather good acting skills.
I grew up in a Catholic Country. I can vividly remember the time when:
1. No one spoke of his “personal relationship” with Jesus.
2. No layman had a “ministry”, and
3. No one was “moved (or “called”) by the Holy Ghost” to do something.
To this day I can’t avoid being shocked atvthe way some Catholic commenters on the forums (or fora) I read around express themselves. It sounds to me as Protestant as that other habit, of quoting bible verses; as if the Devil could not quote the Bible himself, for his own purposes, at pleasure.
Let us see this a bit more in detail.
1. The traditional Catholic way of looking at the relationship with Jesus does certainly not exclude that this relationship be personal in an obvious way. But the Catholic always sees himself as part of the Church, and he puts this simple fact at the centre of his “relationship”. It’s a collective bond as much as it is an individual one.
The traditional Christian (= pre-Protestant) way of praying very often (not always: think of the Angele Dei) in the plural expresses this cooperative endeavour in a very natural way. Even in the “you and I”, the Catholic mixes the community of the faithful. For a Catholic, it’s always “we”.
The “personal relationship”, on the other hand, smells too much of “two-people rule”, which opens a huge door to any kind of, well, Made-to-measure “personal” rules (interestingly enough, you will notice that seriously orthodox people tend to avoid, even in Anglo-Saxon Countries, the “personal relationship” thing). They are, in my experience, also those for whom Jesus is The Awesomely Awesome Buddy. Not surprising, then with a friend it’s very easy to adjust to each other’s shortcoming, and tailor the relationship to preferred, individualised, and highly convenient patterns of behaviour.
2. The one with the “ministry” was also not heard as I was growing. I would, actually, not even know how to properly say it in my language. Again, it’s not that it cannot be said that every faithful has a role to play; but where I come from, “ministry” was a matter for the priest. Of whom there were, by the by, an awful lot, which probably further discouraged such usages even when the verbiage of V II was introduced in Church life. A layman who would spoken to us about his “ministry” would have been looked at as a funny kind of alien, in the best of cases.
3. Lastly, there is this habit – which grates me most in a Catholic – of saying that the Holy Ghost prompted one to do or not do something, etc. I find the phrase, and the mentality that is behind that, appalling to the point of quasi-blasphemy, and arrogant beyond words. If I (I mean: not St Francis or Padre Pio, but yours truly personally) were so presumptuous as to say to you that “the Holy Ghost inspired me to write a blog”, the inevitable consequence would be to claim for myself not only a special status as “favoured weapon of the Lord” but even, unavoidably, a status of quasi-infallibility for everything I write; it being not really thinkable that the Holy Ghost prompts me to write a blog and is then baffled and surprised at the bad quality of what I write, and all the errors with which I confuse the faithful.
The simple truth is that neither I nor anyone else can make such claims. We know that Providence is at work, but it is not for us to claim to be the help for it sent by the Lord Himself. We do our best as our lights allow us, and we hope that when the day of the redde rationem comes there will be some approval in heaven for what we have done on this earth; procuring us, if we are lucky, some brownie points against the multitude of horrible sins we – I, at least – have committed in our life, and for which I am deeply, deeply ashamed.
I must say that I keep reading these statements in blogs and comments. I suspect that many of them come from former Protestants, who have brought with them a forma mentis that is not the traditional Catholic one. Still, in many cases the influence of the V II newspeak, or of the many Prods in one’s circle of friends and acquaintances, must play a role. It is clear by assisting to certain Catholic Masses that everyone is invited to feel like a MiniMe Messiah, and rejoice at his own’s goodness. I wonder…
I am no Messiah. I have no claim of Official Endorsement. I am a wretched sinner, ashamed of his sinfulness. Just so you know…
Therefore, I will not write a blog, and cry Deus le volt.
As far as this little effort is concerned, I hereby declare the Holy Ghost entirely innocent of whatever piece of senseless drivel and unspeakable bollocks I might have been writing in these commenting and blogging years; senseless drivel and unspeakable bollocks which I dare to declare fully non-existent in my activity of both blogger and commenter; but for which blogging and commenting activity I for myself would even even think of claiming some sort of divine placet.
This little blog aims at defending and promoting Catholic orthodoxy. It does so in a highly personal way, the fruit of the traits – good or bad – of its author’s character. As Catholic truth can be learnt by everyone of sound disposition, there is no need – even if there was the desire – to claim special patents of inspiration. If you think this blog does its job well say a prayer, in your charity, for this wretched sinner. If you think it doesn’t I kindly ask you to avoid it, without being obnoxious and time-waster. In both cases, do not think that my pen is led by anything else than my good will and sincere love for Christ and His Church.
Those of you who can read French can do much worse than reading Bossuet's “Sermon sur la Previdence”, available for free on your Kindle.
Like every good preacher, Bossuet can present old concepts in a new way, or at least in a way that entertains and attracts the listener, and remains in the consciousness a long time afterwards. Bossuet deals mercilessly with the mistakes born of our little faith, and asks how can we imagine that the One who made an entire Universe, and even ourselves in His image, can forget us and abandon us to our tests for even one second.
He also explains how very little it is to expect that if there is a God, this God should, for reasons not apparent to any sane person, let His justice operate with the same speed we poor little humans think we can demand as a “proof” of his existence. God operates in His own way and His justice rewards and strikes in his own time. If one believes that there is God, surely he does not expect that God starts reasoning like a human just in order for them not to have any doubt in His justice?
The contrary, says the author, is the case: God may allow the wicked to enjoy the earthly benefits of their wickedness for a very long time, content not only that He will have everything in His own way in the end, but also giving his “friends and servants” the opportunity to see His day coming from very far away.
Reading this sermon, one is helped to put the little and big (and bigger) problems of his life sub specie aeternatis, knowing even in the midst of oppression and abuse that the day of perfect justice is already written in Heaven, and everyone will see and acknowledge – in fact, even the damned – the Divine perfection of their, and everyone else's, treatment.
I know this is easier said than done, and I am far away from the author's eloquence. Still, these are the little concepts than everyone of us would do good to remember often, then the failure to truly meditate on them “because we know it already” will make us more vulnerable when life seems so unjust, and chances are in those moments we will easy forget what we thought we knew, or will discover we know the message, but don't really live it.
Again, the French version is much better than my poor explanation.
If you can read French, you will enjoy this booklet.