Basic Theology for Understand-ing the Human Situation Regarding God and Salvation

            The thing every human should remember is that God Created everything from nothing and He, as the First Cause and the Non-Contingent Being, keeps all things in existence – keeps everything from reverting back to nothing.  The most hilarious notion ever is that God is somehow in competition with Satan.  With but a thought from God Satan would disappear from existence.  Satan as with all existing sentient beings are granted by God the greatest wish of 99% of them and that is for their consciousness to exist forever. All their experiences will survive through eternity.  The issue is will they be able to enjoy those experiences forever and if so, how can they insure that enjoyable outcome or is it possible that they could end up in a state where those experiences will not be enjoyable at best and immaterial due to the suffering involved by not doing what is needed to insure a pleasurable eternity.

            As I have discussed in a few of my blogs, the pleasurable eternity is insured by, through the one holy catholic and apostolic Church of God started by Jesus Christ on Pentecost, learning and making habits out of the perfect avoidance of violating any of Gods commandments.  This is necessary if we want to be in the state, or gathered in the place where everyone existing there are people perfect in avoidance of violating any of Gods commandments.  In that place there is no disobedience of authority of any kind (commandments 1 and 4), no attempts to kill one another (commandment 5), no marriages/sex bonds (Matthew 22:30) since all of the citizens of heaven that will every be will have been created in time in this universe before arrival after death (commandment 6 and 9), no stealing or desire to steal (commandments 7 and 10) and no lying (commandment 8).

              Once again, as discussed in earlier blogs, hell becomes hell through the people there violating the commandments which they did not make the habit or strive to their utmost (later to be purified in purgatory) to make a habit of avoiding violating any of God’s commandments.  The lying and coveting each other’s things or bodies, would lead to wars in hell and eventually design of weapons that would result in eternal fire (maybe radiation) and genetically engineered worms that would plague them throughout eternity. God won’t need to make a hell because anywhere they do not follow His commandments as we see here on Earth (Germany and Hitler in the 1940’s, Russia and Stalin in the 1950’s, Cambodia and Pol Pot in the 1970’s and Russia/Ukraine and Putin in the 2020’s) becomes a hell.

             But we must remember why man is, in so many cases, so reprobate – Original Sin. According to the bible God created the first man and woman and gave them one law – do not eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  All our first parents knew was good.  If we are successful at perfecting ourselves this is all we will again know in heaven.  But the Devil convinced our first parents that there was something to be gained from not only knowing good but also evil, something that would make them like God (Genesis 3:3-5).  In pride they took the bait and ate of the fruit. God created them out of nothing from the goodness of His heart.  This was an offense against the infinite dignity of almighty God the creator, to whom all things owe their existence.

             Nothing in the created universe could be used to make amends because everything in the created universe was originally nothing which was brought into existence by God. God was the only thing that existed before He created the universe and therefore only God has any real worth to God, everything else is quite literally nothing that was brought into existence by God. 

              Jesus Christ’s God – Man sacrifice is the only just and adequate amends for original sin.  As a man priest Christ offers himself – God, as a sacrifice to the father for the offense of original sin, giving every man the chance to be saved.  So that man could take advantage of the sacrifice made possible by the Incarnation Jesus Christ established the Catholic church whereby baptism man could be given a chance for salvation.  If man were not to commit a mortal sin all his life, his or her baptism, along with faith would be sufficient to obtain salvation and get to heaven. The creation of a church for men of all time after the incarnation gave man a chance to participate in the infinite sacrifice and in addition gave man the juridical gift of confession where a priest could judge the penance for a mortal sin and restore a man to the possibility of salvation, once again assuming that he was in a state of grace at the time of his death.  Man is only saved through participation in the holy sacrifice of the mass every Sunday but its efficacy is first created on Calvary (and it is the selfsame sacrifice as on calvary carried out in an unbloodied way through out time to take advantage of its infinite worth throughout time by every succeeding generation through the efforts of Jesus Christ’s apostles who he gave the job to teach the whole world before He left as recorded in Mark 28:18-20, the bible being just one tool they use in their mission, to unalterably record dogma) and first transferred in baptism and can be continued given the occasion of mortal sin by confession as mentioned earlier. This life of God restored by God in baptism as it animated the supernatural life of Adam and Eve before the fall and original sin is called sanctifying grace.

             The power of the holy sacrifice of the traditional extraordinary form of the Latin mass cannot be overstated.  It maintains the key role played by the priest in offering Calvary’s sacrifice (not with the emphasis of presiding over a remembrance of the Last Supper meal as in the novus ordo – the ordinary form of the mass) as priest have done since time immemorial, in almost all cultures.

             A book that every catholic should read is Theology for Beginners by Frank Sheed.  I will end with the following quote which succinctly shows how much Catholic dogma is wrapped up in the celebration of the Tridentine Latin mass – the extraordinary form of the mass, and hopefully give you some idea of why attending mass every Sunday is so important that missing it without a good reason (deathly ill, in combat, missed a transportation connection etc.) is a mortal sin:

Between the Washing of the Hands and the Orate Fratres the priest asks the Holy Trinity to receive “this oblation which we offer to the in memory of the passion, resurrection, and accension of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

After the Consecration the priest says that we offer the sacrifice in memory, not of Christ’s passion only, but also of His resurrection from the grave and, as well, of His glorious ascension into heaven.

The point of each is the same, but emphasized more strongly in the second: the sacrifice commemorates not only the suffering and death on Calvary, but the Resurrection and Ascension as well.  The Resurrection is not simply a sign that one man has conquered death; the Ascension is not simply a way of letting the Apostles know that their Christ had really left this world.  Both have their function, along with Calvary, in our Redemption. Both belong to the completeness of the sacrifice by which the breach between the race and God was healed, grace was set flowing in a vast new abundance, heaven was opened to the members of the race.

Let us pause a moment upon this Sacrifice: for us it is of all actions the highest, since by it our race was redeemed. From the beginning men, though they did not know what ultimately would be wrought by it, still saw sacrifice as the highest act of religion.  It was a public act, a ritual act, performed by one for the people; by it something was withdrawn from man’s personal use, made sacred, offered to God in profession that all man had was God’s.

Of course, that man should offer is not the whole story; unless God approves and accepts, all is vain.  There were occasions I the Old Testament where God showed His approval publicly-as by sending fire from heaven upon the offering.

But only in the supreme sacrifice of our redemption does Bod show His approval and acceptance publicly, totally.  In the Resurrection God gives the visible sign that the Priest Who offered His own body and blood in sacrifice was wholly pleasing to Him.  In the Ascension God shows visibly that He is actually taking to Himself that which has been offered to Him.

Christ ascends to His Father, to be with Him for ever, with the marks of His sacrifice still, but now glorious, in His body _ the everlasting reminder that man’s sin has been expiated. That the breach has been closed between God and man, that they are again as they were in the beginning of man, at one.  So the Epistle to the Hebrews (7:26) shows Christ in heaven, “ever living to make intercession for us.”

At the last supper, Our Lord had told the apostles that he must go; and, answering their anguish, he gives as the all-sufficient reason that if He does not go, the Holy Spirit will not come. For Christ, everything is in that.  The order broken by Adam’s sin has been r-established, or rather, a better order has been established: that was for the Second Person.  Now is the time for such a rich flowing of gifts as the souls of men have never known. And gifts are the fruit of love, and so are appropriated to the Third Person, Who within the Blessed Trinity is the uttered love of the First Person and the Second.

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