Monday, April 11, 2016
A-Z Challenge: Why I Love Being Catholic (I)
The challenge is on. Write a post each day in April (minus Sundays) using the letters of the alphabet as your guide.
The theme I have chosen is "Why I Love Being Catholic".
Definition: The remission of temporal punishment, in God's justice, to sin that has been forgiven. In other words, it is a form of atonement of our sins after they have been absolved in the sacrament of Penance.
Bible: The following text was taken from Catholic.com and can be found here.
When a person sins, he acquires certain liabilities: the liability of guilt and the liability of punishment. Scripture speaks of the former when it pictures guilt as clinging to our souls, making them discolored and unclean before God: "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool" (Is. 1:18). This idea of guilt clinging to our souls appears in texts that picture forgiveness as a cleansing or washing and the state of our forgiven souls as clean and white (cf. Ps. 51:4, 9).
We incur not just guilt, but liability for punishment when we sin: "I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pride of the arrogant and lay low the haughtiness of the ruthless" (Is. 13:11). Judgment pertains even to the smallest sins: "For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil" (Eccl. 12:14).
History: The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "An indulgence is obtained through the Church who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishment due for their sins." The Church does this not just to aid Christians, "but also to spur them to works of devotion, penance, and charity" (CCC 1478).
Personal: I didn't know anything about indulgences when I started this post. I started researching it a couple days ago. I wasn't sure I could use it in this series because I was seriously put-off by it.
You see, I was under the impression that if I were to go to confession with a 'humble and contrite' heart, say my penance, and then make my way home only to get hit by a bus, that I would go straight to heaven. This isn't true!
I decided to read more, even though I was afraid I would continue to hear things I didn't like. For the sake of the blog, I battled on. (you can thank me later ;))
I really need things explained to me in simple terms. So, I went to see Leila at "Little Catholic Bubble" to see if she had written about indulgences. She had and she explained it so well.
She basically said, If you are playing baseball and you hit and break your neighbor's window you would go over and apologize. He would forgive you. However, you still need to make amends for the broken window....pay for it, fix it, etc. In other words, God forgives our sins but we still need to make up for what we have done so as to make things right.
Doesn't that make perfect sense? I can remember times when my kids have asked, Why can't we just do all the bad stuff we want, and then just go to confession?" Who knows what my answer was back then. Probably something along the lines of "Because I said so." But now I will have a good, strong reply.
Matthew 7:14 states, "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." This quotes has been on my "About" page at the top of my blog for a while.
Now it takes on a whole new meaning.
I began this post not able to "love this part about being Catholic" because I didn't know about indulgences. What I do love is how the Church doctrines make sense if only we take the time to familiarize ourselves with them--dare I say indulge in learning all there is to know.
(do I get indulgences for being so witty?)
For more on the A-Z Challenge: Why I Love Being Catholic, go Here.