Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Truth of Sin and Suffering, and Our Helping Jesus in the Work of Salvation

The 13th Day
Class Notes
October 14, 2010

The truth of man, male and female, is that we are social beings, made for relationship. The purpose and meaning of life is to love and be loved in truth, to love God and one another, including those types of love that are philia, eros, and agape.

However, by our own free will, man has chosen not to love God or one another. We chose to oppose that Love and Truth which is Life itself, an opposition that we call sin, both Original Sin and personal sin. But because God is Love, and it is His will that none of His sheep be lost, Jesus came to redeem us, to save us from death. But He did so via the Cross, and not by merely snapping His fingers.

The truth is that sin exists. And the truth is that suffering exists, caused by sin. For God to simply ignore sin, or the suffering it causes, while saving us would be a lie. To pretend that the sin did not happen would be exactly that - pretend. Throwing the ball can be forgiven, but the window is still broken. One cannot ignore it or pretend that it did not happen, else the rain and snow come pouring in.

Jesus has done most of the work in salvation, in fixing the rift between God and man caused by our sin. He has done the hard part, but He does not do it all by Himself, He does not do it alone. He asks for our help.

Beginning with Mary and Joseph, little Baby Jesus required the assistance of human beings to fulfill His mission. The same is asked of us. This includes not only being a witness for Christ by preaching the Good News, but by suffering with Him, to have not only a filial love for Him, but agape, complete sacrificing of self. Helping Him to carry the Cross, taking upon ourselves what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ (Col 1:24). Jesus does most of the work, but He will not do it all – He wants this to be a group effort. Indeed, He assures us that if we follow Him, we will be hated and suffer.

Most important in helping Jesus in the work of salvation is Mary, the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, who not only said “yes” at the Annunciation, but stood by Him at the foot of the Cross, and prayed with the nascent Church at Pentecost.

Throughout history, there have been many people who have claimed that Holy Mary, assumed into heaven, has appeared to them. There have been thousands of these claimed apparitions, and many have been determined to be fraudulent, but some have been deemed by the Church to be “worthy of belief,” including Guadalupe, Lourdes, and Fatima. Now, public revelation ended with the last of the Apostles, 1900 years ago, so we are not required, as a matter of faith, to believe claimed private revelations, such as Marian apparitions.

But a great many people have believed that the Blessed Virgin did, in fact, appear to the three shepherd children Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta at Fatima. The film for tonight is The 13th Day and, as we shall see, this Lady in white, clothed as with the sun, asks these children to help Jesus in the work of salvation, including prayer, penance, and redemptive suffering, not merely for themselves, but for the salvation of others, for their conversion away from sin to embracing holiness, especially in the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

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