In my last post on teaching young people like me Catholicism, I emphasized that we have to be clear on why Catholicism is necessary, in other words, what does it have to offer? God made us to share in his supernatural life in heaven. Unfortunately, due to original sin we are not headed there by default. God however sent His son to die on the cross that we may be saved. In order to continue the work of Christ’s redemption on earth, He established the Catholic Church to teach, govern, and sanctify us until the end of time in His name. These actions of the Church are meant to help us reach heaven. It is for this reason that practicing Catholicism is so necessary, because it is the path that Christ Himself established to get us to heaven. (As we said HERE it is necessary that we pray for final perseverance in order to reach heaven).
It should be clear that our destiny is not some afterthought of God but the fundamental defining point of our lives. This life here on earth is where we either grow in our relationship with God or push Him away. This life defines our character, and our character defines our ultimate destiny. This destiny is not really an “afterlife” at all but when the real life begins, that is, where we will spend eternity forever. This eternity will be either filled with unending misery or unending joy. Every other part of this life seems like nothing in comparison to this. Ultimately, our unending misery or joy is based on if we are friends of God or not. Again, this is the ultimate point of human existence, to become children of God so that we may live with Him forever.
The Church has been established by Christ Himself in order to help us reach our end. By staying in union with the Church and following the teachings of the Church we can have trust that God is going to give us a merciful judgment. Everything the Church does therefore should be directed at getting us to heaven, because this is the Church’s God-given mission. The Church is here to help us fulfill our purpose in life. Everything in life should ultimately in some way be ordered to our eternal destiny, however, often times indirectly. The Church however, has the specific role of directing us to heaven at every moment of our lives at every place across the earth.
This is why it is so disappointing to read articles on Catholicism or watch videos on the Church and hear no mention of salvation. We’ll hear of Scripture, liturgy, communion, the poor, peace, and on it goes. I am not saying any of this is wrong, how could I deny the importance of any of the things I just mentioned? What I am saying is all of this needs to be put into the context of the point of the Church and the purpose of life itself. In context, everything makes more sense, and we have greater strength to do what we need to do. For any area in the life of the Church, this should be the case. Whether it be in the life of the Priest, the acts of the Bishops, teaching the youth, participating in Mass, or even Catholic blogging, we should always remember as the Redemptorists say:
Remember, Dear Christian: You have but one soul to save, One God to love and to serve, One eternity to expect. Death will soon come, Judgment will follow, And then Heaven or Hell for ever.