Thoughts of salvation and the Catholic Doctrine of Ignorance
A little while ago, I wrote about prayer. Simply and inelegantly stated, prayer consists of three levels, Prayer that leads to compunction, prayer that leads to communion and a prayer of silence in which the active participation of God is paramount. That is silence and meditation where Jesus Christ, Himself leads us. Of course, all prayer has some kind of meditation. When we are at the first level and I do not mean five minutes at a time but the hour of prayer, Jesus demanded of His Apostles in the Garden of His Agony. That venue where He sweated blood, at the temptation by filth, warning Him He was doing His Father’s will in vane as the majority of those He had healed spiritually, mentally and bodily would be among the first to stone Him and then crucify Him. Now, as an example, if we are praying the first sorrowful mystery of the Rosary and consider ourselves as among those who given much through His Precious Blood then deliberately and willfully by sin separate ourself from Him, compunction must surely follow such deep consideration? I mean the gift of tears, the proper sorrow for how we have behaved. When we receive the Gift of Tears, be as Evagrius Pontus (The Solitary) wrote, “Be thankful and remember why we have received this gift”. That is I warn you as opposed to pride in your tearful actions. I will jump past the next stage and proceed to the third, which is not the last, but few reach the third. The meditation of the Prayer of silence that comes only to those truly in a state of the grace that sanctifies is usually (for me) set by God and will be in the manner and the way His will decides. It will be according to the mental skills and aptitudes formed in us by our lifestyles. I mean how our lives are effected (formed) by God. Definitely worked as His will found in His design by the paternal thoughts He had, when He created us. This for me is a preselected place He necessarily sees to complete His creative work in this world. It is our role in the salvific history. We are all destined to do something besides becoming saints or we become saints in a very special way as decided by Christ.
The latest thoughts, which I work out, as I pray, are on salvation. Look at what I know about myself. My successful working life has been in fixing and building. How did I do these attributes successfully, well I used the Memorare, each and every time. I claim so many successes but really they were not mine but they were mine of course by supernatural design before I was born. This is my reason for saying this, “If you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can move mountains”. Mary, by the use of the Memorare had her Son do what I asked because my faith cried out in prayer for His help, through Her. I did not do it but my faith did. Before criticizing, you should make an honest effort to prove my way is right, at least for me. Then try out for yourself what I have written. In troubleshooting one must decide what is it I want to do, what is the problem and what are the effects, results and conditions that give all the answers for a successful conclusion. In this case I mean, for our salvation.
What then is salvation? Remember salvation is not for fools. We all are aware of who, the Prince of Fools is, and we must be aware that foolish people do not enter heaven unless they are fools in a very different sense for Christ. Salvation is for the Victorious, after all it was won by the Victory of the Cross. Let me write what I believe this personal act is. It is a supreme gift, earned for us as a reward for following every directive and instruction lived and taught by Christ. Salvation is closing our bodily eyes here in repose in this world to open the eyes of our soul and see the beatific vision. I did not mention the first judgment of Christ, as I am writing about salvation as a reward for a perfect life, pure and without sin with no need for Christ to see temporal punishment for sin. What then are the causes or the reasons not to open our spiritual eyes in heaven? Sin, off course, sets us off course. Which sin or better still what kind of sin? Look at what the Church teaches and as we go, I will travel as far as my mental abilities and knowledge can range, limited though they are.
There are revealed by the Church three labels for sin Original, venal (small) mortal (grave). Mortal called as such since it removes grace the life of our soul away by separating us from the giver of life, Jesus Christ. Ezechiel 18:4, In a decently translated bible, God told Ezechiel who tells us the Soul that sins, dies. Therefore, as St Paul says, “We die to Christ”. Therefore, I say with our soul dead we will never share eternity with Him. The Hebrews of the Old Law, believed and held fast to the thought of eternal life most strongly. Through those beliefs, they knew of heaven, hell, purgatory, and limbo (Abraham’s Bosom). They held fast to the view of purgatory, reasoning they could pay the necessary work of faith in this world, to move relatives and friends out of harm’s way to wait for the Messiah on Abraham’s Bosom. Their Church was comprised of all these places, to which Hebrew faithful would or could spend the life of their souls.
Triumphant in this world over sin we can enter the Church Triumphant sharing with the Angels and Saints, the Beatific Vision of God. The Mystical Body of Christ consists of the Victory, the Church Triumphant a place, foolish men misplace out of ignorance. The Church Militant, that is the struggling baptized, apostolic catholic Church in the world today, including those who have fallen in the battle, alive with every chance to make amends as the perfect justice of God demands. Then there is the Church Suffering, who temporarily reside in Purgatory filled with forgotten souls and unfortunate souls who still have to pay the price of very last penny to be free to enter Heaven. These are those whose suffering can be abated by our acts of atonement in this world, using the sacraments, indulgences and prayers to plead for mercy on their behalf before God. So you see the catholic Church is also universal in time and eternity and is united deeply and in salvation by the providential sacraments instituted by Christ for that purpose. Can you not see this is the meaning of salvation is usually through the Church?
God is not mean-spirited, He leaves that to His enemy, the Prince of Fools. He is providential to an extreme far greater than you or I. We often condemn, judge and sentence in one breath, without I say one single charitable thought. I act this way too, but it will not I hope, will not result in my eternal chagrin. God sees into our hearts and knows all reasons for our actions even when we miss the mark through ignorance on our part. Ignorance for this article will therefore be taken to mean the absence of information, which one is required to have, the error of not informing our conscience, a requirement all catholics must follow. Of course as in common with all catholics sometimes, we mix up meaning and fail completely to comprehend the meanings of vincible or invincible ignorance, and do not consider if we should know the teachings of the Church or not. ‘Or not’ in this case is the reason for others outside the Church to be saved. It is not morally obligated for those who have never heard of Christ or the Church to learn catholic teachings, for how can they study of what they have never heard? Then it is necessary for them to follow those natural inclinations we call the natural law. Of late, I heard a homily in which the priest did not differentiate between the Natural Law and conscience implying our conscience tells us when we are doing wrong. This is not so as our conscience must be informed and parents should be teaching their children how they are to inform their conscience.
But what of those who are not, baptized, never heard of the Church? The Church teaches this if they follow the inclinations of the natural law, which challenges them to live charitably, they too can be saved as their ignorance is invincible. It is not their fault. Invincible ignorance, whether of the law or of the fact, is always a valid excuse and it excludes sin. The evident reason is that neither this state nor the act resulting there from is voluntary. It is undeniable that a man cannot be invincibly ignorant of the natural law. Yet for instance, a man who would refuse to learn the doctrines of the Church from a fear that he would thus find himself compelled to embrace them would certainly be in a bad plight. This therefore would include any person from a religious cult or sect, who has heard of the Church and denies the veracity in her teachings. Yet as written earlier, our God is not vindictive. Therefore in the case of those pastors who truly believe of their righteousness, convincing those who seek to be converted into the righteousness of the Catholic Church not to convert, will be condemned. Those unfortunate faithful of the sect accepting truthfully the false-honesty of this pastor of fallen souls will be reasonably assured of entering the Church through purgatory, providing they have lived a life of righteousness.
Mistaken beliefs since Vatican 2 on the veracity of baptism by those outside the Church often use Augustine’s letter to the Bishop Donatist to bolster their arguments. They have never read Augustine’s letter on baptism as a sacrifice sent to the Lacedemonians and lost in history. They have never read his recollections whereby Augustine says that the use of Cyprian’s tract on baptism throws the truth into the teeth of the Donatists. Of course Bishop Donatist could baptize and ordain. He was an anointed Bishop of the Church who turned heretic. This claim is also made in support for instance, one who knows nothing of the efficacy of baptism validly baptizes, provided he or she employs the right matter and form and also with the intention of doing what the Church does. Somehow, in this day an age an informed conscience and knowledge of the hatred against the Church will demand one cannot believe that the type of Charitable Act necessary for the intention and the matter to be correct does exist. This is why the church has always demanded that as soon as possible after an emergency baptism, a solemn baptism must be performed.
I have maintained and always will that the stain of original sin is not held against innocence of those under the age of reason or against babes in the womb. The Church in teaching the doctrine of Ignorance and holds strongly to it must also support my views. What kind of ignorance governs the plight of aborted foeti who I suspect cannot even invoke the natural law. It as with others written of above earns them Purgatory. Limbo is not an catholic Option as it is a Hebrew doctrine, no catholic will go to Limbo. It still exists for a truly honest believing Hebrew and will until they accept the Messiah. Imagine the happiness of Christ if he can return to Limbo and lead those Hebrews there since His crucifixion out and into Paradise.
My final words and a question to you all, “What happens if Purgatory is not emptied by our prayers and the final judgment is upon us? What happens to those poor souls? What is even more frightening what happens to those who knew much and did nothing for their release?
May God have mercy on all out souls.