Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Welcome to the World
I examine my conscious daily wondering why I write. I started writing to answer the many questions that are put to me on almost a daily basis in the real world. I can't be going door to door, not is this neighborhood. Plus, that door to door thing goes over like a lead balloon for those Jehovah's Witnesses.
But the blog took on a life of it's own. That could be sinful.
I don't think it is, though. Or at least, I don't think it has been. In part, I wanted people to realize that although I am a nun, I live in the same world you do and I am subject to the same problems, annoyances and temptations. More and more nuns live in the same way that Sister St. Aloysius and Sister Mary Fiacre and I do than go out to work and come home to a convent full of other Sisters.
But we have a higher calling. We constantly have to concern ourselves with the state of your soul. It's our job. Not only do I have to worry about it because it's my job, I have the added bonus of the going to the lowest rungs of Purgatory for my failures. The religious and clergy are destined for the worst punishment there.
Which is just another good reason to continue writing: the more readers I have, the more people I may have praying for me when I end up there. Because, let's face it, I'm going to be spending some quality time in Purgatory.
Today's question from a new reader:
Good post and I am really happy to have discovered your blog.
As a protestant I do have one question, why is it so important to keep praying for the deceased? Aren't they either in heaven or not? Does it make any difference whether we pray for them, shouldn't we just leave to God what happens to their souls?
Kind regards and keep up the good work.
I am happy you have discovered my blog, too. Do you know why you are called a Protestant? As a Catholic, I am happy to explain this to you. Here's what happened:
In the early 16th century the Catholic Church was rife with corruption. (Don't worry. We've straightened out the problems and the corrupt clergy that caused the problem are probably still in the lowest rungs of Purgatory...or worse...) The really big problem for a man named Martin Luther was the fact that the Church was selling indulgences.
Indulgences are prayers and penances that the Church as the authority to give to get people out of Purgatory early. They are like Purgatory parole. We don't have a problem with indulgences or the Church's ability to grant them. But selling them? That's bad.
We can all agree on that.
So bad, there was even a commercial jingle to boost sales.
So Father Luther -- a Catholic priest-- had a legitimate beef. He tacked a list of grievances up on the church door about all the things he was mad about. He wasn't trying to quit the Church. That's how you called for a debate back then. He was Protesting.
But the Church got mad and booted him out all together. So he started the Lutheran Church, which is why he was called and you are called a Protestant. He was so mad at the Church and the clergy that he decided to just cut them out of the picture. He decided we didn't need the clergy to understand the New Testament and all the teachings of Jesus and the apostles. He cut out the "middle man". I still can't figure out why the Lutheran Church has Ministers. Why do any Protestant churches have Ministers?
Could Martin Luther have been wrong about not needing a road map through the Bible? Hmmmmm.....
Anyhow, ex-Father Luther was so mad about Purgatory and the indulgences, he decided there was no such place. I wish I could solve all my problems so easily. Car broken? I'll just stay home. Children fighting with each other? What children?
Call me crazy, I follow the Church that was founded by Jesus while he was alive on earth, not the church founded on the teachings of a 16th century priest, or the next group who just wanted to change of couple of things from what Luther thought, like Calvin, and the next group who just wanted to change a couple of things from what Calvin thought until there were literally thousands of factions. I also don't follow the guy who wanted to get divorced but the Church wouldn't let him so he started his own church which is curiously similar to the Catholic church. But that's just me (and a few million other people.)
The Catholic Church believes there is a place where you are made perfect before entering heaven, that chances are, if you drop dead tomorrow, you are not in perfect harmony with God and have to get a few things straightened out, maybe suffer for a few of your sins. That place is Purgatory. Contrary to what you may have heard, there is indeed Scripture to back up the notion. "Praying for the dead" is mentioned.
"It's not in my Bible," you say. No, it probably isn't. It's in the book of Maccabees. Guess who threw the book of Maccabees out of the Bible? His initials are ML.
And, as you say, there is no reason to pray for a person who is in heaven or a person who is in hell. So if the Bible mentions 'praying for the dead', and it does, there must be someplace in between. A place where people need our prayers.
Unless you don't believe in praying for people who are suffering. To each his own, I suppose. As a Catholic, you are not obligated to spend one second praying for the Poor Souls in Purgatory on your own. You will be praying for them at Mass. And hopefully, on All Souls Day which is right around the corner over there by Halloween.
You can go ahead and pray for the Souls in Purgatory...or you can pray for your own soul for when you get there. Because...well, I know I'll be there. Let's leave it at that.
I choose to pray only for the souls there now and hope that someone will return the favor and carry on the Tradition while I'm there. Because...I'm going. Even my scapular won't keep me out of there.
Speaking of Separated Brethren.....
Get over to the Blogger's Choice Awards and cast your vote for the top Catholic blogs. Although I love having your votes, right now the Anglicans are on top. We can't have that. The Catholics were out ahead all this time! Vote for me while you're at it...but don't make me into Ralph Nader here. It's a Blogger's Day of Obligation, Church Militant.