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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Decider

I'm a little nervous. Sister St. Aloysius will soon be on her way to her summer think tank. Last year we had the help of Sister Nicholas. Lovable as she was, every day was rather like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. I'll be needing help, that is certain. And Sister Nicholas was a good cook. She made that pickle soup. I could go for some of that.

We shall see. Meanwhile, Sister St. Aloysius has immersed herself in information about the supercollider, which is supposed to find the "God particle" or some such nonsense. She has explained it to me several times and it gives me a physics haircut (as it zooms right over my head). She even gave me Stephen Hawkings' new book, "An Even Briefer History of Time", which is his own personal version of his other book "A Brief History of Time". This one is "A Brief History of Time" for dummies.

I'm extra dumb. I can't get my brain around that one either. I get the gist of it, barely, and then I get really tired.

Which brings me to today's question from a reader:

Hi Sister, I love your blog; its both informative and witty. I guess my question goes along with this theme of different sects... not quite sure. Anyways, I was wondering how the Catholic church feels about those who aren't IN the Catholic Church. I mean I really don't want to believe that some of my best friends who are Muslim, Jewish, and Methodist have to do "hard time" in the "furnace." I remember something like "baptism by acts" or something where they had a second chance. Do they just do more time in purgatory? Thanks

I don't know. Yes, I do.

Let's iron out a thing or two. No one does 'hard time' in the furnaces of Hell. "Hard Time" indicates that the time you spend in the pokey is really tough and long, but you'll be getting out. Once you end up in Hell, that's that. There is no "hard time", there is only "eternity". I only use quotation marks to be cute.

So the basic premise here is that only Catholics can go to heaven. That's because Jesus said you can only get to heaven through Him and the only True way to Him is through the Catholic church.

But there are loopholes. First of all, we don't know the mind of God. God might feel that your Baptist friend should be in heaven. We also don't know what any Jewish person, Muslim or Methodist may be thinking right before he or she kicks the bucket. They might think, "What was I thinking! I should have been Catholic!" As long as you're still able to think that, God will not turn His back on you.

So the answer to your question is: only Catholics can go to heaven, BUT we imagine God will let in whoever He wants, so we don't get to judge who got in and who didn't or who will or won't get there.

Does that help?

I know. It's as hard to understand as "An Even Briefer History of Time". Maybe that supercollider will work and we'll know the answer.

That was joke. The answer is not in the supercollider.

The other loophole, which I've touched on here, is the Baptism of Desire. That basically means that you really want to be Catholic, but you weren't able to actually be baptized. For example, you were on your way to be baptized when the Martians attacked, and you huddled together with the rest of your neighbors over at the Lutheran Church and then you were all vaporized. Or you were on a desert island or lost at sea or whatever.

There is also what is known as a Baptism of Blood. That means you died the death of a martyr for Christ. All martyrs for Christ go straight to Heaven, do not pass go, do not collect $200 even if they are from some lesser faith. Excuse me. I meant to say, even if they are separated brethren.

Which brings me to one final point in the 'be Catholic and at least you won't have to worry about it' discussion we've just had. Have you heard the story of St. Maximilian Kolbe. One of my favorite saints! Read about him here.

Why would he have done such a heroic thing for a bunch of guys who were just going to go burn in Hell for being the wrong religion? Of course, he would have been trying to administer the faith to them. I just really doubt that he had any takers. He understood that we simply don't decide. We're not the deciders here.

He did it because we must love everyone as Jesus did. What a guy!


Anonymous said...

Dear Sister-
I did a dumb thing 20 years ago and married outside the Church. I was a new Catholic, having been confirmed only 2 years before, and it didn't seem like a big deal. But it has become a BIG deal to me, because I am completely disillusioned by the Protestant churches we have attended, and I really want to return to the Church, but now I have a basically Baptist husband and 7 children. My husband is rather anti-Catholic, although he will admit that there are some "saved" Catholics, and he really respects Mother Teresa, however I just can't see him ever embracing the Church. When I bring it up, he makes me feel like I'm saying I want to become a pagan sun-worshipper or something. He doesn't see that I AM Catholic, having been confirmed as an adult, just not practicing all these years. Do you have any advice on bringing him to the Church, or at least allowing me to return without all the arguments and such? A suggestion on saints to ask for intercession would be helpful as well.

Anonymous said...

Could you please explain 1 Timothy 2:5 for me.

Anonymous said...

Why did the Catholics remove part of the ten commandments and then break another commandment in two to hide the fact that they did so?

Why do they want to hide from people the fact that God commanded in Exodus 20:4 & 5 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and forth generation of them that hate me.

Charlotte (WaltzingM) said...

Could you tell me where you get the colored religious medals you sell in your shop? If you make them yourselves, would you mind telling me how you do that? Thank you!

Marie said...

Oh my gosh, people actually ask you questions!?!

I just found your blog and I LOVE it. I have been laughing out loud. I was raised Catholic, 16 years of Catholic Ed, but converted to the Dark Side (the Episcopal Church) 16 years ago.

I am one who believes that God loves us no matter where we're loving Him, so I think we have a similar perspective.

You are one of my new favorite sites! Thank you!

Bryant said...

Sister, if you had an emotional (mental) problem...not psychotic but more like a problem accepting yourself, would you see a shrink or your local catholic priest for help/guidance,etc??? Now, I want to explain a little bit...I'm a psych major and I'm having trouble with Albert Ellis' concept of self-acceptance (there's a 55 sec. video on youtube of an interview he did talking about that concept).I don't know if I understand it correctly or I'm just being a bonehead and do not want to understand it.(How would it be healthy for a criminal to accept themselves?) Would you be kind enough to explain a Sister's definition of self acceptance with an example? By the way, I'm leaning towards talking to a priest instead of a shrink. Thank you...and if you can't answer my question,just pray for me :)

JP said...

HI Sister

Can you please explain to me why Protestants, who have been around much shorter a time than Catholics, keep thinking WE were the ones who changed things like the Ten Commandments? Besides, the Commandments as they appear in scripture are not numbered, are they?

And can you tell us why, when Exodus appears to forbid the making of any likeness, God commanded the Ark of the Covenant to have likenesses of Angels (I think that's it) and why Moses was commanded to make the likeness of a serpent?

Love your blog!

Tienne said...

Sister, this post brought me to tears. Bless you; your blog is a pearl and so are you.

I love St. Maximilian, too. One of my dear friends is expecting her fifth child, whom she plans to name John Kolbe, in honor of our dear Saint. If you could please keep her in your prayers, as she has a great deal on her plate right now with 4 rambunctious kids, a husband who travels for work 3 days a week, and an upcoming move which requires her to single-handedly pack up her house in the eighth month of pregnancy. We're all making meals for her; that's what we do as fellow moms! But she could definitely use your prayers, too. :)

Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin said...


I'm not going to say which of the following is going to be the most important.

One thing, educate yourself. Read sites like http://www.catholic.org and http://www.biblechristiansociety.com and Mark Shea's Sheavings to learn just what the typical Protestant /Evangelical objections to the Faith are, and how you can demonstrate that they are based upon either misapprehensions or outright lies. Rev. Ralph Woodrow's book, The Babylon Connection. A lot of anti-Catholicism is based upon Rev. Alexander Hislop's "The Two Babylons" and Woodrow refutes Hislop THOROUGHLY.

Don't be afraid to ask him, "Why do you object to the Catholic Church?" Take his objections seriously. Treat him at all times with respect. If you don't have an answer, assure him that he has a good point, and that while you don't have an answer now, if he will let you, you ought to be able to get one for him.

The doctrines and dogmas of the Catholic Church are under Divine protection. Even if they weren't, they would STILL be a 2,000 year old expert system for defending and explaining the faith.

On the spiritual front, get a Green Scapular. Example 1, example 2. Search Sister Mary Martha's blog for information on the Green Scapular devotion.

Also, be as good a wife as you are able. Give the credit where it is due, to the Grace of the Holy Spirit. To quote Madeline L'Engle, "We do not draw people to Christ by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it." Christ's Real Presence is found in every Catholic Church in the world, in the Blessed Sacrament.

To close, I'll say this: there is no problem which cannot be helped by praying the Rosary.

Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin said...

@Anonymous re Exodus 20:4-5,

why did God then turn around and tell His chosen people to decorate His sanctuary with all manner of graven images, often likenesses of things in Heaven above (e.g. the Cherubim decorating the Ark of the Covenant) and in the Earth below (e.g., snakes, mice)?

Anonymous said...

To Faye:

Why not make an appointment with a Catholic priest and tell him about your circumstances? It sounds to me like you could qualify for what is called a 'radical sanation.' That is basically a declaration from the diocesan tribunal acknowledging the original circumstances of your marriage and declaring it valid in the eyes of the Church after the fact. I know it sounds like magic, but it's not. The Catholic Church has 2000 years of experience dealing with marriages where one of the parties is hostile to the Faith, and when you're dealing with souls nothing is more important than being able to return to the sacraments. There are even situations where a marriage can be declared valid by the Church without the non-Catholic partner knowing. That's all for the sake of the Catholic party being able to live a fully Catholic life, and receive the sacraments. If you do this, there's absolutely no reason for your not accompanying your husband to his services on Sunday - as long as you don't receive their communion - and then going to Mass on your own. I see this thread is a week old now. I hope you see this. I pray God's blessings on you and your family!

Father Frank

Unknown said...


I am a servant of God on www.prophecyfilm.com and wish to beg you, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to please link to this wonderful site which has free glorious Prophecies & Revelations of Jesus and Mary from Saint Bridget in many languages, and wonderful and powerful prayers called: The Saint Bridget fifteen prayers to our suffering Lord Jesus Christ!

We also have free videos for download on various catholic topics, and maybe hoped that you could tell your visitors and your family and friends! They are a bit further down on the page and are quite interesting. They are extremly good for catholics to strengthen their faith, for protestants to come to the true faith, and for atheists to see the scientific evidence of the Bible that proves God's existance. You are free to copy all videos and books on our site http://www.prophecyfilm.com to your site if you like them. Our videos can also be embedded! This can draw lots of brothers and sisters to your site. We know by experience. We hope you also read the revelations and watch our videos personally.

Here is a page with different banners we have made if you use those on your page.


For the greater glory of God!

Peace and God bless!

Hidden One said...

Although it's been a bit since certain comments were posted, they've also gone unanswered. No more.

Re: 1 Tim 2:5


Re: Bryant

Priest. A good priest.

NB: I have absolutely no idea who Ellis is, and have never heard or read of him before reading your comment. However, chances are really, really good that if he's not an orthodox Catholic, he's wrong. At least partially.

Anonymous said...

Scapular question!

My family and I are taking a long road trip next week. I will have my son (almost 10) wear the brown scapular he got as a gift for his First Holy Communion. I was going to buy some for my husband and I, but I am wondering about our two little girls. One just turned 7 and one is 5 and a half. I'm inclined to get some for them, or is that overboard because they're so little and haven't made First Penance or First Holy Communion yet?

Bryant said...

Re: Hidden one..thank you

Claudia said...

Maybe we could market Stephen Hawking books as a sleep inducing aid, I would work for me too.

Anonymous said...

-content sigh-
Kolbe is so awesome...