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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Future Epiphanies

We're in the church basement again, dusting off the Magi for the upcoming Feast of the Epiphany. We try to take Sister Mary Fiacre with us where ever we can. We feel it's important that she get some sunlight once in a while. We can't get her into the basement, however, so we've had to take turns rummaging around finding what we need to complete the manger scene. We have a whole camel here someplace. Meanwhile, we are shouting, "Marco!"  Polo!" so we don't lose each other.  Perhaps a trail of bread crumbs....

Starting out the New Year in Limbo:

A fuzzy on Limbo sister!
U wrote that Moses, Abraham and all others waited until Jesus opened the gates of heaven. Well, when were the gates closed before they were opened by Jesus? After Noah? After Adam? Did not Enoch ascend to live with God, as per Old testament? Moreover, Jesus depicted Abraham in heaven in the "poor Lazarus" parable. What about that?
Oh, getting more fuzzy, fuzzier than my studies , perhaps ( well is there a patron saint for fuzzy thinkers). Waiting for your answers sister..

Yes, what about that? I believe the answer to that question is how the thoughts on Limbo originated.  The great minds of theology have always been faced with such conundrums.  As far a I can tell the thinking went something like this:

Jesus said we can only get to Heaven through Him and the Bible tells us that we had to wait for a Savior to redeem us.  Hence the term "savior".  So no one could go to Heaven until Jesus died on the cross.

Meanwhile, the Bible also says that some people went to Heaven.

But according to Jesus, and pretty much the whole thrust of the Old Testament, this can't be true.  So where did they go?

There must be a  place that was not Heaven and not Hell.  Limbo. Specifically, the Limbo of the Fathers.

Since these were the Fathers, the great minds sought to describe this place.  What they came up with is that Limbo is just exactly like Heaven, except in one very important detail. You don't get to see God. It is a joyous place, though, and the Fathers in Limbo would have known that they were going to be able to go on to Heaven "soon" (speaking in eternal terms).

Like living in Beverly Hills instead of Bel Air (speaking in earthly mansion terms).  

click here for info on this painting
And while you won't find the word "Limbo" in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, because it is just an idea, the official word on the subject of the opening of Heaven is that no one got into Heaven until Jesus died on the cross because no one could get in without the Savior, the Redeemer.  We also know that while he was dead, Jesus descended into wherever these people were waiting and told them the Good News.

We are just people, living on earth on the corporeal plane.  Are there gates and mansions and doors that need to be opened and closed?  Probably not. We can not imagine life with no physical bodies, no need for chairs, refrigerators or macaroni and cheese. So we end up talking about that which we were never meant to understand in terms that are pretty silly.  We don't really know where it is, what it is exactly, or what goes on there.

It's a Sacred Mystery.  God doesn't expect us to ever understand it.  Sacred Mystery=Just Let it Go.


sam said...

While you on old testament people, how come they aren't referred to as Saints? I've never heard of St. Moses or Abraham but surely they're in heaven therefore Saints?
Is it just a convention that Saints come from Jesus lifetime forwards?

Anonymous said...

Hi Sister I really liked reading about the idea of Limbo. You did a perfect job of explaining because I'm not so sure there is such a place anymore it definitely provides a good argument to why there is such a place. Thanks! Happy New Year and Merry Christmas!!

Today I believe is the feast of St.Elizabeth Ann Seton, I have a relic of hers, I will venerate before bed. Also she is the first cannonized Saint of the America's! I went to her school in Baltimore to tour when I was a kid.

Anyway, God bless you. Thanks for the read.

Yours in Christ,

The Lady Dragon said...

Regarding Old Testament Saints, just as an example, 12/16 historically was the feast of Saints Ananias, Azarius and Mishael (Daniel's companions.) 12/24 was historically the feast of Saints Adam and Eve. 12/29 was historically the feast of St. David the King. Why don't they have days anymore?

Nelson said...

We don't really know where it is, what it is exactly, or what goes on there.////
That was more convincing sister. A Big Thanks!! and wishes from the land of Our Lady of Health. My question was your first engagement (in blog) in this new year sister!! God bless!!