So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Return of Christ. A meditation on apocalypse.

For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.” (Isaiah 45:23)
So each of us shall give account of himself to God.—Romans 14:11
When the Lord returns, can any human will stand against His divine will?

The Lord appeals to all men to embrace His saving Gospel. He appeals to all through His Church and in extraordinary ways known to God and those to Whom God reveals His purpose. (To be clear, other than what God has chosen to reveal in and through Holy Scripture interpreted by Holy Mother Church, I am not suggesting He has shared with me the particulars of His game plan.)

The First Advent: the Word made flesh.

In the First Advent, the power of the Lord's love and mercy is manifest.

Through her Liturgy (which belongs to the Lord!), her art, architecture, poetry, music, theology and science, etc., the Church appeals to all people to come and follow Jesus.

Since Christ's return to the Father, Jesus has remained present to us through His Holy Spirit, the Paraclete. He is most sublimely present to us in the Mass, in the Holy Eucharist—Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. In this time of His first advent, the Lord chose to appeal to man's intellect with truth, goodness and beauty to entice him into His loving embrace. To those who have succumbed to the Lord's enticements, He gives a share in the very life of the God through grace. We know in our heads and hearts the Lord Who made us and Who has redeemed us in Christ Jesus.
Summary: the Church proposes; God disposes.
(B)ut in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence(.)—1 Peter 3:15.
The Second Advent: Jesus returns. The Lord's will be done.

In the Second Advent, the power of the Lord's will and justice is/will be manifest.

God, appearing as lion—remember, He first came as lamb—shall manifest His will. He has no need of swords, guns, bombs or material weapons of any kind.
  1. Paralysis of the proud. Will those who consciously defy the Lord be paralyzed in the will, unable to oppose the Lord or resist His reign? Will those who misuse freewill to the degree they have compromised their ability to accept love also reject the love God offers? Will the pain of that rejection be self induced?
  2. Prostration of the ignorant. Will those who have ignored the call of the Lord be humbled in spirit, brought low, unable to resist the self knowledge the Lord will provide to each and every person? Will these people, not having willfully disobeyed the Lord, experience spiritual pain but not the crippling pain of the dissidents, heretics and the proud?
  3. Passivity of the elect. Will those who have made a habit of seeking the will of God recognize the Lord when He returns? Will those who see beauty in the Cross recognize their crucified Lord? Will the pure in heart see God and rejoice? Shall their wills, unlike the opaque wills of the damned and the clouded wills of the dissenters, be transparent to the will of God? Will the Light of God shine through these souls? Will much less purgatorial heat be generated in souls receptive to the light of Christ?

The Destruction of Satan

Satan is a monstrous will, but he is no match for the will of the Creator nor anyone whose will is allied to or with the Holy Trinity. Saint Michael defeats Satan in the name of God. The spiritual war is a war of wills. Both God and Satan battle for the hearts of men, though Satan has already lost. Satan attempts to lure man through a false love... of money, of fame, of power, of freedom, of sex and of security, etc. Satan loves only himself, though his love of himself is rooted in his self loathing and hatred of human souls. Satan loves to hate and hates to love.

Deus lo vult

Is it accurate to say that God, Who is love, brings authentic love out of or perfects the love that Satan corrupts in humans or the love man has himself corrupted? If we look to the Cross we see that Jesus took upon Himself the sin of the world, the corrupt love men bore in their hearts, and destroyed that sin and death.

Satan cannot bear nor fully comprehend that God has already won the battle against sin, the devil and death. Satan, the Adversary, is being destroyed by love. Satan's monstrous will, in which there is no room for love, is being crushed from within because no will can withstand the one will of Love. Love is pure relationship, one-and-three and unites souls in and to the Holy Trinity.

So then, four nobler truths.
  1. Man's ability to love is warped by a false love (of self).
  2. Man's capacity for love is still intact, though highly diminished by sin.
  3. Man is tempted by false loves and settles for truncated attractions because of the illusion that in life it is safer to embrace cheap love than it is to enter into the adventure of self sacrificing love.
  4. Sacrificial love (agape) is a life giving paradox: by dying to self we live; by denying ourselves we love ourselves and others with authenticity. With the power of God's grace we can love God and neighbour with a selfless love. That grace comes to us in and through the Sacrament of Baptism.
CCC1808 Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions. It disposes one even to renounce and sacrifice his life in defense of a just cause. "The Lord is my strength and my song." "In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
Summary: the wheat shall be separated from the chaff.
His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.—St. Matthew 3:12
God's will is pure love. God is love. The soul that is receptive to the love of God will melt (surrender) in ecstasy in the perfect love of God. The soul that is incapable of receiving God and reciprocating love will simply collapse in on itself. That collapse is a hell.

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