Love

Love is the most sought after emotion for all of us. When we have it, we rejoice. When we don’t, it causes stress, heartache, depression, tears and so on.

I found true love with my husband, Bill. I cannot begin to describe the feelings I have for this man. He is everything to me. I feel so bonded, so close, so like – yes, I will say it – his soul mate. I feel I fit perfectly with him. He makes my heart swell and jump. He makes my blood rush. When I am not with him, I can feel his touch. I can smell his scent. I feel warmth and strength from him. I would do everything for him. I pray passionately for him. I would actually give up my life for him without a second thought. Should I leave this earth before him, I will wait for him.

My children and grandchildren are everything to me. They will always be my little girls and my little boy. I will never stop thinking about them. I will always pray for them. I pray for their health and their safety and their happiness. I will always worry about them and when something happens to them, I will try to rush to them to help them. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for them. If someone told me to make a choice between one child or another, or my husband or my children, or grandchildren, I would tell them to take me. There is no choice for me. I love them all equally. Passionately. Whole heartedly. All of my heart belongs to them. Every inch. Nothing is withheld. When I die, before them, I will be waiting for them.

If I can love these precious treasures like that, then just think about God’s love for us. Think about how much Jesus loves us. It isn’t just some of us. It isn’t just those that are the most special, or those who belong to a particular religious group, or ethnic group, or part of the world, or whether you are a good person or consider yourself a bad person. Jesus loves each and everyone of us. Always has and always will.

The Passion of the Christ is a movie I will never forget. I went to see it with my oldest daughter. I kept my coat held up to my face during the entire movie. Every time there was a scene which I just could not bear to see, I would pull my coat over my eyes. The movie focusses on the last twelve hours of Jesus’ life. This movie really made me aware of how Mary, his mother, must have felt. I could see, through her eyes, how she watched her son as he went through the trial, then the beatings, then carrying the cross and then finally being nailed to the cross.

Oh my God! I thought. I felt her pain. I felt her grief. As a mother, you want to do everything you can to protect your child. All she could do was watch. I wanted so much to go to the soldiers and the mocking people and do something. Did she know this was part of God’s plan? Did she know this would happen? How could she bear it?

As I watched Jesus carrying the cross, I kept thinking, Why? Why are you doing this? For us? We don’t deserve this. Look at what we are doing to you. Look at what is happening. How could we do this to you? Every Easter prior to this movie, I knew what had happened to him but until this movie, and actually seeing it, it changed so much for me. I sobbed through the rest of the movie. I couldn’t drive home, I was so overwhelmed with emotion.

This movie drove it home for me. Really made it clear about the love Jesus has for us. Jesus took a thief into Heaven with Him. He will do that for each and every one of us who asks. Jesus loves us so much that He took our sin onto Himself and died for us. Is there anyone who could do that? Do you understand how deep that love is? This love is something that will change you. You can’t and won’t be the same person when you accept that love. Jesus’ love has the power and strength to overcome everything and anything that comes your way. Without that love, you are not whole. Not the person you could be.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

Purgatory?

I am now married to a Catholic man. However, he does not attend a Catholic church. His mother and sisters do regularly attend a Catholic church.

I have been confused by the term purgatory and everything that surrounds it. Also, a friend of mine, who was once a Catholic, said to me that the belief in purgatory means that Catholics do not believe that Jesus’ death was good enough.

I looked up the term purgatory. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Purgatory is “a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace, are not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.” To summarize, in Catholic theology Purgatory is a place that a Christian’s soul goes to after death to be cleansed of the sins that had not been fully satisfied during life. (from gotquestions.org).

This made me stop and take a step back. All along I thought that when Jesus died on the cross, He paid the penalty for all our sins. I had to research this. I was right. Jesus did pay the penalty for ALL our sins. So are the Catholics saying that we still have to suffer for our sins and that Jesus’ suffering was not enough? How can this be?

Apparently, the Catholics look at the passage in 1 Corinthians 3:15 for the evidence of purgatory. It is argued that the Catholics have misinterpreted the passage to be the believer passing through flames when it should be the believer’s works passing through flames. The argument is also that Catholics misunderstand the nature of Christ’s sacrifice. Catholics fail to understand that Jesus’ once for all sacrifice was absolutely and perfectly sufficient for all of us.

I had to look up the history of the Catholic church. Now I am even more confused. The Catholic church is a continuation of the early Christian community established by Jesus. The church considers its bishops to be the successors of Jesus’ apostles. By the end of the 2nd century, bishops began congregating in regional synods to resolve doctrinal and policy issues. The Bishop of Rome was appointed by Jesus and he was the sole successor to Saint Peter. This Bishop ministered to the people in Rome. I know Jesus told Saint Peter that he was building His church on a rock.

Well, doesn’t this make one think? The Roman Catholic Church is a continuation of the early Christians. The Catholics fail to see that when Jesus died, that was good enough. Is this something that the Catholics failed to see later in time? Did they misunderstand what was said in 1 Corinthians?

It just makes me see how we humans can mess things up. I know the disciples messed up things a lot. They were also filled with doubt even though they were with Jesus. Perhaps the Catholics thought that the people would just party it up if they thought Jesus had paid for their sins. I mean, what would keep them living like good Christians and obeying the church if at the end, they would be saved? Perhaps to keep the people in line, the Bishops decided to tell them all about purgatory. Wouldn’t purgatory scare them into submission? And this is how I can wrap my head around all of this.

Now I have a better understanding of purgatory and the beginning history of the Roman Catholic church. I am not a college graduate. I did not have the privilege of attending college although I am applying now, with my husband’s support and encouragement. I am curious by nature. I also wonder about the Catholics veneration(?) of the Virgin Mary but that is for another blog.