“Christian, recognize your dignity and, now that you share in God’s own nature, do not return to your former base condition by sinning. Remember who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Never forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of the Kingdom of God.” (St. Leo the Great, quoted in CCC 1691)If you want to call yourself a Catholic, and indeed, even a Christian, you have to live what you profess. As we said in the opening page of today’s lesson, faith has two aspects. The Church refers to these as “fides qua” and “fides quae.” Fides qua is “believing” and fides quae is “that which is believed.” Especially during your school years, when you’re immersed in an atmosphere of learning, it’s easy to focus so much on the fides quae that we forget about the fides qua. Part of maturing in our faith is having it affect every part of our life.
Let us look at some of the reasons why our lives need to change by what we learn. Christ DIED for us, in order to bring us to eternal life with God in heaven. We have become God’s adopted sons and daughters, and as a result, our lives need to be affected. God offers us redemption, but we need to show our acceptance by living the virtues of faith, hope and love. We need to work daily towards the coming of the Kingdom of God.
Just as a reminder, let us spend a moment thinking about the Last Things. We will die. When we die, we will be brought face to face with God, and He will show us, in our personal (or particular) judgment, all of the ways in which we have chosen ourselves rather than Him. He will show us that by His justice, we cannot possibly deserve Heaven. If we have not deliberately chosen ourselves over Him (unconfessed mortal sin), we will be offered His mercy, which will triumph over His justice.
“At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love.” (St. John of the Cross, Dichos 64, quoted in CCC 1022)
If we are deemed worthy of someday entering Heaven, we will be offered Purgatory as a great gift of grace. Some of us will be brought directly to Heaven – and we have to remember that Heaven is our goal, not Purgatory. Just think, if you were aiming for Purgatory but missed, there’s no chance for you. At least if you’re aiming for Heaven and only miss by a bit, the mercy of God will give you Purgatory.
The entire point of our lives is holiness. Every person, regardless of gender, role in the church, age, nationality, ability, etc., is called to holiness. We are made in the image of God because He gave us intellect and free will. He asks us to use those to freely choose Him, and to profess that to the world by our way of life. Our personal response to His call is enabled through the graces given to us by the Holy Spirit.
The Church is clear that there is one main thing that MUST be in a life if it is to be growing in holiness: self-examination. If we honestly examine our lives to see how closely we are following and accepting Jesus’ teachings, we can only grow closer to Him. We will love Him, worship Him and lead a life of prayer as a result. Our hearts and minds will turn towards Him (conversion) and we will put Jesus’ moral and spiritual teachings into practice.
To live as an adult in the church, we will live as He wants us to. We will live chastely, according to our station in life. We will serve those less fortunate than ourselves. We will bring His gospel to all those we meet. We will serve the Church and others by being stewards of all that He has given us. We will use our talents for the benefit of all.