Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Parish life: Keep your eyes on the prize.

Snippet from a recent conversation:


I'm not sure why God built the Church out of people, but I suppose he had a
good reason.

It is interesting to wonder what the Church would have looked like if it had
been built out of angels. I'm not sure what other options there were or how they
would differ.

So it seems that it's either New Jerusalem Now or people. It seems good to have
to work for the New Jerusalem, so that leaves people.

From a Catholic perspective, considering the doctrine of the Communion of
Saints, working out our differences is an absolute necessity, indeed a
purgatorial precondition of the Beatific Vision. According to the "zap
theology" of Calvinism--and really, all Protesters who don't have a doctrine of
Purgatory--when you die you'll just be zapped into perfection. Since the
afterlife in a sense starts now we are after a manner in purgatory now.

Now the specific purgation required for the Communion of the Saints aspect of
Heaven is getting along with one another. Right now we set there in the
sanctuary grumbling about such-and-such nonsense of so-and-so (I think of
Screwtape's description). Now *surely* it won't be like that in the
Beatific Vision.

In the Beatific Vision our happiness will grow *exponentially* in the following
way: I'll be experiencing bliss. You'll be experiencing bliss. I'll
be so united to you that when I see that you're experiencing bliss, my bliss
will bulge. They same will happen for you. Then I'll get a bliss
boost from the fact that my bliss gave you a bliss boost. And so on.
Now add in, say, our friend KB. The same process that happened between you
and I will happen between you and him and also he and myself. But *in
addition to that* I'll be so united to KB that I'll be elated that his joy
juiced your joy. And so on, and so on, world without end, Amen.

So how we gonna get there from here? Well, it seems it's either ZAP! or
Purgatory. Surely not ZAP!. Ergo...

So I think, as is no longer surprising to me, that dogma is devotional.
The doctrine of the Communion of Saints tells us that as we endure this
purgatorial period we can perhaps somewhat alleviate our frustration by thinking
of the Joy toward which we are hurled.


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