|Jesus washing the feet of the Apostles|
at the Last Supper.
In St. Paul’s letter to St. Timothy, St. Paul writes that it is pleasing to God that we pray for everybody and that “3[this] is good and pleasing to God our savior, 4 who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4)1. It is important to know that God loves every single creature that He has created, and He loves men and women, boys and girls, so much that He sent us His only begotten Son into the world to save us from our sins and that whoever lived faithfully by Him would have eternal life2. All of God’s plan for us is sometimes called the history or the plan of salvation. The Lord made us to share in his divine life, that is to be with Him in Heaven and share in the mystery of love between His own self and us. St. Peter in his second letter writes, “Through these, He has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.” (2nd Peter 1:4) He writes that God has given us many promises and blessings so as to approach Him and come to even share in God’s mysterious divine nature.
The Lord loves every single one of us and He calls us all to go up to Heaven to love Him and be with Him. For some of us we are blessed with having a loving spouse whom we confide in and enjoy to love and receive love in return. St. Paul calls the love between two spouses a mysterious love which reflects Jesus’ love for the Church, which is His Mystical Body. In Ephesians 5, St. Paul talks about the relationship of a marriage and that of how Jesus loves the Church. In this manner of thinking if we look at how we love our most beloved ones and how much joy we receive when they love us back, we can only begin to reflect on how much God loves us and how much He waits for us to love Him in return.
“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, 4 as He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before Him. In love 5 He destined us for adoption to Himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of His will, 6 for the praise of the glory of His grace that He granted us in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1: 3-6)
The Lord made us to love Him and chose us and created us simply to love Him in return. Our soul carries on beyond this life into the next, and the faithful live this life entirely in the hope that He will raise us up to Heaven to live in love with Him4. There will be some who refuse to love God and so unfortunately, because He has given us a responsibility of our own souls these persons will not be with God in eternity but rather where they left their hearts to be, apart from God5. And for some of us we will have to wait to have our love perfected towards God in Purgatory6. “When evening comes, you will be examined in love. Learn to love as God desires to be loved and abandon your own ways of acting.” (St. John of the Cross, Dichos de Luz y Amor (Sayings of Light and Love), #60)
1. All translations of the Bible, except those given from quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, are from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website: http://www.usccb.org/bible/books-of-the-bible/index.cfm, unless otherwise noted.
2. English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church for the United States of America copyright 1994, United States Catholic Conference, Inc. –Libreria Editrice Vaticana.
Note that references to paragraphs of the Catechism of the Catholic Church are given as CCC #.
3. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Here it is written that whoever has faith in Jesus Christ will have eternal life, but we should not mistake this to mean as some Protestants do that faith without good works will be enough to please God. St. John tells us that if we do not truly know Christ if we do not honor His commandments (1 John 2:3-6, “3 The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says, “I know Him,” but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. This is the way we may know that we are in union with Him: 6 whoever claims to abide in Him ought to live as He lived.”)
4. Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCC 1023, “Those who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live for ever with Christ. They are like God for ever, for they ‘See Him as He is’ face to face (1 John 3:2; cf 1 Corinthians 13:12; Revelations 22:4)”
5. Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCC 1033, “We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love Him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against Him, against our neighbor or against ourselves…To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from Him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “hell”.
6. Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCC 1030, “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but [are] still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.”
CCC 1031, “The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the purification of the damned. (cf Council of Florence (1439): DS 1304; Council of Trent (1563): DS 1820; (1547): 1580; see also Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336): DS 1000.) The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent…”