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The Beauty of our Catholic Faith by Father John Harris

To be honest I am not too sure what more shocked me: the fact that the lady believed the Church should just deny one of her fundamental teachings, the belief in the resurrection or that she felt that Catholic teaching was no more truthful than the latest fad in public opinion.

The Christian faith is based on our belief that Jesus is risen from the dead; He did not come back as something else. This is our faith. As Christians, since Jesus has risen from the dead, we believe that life does not end in death, but that death is but a passage to the continuation of life; life lived in a new way. This new life is lived by us, as real people, not as angels or ghosts, but as we are ourselves.

Very often when one goes to funerals today the priest speaks only about the person’s past life, as if that is all there is to remember. Catholic funerals are not simply services of remembrance but they play a vital role in the person‘s continuing life-story as we gather to pray for them. For Christians, death is not simply about the past, but also about the future. The Holy Masses we have offered for the dead person pray for the forgiveness of their sins so that they can go forward in peace into the living presence of God. We may not know the precise details of what awaits us but we know in general terms that our lives do not end in emptiness. The dark door of time, of the future has been thrown open and we live in hope.

Naturally, we cannot adequately define the glorified body because it is beyond our experience. However, we can learn certain things from the appearances of Jesus after the resurrection. The first thing we note is that the tomb was empty. Jesus’ death did not leave His body behind to corrupt. Our physicality continues in the resurrection. Our bodies do not remain as something lost. Needless to say, this resurrected matter takes on a new condition of life. We Christians respect our bodies even in death, for they are not simply parts of us that we can disregard but they are intimately connected to who we are. If I am to rise for the death that must of necessity involve my body also. Just as Jesus did not leave his body behind, neither do we.

This new condition of our living is beyond the laws of biology and physics as we know them in this life. We see that in His resurrection, Jesus could walk though closed doors and appear and disappear. He did indeed have a body but it was not of the same make up as we know our bodies now. But this living is not some ghostly presence. We know that the apostles felt Him, they touched His hands and His side and we know that He ate with them, He spoke to them but yet He was beyond the conditions of biological life as we live it. Jesus is truly alive living a real life. As the beloved disciple said to St. Peter when they saw Him by the lake, “It is the Lord”. In our resurrected bodies it will still be us.

Pope Benedict XVI reminded us that our belief in the resurrection of the body is very important for our faith in the Blessed Eucharist. In the Blessed Eucharist, the Lord gives us His glorified body to eat. “He gives us himself, this newness that He is in our humanity… (he) touches us within His being so that we might let ourselves be penetrated by His presence, transformed in His presence”. We can see that we are already in contact with this new type of life when we receive Holy Communion; our lives are being transformed by God.

Although we live in a very physical world, there is great emphasis on the care of the body and on pleasuring the needs of the body, yet at the same time. there is a disregard for the body. It is as if it is not a real part of us. This is completely alien to the Christian faith. We believe that the human person is made up of body and soul, the two are intimately related. We can never care for one and forget the other. Our Catholic faith reminds us how important this integrated awareness of who we are as body and soul. You have been created and redeemed by God for eternal salvation, this is your great calling and the saints remind us of this truth.

Holding this hope, why would anyone think that coming back to this broken world as a fly or a cow could be something to look forward to? It is our Christian hope that when we die, we will meet Christ face to face, and we will have a conversation with Him like none other. At last, we will meet someone who knows all there is to know about us and who can tell us the deepest mysteries of our lives. Someone who can explain to us the whys and wherefores of our lives. It is only when we see ourselves in this moment with Christ that our lives will make any sense. As St. Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians, “Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood”. (1 Cor 13:12)

No one would not want to be fully understood by someone who loved them and yet such loose talk about reincarnation denies the beauty of our faith. When we are so surrounded by mercy, and only at that moment of death when we meet Christ will we fully appreciate Divine Mercy, why settle for a cheap imitation. So let us be on our guard and not throw away the beauty of the truth of our faith in the name of sounding modern.

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Our Lady Untier of Knots

Our Lady Untier of Knots
Unfailing Novena to Our Lady Untier (Undoer) of Knots, a wonderful nine-day prayer to Our Lady. This is Pope Francis' favourite Novena. One of the fastest growing Marian Devotions in the world.

 

Click this link to view: Our Lady Untier of Knots Prayer Book