salvation and heavengreenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread
How does the Catholic Church define heaven? Is it a physical place? Is it incompatible with earth, e.g. how do we know heaven is not amongst us here and now?
Why is there such a pre-occupation with salvation (this is actually even more so in non-Catholic churches, but it exists within the Catholic Church as well)? My observation is that it has strong ties to fear of burning in hell and eternal damnation. Call me crazy, but does God want us to lead good loves out of fear and obligation, or out of a sincere desire to love God and therefore love Good? Is it all about some great reward?
-- Nick (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 09, 2003
"How does the Catholic Church define heaven? Is it a physical place?"
A: Not necessarily. It is the "place" or "state" wherein we will be in God's intimate presence eternally. It may be a "place" in some sense that we do not yet understand, but it is not a "physical" place as we understand that term, since the physical universe, every last atom, as well as time and space themselves, will someday cease to exist. Heaven will never cease to exist, nor will hell.
"Is it incompatible with earth, e.g. how do we know heaven is not amongst us here and now?"
A: See above.
"Why is there such a pre-occupation with salvation"
A: Because it is the purpose for which we were created. Salvation is the sole final measure of a human life and a human person. Salvation is ultimate success and fulfillment as a human being. Loss of salvation is ultimate failure as a human being. All the aspects of our earthly lives, everything we accomplish or create or establish, will be gone within a few years. The only aspect of our lives that will have eternal consequences is our acceptance of, or rejection of, salvation.
The most perfect Christian lives are lived solely out of an intense love of God and desire to do His holy will. But few people achieve that level of spiritual perfection. For most Christians, both love of God and fear of the alternative motivate our actions. The Act of Contrition, a common prayer of the Catholic Church, expresses this in the following line: "I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend thee, My God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love".
-- Paul M. (PaulCyp@cox.net), December 09, 2003.