Life in a small town

Desire and Fear … the roots of all sin …

It seems that most folks I have talked to seem to have some warm and fuzzy idea of some place after death that equates to “heaven” and they feel somehow that it is their right to go there. But that is definitely not what the Church really teaches. What the Catholic Church teaches is that no one actually deserves heaven.

So lets do a little walk through that logic, the logic of “I am going to heaven because I am nice and a good person…”, a little thought experiment  (German: Gedankenexperiment, GedankenExperiment, or Gedankenerfahrung,) considering this heaven hypothesis, for the purpose of thinking through its logical consequences.

Well, I am 67 years old now. Let’s say I live another 14 years, to eighty years. Of these eighty years, I will have been able to use reason and be morally responsible for perhaps between sixty to seventy of them. Within this 60 year time span I sacrifice a bit, put it all on the line for others for a while, I get married, have a kid, maybe some grand-kids, maybe I help a few people along the way, give a bit to charity every year, and retire happily and live out the remainder of my short life doing good deeds and singing in church.

The question then becomes: “For the relatively few good actions in a very short life, should I earn an infinity of bliss and happiness?” That sounds a lot like fraud, like an impossible Ponzi scheme!” To remind us, a Ponzi scheme (/ˈpɒnzi/; also a Ponzi game) is a form of fraud which lures investors and pays profits to earlier investors by using funds obtained from more recent investors.

The Church rejected that view in the fourth century by declaring Pelagianism a heresy. Pelagius was a pious monk who lived in the fourth century and believed in free will but also stressed that it is our good works that save us. For St. Augustine, Pelagius’s view did not make sense. If we can merit our own salvation, then Christ died in vain, Augustine reasoned.

It seems to me that all our “goodness” amounts to simply a high level of skill in self-delusion, that is , we believe our own BS. What seems to actually be going on is simply us reacting to our carnal, worldly desires or our fears of loss of reward or social punishment in this world, and we give very little thought to “What comes next?”

So here is a prayer, a litany of our real concerns …  excerpted from: Deliverance Prayers for use by the laity” by Fr. Chad A Ripperger PhD .   In this we are praying for deliverance from our base desires and fears:

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, deliver me, Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

Ripperger, Father Chad A.. Deliverance Prayers: For Use by the Laity (pp. 96-97). Sensus Traditionis Press. Kindle Edition.

Cheers

Joe

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