Wednesday, April 28, 2004
From the last chapter of "The Essential Catholic Catechism" by Alan Schreck:
Eternal life with God is an absolutely free gift. There is nothing that any person could do to merit, earn, or deserve an eternity of happiness with God. Catholic theology teaches that without the gift of God that Scripture calls grace, human beings remain in the bondage of original sin and fall into ever deeper rebellion against God and his plan. The result of this sin is death -- eternal separation from God. As St. Paul wrote, "the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.Well said... Eternal Life Begins Now, whether for good or ill.
"Eternal life is also a gift that must be accepted through our cooperation with God's grace and our freely-given response to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. From this perspective, eternal life is not simply a gift that we receive at the end of our lives when we die. Eternal life begins now, as we choose to accept God's grace and his gift of the Holy Spirit. After all, eternal life actually is a way of talking about sharing in or possessing the life of God himself.
"Those who reject God's offer and continue to live in sin experience even here on earth a foretaste of the pain of eternal separation from God. It is unfortunately true that while the road to heaven is like heaven itself, the road to hell resembles hell."