Is It Sinful to Take a Minimalist View of Faith?
Someone suggested reading St Therese of Lisieux's Story of a Soul. Maybe it'll hit you like it hits so many others. She's a beautiful Saint who covers a lot of what you're struggling with and draws us with love to Christ.
Reply
I am calm now. :)

Now, there are a couple of realities I have noticed. In the Catholic Church, there almost seems to be two methods of living out our faith, the 'easier' and 'harder':

1) The 'easier' one is the first option Jesus gives in His discourse with the rich young ruler: keep the commandments to inherit eternal life (the Church would describe this as the required obedience to the precepts)
2) The 'harder' one is the second option Jesus gives in His with the rich young ruler: sell all you have, give to the poor and follow Him (the would describe this as the optional obedience to the evangelical counsels)

This is discussed in the Catholic Encyclopedia article on the 'Evangelical Counsels' and seems to be the general view of Church theology. One even notices this sort of dichotomy in the Old Testament (there was the Law which all had to follow, but one could choose to take a Nazirite vow or make greater offerings to God).

Am I correct in this view?
Reply
(12-15-2009, 03:05 AM)nsper7 Wrote: I am calm now. :)

Oh, joy...
Reply
(12-13-2009, 10:34 PM)nsper7 Wrote:
Quote:By your own admission you said you don't want to know him or love him. That, by its very definition, is hell.

Hell minus the horrendous torment, being roasted over and over again, tortured in the most heinous ways possible, suffering forever.

It has been the constant teaching of the Church that the primary suffering in hell is separation from God, not hell fire. Your soul desires nothing more than union with its creator. That is what it is made for. Also remember that a perfect act of contrition (which you may well have to make if you're left dying without a priest) requires the penitent to renounce his sins out of love of God not fear of hell.
Reply
(12-15-2009, 03:05 AM)nsper7 Wrote: 1) The 'easier' one is the first option Jesus gives in His discourse with the rich young ruler: keep the commandments to inherit eternal life (the Church would describe this as the required obedience to the precepts)
2) The 'harder' one is the second option Jesus gives in His with the rich young ruler: sell all you have, give to the poor and follow Him (the would describe this as the optional obedience to the evangelical counsels)

This is discussed in the Catholic Encyclopedia article on the 'Evangelical Counsels' and seems to be the general view of Church theology. One even notices this sort of dichotomy in the Old Testament (there was the Law which all had to follow, but one could choose to take a Nazirite vow or make greater offerings to God).

Am I correct in this view?

You are possibly correct in that one may observe these differences.

Matthew 7:13 Wrote:Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat.
Reply
Nsper, you're way too legalistic.

Fall in love with Jesus and do the happy dance!
Reply
(12-15-2009, 03:05 AM)nsper7 Wrote: I am calm now. :)

Now, there are a couple of realities I have noticed. In the Catholic Church, there almost seems to be two methods of living out our faith, the 'easier' and 'harder':

1) The 'easier' one is the first option Jesus gives in His discourse with the rich young ruler: keep the commandments to inherit eternal life (the Church would describe this as the required obedience to the precepts)
2) The 'harder' one is the second option Jesus gives in His with the rich young ruler: sell all you have, give to the poor and follow Him (the would describe this as the optional obedience to the evangelical counsels)

This is discussed in the Catholic Encyclopedia article on the 'Evangelical Counsels' and seems to be the general view of Church theology. One even notices this sort of dichotomy in the Old Testament (there was the Law which all had to follow, but one could choose to take a Nazirite vow or make greater offerings to God).

Am I correct in this view?

The first may enter the Kingdom but only because he was deficient in his knowledge and understanding of God and the Faith.  You, my friend, are much too gifted for that.  God is calling you to the second.  Love Him with all your heart.  Become inebriated in Him.
Reply
Sometimes it seems you're focusing too much on a God of hell fire and justice rather than a God of infinite mercy.  God requires reparation and punishment for sin but he also desires nothing more than the salvation of your soul. The old testament is full of the jews disobeying and then offering sacrifices in reparation to God.  When one compartmentalizes the attributes of God rather than viewing them holistically they fall into the error of Protestantism, which makes God impersonal, or atheism, which views the attributes of infinite mercy and infinite justice as contradictory rather than complementary. This complementarity is illustrated beautifully in the incarnation and passion of Our Lord. Christ became the perfect sacrifice to redeem the world (justice) and in doing so purchased you with his own blood (mercy).

What other religion can boast such a loving and (literally) self-sacrificing God?
Reply
Yes you are correct, according to the Church, as far as I know. There's very little talk about this "easy option" for avoiding hell though, and rightly so probably.  This is another case where purgatory is often forgotten by Catholics, I think. It seems to be forgotten a lot, because we tend to think in dualisms. But what easier thing is there for us on earth to understand than purgatory? As some saints have said, we can have our purgatory either down here or in the after-life. It has to happen at some point any way, if we're to be in Heaven. Sometimes I think that if purgatory was talked about more, protestantism wouldn't have been so popular, because everyone became obsessed with being either saints who step straight into heaven or damned to hell. I always admire CS Lewis for being a protestant who brought it up, with some funny thing about simply not wanting to enter a great feast with a dirty tie.

That said, we should be trying to avoid purgatory just as much as hell, and we've been given everything we need to do so. Nsper, when your clouds clear and you're given some consolation or undeserved grace by Christ, you'll just WANT to be with Him in Heaven, no matter what it takes. He DOES reward perseverence though, so persevere, with hope, in the state you're in for a while, and remember that we can't just magic up real love for Christ by deciding on it intellectually or imaginatively, but we can rely on Faith even when things get dark and difficult. Even if Love is the greatest theological virtue, Faith is the most essential while we're down here.

And I hope people will let me know if any of what I said sounds heretical or misleading etc. It's tricky talking about these things!
Reply
So to answer the original topic question, taking a "minimalist" (and you've defined it now) view of faith can put you on a slippery slope, but it can also just be a sensible thing to do at times, so long as you remain hopeful and persevere and use the help of the Church, especially the sacraments that Christ provided for you. (The very fact that the "perfect contrition" Servus mentioned is rare is a big part of the reason behind us being given the sacrament of confession, in which even imperfect contrition (hatred of sin and fear of hell) is sufficient for forgiveness.) Make use of the sacraments especially when you feel most confused or powerless.
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)