WHY WE WERE BORN AND OUR FUTURE AFTER DEATH
The answer is that God made us to know, love him and serve him in this world, so one day we can be happy with him in Heaven for all eternity. God loves all of us regardless of our religious beliefs. He only asked us to love him completely and keep his Commandments.
In the world today there are 19 major religions. The largest in members are: Christians 33%, Muslims 19.6%, and Hindus 13.4%. Remember, there's only one God. The God who made Heaven and earth and all that is in it. This is the God who sent his only son Jesus to earth to be born of the Virgin Mary and who suffered and died for our sins, so that one day we could merit Heaven.
Before his death he started a church. Appointed 12 simple men his first apostles. He appointed Peter his first head of the church (Pope). Jesus promised them he would be ‘with them until the end of the world’ and the ‘gates of Hell will not prevail against them.' They were called Christians. In the year 107 A.D., St. Ignatius wrote a letter to the churches stating that they should be called “catholic” (Universal) and open to all people.
Catholic Church and Bible
Outside of the Catholic Church there are presently 32,000 Christian denominations. All of these hold that scripture (the Bible) is the sole truth and foundation of the Christian faith. The truth is that it is the Church that is the sole truth and foundation of faith. In Timothy 3–15, “The Church of the living God is the pillar and bulwark of truth”. It is absolute that the Bible is a sacred book and inspired by God and should be read and meditated on by all Christians. It is a fact of history that the first Bible was assembled in the year 397 A.D. at the Council of Carthage, by Catholic Bishops. At that time they agreed on 22 books of the New Testament and 46 books of Old Testament. This is the exact same Bible the church uses today. The first printed Bible was in 1454 called the Gutenberg Bible (Vulgate). However there were only 162-185 copies printed. The first bible in the United States was the Aitken Bible in 1782 (in English). The only Bibles available in the early church where those laboriously printed by hand in monasteries by monks. These were only available to the rich. It was not until the introduction of the cylinder press in 1810 and the roller press 1850 that Bibles were mass-produced.
The truth is that many millions became converted to Catholic faith through teaching of apostles and missionaries the Apostles ordained. They were all guided by the church through the Holy Spirit. People were converted the same way today by being taught Gods revealed truth and his plan of salvation. Just as Christ said 2000 years ago: "Go and teach all nations, preach the gospel to all creatures – He who hears you, hears me".
The Catholic Church uses its original Bible in all its Masses and the readings are separate in all the daily and Sunday masses. The church has constructed the Old and New Testament readings, as well as the Psalms, so that they correspond to the daily readings. Using this format, the entire Bible is completed in three (liturgical) years.
Problem with private interpretation
The church interprets scripture – guided by the Holy Spirit. The main problem with having 32,000 Christian churches interpret is Jesus discussion on salvation. When Jesus spoke "he who believes in me will be saved "- "will have everlasting life", he did not mean Heaven, but meant that they would not be damned and lose their soul. Unfortunately the 32,000 denominations believe that Christ meant that they were guaranteed Heaven. They believe there is only Heaven or Hell when we die. Even though many die with sorrow for their sins – these sins are forgiven but it is still necessary to be cleansed of the temporal punishment due to sin. In other words this temporal punishment refers to the remote remnant effects of that sin – such as the tendency or habit of Sin – Jesus redemptive act does not cancel the acquired propensity to evil.
This cleansing is done through purgatory. As St. Paul reminds us, "we all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for things done while in the body, whether good or bad" (II Corinthians 5:10). He also describes the person whose works fall short of God's testing – "he shall be saved, yet as only one who is escaping flames".
Also in the Old Testament post death purification is found in several passages – most notable II Maccabees 12:43-46. "It is therefore a Holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they will be loosed from their sins." This teaching was held by the Jews six centuries before Christ.
In the early church when a dispute arose within its members a council was called to settle the questions. The first Council in 99 A.D. decided that to become a Christian it was not necessary to be circumcised.
The church always taught that purgatory exists. This doctrine was confirmed at the Council of Lyon, the Council of Nicaea (787 A.D.), the Council of Florence (1439 AD), the Council of Trent (1549-63) and Vatican II.
When we come before God and judgment
It said that since God is all perfect, when we come before him after death we are shown all our sins and also our good works. When we see God so perfect, loving and forgiving, it makes us feel so unworthy to be with him until we are purified. We want to be with him only after going to purgatory. Our biggest pain is being separated from him during this purification.
Summary of Purgatory
Overall there are some wonderful lessons on purgatory.
Best reason for accepting purgatory was given to us by a great saint
The most wonderful reason for accepting purgatory was spoken by St. Claude de la Colombiere, SJ, the spiritual director to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. He said: “As for purgatory, I do not fear it. I am sorry to have deserved it because it has been by offending God; but since I do deserve it, I am glad to go there to satisfy his justice as rigorously as possible even to the Day of Judgment. I know the torments are great, but I know that they honor God and that in purgatory I shall be sure of never opposing Gods will and of never complaining of the severity of his justice but loving it and waiting patiently until it is entirely satisfied”
How to avoid purgatory
It is said that many Catholics may be judged more strictly because the church is giving them special graces through prayers and devotions. Most important is the plenary indulgence.
The format to gain plenary indulgence is simple and if done correctly and with sincere sorrow for sins – will forgive all temporal punishment for sins – and allow you to enter Heaven should you die immediately.
You can only gain one plenary indulgence a day – and it can be offered to a loved one in purgatory (it would release them to Heaven).
We must remember that God loves us more than we could ever love him. There is nothing we can do to reduce that love. In addition, God never tires of us asking for forgiveness. God wants more than anything that we love him with all our hearts and that we spend our next life with Him in heaven for all eternity.