Ask a Question

Some folks who have been away for a while have questions and concerns to express. (Even Catholics who have never been away have many questions!) Please feel free to use the comments section of this blog to ask questions and state concerns. All of us who contribute to this blog are pleased to answer your questions and address your concerns. Your questions will help this blog to get its wings and really fly. Ask and ye shall be answered!

5 Replies to “Ask a Question”

  1. Can you help me with the concepts of salvation, the nature of God’s will, and the significance of Jesus’ death on the cross?

    I have heard that God’s sole purpose for Jesus was to have him die on the cross and save us from our sins. In his death, he became the perfect sacrifice that was needed to restore the bond between man and god that was broken with original sin. Does this imagery not portray God as a disgruntled tax attorney that uses differentiated leveraging and credit default swaps to exploit a loop hole in the tax system he created? The concept is too impersonally legalistic, complicated, and abstract for me to appreciate. How are these mental calisthenics significant to our relationship with God in the here and now? Jesus very well may have become the embodiment of our sin as he died on the cross which forgave our sins both past, present, and future. But that imagery and language does not communicate as much meaning for me as it probably should. It’s like a foreign language that my heart does not understand.

    Jesus in the garden prayed that his suffering might be removed but in the end he conceded, “Not my will but your will be done”. Does this imply that god actively desired Jesus to be killed on the cross (in order to accomplish the mission above)? I have never thought so. My understanding is that God never desires that we suffer but passively allows us to because he loves us. His love is shown in our free will and sometimes the consequence of free choice is suffering. My heart has trouble believing that Jesus’ plight was designed by God. It would make more sense for his fate to be the natural conclusion of a flawed people being presented with a perfect love. A quick look at history shows that when we find something new that we don’t understand, we typically destroy it.

    How important then is the crucifixion of sin for salvation? It seems pretty clear that we are saved though our relationship/faith in Christ. He came to us on earth to form that relationship because we could not go to him on our own. If this is true, did he not conquer sin (the barrier between man and god) when he came into this world and not when he left it?

    Any help you can give me would be great. Thanks.

    1. Your questions and concerns are understandable. God’s ways sometimes baffle us. That the Father sent His Son to die for us seems quite astonishing. To answer briefly is not easy but let me try. At least we can start a dialogue. That Jesus’ death was necessary comes from the fact that our sin had caused something very real in us. Original Sin was more than just a juridical infraction. We were truly and deeply wounded and in fact we died spiritually. Let’s say that you ask me to take two steps to the right but I refuse and take two steps to the left. Then I regret waht I did and ask your forgiveness. You graciously forgive me. But there is still a problem. I am now four steps out of place from where I need to be. I need to make a journey and take those four steps. This is part of what is meant by reparation and atonement. It is not enough for God to forgive us. We have to be made whole. But here is another problem: if it were merely a matter of taking four steps I could do it. But in Original Sin the wound is so grevious that I cannot possibly atone for it or make reparation. I have sinned against God and the the offense is infinite and the wound in me deadly. Disobedience caused me to die. I cannot bring myself back to life. Since the offense is infinite only God can correct the problem and atone for what happened. But since man committed it only man can stand punished for it. So Jesus needed to be both God and Man. God, so he could have the power to bring us back to life, but man so he could have something to do with our case and truly represent us. Remember now, something very real and very awful happened to us due to sin: real suffering and real death, so, Jesus takes this sin and all its effects upon himself. Where we disobeyed, he obeyed. He died and went among the dead and rescued us. THough he did not sin, he accepted its effects. He made the journey for us of those four long steps for us that we could not make. The journey had to be made and he made it. Then, through baptism he incorporated us into his own body so that we made that journey we could not make in him.

      See what you think with this answer and I will address your further concerns and rebuttals 🙂 Msgr. Pope

  2. I know the Virgin Mary was the mother of Jesus but why do Catholics pray and honor her? It sometime seems she is equal to Jesus.

  3. Hello…

    I am a cradle Catholic who is interested in learning more about the Liturgy of the Hours and what all those ribbons mean. First, can you provide a history and explanation of these prayers? Second, can you please make a suggestion as to what to buy, i.e. all books or one book? Thank you and God Bless this mission!!!

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