Shepherds of Christ  
       Daily Writing        
 

May 8, 2008

May 9th Holy Spirit Novena
Scripture selection is Day 5 Period II.

The Novena Rosary Mysteries  
for May 9th are Luminous.

     
 

Please help us with the Priestly Mailing.

Funds are needed.
 
 
Retreat in China
 
10:00 Saturday - Mass 12:00
Retreat Sunday 1:00
 
Retreat Monday 10:00 - Mass 1:30pm
Tuesday May 13th  12:00 - Mass 2:45pm
 
 

Given April 7, 2008

  

Fr. Carter had a dream.

 

Message given to Fr. Carter before July 1994:

Jesus:  "My beloved priest-companion, I have allowed you to experience in extraordinary fashion the riches contained in My Heart and My Mother's Heart. I desire that you tell all My people about these riches. I desire that My people consecrate themselves to My Sacred Heart and to Mary's Immaculate Heart. My people are living in the beginnings of the age of the Two Hearts.

    "After the time of the purification is completed, this new era of the Church and the world will become firmly established. This era will be characterized by the triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the reign of My Sacred Heart. All those who consecrate themselves to My Heart and to My Mother's Heart will help to establish this glorious new age. I am Lord and Master. Please listen to My urgent request. Within Our Hearts you will experience the love and security, the peace and the joy, which you all desire. I love My people with a tremendous love, and in My love I give them this message!"

Reflection by Fr. Carter:

This is the Age of the Two Hearts! The surest road to sanctity in these our times is through consecration to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. In making this consecration, and striving with God's grace to live it as best we can each day, we are contributing to the establishment of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart and to the arrival of the reign of the Sacred Heart.

end  of excerpt

  

From April 5, 2008

We have in 14 years circulated 6,000,000
            Priestly Newsletters to the priests
            and hierarchy.

        The Newsletter is written in the vision of the
            Father, the voice of the Good Shepherd,
            it is made up of the Scriptures,
            writings of the popes, encyclicals,
            writings of the hierarchy, the
            Catechism, the wisdom of the saints
            and prominent Theologians

        Fr. Carter, S. J. sent 75,000 Priestly Newsletters
            every other month.

            Fr. Pasquini has circulated 2,000,000
        Priestly Newsletter in the past year and a half to the
        priests and hierarchy. 80,000 every other
        month —

            We are spreading the devotion to the
        Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart, promoting love
        of the Eucharist, greater love of the Church,
        the Priesthood, Mary and the Holy Spirit, the
        Mass, Prayer and greater intimate relationship
        with God. We have circulated 100,000 of
        Fr. Pasquini's books to priests and hierarchy.
        We have gotten 170 letters in 1 1/2 years from the
        Vatican thanking us and asking us to keep praying
        for them.

   

July 31, 1994

Words of Jesus to Members of
Shepherds of Christ Associates:

"My beloved priest-companion, I intend to use the priestly newsletter, Shepherds of Christ, and the movement, Shepherds of Christ Associates, in a powerful way for the renewal of My Church and the world.

"I will use the newsletter and the chapters of Shepherds of Christ Associates as a powerful instrument for spreading devotion to My Heart and My Mother's Heart.

"I am calling many to become members of Shepherds of Christ Associates. To all of them I will give great blessings. I will use them as instruments to help bring about the triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the reign of My Sacred Heart. I will give great graces to the members of Shepherds of Christ Associates. I will call them to be deeply united to My Heart and to Mary's Heart as I lead them ever closer to My Father in the Holy Spirit."

- Message from Jesus to Father Edward J. Carter, S.J., Founder, as given on July 31, 1994,
feast of Saint Ignatius Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits)

end of excerpt from April 5, 2008

    

  

                   The Shepherds are to shepherd the
                people. We are to believe in our Catholic
                faith — we are to pray for the priests, the
                Church and the world and we are to love.
                After seeing Mary appear again and again —
                I believe so deeply in her message of
                Fatima that the Sacred Heart of Jesus will
                Reign and the Immaculate Heart of Mary
                will triumph and there will be a certain era
                of peace. In Jesus giving Fr. Carter the message
                to begin the Priestly Newsletter in 1994 and
                send it to all the priests in the world and hierarchy
                Jesus told him that it was His instrument to help
                to bring the world into this Reign of His Sacred Heart
                and triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart culminating
                in this era of peace and love of the Two Hearts —
                Jesus said that the purpose of His Movement
                was two-fold — the Priestly Newsletter and this
                network of prayer chapters all over the world
                in different languages praying for the priests, the Church
                and the world.

                Jesus gave me a message December 6, 1996 — 11 days before
                Mary's image appeared at Clearwater concerning spreading
                this network of prayer chapters and the oneness of our
                hearts praying in greater holiness, one in the Hearts
                of Jesus and Mary for the priests, the Church and the world.

                    Today as we send this mailing every other month
                we receive the letters that say the hierarchy thank
                us for our prayers and they pray for us. The hierarchy
                are the descendents of the Apostles and they are
                united praying for us and praying with us for the
                priests, the Church and the world.

 

 

                    We are united one in their Hearts — one with
                the Church — one with the schools — families —
                Christ is the head.

                We are the body.

                    Fr. Carter says, God calls us to live the Christian existence,
                the spiritual life, within the framework of
                the Church that Jesus established.

                    Through the pierced Heart of Christ the
                Church was born. Water for Baptism, Blood
                for the Eucharist.

  

  

                    The Church is the Body of Christ —

 

  

                    Fr. Carter says, one of the truths that is emphasized
                by this concept is the idea of community. The
                communion that binds the members of the Church
                together is, in turn, connected with that wider
                idea of community that embraces the whole
                of mankind.

                    The millions and millions of people the world
                over make up what might be called the world
                community. The members of this cosmic
                community are supposed to live in a basic
                love for one another, united in bonds of
                mutual support and interdependence.
                We are not intended to cut an isolated path
                through life, but walk hand-in-hand —
                Fr. Carter says.

                    The leader in helping form a better
                community among the members of the human
                family is the Christian community, the Body of
                Christ. God has established the Church as
                a leaven for the development of a
                graced society of human beings. The Christian
                community is a great channel of grace
                that deepens the Christic image of the
                world society.

                    So when we see that the world may be getting
                further from the truth it is our commission
                in baptism to go out more as soldiers of
                Christ and pray deeply united for the world
                loving them and becoming more strong
                in Him.

                    Jesus told Fr. Carter to start these prayer
                chapters and send the Priestly Newsletter
                centered in this Consecration to the Hearts of
                Jesus and Mary.

                The greatest commandment is

 

Matthew 22: 36-40

'Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?' Jesus said to him, 'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets too.'

 

                    In spreading the devotion to the Sacred Heart and
                Immaculate Heart — we unite in the pure and holy
                Hearts of perfect love.

                    In spreading the prayer chapters and giving
                our hearts to the Sacred Heart and Immaculate
                Heart we become one in love as Jesus promised
                Fr. Carter at the end of His message.

   

  From Fr. Carter's message

Jesus: "I am calling many to become members of Shepherds of Christ Associates. To all of them I will give great blessings. I will use them as instruments to help bring about the triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the reign of My Sacred Heart. I will give great graces to the members of Shepherds of Christ Associates. I will call them to be deeply united to My Heart and to Mary's Heart as I lead them ever closer to My Father in the Holy Spirit."

  

                    Adam and Eve were wounded after original
                sin — it was because of selfishness and pride
                failure to love God and to obey Him as they should
                have —

                    Loving God is obeying Him, living by the commandments,
                put God first in our lives above our selfish
                interests.

                    As co-founder of the Shepherds of Christ Movement
                I see the purpose of this Movement is to bring
                about this great era of love by spreading the
                consecration to the Two Greatest Hearts of Love.

                    We are to witness of our oneness with Christ
                as we love as He has taught us and asked Fr.
                Carter to pray for the priests (His Shepherds),
                the Church (His bride) and the world (the
                souls He died for, so precious to Him, the
                souls of the human race)

                    It is in being united in this network of
                love for God and each other in praying as
                one for the priests, the Church and the
                world we live more our commission
                given to us in baptism to spread the
                Good News and we love as God told us in the
                greatest commandment.

                    We give our lives united to the Holy Sacrifice
                of the Mass praying in loving union in the
                purity of the Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary —
                Loving and Witnessing to our faith.

                    Telling others we are members of the
                Shepherds of Christ — a part of this deep
                network of prayer praying for the priests,
                the Church and the world. We recognize
                how God has given us the Church and it
                is the fountain of His life. We pray for
                the priests to be so deeply one with Christ
                and filled with the love of Christ and love
                for His people to focus on this and greater
                holiness. We pray priests will have a very
                intimate relationship with Christ and
                spend their hour before the Blessed Sacrament
                giving great love and honor to Jesus truly present
                in the Blessed Sacrament.

  

July 31, 1994

Words of Jesus to Members of
Shepherds of Christ Associates:

"My beloved priest-companion, I intend to use the priestly newsletter, Shepherds of Christ, and the movement, Shepherds of Christ Associates, in a powerful way for the renewal of My Church and the world.

"I will use the newsletter and the chapters of Shepherds of Christ Associates as a powerful instrument for spreading devotion to My Heart and My Mother's Heart.

"I am calling many to become members of Shepherds of Christ Associates. To all of them I will give great blessings. I will use them as instruments to help bring about the triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the reign of My Sacred Heart. I will give great graces to the members of Shepherds of Christ Associates. I will call them to be deeply united to My Heart and to Mary's Heart as I lead them ever closer to My Father in the Holy Spirit."

- Message from Jesus to Father Edward J. Carter, S.J., Founder, as given on July 31, 1994,
feast of Saint Ignatius Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits)

 

                    We can never underestimate how important
                these prayers united in this network of prayer
                by people deeply in love with God and
                others, members of the body of Christ, can
                help to strengthen the priests, the Church
                and the world.

                    Love, commitment, seeing the vision
                of God — not being like Adam and Eve in the
                garden, but hearts of love — deeply dwelling
                in the pure and holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

                    We receive special blessing for ourselves
                and our families being united in this network
                of prayer — united to our hierarchy and
                priests — loving them so deeply.

                    What is a Christian in the world? Is not
                a Christian to be giving the love of Christ
                to the world in how they are in their heart —
                more likened to Christ — are they not to
                be a witness to Christ and an instrument
                of genuine love in the world.

                    Christ died and before He died in His
                prayer in John 17 was that they would all
                be one.

    

John 17

    After saying this, Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

    Father, the hour has come:
    glorify your Son
    so that your Son may glorify you;
    so that, just as you have given him
       power over all humanity,
    he may give eternal life
       to all those you have entrusted to him.
    And eternal life is this:
    to know you,
    the only true God,
    and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
    I have glorified you on earth
    by finishing the work
    that you gave me to do.
    Now, Father, glorify me
    with that glory I had with you
    before ever the world existed.
    I have revealed your name
    to those whom you took from the world
       to give me.
    They were yours
       and you gave them to me,
    and they have kept your word.
    Now at last they have recognised
    that all you have given me
       comes from you
    for I have given them
    the teaching you gave to me,
    and they have indeed accepted it
    and know for certain
       that I came from you,
    and have believed
       that it was you who sent me.
    It is for them that I pray.
    I am not praying for the world
    but for those you have given me,
    because they belong to you.
    All I have is yours
    and all you have is mine,
    and in them I am glorified.
    I am no longer in the world,
    but they are in the world,
    and I am coming to you.
    Holy Father,
    keep those you have given me
       true to your name,
    so that they may be one like us.
    While I was with them,
    I kept those you had given me
       true to your name.
    I have watched over them
       and not one is lost
    except one who was destined to be lost,
    and this was to fulfil the scriptures.
    But now I am coming to you
    and I say these things in the world
    to share my joy with them to the full.
    I passed your word on to them,
    and the world hated them,
    because they belong to the world
    no more than I belong to the world.
    I am not asking you
       to remove them from the world,
    but to protect them from the Evil One.
    They do not belong to the world
    any more than I belong to the world.
    Consecrate them in the truth;
    your word is truth.
    As you sent me into the world,
    I have sent them into the world,
    and for their sake I consecrate myself
    so that they too
       may be consecrated in truth.
    I pray not only for these
    but also for those
    who through their teaching
    will come to believe in me.
    May they all be one,
    just as, Father, you are in me
       and I am in you,
    so that they also may be in us,
    so that the world may believe
    it was you who sent me.
    I have given them the glory
       you gave to me,
    that they may be one as we are one.
    With me in them and you in me,
    may they be so perfected in unity
    that the world will recognise
       that it was you who sent me
    and that you have loved them
    as you have loved me.

    Father,
    I want those you have given me
    to be with me where I am,
    so that they may always see my glory
    which you have given me
    because you loved me
    before the foundation of the world.
    Father, Upright One,
    the world has not known you,
    but I have known you,
    and these have known
    that you have sent me.
    I have made your name known to them
    and will continue to make it known,
    so that the love with which you loved me
       may be in them,
    and so that I may be in them.

    

                    The Trinity is the most perfect
                community.

   

Excerpt from Response to God's Love, by Fr. Edward Carter, S.J.

  The Father, in a perfect act of self-expression, in a perfect act of knowing, generates his son. The Son, the Word, is, then, the immanent expression of God's fullness, the reflection of the Father. Likewise, from all eternity, the Father and the Son bring forth the Holy Spirit in a perfect act of loving.

end of excerpt
 

                    Does it not make sense where there is such
                lack of love in the world today that Jesus at
                the end of the 20th century would give Fr. Carter this
                message to help bring this era of love about —
                the era from the hearts devoted to His Sacred
                Heart and Mary's Immaculate Heart.

                    God is love —
                    God put us here to grow in love.
                    We are in a state of becoming —
                    The Church is in a state of becoming —
                    The world is in a state of becoming —

                    The Sacred Heart of Jesus lavishly shows us
                His Heart of love. He shows us His self-giving
                in dying on the cross — He gives us the Church
                and the sacraments and He outpours His grace
                to us in the sacraments —

                Love upon Love
                Christians in the world
                Being like Christ
                Seeing the Father's vision

                Praying in this Network of Prayer for the
                    priests, the Church and the world.

 

 

From the Mass Book

PRIEST OF THE MASS

- By Rita Ring, Shepherds of Christ Ministries

To be at a Mass where the priest is one with Christ is to be at a Mass where I really feel Christ’s presence in the priest. At every Mass, I am so aware of Christ celebrating the Mass through the priest…. I feel the flow of [grace] and I am moved deeply within my heart and I cry from this immense presence of God. I am in awe. I unite to Jesus in every move of the priest, every word, when he is so united to Christ. I feel Christ so alive in him…. I see the hands, the hands of a man, a priest, and I see Christ celebrating the Mass in the priest. I am in awe of the Almighty God truly present through the hands of the priest…. [May priests pray for holiness as Jesus wants them to]: Come to me, Lord, and possess my soul. Come into my heart and permeate my soul. Help me to sit in silence with You and let Your work in my heart. I am yours to possess. I am Yours to use. I want to be selfless and only exist in You. Help me to spoon out all that is me and be an empty vessel ready to be filled by You. Help me to die to myself and live only for You. Use me as You will. Let me never draw my attention back to myself. I only want to operate as You do, dwelling within me. I am Yours, Lord. I want to have my life in You. I want to do the will of the Father. Give me the strength to put aside the world and let You operate my very being. Help me to act as You desire. Strengthen me against the distractions of the devil…[that takes] me from Your work. When I worry, I have taken my focus off of You and placed it upon myself. Help me not give in to the promptings of others to change what in my heart You are making very clear to me. I worship You, I adore You and I love You. Come and dwell in me now. (Mass Book [China: Shepherds of Christ, 1997], 16-17, 15).

 

                    The Trinity teaches us about oneness and
                love. As we know God the Father, Son and
                Holy Spirit as Persons of the Trinity as we know
                God and the oneness of God — we are
                wrapped in that embrace of love —
                we are people more likened to Christ —
                living IN HIM —
                Being Christ in the World

                    The Church is the bride of Christ —
                    Our Shepherds (our beloved priests)
                        (are to teach the people
                        of God's love — to me the gift of
                        receiving Jesus so intimately in
                        the Eucharist is the high point of
                        my day — the time before the Blessed
                        Sacrament in adoration when He
                        pours out His grace, I become more
                        one in Him —)

                        God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
                            live in the graced, baptized soul

                    The world is thirsting for love
                    The world is thirsting for Christ

                    In my love for the Church and all the
                priests, the members of the body of
                Christ, I have attempted these 15
                years and more to write about the love
                of Jesus for the hungry world.

                    Feed the hungry
                    Feed the hungry

                    In the Shepherds of Christ we tell the people the
                message of Our Lady of Fatima and the
                Shepherds of Christ message — we need devotion
                to the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart —
                Pictures in our homes

 

 

                Homes dedicated to the Sacred Heart and
                    Immaculate Heart    homes of love

                Hearts dedicated to the Sacred Heart and
                    Immaculate Heart    hearts of love

                Families dedicated to the Sacred Heart and
                    Immaculate Heart    Families of love

                Schools dedicated to the Sacred Heart and
                    Immaculate Heart    Schools of love

                Churches dedicated to the Sacred Heart and
                    Immaculate Heart    Churches of love

                Countries - Nations dedicated to the
                    Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart   
                    A world of love
                    PEACE
                    the Sacred Heart will Reign — the Immaculate Heart will triumph
                    AN ERA of LOVE
                    GOD IS LOVE
                    GOD IS RULER

                Vision of the Father

 

Genesis 1: 26-27

     God said, ‘Let us make man in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves, and let them be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, all the wild animals and all the creatures that creep along the ground.’

    God created man in the image of himself,
    in the image of God he created him,
    male and female he created them.
 

Shepherds of Christ

 

 

 

  

                It should be our desire to pray the
                    Mystical Body of Christ becomes
                    more pure, holy, living
                    according to the Gospel —
                    feeding at the Eucharist —
                    drinking from the fountain of His Life

 

 

 

 

                The family is the first school of teaching
                    love and learning to unite with
                    each other.

                Spouses to be united in prayer in the
                    Hearts of Jesus and Mary — going
                    to Mass

                We do not even recognize the great
                    love that God gives to us in
                    the Church — the sacraments —
                    we must learn to be loved
                    by God —
                    how good God is to us
                    how good God is to us to give us the Church
                    how good God is to us to give us our priests

                Song: A Priest is a Gift from God

                Love is a power that unites —
                The Trinity is love — there are 3 Persons and
                    one God

                    We are to sing a song of joy
                to God and tell Him how much
                we thank Him and love Him!!

                    We are to have joy in our
                vocation to serve God like
                this — God has called us to be
                servants, handmaids, apostles,
                members of the Shepherds of Christ Movement —
                members of the body of Christ —
                What we do will make a difference
                    for our soul and the souls of
                    others forever

                Help me do this great mission
                    to bring this era of love

    

 

Message given to Fr. Carter 

   from Tell My People                                                          

Age Of The Two Hearts

Jesus:  "My beloved priest-companion, I have allowed you to experience in extraordinary fashion the riches contained in My Heart and My Mother's Heart. I desire that you tell all My people about these riches. I desire that My people consecrate themselves to My Sacred Heart and to Mary's Immaculate Heart. My people are living in the beginnings of the age of the Two Hearts.

    "After the time of the purification is completed, this new era of the Church and the world will become firmly established. This era will be characterized by the triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the reign of My Sacred Heart. All those who consecrate themselves to My Heart and to My Mother's Heart will help to establish this glorious new age. I am Lord and Master. Please listen to My urgent request. Within Our Hearts you will experience the love and security, the peace and the joy, which you all desire. I love My people with a tremendous love, and in My love I give them this message!"

Reflection by Fr. Carter:

This is the Age of the Two Hearts! The surest road to sanctity in these our times is through consecration to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. In making this consecration, and striving with God's grace to live it as best we can each day, we are contributing to the establishment of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart and to the arrival of the reign of the Sacred Heart.

        

Work To Make Your World Better

Jesus: "My beloved companion, remind My people of their responsibility toward the world. They have a duty to try to make this a better world for all to live in.

"Today there is much which is wrong with the world. Sin covers the face of the earth. Sins of all kinds blemish the goodness of My Father's creation.

"However, My Mother and I are increasingly gathering our forces for the battle against Satan and his followers. We are more and more forming Our followers to wage the battle to win back that part of the world dominated by Satan's influence. We are forming our followers in the ways of love. We are forming Our followers with the grace which flows from the bosom of My Father, through My Heart, given in the Holy Spirit, and distributed through the intercession of the maternal and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

"We are forming Our followers to give themselves in the greatest love for God and neighbor. We are bringing them ever more closely to Our Hearts so that they may draw from the flames of love of My Heart and Mary's Heart! The more My followers dwell in Mary's Heart and My Heart, the more they are enlightened and strengthened to give themselves for the salvation of the world.

"I am Lord and Master. I ask all to follow Me and My Mother to help us bring forth the great age of love and peace for the world. This age will emerge after the phase of purification has been completed. This age will be characterized by the triumph of Mary's immaculate Heart and the reign of My Sacred Heart. In this great new age, soon to come, My people will love and praise My Father, with Mary and through Me and in the Holy Spirit, as never before!

"I love My people with a tremendous, burning love, and in this love I give them this message!"

Reflection: The world belongs to Christ. St. Paul tells us about this:

As he is the Beginning, he was first to be born from the dead, so that he should be first in every way, because God wanted all perfection to be found in him, and all things to be reconciled through him and for him, everything in heaven and everything on earth, when he made peace by his death on the cross (Colossians 1:18-20).

Since the world belongs to Christ, we, who are His followers, must have a great love for the world as created and redeemed by God. We must labor through our participation in the Mass and through all our other prayers and good works to more and more help the Christic image of the world to shine forth in ever greater splendor. This is our duty and our privilege. Out of love for God and neighbor, let's resolve to get on with the task!

end of excerpt from Tell My People  

       

   

Apostles of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus

My dear fellow Associate Members,

Jesus is calling special apostles to join a new division of the Shepherds of Christ Movement. Here is a message from Jesus given to Father Carter:

    My beloved priest-companion, I am requesting that a new prayer movement be started under the direction of Shepherds of Christ Ministries. I am asking for volunteers who are willing to pray before the Blessed Sacrament for one hour, twice-weekly. Members of the Shepherds of Christ prayer chapters, as well as others, are to be invited to join this movement.

    These apostles are to pray for the intentions I am giving you. For part of the hour they are to use the prayers of the Shepherds of Christ Associates Handbook. They may spend the rest of the hour as they so choose.

    I will use this new prayer movement within My Shepherds of Christ Ministries in a powerful way to help in the renewal of My Church and the world. I will give great graces to those who join this movement. The name, Apostles of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, is to be given to this movement.

    I am inviting My beloved Rita Ring to be coordinator for this activity.

    I pour out the great love of My Sacred Heart to all. I am Jesus, Chief Shepherd of the flock.

    This is indeed a special calling for us to unite in one heart with His Eucharistic Heart and pray for the following intentions:

  1. For the spread of the devotion to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary culminating in the reign of the Sacred Heart and the triumph of the Immaculate Heart.

  2. For the Pope.

  3. For all bishops of the world.

  4. For all priests.

  5. For all sisters and brothers in the religious life.

  6. For all members of the Shepherds of Christ Movement, and for the spread of this movement to the world.

  7. For all members of the Catholic Church.

  8. For all members of the human family.

  9. For all souls in purgatory.

end of Apostles of the Eucharistic Heart message

  

     

From Response in Christ  by Fr. Edward J. Carter, S. J.

Relationship with Members of the Church

e) Relationship with Members of the Church

There is but one true Church of Christ. Yet this one Church has three different states of existence. There is the pilgrim Church, the Church of this world, composed of members who have received the grace of Christ and strive for its development. They have not yet obtained the goal of their efforts, as have the members of the heavenly Church, who enjoy God in eternal happiness. The Church suffering is an intermediate state of existence necessary for those who had not achieved the required purification as members of the pilgrim Church. Although there are these three phases of the Church’s existence, there is a profound union existing between all the members. All these members possess the same basic life of grace in Christ, and this common life establishes the most intimate bonds of love. In our preceding chapter, we discussed the pilgrim Church. Let us now consider the Church suffering and the heavenly Church.

The members of the Church suffering are those who have departed from this life in an incomplete state of Christian development. Their development is incomplete in the sense that grace has not fully taken possession of them, and, as a result, they are yet closed in upon themselves to a greater or lesser degree. They as yet cannot open themselves out in complete love to the Triune God in the beatific vision. They must undergo a further purification, a purification which could have been achieved upon earth with merit. Now the purification must be achieved with no merit attached. The pain of this purification is mixed with the certain expectation of achieving the vision of God. We can hasten the advent of this vision for this people by the offering of prayers and other good works. Scripture itself refers to our action on behalf of those in purgatory in Chapter 12 of the Second Book of Maccabees beginning with verse 38.

The members of the heavenly Church are those in whom the life of grace has taken full possession and has reached its completion in the life of glory. Faith now is unnecessary, as the light of glory gives the human intellect a new strength and capacity for seeing God face-to-face. While the Christian was a wayfarer, he received the imprint of the indwelling Trinity as he shared in God’s own life. Now in heaven that grace-life and possession of God reaches its completion—the absolute completion is not achieved, however, until the resurrection of the body. The divine persons give Themselves to the beatified in a profound union far surpassing that of the indwelling of the Trinity experienced here below.

This life of heaven is still the Christ-life, for just as we possess a share in Trinitarian life here below as mediated by Christ, and exercise this grace-life as structured by Him, so also in heaven is the mediation of Christ present. In the words of Rahner, "One always sees the Father through Jesus. Just as immediately as this, for the directness of the vision of God is not a denial of the mediatorship of Christ as man."14 And not only does the humanity of Christ unite the blessed to God, but also, in some way, to the whole of creation. This is merely a completion of what is begun here below, namely, the union with Christ in His humanity establishing the Christian in a special relationship with God, with other men, and with the whole of creation. We have a glimpse, therefore, of the fullness of life which members of the heavenly Church possess.

The heavenly Church, as St. Thomas says, is the true Church.15 The Church of this earth and the Church of purgatory are, each in its own way, reaching out in loving hope for the heavenly Jerusalem. Vatican II puts it very simply: "The Church, to which we are called in Christ Jesus, and in which we acquire sanctity through the grace of God, will attain her full perfection only in the glory of heaven."16

The members of the heavenly Church can help us in living our life of grace until we too share its fullness with them. Their power of intercession on our behalf is but another ramification of the communal aspect of Christianity. We are meant to help others grow in Christ. We, in turn, are intended by God to receive aid from others—yes, from members of the heavenly Church, as well as from those with whom we dwell here below.

Not only can we be aided by the saints’ intercession, but the example of the canonized saints can also be of great value to us. They have concretely proved that full holiness is possible. Such an inspiration is of real worth when we are tempted to think that Christian sanctity in its higher degrees is impossible of attainment. Moreover, the canonized saints, in their diversity, teach us that there are many authentic versions of Christian holiness. They can be innovators in showing us that there are numerous possibilities in assimilating the mystery of Christ, although the basic assimilation remains the same for all Christians of all times. In the opinion of Rahner this is one of the chief roles the canonized saints exert in the life of the Church.17

 


NOTES:

16. Second Vatican Council, Constitution on the Church, No. 48.
17. Cf. Karl Rahner, Op. cit., pp. 100-101.

  

                        CHRIST IS OUR HEAD

                    There is a union among the members of
                the Church on earth, in heaven and
                the souls in purgatory.

                We are united in love.
                We are united in this special gift
                Jesus Christ founded the Church to
                    bring all men to eternal salvation.

                From the New Baltimore Catechism #2

                The Church is enabled to lead men
                    to salvation by the indwelling
                    of the Holy Ghost, who gives life.

                The Holy Ghost began to dwell in
                    the Church on Pentecost
                    Sunday, when He came down
                    upon the Apostles in the
                    form of tongues of fire.

                The Holy Ghost will dwell in the
                    Church until the end of time.

                God the Father and God the Son sent
                    the Holy Ghost to dwell in
                    the Church.

                The indwelling of the Holy Ghost enables the
                    Church to teach, to sanctify and to
                    rule the faithful in the name of Christ.

  

     

 

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