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Four Fundamentals
of Christian Life

 

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The Demand for Spiritual Fruits | The Eucharist | The Passion | Repentance | A Holy Lifestyle

 
TRUE Christianity is far more than a collection of intellectual assertions; it demands a way of life that produces real spiritual fruits. Therefore, if you say you love Christ, and if you want to follow Him, and if you are willing to do anything it takes to live a holy life, then cling reverently to the following four fundamentals of Christian life. For the sake of your own soul, shun any teaching that neglects these fundamentals. Be wary, too, of any bishop or priest who advocates any teaching that neglects these fundamentals.

 
The Eucharist

The entire mystical basis of Christianity is Christ’s real presence in this world. He came into this world in the form of real flesh and blood, as an act of divine love, on a mission to save us from our slavery to sin. And, on the eve of the day when He would be tortured and crucified by His enemies, He instituted the Eucharist, so that His Church would never be without His real presence.

“Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life within you. . . . Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me and I in him” (John 6:53, 56).

Therefore, attend Mass every Sunday and on every holy day of obligation. Wear modest and reverent dress clothing: for both men and women, jeans, sneakers, shorts, shirts or jackets with sports or political insignia, and visible tattoos are grave defilements of reverence; and for women in particular, leggings, slacks, short skirts, bare shoulders, and low necklines are all grave defilements of reverence. Also, women should cover their heads with a scarf or chapel veil before entering the church. Be careful to arrive on time (before the priest enters the sanctuary); if you do arrive late, do not receive the Eucharist. When you enter the church, look at the tabernacle and genuflect, saying silently, “My Lord and my God.” Do not leave before the dismissal, and, when you leave, look at the tabernacle and genuflect, saying silently, “My Lord and my God.”

 
F YOU WANT to live a Christian life, then adore and receive the Blessed Sacrament with chaste purity of heart, making the Eucharist the core of your life.

 
The Passion

When Christ shed His blood for us, He fulfilled a triple purpose. First, He gave us life—that is, freedom from our bondage to sin. Christ’s death was a glorious mystery that reverberated from Heaven down to earth, for “obliterating the bond [of Original Sin] against us, with its legal claims, which was opposed to us, He also removed it from our midst, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14). Second, this redemption worked in Christ’s death was an example to us. It showed us, in a way that no event in the world has ever shown before or since, how we, in our hearts—the very hearts God has created—and through our own free will, constantly injure others and defile, mock, and execute divine love in every moment of our lives. Third, Christ died in order to be raised again, to show us that God raises into His glory only those who, without obstinacy or presumption, without cunning or intrigue, without strife or schism, empty themselves of all their social illusions in humble, obedient service to Him.

 
F YOU WANT to live a Christian life, then meditate on Christ’s Passion, thinking His thoughts, participating in His mission, and, by repeating what He suffered, being filled with Him, over and over, day after day, praying for the salvation of all (even your enemies), persevering until the end.

 
Repentance

Through the sacrament of baptism we promise to accept the the redemption brought about by Christ. In baptism, personal sins are washed away. But after baptism we can still commit sin. Sin is essentially a rejection of our redemption, and that rejection separates us from God. And so, to repair that damage and get back to God, we need to repent our sins and pay for the mystical damage they have caused. Thus, through the payment of repentance and penance, we can be purified—starting in this life and then completed in Purgatory—of all that is not holy, so that the desire for holy love will grow and overshadow every other desire.

The penance that we do in this life is the willing enduring of suffering, very similar to the penance done in Purgatory. But in this life the suffering is the graceful and uncomplaining acceptance of all tribulations we encounter while still alive, whereby we can say, “I accept this distress as reparation for all the obstruction of and damage to God’s will that was done by my past sins. My graceful endurance of this suffering signifies my love for God and is my voluntary expiation for my grievous offenses to God.”

  

Note carefully that, contrary to popular belief, the purifying, penitential suffering in Purgatory is not punishment. In its psychological sense, punishment is a technique to decrease specific behavior. After death, however, there is no need to decrease sinful behavior. There is, though, a need to purge from all souls the desire to sin which is spiritually bound to all the sins the souls have committed through the course of their lives. This purging of a desire and all the harm brought into the world through its associated sins has been falsely called “punishment,” but it is properly called purification.

  

Thus, even though God forgives our sins when we repent them while we are alive—that is, He constantly welcomes us back to Him despite our sins—the stain of our sins must be removed from us after death in Purgatory before we can endure the fire of His love in Heaven. In Heaven, any stain of impurity will burn and torment a soul, so an impure soul will fling itself out of Heaven.

Yes, the purification process necessary to remove the stain of our sins is painful suffering, just as Christ’s passion was painful suffering. But the purification process of Purgatory is not arbitrary; the suffering is as painful as it needs to be, and it takes as long as it needs to take, according to the disposition of any particular soul. The “price” of a soul’s purification is penance for all the accumulated spiritual damage caused by the sins that were committed by that soul, and that penance is not something that can be evaded or simply dismissed. You can, however, decrease the extent of your suffering after death if, before death, you follow a spiritual life of holy penance that helps to make reparation for your sins and purge from your heart the desire to sin. Then, depending on the price you pay in this life, after death the remainder of the purging work will be done in Purgatory until your soul becomes pure in its love for God.

But you can’t do any of this if you tell yourself that the sins you are committing are not really sins! You can’t repent your sins if you condone sin.

 
F YOU WANT to live a Christian life, then recognize sin for what it is. Only the Catholic Church preserves the teaching that tells us what sin really is, so fidelity to the tradition of Church teaching about sin, unless it is absolute, is no faith at all.

 
Holy Lifestyle

Every sin you commit after your baptism will be accounted for, and you will pay for them all, either in Purgatory or in hell, depending on whether you repent or not.

 
F YOU WANT to live a Christian life, first repent and confess all of your past sins and then do anything it takes thereafter to avoid sin and remain pure of heart through surrender to the will of God. Well, the only way to do this is to dedicate yourself to deep study of the faith; to living in chastity, humility, and modesty; to praying constantly; and to self-sacrificial service to others, in imitation of Christ Himself through loving consecration to His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

 

 

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