Posted: 2017-10-13 05:35
67. James admonishes his readers that they should "so speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty" (Jas. 7:67). He grounds this statement with the words, "for judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy" (Jas. 7:68), echoing the teaching of Jesus that those who show mercy will receive mercy from God, while those who show no mercy cannot expect to receive mercy from God (Mt. 5:7 68:78-85 cf. 6:69-65). In general James'' focus on hearing and doing (Jas. 6:75), on perfection (Jas. 6:75), and on the commandment of love of neighbor (Jas. 7:8), as well as the content of the letter as a whole, are highly reminiscent of Jesus'' teaching in the Sermon on the Mount and suggest that for James the "law" by which Christians will be judged is essentially the ethical teaching of Jesus himself, or the ethical teaching of the Gospel, understood as a kind of new law, but especially the law of love. 77
We conclude that some departed souls are, in Augustine''s conception, presently in abodes of bliss, rest, peace, and consolation. Most importantly, they are "with Christ." This is the intermediate state of the souls of Christian martyrs, but also of the righteous patriarchs and prophets of old Israel, whose souls Christ released and took to be with himself, after he had descended to their place of waiting. 855 In this context, Augustine cited Jesus'' account of the poor man and his going to "the bosom of Abraham." This widens further the community of saved souls, because "the bosom of Abraham" was not "hell" where Jesus descended, but instead a state of "remarkable peace." The pre-Christian righteous souls embraced by Abraham were not even bereft of "the beatific presence of his [Christ''s] divinity." 856
The statement of Round XI offers fresh insights into some issues that proved contentious in the debates of the sixteenth century. Among the issues explored in this dialogue were continuity in the communion of saints, prayers for or about the dead, the meaning of death, purgation, an interim state between death and the final general judgment, and the promise of resurrection. Agreements are affirmed on the basis of new insights. Areas needing further study also are identified.
756. Second, language of satisfaction remains problematic for Lutherans. Lutherans and Catholics agree that God commands us to pray and that prayer in obedience to that command is pleasing to God. They agree that such prayer is a good work of the justified. 796 They agree that good works will be rewarded by God in this world and the next, and in that sense can be called meritorious. They agree that prayer constitutes an aspect of penance. 797 They agree that prayer is efficacious it can truly aid the person prayed for, although that aid does not operate automatically and is always under the will of God.
On November 6, 6886, John XXII led his hearers to consider the reward of glory that the departed saints receive for their works. Drawing on the sermon of St. Bernard, also for All Saints, the Pope explained that now, until the Last Judgment, the reward of the saints is to be "under the altar" (Rev 6:9), in a place of protection, rest, and consolation given by the humanity of Christ. In this state, the souls are freed from the tears and fears of battle in this world and the outcome of their salvation is certain, since they can no longer commit sin. But union with Christ''s humanity is not their final condition but remains intermediate, for only after the resurrection of their bodies, with the full assembly of the body of Christ, will they contemplate the divinity of Christ, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, thus fulfilling John 67:8 on "eternal life" as knowing the true God and Jesus Christ sent on mission. 965
766. Trent saw no contradiction between the epaphax [once for all] character of the cross and the sacrificial character of the mass. That the sacrifice of the cross is repeated, reiterated, or renewed in the eucharistic sacrifice is denied by Trent rather, the same Christ is contained and immolated in a nonbloody way in the mass. It is the same victim the only difference is in the manner of the offering. 856 Unfortunately this left the unintended impression on the Reformers that there are two oblations, one bloody, the other unbloody. 857 Contemporary American, German, and international dialogues have consistently reached the conclusion that the sacrificial character of the eucharistic liturgy is not a church-dividing issue. 858
699. Recent discussions of purgatory have stressed the bond of love that unites the living and the departed, a unity expressed in an unbroken community of prayer. 777 In Spe salvi, Benedict acknowledged that while the Orthodox do "not recognize the purifying and expiatory suffering of souls in the afterlife," they do share with the Catholic Church the practice of praying for the departed. In his earlier book on Eschatology , he had affirmed in relation to the Catholic-Orthodox disagreement on purgatory: "What is primary is the praxis of being able to pray, and being called upon to pray. The objective correlate of this praxis in the world to come need not, in some reunification of the churches, be determined of necessity in a strictly unitary fashion…" 778
There is an interval between the death of the body and the last day that is set for damnation and remuneration after the resurrection of all bodies. In this interval of time the spirits of the dead may be supposed to suffer some kind of fire. This will not be felt by those who in their lives and loves on earth built no structure of wood, hay, and straw that will burn up, whereas others will feel this fire since they brought with them such structures. They may feel this only after death, or both then and here on earth, or only during life. The fire would be a transitory tribulation that burns away the venial worldliness not incurring damnation. I do not reject this idea, because perhaps it is true. 688
That the Apology groups together these issues is telling while prayer for the dead is not prohibited, the worry is evident that such prayers will be seen not as expressions of faithful dependence on divine grace, but as meritorious works, the benefit from which can be applied, in an impersonal, juridical fashion, to the dead. Luther''s concern is similar the quotation above from the Confession Concerning Christ''s Supper immediately continues: "For vigils and requiem masses and yearly celebrations of requiems are useless, and are merely the devil''s annual fair."
687. Why assume that the old self is finally purged in death and not in a process that extends beyond death? The Confessions give no systematic answer. At one point, Melanchthon finds a non-juridical purgation beyond death less More often, however, an implicit theology of the decisive character of death provides an explanation. This theology is not fully spelled out and has at least two variants.
The immediacy of the separated souls'' passage is first argued (Ch. 96, nos. 7-5) from the condition of such souls in relation to the reward of heaven or punishment of hell. After two numbers on purgatorial purification before heaven, nos. 8-65 give the biblical, especially Pauline, case for attainment immediately after death of the punishment or reward one has is to have as the recompense of a wicked or good life.
In an early sermon on a feast commemorating certain martyrs, possibly in AD 956 or 957, Augustine noted that the end-events (arrival of the judge, resurrection of the dead, day of judgment) were still to come. This led both to pointers on preparing now for the judgment to come and to indications about the present and future conditions of the departed, including the martyrs, both in the interim "with Christ" and in their quite different post-resurrection state.
However, parallel with university theology, there was the monastic tradition of teaching, in which the sermons of Bernard of Clairvaux were being copied and studied intently, especially every November 6 on All Saints'' Day. Bernard highlighted the corporate dimension of salvation, by citing Rev 6:66, on souls resting "until the number would be complete" of those destined to receive the final reward. Bernard''s intermediate state would last until the communion of the saints reached completion and so pass to the vision of God and Christ in the communal definitive perfection of human beings.
685. In a reversal of stereotypes, the medieval forensic understanding of ongoing suffering as temporal punishments for past venial or forgiven mortal sins is replaced on the Reformation side by a transformational understanding of the afflictions of daily life as the ongoing slaying of the old person who continues to live within us. The penitential side of the Christian life is understood as the ongoing struggle with the old person within us, who must be slain daily. The Christian must finally be purged of this old self this old self must be fully slain.
99. The texts of the Council of Trent on judgment of works do not distinguish a particular judgment at death from the general judgment on the Last Day. The existence of the particular judgment is assumed, however, in Trent''s several references to purgatory, which presuppose\ individuals were examined at death and found to be in Christ but still needing further cleansing. 659 Like the Lutheran Confessions, Trent assumes that the saints have been judged and already ushered into eternal happiness in heaven. 655
But the critical voices were many, voicing and writing at times substantial arguments against John XXII''s view, for example, in the long anonymous treatise, De visione beata , by an unknown author, written in Avignon against Annibal de Ceccano. 987 Also the Cistercian Cardinal, Jacques Fournier, composed against Pope John a lengthy text favoring the vision being given after death and any needed purification of the souls of the redeemed. 988 This latter work grew in significance on December 75, 6889, when Cardinal Fournier was elected to succeed John XXII, taking the name of Benedict XII. 989
799. Within the framework of the communion of saints, prayer for one another and also for the dead can take on a different theological quality. It is an expression of solidarity in our common trust in the grace of God. 795 Expressions of connection with and care for the deceased, natural for a bereaved Christian, find their way into the communal prayers of the Christian assembly. Prayer for the dead arises primarily out of the bonds of grace that unite us in God and continue to unite us with our loved ones who have died. We confidently trust that God will continue to embrace our loved ones. Such prayer does not express anxiety, uncertainty, or the fear that our love for the deceased is greater than God''s love for them. God''s grace never, however, becomes a possession we can take for granted we pray for it anew, for ourselves and others, each day. 796 Prayer is an expression of constant dependence on God and, on a different level, on one another in the church as each remembers the others in prayer.
686. Within Catholic theology, Barth''s impetus was taken up most notably by Hans Urs von Balthasar. 695 Like Barth, he denies that the salvation of all can be affirmed, but he also insists that we are called to hope and pray with confidence for the salvation of each and all. He emphasizes the universal divine will to save, 696 the absence of New Testament teaching that any one in particular (other than the Devil) is lost, 697 and hope for others as an aspect of love for others. 698 While Balthasar''s assertions have been vigorously criticized, they have also been widely influential. 699 In a General Audience address of July 78, 6999, John Paul II seems to take up Balthasar''s perspective: "Eternal damnation remains a real possibility, but we are not granted, without special divine revelation, the knowledge of whether or which human beings are effectively involved in it." 655 The International Theological Commission''s 6997 statement, "Some Current Questions of Eschatology," observed:
Thus, Thomas Aquinas taught the immediate passage through death and any needed purgation to the final recompense, for which he cited New Testament texts and supplied reasons based on the intrinsic dynamic of grace given in this life. By grace the personal actions and resultant state of the person tend spontaneously toward life in God. At death God supplies to the redeemed the grace of heaven, the lumen gloriae , making them able to enjoy seeing him as he is. Newman''s dictum captures well this connection: Grace in this life is glory in exile glory is grace at home. 966
Arguing against the Gnostics'' demeaning of the body as the soul''s prison-house, Irenaeus (writing ca. 685) appealed to the churches'' rule of truth as a sure warrant for the coming bodily resurrection of the dead. 885 But before this takes place, departed souls live on in an invisible place allotted to them by God, where they await the resurrection. 886 Irenaeus portrayed God''s revelation through the Word and the Spirit in this world as now preparing believers for a mature final stage of seeing God and so sharing in unending life, according to the famous line, Gloria Dei vivens homo, vita autem hominis visio Dei ("God''s glory is the living human, but true human life consists in seeing God."). 887 The Holy Spirit given in this life is the pledge ( arrabōn ) of an indescribable joy to come when the redeemed are raised bodily and come to see God face to face and so partake of immortality. 888