July 27, 2014
Below is the final installment of my summer series from Our Sunday Visitor’s “Top Ten Questions Catholics Are Asked.” (Click here to read Part I, Part II, Part III, or Part IV). For further reading, consider Our Sunday Visitor’s recommended reading list:
- The New Catholic Answer Bible. Our Sunday Visitor, 2005.
- Madrid, Patrick. A Pocket Guide to Catholic Apologetics. Our Sunday Visitor, 2006.
- Madrid, Patrick. Where Is That in the Bible? Our Sunday Visitor, 2001.
- Salza, John. The Biblical Basis for the Papacy. Our Sunday Visitor, 2007.
- Salza, John. The Biblical Basis for the Eucharist. Our Sunday Visitor, 2008.
- Welborn, Amy. Prove It! Church. Our Sunday Visitor, 2001.
- Welborn, Amy. Prove It! God. Our Sunday Visitor, 2000.
A BIG THANK YOU to Our Sunday Visitor for their ongoing work to teach our Catholic faith.
Summer blessings, Fr. Brian
We Catholics are often asked tough questions about our Catholic faith and its relationship to the Bible. Here are the ten most-asked questions, and the answers that should help you satisfy both your questioner and yourself.
2. If you died tonight would you go to heaven?
Catholics have an assurance of salvation if they are faithful and keep God’s commandments (1 Jn 2:3). If they die in that state, they are assured of heaven. But to enter heaven, one must be perfectly holy, because “nothing unclean shall enter it” (Rev 21:27 — see also Is 4:4; Mal 3:2-4). The cleansing and purifying of the effects of sin is what Catholics call purgatory. This is clearly indicated in St. Paul’s writings: “Each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it. Because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done….If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (1 Cor 3:13, 15, emphasis added). “For we must all appear before the judgment of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body” (2 Cor 5:10, emphasis added).
1. Are you saved?
Catholics can be as sure as anyone else that they are in God’s good graces. The apostle John states that “you may know that you have eternal life” (1 Jn 5:13 — see also Jn 5:24). But this “assurance” has to be understood in light of John’s other teachings in the same book: “For this is the love of God that we keep his commandments” (1 Jn 5:3, emphasis added — see also 1 Jn 2:3-6) “We know that any one born of God does not sin” (1 Jn 5:18, emphasis added). “He who loves God should love his brother also” (1 Jn 4:21, emphasis added). “He who commits sin is of the devil” (1 Jn 3:8, emphasis added — see also 1 Cor 6:9). Likewise, St. Paul does not regard salvation as a one-time event, but as a goal to be sought after, one that can be lost: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12 — see also 1 Cor 9:27, 10:12; Gal 5:1, 4; Phil 3:11-14; 1 Tim 4:1, 5:15).