I recall as a youngster at the local Catholic school being introduced to the Catholic Catechism. According to my teachers, this was a book that had the answers to all of life’s questions. (If only).
To ensure we were well grounded in what this book had to say we had to learn the contents by heart. After 80 years I still remember some of these answers today.
One of the questions that has always intrigued me was, “Why did God make me?” and the answer was, “God created me to know, love and serve Him here on earth and to be happy with Him forever in heaven.”
In thinking about that answer, I often ask myself, if that was why we were created by God. then what is God doing about bringing this plan to fruition? Does that mean we can just float through life enjoying ourselves and know that we will all end up in heaven anyway? I don’t think so!
Maybe there just happens to be a few stipulations to which we need to follow in order to prove our worthiness, before being allowed through the heavenly gates. Jesus spent the last 3 years of His life giving us the ‘Good News’ and showing us ‘the way to the Father’. Prior to His arrival the prophets of old had also been given insights into how we needed to live our life in the way God intended. The Ten Commandments put it in writing, but still Jesus had to come to explain what was required in clear terms that could be understood down through the ages.
So, if we have been given the gift of Ffaith and we believe in Jesus, we at least know what is required of us as a Christian. My concern is for all those who don’t believe in God and treat life as a personal journey that ends at our death.
While Jesus told us we had to take His message to all nations, there are many who don’t want to hear it or accept it. So, what is God doing about getting them ‘to be happy with Him in heaven?’
There are many non-believers who lead good and loving lives and must surely be recompensed for their efforts when they meet their maker. Sadly, there are also many who have the gift of faith and misuse their lives to seek personal greed, power and fulfillment.
I don’t believe we are just created, placed on this earth through the miracle of our birth and then left to our own devices to live out our life in whatever way we want. This goes against my understanding of the basic reason for our creation.
How then, one might ask, will so many of God’s creation get to be with God as intended after they die? It is my belief our God uses others of His creation to support and help those whose lives are leading them away from Him.
As part of the New Covenant Jesus instituted at the Last Supper, He said He would be with us for all eternity. This means that if we believe in Jesus, we believe His Spirit dwells with us. For those who don’t believe, surely, they will not be abandoned, but how will they get the chance to recognise that God exists and loves them despite their non-belief?
Angels get many mentions in Scripture as being spiritual entities created to adore and worship their creator. While there doesn’t seem to be any proof that we each have a guardian angel, many believe in the theory that God has given each of us an angel to protect and guide us.
So often many have said they sense the presence of past family members in their lives when they perform specific actions. I don’t believe these sensory feelings should be discounted. I have a suspicion that friends and family members who have cared for us during their lives here on earth are called by God to assist in the saving of souls before the return of Jesus Christ at the end of our world as we know it.
I base my theory on a recent experience where my constant prayer and fasting over a period of over 18 months for my sick friend seemed to be of no avail as his condition gradually worsened. Recently he was called from this earth by the God to whom I had been earnestly seeking my friend’s healing daily over this lengthy period.
To be honest, I was devastated, for I have read the scripture verses about praying with faith for the sick and they will be healed. In my frustration, I turned to a friend who is a hospital Chaplin. Her immediate reaction was to chastise me. “Who are you” she said, “to be telling God to obey your wishes.”
This set me thinking how my prayer was very specific indeed. While I should have realised God would be well aware of my wishes, I needed to be prepared to understand that God has the final say and determines how best my prayer will be used. According to James 5:15, healing can mean more than physical healing, it can be pardoning grace which heals the soul.
In being upset and frustrated, I was only thinking of myself and the fact that my own wishes weren’t met. This lesson I will carry into my future prayers for friends and family. With all my prayers for the healing of my friend seemingly not having the effect I sought, I wondered how God had used these prayers and for what purpose He had called my friend from this life.
I wondered if maybe there was someone alive in this world whose life experiences might be similar to those of my friend and who needed help from someone who understands them to survive. If the soul of my friend had passed into the spirit world, he may have been given the task of helping this person find God. My friend would have Guardian Angel status.
I know this might be a wild theory to some, but I like to think that in the intervening period between when we die and when Jesus comes again, we might still provide some useful purpose in helping others fulfill the Catechism response concerning why we are here.
To support my theory, I would like to recommend that each household have an Honour Board on the wall. The type of Honour Board you see in some towns and in cemeteries containing lists of soldiers from that area who gave their lives during the wars and confrontations in the past. Its purpose is to remind those still living to maintain the memory of those who have died.
My Honour Board would contain the names of close family members and friends who have died and who, during their lives, influenced our family members in some positive way. It would be a way of not forgetting those who we choose to list on the Board, and through story-telling, would assist us in ensuring the younger family members maintain an understanding of the rich heritage that has fashioned their individual families down through the years.
In remembering those on our Honour Boards we could also consider the possibility that they each may well have been given a heavenly task of supporting others. Their role might well be strengthened by prayer support from those loved ones they left behind.
Of course, if my theory is just a fantasy, any prayer we offer up will not go unanswered and will be used in whatever way our God best determines.
I’m Peter Mack and that’s how I feel.