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Sometimes you just can’t help yourself

When you’re as gifted as our good Pope is, sometimes you just can’t help but make a (and often many) insightful theological point. CNA has it (my emphasis):

.- Today Pope Benedict XVI received the letters of credence of South Korea’s new ambassador to the Holy See. The Holy Father took the opportunity to praise the witness of the many Korean martyrs by saying, “Their sacrifice reminds us that no cost is too great for persevering in fidelity to the truth.”

Benedict XVI spoke to the Korean diplomat in English, telling him that, “Regrettably, in our contemporary pluralist world some people question or even deny the importance of truth. Yet objective truth remains the only sure basis for social cohesion. Truth is not dependent upon consensus but precedes it and makes it possible, generating authentic human solidarity.”

The pontiff noted that in the midst of this societal uncertainty about the truth, the bold witness of those Koreans who laid down their lives for the truth has brought “remarkable growth of the Catholic Church in Korea.”

“Their sacrifice,” he added, “reminds us that no cost is too great for persevering in fidelity to the truth.

“The Church – always mindful of the truth’s power to unite people, and ever attentive to mankind’s irrepressible desire for peaceful coexistence – eagerly strives to strengthen concord and social harmony both in ecclesial life and civic life, proclaiming the truth about the human person as known by natural reason and fully manifested through divine revelation.”

To put it bluntly, it’s time to stop living on credit. As we do so often in our “non-church” lives (the fact that so many live as if such a thing even exists is a whole other topic) we often believe we can just pull a Wimpy and constantly say we’ll pay next Tuesday. This is perhaps the single greatest danger of the teaching of Purgatory, that it allows some to form the idea that “I don’t have to be perfect, I just have to manage to get in to Purgatory then it’s all up from there”. It’s the most insidious form of a lie – one formed around a kernel of truth. Certainly you don’t have to be perfect – no one is perfect but God – but that does not provide the built-in excuse to stop trying.

The only difference between this issue and its comparison to moving from credit card to credit card is that, at the end, we don’t get to just declare bankruptcy and start over again or pass our debt on to others. What we earn here stays with us forever. Just as in investing, you have to spend a little capital to gain any. So what do you want, the nick-nack bought on credit or the treasure chest paid for over a life time? Choose now, but “choose wisely”.

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