Choose a topic from Vol 2:


Proof of God's existence
God's nature
Supreme control over all things and the problem of suffering and evil


Destiny of man
Immortality of man's soul
Pre-existence denied
The human free will
Determinism absurd


Necessity of religion
Salvation of the soul
Voice of science
Religious racketeers
Divine revelation
Revealed mysteries
Existence of miracles

The Religion of the Bible

Gospels historical
Missing Books of the Bible
The Bible inspired
Biblical account of creation
New Testament problems
Supposed contradictions in Sacred Scripture

The Christian Faith

Source of Christian teaching
Jewish rejection of Christ
Christianity a new religion
Rational foundation for belief
Causes of unbelief

A Definite Christian Faith

Divisions amongst Christians
Schisms unjustified
Facing the problem
The wrong approach
Is one religion as good as another?
Obligation of inquiry
Charity and tolerance

The Protestant Reformation

Meaning of "Protestant"
Causes of the Reformation
Catholic reaction
Reformers mistaken
The idealization of Protestantism
The Catholic estimate

The Truth of Catholicism

Meaning of the word "Church"
Origin of the Church
The Catholic claim
The Roman hierarchy
The Pope
The Petrine text
St. Peter's supremacy
St. Peter in Rome
Temporal power
Unity of the Church
Holiness of the Church
Catholicity of the Church
Apostolicity of the Church
Indefectibility of the Church
Obligation to be a Catholic

The Church and the Bible

Catholic attitude towards the Bible
Is Bible reading forbidden to Catholics?
Protestant Bibles
The Catholic Douay Version
Principle of private interpretation
Need of Tradition
The teaching authority of the Catholic Church

The Dogmas of the Church

Revolt against dogma
Value of a Creed
The divine gift of Faith
Faith and reason
The "Dark Ages"
The claims of science
The Holy Trinity
Creation and evolution
Grace and salvation
The Sacraments
Holy Eucharist
The Sacrifice of the Mass
Holy Communion
The Catholic Priesthood
Marriage and divorce
Extreme Unction
The resurrection of the body
The end of the world

The Church and Her Moral Teachings

The Inquisition
Other superstitions
Attendance at Mass
Sex education
Attitude to "Free Love"

The Church in Her Worship

Magnificent edifices
Lavish ritual
Women in Church
Catholics and "Mother's Day"
Liturgical Days
Burial rites
Candles and votive lamps
The rosary
Lourdes water
The Scapular

The Church and Social Welfare

Social influence of the Church
The education question
The Church and world distress
Catholic attitude towards Capitalism
The remedy for social ills
Communism condemned
The Fascist State
Morality of war
May individuals become soldiers?
The Church and peace
Capital punishment
Catholic Action

Comparative Study of Non-Catholic Denominations

Defections from the Catholic Church
Coptic Church
Greek Orthodox Church
Anglican Episcopal Church
The "Free" or "Nonconformist" Churches
Church of Christ
Seventh Day Adventists
Plymouth Brethren
Catholic Apostolic Church or Irvingites
Salvation Army
Christian Science
British Israelism
Liberal Catholics
Witnesses of Jehovah
Buchmanism or the "Oxford Group Movement"
From Protestantism to Catholicism

To and From Rome

Conversion of Cardinal Newman
Why Gladstone refrained
The peculiar case of Lord Halifax
Gibbon the historian
Secession of Father Chiniquy
Father Tyrrell, the modernist
Bishop Garrett's departure
Judgment on lapsed Catholics
Protestant apathy towards conversion of Catholics
Principles for converts to Catholicism
God's will that all should become Catholics


867. You speak of life as a preparation for heaven.But what is this heaven, and how do you know it exists?

The Catholic teaching is that heaven is an eternal state ofperfect happiness rendered possible by the very Vision of GodHimself, and that this happiness will be granted to such of mankindas attain the salvation of their souls. The justification of thisteaching lies in the fact that God Himself has promised such adestiny, a promise reiterated and confirmed by Christ during Hislife in the midst of men.

868. We have no destiny beyond this world, andChrist never promised any other. He ascended to the heavens anddisappeared.

I am afraid you do not quite understand what we mean by heaven.If you have the idea that we intend the visible heavens, I beg youto put the idea aside at once. For we do not mean that. Heaven isan eternal state of happiness resulting from the very Vision of Godjust as He really is in Himself with all His infinite perfection.And Christ definitely promised heaven in this sense. Read throughthe beatitudes in the fifth chapter of St. Matthew. There our Lordtells us of the poor in spirit, and of those persecuted for justicesake, that theirs is the kingdom of heaven. He says that theirreward will be very great in heaven. And also, "Blessed arethe clean of heart, for they shall see God." Matt. V., 8. Healso said distinctly, "I shall go and prepare a place for you;that where I am you also may be." Jn. XIV., 3. He declaredthat those who love and serve God will be invited to come andpossess the kingdom prepared for them, and He describes the newstate as everlasting life. In John XVI., 20-24, the words of Christare recorded wherein He says, "Amen, amen, I say to you, thatyou shall lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice; and youshall be made sorrowful; but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice; and your joy noman shall take from you. Ask, and you shall receive, that your joymay be full." St. Paul tells us that we shall know God even aswe are known by God, for we shall see Him face to face, and notmerely obscurely as now by reasoning from the beauties of creationas one might gain knowledge of an author by reading his books.

869. Is heaven a place where there are land, rivers,mountains, and the utilities of life, such as there are in thisworld?

No. St. Paul tells us that eye has not seen, nor ear heard, norhas it entered into the heart of man, what things God has preparedfor those who love Him. Therefore, so surely as you have seen, orheard, or touched things in this visible universe which are theobjects of your senses, those things will not be constitutiveelements of heaven. What heaven will be like I cannot, therefore,describe in human language, for our concepts are all derived fromthe visible universe, and cannot convey adequate views of the nextlife. But at least I can say that there is a heaven, and that itwill mean everlasting happiness. God must intend life to lead tohappiness rather than to misery, and He, therefore, intends virtue,as leading to that happiness. The purpose of a Christian life, saidChrist Himself, is "that My joy may be in you, and that yourjoy may be full." Jn. XVI., 24. The chief happiness of heavenwill be eternal union with God, and the immediate Vision of God. Assurely as the eye can now see some transcendently beautiful naturalscene, so will the mind be immediately conscious of God'sinfinite perfection and beauty in Himself.

870. Don't you think it absurd to say that Godwill be our reward, exceedingly great? At best a purely spiritualGod could be apprehended only by the mind, and our complex humannature demands more than that.

Despite our complexity, all our happiness even in this world isby means of knowledge secured in various ways. We may know byintellectual understanding, or by sight, or hearing, or touch. Knowledge is the source ofhappiness insofar as we experience joyous reactions when we areconscious of truth or beauty or pleasure, whether by our senses orby our intelligence. The desire to possess things is merely toinsure the continuance of this consciousness. In heaven, God willbe all to us, since He contains all. We will find still better inHim all that we may rightly look for in created nature, or in self.And in the measure in which we possess God, we shall possess allelse.

871. What is the substance of heaven?

It will be an everlasting experience rendering the completehuman being happy, not merely with human happiness, but with divinehappiness. Just as the eye now sees the things of this world, sothe mind will see God's own personal perfections. Instead ofbeing merely self-conscious, the soul will become God-conscious;and in God we shall find in an ever so much better way all that weever found to be good in created things or in self. And, of course,ever so much more besides. Heaven, then, is not a place to bedescribed in terms of longitude and latitude, nor by ideas ofscenery drawn from this earth. It is a spiritual state of perpetualexistence which escapes limitations of time and space concepts. Forfurther knowledge of the conditions that prevail in heaven I canonly advise you to live in such a way as to go there. Then you willknow all.

872. Doesn't the idea of contemplating God yearafter year, and century after century, suggest frightfulmonotony?

That idea does. But it is a wrong idea. Eternity is not time,and is not to be described in terms of time. When you speak ofcentury after century, you are thinking of a succession of years.But eternity is not a question of a long time. It is outside timealtogether. This is a great mystery, I know. But I can't helpthat. We who measure all things by time cannot understand a stateof existence without time. But reason itself tells us thatGod's own existence must be independent of the flux of time.One can get a faint idea of happiness without time from occasionalexperiences in this life. An artist entranced by a scene ofravishing beauty can be utterly forgetful of time. His mind hasgone off into realms not conditioned by time, and he finds it hardto believe that he has been so long inactive, when he comes tohimself, and, as we say, back to earth. Of course, that is but ananalogy, and has merely the force of an analogy, no more. But ithelps to throw some light on the problem.

873. The eternally fixed state of heaven would beunbearable to mankind.

Heaven is eternally fixed insofar as it is a permanent asopposed to a temporary happiness. But to imagine that, because itis permanent, it must consist of a never-ending monotonouspassivity is ludicrous. It is a fallacy to judge of heavenlyoccupations and joys in the light of earthly pleasure in finite andcreated things which are too trivial for the human soul and mustbegin to pall sooner or later. That is why people seek change, andthink that there can be no real happiness without constant change,even, nowadays to the changing of wives in many cases. Thisattitude is due to loss of faith in the spiritual and supernatural,with a consequent adoption of a merely materialistic outlook. Yetwhilst they have come to think only in terms of materialism, menare quite confident that they understand the Christian heavendespite the fact that it cannot be interpreted in terms ofmaterialism.

874. Shall we have a new kind of knowledgealtogether in heaven, different from ordinary human methods ofknowing things?

Certainly there will be a new way of knowing things in heaven.Here we know created things by personal experience, and we find Godreflected in them. In heaven we shall know God as the first object of our experience, and weshall know all created beings by their reflection in Him. Here,too, we form representative ideas of things, and know thingsinsofar as these representative ideas of them are within our minds.But in heaven we shall not have an idea of God. We will not have toform a representation of Him, thinking God by ideas of God. Weshall think God by God; for being in the spiritual order, God willimmediately unite Himself with our intelligence, flooding our soulswith supreme and eternal happiness.

875. Men must have some form of employment todevelop further their personality and gain richer experience.

Evolutionary philosophy wrongly dreams of eternal developing.When a photographer goes into his darkroom to develop his picturehis purpose is to attain definite results, not to stay thereforever developing. Development and progress are not ends inthemselves, but are ordained to perfect fulfillment of allcapabilities. It is absurd to want to develop yet to be afraid ofdeveloping into anything definite. One might just as well set outon a journey with only one dread, the dread lest one should arriveat one's destination. In heaven our personality arrives at itsfullest perfection. But that perfection, instead of excludingactivity and experience, demands these things, and offers a greatercapability of them than is possible in any earlier stages ofdevelopment. There the object of our experience will be, not anyfinite created thing, but the infinite and inexhaustible truth,goodness, and beauty of God Himself. He will be more than enough toabsorb us, and the experience will be so rich, profound, andsignificant that no richer will be possible. If men say that theyfind this concept beyond them, I can only remind them that, intheir present imperfect stage they are not capable of comprehendingfully those conditions which require perfect development for theirfull appreciation. Owls can't see in daylight, not becausethere is no daylight, but because their visual powers are notadapted to daylight.

876. If heaven is eternal, it can never cease or belost. Yet the angels in heaven sinned and lost it.

We say that heaven, once attained, can never be lost. Yet wealso say that some angels rebelled in heaven, and lost their rightto happiness. But a right idea of Christian teaching on thissubject shows that there is no trace of contradiction. Heaven isnot used in the same sense in the two expressions. God created menupon earth, and angels in heaven. Heaven is used there merely todesignate a spiritual state of a higher nature than that we know onearth. God gave us men a half-material, half-spiritual nature. Hegave the angels a purely spiritual nature. Both men and angels werecapable of operations proportionate to the nature they possessed.And those operations were natural. Now it is not natural to anycreated being to see God immediately and intimately, as God seesHimself. An angel by its natural powers could no more comprehendthe vastly superior being of God, than a horse could comprehend thepsychology of man. Any immediate knowledge of God must be above acreated nature, and, therefore, supernatural. The angels,therefore, though in heaven in the sense that they were not ofearth, did not have the immediate Vision of God. They were not, byvirtue of their mere creation, in that full and permanent happinesswhich the Vision of God alone can give. And they had to earn thatfull happiness by conforming to God's will in all things. Somedid not, and in that sense they rebelled and forfeited theadditional supernatural and essentially permanent happiness givento the good angels. When we speak of our attaining heaven, we meanthe attaining of the supernatural and immediate Vision of God as Heis in Himself. The moment one sees God, sin becomes impossible. Yetsin alone could interfere with one's happiness. Sin is due toour being attracted by wrong things. We deliberately exclude ourconsideration of the good we should do; refuse to weigh the evilaspect of our proposed conduct; and concentrate upon someprospective apparent advantage. But the moment we see God as He isin Himself, it will be impossible not to advert to His infinitegoodness, and sin will become impossible.



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