This lesson is based on the text, Life in Christ: A Catholic Catechism for Adults, by Rev. Gerard Weber and Rev. James Killgallon (Acta Publications, 1995). The question in bold type is followed by a short answer taken from the text. The text in italics is another answer from the RCIA teacher, Jim Collins. Hyperlinks in red will direct you to documents or websites related to the topic. The entire sequence of lessons forms a comprehensive approach to basic RCIA instruction.
Preparation: Opening Prayer
Reflection: Have you ever felt "down in the dumps?" Have things looked bleak at certain times in your life? Have you ever felt lower than a snake in a wagon rut and wish someone could lift you up? We have all felt despair and hopelessness at times in our life. We may wonder where our next meal may come from, how we will pay that mountain of bills, look for a cure for our illness or infirmity, or just feel alone and have no one to turn to. "On Eagles' Wings," capsulizes for Christians the providence and protection we receive from God. The refrain states:
And he will raise you up on eagles' wings,
Bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun,
And hold you in the palm of his hand.
The predominant themes in this refrain are found in Isaiah's prophecy. In Isaiah 40:31 we read:
...but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
In Isaiah 49:16 Isaiah writes:
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
Even in the midst of announcing judgment upon the nation of Judah, our God promised his people that He would protect them and be with them. They would have the strength of Godís uplifting spirit, a strength equated with eagles' wings. Our God also assured his people of individual protection, just as someone would protect a frail bird or small pet in the palm of one's hand. This verse immediately follows God's rhetorical question:
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!
Although the phrase "bear you on the breath of dawn" is not found in Scripture, its meaning is found in the latter part of Isaiah 40:31:
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
See also Psalm 91
Questions: Purgatory: See ďWhy Do Catholics Believe in PurgatoryĒ; Hell: See: ďWhy Do Catholics Believe that a Loving God Sends People to Hell.Ē Heaven: See: "Why Do Catholics Believe Strange Things About Heaven?"
Section 40: Life Everlasting
Will the work of the Church ever end? The Churchís mission of proclamation and sanctification will end when the world ends; its work of praising and glorifying God will never end.
What will the happiness of heaven be like?
a) Happy in a far greater way: no sorrow, no pain, no hardship, no want
b) Perfect rest: the rest which the heart finds in the contentment of perfect love.
c) Final and complete union: We shall see God as he is, face to face, and we shall be overwhelmed by his beauty and goodness.
d) Complete ease and familiarity with God: Prayer will be easy; our conversation with God, more delightful than ever before on earth.
e) Companionship with all members: With all the angels and saints of heaven: no farewells, no separation, no end of love, peace, and joy.
f) A faint reflection of God no longer: We will behold the reality of God, the source of all happiness and love.
Will the world ever end? Yes. See Revelation 21:1 re a new heaven and a new earth; the details are a mystery.
When will the world end? No one knows the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36).
How did the early Christians interpret these prophecies? Many Christians expected the end of the world and the return of Jesus in their own lifetimes.
What will be the great event at the end of the world? The return of Christ to this world (Matthew 25:31-46).
Will the judgment which Christ makes at the end of the world be a real judgment? Nothing decided at the particular judgment will be changed at the final judgment.
by Rev. William G. Most
Jesus will come at the end of time to judge all human beings. This is called the parousia, His second coming. It was foretold by the angels as He ascended: "This Jesus who is taken up from you to heaven, will come in the way in which you saw Him going into heaven" (Acts 1:11).
However, those who die before the parousia will be judged immediately at their deaths. This is known as the particular judgment. The Epistle to the Hebrews says (9:27): " It is appointed to men to die once, and after that comes the judgment". Then, "Each one will receive his pay, according to his works" (1 Cor 3:8).
There are three possible outcomes to the particular judgment. Those whose love for God has been perfected in this life are taken straight to heaven, where they enjoy endless happiness in the face to face vision of God. Those who die in God's love but still love Him imperfectly must be purifed in the intermediate state of purgatory. Those, however, who reject God's love by mortal sin and die without repenting are condemned to the everlasting torments of hell. The general judgment at the end of time simply solemnly confirms the particular judgments of each one, with the difference that then the body as well as the soul will receive what is due it. And all God's judgments will be revealed as most just.
8. What do we mean by the resurrection of the dead? Our bodies will be beautiful, as Christís was at the Transfiguration, and will possess all the qualities of Christís body after the Resurrection. (1 Cor 15:53).
9. How should we prepare for the second coming of Christ? Love God and neighbor as best you can.
Prayer: Act of Hope: O my God, relying on your almighty power and infinite mercy and promises, I hope to obtain pardon for my sins, the help of your grace, and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer.
Interactive activity: St. Peter DVD