Friday, July 27, 2007

"Today You Shall Be With Me In Paradise"

1. God's being is the act of His intellect and His act of understanding, which is His substance, is the measure and cause of all other beings and intellects. Wherefore it is clear that God is the sovereign and first truth, pure truth itself. That is why Jesus says "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" [Jn 14:6]. As such God cannot tell a lie. Jesus is God and so He never lies. Thus we are obligated to believe without reservation all His words in Sacred Scripture, of which He as God Almighty is the author.

2. Jesus was crucified next to two thieves, one of whom was repentant and is now in Heaven. Jesus said to the repentant thief, "Today you shall be with me in paradise" [Lk 23:43]. The thief descended locally into hell (limbus patrum = limbo of the holy fathers) with Christ yet as to reward was in paradise since, like all other saints, he enjoyed our Lord's Godhead.

3. Christ did not locally stay in Purgatory (Purgatorio) because Purgatory is evidently not the same abode of the dead as limbus patrum. For the holy fathers did not die in a state of venial or mortal sin, but original sin only. The thief's contrition cleansed him of venial and mortal sin. Christ delivered the holy fathers from limbo. But He evidently did not deliver them from Purgatory because they had no venial sin and so had no business there; moreover, people still go to Purgatory to become completely sanctified by fire, a punishment more painful than anything on earth and yet not as severe as in the hell of the damned, and Christ's Passion has the same efficacy forever.

4. Christ did not deliver the lost/damned from Hell{1} (Infernus) because they either had no faith in Christ's Passion because they were infidels or if they had faith they did not conform to the charity of Christ's suffering, which was more painful than the pains of Hell, and hence could not be cleansed from their sins by the power of His Passion.

Notes and References
{1} St. Job says of the Hell of the lost [Job 10:21], "Before I go, and return no more, to a land that is dark and covered with the mist of death." Christ did not descend locally into the Hell of the lost because He is the light and St. Paul says [2 Cor 6:14-15], "Do not be mismated with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?"

Source: ST 3.52.2,4-6,8

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