Monday, August 6, 2007

Some thoughts on Fr. Corapi this week

Father Corapi had some really good stuff to say in his most recent spiritual talk which was the first part of the 8 part series of his famous "Immortal Combat." I think some of the points he makes are worth discussing:

"At the end you and I will be one of two things: winner or loser. Heaven or Hell. Period. It’s that simple. That is in your face truth."

This line is one he uses a lot, but with good reason. Too many people don't realize just exactly how long eternity is. The time we spend on this earth is a snap of a finger in comparison to eternity. We better use the short amount of time we have wisely if we plan on ending up a winner.

Fr. C. also talked about the crisis we face because so many people don't believe in Hell. They don't believe that a good, merciful God would send people to Hell.

He is right. I used to be one of those people when I first started thinking theological thoughts. I tried to formulate my theories of how God works around the necessity of all people getting to Heaven. As I've noted, I came up with plenty of erroneous theories. We also need to stop being of the view that God 'sends' people to Hell. We send ourselves. He's given us all we need to avoid it, so we better not be blaming it on Him if we end up there. Hell is, according to me, an absence of God, which is probably worse than merely the pit of burning fire so many envision.

What does Father Corapi say about those who reject the fact that Hell exists?: "You are entitled to your opinion, but your opinion is erroneous."

Father Corapi also notes that this 'immortal combat' that we are engaged in is the war to end all wars. World War I was called the war to end all wars, but that was nothing compared to what we are engaged in. He also notes that today there is a crisis of reality. People don't realize we are engaged in this spiritual war. God is ultimate reality and the crisis of reality we have today is the fact that people don't live their lives as though God is ultimate reality. How correct he is!!! A few weeks ago I was in the car with my mom and sister going somewhere or another. Tons of traffic everywhere and the lines at the gas station all backed up. Everyone was in a huge rush to get somewhere or do something. They had a destination in mind. What percent of them were thinking of God? Probably not too large a percent. Were they more concerned about their Ultimate Destination? It's easy to get caught up in all the things of this life that we so often take our eyes off the undeniable fact that we are going to die someday and we'll probably look back and wonder exactly why we were rushing around to accomplish all these other things that in the end, don't really matter.

Getting back to the 'war to end all wars' concept, Father notes that unlike any other war, if you're killed in this war, it's much more serious that being killed in any other war. In regular wars you can lose your body, but in this one you can lose your soul.

He also talks about the importance of spiritual weapons and tactics. Weapons like the Sacraments and the sacramentals, which he'll be discussing in the next parts of the series. He notes though, that humility is a spiritual nuclear weapon. Eve's pride is the original sin. She ate the fruit because the Devil told her that by doing so she'd be like God. Eve wanted to be like God and know good and evil as God does. Wanting to put yourself in the mind of God. Hmmm... Father Rich could tell you all about how I need to work on getting this under control in my life!!

Allow me to turn into the astronaut/astronomer nerd that I was in 4th grade and kind of still am. Look at the picture taken from Apollo 8's Christmas Eve 1968 orbit of the moon. The earth sort of just hangs there in space. You are just a tiny little speck on that tiny little sphere that floats around in space. Our entire solar system is just a tiny speck in the entire universe. God is bigger than the universe. We're just a speck on a tiny speck of a planet which is just a tiny speck in the tiny speck of our solar system. Kind of puts things in a little bit of perspective. Yet, it also makes it all the more amazing to believe that God cares about all of His little tiny specks of people and has entrusted to His Catholic specks the fullness of His truth!!!!

There's a lot to learn from the testimony of the astronauts from the good old days of Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. Many of them became very religious men during their time in space when they got a tiny glimpse of the reality and immensity of all Creation. The Apollo 8 astronauts read from the Book of Genesis while orbiting the moon on Christmas Eve 1968. Apollo 15's James Irwin quoted some Psalms while riding the lunar rover on the surface of the moon. Astronauts are brilliant men who know a lot of science. Apparently they also can be religious. Just goes to dispell the atheist claim that religion is for stupid people who can't figure things out for themselves!!!

"The greatest hero who ever lived is Jesus Christ. He was a warrior. He calls us to follow Him. You can't follow Him without going to battle." - Fr. Corapi

Father Corapi also notes that by being Catholics, it means that we have been given the fullness of Christianity. He quotes Jesus by saying that from those to whom much is given, much is also required. And, of course, he's right. He also notes that the people that frighten him most are Catholics who don't believe what the Church teaches. He says that it is easier for a pagan to get into Heaven than for a Catholic who denies and rejects the basics of the faith.

I definitely agree with him. As Catholics, especially as Catholics who are obviously quite aware that we've been given the fullness of truth, we are even more responsible for the care of our souls and that of others. I sometimes think it may have been easier had I not been given the opportunity to know the fullness of truth because a life of sitting around living what the average person considers a normal life would be so much easier. I wouldn't feel burdened by the responsibility of spreading a truth that the world doesn't want to hear. Oh, how easy it would be to go back to the old life of not realizing that God is reality!! If I were to do that though, I have full confidence that I'd go straight to Hell.

Though it sometimes does feel like it would be so much easier to never have been given the opportunity to know this truth, I know I'd never want to go back to my life before finding God. The benefits of knowing God, especially through the Church far outweigh the feeling of responsibility I feel for informing others of it. I know I have to spend the rest of my life being vigilant and defending the faith and I'll never get a break from knowing that God is carefully noting what I'm doing with the Truth He's entrusted to me. Even though it may be hard and people will not like the truth I try to spread, I hope that my answer will always be that of St. Peter when Jesus gives His apostles the opportunity to leave and go back to their old life when people start thinking Jesus is crazy and hard to understand and decide to no longer accompany him: Jesus then said to the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?" Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God!"

Just like Peter, I can't fathom to whom else I would go. Once you know the truth, it would be difficult to settle for anything less.

Father Corapi ends by saying that though this war is difficult, we should never fear. We do, after all, know that Jesus has already won the war for us. Though He has won the war, it is up to us to accept the victory. To S-I-N is to reject the victory. Accept the victory; make it a part of your life.

Now, this first part of Father's series dealt with the reality of the fact that we are at war. The next seven parts will be in depth looks at different aspects of the war and the weapons we use to fight. The next parts will be...

2) Healing and Deliverance
3) Humility (the spiritual nuclear weapon!)
4) Sacramentals
5) Sacraments
6) Our allies in the war: Angels, Saints, Souls in Purgatory
7) The Power of the Cross as the ultimate weapon
8) Questions and Answers (he always does great Q&A sessions!)

Watch him. The man is amazing.

“To be placed on the cross with Christ is to be set at the pinnacle of human possibilities.” - Father Corapi

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