Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

From the February AD 1999
Our Lady of the Rosary
Parish Bulletin

    Question:  In an earlier Q&A section, you stated that a Christian may require purification ... because justice requires punishment for sins already forgiven.... Cut me some slack will you? Either you are forgiven or you are not forgiven. (?) [M.R., Driftwood, FL.]

    Answer: There is a difference between being forgiven and being absolved of the consequences of one's behavior. Mother may forgive you for breaking the window, but someone still has to fix the window. Mother may restore you to all of the graces of her love, but still not return your baseball for an appropriate period. This protects the new window for a while, impresses the seriousness of breaking windows on you, and tells others that breaking mother's windows is not a good idea. If breaking the window was done purposefully, as an affront to mother or in defiance of her authority, some period of demonstrating respect for mother may be required as well. If mother were to immediately absolve everyone of the consequences of breaking her rules, it is very likely that she and her rules would cease to be respected. And a few dollars may help mother buy the glass to fix the window.

    Question: You state that punishment in hell is perpetual. Then why, upon Christ's second coming will He judge the living and the dead? [M.R., Driftwood, FL.]

        Answer:  At the moment of death each human soul is judged irrevocably. This "particular" judgement will not be appealed or changed at the "general" judgement. The general judgement will follow the resurrection of the body, so that all humanity will appear before God together in the form it will take for eternity. At this time the reward of the good will be increased by the added glory of their bodies and the completion of the population of the saints in the Church Triumphant. The punishment of the bad will be likewise increased by the torment of their bodies and the completion of the number of the damned in their eternal shame. While the sentence of the particular judgement will not change at the general judgement, the latter judgement will serve to demonstrate God's justice in the presence of all of His intelligent creatures.1

    Question: As Satan is a fallen angel, would it not stand to reason that Satan holds no more "power" than any other angel, fallen or otherwise. If angels have the power to intercede on our behalf ... what is to prevent Satan from [harming] us every chance he gets?  [M.R., Driftwood, FL.]

    Answer: Angels are capable of acting on material bodies, causing them to change in accordance with their nature, or controlling their local motion. They can communicate their knowledge to the human mind, produce images in the imagination, and impress perceptions upon the senses. Such powers make them capable of having profound effects on humans, either for good or for bad purposes. They are not capable of directly influencing a person's free will. The fallen angels, or devils, are motivated by jealousy to use these powers to turn men away from God. To do this, they must act against the individual's will and inclinations (hopefully bolstered by prayer, good habits, and frequent reception of the Sacraments). The power of the devil may be offset by the person's guardian angel, who possesses angelic powers similar to those of the devil. Human beings are always capable of maintaining the direction of their will toward God, but vices like laziness and sensuality make the devil's job of misdirection possible.2 "Be sober, be watchful, for your adversary the devil goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour" every chance he gets.3


1. Cf. St. Thomas, Summa Theologica, Supplement to IIIa, Question number 88

2. Ibid., Ia, Q. 110-114.

3. 1 Peter v: 8-9.  


Dei via est íntegra
Our Lady of the Rosary, 144 North Federal Highway (US#1), Deerfield Beach, Florida 33441  954+428-2428
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