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Event:
Walking Toward Eternity Seminar

Location:
Diocese of Columbus, New Albany, OH

Date: 9/29-30/17

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Pilgrimage Updates!

January 2018 Annual Holy Land Pilgrimage:

Registration is open for January 11-25, 2018! Also available Post-tour to Petra. Click here for forms and more information

April 2018 "Faith of the Irish" Pilgrimage

Registration Now Open for April 21-30, 2018 with optional pre-tour and Discipleship Seminar with Jeff Cavins. Tour Hosts: Jeff & Emily Cavins and Fr. Matt Guckin.

May 2018 "Time of Decision" Holy Land Pilgrimage

Limited seats remain for May 14-24, 2018 pilgrimage with Fr. Mike Schmitz and Jeff Cavins. Click here for forms and more information.

Please view Cavins Tours photo gallery for a glimpse of some of our past pilgrimages.

Here is what a recent pilgrim had to say about our annual Holy Land pilgrimage!

 Thank you for a most wonderful, spiritual experience these past 2 weeks. The pilgrimage surpassed any expectations I had. Your teachings, Jeff, were so meaningful at each site. You are able to pull together all the history, the spirituality, the geography of the area, the archeological aspects, etc. so well to make the whole story make sense. You have challenged us to grow spiritually not only with questions to ask ourselves, but ways to ponder those question in our lives, and the wonderful "weapons" we have to tackle them, grow from them, and make necessary changes in our lives so that we may be better disciples of the Lord and spread the Good News to others. Certainly my times in adoration, and daily prayer will be enriched because of this Holy Land experience. ~~ Barb K

Please feel free to contact us at Cavins Tours phone number --763-420-1074.

 

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Saturday
Sep302006

Non-Christians and Salvation

Revelation reveals if we die in Christ we will be crowned and seated on thrones. For those who do not die in Christ (Non Christians), will they be crowned in the same glory?

In the Gospel of John, Jesus answers Nicodemus's question regarding the attainment of the Kingdom of God with, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit." (Jn 3:5) As Catholics, we affirm that Baptism is necessary for salvation, for through our Baptism we are immersed into the death of Christ and rise with him as a "new creature" (2 Corinthians 5:17) -a creature "reborn of water and the Spirit.'"(CCC1257) The Catechism goes on to explain that God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments. Thus, Baptism is necessary for salvation; however, since Christ died for the salvation of all, there are those who can be saved without Baptism. Catechumens, those who strive to do God's will without ever knowing Jesus Christ, and those without the knowledge about the faith or to whom the Gospel has never been proclaimed are such examples. (CCC 1260)

The Council Fathers of Vatican II do not exclude anyone acting in good faith from the possibility of salvation. In the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), paragraph 16 the Council Fathers wrote:

"Nor is God remote from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, since he gives to all men life and breath and all things (cf. Acts 17:25-28), and since the Savior wills all men to be saved (cf. 1 Timothy 2:4). Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through dictates of their conscience'those too, may achieve eternal salvation.

"Nor shall divine providence deny the assistance necessary for salvation to those who, without any fault of theirs, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God, and who, not without grace, strive to lead a good life."

That said, we must remember that just being Christian does not earn us our way into heaven. (Rom 3:20) "Salvation is the free gift of God through Jesus Christ (Eph 2:8-9; Rom 3:24-25; 6:23; CCC 161-169) but, we must accept and freely cooperate with this gift. (Phil 2:12-13; Gal 5:6; CCC1949)" For the reason that salvation is a gift, so too is Baptism a gift as it is conferred upon those who bring nothing of their own. In fact, St. Gregory of Nazianzus referred to Baptism as "God's most beautiful and magnificent gift." (Oratio 40, 3-4; PG 36,361C) Ultimately, we can only entrust the souls of those who die without the gift of Baptism (those who do not die in Christ) to the mercy of God (CCC 1261) remembering, that God's mercy is infinite and cannot be bound by human limitations.

References: Lumen Gentium; Second Vatican Council, Nov. 21, 1964; Catechism of the Catholic Church; Did Adam and Eve have Belly Buttons? And Did Jesus Have a Last Name? Matthew Pinto & Jason Evert; www.americancatholic.com

Saturday
Sep302006

Delving Into Indulgences

Could you please address indulgences? Many people in our group are uncomfortable with "buying" their way into heaven. How are indulgences viewed in the Church today?

The things which probably make us the most uncomfortable in life are those things which we do not understand. We are always more comfortable with something of which we are knowledgeable than we are with that which we do not know. When dealing with the teachings of the Catholic Church, just the mere mention of indulgences tends to provoke a foreboding sense of discomfort in most Catholics. The reason for this unsettling feeling is two-fold: first, we suffer from a lack of knowledge of what an indulgence is, and second, we lack the realization of how biblical indulgences are.

The word indulgence is derived from the Latin word indulgeo meaning to be kind or tender. In the Old Testament (Isaiah 61:1) it was used to show a release from captivity or punishment. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church article 1471, an indulgence is "a remission of the temporal (meaning lasting a short time) punishment due to sins, whose guilt has already been forgiven." This remission of punishment is granted by the Church in the exercise of the power of the keys, a gift given to the Church by Christ and passed on through apostolic succession (Mt 16:19; John 20:21-23; CCC1478). Thus, it is God, through the Church who remits the temporal punishment. In the early Christian Church various sins were punished with long public penance, and the Church was often indulgent and "loosed" or freed the Christian from all or part of the punishment if they repented and performed certain works of charity. This 'freeing' of punishment is referred to as an indulgence and is described as either partial or plenary. A partial indulgence removes part of the temporal punishment due for sins and a plenary indulgence removes all of the temporal punishment.

To understand the usage of indulgences, one must first understand the consequences of sin. The ultimate consequence of sin is seen with grave sin (mortal sin) as it deprives us from communion with God. This privation is called the "eternal punishment" of sin and it means that we are incapable of eternal life (CCC 1472). Yet each sin, whether mortal or venial, carries with it a double liability: one of guilt and one of punishment. We see this in the story of the fall of our first parents and their first sin. Once Adam and Eve disobeyed God, guilt set in and they hid themselves out of shame (Gen 3:9-10). Then, punishment for their sin followed (Gen 3:16-22). Ultimately, they were removed from the presence of God (Gen 3:23-24). (This ability to live in communion with God was regained for us by Christ through his death and resurrection.)

Being that temporal punishment is not eternal; something must bring it to an end. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "Every sin entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth or after death in a state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called 'temporal punishment' of sin" (CCC 1472). Therefore, punishment due to sin may come here on earth in forms of various sufferings or after death in Purgatory.

Knowing that guilt and punishment are liabilities of sin, we can now better understand how the principles underlying Divine punishment and, in turn, indulgences are found in Scripture. One indication for eternal punishment is seen in Daniel 12:2, "Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, those to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt." And, as previously mentioned, we see temporal punishment in Genesis 3:15 (the Protoevangelium) as God shows His mercy declaring a message of hope for humanity.

When one partakes in the sacrament of Penance and repents, the guilt of the sin is forgiven (Is 1:18) and the eternal punishment removed (Rom 5:9), but the temporal punishment due to sins remain. This is evident in 2 Sam 12:13-14 when David is confronted about his adultery. Even though David is forgiven, he still suffered the death of his son as well as other temporal punishments. Catholic On-line cites these other examples of temporal punishment suffered after the forgiveness of sins: Numbers 14:13-23; 20:12; 27:12-14.

As Catholics, we know that Christ paid the price for our sins. His sacrifice alone opened heaven to us, but it did not relieve us of our obligations to repair the harm done through our own sins. In other words, we recognize that we can never "buy" our way into heaven, for Christ alone expiated our sins once and for all by His sacrifice on the cross. However, we are responsible to fulfill our obligation of the temporal punishment due to our sin after we have been forgiven. Unfortunately the concept that one could "buy" indulgences and therefore purchase his way into heaven on his own merit fueled the fire for the Protestant Reformation; but, it was never the teaching of the Church. Indulgences were never sold with the sanction of the theology of the Church, yet that's not to say that unscrupulous individuals didn't abuse the lack of knowledge of the faithful when pertaining to almsgiving and its relationship to indulgences. The Catholic Encyclopedia states, "It is easy to see how the abuses crept in. Among the good works which might be encouraged by being made the condition of an indulgence, almsgiving would naturally hold a conspicuous place." It is well to observe that in these purposes there is nothing essentially evil. To give money to God or to the poor is a praiseworthy act, and, when it is done from right motives, it will surely not go unrewarded. This is seen in Scripture as Jesus bestows a special blessing upon the widow who gave her last coins to the Temple in Jerusalem. We wouldn't accuse the poor widow of "buying" a blessing from our Lord and so too we should not be uncomfortable with receiving an indulgence. For we now know that an indulgence is something that cannot be bought nor can it buy our way into heaven, rather it is simply a way that the faithful can obtain the remission of temporal punishment resulting from sin. (CCC1498)

To learn more about indulgences read Indulgentiarum Doctrina by Pope Paul VI, which can be found at the EWTN link in the document library. Also, don't miss the sessions in Catholicism 101 that deal with the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Communion of Saints!

Saturday
Sep302006

Lion of Judah

At session 3 we talked about the significance of Jesus portrayed as a Lamb. What is the significance of Him being portrayed as a lion? Besides in Jeremiah is this the image of the risen Christ? We see the Lion in our media and hear of him in our music.

The "Lion of the Tribe of Judah" is the Messianic title applied to Christ to symbolize strength, majestic power, and victory. The lion itself is the emblem of dignity and courage. Afraid of no other animal, it has the ability to dominate all other species. With its great power, agility, and strength, it truly is the king of all beasts and a brilliant symbol of the King of kings. The origin of this title is seen in Genesis 49 as Jacob gathers his sons: the patriarchs of the twelve tribes of Israel. Once around him, he delivers his blessing, a blessing which becomes the initial prophecy of the future Kingdom of God on earth as it foretells the supremacy of the tribe of Judah, which finds its ultimate fulfillment in the "Root of David", Jesus Christ. Jacob praises Judah describing him in the image of a young lion, Gur Aryeh. "Judah is a lion's whelp; from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: He stooped down, he crouched as a lion, And as a lioness; who shall rouse him up?" (Gen 49:9) This blessing, of great importance, is intensified by the fact that it did not go to the first born son, but rather to the young lion who patiently crouched in the shadows as his brothers before him eagerly pounced on worldly temptations without repentance. Judah was no stranger himself to the snares of temptation and sin, but unlike his brothers his heart was transformed by the suffering of his sin. This conversion led to the ultimate reward being bestowed upon him in Gen 49:10. "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet." Taken literally, one pictures Judah going to his grave holding a scepter in his tightly closed fist, but in view of the customs and colloquialism during the time of Jacob, the meaning of this idiom is understood as, there shall always be a king from the lineage of Judah. This prophecy looks forward not only to an earthly dynasty, but also to the royal dynasty of the Messiah as it continues, "until Shiloh comes: And unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be."

The Jews from the time of Jacob understood this blessing to mean that the Messiah would come from the line of Judah. Their belief, rooted in the covenant God first made with Noah's family and then with Abraham's tribe, held that the messiah would come like a lion with great religious zeal, strength, and military power and defeat the enemies of the Jewish nation. This military victory would usher in a time of justice and peace and yield Israel the most powerful and indestructible kingdom. The original audience of book of Revelation would have recognized the "Lion of the tribe of Judah" as the Messiah and would have received much encouragement in learning. "The Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the root of David, has triumphed, enabling him to open the scroll with seven seals." (Rev 5:5) They would have seen this passage as the fulfillment of prophecy and understood that the redemptive victory had been won for them by Jesus Christ, who fulfills the title "Lion of the Tribe of Judah" and is the ultimate King of kings!

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Saturday
Sep302006

Sig Figs of Scripture

Ever notice that things happen in threes? In fact, even our existence can be broken down into three stages: birth, life, and death. Every moment of our life falls into one of three time periods: past, present, or future. Our very being is a makeup of body, mind, and spirit. Thought, word, and deed complete our human capabilities. There are three kingdoms of matter (animal, plant, and mineral), three primary colors (red, yellow, and blue), three parts to any story (beginning, middle, and end), and three goals in a hat-trick. OK, that last one may be a reach, but all the same, in every instance the number three signifies entirety. The number three points to what is real, essential, and substantial. The number three is perfect completion.

In Scripture, the denotation of the number three as completion is upgraded to Divine completion. When used in Scripture, the number three shares in the perfection of the number seven and epitomizes what is perfect, complete, and divine. The supreme instance of Divine perfection is the Trinity: three persons in one God: God the Father; God the Son; and God the Holy Spirit. In Isaiah 6:3, the Seraphim cry, "Holy, holy, holy." One 'holy' is said in honor of each of the three persons of the Trinity. So too, in Rev 4:8, the living creatures also praise each person of the Holy Trinity by singing, "Holy, holy, holy."

Throughout Scripture, the number three reveals completion in a multitude of examples. In the Old Testament, God's covenant with His people involves three promises: land, dynasty, and world wide blessing. In Exodus 5:3 the Israelites leave the bonds of Egypt by taking a "three days journey into the wilderness." The Ark of the Covenant held the Ten Commandments, a bowl of manna, and Aaron's staff. In Num 6:23-24, three priestly blessings are bestowed upon the Israelites. Solomon's downfall is the result of a tri-fold multitude: wives, gold, and horses, and the list goes on... and on... and on.

In the New Testament, we see the fullness of God's perfect plan in the number three. Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant, holds in her womb the Word made flesh, the Bread of life, and the King of kings. With His three-fold "it is written" response to the devil during the temptation in the desert (Mt 4), Jesus shows that the Word of God is complete perfection. Three times a voice is heard from heaven proclaiming Christ as the Son of God (Mt 3:17, 17:5; Jn 12:28) and each occurrence confirms an aspect of the three fold office of Christ: that of prophet, priest, and king. It is three times that Jesus says to Peter, "Peter, do you love me?" and directs Peter to shepherd his flock. (Jn 21:15-19) Think about it. What is being completed by this action? (The answer might just be three-fold) Then we see the perfect sacrifice, the completion of the covenant, and the totality of salvation as Jesus is crucified at the third hour and on the third day rises from the dead. In Revelation 1:3 a Divine blessing is bestowed upon the reader, the hearer, and the keeper of the prophecy that is written and the list goes on... and on... and on.

The number three symbolizes fullness, completeness, and Divine perfection. The examples of this in Sacred Scripture as well as everyday life are plentiful; and as I look at my three kids, born three years apart, in three consecutive months, each on a date divisible by three, I realize that God has blessed me with the perfect family and that perhaps those three hours of uninterrupted sleep I get each night are just His way of reminding me!

Kelly Wahlquist

Saturday
Sep302006

Before Christ Died, Where Were The Righteous?

Is Abraham in Heaven and How Did He Achieve His Divine Nature?

According to The Catechism of Pope Pius X, the souls of the holy Fathers were not admitted into heaven before the death of Jesus Christ, because heaven was closed by the sin of Adam, and it was but fitting that Jesus Christ, who reopened it by His death, should be the first to enter it.

This teaching can be further explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church as it addresses Article Five of the Apostles' Creed (631-637), which states:

"He descended into hell on the third day he rose again.""This 'hell' was different from the hell of the damned. It was the state of all those, righteous and evil, who died before Christ. With his soul united to his divine Person Jesus went down to the just in hell who were awaiting their Redeemer so they could enter at last into the vision of God. When he had conquered by his death both death and the devil 'who has the power of death' (Hebrews 2:14), he freed the just who looked forward to the Redeemer and opened for them the gates of Heaven." (Compendium: Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), USCCB 2006) (See CCC 635)

The Church refers to this state as Limbo: (Late Lat. limbus) a word of Teutonic derivation, meaning literally "hem" or "border," as of a garment, or anything joined on (cf. Italian lembo or English limb).

In theological usage the name is applied to (a) the temporary place or state of the souls of the just who, although purified from sin, were excluded from the beatific vision until Christ's triumphant ascension into Heaven (the "limbus patrum"); or (b) to the permanent place or state of those unbaptized children and others who, dying without grievous personal sin, are excluded from the beatific vision on account of original sin alone (the "limbus infantium" or "puerorum"). Taken from the New Advent dictionary.

* This latter definition dealing with children who die without Baptism, has come into question recently as the Vatican has assigned an International Commission of Catholic Theologians to review this teaching from the 13 century. Limbo has never been a defined dogma of the Church, but is instead a concept worked out by theologians as a way to try to solve a conflict between the necessity of Baptism and the mercy of God. In view of that, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God...In fact the great mercy of God, who wants all men to be saved, and the tenderness of Jesus towards children... allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who die without baptism." (CCC, Article 1261)