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PAROUSIA




END TIMES SPIRITUALITY

There is a slight difference between the spirituality of the not-so-end-times and the end-times in the teachings of Christ. In the not-so-end-times, as shown in the parable of the field, the cockle and the wheat were allowed to stay together. But in the end-times, the cockles were removed by the angels, bundled together and burnt, while the wheat remained in the field of the Lord. 

In the earlier story of the apostles' fishing, the nets were lowered on any or all sides of the boat; thus, they hauled in both the good and poisonous fishes. But after the resurrection, the net was lowered only on the right side, symbolizing the place where the good are, thus, hauling in only the good. 

And just before the last supper, the infant Church was gathered together; but it had to wait for the last evil person within the community, Judas, to leave before "the Son of Man will be glorified" which would happen only when the Christian community is rid of bad members. 

Apparently a Church that is composed of both good and evil does not give much glory to God. The early Church was composed of good followers, especially at the time of Pentecost and following it. But as the Church grew, and both good and poisonous fishes entered her, the Church as a whole ceased to give glory to God and became more of a scandal. Small portions of the Church, however, continued to give glory to God.

In short, while the good and the bad were allowed to stay together in the not-so-end-times, in the hope that the bad would become good, in the end-times, the bad will be removed and the good alone will remain. St. Paul calls this the "Great Falling Away" wherein a great number within the Catholic Church will fall away from the Church. This is in preparation for the wedding feast between the Church and her Spouse, Jesus Christ. By the time of this wedding, the Church must be the virgin bride, beautiful and resplendent-- that which Christ wants her to be--with no stain or ugliness or bad and imperfect Christians in her (the imperfect Christians symbolized by the Apocalyptic 666). By this time, the Church will attract all pagans who are true seekers. 

Christ, during the last supper, described the requirement, sort of , to become a wheat or a true disciple of Christ: "Love one another as I have loved you."

Now, there are many kinds of love. Among the corrupt, they call adultery, fornication, etc.-- love. . .  which is more of hatred than love. Then there is natural love: the love of parents for their children, the love of children for their parents and for their own brothers and sisters. 

A higher form of love was introduced in the Old Testament: "Love your neighbor as you love yourself." The gauge by which you must love your neighbor is the way you love yourself. Here, you must first love yourself in the right way; for if you love yourself the wrong way, you will also love your neighbor the wrong way. The Golden Rule is a good summary, "Do unto others what you would want others to do unto you; or do not do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you."

In the New Testament, Christ introduced a higher form of love unknown to the world; "Love one another as I have loved you." The divine love of Christ for us became the model for all who would want to be wheat, fish on the right side and a true disciple of Christ. 

How did Christ love us? Though His nature was divine, He stripped Himself, suffered, and was obedient unto death. . . all for our sake. Here is a God who loved us more that He loved Himself. Because He did not spare Himself for our sake and at a time when we were sinners and deserving of hatred. 

A New Commandment. . . it is new because Christ's love for us was something new. It is beyond anyone's imagination that a God would go that far in loving.

On our part, it means sparing neither reputation, nor wealth, nor anything for our neighbor's salvation. The salvation of souls must matter more than physical life. This is love that transcends the law.

This kind of love renews us, making us a new creation. It makes us new humans, heirs of the New Testament, singers of the new song. 

Christ loved us by loving God in us; not because God was in us but in order that God might be in us. It is like a physician who loves his patient, not the illness he wants to remove but the health he desires to restore. 

 

 

 

 

(10-05-02)

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                                                                                         - Teresa of Avila

 


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