Roman Catholic Church in Port Coquitlam, BC
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I tend to think of some of my best ideas during Mass. I keep a small notebook and a pen i n my pocket. Is it permissible to jot down quick thoughts? Sure, I think that is okay...occasionally. That said, remember that the Actor at Holy Mass is Christ Himself. Were He suddenly to come to you more apparently, would you not give Him your full, undivided attention? I suspect that were you to be given a preview of heaven, you would focus on what you saw while it was going on, not taking your attention away to make notes. Of course our memories, especially as we get older, are not what they used to be. Making a note helps. A good point in a sermon (or maybe even a really bad one!), a flash of insight, a memory of something from that past that you need to confess.... I think it is okay to jot something down, but Mass is not a didactic moment. Mass is not the same as Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament wherein, over the course of an hour, you might go from an intellectual exercise to meditation to contemplation and back. An occasional note during Mass, sure. But you probably shouldn’t be sitting there regularly with pen and pad in hand. Fr. John Zuhlsdorf.
What does it mean when we say in the Apostle ‘s Creed “He descended into hell?”. This statement often confuses people – isn’t hell a bad place? Why would Jesus descend into hell? We should first clarify what the Creed means by “hell”. The soul of Jesus, after it was separated from His body at death, did not descend and dwell in the “hell of the damned”. The “hell of the damned” is where all the wicked people were as punishment for their sins. Rather, Jesus dwelled in the part of hell that was reserved for all the righteous people who died before the coming of the Messiah and during His lifetime. Theologians usually call the place in hell that these righteous people were detained in “Limbo” or “Abraham’s Bosom”. This was a place of natural happiness and the righteous would not have been tormented like the wicked are in the “hell of the damned.” The righteous people, although not deserving punishment due to their personal sins, still couldn’t enter heaven due to original sin. So they were detained in hell until they could be rescued by Jesus. Why did Jesus descend into hell? Saint Thomas Aquinas gives four reasons for this. I will share the first one here: Jesus came to atone for our sins and the punishment due to sin. Yet just as the death of the body is a punishment due to sin, so too was a loss of seeing God face to face (the beatific vision) a punishment for sin. Therefore, in order to perfectly take upon Himself the punishment due to sin, Christ descended into hell .How long did Jesus stay in hell? He stayed there until His resurrection from the dead. This is the meaning of Holy Saturday before the celebration of Easter. As it says in an ancient homily for Holy Saturday: “What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled.”
Answered by Aaron: Dominican Candidate