The following is by Father Valentine Young, OFM, a faithful Catholic priest who died on 17 January 2020. It was delivered sometime between 2013 and 2020. To learn more about Father Valentine, please scroll to the bottom of the page.
19th Sunday after Pentecost
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—(1962 Missal) Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
ANY AUTHENTIC spiritual writers usually explain today’s gospel parable by saying that the wedding garment symbolizes sanctifying grace. True Catholic teaching holds that we cannot get to heaven without sanctifying grace. That is the reason why the guest who entered the wedding feast celebration was dismissed from the celebration.
Sanctifying grace: It might be well to review our Catholic teaching in regard to grace. The word ‘grace’ means a gift given to us by God. Sanctifying grace is first given to us when we are baptized. Because of Adam’s and Eve’s disobedience they lost sanctifying grace. Therefore, they were unable to pass it on to their children and coming generations of people. God in His goodness remedied the situation by the sufferings and death of Christ. And we are able to recover this grace. We do this first at Baptism. That is why the Church teaches us that it is necessary even for infants to be baptized, even though they certainly have no personal sins. And this is further reason for the seriousness of the sin of abortion. These poor human beings are never given the opportunity to be baptized.
Their fate: I really don’t like to discuss the fate of unbaptized infants. The truest answer that can be given is “we don’t know their fate because God has not revealed it to us.” Now in the past theologians have speculated about the idea of Limbo, where these unbaptized infants would be perfectly happy although they would not technically be in heaven experiencing God ‘face to face’ as our Catechisms teach us. Pope Saint John Paul II explained the situation by saying, “We do not know the fate of such infants because God has not revealed it to us.” Now I know there are a lot of modern “theologians”—and even many Catholic priests—who claim that these souls go to heaven just like any baptized person. That is a nice thought, but we have no proof from anything in our Catholic religion to prove this is true. We are taught by authentic Catholic teaching simply to commend such souls to God. It is true that our reason and faith teach us that God is all just and won’t punish people for something they were not responsible for. We can hope they are in heaven; God has simply not told us. I know this answer may be difficult for some to accept. But it also puts us in a position where we have to have confidence in the goodness and mercy of God.
Other ideas: I did not originally intend to spend so much time on the topic that I just discussed. But again it is my duty to inform you of correct Catholic teaching and not just to tell people what they would like to hear. More importantly, we must make sure we are always in the state of grace. If not, God gave us the Sacrament of Penance or confession to remedy that situation.
Conclusion: I would like to presume that what I have said today was a review of what you already knew: No one can get to heaven without sanctifying grace. It makes us adopted children of God, allowing us to be sharers in His divine life. This gives us the capacity to enter heaven when we die. When all is said and done, there is nothing more precious than this. Let us do all we can to keep it ourselves. We are certainly praying for people not in the state of sanctifying grace when we pray in the Fatima prayer: “Lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy.” +