March 18, 2012
1. Dante’s Divine Comedy is not only one of the masterpieces of Western literature, it is also a kind of spiritual itinerary for life’s journey in this world. Purgatory, hell and heaven are not just awaiting us in a distant future but are foreshadowed in the events and circumstances of our own lives. What do the experiences of our lives reveal about what awaits us in the world that is yet to come?
2. Dante presents self-absorption as the sad spiritual state of Satan. What principles of the Christian spiritual life decrease our tendency towards self-absorption? Give examples and relate how these principles are practiced.
3. Father Barron speaks about how the Church’s teaching on hell follows from the reality of human freedom and the revelation in Christ that God is love. Why are both necessary in order to understand what the Church means in the teachings about hell?
4. It is the Church’s sure and constant teaching that Christ is really, truly and substantially present in the Blessed Sacrament. This is not only a statement about the nature of the Eucharistic species, but an invitation to us to understand and appreciate Holy Communion for what it really and truly is. What does the Church ask that we do in order to prepare ourselves to receive the Blessed Sacrament? What does the Church’s reverence for the Eucharist look like in actual practice?
5. The Church’s worship of Christ and reception of the Blessed Sacrament during the Mass is meant to order every part of our lives. What are the characteristics of a "Eucharistic" way of life? In what ways is the Holy Communion with the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament extended in the Church?
6. The Gospel for today has Christ testify that God did not send Christ into the world to condemn the world, but to offer his divine life as a gift of grace. However, the risk remains that this gift might still be refused. What does acceptance of Christ cause in the lives of his disciples? What are the consequences of our refusal?