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I just want to repeat, once again, that I have no authority to excommunicate or anything of the sort, nor have I once said that Sen. Kennedy is eternally lost by the powers invested in me, etc., (I am but a beggar in need of Christ's righteousness as well). But in Sen. Kennedy's letter, it would seem that there may have been a weakness in the life of a believer, something of which we all face, namely to depend on our own good works. Maybe it was too personal to use a real-life example. And for that I am sorry. Nevertheless, my intention in this article was not to condemn Sen. Kennedy, but to use this example for all of us to test whether we are in the faith or not....I do not lay claim to know where the soul of Ted Kennedy eternally rests, I hope he rests with Christ. My post as written, may have erred in to strong a direction implying that I know of Sen. Kennedy's fate....I do not. Please forgive me if this post comes close to suggesting as much, because the Lord knows I ask for forgiveness in all things I do: good, bad, or indifferent.God's blessings,Drew
In the famously realm he is know for being a long-time Senator, a brother of two assassinated American icons, and a part of the Kennedy political dynasty.
He is infamously known for his sordid past. Everything from the Chappaquiddick incident, to the Bork nomination, to the Kennedy compound incident; I hope I'm sure (for Ted's sake) he would be the first to admit he was a flawed man just like everybody else. However, deep down I believe there was a devoted Roman Catholic who knew that the eye of God was upon him at all times. Sometimes that realization becomes brilliantly clear in times of extreme crisis.
It seems there may have been some unease in his soul when facing the grim news regarding his recent diagnosis of terminal brain cancer. When President Obama visited the Pope earlier this year, Ted asked the President to hand deliver a special letter to his "Holiness". Here are the contents of that letter as reported by the Associated Press and the response from the Pope:
Excerpts of the letter from Sen. Edward M. Kennedy that President Barack Obama delivered to Pope Benedict XVI earlier this year and an account of the pope's response, as read by Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington:
"Most Holy Father I asked President Obama to personally hand deliver this letter to you. As a man of deep faith himself, he understands how important my Roman Catholic faith is to me, and I am so deeply grateful to him. I hope this letter finds you in good health. I pray that you have all of God's blessings as you lead our church and inspire our world during these challenging times. I am writing with deep humility to ask that you pray for me as my own health declines.
"I was diagnosed with brain cancer more than a year ago and although I continue treatment, the disease is taking its toll on me. I am 77 years old and preparing for the next passage of life. I have been blessed to be part of a wonderful family and both of my parents, particularly my mother, kept our Catholic faith at the center of our lives. That gift of faith has sustained and nurtured and provides solace to me in the darkest hours. I know that I have been an imperfect human being, but with the help of my faith I have tried to right my path. I want you to know Your Holiness that in my nearly 50 years of elective office I have done my best to champion the rights of the poor and open doors of economic opportunity. I have worked to welcome the immigrant, to fight discrimination and expand access to health care and education. I have opposed the death penalty and fought to end war.
"Those are the issues that have motivated me and have been the focus of my work as a United States senator. I also want you to know that even though I am ill, I am committed to do everything I can to achieve access to health care for everyone in my country. This has been the political cause of my life. I believe in a conscience protection for Catholics in the health field and I will continue to advocate for it as my colleagues in the Senate and I work to develop an overall national health policy that guarantees health care for everyone. I have always tried to be a faithful Catholic, Your Holiness, and though I have fallen short through human failings, I have never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings of my faith. I continue to pray for God's blessings on you and on our church and would be most thankful for your prayers for me."
An account from the Vatican of the pope's response, according to McCarrick:
"The Holy Father has the letter which you entrusted to President Barack Obama, who kindly presented it to him during their recent meeting. He was saddened to know of your illness, and asked me to assure you of his concern and his spiritual closeness. He is particularly grateful for your promise of prayers for him and for the needs of our universal church.
"His Holiness prays that in the days ahead you may be sustained in faith and hope, and granted the precious grace of joyful surrender to the will of God, our merciful Father. He invokes upon you the consolation and peace promised by the Risen Savior to all who share in His sufferings and trust in His promise of eternal life.
"Commending you and the members of your family to the loving intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of wisdom, comfort and strength in the Lord."
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
What's most sad about this letter is this statement from Senator Kennedy:
"I have always tried to be a faithful Catholic, Your Holiness, and though I have fallen short through human failings, I have never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings of my faith. I continue to pray for God's blessings on you and on our church and would be most thankful for your prayers for me."Folks, this is what he is hanging his hat on for salvation; an intercessory prayer from the Pope. This isn't something to be mocked like the people from this blog seem to think is appropriate, this faith of Senator Kennedy is to be pitied.
In Isaiah 64:6, the Prophet says:
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
If we trust in the righteousness we craft with our hands, without ever trying to recognize what exactly our righteousness looks like in the eyes of God as revealed by His law, then we will never value the only righteousness that gets us to heaven, namely the righteousness of Christ.
St. Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:12-19
"Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable."
The Holy Spirit communicates through St. Paul in 1 Cor 2:2
For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.Let us hope that between the time this letter to the Pope was written and the time of Senator Kennedy's death he confessed Christs righteousness as his own, and in faith, trusted solely in Christ's righteousness alone.
Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?Let us all take the opportunity to contemplate whether we are in the "life", that is, eternal life found in Christ alone or not!