The Last Things semester outlines the Church’s teachings on eternal life.
Units included in the semester:
a. Angels, Demons, St. Michael, and Satan
Youth Group Meeting: This ‘Youth Group’ session attempts to help the teens understand who the angels and demons are. We will spend time discussion who satan is and what his plan is with us. We will impress upon the teens that satan is not a make-believe fairy-tale, but a real fallen angels who wants us to lose our souls. We will discuss how Jesus helps us overcome satan, reminding the teens of the many tools of holiness the Church has for us.
Going Deeper Meeting: The angels are pure spirits that are in heaven enjoying the Beatific Vision, that is the vision of God in His fullness. At the beginning of their creation, many angels rebelled against God. These are the demons, led by the chief demon, satan. This evening will continue to list the characteristics of angels and demons, showing that God allows the demons to influence us, but that this influence is temporary. One day, God will end suffering, pain, death, and sin.
b. Evil and Suffering
Youth Group Meeting: This ‘Youth Group’ meeting will try to answer some of the basic questions behind the meaning of suffering. We will briefly examine the nature of suffering in the world, pinpointing its cause to the envy of Satan, Original Sin, and the decisions of each one of us. We will show that God has responded to evil and suffering as soon as it entered the world, and that in Christ Jesus, God has entered into the human condition to the point of suffering and death. We will impress upon the teens the offer that Jesus makes to each one of us to help us with our anxieties and trials.
Going Deeper Meeting: As we go deeper with the teens, we want to help them understand the unique perspective that the Catholic Church has on suffering. Based on Colossians 1:24 (see below), suffering is a means for all Christians to help redeem the world. Our suffering is redemptive, that is, our suffering can help bring us and others to salvation. Suffering tests our faith, helping us to deepen our trust and love of God. Without suffering, our love for Him would be stagnant. This does not mean that God is the author of suffering, but that He allows it to happen and brings good out of it.
c. Death and Eternal Life
Youth Group Meeting: This first ‘Youth Group’ meeting will help the teens understand that all of us are destined to die. Life, in a large part, is a test to prepare us to die. Jesus is the One Who, unlike anyone else, can prepare us for death and the eternal life He will offer us in heaven.
Going Deeper Meeting: Looking at the Scriptures, we will get a clear understanding of the Christian view of death. God did not abandon man to the power of death. From the moment sin entered the world, God responded with a plan to overcome sin and death. This plan centers on Jesus Christ. In His death, He showed us His love for us; in His Resurrection, He showed us His power over death. He calls us to have faith in Him and to turn to Him as our source for eternal life. Although this may offend many, Jesus is the only One Who can offer us eternal life. He even offers us His mother to help us at the hour of our death.
d. Heaven, Hell, Purgatory
Youth Group Meeting: This meeting will attempt to help the teens understand the basic differences between heaven, hell and purgatory. It will give the teens an opportunity to examine their own lives and begin to evaluate them based on our eternal destiny. We will invite the teens to not settle for spiritual immaturity and commit themselves to loving Jesus above all else.
Going Deeper Meeting: Using the Scriptures, we will examine the Church’s beliefs on heaven, purgatory and hell. We will use these verses to look at the anti-Catholic objections to each of them. God wants no one to go to hell, but allows us the free decision to reject Him. We have nothing to fear with our eternal destiny. If we stay close to Jesus, He will help us get to heaven and spend our eternity with Him.
Youth Group Meeting: This ‘Youth Group’ meeting will teach the teens the fact that God will judge each one of us upon our death. It will discuss the different criteria that God will use to judge our souls. Many people have ‘judge’ as their primary image of God. While God is judge, at His core He is love. He wants us to imitate the way He loves, and is always ready to forgive us in order to help us back on the right track.
Going Deeper Meeting: This ‘Going Deeper’ meeting will examine the two judgments that will take place after our death, the individual and general judgments. The individual judgment is our first and definitive judgment that takes place immediately after our death; the Last or General Judgment will take place at the end of this age as a ‘closing ceremony’ to the end of this age, the age of the Church. We will see how the Scriptures clearly say that Jesus will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. We will see too that the Church proclaims this truth in her teachings, and calls us all to a life of holiness. If we place our faith in Christ and if we conform our actions to His love, we have nothing to fear.
f. The End of the World
Youth Group Meeting: This ‘Youth Group’ session will pull together many of the topics of this semester and line them up for the teens. We will briefly look at the Church’s understanding of the timeline of the end of this age. We will briefly look at the phenomenon of ‘End Times’ prophecies so widely available from many Bible-alone Christians. We will discuss how no one knows when the Second Coming will take place, and how each one of us should prepare for it, especially since we do not know when it will be.
Going Deeper Meeting: This session will give the Scriptural roots of the Second Coming, the Resurrection of the Dead, the Last Judgment and the renewal of the heavens and the earth. We will briefly examine the rapture and other protestant misinterpretations of the ‘End Times’. We will remind the teens the importance of being spiritual ‘even-keel’, not getting caught up in fanaticism about the ‘End Times’, but committing to Jesus each and every day.
In the YMCentral Store, you can purchase each semester individually or you can purchase the Complete Package that includes all 12 semesters.