My interest in Roman Catholic theology started in my years in public elementary school, where catechism classes. I attended all lectures and even took exams even though I initially informed catechists that I am not a Roman Catholic and that my dad is a Protestant pastor. They would tell me that it is okay to stay at the canteen during these classes, but I would always choose to stay and hear about Bible stories, lives of saints, and basic doctrines that they taught.
I would always marvel at the similarities and the differences in our doctrines, especially the divisive belief in purgatory. But I was more fascinated with the limbo concept, which, as championed by my numerous catechism teachers, is the place where unbaptized infants who die are waiting for their fate in eternity.
Searching for more information, I ran across a commentary that showed two limbos: the limbus patrum or limbo of the patriarchs where the faithful of the Old Testament waited for Christ’s redemption and the limbus infantium, which was for those unbaptized children.
Around high school, a (secular) teacher cheerfully announced how Pope Benedict XVI “opened up” limbo and declaring it as no longer existing, implying that all unbaptized babies for all time are now given salvation. I was surprised to find out later that the limbus infantium was not a doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church and that the Pope only reiterated its historic stand on the topic.
In college, limbo became a nuanced definition of what my life had become. Day in and day out, different things came to challenge me, making me more attached to the concept of limbo.
When I entered our campus paper, “in limbo” was a clichéd phrase to define any uncertainty attributed to a plan or a program. As per definition, limbo is “an uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution; an intermediate state or condition.”
These past few months, I realized some things in my life, and I discovered how I am still living like I am, or better yet, we are in limbo. Is limbo associated with depression, darkness, anxiety, and the like? I do think so, as unbaptized babies are often thought to be yearning for salvation. Does being in limbo mean that no one loves you? Not necessarily as unbaptized babies may also have parents or relatives that care for them and love them.
Every day I’m waking up in limbo: not knowing if we would still have money for the rest of the week, not sure if our supplies will last, not certain if I will still have some work to do for my living. This is what the pandemic made me.
Every day I’m waking up in limbo: not knowing if my medicines will work, not sure if I would still enjoy the rest of the day, not certain if I get another shot for a healthy life. This is what my body made me.
Every day I’m waking up in limbo: not knowing all the basic stuff in medical school, not sure if I can still make it when I get back, not certain if I will still have the courage to go on. This is what my failures made me.
I thought about this sense of uncertainty that differs from limbo because I can call on others for help. I have my wife. I have my friends. I have some others to help. But this does not diminish the fact: I’m still in limbo.
Here’s to wishing for better days ahead and for heaven to replace this limbo very soon.
As always, cease not.