TUESDAY
April 11, 2000
volume 11, no. 72

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APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH Series         INTRODUCTION

    Every day we present a short point that helps bring into focus the treasures of the Roman Catholic Church that comprise the great Deposit of Faith.

    It is no secret that over the past thirty years fewer and fewer know their Faith and it shows with the declining number of vocations, parish participation and attendance at Holy Mass. We have the new Catechism of the Catholic Church but for the common man, the one brought up on sound bites and instant gratification, it is more of a text book and that in itself prompts them to shy away from such a tome. So what's a loyal Catholic to do in evangelizing to fellow Catholics and understand their Faith? Our answer: go back to basics - to the great Deposit of Faith. We have the Baltimore Catechism which, for unknown and ridiculous reasons, was shelved after Vatican II. We have the Holy Bible but there are so many newer versions that the Douay-Rheims and Confraternity Latin Vulgate in English versions, the ones used for so long as the official Scriptural text authorized by the Church, seem lost in a maze of new interpretations that water down the Word. This is further complicated by the fact there are so few Douay-Rheims editions in circulation though it is available on the net at DOUAY-RHEIMS BIBLE. We have so many Vatican documents available at the Vatican web site and other excellent Catholic resource sites that detail Doctrine, Dogma and Canon Law. We have the traditions, and the means of grace but how do we consolidate all these sources into one where it is succinct and easy to understand? We have the perfect vehicle. It is called "My Catholic Faith", now out of print, that was compiled by Bishop Louis Laravoire Morrow and published by My Mission House. This work ties in Scriptural references, the Sacraments, Dogmas, Doctrines, Traditions, Church documents, Encyclical and Papal decrees to clearly illustrate the Faith in simple, solid and concise terms that all can understand and put into practice. We will quote from this work while adding in more recent events and persons when applicable since the book was written in the late forties during the pontificate of Pope Pius XII. We also quote from the Catholic Almanac published by Our Sunday Visitor for the Roman Curial offices and from Old Testament Confraternity Edition and New Testament Confraternity Edition of the Saint Joseph New Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible.

    Nothing in Holy Mother Church's teaching has changed and therefore we feel confident that these daily "points of enlightenment" will help more Catholics better understand their faith, especially those who were not blessed with early formation of the faith in the home and their parish school. Regardless of where any Catholic is in his or her journey toward salvation, he or she has to recognize that the Faith they were initiated into at the Sacrament of Baptism is the most precious gift they have been given in life. For points covered thus far, click on APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH


installment 150:
The Hidden Life of Jesus Christ part two

        The hidden life of Jesus Christ lasted from His return to Nazaraeth at the age of twelve until He entered into public life, at the age of thirty. Of this part of Christ's life all we directly read from Holy Scripture are two statements: "And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them...And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and grace before God and men" (Luke 2:51, 52). In these two sentences is contained the history of eighteen years of the life of Jesus Christ, the God-Man.

        In the Temple at the early age of twelve, Jesus had proved His wisdom before the doctors of the law. As St. Luke writes, "And all who were listening to Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers" (Luke 2:47). But did He continue after this unusual and favorable beginning; did He stay on to preach His doctrine? No; instead, He meekly followed His parents as a young child of that age, and went to live with them in obscurity in Nazareth.

        The actions of Jesus Christ are intended for us as examples and instructions, as much as His words. As He said, "I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you also should do" (John 13:15). The hidden life of Jesus is for us a perfect model of humility. He lived in poverty and lowliness: the Mother He chose was a poor woman; His foster-father was a carpenter; the town in which He spent the greatest part of His life was an obscure place despised by the Jews: "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46).

        By His hidden life Jesus Christ teaches us to learn holiness and wisdom before we presume to teach others. He teaches us, by living in obscurity, to fifht against our vanity, which makes us desire to be doing only what seems great and important, which makes us desire to be praised and noticed. By His hidden life Our Lord teaches us to subdue our pride, to live day after day without impatience or complaint, unknown to the world, and even despised, if that is the will of God for us; then we shall have true peace of heart. And so Jesus said, "Learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart" (Matthew 11:29). For long years of obscurity in Nazareth, He was just "a carpenter's son."

        The hidden life of Jesus Christ is for us a perfect model of obedience: "And He was subject to them." The God of all created things, almighty and infinite, was subject to two poor and unknown mortals. He obeyed them in all things, promptly, constantly, cheerfully, and with great love.

        Let us model our obedience on this perfect pattern. Let us obey our superiors as representatives of God, giving them due respect and prompt obedience. When our parents command us, and we go about doing what they want, but with murmuring and without spirit, is that the obedience that the Child Jesus gave in Nazareth? When we have to do some unpleasant or difficult task, let us imitate Jesus in His very words: "Yes, Father, for such was Thy good pleasure" (Matthew 11:26).

        In this way our obedience will be like that of Jesus, supernatural; we shall obey human beings for the love of God; we shall really be obeying God Himself, in the persons of those He has placed over us. By the example of His hidden life our Lord set the principle for the religious life, particularly for that in contemplative orders.

        Jesus "advanced in wisdom and grace before God and men." Although He possessed all wisdom and grace from the first moment of His mortal life, He manifested them only gradually and in a way that was in keeping with His years. We can obtain much merit before God without doing any striking actions, by merely being humble and obedient in the place of life in which it has pleased God to put us. If Christ the Son of God, God Himself, was content to be humble, poor, and unknown, to do common tasks day by day for the greater part of His earthly life, is there any reason why we should be ever trying to exalt ourselves, to attract admiration, ever to feed our vanity? Remember another who practiced this virtue with her Little Way - Saint Therese of Lisieux.

    Tomorrow: The Public Life of Jesus Christ part one

          

April 11, 2000
volume 11, no. 72
APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

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