TUESDAY IN HOLY WEEK
April 18, 2000
volume 11, no. 77

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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 155:
Calvary part one

        During Holy Week the Church lives again the passion and death of Christ. On the first day, Palm Sunday, the solemn entry of Jesus into Jerusalem is celebrated by the blessing of palms , followed by a solemn procession. As the Mass of this day, as on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, the story of the Passion from each Evangelist is read.

        On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of Holy Week the Tenebrae are celebrated: the fifteen candles are put out one by one, to symbolize the flight of the disciples, and the death of Our Lord.

        On Holy Thursday morning a pontifical Mass is celebrated, in cathedrals only; at this the holy oils are blessed. Commemorating the Last Supper at which the Holy Eucharist and the Priesthood were instituted, Holy Thursday Mass takes place in the evening, with the washing of feet , to commemorate Christ's washing of the Apostles' feet.

        At the Good Friday service, emphasis is given to the veneration of the cross. Holy Saturday services are held at night, beginning with the blessing of the new fire ; from this the Paschal candle is lighted , a reminder of Christ, Light of the world. The five grains of incense imbedded in the candle remind us of His wounds. Four Lessons are read; the baptismal water is blessed and taken to the font. The Mass commemorates Our Lord's glorious Resurrection.

        Christ died on Good Friday. During the three hours that Christ suffered on the cross, He spoke seven times. We call these the seven words:

    1. "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34).
    2. "Amen, I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with Me in paradise" (Luke 23:43).
    3. "Woman, behold thy son - son, Behold thy mother" (John 19:26-26).
    4. "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46).
    5. "I thirst" (John 19:28).
    6. "It is consummated!" (John 19:30).
    7. "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit" (Luke 23:46).

        Christ died on Golgotha, a hill also called Calvary, outside the city of Jerusalem. Saint Augustine says that on the cross Our Lord bent His head to kiss us, extended His arms to embrace us, and opened His heart to love us. How thankful we should be to Christ for His love! "He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to death, even to death on a cross" (Philippians 2:8).

        At the death of Christ the sun was darkened, the earth quaked, the veil of the Temple was rent, the rocks split, and many of the dead arose and appeared in Jerusalem. The tearing of the veil of the Temple at the death of Christ marked the end of the Jewish religion as the true religion. This Jewish religion had been a figure of the True Church and, when the Church was established, was no longer needed; types and figures had to give way to reality. The veil of the Temple concealed the Holy of Holies, the most sacred part of the Temple.

        We must not, however, make the mistake of thinking that Christianity ended the moral laws-laws regarding good and evil-that were taught by the Jewish religion. Christ came not to destroy, but to perfect, the Old Law. The authority of the Temple and its officers was now placed in the Church established by Christ, in the hands of His Apostles. The ceremonial laws of the Jews relating to worship were abolished.

    Tomorrow: The Calvary part two

          

April 18, 2000
volume 11, no. 77
APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

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