WEDNESDAY IN HOLY WEEK
April 19, 2000
volume 11, no. 78

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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 156:
Calvary part two

        The Church commemorates the passion and death of Jesus Christ on Good Friday. The solemn afternoon service consists of four parts, the veneration of the cross being the chief feature. All may receive Communion. After the Holy Thursday ceremonies the altar is stripped; lights are put out, and bells silenced.

        After His death, Our Lord's body was taken down from the cross and laid in the grave which belonged to Joseph of Arimathea. Then His disciples rolled up a great stone to close the tomb. The chief priests and the Pharisees went in a body to Pontius Pilate, saying, "Sir, we have remembered how that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, 'After three days I will rise again.' Give orders, therefore, that the sepulchre be guarded until the third day, or else His disciples may come and steal Him away, and say to the people, 'He has risen from the dead' and the last imposture will be worse than the first.' Pilate said to them, 'You have a guard; go, guard it as well as you know how.' So they went and made the sepulchre secure, sealing the stone, and setting the guard" (Matthew 27: 63-66).

        From the sufferings and death of Christ we learn God's love for man and the evil of sin, for which God, Who is all-just, demands such great satisfaction. It was not necessary for Jesus to suffer so intensely in order to redeem all men. As His merits are infinite, He could have wiped away the sins of a thousand worlds by shedding one drop of His blood. But He chose to suffer agonies because He loves us. "Greater love than this no one has, that one lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for His sheep...I am the good shepherd; and I know Mine and Mine know Me...and I lay down My life for My sheep" (John 10:11-15).

        From the Passion of Christ we learn the evil that sin is, and the hatred that God bears it. We learn the necessity of satisfying for the malice and wickedness that is sin. Sin must be a horrible thing, to make Jesus Christ the God-man suffer so much. By Christ's obedience He atoned for Adam's disobedience, for He was obedient unto death. "He was wounded for our iniquities; He was bruised for our sins" (Isaiah 53:5).

        The sufferings of Christ, in addition, serve as an example for us, to strengthen us under trials. Christ gave us an example of patience and strength. If we receive trials, we should accept them with resignation, in imitation of Our Lord, Who suffered so willingly for our sake. We can never have as much suffering as He did.

        Churches should be built in the form of a cross because within the sacrifice of the cross is reenacted. Within them we remember easily the events that took place that day long ago, when Jesus Christ, Son of God, for love of us suffered and died on the Cross.

        Church spires lead us to "seek those things that are above" (Colossians 3:1); they are surmounted by a cross, the symbol of our salvation; their bells call us to prayer, communion with God. The church interior is divided into three parts: the porch, where in former times those preparing for baptism and the penitents knelt; the nave, which is the central and main portion, for those attending the Holy Sacrifice; and the choir or sanctuary, where the choir and celebrant are.

    Easter Sunday: The Resurrection

          

April 19, 2000
volume 11, no. 78
APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

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