EASTER SUNDAY-MONDAY
April 23-24, 2000
volume 11, no. 80

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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 157:
The Resurrection part one

        "Now late in the night of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the sepulchre. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord came down from Heaven, and drawing near rooled back the stone, and sat upon it. His countenance as like lightning, and his raiment like snow. And for fear of him the guards were terrified, and became like dead men. But the angel spoke and said to the women, 'Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus, Who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen even as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord was laid' " (Matthew 28:1-7).

        When we say that Christ descended into hell, we mean that, after He died, the soul of Christ descended into a place or state of rest, called Limbo, where the souls of the just were waiting for Him. Christ did not go to the hell of the damned, but to the "hell" of the just. In Holy Scripture, it was called "Abraham's bosom" Saint Peter called it "a prison." We call it Limbo.

        Among the souls in limbo were Adam, Eve, Abel, Noe, Abraham, Issac,Jacob, Joseph, David, Isaias, Daniel, Job, Tobias, Saint Joseph, and Saint John the Baptist. They went to Heaven at Our Lord's entrance upon His Ascension.

        Christ went to Limbo to announce to the souls waiting there the joyful news that He had reopened Heaven to mankind. "He was brought to life in the spirit, in which also He went and preached to those spirits that were in prison" (1 Peter 3:19). The souls in Limbo could not go to Heaven, which had been closed by Adam's sin. It was only reopened to man by the death of Our Lord, by the Redemption. The souls in Limbo did not suffer pain, but they longed for Heaven. After the release of these souls from Limbo, and their entrance into Heaven, this Limbo for the just souls ceased to exist.

        While His soul was in Limbo, Christ's body was in the holy sepulchre. When man dies, his soul is separated from the body. When Jesus died, His body and soul were separated, but His divinity remained united to both body and soul.

        Christ's body did not corrupt in the tomb. It was in the holy sepulchre from Friday evening when He was buried, to Sunday morning, when He arose from the grave. This is why we say Christ rose on the third day, although He was in the grave for only three incomplete days.

        Christ rose from the dead, glorious and immortal, on Easter Sunday, the third day after His death. Our Lord had often foretold His resurrection. He said of His own body: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (John 2:19). Before entering Jerusalem He said to His Apostles that He would be put to death and "rise again on the third day" (Matthew 20:19). On the night of the Last Supper He said: "But after I have risen, I will go before you into Galilee" (Matthew 26:32).

        Even His enemies knew that He had predicted His resurrection. This is why they obtained Pilate's permission to seal the sepulchre and set guards to watch it. They said to Pilate: "Sir, we have remembered how that deceiver said, while He was yet alive. 'After three days I will rise again'" (Matthew 27:63).

        Christ really arose from the dead. For forty days He appeared to many. He conversed, walked, and even ate with them. He spent much time instructing the Apostles. One of His most important appearances was to five hundred disciples on a mountain in Galilee, when He gave the Apostles the command to go forth into the world and teach. The Evangelists have recorded nine apparitions; but it is evident from their writings (for example, Acts 1:3) that there were other and unrecorded occasions when Christ appeared. Countless of Christ's followers laid down their lives in testimony of the truth of the resurrection. "During forty days appearing to them, and speaking of the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3).

        Today the entire Christendom celebrates Easter Sunday in memory of the Resurrection. It is the Feast of feasts, commemorating the completion of our redemption by Christ.

    Tuesday: The Resurrection part two

          

April 23-24, 2000
volume 11, no. 80
APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

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