WEDNESDAY
April 26, 2000
volume 11, no. 82

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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 159:
The Ascension part one

        On Mount Olivet, a hill outside Jerusalem, forty days after His Resurrection, Our Lord spoke to the disciples, telling them how the Holy Spirit would descend upon them. "And when He had said this, He was lifted up before their eyes, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. And while they were gazing up to Heaven as He went, behold, two men stood by them in white garments, and said to them, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up to Heaven? This Jesus Who has been taken from you into Heaven, will come in the same way as you have seen Him going up to Heaven'" (Acts 1:9-11).

        Christ ascended, body and soul, into Heaven on Ascension day, forty days after His Resurrection. The Ascension took place from the Mount of Olives. Christ's Apostles and disciples were present. It was full daylight.

        He gave His followers His last instructions. Then He raised His hands and blessed them. He told them to preach the Gospel to all nations, and promised to be with them to the end of the world. While all looked on, He was raised up, by His own power, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. "Now He led them out towards Bethany, and...was carried up into Heaven" (Luke 24:50-51).

        The disciples returned to Jerusalem with great joy. Their Master had returned to Heaven in glory, and His arrival there had opened to His followers the Heavenly gates. He had earned for men infinite grace, so that they were now able to attain the friendship of God Himself. Christ the King had gone home to prepare a place for men in Heaven (cf. John 14:16; 2 Cor. 1:7). We celebrate the feast of the Ascension forty days after Easter, on Ascension Thursday.

        Christ remained on earth forty days after His Resurrection to prove that He had truly risen from the dead, and to complete the instruction of the Apostles. Christ's resurrection is an undoubted fact on which rests the Christian faith. St. Paul says: "If Christ has not risen, vain then is our preaching, vain too is your faith" (1 Corinthians 15:14). And according to Saint John, an eyewitness; "Many other signs also Jesus worked in the sight of His disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" (John 20: 30-31).

        In the first place, Christ really died. His death was witnessed by many, both friends and enemies. It was proved by the soldier who plunged his spear into His side. It was communicated officially to Pilate. His bones were not broken, because He was found already dead. His Mother and disciples would never have buried Him had they suspected the least chance of life.

    Tomorrow: The Ascension part two

          

April 26, 2000
volume 11, no. 82
APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

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