THURSDAY
April 27, 2000
volume 11, no. 83

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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 160:
The Ascension part two

        Some unbelievers urge that Christ was dead only in appearance after an interval recovered from His swoon and left the grave. The loss of blood following the scourging alone would have been enough to cause death, not to mention the wounds He received on the cross.

        In the second place, Christ really came to life. On the first Easter morning He appeared to Mary Magdalen and the other women who sought Him at the sepulchre. Then He appeared to Saint Peter. In the evening He walked with two disciples on the road to Emmaus. At night He appeared to the assembled Apostles. Nor were these witnesses easily deceived. The Apostles did not at first believe the women who told them the Lord had risen. They would not even believe their own sense, thinking the risen Savior was a ghost. Christ had to call for something to eat, to prove that He was not a ghost. Saint Thomas refused to believe the other ten Apostles, who had seen Christ first. He only believed when Our Lord appeared to him and bade him touch His wounds.

        The Jews bribed the guards to say that while they were asleep, the disciples had stolen the body of Christ. Such an act was made impossible by Christ's enemies themselves. They had sealed and guarded the tomb. "So they went and made the sepulchre secure, sealing the stone, and setting the guard" (Matthew 27:66). Even supposing the guards to have fallen asleep, the great stone which covered the sepulchre could not have been moved without waking at least some of the guards. Finally, it is a remarkable circumstance that the guards were not punished for this breach of duty.

        When we say that Christ sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, we mean that Our Lord as God is equal to the Father, and that as man He shares above all the saints in the glory of His Father, and exercises for all eternity the supreme authority of a King over all creatures. Christ as God is equal to the Father in all things. But even as man Christ is only next to God. He is above all the angels and saints. To sit at the right hand of anybody is a mark of honor from that person. "Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thy enemies Thy footstool" (Psalm 109:1,2).

        Christ ascended into Heaven in order to:

  • (a) Enter into the glory He had merited.
  • (b) Send down the Holy Spirit on His Church.
  • (c) Be our intercessor with the Father.
  • (d) Prepare a place for us in Heaven.

    When we say that Christ will come from thence to judge the living and the dead, we mean that on the last day Our Lord will come to pronounce a sentence of eternal reward or of eternal punishement on every one who has ever lived in this world.

    Jesus Christ will be our Supreme Judge because He is "King of kings and Lord of lords" (Revelation/Apocalypse 17:14). "For the Son of Man is to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will render to everyone according to his conduct" (Matthew 16:27).

    One poor young Man, teaching for three years in the hills and valleys of Galilee, and dying a shameful death, has brought light, love, peace, and hope into men's lives, even the lowliest. Before Christ the world was the abode of sin and vice, idolatry, polygamy, divorce and slavery. However, the world today, although reformed by Christianity, is far from perfect. This is because many refuse to obey the teachings of Christ. It is our duty to make Christ better known and loved, so that all may "seek first the kingdom of God."

Tomorrow: The Holy Spirit part one

          

April 27, 2000
volume 11, no. 83
APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

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