WEDNESDAY
February 16, 2000
volume 11, no. 33

To print out entire text
of Today's issue, go to
SECTION ONE
SECTION TWO
SECTION THREE

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 111:
UNITY OF THE BLESSED TRINITY part two

    We cannot fully understand how the three divine Persons, though really distinct from one another, are one and the same God, because this is a supernatural mystery.

    A supernatural mystery is a truth which we cannot fully understand, but which we firmly believe because we have God's word for it. A supernatural mystery is above reason, but not contrary to it. No man can explain a mystery; neither can anyone know it unless it is revealed by God. "Great art thou, O Lord, in counsel, and incomprehensible in thought" (Jeremiah 32:19).

    It is not unreasonable to believe in a supernatural mystery. There are many natural mysteries around us that no one has yet been able to explain, yet we believe them: electricity, magnetism, force, and many of the processes of life.

    The doctrine of the Blessed Trinity is a strict mystery; that is, we cannot learn it from reason, nor understand it completely, even after it has been revealed to us. The doctrine contains two truths our reason cannot fully understand: (1) that there is only one God; and (2) that each of the three Persons is God. We can understand each of these truths separately, but not when taken together.

    The mystery of the Blessed Trinity is not a contradiction. We do not say that there are three gods in one God, nor that the three divine Persons are one Person. We only say that there are three Persons in one God, that is, three Persons, and one nature or essence. Somewhat similarly, the soul of man has will, understanding, and memory, but it is only one soul. Also, the sun has form, light, and heat, but is only one sun. Three flames put together make only one flame.

    We believe in the mystery of the Blessed Trinity because God Himself revealed it to us. "Thy word is Truth" (John 17:17). The mystery of the Blessed Trinity is the greatest of all mysteries. We believe it because God has revealed it to us, but we cannot fully understand it. It would be foolish to refuse to believe just because we cannot understand; that would be like a blind man who refuses to believe there is a sun, because he cannot see it. Is God limited because we are:

    The Jews did not explicitly believe in the Blessed Trinity, although there are re ferences to the mystery in the Old Testament. Before making man, God said: "Let Us make man to Our own image" (Genesis 1:26). David says: "The Lord said to my Lord, Sit on my right hand."

    Our Lord Jesus Christ revealed the mystery. He said: "Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19).

"But when the Advocate has come, Whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth Who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness concerning Me" (John 15:26).

    The Blessed Trinity manifested Itself at the baptism of Jesus Christ. God the Father spoke from the Heavens; God the Son was baptized; God the Holy Ghost descended in visible form, in the form of a dove.

    We profess our faith in the Blessed Trinity especially when we make the sign of the cross. We also honor the Blessed Trinity every time we say the doxology or "prayer of praise": "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be world without end."

    The Feast of the Blessed Trinity, called Trinity Sunday, is kept on the first Sunday after Pentecost. All the sacraments are administered in the name of the Blessed Trinity. On our death-bed the Church through the priest will comfort us with the words: "Even though he hath sinned, he hath not denied the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."

Tomorrow: Creation part one

          

February 16, 2000
volume 11, no. 33
APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

To print out text of Today's issue, go to:
SECTION ONE | SECTION TWO | SECTION THREE

The DAILY CATHOLIC Search for anything
from the last three
years in past issues of
the DailyCATHOLIC: