MONDAY
February 28, 2000
volume 11, no. 41

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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 119:
An Image of God part one

    The Book of Genesis describes the creation of the first man and the first woman in these words: "And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth, and breatahed into his face the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Then the Lord God cast a deepsleepupon Adam: and whenhe was fast asleep, he took one of his ribs…And the Lord God built the rib which he took from Adam into a woman" (Genesis 2:7, 21, 22). Such was the creation of Adam and Eve, our first parents. God gave them power over all created things: the earth, the beasts, birds, fishes, plants, and all things else.

    Man is a creature composed of body and soul, and made to the image and likeness of God. Before the creation of man, God said, "Let Us make man to Our image and likeness; and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth" (Genesis 1:26).

    God formed the body of man from the slime of the earth; but He breathed the soul into man's body. In this way the soul came direct from God, and indicates closer likeness to Him. We should always reverence our likeness to God, trying to perfect it by making our soul as holy as possible. Once the enemies of a king tried to make his son do something wrong. But the youth proudly and resolutely answered, "No! I am the son of the king!" By Baptism man becomes the adopted son of God, Who is infinitely higher than any earthly king. His soul is like his Father in Heaven.

    The soul of man is different from the soul of brute animals. Animals have senses and instinct, but neither reason nor free will. Free will is that power of the soul to choose whether to act or not to act. If a horse has not eaten for a day, and you put some hay before him, he will eat, because his instinct moves him to do so. But a hungry man may fast for days, and still refuse to eat however hungry he may be, if he wills not to eat. The difference beween man's free will and animal instinct is that a man can say "No" to himself.

    3. The soul and the body are not loosely connected parts of man; they are united in a substantial union. The soul is not located in any particular member of the body, but is whole and entire in each part. This likeness to God is chiefly in the soul. Man continues in this likeness to God only when he remains in God's grace, for then he is a "partaker of the Divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4).

    Like God, man's soul is an immortal spirit, with understanding and free will. Some deny the existence of the woul, because it cannot be seen; yet the same people would not deny the esixtence of human reason, even if this cannot be seen, either.

    Some claim that man has two souls, one good and one evil, striving for mastery. But the struggle that we often experience comes from only one soul with different tendencies arising from the fact of our being made of both body and woul, partly material and partly spiritual. In a living person, the soul should not be considered apart from the body; their union is as close as the relation between a musician and his instrument at the hour of a concert.

    Through his two faculties of the soul, understanding and free will, man obtains dominion over the material world, as God possesses power over the entire universe.

Tomorrow: An Image of God part two

          

February 28, 2000
volume 11, no. 41
APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

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