MONDAY     February 28, 2000    vol. 11, no. 41    SECTION TWO

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SECTION TWO Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • APPRECIATION OF THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH: Installment 119: An Image of God part one
  • Daily LITURGY
  • Daily WORD
  • Be an angel! Help keep the DailyCATHOLIC on-line and reaching countless more souls the world over!

    (NOTE: For a review of the Holy Father's "Jubilee Journey" to Egypt, see

    WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant:

  • Holy Father completes Pentateuch part of his "Jubilee Journey" as he returns to Rome
  • Symposium wraps at the Vatican on being true to Vatican II's true documents

  • Appreciation of an Image of God

        Today we continue with our new series in the search to uncover the wonderful treasures of the Church contained in the great Deposit of Faith. Today we present the catechesis on Image of God as explained in My Catholic Faith. For part one in the 119th installment, see 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

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    A compassionate man always has time!

       They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but the words of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen have been known to launch a thousand images in one's mind, one of the ways this late luminary did so much to evangelize the faith. Because of the urgency of the times and because few there are today who possess the wisdom, simplicity and insight than the late Archbishop who touched millions, we are bringing you daily gems from his writings. The good bishop makes it so simple that we have dubbed this daily series: "SIMPLY SHEEN".

    "The truly compassionate and kind man who gives up his time for others manages to find time. Like the bread, miraculously multiplied, he gives, and yet he gathers up for himself more than he gave."

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       Today and tomorrow we observe Ordinary Time in the last full week of Ordinary Time until June 12th. For the readings, liturgies, and meditations, see DAILY LITURGY.

    Monday, February 28, 2000

        First Reading: 1 Peter 1: 3-9
        Responsorial: Psalm 111: 1-2, 5-6, 9, 10
        Gospel Reading: Mark 10: 17-27

    Tuesday, February 29, 2000

        First Reading: 1 Peter 1: 10-16
        Responsorial: Psalm 98: 1-4
        Gospel Reading: Mark 10: 28-31

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    "And Jesus looking round, said to His disciples, 'With what difficulty will they who have riches enter the Kingdom of God!' But the disciples were amazed at His word. But Jesus again addressed them, saying 'Children, with what difficulty will they who trust in riches enter the Kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to to enter the Kingdom of God!'"

    Mark 10: 23-24

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    WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant:

      Holy Father completes the successful, fruitful second leg of his "Jubilee Journey" with great hope for dialogue with both the Orthodox and Muslims

         The Holy Father safely completed the second leg of his historic "Jubilee Journey" this weekend realizing a goal he had long dreamed of - to visit Mt. Sinai and pray near the spot where Moses received the Ten Commandments. There the Pope prayed for unity as God has always intended, and toured the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Saint Catherine's whose tomb he also visited and knelt before. Just as he had welcomed the Pope, so also President Hosni Mubarak bid him farewell at the Cairo airport early Saturday evening after his successful, fruitful three day spiritual pilgrimage. continued inside

    Pope Bids Farewell to Egypt and Calls for Dialogue Among Believers

        VATICAN CITY, FEB 27 (ZENIT).- Yesterday, John Paul II ended his trip to Egypt with a call to rediscover the force of the Ten Commandments, "the Law of life and freedom," which he gave at St. Catherine's Monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai. This was the second stage of John Paul II's longed for pilgrimage to the places of Revelation. The first was his "spiritual" journey to Iraq, held in the Vatican last Wednesday.

        Although brief, John Paul II's pilgrimage in Moses' footsteps was intense, experiencing, as he did, decisive moments to give impetus to the dialogue among believers of different religions and Christians of different confessions. The Pontiff went so far as to request an acceleration of the search for this objective.

    Pilgrim in God's Footsteps

        John Paul II was able to touch the reddish stones that characterize this critical but rough place, a desert of granite mountains. As a "pilgrim in the footsteps of God," he went yesterday morning to the foot of the sacred mountain (known today as "Djebel Mousa," Moses' Mountain), to the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. Catherine, a fortress of 40-foot thick walls towering to 5,000 feet in height.

        The Holy Father explained the meaning of his pilgrimage from the shade of a flowering almond tree during a celebration outside the Monastery, where he addressed some 500 Egyptian Catholics, including numerous members of the Neo-Catechumenal Way. "The Bishop of Rome is a pilgrim to Mount Sinai, drawn by this holy mountain that rises like a soaring monument to what God revealed here. Here he revealed his name! Here he gave his Law, the Ten Commandments of the Covenant!"

        A few years ago, John Paul II dreamt of participating in this place in a significant meeting among believers of the monotheist religions: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim. This was not possible. Furthermore, the community of Greek monks of the Monastery was initially opposed to the papal visit. However, in this open air sanctuary, consecrated to faith in the one God, the Holy Father did not give up on the idea of re-proposing dialogue, when speaking of the "wind that still blows from Sinai today; a wind that "carries an insistent invitation to dialogue between the followers of the great monotheistic religions in their service of the human family. It suggests that in God we can find the point of our encounter.

    The Liberating Force of the Ten Commandments

        The "pilgrim in the footsteps of God," went to Sinai to contemplate the secret of human liberty. According to John Paul II, the tables of the Law given to Moses "are not an arbitrary imposition of a tyrannical Lord. They were written in stone; but, before that, they were written on the human heart as the universal moral law, valid in every time and place. Today, as always, the Ten Words of the Law provide the only true basis for the lives of individuals, societies and nations. Today as always, they are the only future of the human family. They save man from the destructive force of egoism, hatred, and falsehood. They point out all the false gods that draw him into slavery: the love of self to the exclusion of God, the greed for power and pleasure that overturns the order of justice and degrades our human dignity and that of our neighbor."

        The Holy Father experienced the greatest emotion when visiting the Church of the Transfiguration of the most ancient Christian monastery in the world, erected by Justinian in 527, in the place that preserves the roots of the "burning bush" that God used to speak to Moses and reveal his name: "I am Who am." The pilgrim Pope removed his shoes, as God ordered his prophet, knelt down and kissed this holy ground. He also kissed the relics of St. Catherine of Alexandria, martyred in 307, to whom the Monastery is dedicated. Here he carried out an ancient ritual, placing his ring on the finger of the skeleton, touching the ring to the skull, and putting it back on. He also venerated Christ Pantocrator, the most ancient icon of the Redeemer (6th century), whose face was copied from the Myron, a lost image of Christ's face on a cloth, which many believe to be today's Shroud of Turin, which at the time was in the Greek city of Odessa.

        After these moments of intense spiritual experience, the Pope visited the Monastery's library, housing 6,000 works, including 3,500 manuscripts, outstanding among which is the "Codex Syriacus," the Syrian text of the Gospels that dates from the 4th century, and fragments of the "Codex Sinaiticus" (the rest of whose passages are in the British Museum). The visit was guided by Archbishop and Abbot Damianos. This community of 23 monks, which initially had opposed the papal visit because of the anti-Catholic feelings common among Greek Orthodox, in the end were affectionate hosts. Outside the Monastery, the Abbot addressed a long welcome to the Pope. However, neither he nor his monks prayed with their guests. "There is still no full ecclesial communion, that is why we cannot pray together," he explained to reporters.

        At the very moment the muezzin (Muslim prayer caller) was calling for evening prayer, John Paul II was leaving Cairo, the city of a thousand minarets, where he arrived after his visit in the Sinai Peninsula. The farewell ceremony at the airport was simple. Normally Egyptian protocol makes no provision for the President's attendance, but Hosni Mubarak wanted to say good-bye to the Holy Father personally. Also at the airport was the Grand Imam Mohammed Sayed Tantawi of Al-Azhar University, alongside the Egyptian head of government, and the entire Catholic hierarchy. ZE00022703

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    International Symposium on Implementation of Vatican II

        VATICAN CITY, FEB 25 (ZENIT).- The third and last in a series of symposiums convoked by John Paul II to prepare the Church's Jubilee "examination of conscience" began today to discuss a decisively important theme: the implementation of Vatican Council II. The previous symposiums in this series considered the Church's relation with Judaism and the history of the Inquisition.

        In the end, what is being undertaking is a real examination of conscience, which must respond to questions already posed by John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter of preparation for the year 2000, "Tertium Millenium Adveniente." To what degree has the word of God become the soul of theology and inspiration of Christian life? Is the liturgy lived as the source and culmination of ecclesial life? Is the lived experience of the Church being consolidated, giving space to charisms, ministries and different forms of participation by the people of God? What is the Church's relation with the world?

    Leap to Third Millennium

        The first to address these questions was Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, president of the Vatican Jubilee Committee, who asserted that the Jubilee must help the Council maintain its initial impetus. "The Council seems to fade from a horizon that is changing today," the Cardinal stated in his report, which he was unable to read in person as he is accompanying the Holy Father on his pilgrimage to Egypt. In reality, "the only road the Church can take is to enter more profoundly and faithfully into the Council and have the courage to make the leap into the third millennium of Christian history." The Cardinal, who served as an "expert" during Vatican Council II, called that event as "a summit from which God pointed out the road to his people and challenged them, as he did from the summit of Sinai."

    35 Years Later

        In 1985 John Paul II convoked an extraordinary Synod to make an examination of conscience 20 years after the Council. Bishops from all over the world had the opportunity to make a serious and profound analysis, noted Bishop Crescenzio Sepe, secretary general of the Vatican Jubilee Committee. Consequently, the current international symposium will focus on the implementation of the Council "from the 1985 Synod up to the present Great Jubilee of 2000."


        The first magisterial conference was given by Professor Hermann J. Pottmeyer, of the University of Bochum, Germany. He entered fully into the current theological debate on the idea of the Church as communion, a formulation used in 1985 to identify the Church by the Council. Various theologians are criticizing this terminology. Some consider the communion as a type of ecclesiastical centralism, which could go against the image of the Church as People of God, mentioned in the Conciliar Constitution, "Lumen Gentium." According to this group, that Council contribution is being ignored at present.

        Quoting John Paul II's Magisterium, Professor Pottmeyer explained the meaning and profound implications of the dimension of communion at all levels of the Church's life, which has nothing to do with ecclesiastical centralism. At the end of his talk there was greater understanding of the Pope's query in "Tertium Millennium Adveniente," where he requests an examination of conscience on the space being given to charisms, ministries and the ways of the People of God's participation. The danger that must be avoided is that of falling into a kind of "democratism" or "sociologism" that makes of the Church a philanthropic association, forgetting her origin and mission.

        This afternoon began with Jean Vanier's testimony. He is the founder of the Arc Community, an institution in which physically and mentally handicapped people live with those dedicated to their care. Through these people, especially the innocence of those with Down Syndrome, Jean Vanier, a layman, has been able to understand the most profound passages of Scripture, which reflect the wonder of God over man's smallness. It is in that love of God that genuine communion is rooted.

        A debate began following Professor Pottmeyer's presentation. More than 20 experts from around the world participated, speaking about topics ranging from theological research to inculturation. ZE00022508

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    February 28, 2000     volume 11, no. 41
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