January 10, 2000
volume 11, no. 6

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    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 84:   Acts of the Apostles
    This book was written about 63 A.D. by Saint Luke, the author of the third Gospel. It ends with the statement that Saint Paul preached in Rome for two years while still under arrest. St. Luke had been with him on the voyage from Palestine to Rome, since the account of this voyage is given in the first person plural, and he was still with him, as is clear from the Epistle to Philemon, when the Apostle was confident of soon being released. From this final statement it appears that the book dates from the close of the two years' imprisonment (63 A.D.), but before St. Paul's acquittal.

    Beginning with Our Lord's farewell instructions to the Apostles just before His Ascension, it first narrates the chief events in the history of the infant Church up to about the year 42, when Saint Peter definitely departed from Palestine. A feature of the latter part of this period was the new policy of preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles. From this point the Acts of the Apostles traces the spread of the Church principally through the missionary journeys of St. Paul, and closes with a short account of his labors in Rome.

    In this way it covers a period of about thirty-five years from the Ascension to the second year of St. Paul's imprisonment. Keeping to the main course of events as showing the growth of the Church, it is silent about the internal development of the churches after their establishment; many of these internal details are recorded in the Epistles of St. Paul, but without in any way contradicting the general facts given by St. Luke.

    The Acts is a necessary and beautiful supplement to the history of the Gospels, describing with great accuracy and literary charm the fulfillment of Our Lord's promise to send the Holy Spirit to sanctify and guide His Church, and so it has aptly been called the "Gospel of the Holy Spirit."

Tomorrow: The Epistle of Saint Paul to the Romans


January 10, 2000
volume 11, no. 6

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