January 14-16, 2000
volume 11, no. 10

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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 88:    The Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Galatians
    The Galatians to whom this Epistle was written, lived between Cappadocia and Phrygia, in Asia Minor. They were Gentile Christians, and were converted by Saint Paul about the year 52 A.D. His ministry among them had borne great fruit; they had been baptized, and had received the Holy Spirit; miracles worked among them had given evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. The Apostle visited them a second time, and by his exhortations confirmed them in the faith. But after his second visit St. Paul learned, by letter or by special messenger sent to him, that some Jewish teachers who had lately arrived among his new converts were teaching, contrary to his doctrines, that for salvation it was necessary to be circumised and to observe the Mosaic rites. Furthermore, these Judaizers sought to undermine the authority of the Apostle by questioning his Divine commission. They claimed that his teaching seemed to be only human and differd widely in many respects from that of Jesus Christ and of the other Apostles. They asserted that he disregarded the sacredness of the Mosiac Law and circumcision, which were an external sign of God's covenant with man, and thereby doubted the truth of the Divine promises. Such were the difficulties that reached the ears of St. Paul in Ephesus; and since he was unable to be with his converts, he met the serious situation by this Epistle.

    The Epistle contains a defense of his person and of his doctrine. In indignation he asserts the Divine origin of his teaching and of his authority; he shows that justification is not through the Mosaic Law, but through faith in Jesus Christ, Who was crucified and Who rose from the dead; he concludes that consequently the Mosiac Law was something transient and not permanent, that it is not an essential part of Christianity. Nor does he fail to insist on the necessity of the evangelical virtues, especially charity, the offspring of faith.

    The subject-matter of the Epistle resembles closely that of the Epistle to the Romans, and also of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians. The reason for this similarity is that these Epistles were written when the Apostle was more or less in the same frame of mind, indignant that his converts were being perverted by Pharisaic emissaries.

    The Epistle was probably written at Ephesus about the year 54 A.D. It may, however, have been written somewhat later, from either Macedonia or Corinth. Its authenticity was admitted by all antiquity.

Monday: Ephesians


January 14-16, 2000
volume 11, no. 10

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