January 17, 2000
volume 11, no. 11

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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 89: Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians
    "This Epistle was written by Saint Paul towards the close of his first imprisonment in Rome, in the year 63 A.D. It was brought to its destination in Asia Minor by Tychicus, who also carried with him the Epistle to the Colossians. He was accompanied by Onesimus bearing the Epistle to Philemon.

    In spite of this traditional title it is uncertain to whom St. Paul originally addressed this Epistle. Either it was indeed written to the Ephesians, as was commonly believed from the end of the second century A.D. and indicated by the presence of the words "at Ephesus" (1, 1) in most MSS; or it is to be identified with the Epistle mentioned in Col. 4, 16, which St. Paul wrote to the Christians of Laodicea, a town not far from Colossae and Ephesus; or, finally, it may have been written, not to any one community in particular, but as a sort of circular letter to the various Christian communities in that part of Asia Minor in which Ephesus and Colossae are situated.

    Ephesus, then the chief city of western Asia Minor, had been evangelized by St. Paul about 53-56 A.D. Soon afterwards the important town of Laodicea, about a hundred miles to the east, had received Christianity from some Ephesian Christians. The great majority of converts in all this territory were from among the pagan Gentiles, Jews forming only a small minority.

    Very similar in theme and language to the Epistle to the Colossians, but much more abstract, profound and systematic, this Epistle's central thought is the Church regarded as the Mystical Body of Christ, through which God pours out the divine life of grace in most generous fashion to its members, the Christians, in and through its head, Jesus Christ. The spiritual, organic unity of its members with Christ and with one another is emphasized as the basic principle of the life of the myustical body. Then comes exhortation to lead the new life that befits those incorporated into the sublime unity of the mystical body."

Tomorrow: Philippians


January 17, 2000
volume 11, no. 11

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