January 19, 2000
volume 11, no. 13

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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 91:    The Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Colossians
    During Saint Paul's stay at Ephesus from about 53 to 56 A.D. (actsd 19, 1-20, 2), the message of the Gospel was carried inland by his zealous converts. Among these was Ephaphras, who evangelized the towns of Colossae, Laodicea and Hierapolis (4, 121), situated in the valley of the Lycus River little more than a hundred miles east of Ephesus. The Apostle took a personal interest in the work of his disciple (2, 1). A few years later, while he was being detained at Rome for trial before Caesar, he had news of the Colossians through Epaphras. Though the report of the evangelist was, on the whole, favorable (1, 4-8; 2, 5), he saw dangerous tendencies in the young Christian community. Self-appointed teachers claimed for angels a very high place of honor (2, 18), and boasted of a deeper knowledge of Christianity, insisting on Judaic observances (2, 16) and a false asceticism (2, 20-23). Concerned lest his work be destroyed, Epaphras had come to Rome to seek help from Paul.

    Paul met the danger by sending (63 A.D.) a letter to Colossae, borne by Tychicus (4, 7-9). To counter the errors he set forth in clear terms the true doctrine concerning Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, head of the mystical body, the Church (1, 15-2, 3), and drew up rules for an ideal Christian life (3, 5-4, 6). Between these positive sections, the Apostle inserted a vigorous condemnation of the false teachings (2, 4-3, 4). Because of the emphatic statement of Christ's divinity that they contain, the first two chapters of the letter are of great doctrinal importance.

    The Epistles to the Colossians bears a remarkable resemblance to the Epistle to the Ephesians. Most of the words and phrases of this shorter letter are met with in the other also. Written at the same time, both were addressed to communities of Jewish and pagan converts, struggling in like circumstances to maintain the purity of their faith. The two Epistles should be read and studied together.

Tomorrow: Thessalonians


January 19, 2000
volume 11, no. 13

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