January 20, 2000
volume 11, no. 14

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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 92:    The First Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians

    Saint Paul founded the Church at Thessalonica, during the early part of his second great missionary journey, i.e. about 51 A.D. Thessalonica, the capital of Macedonia, was a large and important city. Its population was predominantly Gentile, but Jews dwelt there in sufficient numbers to have a synagogue. Paul succeeded in converting some of the Jews and a large number of Gentiles. But his success stirred up the envy of the unbelieving Jews, who by calumny and riot compelled him to flee to Beroea. From there he went to Athens and Corinth, and it was in the latter city that this letter was written.

    While at Athens, Paul, fearing lest the persecution which continued against the Church at Thessalonica should cause his new converts to abandon the faith sent Timothy to ascertain conditions in the Church, and to confort and strengthen its members. Timothy reported to Paul at Corinth, bringing the cheering news of their constancy in the face of persecution. He likewise informed Paul that the Thessalonians required further instruction on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and this topic forms the main doctrinal subject of the Epistle, which was written shortly after Timonth's return from Thessalonica. The Second Epistle to the Thessalonians was written soon after the First, and these two Epistles are generally regarded as the earliest of Paul's writings. The Second Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians     The First Epistle failed to quiet the doubts and fears of the Thessalonians and so Paul hastened to supply them with fuller information on the subject of the "parousia," or Second Coming of Christ. He informed them that the "parousia" was not at hand. It could not take place until a great apostasy occurred and the antichrist appeared. Some of the Thessalonians who were convinced that the Second Coming of Christ was at hand thought it useless to work, and consequently lived irregularly. Paul condemned this practice, and ordered the offenders to be corrected. He urged all to adhere to his teachings, whether these were given orally or in writing.

Tomorrow: Timothy


January 20, 2000
volume 11, no. 14

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