FRI-SAT-SUN
January 21-23, 2000
volume 11, no. 15

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APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH Series         INTRODUCTION

    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 93:
THE FIRST EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO TIMOTHY

    "The two Epistles to Saint Timothy and the one to Saint Titus are called Pastoral Epistles because they are addressed directly, not to any church as a group, but rather to its head or pastor for his guidance in the rule of the church. All three Epistles are closely connected in form and content. From earliest times these letters have been recognized as inspired and canonical by the eastern and western Fathers.

    St. Timothy was from Lystra in Lycanoia, born of a Greek father and a Jewish mother (Acts 16, 1). He was educated in the assiduous reading of the Scriptures (2 Tim. 3, 15). His mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois (2 Tim. 1, 5), as well as Timothy himself, probably embraced the faith during Saint Paul's first stay at Lystra, since they were already Christians at his return on the second missionary journey (Acts 16, 1). It was at that time that Timothy was highly recommended by the Christians and the Apostle chose him as a missionary companion. Since Timothy was uncircumcised, the Apostle permormed this rite upon him to facilitate his preaching among the Jewish colonists in the regions of Phrygia (Acts 16, 3) and elsewhere. Thereafter Timothy was seldom parted from St. Paul, who employed him in some difficult and confidential missions (2 Thes. 3, 1-8; 1 Cor. 4, 17; 16, 10; Phil. 2, 19-23; Heb. 31, 23). During the first imprisonment of the Apostle at Rome, Timothy was with his master (Col. 1, 1; Philem 1; Phil 1, 1). After this imprisonment he accompanied the Apostle on his last missionary journey and was left at Ephesus to take charge of the church there (1 Tim. 1, 3). The Apostle, shortly before his death, wrote Timothy to come to him before the winter (2 Tim. 1,4; 4, 9, 21). According to tradition Timothy spent the rest of his life at Ephesus as its bishop and was martyred during the winter of 97 A.D. His feast is celebrated in the Latin Church on January 24.

    This first Epistle was written betweeen Paul's liberation from the first imprisonment (63 A.D). and his death (67 A.D.), on one of his journeys not mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (1 Tim. 1, 3; cf. Also 2 Tim. 4, 13, 20; Titus 3, 12), since it presupposes an ecclesiastical hierarchy as well as false teachers at Ephesus, who were not there during the Apostle's third missionary journey (Acts 20, 29). For these reasons Catholic authors commonly hold that the Epistles was written in 65 or 66 A.D. from Macedonia (1 Tim. 1, 3).

    A twofold thought is dominant in this Epistle. Timothy must energetically combat false teachers and actively engage in the work of organizing the community. The thought of the Apostle moves restlessly back and forth on these two points, since he was fully aware from his own experience of the dangers that threatened.

THE SECOND EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE TO TIMOTHY

    The Second Epistle to Timothy was written in 66 or 67 A.D., while St. Paul was a prisoner in Rome for the second and last time.

    The Apostle describes himself as still in prison and abandoned by nearly all his companions, who for various reasons have left Rome (4, 9f). Only Luke the physician, of whom he seems to have special need, is with him (4, 11). He feels his isolation keenly, particularly since his relations with the Roman church are much restricted. He feels the need of seeing Mark and Timothy, for whom Tychicus was to substitute at Ephesus (4, 11). He sees his death near (4, 6-8). The Epistle is an urgent invitation to Timothy to join him, yet the Apostle is concerned to strengthen the spirit of his beloved disciple and to urge him again to act energetically against the seperatist teachers.

Tomorrow: Epistle of St. Paul to Titus

          

January 21-23, 2000
volume 11, no. 15
APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

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