THURSDAY
January 27, 2000
volume 11, no. 19

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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


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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF ST. PETER THE APOSTLE

    Saint Peter, also called Simon (Acts 15, 14; 2 Pet. 1, 1), was the son of a certain John from the town of Bethsaida in Galilee (John 1, 42-44). He was led by his brother Andrew to the Lord, who conferred upon him the name Cephas, ie., "rock," or Peter (John 1, 42; Matt. 16, 17-19; Mark 3, 16; Luke 6, 14). Thereupon he followed the Lord and became the "Prince of the Apostles." After the Resurrection the primacy was conferred upon him and immediately after the Ascension he began to exercise it. After preaching in Jerusalem and Palestine he went to Rome, probably after his liberation from prison (Acts 12, 17). Some years later, he was in Jerusalem for his first Church Council (Acts 15, 68), and shortly afterwards at Antioch (Gal. 2, 11-14). In the year 67 he was martyred in Rome.

    The Epistle names St. Peter, Apostle of Jesus Christ, as its author (1, 1; cf. Also 5, 12-14), and the testimony of the early centuries of Christianity reaffirms this evidence. So constant was this testimony that Eusebius, the Church historian, placed the Epistle among the books of the Bible accepted by all. Its authoriship is also confirmed by the contents of the Episstle, in which the author appears as an immediate witness of the sufferings of Christ (5, 1), and by its similarity to St. Peter's discourses in the Acts.

    The Epistle is addressed to the Christian communities of Asia Minor that were being distressed by the enmity of their pagan neighbors. By their acceptance of Christianity they had become separated from their own countrymen, who abused and persecuted them. The Apostle therefore instructs his readers that Christianity is the true religion in spite of their trials and sufferings, and exhorts them to lead good Christian lives.

    The place of composition is given as "Babylon" (5, 13). From the Apocalypse (14, 8; 16, 19, etc.), the Jewish writings and the Sibylline books of the first century, we know that this name was a cryptic designation of the city of Rome. Since the author seems to be familiar with the Epistle to the Ephesians, which was written in 63 A.D., and since he makes no reference to the persecution of Nero, which began about the end of 64 A.D., it appears very likely that the letter was written in the latter part of 63 or the beginning of 64.

Tomorrow: Second Epistle of St. Peter

          

January 27, 2000
volume 11, no. 19
APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

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