MONDAY
January 31, 2000
volume 11, no. 21

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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 99:
THE FIRST EPISTLE OF ST. JOHN THE APOSTLE

    That Saint John the Apostle, the author of the Fourth Gospel, is also the author of this Epistle is the verdict of historical evidence, both implicit and explicit, reaching as far back as Saint Polycarp. The internal evidence of the book itself is sufficiently strong; for the writer speaks with authority, as an Apostle would. Moreover, when the Epistle is compared with the Gospel of St. John, the resemblance both in thought and in expression is so striking that indetity of authorship is admitted by most commentators.

    From this close relation to the Fourth Gospel many commentators are of the opinion that the Epistle was written shortly before or shortly after the Gospel to serve s as introduction, or as a postscript, to it, or at least with the intention that both should be read together. Beyond this, there is nothing to indicate the time and place of its composition; but from this close connection we may say that it was written at Ephesus towards the close of the first century.

    The Apostle wrote this letter probably as a circular letter to the faithful of Asia Minor, to remind them of what he had written and preached concerning the Divinity of Christ, and thus to strengthen them against the heresies of the day. For it seems certain that, in the churches to which the letter is directed, there had risen false teachers and prophets-antichrists who denied that Jesus was the Messias, and Incarnate Son of God.

    The fundamental thought of the Epistle is this: God is made known to us in Jesus Christ, hence, fellowship with the Father is through the Son. There are three main currents of thought: (1) God is light (1, 5-2, 27) God is justice (2, 28-4,6) God is love (4, 7-5, 12).

    Hence, if we are to have fellowship with the Father through the Son, we must walk in light, in justice or holiness, and in love. Thus the Apostle calls those who deny that Jesus is the Christ and the Incarnate Son of God, liars and antichrists. He especially emphasizes the sublimity and excellence of love, the love of God finding expression in brotherly love. The Apostle further shows how to distinguish the children of God from the children of the devil; he described the baseness and gravity of sin; and finally, he shows how the sinner may hope for pardon.

Tomorrow: The Second Epistle of St. John

          

January 31, 2000
volume 11, no. 21
APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

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