MONDAY
March 13, 2000
volume 11, no. 51

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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 129:
Mortal Sin part one

    Mortal sin is the greatest evil in the world. It separates is from God. Because of our mortal sins, Jesus Christ suffered agonies and died on a cross. To strengthen our resolutin not to commit sin, we should remember also that even a single mortal sin is enough to send us to hell. Mortal sin is a grievous offense against the law of God.

    Any wilful thought, desire, word, action or omnission, in serious violation of God's law, is a mortal sin. Examples of mortal sin are blasphemy, wilful murder, adultey, arson, robbery, etc. Mortal sin occurs as sooon as God is no longer our final end in our thoughts, words, and actions. Each mortal sin we commit is a three-fold insult to Almighty God: it insulte Him by rebellion or disobedience, by ingratitude, and by contempt.

    Circumstances of person, cause, time, place, means, object, and evil consequences enhance or decrease the guilt of the sin. Thus mortal sins, although all mortal, differ in the weight of their guilt. This sin is called mortal, or deadly, because it deprives the sinner of sanctifying grace, the supernatural life of the soul.

    Without sanctifying grace, the soul is displeasing to God, unclean, and can never behold Him or be with Him in Heaven. Without sanctifying grace, the soul is without God; and without God, the devil makes the soul his habitation. "Know thou and see that is is an evil and bitter thing for thee to have left the Lord thy God" (Jeremiah 2: 19).

    The sinner loses charity towards God and his fellow-men, and by the weakening of his will and the darkening of his intellect, is liable to fall into other mortal sins. The devil cries to his subordinates, "God hath forsaken him; pursue him and take him, for there is none to deliver him" (Psalm 70:11).

    Without sanctifying grace the soul is truly "dead"; and if an adult dies in that state, he will suffer the torments of the damned. The word "mortal" comes from the Latin mors, which means "death." Saint John Chrysostom said, "Sinners are dead while they live, and the just live after they are dead." Besides depriving the sinner of sanctifying grace, mortal sin makes the soul ane nemy of God, takes away the merit of all good actions, deprives it of the right to everlasting happiness in heaven, and makes it deserving of everlasting punishment in hell.

    Man was made for God, and what an awful calamityit would be to become His enemy! It would be as if the food which was made to support and sustain man should all of a sudden turn to poison him instead. Through mortal sin, the sinner becomes a stranger to divine love, and to the love of neighbor; his heart turns cold because he has put out the flame of charity by grave sin. His reason, a gift of God, is obscured, and he fails to perceive the things of God. Thus a sinner the more he sins, becomes more insensitive to evil; his will is finally so weakened that all conscience is lost, and he falls into greater and greter sins more and more easily. "Adulterers, do you not know that the friendship of this world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of this world becomes an enemy of God."(James 4:4).

    During all the time that the sinner remains in mortal sin, all his good works do not help him to heaven: he earns no merits until he gives up his state of mortal sin. As the Apostle Paul says, "If I give my body to be burned and have not charity, I am nothing." One who falls into mortal sin may be compared to a merchant coming into his home port, laden with all kinds of treasures collected from abroad, upon which he has spent years of labor and incalculable wealth. Just as he enters the harbor his ship is torpedoed, and he saves nothing for all his trouble. In a similar manner, one who dies in mortal sin gains nothing, however numerous the good works he may in life had performed.

    However numerous the merits previously earned by the sinner, however many his good works, if he dies with only one ortal sin on his soul he goes to hell forever. Is this not something to be feared? It is because mortal sin presupposes a hatred of God. Let us be reasonable men, and consider the utter folly of selling our birthright, God and heaven, for the mess of pottage that is sin and its effects. "Then He will say to those on his left hand, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the everlasting fire'" (Matthew 25:41).

Tomorrow: Mortal Sin part two

          

March 13, 2000
volume 11, no. 51
APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

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