THURSDAY
March 16, 2000
volume 11, no. 54

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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 132:
Venial Sin part two

    Venial sin harms us by making us less fervent in the service of God, by weakening our power to resist mortal sin, and by making us deserving of God's punishments in this life or in Purgatory.

    Although venial sin is not a grievous offense against God, it is nevertheless a great moral evil, next alone to mortal sin. It is like a drop of ink in a glassful of clear water; the ink, however little, takes away the clearness.

    If often committed, venial sin weakens the will, lessens our power to resist evil, and makes it easier for us to fall into mortal sin. "He that condemneth small things shall fall by little and little" (Ecclesiastes 19:1). "He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in a very little thing is unjust also in much" (Luke 16:10). A great fire is started by a tiny breeze. Venial sin, by weakening the will, makes up indisposed for good, and lukewarm in God's service.

    Venial sin deprives us of many actual graces we need for resisting temptation. When a mirror is dusty, it cannot reflect the image clearly; similarly the mirror of the soul, when dusty with venial sin, cannot reflect the light of grace and justice. God will not bestow his blessings and graces on one whose soul is disfigured by venial sin, as a distinguished personage is not expected to embrace a man who is disfigured by a skin disease.

    Venial sin deprives us of Heaven for a time. If we die with venial sins on our souls, or without fully satisfying for them, we have to expiate for them in Purgatory. A great desire not to offend God in the least is the best proof of love and loyalty towards our Heavenly Father.

    Holy Scripture shows many instances of God's hatred for venial sin, which He punishes severely even on earth. For her curiosity, Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt. "But I tell you, that of every idle word men speak, they shall give account on the day of judgment" (Matthew 12:36).

    We can keep from committing sin by praying and by receiving the sacraments; by remembering that God is always with us; by recalling that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit; by keeping occupied with work or play; by promptly resisting the sources of sin within us; by avoiding the near occasions of sin.

    Prayer and the sacraments protect us from sin. They are like a strong fortress against which the enemy strikes in vain, and within which the soul remains safe in the grace of God. When the Apostles were in danger on the Lake of Genessareth, they had recourse to prayer. We are ever in danger from sin while we live; let us build up around us a rampart of prayer. God will protect us, as He protected the Apostles; He will answer our prayer. The soul nourished by the sacraments is strong, and will not easily succumb to sin; as a healthy body does not easily succumb to disease.

    Even good people fall into sins, frequently because they forget God's presence. Let us remember that the eye of God is always upon us, every single moment. Then, if we love Him, we would never sin, never insult His presence by sin. If we had a distinguished personage before us, would we commit indecent acts? Would we steal, or use bad language? But is not God the most distinguished of all persons, and is He not always looking on us?

    When we are in the state of grace, our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. God dwells in it as Jesus Christ lives in the tabernacle. If we remember this always, we shall be greatly helped in avoiding sin.

    The most practical way of avoiding sin is to keep occupied with work or play. Man must do something; if he does not do something good, he will do something evil. A busy instrument cannot be used in doing mischief. Robbers will hesitate to enter a house where the occupants are busy. If we are occupied in doing good, we have no time to sit idly and wag our tongues in gossip. In other words, idleness is the devil's workshop.

Tomorrow: Occasions and Sources of Sin part one

          

March 16, 2000
volume 11, no. 54
APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

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