WEDNESDAY
March 1, 2000
volume 11, no. 43

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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 121:
Adam and Eve: Our First Parents part one

        Our first parents were perfectly happy in Paradise. If they had not sinned, they would never have died or suffered from sickness and sorrow. When the time came for their leaving the earth, they would have been taken body and soul to Heaven. The tree of life grew in Paradise. By eating of its fruit Adam and Eve were preserved from death, sickness, and all manner of weakness of the body. All these gifts were lost as a punishment of the sin our first parents committed.

        The first man and woman were Adam and Eve, the first parents of the whole human race. God made Adam's body out of the slime of the earth, and breathed an immortal sould into it (cf. Genesis 2:7). God then cast a deep sleep upon Adam, and taking one of his ribs formed it into Eve (cf. Genesis 2:22). Adam's body was formed from the earth. But his soul was immediately created out of nothing by the almighty power of God. The woul of every person is created in this way. We do not inherit our soul from our parents; it comes directly from the hand of God at the same moment that we receive life.

        Adam and Eve were our first parents. All of mankind makes up one great family. Sacred Scripture says that before the creatin of Adam "there was not a man to till the earth" (Genesis 2:5); and that ever was the "mother of all the living" (Genesis 3:20). Legends of all races tell of an original happiness from which man fell, and of a flood that covered the earth.

      (a) All men have common bodily characteristics.
      The beat of the pulse, the temperature of the body, the physical structure, and even such faculties as the sense of smell, of sight, of hearing,- all these vary little among different races. Differences are results of variations in climate, food, ways of living, and opportunity.
      (b) Emotionally and intellecutally all races are the same.
      Researchers have discovered a universal sameness in ideas of right and wrong; there is a universal moral code, even among the most primitive of tribes. For example, all men consider wrong the murder of those who are not enemies, cruelty to children, incest, and irreverence. If the moral code were the result of rearof reprisal, why was not stealing considered wrong when committed against an enemy? Science almost compels the conviction of the origin of mankind from onlyone pair of ancestors; Religion delcares it.

        The chief gift bestowed on Adam and Eve by God was sanctifying grace, which made them children of God and gave them the right to Heaven.

        God created Adam and Eve in the state of innocence and holiness. This made them pleasing to God, and full of love for Him. It made them children of God, and therefore heirs of Heaven. This state of innocence we term "sanctifying grace". "God filled them with wisdom and the knowledge of understanding. He created in them the science of the spirit, he filled their heart with wisdom. And their eye saw the majesty of his glory, and their ears heard his glorious voice" (Eccl.. 17:6, 11).

        God's abiding grace made Adam and Eve so happy that their happiness almost equalled that of the angels. "Thou hast made him a little less than the angels; thou hast crowned him with glory and honor" (Psalm 8:6).

        The other gifts bestowed on Adam and Eve by God were happiness in the Garden of Paradise, great knowledge, control of the passions by reason, and freedom from suffering and death.

    Tomorrow: Adam and Eve: Our First Parents part two

          

March 1, 2000
volume 11, no. 43
APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

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