TUESDAY
March 21, 2000
volume 11, no. 57

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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 135:
Seven Deadly Sins: part one - Pride

        Pride makes one admire himself, in the belif that his excellence, imagined or real, is the result of hisown worth. Our Lord condemned pride in the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. Jesus said that the humble and repentant publican was justified in the eyes of God, while the proud Pharisee went home unjustified. Pride is an inordinate love of one's own excellence, an excessive self-esteem.

        Our Lord is the best example of meekness and patience. Did He use His almighty power to punish those who did Him evil? For hours He hung meekly on the cross, until He died. Every day God is patient with sinners, giving them time to change their ways. God, the Supreme One, is not proud.

        The proud man overestimates himself, and believes himself the source of his own excellence. The virtue of humility, which disposes us to acknowledge our limitations, is opposed to pride. Some are proud of their appearance; others of their family, talents, poisition, money, and the virtues they imagine they possess. Even if we do have excellent abilities or possessions, we should not be proud of them, remembering that they all come from God. Instead, we should be humbly thankful, and see in what way we can make a return to God for such gifts. "Every proud man is an abomination to the Lord" (Proverbs 16:5).

        Pride may be called the mother of all vices, for most sins can be traced to it. From pride arise ambition, vanity, presumption, disobedience, hypocrisy, obstinacy in sin. "For pride is the beginning of all sin: he that holdeth it shall be filled with maledictions and it shall ruin him in the end" (Ecclesiastes 10:15). "Never suffer pride to reign in they mind or in they words, for from it all perdition took its beginning" (Tobias 4:14). Pride was the sin of our First Parents, who wanted to be as great as God. It was the sin of the pharaoh; he was so proud that in spite of the miracles Moses worked, he refused to be convinced. For this God "hardened his heart" (Exodus 9:12); that is, God permitted him to close the window of his soul against the grace of the Holy Spirit. "Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, the Lord has rejected thee" (1 Kings 15:26).

        3. The proud man tries to attract notice and praise, strives after honors, distinctions, and other worldly favors. He is over-confident in himself, and despises the assistance of God. Pride was the sin of lucifer. The proud man pretends to be greater than he is, and tries by all manner of means to attract the praise of others, even using false humility to do so.

        God hates pride, and punishes it severely. He often punishes secret pride by withdrawing His assistance from the proud man. And deprived of God's aid, the proud man often falls into grievous sins leading to his humiliation. "The beginning of the pride of man is to fall off from God" (Ecclesiastes. 10:14). "God resists the proud" (1 Peter 5:5). "Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled" (Luke 14:11). Thus the proud King Herod was eaten up by worms and died. Thus, the proud Roman Empire fell and became nothing. Our Lord pointed out the pride in the heart of the Pharisee, and praised the humble publican.

        If we, however, despise sin as beneath us, that is not pride, but a virtuous self-respect.A decent regard for cleanliness and neatness is not vanity. The ambition to exceed in good things, as in studies, in order to make the best use of God's gifts, is to be commended. God wishes us to be His excellent children.

    Tomorrow: Seven Deadly Sins - part two - Covetousness and Lust

          

March 21, 2000
volume 11, no. 57
APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

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