WEDNESDAY
March 22, 2000
volume 11, no. 58

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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 136:
Seven Deadly Sins part two - Covetousness and Lust

        Covetousness is the excessive love for, and seeking after, wealth and other worldly possessions. Covetousness is one of the ugliest of sins. It was a sin of Judas. He loved money so much that he even betryaed Our Lord for thirty pieces of silver. Covetousness is also called avarice. A covetous person strives for more riches than he requires, and is never content, however much he already possesses. He greedily clings to what he has, and is stingy and hdates to give anything away. For money Judas betrayed the Lord. "There is not a more wicked thing than to love money: for such a one setteth even his own soul to sale" (Eccliastes 10:10). "Take heed and guard yoursselves from all covetousness, for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions" (Luke 12:15). We meet with covetous persons among both rich and poor. Often among the rich there is money without avarice, and among the poor, avarice without money.

        2. From covetousness arise hard-heartedness towards the poor, lying, cheating, usury, defrauding laborers of wages, and other sins. "Those who seek to become rich fall into temptation and a snare...For covetousness is the root of all evils" (1 Timothy 6:9-10). It destroys faith, for the avaricious are so absorbed in attaining wealth and money grubbers that they have no time for their spiritual welfare.

        To provide for one's future and that of one's family is praiseworthy. To avoid waste and extravagance is a virtue. To accumulate even considerable wealth, by proper means, is not wrong. The rich, however, must remember their obligation to use their wealth for the glory of God, not for their own pride.

        Liberality, which disposes us rightly to use worldly goods, is opposed to covetousness. The avaricious man is very foolish. He works hard all his life and becomes hated by men: he earns besides eternal damnation after death and all for nothing. When he dies all he has are a few feet of earth for his grave; his money is left to heirs who most probably ridicule his miserliness or waste the money to gain which he lost his soul. "For when he shall die, he shall take nothing away; nor shall his glory descend with him" (Psalm 48:18).

        Lust is the inordinate seeking of the pleasures of the flesh. Lust defiles a man as no other sin does. It degrades man to the level of the beast. Pride is the sin committed by lucifer, avarice by Judas, and lust by the brute. Of all vices, lust is most severely punished on earth. It leads to loss of health and reason. It was the cause of the Deluge. It was the cause for the destruction with fire and brimstone of Sodom and Gomorrha. "But immorality and every uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becomes saints" (Ephesians 5:3). The Blessed Mother Mary has imparted to many, many saints, visionaries and messengers over the centuries that there are more people in hell for sins of the flesh than any other sin.

        Those tempted to lust should remember that man was made to the image and likeness of God. Will they so rashly destroy that image, to make themselves like to beasts? In fact, beasts are better than lustful men, for beasts act in that manner from instinct; they have no soul like God. Chastity is the virtue opposed to lust.

        Impurity weakens the will and darkens the understanding. For this reason amendment is very difficult, and the sinner falls into many other sins. So Solomon, who yielded to lust, finally lost all his wisdom and turned to worship false gods.

        From lust spring jealousy, hatred, murder, loss of faith, breakup of families, and other sins. The consequences of lust are seen in the case of Henry VIII. It was the cause of his apostasy, and his apostasy dragged an entire nation into similar apostasy. "For know this and understand, that no fornicator, or unclean person, or covetous one (for that is idolatry) has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God" (Ephesians 5:5).

        Sodomy, or sins against purity by persons of the same sex, is a form of lust and condemned by God. It is important to remember in these days of "political correctness" when homosexuals are trying to attain recognition and acceptability for their lifestyle that their lifestyle was, is and always will be sinful and can never be accepted as "right." But the gay man or woman can be accepted as a child of God by rejecting the sin just as heterosexuals cannot lust after a person of the opposite sex or copulate with them outside of the sanctity of marriage. It is good to remember always that God hates the sin, but loves the sinner.

    Tomorrow: Seven Deadly Sins: part three Anger and Gluttony

          

March 22, 2000
volume 11, no. 58
APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

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