MONDAY
March 27, 2000
volume 11, no. 61

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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 139:
Promise of the Redeemer part one

        The Promise of the Redeemer is the Second Article of the Apostle's Creed. Immediately after the Fall, God promised a Redeemer to Adam. He forgave man, although He had not forgiven the rebel angels. He was more merciful to man than to the angels. In making the promise God spoke of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was to be the Savior's Mother.

        God did not abandon man after Adam fell into sin, but promised to send into the world a Savior to free man from his sins and to reopen to him the gates of Heaven. God could have abandoned man as a consequence of Adam's sin; then the human race would have suffered eternal separation from Him.

        The promise was first made to Adam before God sent him out of Paradise. God said to the serpent who had tempted Eve: "I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head" (Genesis 3:15). In this passage, the woman spoken of is the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her seed is Our Lord Jesus Christ. He was the Redeemer promised by God. God said that there would be complete enmity between Our Lord with His Mother on one side, and the devil with his followers on the other.

        This promise was renewed several times to the Patriarchs of the Old Testament: to Abraham, Issac, Jacob, and David. Because Abraham remained true to the worship of God in the midst of idolatry, God led him to Canaan. As a reward for his obedience, God promised, "I will make of thee a great nation - and in thee shall all the kindred of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 12: 2, 3). This promise was repeated twice. The same promise "in thy seed shall all the nations be blessed" was repeated to Abraham's son Isaac, and to Isaac's son Jacob. Finally, hundreds of years later, God commanded the prophet Nathan to repeat to King David the very same promise, "He shall build a house to My name, and I will establish his kingdom forever" (2 Kings 7:13).

        Later, God sent the Prophets. Through them He foretold many things about the Redeemer: about His birth, His Person, His sufferings, His death, and His final glory. God enlightened the Prophets so that they could speak in His name to the Jews or Israelites, the descendants of Abraham. There were about seventy prophets, the last being Malachias, who lived some 450 years before Christ.

        God chose the Jews as the people among whom the promised Savior would live; for this reason we call the Jews the "chosen people". God prepared them for the coming of the Savior: by heavy trials, by severe laws, by miracles, by prophecies. The selection of the Jews did not mean rejection by God of the other nations. Every renewal of God's promise recalled blessings in which all were to share. Even among other nations there were just men. In Greece, Socrates spoke against the worship of idols. Holy Job lived in Arabia. The Magi were of the East. Vergil the poet prayed the virgin-born Son to come and reign over His people.

    Tomorrow: The Promise of the Redeemer part two

          

March 27, 2000
volume 11, no. 61
APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

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