TUESDAY
March 28, 2000
volume 11, no. 62

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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 140:
Promise of the Redeemer part two

        God wished men to realize the enormity of sin and to see how low they could sink without His help. He wanted the world to prepare for the Redeemer. Men became so wicked that God destroyed all in the Deluge, except Noah and his family. God permitted men to sink into the deepest misery, so that they might be roused to a longing for the promised Savior. When the Savior at last came, all nations were sunk in idolatry and wickedness except the Jews. Even among the Jews there was continuous dissension and sin.

        From the time of Adam the true religion was preserved till the advent of the promised Savior by the patriarchs, prophets and other holy men inspired by God to teach and lead his Chosen People. In spite of the imperfection of the old religion, there was always only one true religion. It was but a shadow of the perfection that was to come, but was the true religion before Christ: the Jewish Faith.

        But the Savior of all men is Jesus Christ. Men would know the Savior by certain signs which God revealed through the Prophets. Of His advent the Prophets spoke:

      (a) The Messias was to be born in Bethlehem, when the Jews were no longer free. "And Thou, Bethlehem Ephrata art a little one among the thousands of Juda: out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be the ruler in Israel: and his going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity" (Micah. 5:2). "The scepter shall not be taken away from Juda, nor a ruler from his thigh, till He come that is to be sent, and He shall be the expectation of nations" (Genesis 49:10).
      (b) The Messiah was to be born of a virgin of the House of David. "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel" (Isaiah 7:14).
      (c) The Messiah would be preceded by a precursor who would preach in the desert. "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert the paths of our God" (Isaiah 40:3).
      (d) A new star was to announce the birth of the Messias. He would be adored by kings from distant lands bringing Him gifts. "A star shall rise out of Jacob, and a scepter shall spring up from Israel" (Numbers 24:17). "The kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents: the kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring gifts" (Psalms 71:10).
      (e) Many children would be put to death at the time of His birth. "A voice was heard on high of lamentation, or mourning, and weeping, of Rachel (representing the Jews) weeping for her children, and refusing to be comforted, because they are not" (Jeremiah 31:15).

        Of the person of the Messiah the Prophets spoke: He was to be the Son of God. He would work great miracles, and teach the people. He would be King of a new kingdom, which was not to be destroyed, and was to include all nations. "The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my Son: this day have I begotten Thee" (Psalms 2:7). "Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall be free" (Isaiah 35: 5-6). "The God of Heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed...and it shall consume all these kingdoms, and itself shall stand forever."

        Of His sufferings the Prophets spoke: He was to enter Jerusalem riding on an ass. He would be betrayed by one who ate at the same table with Him. He would be abandoned, mocked, beaten, spat upon, scourged, crowned with thorns, and given gall and vinegar to drink. Lots would be cast for His garments. His hands and feet would be pierced with nails. He would die between two evildoers.

        All the prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He is the Redeemer, the Savior that God in His mercy had promised. The angels announced Him as the Redeemer to the shepherds when He was born, and to Saint Joseph in a vision. "For God so loved the world that He gave his only-begotten Son" (John 3:16).

    Tomorrow: The God-Man part one

          

March 28, 2000
volume 11, no. 62
APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

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