TUESDAY
May 2, 2000
volume 11, no. 85

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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 162:
The Holy Spirit part two

        The Holy Spirit is the source of the life of the Chuch. He consoles, guides, and imparts strength to it, as Christ promised. "The Church was filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 9:31). "Many things yet I have to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will teach you all the truth" (John 16: 12-13).

        The dwelling of the Holy Ghost in the Chuch was first visibly manifested on Pentecost Sunday, when He came down upon the Apostles in the form of tongues of fire. After the Ascension, the Apostles together with the Blessed Virgin Mary and disciples, men and women, numbering about 120 persons, gathered in the Cenacle, the upper room in Jerusalem where the Last Supper had been taken. There they spent the time in prayer, awaiting the fulfillment of Christ's promise "Wait here in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49).

        Jesus had promised to send the Holy Ghost to the Apostles. He said at the Last Supper: "It is expedient for you that I depart. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you" (John 16:7). On Pentecost, ten days after the Ascension, the Holy Ghost descended on the Apostles and disciples.

        On Pentecost three thousand members were baptized after the preaching of Saint Peter. Many believed, because the Apostles had the "gift of tongues"; that is they spoke in one language, but those of different races who listened heard what was said in their own different languages. We celebrate the descent of the Holy Ghost today as Pentecost Sunday, ten days after Ascension Thursday, fifty days after Easter. Pentecost means fifty.

        The nine days in the Cenacle while the Apostles and disciples waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit were spent in prayer, the first novena in the Chuch. "All these with one mind continued steadfastly in prayer with the women and Mary, and the mother of Jesus" (Acts 1:14). In imitation of that first novena, it is our custom today to make novenas especially in preparation for great feasts. We also make novenas of petition or thanksgiving as well as the novena of Divine Mercy which we just completed for Divine Mercy Sunday.

        The Holy Spirit will dwell in the Church until the end of time. "I will ask the Father and He will give you another Advocate to dwell with you forever, the Spirit of truth" (John 14: 16-17). The Holy Ghost watches over the Church, protecting it from destruction. From the beginning the Church spread very rapidly. At the death of the Apostles, in spite of persecutions, it was known in all parts of the then civilized world. Thence it has spread to the ends of the earth. Saint Paul could say; "Yes, indeed, their voice has gone forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world" (Romans 10:18).

        The Holy Ghost gave testimony of Christ, and strengthened the Apostles to give testimony of Christ. Our Lord said, "But when the Advocate has come, Whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth Who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness concerning Me. And you also bear witness" (John 15: 26, 27). By His descent, the Holy Ghost proved that all Jesus Christ had said and done was true, that He was indeed the Son of God. After the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles gave testimony of Christ by going all over the world, (cf. Acts 1:8), preaching and suffering for Christ, meeting death joyfully ( cf. Acts 5:41; Rom. 8:18), saying, "I can do all things in Him who strengthens me."

    Tomorrow: Sanctifying Grace part one

          

May 2, 2000
volume 11, no. 85
APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

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