DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     December 10-12, 1999     vol. 10, no. 235

APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

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SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO and SECTION THREE and SECTION FOUR
    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.

    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.

THE EXISTENCE OF GOD

        Adam and Eve, our first parents, knew God in the Garden of Paradise. God spoke to the patriarchs and prophets, and gave them messages for the rest of men. God gave the Commandments to Moses. Our Lord Jesus Christ, God Himself, came and taught about God.

        We know by our natural reason that God exists, because of:

      1. The existence of the world.
      2. The order and harmony of the whole universe.
      3. The testimony of our conscience.

        The existence of the world proves the existence of God, because it could not have come into existence by itself. Everything in the world had a beginning. Men, animals, plants, the earth, planets and stars,-all had a beginning. They could not have come into exisatence by themselves. They must have been made by Someone Who had no beginning. Planets and men could no more have made themselves than a watch can make itself.

        The astronomer Kircher had a friend who denied the existence of God. During a visit one day, this friend saw a globe in the study of the astronomer. - "This is an interesting globe," said he; "Who made it?" - "Why, replied Kircher, "it just made itself!" The friend had a hearty laugh at the idea. Kircher asserted, "It would be much easier for a little globe like that to make itself than for the immense globe of the earth to create itself."

        When we see footprints on the sand, we conclude that someone has passed that way. The universe is filled with the footprints of a Supreme Creator. Every single existing thing or being gives clear testimony of Him. A light cannot kindle itself; after it is kindled, it will go out in a few hours. But the light of the sun in the Heavens has burned for thousands of years and continues to burn.

        They lead us to infer the existence of a Supreme Architect and Preserver of surpassing skill. The Heavenly bodies go along their appointed courses age after age. The seasons cusseed one another year by year. There is splendor, beauty, arrangement, and order everywhere. The whole universe is governed and preserved by immutable law.

        If you plant an orange seed, you are certain an apple will not spring from it. Every morning you are sure the sun, when it rises, will appear in the east. At night you can go peacefully to sleep, assured that after your rest the day will come again. To say that this universal order is the result of accident, or that the planets direct their own courses, is as foolish as to say that an automobile goes sensibly around the city streets running itself.

        "The Heavens show forth the glory of God, and the firmament declareth the work of His hands" (Psalm 18:2). God is the Intelligent Cause. Long ago the pagan Cicero said: "When we contemplate the Heavens, we arrrive at the conviction that they are all guided by a Being of surpassing skill." And Cicero also says, "There is no nation to be found so savage as to be ignorant of the existence of God." The great astronomer Newton often uncovered and bowed when God's name was uttered.

        By our conscience we can distinguish right from wrong. Our conscience approves the right and condemns the wrong. Thus within ourselves there is a recognition of a Supreme Lawgiver to Whom we are responsible, Who will reward the good we do, and punish the evil. "Only the fool says in his heart: 'There is no God'" (Psalm 13:1).

        Those who persist in denying the existence of God in spite of external and internal testimony are atheists who are eaten up by pride, or live vicious lives, or both. Of them Our Lord said: "Seeing they do not see and hearing they do not hear, neither do they understand - For the heart of this people has been hardened, and with their ears they have been hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed; Lest at any time they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their mind, And be converted, and I heal them" (Matthew 13: 13-15).

      Monday: Divine Revelation

December 10-12, 1999       volume 10, no. 235
GREAT DEPOSIT OF FAITH

DAILY CATHOLIC

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