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 SOULS IN PURGATORY
To make an Heroic Act of Charity takes a real hero and there are so few left on this earth. Gone are so many of the priests and nuns, and yes parents and grandparents who emulated these
virtues, who, despite the consequences, were not afraid to utilize "tough love" for the
sake of the person's soul rather than their material wellbeing. They were not as
concerned with how they themselves would be accepted or perceived by the ones they
were helping as was the point that they wanted to instill the Will of God into their subjects
so that it would become a "way of life" and not go "in one ear and out the other." They
weren't concerned that they wouldn't be popular, but more concerned with turning out
reliable, responsible Catholics who would repopulate the world with more good Catholics
or enrich the Church with more priests, nuns and lay brothers.
That took heroism, a
heroism that is sadly lacking today. Today heroes are equated to movie, rock and sports
stars. Guess what? They aren't heroes or role models, they are simply fallible humans
with feet of clay who have cast their lot, for the most part, with satan, not with God.
They've taken the easy way out, opting for fame and wealth without taking on the
responsibility of truly giving back, of truly accepting suffering, of truly imparting values
and virtues that will make today and tomorrow's generation stronger and more worthy to
be called children of God.
That sad scenario leaves us terribly void of heroes today. Vocations are alarmingly
down in wealthy, advanced nations in Europe and America while they are skyrocketing in
poor, third world countries like Africa, Bangledesh, India and South America. Why is that? Because
we have not suffered, whereas those in impoverished countries have suffered greatly
and grown from it. From suffering heroes are born, not from excess and smooth sailing.
A very wise priest once said, "It takes a lot of wind and rain to make a tree
grow strong and straight."
So also in a person's life, the more adversity one experiences,
the stronger that person will be for it and grow to be a mature, solid citizen both for their
country and, primarily, for God. The problems today are that too many within the Church
are trying to make things too easy, forgetting what Jesus Christ says about suffering and
carrying our cross and being obedient to Him. Compromise and softness have replaced
the tough faith of yesteryear in the minds of many Catholics and, were it not for our
present Sovereign Pontiff Pope John Paul II who knows how soft the underbelly of the
Church might be today. If it were up to the liberals and modernists, you can bet
Catholicism would be totally "cafeteria" where the faithful could pick and choose as they
pleased. But that is not what Our Lord intended when He established His Church in
Matthew 16: 18-19. Nor did He beg and cajole those who walked away from Him when
they realized it wouldn't be easy. Being the Son of God He could easily have called them
back and explained further what He meant, but He did not compromise, He did not water
anything down. And neither should we. In order to be genuine heroes today we must
submit ourselves totally to the Divine Will. Then, and only then will we be able to generate
the kind of attributes attributed to true heroes.
In the next installment we shall delve further on what the Heroic Act of Charity really
is and the Formula for this Heroic Act.
Tomorrow: The Souls of Purgatory part seven