DAILY CATHOLIC    THURSDAY     November 18, 1999     vol. 10, no. 219

APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

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SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO and SECTION THREE
    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 SOULS IN PURGATORY

part eight

        We have discovered in this several-installment series on Purgatory that there is indeed a place called Purgatory and it is not just a concept but an undeniable truth of the Church incorporated within the Communion of Saints which composes the Mystical Body of Christ which Saint Paul refers to in Colossians 1: 18, 1 Corinthians 12: 27 and Romans 12:5 in the fact that Christ is the head, we are the body, the members of the body. Just as there is an interdependence of the individual functions of the body with other parts of the body for certain purposes, there is a dependence on the entire body for the entire body which includes the Church Militant here on earth, the Church Triumphant in Heaven, and the Church Suffering in Purgatory. This supernatural fellowship, this mystical union is presented to us in the Apostles' Creed in the doctrine of the Communion of Saints - all united in Christ as its Head.

        As we have emphasized in the last few installments, the "Heroic Act of Charity" leaves us perfectly free to pray for those souls in whom we are most interested; the application of prayers for the Holy Souls in Purgatory is subject to the disposition of the adorable Will of God. This Heroic Act does not oblige under pain of mortal sin and can at any time be revoked. It may be made without using any particular formula; it suffices to have the intention and to make it from the heart.

        In summation, the Heroic Act does not subject us to the direful consequences of having to undergo a long Purgatory ourselves; on the contrary, it allows us to rely with more assured confidence on the Mercy of God in our regard. We are rewarded for our cooperation in the Mystical Body of Christ by doing our part to help it function as God wills.

        We might also consider that we, too, when we are called before God, might find ourselves escorted to Purgatory, knowing that unless we are remembered on earth by the Church Militant, our sufferings are without relief for the period consigned to us by the Almighty. And would we not, in that moment, desire with all of our soul, that someone would make this Heroic Act of Charity on our behalf that we might, as members of the Church Suffering, be freed from suffering and enter into Eternal Bliss? What we do for the least of our brothers, God shall do for us.

      Tomorrow: The Souls of Purgatory part nine

November 18, 1999       volume 10, no. 219
GREAT DEPOSIT OF FAITH

DAILY CATHOLIC

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