DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     November 19-21, 1999     vol. 10, no. 220


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      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.


part nine

        We complete today this multi-installment on Purgatory. Very few of us have had a vision of Purgatory. Yet, through prayer, we can learn something of the sufferings of these Holy Souls in this place of expiation. We can learn that their sufferings are more intense than we can comprehend or imagine, and this suffering is of the spirit, of the soul, and is likened to a burning fire which might scorch and annihilate our human body. Unlike our human flesh, which, when burned, will shrivel and die, there is no relief, nor end to the pain of suffering.

        This fire-like suffering comes from the knowledge the Holy Souls have of God, of having experienced for a fleeting second, as it were, that incredible Love which is God, and then being separated from that All-Consuming Love. Pat Ludwa wrote an excellent article on this last Thursday in Hell, the fire of God's Love! If we recall when we were most homesick or lonesome and magnify it a million times, we would then arrive at some understanding of the suffering of these Holy Souls in Purgatory.

        We can never outdo God in generosity. Let us, then, resolve to amend our own lives and become generous benefactors for our departed brothers and sisters, fully confident that at the moment of our death, this very Heroic Act of Charity will gain for us a speedy entry into Eternal Joy where we can finally unite with the Church Triumphant. This is the true "communion" of the Communion of Saints which is the very backbone of the Church and something we should be ever mindful as we prepare during Advent and this upcoming final year of the second millennium...as we prepare for His Coming, not just at Christmas but when He returns for the second time for we say every day at Holy Mass: "Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again!"

        After all it will be the ultimate Advent for the word comes from the Latin ad meaning "to" and veni which means "come." Yes, many things are yet to come but none more important as the reason for our very existence - Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God. It is time for all of us to take our roles seriously as "soldiers of Christ" as members of the Church Militant and, as soldiers begin to attempt to do heroic acts for others beginning with the "Heroic Act of Charity" and to do unto others as we would have done unto us.

        Like any good soldier, we're going to fall often; but there is no shame in falling, only in failing to bounce back up. For the sake of the souls in Purgatory we all need to bounce back up, to pray and prepare during this season of Advent, which signals the beginning of the Church's liturgical year. Our Lady is preparing us in her boot camp of motherly love by reminding us of her Divine Son and of the realization that we are coming to the end of an era and that Christ is "to come" soon after God has recleansed the earth as He did during the time of Noah, 2000 years before sending His Only-begotten Son to redeem mankind. Now it is our turn to help redeem the Holy Souls.

      Monday: The Forgiveness of Sins

November 19-21, 1999       volume 10, no. 220


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