DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     October 18, 1999     vol. 10, no. 198

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 FOUNDATION AND MISSION OF THE CHURCH

part two

        Our Lord Jesus Christ commanded His Apostles to establish the Church all over the world; that was His express command. The Apostles and their successors, the Bishops, have complied with this command, this mission of the Church to continue Christ’s teaching and to apply the fruits of His Sacrifice to all men. In the process many have suffered martyrdom for their mission. Saint Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, one of the Apostolic Fathers, whose feast we celebrated yesterday, received the crown of martyrdom in the second century under Trajan; he was thrown to the wild beasts in the Amphitheatre during the public games.

        Jesus Christ founded the Church to bring all men to eternal salvation. “For the grace of God our Saviour has appeared to all men, instructing us, in order that, rejecting ungodliness and worldly lusts, we may live temperately and justly and piously in this world; looking for the blessed hope and glorious coming of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and cleanse for himself an acceptable people, pursuing ood works” (Titus 2: 11-14).

        Our Lord Jesus Christ established the Church in order to lead men to Heaven by: (a) continuing His teaching and example; and (b) Applying the fruits of His Sacrifice on the cross to all men until the end of the world.

        Our Lord gave to the Church a three-fold office: the office of teacher, the office of priest or sanctifier, and the office of pastor or ruler. By these offices Christ intended His Church to accomplish the purpose for which He founded it.

        The Church founded by Christ was a visible organization, with the Apostles as superiors and rulers. From the very beginning they exercised their authority and powers. They did not advise; the directed, as superiors, and decided, as judges. Thus Saint Paul excommunicated the sinful Corinthian; and he commanded the Hebrews: “Obey your superiors, and be subject to them” (Hebrews 13:17). The Church is enabled to lead men to salvation by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Who gives life.

        God the Father and God the Son sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in the Church. On the feast of Pentecost, we celebrate a mystery which is forever renewed in the Church and in our souls: the mystery of the indwelling of God, the reign of the law of love which succeeded the law of bondage and fear (cf. Romans 8:15).

        The Holy Spirit guides the rulers of the Church, especially the Pope, and helps them in their duties. Before the descent of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles had been timid and afraid. After His coming they went forth to teach, whatever hardships came; they remembered and understood all the teachings of Christ.

       

      Tomorrow: The Foundation of the Church part three

October 18, 1999       volume 10, no. 198
GREAT DEPOSIT OF FAITH

DAILY CATHOLIC

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