1.From the first centuries to the present day, the Church has professed the truths of her faith in Christ and the mystery of his redemption. These truths were subsequently gathered into the Symbols of the faith, today known and proclaimed in common by the faithful in the solemn and festive celebration of Mass as the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.
This same Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed is contained in the Profession of faith developed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,(1) which must be made by specific members of the faithful when they receive an office, that is directly or indirectly related to deeper investigation into the truths of faith and morals, or is united to a particular power in the governance of the Church.(2)
2. The Profession of faith, which appropriately begins with the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, contains three propositions or paragraphs intended to describe the truths of the Catholic faith, which the Church, in the course of time and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit “who will teach the whole truth” (Jn 16:13), has ever more deeply explored and will continue to explore.(3)
The first paragraph states: “With firm faith, I also believe everything contained in the word of God, whether written or handed down in Tradition, which the Church either by a solemn judgment or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium sets forth to be believed as divinely revealed.”(4) This paragraph appropriately confirms and is provided for in the Church’s universal legislation, in canon 750 of the Code of Canon Law(5) and canon 598 of the Code of the Canons of the Eastern Churches.(6)
The third paragraph states: “Moreover I adhere with submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise their authentic Magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim these teachings by a definitive act.”(7) This paragraph has its corresponding legislative expression in canon 752 of the Code of Canon Law(8) and canon 599 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.(9)
3. The second paragraph, however, which states “I also firmly accept and hold each and everything definitively proposed by the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals,”(10) has no corresponding canon in the Codes of the Catholic Church. This second paragraph of the Profession of faith is of utmost importance since it refers to truths that are necessarily connected to divine revelation. These truths, in the investigation of Catholic doctrine, illustrate the Divine Spirit’s particular inspiration for the Church’s deeper understanding of a truth concerning faith and morals, with which they are connected either for historical reasons or by a logical relationship.
4. Moved therefore by this need, and after careful deliberation, we have decided to overcome this lacuna in the universal law in the following way:
A) Canon 750 of the Code of Canon Law will now consist of two paragraphs; the first will present the text of the existing canon; the second will contain a new text. Thus, canon 750, in its complete form, will read:
Canon 750 – § 1. Those things are to be believed by divine and catholic faith which are contained in the word of God as it has been written or handed down by tradition, that is, in the single deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and which are at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn Magisterium of the Church, or by its ordinary and universal Magisterium, which in fact is manifested by the common adherence of Christ’s faithful under the guidance of the sacred Magisterium. All are therefore bound to avoid any contrary doctrines.
As the great deceiver, satan is very clever. He can run circles around anyone of us. He can influence our thinking without our knowing it. He is able to manipulate our minds in such a way that we are led to behave in opposition to the Will of God. He can so jam the network of our intellect that the very notion of God can be blotted out. He can - and does - keep our minds so stimulated with new incoming thoughts that there can be not even one thought left of God and goodness in them. As the prince of this world, and, with the angelic powers which are his, satan has easily led mankind to a culture which wholly centers around intellection, to the degree that there is no room for the activities of the will. Not only can he do this, as has been said, but also he has already done it.
Satan cannot tamper with our wills. This is off limits to him by God's command. God has made the will to act freely and only He can work with it, move it, and yet, it remains free to act. Satan can get to the will, though. H can do it indirectly. How? He can and does enter into the mind. Through the mind he gets into the emotions and through the emotions, when we act emotionally, he enters into our behavior. His power is great over the person who lives by his/her feelings. Satan knows that emotions, by and large, can control our everyday behavior especially in those individuals who are ignorant of the gift of the will and act only by how they feel. One FEELS like or does not FEEL like doing something. When one allows himself/herself to be governed by feelings, it is not the same as positing behavior with a clarity of mind and a freedom of the will. Satan has so worked things in today's lifestyle of people that he pretty well dominates what is done in our present day world.
One of the other subtleties of satan is that he so cleverly works things that it becomes part of the way we live in our day, to take life EASY. DON'T EXERT, is the order of the day. Well, you may say, what's so bad about that? When we don't exert, we do not have power to resist evil, nor do we have energy to do that which is virtuous. We become like strands of straw in a fast flowing river. When we do not put forth effort into life, we become victims of every force in life. Every fad, every promotion of the media governs our behavior. We do not have the energy to make decisions for ourselves. Because satan has taken the world to be his own, he governs it in the way that serves his purpose; he, together with the demons under his charge, men and women who have given themselves over to him.
CONFUSE THEM! That is the order that satan gives to his legions. When the mind does not know what to do or what even to think, satan has us in the palm of his hand. We know what it feels like when we are driving along to a destination and we become confused because we either took a wrong turn or missed a road sign. Satan thrives on confusion. Hardly does our world today recognize the darkness it has been put into because of the manipulations of satan in bringing mankind into a state of utter confusion.
NEXT WEEK: Part Five of the sublteties of satan
Because of the open persecution of the Church, it took a year before the 25th pope in the line of Peter was elected on July 22, 259. He was Pope Saint Denis or Dionysius as some lists record. He had been a Roman missionary in Gaul under the persecution of the Emperor Valerian, but the respite in persecutions was due to the fact that Valerian and his Roman legions had to divert all their attention to the gates of Rome where the Barbarian hordes were massing to attack. After the Romans successfully fended off the vandals, Gallienus succeeded the slain Valerian as Roman Emperor. Through much prayer on Denis' part and the desire to mend wounds and rally the Christians to Roman ranks for the purpose of more bodies and more revenue through taxes, Gallienus agreed to give the Christians liberty. Denis died on December 26, 268 and was followed by Pope Saint Felix I on January 5, 269. It was Felix who began the custom of burying martyrs under church altars and celebrating Mass on their tombs. He also quelled the heresy of Paul of Samosota, the proud Bishop of Antioch who taught that Christ was no more than a mere man, in Whom the Divine Word dwelt by its operation and as in its temple, with many other gross errors concerning the captital mysteries of the Trinity and incarnation. Felix called three councils in Antioch to examine the heresy and in the third council Paul was convicted of heresy, pride, and many scandalous crimes and Domnus was appointed Bishop of Antioch. Problems still existed with Paul because of his pride for he kept possession of the bishop's palace. But Felix appealed to the new Emperor Aurelian, who had succeeded Gallienus upon his death in 270. Though Aurelian was a pagan, he ruled that the house should belong to the Pope to whom all the bishops answer. This was a major precedent that still exists today. Paul was evicted, but Aurelian eventually turned against Felix, possibly because the latter had converted countless infidels. Thus, Aurelian renewed the persecution of the Christians, executing Felix on December 30, 274. Less than a week later Pope Saint Eutychian was selected as the 27th Pope, living eight more years until his martyrdom on December 7, 283. During his papacy he began the custom of blessing the crops and decreed that the "Dalmatic," a cloak similar to the one Roman Emperors wore, be placed over the remains of the slain martyrs out of respect for the dead. This evolved into the Dalmatic vestment worn by deacons during solemn liturgical functions. The man to succeed Eutychian was Dalmatian-born Pope Saint Caius elected on December 17, 283. Shortly after his election his uncle became the next Roman Emperor:Diocletian. What different paths these two men from Dalmatia took. One followed God's call, the other followed the siren of satan, moving up through the ranks of the army to a position of power. At first everyone thought there would be harmony as Diocletian set up headquarters in Nicomedia on the straights of the Black Sea near what would become Constantinople. With these changes in government and the expansion, the Church began to share in the prosperity and many converted. However Diocletian began to resent these changes, presuming that they weakened his authority. Thus he had an arsonist set fire to the palace in Nicomedia and blamed the Christians, many of whom were tortured. He kept casting aspersions on them, blaming Christ's followers for insurrection in Armenia and Syria and ordering the leaders into prison. As if this weren't enough, he issued a decree that all Christians must offer sacrifices to the pagan gods. Needless to say, the Christians went ballistic, but answered on their knees as they were dragged away to the mines, their villages and homes burned to the ground and thousands slaughtered. The cruel persecutions of Diocletian were some of the most dastardly in all of history with such renown saints as Saint Agnes, Saint Lucy, and Saint Sebastian receiving their glorious crowns of martyrdom. Through their deaths and the deaths of millions of Christians their blood sowed the seeds for the Rock to swell and the Church flourished, aided especially by another Roman Emperor who would convert to Christianity and forever change the direction of Christ's Church. This we shall see in the thirteenth installment when we examine the fourth century - "In Hoc Signo Vinces."
NEXT INSTALLMENT:"In Hoc Signo Vinces" - freedom at last!
Lift my heart with you in the glory of your Assumption above the dreadful touch of sin and impurity. Teach me how small earth becomes when viewed from Heaven. Make me realize that death is the triumphant gate through which I shall pass to your Son, and that someday my body shall rejoin my soul in the unending bliss of Heaven.
From this earth, over which I tread as a pilgrim, I look to you for help. In honor of your Assumption into Heaven I ask for this favor: (Mention your request here).
When my hour of death has come, lead me safely to the presence of Jesus to enjoy the vision of my God for all eternity together with you.
Mary, my dear Mother and mighty Queen, take and receive my poor heart with all its freedom and desires, all its love and all the virtues and graces with which it may be adorned. All I am, all I might be, all I have and hold in the order of nature as well as of grace, I have received from God through your loving intercession, my Lady and Queen. Into your sovereign hands I entrust all, that it may be returned to its noble origin.
Mary, Queen of every heart, accept all that I am and bind me to you with the bonds of love, that I may be yours forever, and may be able to say in all truth: "I belong to Jesus through Mary."
My Mother, assumed into Heaven, I love you. Give me a greater love for Jesus and for you.
Mary, Assumed into Heaven and Queen of the Universe, ever-Virgin Mother of God, obtain peace and salvation for us through your prayers, for you have given birth to Christ the Lord, the Savior of all mankind.
Almighty, ever-living God, You raised to eternal glory the body and soul of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of Your Son. Grant that our minds may always be directed Heavenward and that we may deserve to share in her glory.Amen.
Because here below you shared in all the mysteries of our Redemption, Jesus has crowned you not only with glory but with power. He placed you at His right hand that you may dispose of the treasures of grace by a singular title - that of Mother of God.
In the midst of all the Saints you stand as their Queen and ours - dearer to the Heart of God than any creature in God's Kingdom. You pray for your children and distribute to us every grace won by our loving Savior on the Cross.
Queen Assumed into Heaven, may your glorious beauty fill my heart with a distaste for earthly things and an ardent longing for the joys of Heaven.
May your merciful eyes glance down upon my struggles and my weakness in this vale of tears. Crown me with the pure robe of innocence and grace here, and with immortality and glory in Heaven. Amen.
During all the "fireworks", the "pyrotechnics" of setting up the Kingdom, everyone wanted to get in on the act, to be part of the crowd being healed or witnessing healings by Jesus, or eating the multiplied loaves, but very few had a driving desire to give consistent glory to God and followed Jesus with dedication (Luke 22:28). Those who did superficially on Palm Sunday abandoned Him to His crucifixion five days later. That same pattern emerges again and again today. People flock to prayer meetings and charismatic Masses and retreats, but when their faith grows weak, they drift way.
God's power becomes more and more dynamic in that little handful who remains, and His future Church will explode outward from them. That is why faith is so important. That faith is lodged only in those who lovingly and closely follow Jesus, believing and trusting in His love.
This is my challenge to you. What do you want to do with your life? Do you want merely to be a Sunday morning Christian, or a builder of the Kingdom? In this age, you have an opportunity that the Church has never seen in its entire history to usher in the King of Kings.
For those who have faith, life is beautiful. For some people, each morning is "ho-hum, another day, another dollar." For people of deep faith, each morning means a new day of challenge and discovery, another day to love the Lord, "believing in His love for us" (I John 4:16).
How about you? Do you get up with an exuberant "Good morning, Lord!", or disgruntled "Good Lord, it's morning!"?
Faith, you'll find, makes all the difference.
In the next installment, part three of "Survival of the Spiritually Fittest.