MY CATHOLIC FAITH: Lesson 31.

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These are taken from the wonderful Catechism by Bishop Louis LaRavoire Morrow

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds in the same district living in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them and the glory of God shone round about them, and they feared exceedingly. And the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of ,great joy which shall be to all the people; for there has been born to you today in the town of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord’ “

31. The Nativity

When was Christ born? –Christ was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Christmas Day, in Bethlehem, more than nineteen hundred years ago.

  1. When Jesus Christ was born, the Jews were no longer independent. In 64 B.C. Pompey reduced their kingdom and subjected it to Rome. Because the Jews were always plotting rebellion against Rome, the Jewish king was replaced by Herod, a Gentile, the first non-Jew to become king. Thus the scepter was “taken away from Juda”, and the time predicted for the Messias had arrived.
  2. Today we reckon dates from the birth of Christ. This has been the continuous custom since the time of Charlemagne, although many rulers from the 5th century had adopted the practice. However, there is an error of some four to six years. Generally, it is supposed, as a matter of historical fact, that Christ was born 7-5 B.C. An error in the calculation of dates in later centuries produced this anomaly.
  3. Bethlehem is a little town in Judea, near the city of Jerusalem. Joseph and Mary went there in obedience to the Emperor at Rome, who had commanded all his subjects to register in the towns of their ancestors. Joseph and Mary were both descended from King David, whose city was Bethlehem; this is why they went to register there. They tried to find a place to stay in even for only a night, but could find refuge nowhere. And so they sought shelter in a poor stable; there Jesus was born.
  4. Jesus was born in a stable, a poor place. He preferred poverty and humiliation in order to suffer more for us. He wished to show Himself a friend of the poor, and to teach that the best way to heaven is through humility, and detachment from worldly goods.
  5. The Church celebrates the Nativity on December 25. The feast is called Christmas. On this day every priest is granted the privilege of saying three Masses: one in commemoration of Christ’s eternal birth from God the Father; another in remembrance of His temporal birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and a third to recall His spiritual birth in the hearts of the faithful. The word “Christmas” comes from Christ and Mass The feast is so called because on that day the Mass commemorating the birth of Christ is said.
  6. An angel appeared to shepherds and told them of the Nativity. A star led three Magi (Wise Men) to Bethlehem. The shepherds represented the poor. The Magi represented the rich. All offered their gifts to the Infant Jesus. Our Lord does not look at the price of our gifts, but at the purity of our hearts.
    The Church commemorates the adoration of the Magi on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6. “Epiphany” means manifestation. In the persons of the Magi, who were not Jews, Our Lord was manifested to all nations of the earth, who were at the time lost in paganism. With the Magi, we are called to the Truth; the Old Testament was ended, and the world had entered upon a new Covenant with God. And if, like the Magi we offer Jesus Christ the gold of our love, the myrrh of self-sacrifice, and the incense of our prayers, we too shall be united with God.
  7. Many churches and homes set up a crib at Christmas. This custom, although of very ancient origin, was popularized by St. Francis of Assisi. In the year 1223, he visited Pope Honorius III and sought approval of his plans to make a scenic representation of the Nativity. Having obtained the Pope’s consent, Francis left Rome, and arrived at Greccio on Christmas Eve. There in the church he constructed a crib, grouping around it images of the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, of the shepherds, the ox, and the ass. At the midnight Mass St. Francis acted as deacon. After singing the words of he Gospel, “And they laid Him in a manger” , he knelt down to meditate on the great gift of :he Incarnation. And people around saw in his arms a Child, surrounded by a most brilliant light.
    Since then the devotion to the crib has spread far and wide. The crib remains in church until the octave day of the Epiphany. At the proper time the images of the Three Kings and their retinue are added, making a daily advance towards the crib.
    Most homes also set up a decorated Christmas tree. It is a reminder of the tree of the cross. The boxes of Christmas gifts remind us of the great Gift that God sent us.
    Santa Claus, the jolly and beloved distributor of Christmas gifts, is an American adoption of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, of the fourth century. This Saint is popular in Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, where he is made the secret purveyor of gifts to children on December 6, his feast day. The custom was brought to New York by the Dutch, quickly spread throughout the United States and became absorbed into the Christmas celebration.

What incidents in Our Lord’s life were closely connected with the Nativity? –The following incidents in Our Lord’s life were closely connected with the Nativity: the Circumcision, the Presentation, and the flight to Egypt.

  1. The Child received the narne Jesus when He was eight days old. He was circumcised, according to the custorn of the Jews. At the Circumcision Jesus began His role of Mediator between God and man, shedding His blood for the first time for us. “Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for He shall save his people front their sins” (Matt. 1:21). “Therefore God . . . has bestowed upon him the name that is above everv name, so that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bend, of those in heaven, on earth, and under the earth” (Phil. 2:9,10). “If you ask the Father anything in my name. he will give it to you” (John 16:23). The feast of the Circumcision is celebrated on New Year’s Day. Thus the Church teaches us to begin everything in the name of Jesus.
  2. When Jesus was forty days old, His Mother presented Him in the Temple at Jerusalem. In imitation, though the rite is essentially different, mothers today after childbirth seek the blessing of the Church in a thanksgiving ceremony called “churching”. The feast of the Presentation is celebrated on February 2. It is also called the purification of the Blessed Virgin, or Candlemas Day. On this day candles are blessed and carried in procession, in memory of the words of holy Simeon, when Jesus was presented in the Temple. He said Our Lord was “a Light of revelation to the Gentiles”.
  3. Mary and Joseph took the Child Jesus to Egypt to save Him from King Herod, who wanted to kill Him. An angel appeared to Joseph and told him to take the Child Jesus and His mother away to Egypt. They stayed in Egypt until the death of King Herod. Then an angel appeared to Joseph and bade him return to the land of the Jews.
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MY CATHOLIC FAITH: Lesson 30.

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These are taken from the wonderful Catechism by Bishop Louis LaRavoire Morrow

“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin bethrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And when the angel had come to, her, he said, ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women.’ When she had seen him she was troubled at his word, and kept pondering what manner of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for thou host found grace with God. And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus'” (Luke 1:26-31).

30. The Incarnation

(Third Article of the Apostles’ Creed.)

What is meant by the Incarnation? –By the Incarnation is meant that the Son of God, retaining His Divine nature, took to Himself a human nature, that is, a body and soul like ours.

  1. The Incarnation is the greatest act of humility possible. By it the Son of God, eternal, almighty, infinite, voluntarily took upon Himself human nature with its weaknesses. He circumscribed Himself with a human body that would feel sickness and pain, and with a human soul that would cause Him agony. Incarnation means “becoming flesh”. Thus the Son of God took a human body and soul and united it to His divine Person. Without ceasing to be God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity became man at the same time. The divine nature of Christ is from all eternity. Only His human nature began at the Incarnation.
  2. By virtue of the Incarnation Jesus Christ came to earth. This is a mystery which we can never fully understand, but must be content to honor and adore.

“The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Christ as man was like us in all things except sin. He could not sin, because He is God. But in all other things He was like us: he had a human body, a human soul, a human will. Can we understand this with our reason? Hardly. As St. John Chrysostom said: “I know that the Son of Gad became man. but how, I do not know.” God, Who produced the universe from nothing, also caused the Incarnation.

How was the Son of God made man? –The Son of God was conceived and made man by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Three persons of God cooperated in the Incarnation, but only the Second Person took on flesh: only He took to Himself a human nature.

  1. The Incarnation is peculiarly the work of the Blessed Trinity. They formed a human soul and a human body, and these they united to the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity: the result was Our Lord Jesus Christ, God-Man.

To the power of the Holy Ghost we attribute the Incarnation, because the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity peculiarly expresses the Spirit of Love: and the Incarnation is the supreme example of God’s love for men.

  1. It was fitting that God the Son should become incarnate, rather than the Father or the Holy Ghost; for the Son proceeds from the Father, and could be sent by Him. God the Son then could, as the fruit of His Redemption, send God the Holy Ghost. Thus through the Son of God we became adopted sons of God.

When was the Son of God conceived and made man? –The Son of God was conceived and made man on Annunciation Day, the day on which the Angel Gabriel announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she was to be the Mother of God.

  1. In Nazareth of Galilee lived the Blessed Virgin Mary. One day the Archangel Gabriel appeared to her and said: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women” (Luke 1:28). Mary was surprised. The angel said: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a Son: and thou shalt call His name Jesus.” This event is called the Annunciation commemorated by the feast on March 25.
  2. Mary knew that the angel was sent by God. She answered: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38) At these words of the Blessed Virgin, Jesus Cluist became man in her womb, and the incarnation was accomplished.
  3. The mystery of the Incarnation is commemorated daily by the Angelus, a prayer said by Catholics morning, noon, and night, at the ringing of the Angelus bell.

The Angelus bell is rung in a particular way: at the verse, it is sounded three times: a pause follows while the Hail Mary is recited. “This procedure is repeated three times for the three verses and three Hail Marys. Then follows continual ringing while the Prayer is said.

During the Easter time the prayer Regina Coeli (Queen of Heaven) is substituted for the Angelus. Those who do not know these prayers by heart, or who cannot read, may say five Hail Marys instead.

Did Jesus Christ have human parents? –Jesus Christ had a human mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, but He had no human father.

  1. The Blessed Virgin was Christ’s mother as man, but not as God.

However, the Blessed virgin is truly the Mother of God, because the humanity and divinity of her Son are inseparable. In a similar way we call our parents mother and father, although they only gave us our body, and not our soul.

  1. Christ had no human father. The Blessed Virgin remained a virgin all her life. The conception of Our Lord is a great miracle and a mystery that we cannot understand. We can only accept it as true on the word of God, Who is almighty.

St. Joseph was the legal spouse of Mary, but both of them preserved their virginity, consecrating it to God. They always lived together as brother and sister. St. Joseph was only the guardian or foster father of Our Lord.

  1. We should honor and love Saint Joseph, because Our Lord honored and loved him. Holy Scripture calls him a just man. He was a most pure man; and this is why God selected him as the virgin spouse of Mary, to care for her and the Child Jesus.

Jesus loved St. Joseph and obeyed his slightest wish. Mary even called Joseph the father of Jesus.

  1. t seems that Saint Joseph was born in Bethlehem of Judea. But at the time of the Annunciation, he and Mary were living in Nazareth of Galilee. He was a carpenter. It appears that he died before the beginning of Christ’s public life.

The memory of Saint Joseph was venerated from the very earliest centuries. In 1870 Pope Pius IX declared Saint Joseph Patron of the Church. He is also patron of a happy death. We should invoke his protection often. His feast, kept on March 19, has been celebrated since the 15th century.

MY CATHOLIC FAITH: Lesson 29.

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These are taken from the wonderful Catechism by Bishop Louis LaRavoire Morrow

Our Lord Jesus Christ is true God and true Man. As God, He is equal with the Father and the Holy Ghost. He is infinite, almighty, eternal. As man He has a body and soul like ours. Jesus Christ has two natures which cannot be separated, but which are distinct: the human, and the divine. But He is only one Person-the Divine Person. Jesus Christ is not a human Person.

29. Our Lord Jesus Christ

Is Jesus Christ more than one Person? –No, Jesus Christ is only one Person; and that Person is the second Person of the Blessed Trinity.
Throughout the Gospels we can read about Jesus Christ as only one Person,-eating, sleeping, talking, and dying, as only one Person.

  1. A “person” is a being that is intelligent and free, and responsible for his actions. We attribute to him whatever good or evil he does in the use of his human powers, because he owns or controls those powers. I am a human person, and everything I do is done by a human person. But Christ is a Divine Person, since He is God. Whatever Jesus Christ did while He was on earth was of infinite dignity, since it was the work of a Divine Person.
  2. Jesus Christ is Our Lord, the Son of God the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, true God and true Man. We call Him “Our Lord” because as God He is Lord and Master of all, and as our Saviour He redeemed us with His Blood. Christ is our Creator, Redeemer, Lawgiver. Teacher, and judge. All these we mean when we say Our Lord. St. Paul says: “He is the Blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords … to whom be honor and everlasting dominion. Amen” (1 Tim. 6: 15,16).
  3. There is only one Person, the Divine Person, in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is not a human person. Everything in Him even as Man is divine and worthy of adoration. When we adore the Sacred Heart, or the Precious Blood, we do not adore mere flesh, but the flesh united to the divinity. In Christ the human and the divine are inseparable.

How many natures has Jesus Christ? –Jesus Christ has two natures: the nature of God and the nature of man.

  1. A “nature” is a substance that is complete in itself as a source of activity. It differs from “person” in that while “person” determines what an individual is, “nature” determines what an individual can do.                                  Saint Thomas Aquinas’ teachings on “nature” (Please Click Here)
    Saint Thomas Aquinas’ teachings on “person” (Please Click Here)
    In Jesus Christ Our Lord there are two natures: His divine and His human nature. Therefore He could and did act as God; He could and did act as man, while all the time He was God the Son.
  2. Because of His Divine nature, Christ is truly God; because of His human nature, He is truly man. In His Divine nature He is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, God the Son, the Eternal Word. He took His human nature from His Mother.

It was to the Blessed Virgin that the Archangel Gabriel announced: “And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32).
Therefore Jesus Christ is both God and man; He has both Divine and human powers; He has knowledge, can will and act as God and as man. For example, with His human nature Jesus worked, ate, spoke, felt pain. But it was His divine nature that enabled Him to become transfigured, walk on the waters, raise the dead.

  1. These two natures were united in a Divine Person Jesus Christ, the God-Man. They were intimately united, but they remained distinct. Neither was absorbed by the other. When iron and gold are welded into one solid mass, they continue to retain all their individual properties distinct from each other. The union of the divine and human natures in Christ is called the hypostatic union.

Christ is true God and true man; this is why we call Him God-Man. Beings obtain their nature from their origin; for this reason a child has a human nature, from its human parents. Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, has His origin from God the Father, and hence He has a divine nature; moreover, as man He was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and thus His human nature. This is why Christ often referred to Himself indiscriminately as “Son of God” or “Son of Man”.

  1. As a consequence of these two natures, Christ had also two wills. We can see this very clearly in His prayer in the Garden of Olives before His Passion. He said: “Nevertheless, not My will, but Thine be done.” He was referring to His human will, for His divine will was surely the same as His Father’s.

What does the name Jesus mean? –The name Jesus means Saviour or Redeemer.

  1. Our Lord is called Jesus because He came to save men from sin, and to open the doors of heaven to them. Before the birth of Our Lord, an angel appeared to St. Joseph and said: “Thou shalt call His name Jesus” (Matt. 1:21). At the Annunciation the angel Gabriel had spoken the same words to Mary.
    “After eight days were accomplished, that the child should be circumcised, His name was called Jesus” (Luke 2:21).
  2. We should say the name of Our Lord with great reverence. We should bow our head every time we utter it. “In the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth” (Phil. 2:10). The symbol IHS is composed of the first three letters of the name Jesus in Greek.

What does the name Christ mean? –The name Christ means “The Anointed One”.

  1. “Christ” is a Greek word, with the same meaning as “Messias”. In the Old Law it was the custom to anoint with oil prophets, high priests, and kings. Our Lord is the greatest of the Prophets. He is the High Priest Who offers Himself for all mankind. He is the King of angels and men. Therefore it is fitting that we should call Him Christ. He truly is the Anointed One.
  2. We are called Christians because we are disciples of Christ. We believe in His teachings, and obey His commandments. The followers of Christ were first called Christians at Antioch. NOTE: We are also called Christians because we are members of the Holy Roman Catholic Church in the same way that being a member of the Jones family is indispensable to being a “Jones.” (RMO)
    “Can a Protestant be a Christian?” (Part 1)(Please Click Here)
    “Can a Protestant be a Christian?” (Part 2)(Please Click Here)
    Those who deny the doctrines of Christ, especially His divinity, are not Christians. Unfortunately, many today are Christians only in name.
  3. Jesus Christ was announced to the world through many types. By “types” we mean persons or actions which strongly suggested or foreshadowed Christ. “Types” are to the reality what a photograph is to the actual person; but for lack of the reality, types are a good substitute, to give an idea of the substance foreshadowed. Some of the types of Jesus Christ were: the gentle and just Abel, who was murdered by his brother; Noe, who alone persevered and saved the human race from extinction by his justice; Isaac, who willingly carried the wood on which he was to have been sacrificed; Joseph, who was sold for a few pieces of silver, but later saved his brethren from death; Moses, who freed the Jews from slavery and led them to the Promised Land; David. who was born poor, did great deeds for his people, and became King.

MY CATHOLIC FAITH: Lesson 28.

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Throughout the centuries God sent prophets to predict different events and facts concerning the promised Saviour. Among the most important prophets were Jeremias, Isaias, Daniel, and Ezechiel. Daniel predicted the exact time of the birth of the Redeemer. He said His kingdom would have no end, and would embrace all kingdoms. Isaias prophesied that the Messias would be born of a virgin, would be both God and Man, and would die patiently and willingly like a lamb for our sins.

These are taken from the wonderful Catechism by Bishop Louis LaRavoire Morrow

28. The God-Man

What is the chief teaching of the Catholic Church about Jesus Christ? –The chief teaching of the Catholic Church about Jesus Christ is that He is God made man.

  1. Christ Himself said that He is God. The Jews understood His claim literally, and He was condemned to death for blasphemy, for making Himself the Son of God. Christ said: “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matt. 28:18). “And the high priest said to him, ‘I adjure thee by the living God that thou tell us whether thou art the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus said to him, ‘Thou hast said it'” (Matt. 26:63). “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
  2. Christ proved His claims by wonderful miracles, by prophecies, by His knowledge of all things, and by the holiness of His life. These miracles Christ worked in His own name, not as His followers did, who worked in the name of God. He simply said: “I will, be thou made clean” (Matt. 8:3)
    Christ Himself appealed to His miracles as a testimony of the truth of His doctrines and divinity, saying: “If you are not willing to believe me, believe the works” (John 10:38) . Christ foretold future events. Among other things, He predicted His passion, death, and resurrection, the treason of Judas and the perpetuity of His Church.
  3. The Apostles, the followers of Christ Himself, plainly taught that Christ is God, and died in testimony of their faith. St. John says: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” “And the Word was made Flesh.” St. Paul writes: “In him (Christ) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). St. Thomas openly professed the divinity of Christ when he said: “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). St. Peter said: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
  4. The Church teaches that Jesus Christ is God. Its teachings have spread throughout all nations, in spite of untold obstacles. The Church has grown by the simplest of means, its spread ever accompanied by wonderful miracles, by which God designs to show forth the truth of the Church. The doctrine of the divinity of Christ is the foundation of the Christian religion.
  5. Even the enemies of the Catholic Church have admitted their belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ. Napoleon, about to die, said: “I know men, but Jesus Christ was more than man. My men deserted me in the field when I was there leading them. Christ’s army has been faithful for centuries. A Leader who has an army which functions though He is dead is not man.”

Why is Jesus Christ God? –Jesus Christ is God because He is the only Son of God, having the same divine nature as His Father.
“And they all said, ‘Art thou, then, the Son of God?’ He answered, ‘You yourselves say that I am’ ‘ And they said, ‘What further need have we of witness? For we have heard it ourselves from his own mouth'” (Luke 22:70-71)

  1. Man after the Fall was unable to regain of himself his former holiness. He became like a sick man who could not arise from bed. He needed Someone to raise him up. Since the sin he had committed had been an offense against an Infinite God, the atonement needed had to be by an Infinite One, the Son of God Himself. “God so loved the world that he gave his onlybegotten Son” (John 3:16). “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17).
  2. Christ is called the “Word”. Just as the thought in our minds finds expression in a word, so the Son of God dwelling in the bosom of His Father was shown to the world when the Word became man. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1: 1,14).

Why is Jesus Christ man? –Jesus Christ is man, because He is the Son of the Blessed Virgin, and has a body and soul like ours.

  1. The birth of Jesus Christ is a fact of history. He was born of Mary, who was espoused to a carpenter named Joseph, who lived in Nazareth of Galilee. The archangel Gabriel said to Mary, “The Holy One to be born shall be called the Son of God.”
  2. Jesus Christ is true man, because He has a body and soul like ours. He derived His human nature from His mother. History tells us of Jesus Christ, Who preached in and about Jerusalem over nineteen hundred years ago. Many records tell of His appearance, of His words, of His actions, of His teachings. Nobody doubted that Jesus Christ was a Man, for He could be seen and touched like other men. He lived and died Just as men of all times live and die.

How can we prove that the religion God has revealed through Christ is worthy of belief? –We can prove that the religion God has revealed through Christ is worthy of belief, because:

  1. Jesus Christ, announcing Himself as the true Son of God, whose coming was foretold by the prophets, preached doctrines which He said all must believe. If Christ is God, then the religion He established is true, and the Church He founded is the true Church. We can believe everything He says, even without understanding it, because God cannot err.
    If Jesus Christ were not God, then Christianity would be a farce, and the sooner it were done away with the better. If Christ were not God, then He were an impostor who, by claiming divinity, had led billions into error for almost 2,000 years.
  2. Christ worked wonderful miracles, which showed that the God of truth approved His teachings. Christ worked so many miracles publicly that all flocked to Him to be cured. “But when John had heard in prison of the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples to say to him, ‘Art thou he who is to come, or shall we look for another?’ And Jesus answering said to them, ‘Go and report to John what you have heard and seen: the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise, the poor have the gospel preached to them'” (Matt. 11:2-5)
    • Christ performed miracles on inanimate objects, as when He changed water to wine, calmed the storm, multiplied loaves.
    • He healed in an instant the sick, the blind, the lame. He expelled devils.
    • He raised the dead to life; as the daughter of Jairus, the son of the widow of Naim and Lazarus. Even His enemies acknowledged His miracles. The Pharisees planned to kill Lazarus, because the Jews believed in Jesus as a result of the miracle.
    • He worked miracles on His own Person, as in the Transfiguration, Resurrection, and Ascension.

MY CATHOLIC FAITH: Lesson 27.

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Immediately after the Fall, God promised a Redeemer to Adam. He forgave man, although He had not forgiven the rebel angels. He was more merciful to man than to the angels. In making the promise, God spoke of the Blessed Virgin, who was to be the Saviour’s Mother.

These are taken from the wonderful Catechism by Bishop Louis LaRavoire Morrow

27. The Promise of the Redeemer

(Second Article of the Apostles’ Creed.)

Did God abandon man after Adam fell into sin? –God did not abandon man after Adam fell into sin, but promised to send into the world a Saviour to free man from his sins and to reopen to him the gates of heaven.
God could have abandoned man as a consequence of Adam’s sin; then the human race would have suffered eternal separation from Him.

  1. The promise was first made to Adam before God sent him out of Paradise. God said to the serpent who had tempted Eve: “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head” (Gen. 3:15) In this passage, the woman spoken of is the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her seed is Our Lord Jesus Christ. He was the Redeemer promised by God. God said that there would be complete enmity between Our Lord with His Mother on one side, and the devil with his followers on the other.
  2. This promise was renewed several times to the Patriarchs of the Old Testament: to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David. Because Abraham remained true to the worship of God in the midst of idolatry, God led him to Canaan. As a reward for his obedience, God promised, “I will make of thee a great nation … and in thee shall all the kindred of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12:2,3). This promise was repeated twice. The same promise “in thy seed shall all the nations be blessed” was repeated to Abraham’s son Isaac, and to Isaac’s son Jacob. Finally, hundreds of years later, God commanded the prophet Nathan to repeat to King David the very same promise, “He shall build a house to My name, and I will establish his kingdom forever” (2 Kings 7:13)
  3. Later, God sent the Prophets. Through them He foretold many things about the Redeemer: about His birth, His Person, His sufferings. His death, and His final glory. God enlightened the Prophets so that they could speak in His name to the Jews or Israelites’ the descendants of Abraham. There were about seventy prophets, the last being Malachias, who lived some 450 years before Christ.
  4. God chose the Jews as the people among whom the promised Saviour would live; for this reason we call the Jews the “chosen people”. God prepared them for the coming of the Saviour: by heavy trials, by severe laws, by miracles, by prophecies. The selection of the Jews did not mean rejection by God of the other nations. Every renewal of God’s promise recalled blessings in which all were to share. Even among other nations there were just men, In Greece, Socrates spoke against the worship of idols. Holy Job lived in Arabia. The Magi were of the East. Vergil the poet prayed the virgin-born Son to come and reign over His people.

Why did God wait thousands of years before sending the Redeemer? –God wished men to realize the enormity of sin.

  1. God wished men to see how low they could sink without His help. He wanted the world to prepare for the Redeemer. Men became so wicked that God destroyed all in the Deluge, except Noe and his family. God permitted men to sink into the deepest misery, so that they might be roused to a longing for the promised Saviour. When the Saviour at last came, all nations were sunk in idolatry and wickedness except the Jews. Even among the Jews there was continuous dissension and sin.
  2. From the time of Adam the true religion was preserved till the advent of the promised Saviour by the patriarchs, prophets and other holy men inspired by God to teach and lead his Chosen People. In spite of the imperfection of the old religion, there was always only one true religion. It was but a shadow of the perfection that was to come, but was the true religion before Christ: the Jewish Faith.

Who is the Saviour of all men? –The Saviour of all men is Jesus Christ.
Men would know the Saviour by certain signs which God revealed through the Prophets.

  1. Of His advent the Prophets spoke:
    • The Messias was to be born in Bethlehem, when the Jews were no longer free. “And Thou, Bethlehem Ephrata, art a little one among the thousands of Juda: out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be the ruler in Israel: and his going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity” (Mich. 5:2). “The scepter shall not be taken away from Juda, nor a ruler from his thigh, till he come that is to be sent, and he shall be the expectation of nations” (Gen. 49:10)
    • The Messias was to be born of a virgin of the House of David. “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel” (Is. 7:14)
    • The Messias would be preceded by a precursor who would preach in the desert. “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord: make straight in the desert the paths of our God” (Is 40:3).
    • A new star was to announce the birth of the Messias; He would be adored by kings from distant lands bringing Him gifts. “A star shall rise out of Jacob, and a scepter shall spring up from Israel” (Numb. 24:17). “The kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents: the kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring gifts” (Ps. 71:10)
    • Many children would be put to death at the time of His birth. “A voice was heard on high of lamentation, or mourning, and weeping, of Rachel (representing the Jews) weeping for her children, and refusing to be comforted, because they are not” (Jer. 31:15).
  1. Of the person of the Messias the Prophets spoke: He was to be the Son of God. He would work great miracles, and teach the people. He would he King of a new kingdom, which was not to be destroyed, and was to include all nations. “The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten Thee” (Ps. 2:7). “Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall be free” (Is. 35:5-6). “The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed … and it shall consume all these kingdoms, and itself shall stand forever” (Dan. 2:44).
  2. Of His sufferings the Prophets spoke: He was to enter Jerusalem riding on an ass. He would be betrayed by one who ate at the same table with Him. He would he abandoned, mocked, beaten, spat upon, scourged, crowned with thorns, and given gall and vinegar to drink. Lots would be cast for His garments. His hands and feet would be pierced with nails. He would die between two evildoers.
  3. All the prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He is the Redeemer, the Saviour that God in His mercy had promised. The angels announced Him as the Redeemer to the shepherds when He was born, and to St. Joseph in a vision. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son” (John 3:16)

MY CATHOLIC FAITH: Lesson 26:

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Our Lord showed how hateful gluttony is in the parable of the rich man, Dives, and the poor Lazarus (1). Dives was so greedy that he would not even give scraps to Lazarus, who sat at his gate. But when Dives died, he went to hell, while Lazarus went to heaven. The brothers of Joseph (2), were so envious of him that they sold him to some merchants going to Egypt. God rebuked their sin by blessing Joseph in Egypt, and causing him to be in a position to help his envious brothers later.

These are taken from the wonderful Catechism by Bishop Louis LaRavoire Morrow

26. Anger, Gluttony, Envy, Sloth

What is anger? –Anger is a strong feeling of displeasure, combined with a desire to inflict punishment on the offender.

  1. An angry man loses his reason. In anger a man will do what he afterwards regrets. From anger arise hatred, revenge, (quarreling, blasphemy, contumely, and murder. The virtues of patience and meekness are opposed to anger. (See Chapter 45 on Meekness, Abstinence, Zeal, Brotherly Love) Anger, or wrath, is a temporary madness. A man with this vice flies into a rage at every little thing. He always puts the blame of his anger on others, and even when he is alone be gets angry. “The wrath of man does not work the justice of God” (Jas. 1:20).
    Wilful murder, one of the “sins that cry to heaven for vengeance,” arises from anger.
    When the first willful murder took place, and Cain killed his brother Abel, God said to Cain, “The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth to me from the earth” (Gen. 4:10).
  2. He who indulges in anger injures his health, becomes hated, incurs damnation. Many men have had a stroke of paralysis brought on by anger; some have even died. If anger is so hurtful to the body, how much more to the soul!
  3. When we feel ourselves becoming angry, we should never speak or act, but try to calm ourselves by prayer. St. Francis de Sales said: “I have made an agreement with my tongue never to utter a word while my heart is excited.” “Let every man be slow to speak and slow to wrath” (Jas. 1:19).
  4. If we should be so unhappy as to have offended anyone by our anger, we should hasten to apologize. “Do not let the sun go down upon your anger” (Ephes. 4:26)
  5. A just anger against sin and injustice is praiseworthy. We may hate the sin, but not the sinner. Christ had this just wrath when He drove the sellers from the Temple. Holy Scripture says, “Be angry and do not sin” (Ephes. 4:26).

What is gluttony? –Gluttony is an excessive desire for or indulgence in food or drink.

  1. Gluttony is greediness, intemperance in eating and drinking. Of the gluttonous, St. Paul said that “their god is the belly ” (Phil 3:19). We should not be either too greedy or too dainty about the nourishment we take. The virtue opposed to gluttony is temperance. We should not eat more than we need to support life. “We do not live to eat, but eat to live.” We must not take what is injurious to health, even if its taste is pleasing. We must have regular hours for our meals. We should not be too particular about food, eat what is set before us, and not get angry when a dish is not very appetizing. The purpose of food is to give strength for the work we do while still on earth preparing for our final end.
  2. Gluttony produces dullness of mind, laziness, and sensuality. The vice of drunkenness is a terrible evil, leading to worse sins. A man when drunk loses his reason, and often makes a fool of himself. If reason is the chief difference between man and the beast, why should one extinguish it by drunkenness? “The sensual man does not perceive the things that are of the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:14). “He who sows in his flesh, from the flesh also he will reap corruption” (Gal. 6:8). It is well for young people to abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages and smoking till after they are twenty years of age. If they do this, the likehood is that they will not contract vice. (See Chapter 45 on Meekness, Abstinence, Zeal, Brotherly Love)
    Note: Smoking is against the 5th commandment: “Thou shalt not kill.” (RMO) Saint Maximilian Kolbe is the patron Saint of SUBSTANCE ABUSE which includes alcohol, tobacco, heroin, marijuana. crack, cocaine, and any other substances that are abused.

What is envy? –Envy is a bitter feeling at the excellence or good fortune of those who are better or happier, with a desire to rob them of what they have.

  1. Envy consists in discontent or anger at the success of another, as though it were evil to oneself. It also consists in rejoicing over another’s misfortune, as if it were a good to oneself. Envy is against the commandment of God to love our neighbor. It is the mark of the petty mind and the hard heart. The devil envied Adam and Eve in Paradise; Cain envied Abel, whose offering was pleasing to God. Some are, so envious that they even envy the holiness of others, but without any desire or attempt at imitation. This was the case with the Pharisees, and their envy led them to plot the death of Jesus Christ.
  2. Envy leads to calumny, gossip, detraction, hatred, scandal, and other sins. An envious man looks on everything with malice; as a result his envy does not even make himself happy, but destroys his peace of heart. The sons of Jacob were envious of their brother Joseph because he was the favorite son. Their envy led them to sell him into Egypt. Often the envy in a man’s heart causes him to be so soured on the world that he sells himself for nothing to the devil.
  3. A form of envy, one of the greatest sins, is envy at another’s spiritual good. This is a most diabolical sin; it shows that the sinner has closed his heart against the charity of God, and instead houses God’s enemy, Satan. The virtue opposed to envy is charity, or brotherly love. (See Chapter 45 on Meekness, Abstinence, Zeal, Brotherly Love)

What is sloth? –Sloth is the neglect of one’s duties, spiritual or temporal, through laziness.

  1. The rule of the universe is activity; life and movement may be found in all nature. The slothful man is the exception; and he by his laziness goes against nature. “Go to the ant, O sluggard, and consider her ways, and learn wisdom” (Prov. 6:6). The slothful keep putting off doing anything till tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, which often never comes.
  2. Many complain of hard luck, but often misfortunes come from laziness. The virtues of diligence and zeal are opposed to sloth. Even on earth, most rewards go only to the industrious and energetic.
  3. Spiritual sloth is called lukewarmness. It is also called tepidity. The lukewarm person would like to have the rewards given by God, but will not move a finger to serve Him. As soon as it is necessary to exert himself, he shrinks from the effort. Great Sinners have been known to become great saints, but the lukewarm, never. Holy Scripture says: “I would that thou wert cold or hot. But because thou an lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to vomit thee out of my mouth” (Apoc. 3:15,16).
  4. Sloth leads to many sins; idleness begets vice. The lazy neglect good works. If man has no useful occupation, his natural activity turns to all kinds of mischief. A busy person avoids many temptations. (See Chapter 45 on Meekness, Abstinence, Zeal, Brotherly Love)

A short hiatus from putting up posts these last few days

I hope to be back at it tomorrow or the next day.

I’ve been working on revamping an old news website: News for Catholics. It has a feature where you can write a post/opinion piece or article and submit on the site as an editorial. It will appear in posts and in the editorial tab where people can discuss the post. It also has many links to news and opinion pieces from the secular news to Cathoic news and blogs etc. Id be interested in your feedback: what could make it better, what you like, what you don’t like etc. Let me know.