What does it Mean to Mention Sins in Number and Kind in Confession?

clock October 18, 2012 07:11 by author John |

When you confess your sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, you are required to mention all of your mortal sins in both “number and kind”. You frequently hear this expression when reading guides to confession, but rarely is it explained. Most people who write these guides are very familiar with confession, and they likely take for granted that the reader knows what “in number and kind” means.

Kinds or Types of Sins

If you are unfamiliar with the Sacrament of Penance, a question naturally arises around the “kinds” of sins. What are the kinds of sins? Should I use the 10 commandments as a guide? What about the 7 deadly sins? How specific should the “kinds” of sins be?

Take for example being disobedient to your parents. You could confess 5 transgressions against the 4th commandment. If you do this, and your priest is actively engaged in helping you, which he should be, he will probably ask you to be more specific. You may wonder why this is. After all, “Isn’t it enough to mention my sins in number and kind”?

The simple answer is, no. The reason is that in sinning, we rarely find that our sins fit nicely under predefined categories. Expanding on the sin of disobedience, the circumstances make all the difference. If for example, your parents told you not to do drugs, and you disobeyed them, then you not only broke the 4th commandment, which requires obedience to your parents, but you also harmed your body by doing drugs, which is a sin against the 5th commandment. The priest can identify patterns in your behavior which he can then use to help you avoid those sins in the future. You may view the sins as disobedience, but doing drugs could possibly indicate a self-destructive pattern in your behavior.

Let’s look at another example. Let’s say that you have trouble with stealing things. Simply confessing that you stole 5 times doesn’t really help the priest understand the problem. If you stole 5 candy bars from a store, the gravity of the sin is relatively small, likely a venial sin. If you stole a car 5 times, or you took $100 from a person living paycheck-to-paycheck on 5 different occasions, then the sin is likely of grave matter, and would probably be a mortal sin in most circumstances.

People often find that they commit the same sins over and over. The situations in our lives present opportunities for us to hurt others and our relationship with God frequently. These are called “occasions of sin”. If you work in a jewelry shop, you may be tempted to sin by stealing gold rings. If you walk past an adult video store on your way to work, you may be tempted to go in and look around. If you work overnight hours, you may be tempted to sleep all day on Sunday, missing mass each week. These sins form patterns, which we may fall into repeatedly.

When confessing sins “in kind” it is best to be specific about the sins and describe any important circumstances that may affect either the severity of the sin or help the priest understand why you are committing these sins repeatedly.

Confessing Your Mortal Sins “In Number”

Once you have identified the “kinds” of sins you commit, the next step is to keep track of the times you have committed them. Why should you confess the number of times you have committed a sin? The answer has 2 parts: 1) it helps the priest understand how attached you are to the sin, and 2) it helps you avoid the sin in the future by bringing the frequency with which you commit the sin into your consciousness. We may not realize how much we sin until we actually keep track.

The next logical question is “What happens if I don’t remember how many times I sinned?” If this applies to you, do not worry too much about it. Just do your best. If you don’t have an accurate count, you can tell the priest roughly how often you commit the sin. If you missed Sunday mass, is it something that you do every week, or a couple times a month? Did you only do it once or twice? In general, just do your best in conveying to the priest how big of a problem it is in your life. When you commit sins in the future, try to keep at least a rough count of how many times you have committed the sin so you are prepared for your next confession, you can reflect on them, and the priest can help you move away from them.

Other Articles You May Like:

A Thorough Catholic Examination of Conscience
How to Make a Good Catholic Confession
What is Mortal Sin (The Catholic Definition)
What is Venial Sin (The Catholic Definition)
Top 10 Emotional Reasons People Don't Go to Confession (and Why You Should Consider it Anyway)



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 65-67, 73 - Revelation Through Jesus, Development of Doctrine, Private Revelation

clock October 18, 2012 01:01 by author John |

The Catechism paragraphs today deal with Divine Revelation revealed through Christ, the fact that there will be no further public revelation, the development of doctrines, and the nature of private revelation.

III. Christ Jesus -- "Mediator and Fullness of All Revelation"25

God has said everything in his Word

65 "In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son."26 Christ, the Son of God made man, is the Father's one, perfect and unsurpassable Word. In him he has said everything; there will be no other word than this one. St. John of the Cross, among others, commented strikingly on Hebrews 1:1-2:

In giving us his Son, his only Word (for he possesses no other), he spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word - and he has no more to say. . . because what he spoke before to the prophets in parts, he has now spoken all at once by giving us the All Who is His Son. Any person questioning God or desiring some vision or revelation would be guilty not only of foolish behaviour but also of offending him, by not fixing his eyes entirely upon Christ and by living with the desire for some other novelty.27

There will be no further Revelation

66 "The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ."28 Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries.

67 Throughout the ages, there have been so-called "private" revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.

Christian faith cannot accept "revelations" that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfilment, as is the case in certain nonChristian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such "revelations".

IN BRIEF

73 God has revealed himself fully by sending his own Son, in whom he has established his covenant for ever. the Son is his Father's definitive Word; so there will be no further Revelation after him.

The Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum expounds upon the nature of Divine Revelation revealed through Jesus Christ:

4. Then, after speaking in many and varied ways through the prophets, "now at last in these days God has spoken to us in His Son" (Heb. 1:1-2). For He sent His Son, the eternal Word, who enlightens all men, so that He might dwell among men and tell them of the innermost being of God (see John 1:1-18). Jesus Christ, therefore, the Word made flesh, was sent as "a man to men." (3) He "speaks the words of God" (John 3;34), and completes the work of salvation which His Father gave Him to do (see John 5:36; John 17:4). To see Jesus is to see His Father (John 14:9). For this reason Jesus perfected revelation by fulfilling it through his whole work of making Himself present and manifesting Himself: through His words and deeds, His signs and wonders, but especially through His death and glorious resurrection from the dead and final sending of the Spirit of truth. Moreover He confirmed with divine testimony what revelation proclaimed, that God is with us to free us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to life eternal.

The Christian dispensation, therefore, as the new and definitive covenant, will never pass away and we now await no further new public revelation before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ (see 1 Tim. 6:14 and Tit. 2:13).

St. Vincent of Lerins expounds on the development of doctrine in the Catholic Church giving us a beautiful analogy about its growth without alteration:

[54] "But someone will say perhaps, 'Shall there, then, be no progress in Christ's Church?' Certainly; all possible progress. For what being is there, so envious of men, so full of hatred to God, who would seek to forbid it? Yet on condition that it be real progress, not alteration of the faith. For progress requires that the subject be enlarged in itself, alternation, that it be transformed into something else. The intelligence, then, the knowledge, the wisdom, as well of individuals as of all, as well of one man as of the whole Church, ought, in the course of ages and centuries, to increase and make much and vigorous progress; but yet only in its own kind; that is to say, in the same doctrine, in the same sense, and in the same meaning.

[55] The growth of religion in the soul must be analogous to the growth of the body, which, though in process of years it is developed and attains its full size, yet remains still the same. There is a wide difference between the flower of youth and the maturity of age; yet they who were once young are still the same now that they have become old, insomuch that though the stature and outward form of the individual are changed, yet his nature is one and the same, his person is one and the same. An infant's limbs are small, a young man's large, yet the infant and the young man are the same. Men when full grown have the same number of joints that they had when children; and if there be any to which mature age has given birth, these were already present in embryo, so that nothing new is produced in them when old which was not already latent in them when children. This, then, is undoubtedly a true and legitimate rule of progress, this the established and most beautiful order of growth, that mature age ever develops in the man those parts and forms which the wisdom of the Creator had already framed beforehand in the infant. Whereas, if the human form were changed into some shape belonging to another kind, or at any rate, if the number of its limbs were increased or diminished, the result would be that the whole body would become either a wreck or a monster, or, at the least, would be impaired and enfeebled.

[56] In like manner, it behooves Christian doctrine to follow the same laws of progress, so as to be consolidated by years, enlarged by time, refined by age, and yet, withal, to continue uncorrupt and unadulterated, complete and perfect in all the measurement of its parts, and so to speak, in all its proper members and senses, admitting no change, no waste of its distinctive property, no variation in its limits.

-St. Vincent of Lerins, “Commonitory” Ch 23

The Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium comments on private revelation and its judgment:

It is not only through the sacraments and the ministries of the Church that the Holy Spirit sanctifies and leads the people of God and enriches it with virtues, but, "allotting his gifts to everyone according as He wills,(114) He distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank. By these gifts He makes them fit and ready to undertake the various tasks and offices which contribute toward the renewal and building up of the Church, according to the words of the Apostle: "The manifestation of the Spirit is given to everyone for profit".(115) These charisms, whether they be the more outstanding or the more simple and widely diffused, are to be received with thanksgiving and consolation for they are perfectly suited to and useful for the needs of the Church. Extraordinary gifts are not to be sought after, nor are the fruits of apostolic labor to be presumptuously expected from their use; but judgment as to their genuinity and proper use belongs to those who are appointed leaders in the Church, to whose special competence it belongs, not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to that which is good.(116)

Footnotes

25 DV 2.
26 ⇒ Heb 1:1-2
27 St. John of the Cross, the Ascent of Mount Carmel 2, 22, 3-5 in The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, tr. K. Kavanaugh OCD and O. Rodriguez OCD (Washington DC: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1979), 179-180: LH, Advent, week 2, Monday, OR.
28 DV 4; cf. ⇒ I Tim 6:14; ⇒ Titus 2:13



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 54-64, 70-72 - Stages of Revelation in the Old Testament

clock October 17, 2012 01:01 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections focus on the stages of Revelation in the Old Testament. The supporting information is from the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum and a Wednesday General Audience of Pope John Paul II. Enjoy!

II. The Stages of Revelation

In the beginning God makes himself known

54 "God, who creates and conserves all things by his Word, provides men with constant evidence of himself in created realities. and furthermore, wishing to open up the way to heavenly salvation - he manifested himself to our first parents from the very beginning."6 He invited them to intimate communion with himself and clothed them with resplendent grace and justice.

55 This revelation was not broken off by our first parents' sin. "After the fall, (God) buoyed them up with the hope of salvation, by promising redemption; and he has never ceased to show his solicitude for the human race. For he wishes to give eternal life to all those who seek salvation by patience in well-doing."7

Even when he disobeyed you and lost your friendship you did not abandon him to the power of death. . . Again and again you offered a covenant to man.8

The covenant with Noah

56 After the unity of the human race was shattered by sin God at once sought to save humanity part by part. The covenant with Noah after the flood gives expression to the principle of the divine economy toward the "nations", in other words, towards men grouped "in their lands, each with (its) own language, by their families, in their nations".9

57 This state of division into many nations, each entrusted by divine providence to the guardianship of angels, is at once cosmic, social and religious. It is intended to limit the pride of fallen humanity10 united only in its perverse ambition to forge its own unity as at Babel.11 But, because of sin, both polytheism and the idolatry of the nation and of its rulers constantly threaten this provisional economy with the perversion of paganism.12

58 The covenant with Noah remains in force during the times of the Gentiles, until the universal proclamation of the Gospel.13 The Bible venerates several great figures among the Gentiles: Abel the just, the king-priest Melchisedek - a figure of Christ - and the upright "Noah, Daniel, and Job".14 Scripture thus expresses the heights of sanctity that can be reached by those who live according to the covenant of Noah, waiting for Christ to "gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad".15

God chooses Abraham

59 In order to gather together scattered humanity God calls Abram from his country, his kindred and his father's house,16 and makes him Abraham, that is, "the father of a multitude of nations". "In you all the nations of the earth shall be blessed."17

60 The people descended from Abraham would be the trustee of the promise made to the patriarchs, the chosen people, called to prepare for that day when God would gather all his children into the unity of the Church.18 They would be the root on to which the Gentiles would be grafted, once they came to believe.19

61 The patriarchs, prophets and certain other Old Testament figures have been and always will be honoured as saints in all the Church's liturgical traditions.

God forms his people Israel

62 After the patriarchs, God formed Israel as his people by freeing them from slavery in Egypt. He established with them the covenant of Mount Sinai and, through Moses, gave them his law so that they would recognize him and serve him as the one living and true God, the provident Father and just judge, and so that they would look for the promised Saviour.20

63 Israel is the priestly people of God, "called by the name of the LORD", and "the first to hear the word of God",21 the people of "elder brethren" in the faith of Abraham.

64 Through the prophets, God forms his people in the hope of salvation, in the expectation of a new and everlasting Covenant intended for all, to be written on their hearts.22 The prophets proclaim a radical redemption of the People of God, purification from all their infidelities, a salvation which will include all the nations.23 Above all, the poor and humble of the Lord will bear this hope. Such holy women as Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Judith and Esther kept alive the hope of Israel's salvation. The purest figure among them is Mary.24

IN BRIEF

70 Beyond the witness to himself that God gives in created things, he manifested himself to our first parents, spoke to them and, after the fall, promised them salvation (cf ⇒ Gen 3:15) and offered them his covenant.

71 God made an everlasting covenant with Noah and with all living beings (cf ⇒ Gen 9:16). It will remain in force as long as the world lasts.

72 God chose Abraham and made a covenant with him and his descendants. By the covenant God formed his people and revealed his law to them through Moses. Through the prophets, he prepared them to accept the salvation destined for all humanity.

The Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum summarizes the stages of Divine Revelation in this way:

3. God, who through the Word creates all things (see John 1:3) and keeps them in existence, gives men an enduring witness to Himself in created realities (see Rom. 1:19-20). Planning to make known the way of heavenly salvation, He went further and from the start manifested Himself to our first parents. Then after their fall His promise of redemption aroused in them the hope of being saved (see Gen. 3:15) and from that time on He ceaselessly kept the human race in His care, to give eternal life to those who perseveringly do good in search of salvation (see Rom. 2:6-7). Then, at the time He had appointed He called Abraham in order to make of him a great nation (see Gen. 12:2). Through the patriarchs, and after them through Moses and the prophets, He taught this people to acknowledge Himself the one living and true God, provident father and just judge, and to wait for the Savior promised by Him, and in this manner prepared the way for the Gospel down through the centuries.

John Paul II describes revelation in the Old Testament in his January 13, 1999 general audience:

3. In Israel the recognition of God's fatherhood is gradual and is continually endangered by the temptation to idolatry which the prophets vigorously denounce: "They say to a tree, "You are my father", and to a stone, "You gave me birth"" (Jer 2:27). In fact, for biblical religious experience the perception of God as Father is linked less to his creative work than to his saving interventions in history by which he establishes a special covenant relationship with Israel. God often laments that this fatherly love has not received a suitable response: "The Lord has spoken: "Sons have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me"" (Is 1:2).

To Israel, God's fatherhood seems more solid than human fatherhood: "For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up" (Ps 27:10). The psalmist, who had this painful experience of abandonment and found in God a father more caring than his earthly parent, shows us how he reached this goal: "Of you my heart speaks, you my glance seeks; your presence, O Lord, I seek" (Ps 27:8). To seek the face of God is a necessary journey, to be taken with sincerity of heart and constant commitment. Only the hearts of the righteous can rejoice in seeking the face of the Lord (cf. Ps 105:3f.) and so it is on them that the fatherly face of God can shine (cf. Ps 119:135; cf. also 31:17; 67:2; 80:4, 8, 20). By observing the divine law one also fully enjoys the protection of the God of the covenant. The blessing with which God rewards his people through the priestly mediation of Aaron insists precisely on this luminous revealing of God's face: "The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace" (Nm 6:25f.).

Footnotes

6 DV 3; cf. ⇒ Jn 1:3; ⇒ Rom 1:19-20
7 DV 3; cf. ⇒ Gen 3:15; ⇒ Rom 2:6-7.
8 Roman Missal, Eucharistic Prayer IV, 118.
9 ⇒ Gen 10:5; cf. ⇒ 9:9-10, ⇒ 16; ⇒ 10:20-31.
10 Cf. ⇒ Acts 17:26-27; ⇒ Dt 4:19; Dt (LXX) 32:8.
11 Cf. ⇒ Wis 10:5;⇒ Gen 11:4-6
12 Cf. ⇒ Rom 1:18-25.
13 Cf. ⇒ Gen 9:16; ⇒ Lk 21:24; DV 3.
14 Cf. ⇒ Gen 14:18; ⇒ Heb 7:3; ⇒ Ezek 14:14.
15 ⇒ Jn 11:52
16 ⇒ Gen 12:1
17 ⇒ Gen 17:5; 12:3 (LXX); cf. ⇒ Gal 3:8
18 Cf. ⇒ Rom 11:28; ⇒ Jn 11:52; ⇒ 10:16.
19 Cf. ⇒ Rom 11:17-18, ⇒ 24.
20 Cf. DV 3.
21 Dt 28: 10; Roman Missal, Good i Friday, General Intercession VI; see also ⇒ Ex 19:6
22 Cf. ⇒ Is 2:2-4; ⇒ Jer 31:31-34; ⇒ Heb 10:16
23 Cf. ⇒ Ezek 36; ⇒ Is 49:5-6; ⇒ 53:11
24 Cf. ⇒ Ezek 2:3; ⇒ Lk 1:38



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 50-53, 68-69 – God Reveals His “Plan of Loving Goodness”

clock October 16, 2012 01:02 by author John |

In the Catechism section for today, we learn about God’s revelation of His “Plan of Loving Goodness”.

CHAPTER TWO

GOD COMES TO MEET MAN

50 By natural reason man can know God with certainty, on the basis of his works. But there is another order of knowledge, which man cannot possibly arrive at by his own powers: the order of divine Revelation.1 Through an utterly free decision, God has revealed himself and given himself to man. This he does by revealing the mystery, his plan of loving goodness, formed from all eternity in Christ, for the benefit of all men. God has fully revealed this plan by sending us his beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

Article 1

THE REVELATION OF GOD

I. God Reveals His "Plan of Loving Goodness"

51 "It pleased God, in his goodness and wisdom, to reveal himself and to make known the mystery of his will. His will was that men should have access to the Father, through Christ, the Word made flesh, in the Holy Spirit, and thus become sharers in the divine nature."2

52 God, who "dwells in unapproachable light", wants to communicate his own divine life to the men he freely created, in order to adopt them as his sons in his only-begotten Son.3 By revealing himself God wishes to make them capable of responding to him, and of knowing him and of loving him far beyond their own natural capacity.

53 The divine plan of Revelation is realized simultaneously "by deeds and words which are intrinsically bound up with each other"4 and shed light on each another. It involves a specific divine pedagogy: God communicates himself to man gradually. He prepares him to welcome by stages the supernatural Revelation that is to culminate in the person and mission of the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ.

St. Irenaeus of Lyons repeatedly speaks of this divine pedagogy using the image of God and man becoming accustomed to one another: the Word of God dwelt in man and became the Son of man in order to accustom man to perceive God and to accustom God to dwell in man, according to the Father's pleasure.5

IN BRIEF

68 By love, God has revealed himself and given himself to man. He has thus provided the definitive, superabundant answer to the questions that man asks himself about the meaning and purpose of his life.

69 God has revealed himself to man by gradually communicating his own mystery in deeds and in words.

The Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum expresses the reality of revelation in this way:

2. In His goodness and wisdom God chose to reveal Himself and to make known to us the hidden purpose of His will (see Eph. 1:9) by which through Christ, the Word made flesh, man might in the Holy Spirit have access to the Father and come to share in the divine nature (see Eph. 2:18; 2 Peter 1:4). Through this revelation, therefore, the invisible God (see Col. 1;15, 1 Tim. 1:17) out of the abundance of His love speaks to men as friends (see Ex. 33:11; John 15:14-15) and lives among them (see Bar. 3:38), so that He may invite and take them into fellowship with Himself. This plan of revelation is realized by deeds and words having in inner unity: the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation manifest and confirm the teaching and realities signified by the words, while the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them. By this revelation then, the deepest truth about God and the salvation of man shines out for our sake in Christ, who is both the mediator and the fullness of all revelation.

Here is what the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius (Vatican Council I – 1870) has to say about Divine revelation in chapter 2:

The same Holy Mother Church holds and teaches that God, the beginning and end of all things, can be known with certitude by the natural light of human reason from created things; "for the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made" [ Rom 1:20]; nevertheless, it has pleased His wisdom and goodness to reveal Himself and the eternal decrees of His will to the human race in another and supernatural way, as the Apostle says: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all, in these days hath spoken to us by His Son" [Heb 1:1 f].

Indeed, it must be attributed to this divine revelation that those things, which in divine things are not impenetrable to human reason by itself, can, even in this present condition of the human race, be known readily by all with firm certitude and with no admixture of error. Nevertheless, it is not for this reason that revelation is said to be absolutely necessary, but because God in His infinite goodness has ordained man for a supernatural end, to participation, namely, in the divine goods which altogether surpass the understanding of the human mind, since "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love Him" [1Cor 2:9].

Footnotes
1 Cf. Dei Filius DS 3015.
2 DV 2; cf. ⇒ Eph 1:9; ⇒ 2:18; ⇒ 2 Pt 1:4
3 ⇒ I Tim 6:16, cf. ⇒ Eph 1:4-5.
4 DV 2.
5 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 20, 2: PG 7/1, 944; cf. 3, 17, 1; 4, 12, 4; 4, 21, 3.



Tuesday Ear Tickler: Dr. Malcolm Nazareth Attacks Archbishop Nienstedt Over Gay Marriage

clock October 15, 2012 19:58 by author John |

The Tuesday Ear Tickler award is Solemn Charge’s weekly recognition of teachers who “Tickle the Ears” of those who “no longer endure sound doctrine”. In the spirit of 2 Timothy 4 2-4, this award serves to identify theological or doctrinal errors, dissent or hostility toward the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, or writing that undermines the purpose of each human soul – to know love and serve God so as to enjoy eternal happiness with Him in Heaven. I make no judgment of the writer’s intentions. Usually the winner of this award was raised in the 60’s so that right there is a mitigating factor toward their culpability for their actions. I do judge concrete actions and the quality of ideas, however…

Today’s winner is Dr. Malcolm Nazareth, who claims to be the co-founding director of the Center for Interfaith Encounter (whatever that means) in St. Cloud, MN. Apparently, he has a beef with Archbishop Nienstedt, who is defending the dignity of marriage as Jesus intended it. Dr. Nazareth decided that the most prudent means of addressing his beef with the good Archbishop was to post a letter on a dissent blog. I doubt the Archbishop has time to read drivel, and a personal letter would have been more appropriate to voice his concerns, but nonetheless, the dissenters live for public controversy. The letter is a long, rambling piece, so I will only post snippets of it. Read the rest if you need a good laugh. (Nazareth’s comments in the red quote boxes, my comments in black.)

Dear Archbishop,

A member of Christ Church Newman Center, St. Cloud, MN, for well over 12 years, I’m writing to you as a Catholic who is a long-time ally of those who are well known and proud to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer (LGBTQ). I believe I’m fully in accord with the mind of Jesus when I take my stand on their side against those who overtly as well as covertly reject LGBTQ sexual orientation and gender identities.

As I frequently like to say, “You have the right to be wrong”. Clearly Jesus, who said, “The Father and I are One”, (John 10:30) would agree with God the Father, who gave the 10 commandments to Moses. Perhaps in the 12 years that Dr. Nazareth was at the Newman Center in St. Cloud, they didn’t cover the commandments, so let me elaborate on the 6th commandment, which forbids adultery. In Leviticus 18:22, God explained the 6th commandment, saying “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman;  such a thing is an abomination.” There is also that little dust up involving Sodom and Gomorrah where the depraved occupants of those cities were scorched by Fire from Heaven due to their homosexual acts.

It grieves me that, on the issue of LGBTQs, you, as official leader of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, are publicly taking a retrogressive stance. <blah blah blah rambling section removed for brevity – trust me you didn’t miss any substance>. I have been teaching Diversity and Racial Issues courses at St. Cloud State University for a decade, and I cannot tell you how much at variance your anti-LGBTQ stance is, and how out of step with the United Nations declaration on Gay Rights (2011), on one hand, and, on the other, the US government’s repealing of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” also in 2011. I am one of many who believe that you vainly seek to put the clock back in 2012.

By claiming that Archbishop Nienstedt is adopting a retrogressive stance, Dr. Nazareth assumes that a progressive stance is superior, that views of the past are of less value, and that the measure of truth is an idea’s assimilation of the loose morals of the current era. How did that work out for Sodom and Gomorrah? I guess that Dr. Nazareth takes his direction from the same folks at the UN that endorse the 1-child policy in China and that place the term “reproductive rights”, (which means unfettered abortion) in every document produced.  I am sure that Archbishop Nienstedt is quite honored to be at odds with the UN and Obama in regards to sinful homosexual deviancy.

I’m aghast at your insistence on being on the wrong side of science, too, thus bringing further disrepute and ignominy today on the religion that carries the name of Jesus of Nazareth who was open minded, large hearted, inclusive, and respectful of human nature, and whose words and deeds manifested his preferential option for the marginalized and powerless.

Dr. Nazareth forgets that Jesus admonished the sinners. Why did Jesus do this? The reason is that he loved them. He wanted them to drop their sinfulness and follow Him. The letter continues on a long tirade against perceived wrongs done by the “rich, White, heterosexual male-dominated Vatican”  ranging from an uninformed recounting of Galileo, women’s ordination, and the correction of the LCWR nuns. This guy obviously hasn’t bothered to pick up a Catechism, Bible, or even the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. I will not waste any more time setting his wild and varied attacks on the Church straight. There are many documents around that will do that. The fact of the matter is that Dr. Nazareth is leading souls away from Christ. He needs prayer. Catechesis and prayer.

I hereby award the Tuesday Ear Tickler Award for Tuesday, October 16, 2012 to Dr. Malcolm Nazareth.



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 36-43, 47-49 – Knowledge of God, How We Can Speak of Him

clock October 15, 2012 01:02 by author John |

The Catechism sections for today deal with the knowledge of God and how we can Speak of Him. Again, Aquinas makes a major contribution for us, which I have included below. Isn’t it great to learn about the faith?

III. The Knowledge of God According to the Church

36 "Our holy mother, the Church, holds and teaches that God, the first principle and last end of all things, can be known with certainty from the created world by the natural light of human reason."11 Without this capacity, man would not be able to welcome God's revelation. Man has this capacity because he is created "in the image of God".12

37 In the historical conditions in which he finds himself, however, man experiences many difficulties in coming to know God by the light of reason alone:
Though human reason is, strictly speaking, truly capable by its own natural power and light of attaining to a true and certain knowledge of the one personal God, who watches over and controls the world by his providence, and of the natural law written in our hearts by the Creator; yet there are many obstacles which prevent reason from the effective and fruitful use of this inborn faculty. For the truths that concern the relations between God and man wholly transcend the visible order of things, and, if they are translated into human action and influence it, they call for self-surrender and abnegation. the human mind, in its turn, is hampered in the attaining of such truths, not only by the impact of the senses and the imagination, but also by disordered appetites which are the consequences of original sin. So it happens that men in such matters easily persuade themselves that what they would not like to be true is false or at least doubtful.13

38 This is why man stands in need of being enlightened by God's revelation, not only about those things that exceed his understanding, but also "about those religious and moral truths which of themselves are not beyond the grasp of human reason, so that even in the present condition of the human race, they can be known by all men with ease, with firm certainty and with no admixture of error".14

IV. How Can We Speak about God?

39 In defending the ability of human reason to know God, the Church is expressing her confidence in the possibility of speaking about him to all men and with all men, and therefore of dialogue with other religions, with philosophy and science, as well as with unbelievers and atheists.

40 Since our knowledge of God is limited, our language about him is equally so. We can name God only by taking creatures as our starting point, and in accordance with our limited human ways of knowing and thinking.

41 All creatures bear a certain resemblance to God, most especially man, created in the image and likeness of God. the manifold perfections of creatures - their truth, their goodness, their beauty all reflect the infinite perfection of God. Consequently we can name God by taking his creatures" perfections as our starting point, "for from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator".15

42 God transcends all creatures. We must therefore continually purify our language of everything in it that is limited, imagebound or imperfect, if we are not to confuse our image of God --"the inexpressible, the incomprehensible, the invisible, the ungraspable"-- with our human representations.16 Our human words always fall short of the mystery of God.

43 Admittedly, in speaking about God like this, our language is using human modes of expression; nevertheless it really does attain to God himself, though unable to express him in his infinite simplicity. Likewise, we must recall that "between Creator and creature no similitude can be expressed without implying an even greater dissimilitude";17 and that "concerning God, we cannot grasp what he is, but only what he is not, and how other beings stand in relation to him."18

IN BRIEF

47 The Church teaches that the one true God, our Creator and Lord, can be known with certainty from his works, by the natural light of human reason (cf. Vatican Council I, can. 2 # 1: DS 3026),

48 We really can name God, starting from the manifold perfections of his creatures, which are likenesses of the infinitely perfect God, even if our limited language cannot exhaust the mystery.

49 Without the Creator, the creature vanishes (GS 36). This is the reason why believers know that the love of Christ urges them to bring the light of the living God to those who do not know him or who reject him.

John Paul II wrote about the need to be enlightened by God’s revelation in Catechesi Tradendae:

14. To begin with, it is clear that the Church has always looked on catechesis as a sacred duty and an inalienable right. On the one hand, it is certainly a duty springing from a command given by the Lord and resting above all on those who in the new covenant receive the call to the ministry of being pastors. On the other hand, one can likewise speak of a right: from the theological point of view every baptized person, precisely the reason of being baptized, has the right to receive from the Church instruction and education enabling him or her to enter on a truly Christian life; and from the viewpoint of human rights, every human being has the right to seek religious truth and adhere to it freely, that is to say, "without coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and any human power," in such a way that in this matter of religion, "no one is to be forced to act against his or her conscience or prevented from acting in conformity to it."

Here is the full text of Aquinas’ Summa Contra Gentiles, Chapter 30, which deals with how we can speak of God:

Chapter 30

The Names That Can Be Predicated Of God

1. From what we have said we can further consider what it is possible to say or not to say of God, what is said of Him alone, and also what is said of Him and other things together.

2. Since it is possible to find in God every perfection of creatures, but in another and more eminent way, whatever names unqualifiedly designate a perfection without defect are predicated of God and of other things: for example, goodness, wisdom, being, and the like. But when any name expresses such perfections along with a mode that is proper to a creature, it can be said of God only according to likeness and metaphor. According to metaphor, what belongs to one thing is transferred to another, as when we say that a man is a stone because of the hardness of his intellect. Such names are used to designate the species of a created thing, for example, man and stone, for to each species belongs its own mode of perfection and being. The same is true of whatever names designate the properties of things, which are caused by the proper principles of their species. Hence, they can be said of God only metaphorically. But the names that express such perfections along with the mode of supereminence with which they belong to God are said of God alone. Such names are the highest good, the first being, and the like.

3. I have said that some of the aforementioned names signify a perfection without defect. This is true with reference to that which the name was imposed to signify; for as to the mode of signification, every name is defective. For by means of a name we express things in the way in which the intellect conceives them. For our intellect, taking the origin of its knowledge from the senses, does not transcend the mode which is found in sensible things, in which the form and the subject of the form are not identical owing to the composition of form and matter. Now, a simple form is indeed found among such things, but one that is imperfect because it is not subsisting; on the other hand, though a subsisting subject of a form is found among sensible things, it is not simple but rather concreted. Whatever our intellect signifies as subsisting, therefore, it signifies in concretion; but what it signifies as simple, it signifies, not as that which is, but as that by which something is. As a result, with reference to the mode of signification there is in every name that we use an imperfection, which does not befit God, even though the thing signified in some eminent way does befit God. This is clear in the name goodness and good. For goodness has signification as something not subsisting, while good has signification as something concreted. And so with reference to the mode of signification no name is fittingly applied to God; this is done only with reference to that which the name has been imposed to signify. Such names, therefore, as Dionysius teaches [De divinis nominibus I, 5, De caelesti hierarchia II, 3], can be both affirmed and denied of God. They can be affirmed because of the meaning of the name; they can be denied because of the mode of signification.

4. Now, the mode of supereminence in which the abovementioned perfections are found in God can be signified by names used by us only through negation, as when we say that God is eternal or infinite, or also through a relation of God to other things, as when He is called the first cause or the highest good. For we cannot grasp what God is, but only what He is not and how other things are related to Him, as is clear from what we said above.

Footnotes
11 Vatican Council I, Dei Filius 2: DS 3004 cf. 3026; Vatican Council II, Dei Verbum 6.
12 Cf. ⇒ Gen 1:27
13 Pius XII, Humani generis 561: DS 3875.
14 Pius XII, Humani generis 561: DS 3876; cf. Dei Filius 2: DS 3005; DV 6; St. Thomas Aquinas, S Th I, I, I.
15 ⇒ Wis 13:5
16 Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Anaphora.
17 Lateran Council IV: DS 806.
18 St. Thomas Aquinas, SCG 1, 30.

 



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 31-35, 46 - Ways of Coming to Know God

clock October 14, 2012 01:04 by author John |

Today’s Catechism section deals with the ways of coming to know God. In other words, it speaks to the proofs of God’s existence, which can be known through the use of reason or through the examination of the human heart. Today's entry is a bit longer because it includes the classic "5 Proofs" as set forth by Thomas Aquinas. If you are not familiar with them, or it has been awhile since you studied them, be sure to read them.

II. Ways of Coming to Know God

31 Created in God's image and called to know and love him, the person who seeks God discovers certain ways of coming to know him. These are also called proofs for the existence of God, not in the sense of proofs in the natural sciences, but rather in the sense of "converging and convincing arguments", which allow us to attain certainty about the truth. These "ways" of approaching God from creation have a twofold point of departure: the physical world, and the human person.

32 The world: starting from movement, becoming, contingency, and the world's order and beauty, one can come to a knowledge of God as the origin and the end of the universe.

As St. Paul says of the Gentiles: For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.7

And St. Augustine issues this challenge: Question the beauty of the earth, question the beauty of the sea, question the beauty of the air distending and diffusing itself, question the beauty of the sky. . . question all these realities. All respond: "See, we are beautiful." Their beauty is a profession [confessio]. These beauties are subject to change. Who made them if not the Beautiful One [Pulcher] who is not subject to change?8

33 The human person: with his openness to truth and beauty, his sense of moral goodness, his freedom and the voice of his conscience, with his longings for the infinite and for happiness, man questions himself about God's existence. In all this he discerns signs of his spiritual soul. the soul, the "seed of eternity we bear in ourselves, irreducible to the merely material",9 can have its origin only in God.

34 The world, and man, attest that they contain within themselves neither their first principle nor their final end, but rather that they participate in Being itself, which alone is without origin or end. Thus, in different ways, man can come to know that there exists a reality which is the first cause and final end of all things, a reality "that everyone calls God".10

35 Man's faculties make him capable of coming to a knowledge of the existence of a personal God. But for man to be able to enter into real intimacy with him, God willed both to reveal himself to man, and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith.(so) the proofs of God's existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason.

IN BRIEF

46 When he listens to the message of creation and to the voice of conscience, man can arrive at certainty about the existence of God, the cause and the end of everything.

Perhaps the best known and well-argued proofs for the existence of God from the use of reason are Aquinas’ 5 Proofs, taken from his Summa Theologica:

Article 3. Whether God exists?

Objection 1. It seems that God does not exist; because if one of two contraries be infinite, the other would be altogether destroyed. But the word "God" means that He is infinite goodness. If, therefore, God existed, there would be no evil discoverable; but there is evil in the world. Therefore God does not exist.

Objection 2. Further, it is superfluous to suppose that what can be accounted for by a few principles has been produced by many. But it seems that everything we see in the world can be accounted for by other principles, supposing God did not exist. For all natural things can be reduced to one principle which is nature; and all voluntary things can be reduced to one principle which is human reason, or will. Therefore there is no need to suppose God's existence.

On the contrary, It is said in the person of God: "I am Who am." (Exodus 3:14)

I answer that, The existence of God can be proved in five ways.

The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another, for nothing can be in motion except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is in motion; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it. Now it is not possible that the same thing should be at once in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects. For what is actually hot cannot simultaneously be potentially hot; but it is simultaneously potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e. that it should move itself. Therefore, whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.

The second way is from the nature of the efficient cause. In the world of sense we find there is an order of efficient causes. There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible. Now in efficient causes it is not possible to go on to infinity, because in all efficient causes following in order, the first is the cause of the intermediate cause, and the intermediate is the cause of the ultimate cause, whether the intermediate cause be several, or only one. Now to take away the cause is to take away the effect. Therefore, if there be no first cause among efficient causes, there will be no ultimate, nor any intermediate cause. But if in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient causes; all of which is plainly false. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.

The third way is taken from possibility and necessity, and runs thus. We find in nature things that are possible to be and not to be, since they are found to be generated, and to corrupt, and consequently, they are possible to be and not to be. But it is impossible for these always to exist, for that which is possible not to be at some time is not. Therefore, if everything is possible not to be, then at one time there could have been nothing in existence. Now if this were true, even now there would be nothing in existence, because that which does not exist only begins to exist by something already existing. Therefore, if at one time nothing was in existence, it would have been impossible for anything to have begun to exist; and thus even now nothing would be in existence — which is absurd. Therefore, not all beings are merely possible, but there must exist something the existence of which is necessary. But every necessary thing either has its necessity caused by another, or not. Now it is impossible to go on to infinity in necessary things which have their necessity caused by another, as has been already proved in regard to efficient causes. Therefore we cannot but postulate the existence of some being having of itself its own necessity, and not receiving it from another, but rather causing in others their necessity. This all men speak of as God.

The fourth way is taken from the gradation to be found in things. Among beings there are some more and some less good, true, noble and the like. But "more" and "less" are predicated of different things, according as they resemble in their different ways something which is the maximum, as a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest; so that there is something which is truest, something best, something noblest and, consequently, something which is uttermost being; for those things that are greatest in truth are greatest in being, as it is written in Metaph. ii. Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus; as fire, which is the maximum heat, is the cause of all hot things. Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God.

The fifth way is taken from the governance of the world. We see that things which lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result. Hence it is plain that not fortuitously, but designedly, do they achieve their end. Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence; as the arrow is shot to its mark by the archer. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.

Reply to Objection 1. As Augustine says (Enchiridion xi): "Since God is the highest good, He would not allow any evil to exist in His works, unless His omnipotence and goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil." This is part of the infinite goodness of God, that He should allow evil to exist, and out of it produce good.

Reply to Objection 2. Since nature works for a determinate end under the direction of a higher agent, whatever is done by nature must needs be traced back to God, as to its first cause. So also whatever is done voluntarily must also be traced back to some higher cause other than human reason or will, since these can change or fail; for all things that are changeable and capable of defect must be traced back to an immovable and self-necessary first principle, as was shown in the body of the Article.

The existence of God can also be known from the examination of the human heart. This is set forth in the Pastoral Constitution, Gaudium Et Spes:

Now, man is not wrong when he regards himself as superior to bodily concerns, and as more than a speck of nature or a nameless constituent of the city of man. For by his interior qualities he outstrips the whole sum of mere things. He plunges into the depths of reality whenever he enters into his own heart; God, Who probes the heart,(7) awaits him there; there he discerns his proper destiny beneath the eyes of God. Thus, when he recognizes in himself a spiritual and immortal soul, he is not being mocked by a fantasy born only of physical or social influences, but is rather laying hold of the proper truth of the matter. – GS 14

It is in the face of death that the riddle a human existence grows most acute. Not only is man tormented by pain and by the advancing deterioration of his body, but even more so by a dread of perpetual extinction. He rightly follows the intuition of his heart when he abhors and repudiates the utter ruin and total disappearance of his own person. He rebels against death because he bears in himself an eternal seed which cannot be reduced to sheer matter. All the endeavors of technology, though useful in the extreme, cannot calm his anxiety; for prolongation of biological life is unable to satisfy that desire for higher life which is inescapably lodged in his breast. – GS 18

Footnotes

7 ⇒ Rom 1:19-20; cf., ⇒ Acts 14:15, ⇒ 17; ⇒ 17:27-28; ⇒ Wis 13:1-9.
8 St. Augustine, Sermo 241, 2: PL 38, 1134,
9 GS 18 # 1; cf. 14 # 2.
10 St. Thomas Aquinas, S Th I, 2, 3.



Matthew 10 and a Kick in the Pants for Soldiers of the New Evangelization

clock October 13, 2012 13:26 by author John |

Here is the latest step toward a dictatorship of relativism - St. Michael the ArchangelPro-abortion Protesters Storm Church, Chant “If Mary had known about abortion, we wouldn’t have this nonsense”

War is coming. The culture is growing more calloused, despising truth, beauty and goodness. Immorality is being trumpeted as virtue, sin is being given primacy over conscience. Increasingly over the last 5 centuries, the Catholic Church has been mocked and attacked. Today we are seeing the results as the energy of this movement has amplified over time, growing larger and more dangerous, like a small spark that started a great forest fire. Evil spreads and consumes, leaving ash and desolation in its wake.

On the other hand, we are seeing a revival in the Catholic Church. Good solid priests and nuns are answering the call to serve Christ and His Church. Faithful priests are becoming bishops. The Church has launched a Year of Faith in which multitudes of believers will come to better understand what they believe and what that belief requires of them. The liturgy is being strengthened, thereby strengthening the faithful.

What do these two movements mean? How will the growing distinction between the people of God and the people of the world play out? Only God knows the answer to what will happen in the future, but reason and a solid understanding of history can give us some indications. If history is a guide, we will see a conflict between these two movements. Evil cannot tolerate good, and people are quickly realizing that good cannot tolerate evil. Archbishop Chaput addressed this reality:

My point is this: Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak. When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it. So it always has been. So it always will be. And America has no special immunity to becoming an enemy of its own founding beliefs about human freedom, human dignity, the limited power of the state, and the sovereignty of God.


We are at war. This war is being fought over souls. The devil is fighting against humanity with an intensity that has not been seen in ages. Protesting and neutrality are not viable options. Everyone is drawn into this war whether they willingly enlist or not. We only have the option to choose a side. It may come to pass that the spiritual war will manifest itself in a physical war pitting countries, countrymen, neighbors, or even family members against one another. Let us hope it does not come to that, but at the rate things are progressing, it seems to be only a matter of time.

Jesus gave one of his longest discourses on this theme. Commanding his disciples to travel light, be courageous, strong and resolute, he warned them about the reactions to their ministry. Our culture is currently treating us the same way. Read this charge from Our Lord and internalize it. Remember it as you battle with the forces that the devil has raised against us.

These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And preach as you go, saying, `The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay. Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the laborer deserves his food. And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it, and stay with him until you depart. As you enter the house, salute it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomor'rah than for that town."

"Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel, before the Son of man comes."

"A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master; it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Be-el'zebul, how much more will they malign those of his household."

"So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven."

"Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's foes will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it."

"He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me. He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward."

Matthew 10:5-42



Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 26-30, 44-45 - Faith - The Desire for God

clock October 13, 2012 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism section deals with faith – the desire for God. I will be including the “In Brief” paragraphs that correspond to the pragraphs in this section so that the subject matter is consistent. That is why the paragraph numbers will jump around a bit. Rest assured, we will cover all the paragraphs in order, only moving the “In Brief” paragraphs around a bit.

PART ONE: THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
SECTION ONE: "I BELIEVE" - "WE BELIEVE"

26 We begin our profession of faith by saying: "I believe" or "We believe". Before expounding the Church's faith, as confessed in the Creed, celebrated in the liturgy and lived in observance of God's commandments and in prayer, we must first ask what "to believe" means. Faith is man's response to God, who reveals himself and gives himself to man, at the same time bringing man a superabundant light as he searches for the ultimate meaning of his life. Thus we shall consider first that search (Chapter One), then the divine Revelation by which God comes to meet man (Chapter Two), and finally the response of faith (Chapter Three).

CHAPTER ONE: MAN'S CAPACITY FOR GOD

I. The Desire for God

27 The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for:

The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator.1

28 In many ways, throughout history down to the present day, men have given expression to their quest for God in their religious beliefs and behaviour: in their prayers, sacrifices, rituals, meditations, and so forth. These forms of religious expression, despite the ambiguities they often bring with them, are so universal that one may well call man a religious being:
From one ancestor (God) made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him - though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For "in him we live and move and have our being."2

29 But this "intimate and vital bond of man to God" (GS 19 # 1) can be forgotten, overlooked, or even explicitly rejected by man.3 Such attitudes can have different causes: revolt against evil in the world; religious ignorance or indifference; the cares and riches of this world; the scandal of bad example on the part of believers; currents of thought hostile to religion; finally, that attitude of sinful man which makes him hide from God out of fear and flee his call.4

30 "Let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice."5 Although man can forget God or reject him, He never ceases to call every man to seek him, so as to find life and happiness. But this search for God demands of man every effort of intellect, a sound will, "an upright heart", as well as the witness of others who teach him to seek God.

You are great, O Lord, and greatly to be praised: great is your power and your wisdom is without measure. and man, so small a part of your creation, wants to praise you: this man, though clothed with mortality and bearing the evidence of sin and the proof that you withstand the proud. Despite everything, man, though but a small a part of your creation, wants to praise you. You yourself encourage him to delight in your praise, for you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.6

IN BRIEF

44 Man is by nature and vocation a religious being. Coming from God, going toward God, man lives a fully human life only if he freely lives by his bond with God.

45 Man is made to live in communion with God in whom he finds happiness: When I am completely united to you, there will be no more sorrow or trials; entirely full of you, my life will be complete (St. Augustine, Conf. 10, 28, 39: PL 32, 795}.

The Catechism ends this section with the famous quote from St. Augustine’s Confessions. This entire section of the Catechism is summarized in a very moving and personal way by St. Augustine in his Confessions:

Alas for me! Through your own merciful dealings with me, O Lord my God, tell me what you are to me. Say to my soul, I am your salvation. Say it so that I can hear it. My heart is listening, Lord; open the ears of my heart and say to my soul, I am your salvation. Let me run towards this voice and seize hold of you. Do not hide your face from me: let me die so that I may see it, for not to see it would be death to me indeed. - Confessions of St. Augustine (Book I, Chapter 1)

I became evil for no reason. I had no motive for my wickedness except wickedness itself. It was foul, and I loved it. I loved the self-destruction, I loved my fall, not the object for which I had fallen but my fall itself. My depraved soul leaped down from your firmament to ruin. I was seeking not to gain anything by shameful means, but shame for its own sake. - Confessions of St. Augustine (Book II, Chapter 4)

As a youth I prayed, "Give me chastity and continence, but not yet." – Confessions of St. Augustine (Book VIII, Chapter 7)

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient and ever new! Late have I loved you! And, behold, you were within me, and I out of myself, and there I searched for you. – Confessions of St. Augustine (Book X, Chapter 27)

Footnotes

1 Vatican Council II, GS 19 # 1.
2 ⇒ Acts 17:26-28.
3 GS 19 # 1.
4 Cf. GS 19-21; ⇒ Mt 13:22; ⇒ Gen 3:8-10;⇒ Jon 1:3.
5 ⇒ Ps 105:3



Go to Confession

clock October 12, 2012 09:23 by author John |

PenanceTry to make use of the sacrament of reconciliation. It is the sacrament Christ instituted to bring you back into His graces. Don't waste this opportunity. Most parishes offer confession on Saturdays, some offer it on Fridays as well.

Here are some resources if you would like to learn more about the sacrament of penance or you have some reservations about it:

How To Make a Good Catholic Confession

A Thorough Catholic Examination of Conscience

What is Mortal Sin (The Catholic Definition)

What is Venial Sin (The Catholic Definition)

The Act of Contrition

Top 10 Emotional Reasons People Don't Go to Confession (and Why You Should Consider it Anyway)