Ancient Truths in a Modern World
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A Sacrament is an outward and visible sign instituted by Christ to impart an inward and invisible grace. Jesus Christ himself is the Sacrament, as he gave his life to save mankind and gave us these sacraments to help us lead a Christian Life. (BC #3 574 &575)In June (2011) we continued with the 'Our Lady of Good Counsel Faith Formation' program. On this particular night I had the privilege of sharing about essential role of the Sacraments in our faith lives from the eyes of Early Church Fathers, the Catechism, as well as the Holy Scriptures. During the lecture we covered the sacraments of Initiation and healing which included Baptism, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick, and Penance (Confession). After that Fr. Pascual Abaya IV continued his catechesis on the Holy Eucharist as well as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The Perennial Baltimore Catechism, in response to Q. 499, explains that “The Pope, the Bishop of Rome, is the visible Head of the Church because he is the successor of St. Peter, whom Christ made the chief of the Apostles and the visible Head of the Church.”
As Catholics we know that people need to know truth (Jn 8:32; Jn 14:6; Jn 18:37) and that The Church is the Pillar of Truth, has authority, is visible, and is one (1 Tm 3:15; Mt 18:15-18; Jn 17:21) We also know, as Divinely revealed, that The the Pope is the Successor of St. Peter (The Church was built on St. Peter) (Mt 16:18 – 19)
In this Bible Study then we will clearly see the Divinely revealed Truth of the Authority of the visible Church, the Primacy of Peter (The first pope), passed on to his successors (successive popes), and the special charism of infallibility given to Peter and to those who eventually sit in his chair.
CCC 765, 882
Jn 8:32; Jn 14:6; Jn 18:37; 1 Tm 3:15; Mt 18:15-18; Jn 17:21; Mt 16:18 – 19; Luke 22:31-32; Isaiah 22:22; Rev. 1:18; 3:7; 9:1; 20:1; 2 Sam. 7:16; Psalm 89:3-4; 1 Chron.17:12,14 ; Matt. 23:2-4 ; Jer. 33:17
image from the 'Public domain' via wikimedia commons. Painting of Saint Peter by Peter Paul Rubens
In this lecture I covered an Introduction to Scripture. Of course, when discussing Scripture as a mode by which we receive God's Word its essential to not only understand Scripture and Sacred Tradition as the Word of God (cf. 2 Tim 3:16-17; 1 Thess 2:13; 1 Pt 1:25; CCC 97), but Christ Himself as the Word of God made flesh. (Jn 1:1,14) This understanding helps us realize that we, as Catholics, have the amazing blessing of having a intimate relationship with the Word of God each time we receive Him body, blood, soul, and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament!
With that proper context we can start to identify some of it's most essential attributes such as its Divine Inspiration and its complete inerrancy. In this introduction we also identify the role that the Catholic Church in putting the canon of Scripture together and also its vital role as the sole authoritative interpreter of the Word of God (Dei Verbum 10)
CCC 151, 97, 81, 105, Dei Verbum, Providentissimus Deus
Jn 1:1, 14; 1 Pt 1:25; 1 Thess 2:13; 2 Tim 3:16-17; Luke 10:16; 2 Pet 1:20; 2 Pet 3:15-17
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image from the 'Public domain' via wikimedia commons. Jesus Christ - detil from Deesis mosaic, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
With this understanding, and with the call that we have to pray for one another (Jas 5:16), we can start to see the importance and beauty in asking our brother and sisters in heaven to pray for us (Rev 5:8) In this Bible study we will address some of the misunderstandings and objections often brought up when discussing the 'Communion of Saints' and the power of The intercession of the Saints.
CCC 1475 , 1479
Jas 5:16 ; 1 Tim. 2:1-5; 1 Cor. 12:12,27; Rom. 8:35-39; Matt. 5:44-45; Rom. 15:30; 2 Thess. 1:11; Rev. 5:8; Rev. 6:9-11; Rev. 8:3-4
God Desires all men to be saved (1 Tim 2:4) Christ also bestowed on his Church the unity for which he prayed (John 17:21). It is his will to embrace all people in that unity. The Catholic Church is the One True Church, established by Christ, to which all men are called. It is the Sacrament of Salvation (CCC 776)
Ecumenism comes from the word ecumenical which means universal. The purpose of Ecumenism is that we might work to bring all men to the fullness of faith in the Church (Pius XI’s Mortalium Animos)
There seems to be sense of ‘false ecumenism’ saturating the minds of many Catholics these days. Now it seems like we say "Well . . . this is one way to salvation but all religions are pretty much the same and their all have their way to God” This is simply NOT what the Church teaches.
If all the protestant churches, quasi Christian Churches, Eastern religions, etc. would be ALL added up and became one huge mega church, they still wouldnt compare to the Catholic Church
The Catholic Church is the ONE CHURCH founded by Christ. Period. Thats the Truth.
The goal of REAL Catholic ecumenism then is to restore unity to the separated traditions by bringing them within the unity of the Catholic Church (UR 24). Its is true that non catholic churches have retained some elements of Salvation, however we must never forget that “It is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help towards salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained” (UR 3). It is our duty as Catholics to strive for and pray that non Christians and non Catholic Christians alike come to fullness of Truth.
John 17:21; 1 Tim 2:4;
'You are Priest forever in the line of Melchizedek': The Biblical Basis for the Catholic Ministerial Priesthood
The word priest comes from the greek word presbuteros. That word was transliterated into Latin as presbyter, which then in English became shortened further to 'priest'.
Though many might translate this word only to mean ‘elder’ we see in scripture that it is very often tied to the context of priestly functions. Thus certain translations of passages, like the douay rheims version, render passages like Titus 1:5, and James 5:14-15 to actually say 'priest' when referring to presbuteros. In this Bible Study we will look at the Biblical basis for the Royal priesthood of all the baptized, the High Priesthood of Christ and the Catholic ministerial priesthood.
CCC 1141, CCC 1547
1 Pet 2:9; Exodus 19:6, Lev 8 & 9; Heb 5:1-10; Ex 19:21 – 25; Numbers 11:16-17; Numbers 27:18-23; Deuteronomy 34:9; John 20:22; Lev 16:32-33; 1 Tim. 5:19-22; Hosea 14:2; Hebrews 13:15-16; Rom 15:15-16; 2 Cor 5:20; James 5:14ff; 1 Corinthians 11:24
Our devotion to the Blessed Mother is one of the greatest treasures that God has given the Church. Not only is Mary, as Mother of God, the one who literally gave birth to 'Salvation' she is also, as our Mother, one of the greatest advocates that we have interceding for us at the Throne of God.
St Bernard of Clairvaux once said: "De Maria Numquam Satis" (Of Mary there is never enough) It is true that beauty and high honor given to the Blessed Mother can not be contained within the context of one single Bible Study.
I was invited to speak at the Our Lady of Good Counsel's Youth Ministry bible study last week and the topic was 'The Blessed Mother'. With just one hour I had to narrow the topic down to just one aspect of rich tradition of faith we have regarding Mary. In this study we chose to focus of the biblical basis of Mary as 'Mother of God' and our understanding of Mary as the 'Ark of the New Covenant'.
Psalm 68:4,19-20; Luke 1:41-43; John 20:28; Revelation 12:17; John 19:26-27;
Revelation 11:19-12:1; Luke 1:35; Exodus 40:34; 1 Kings 8:10-11;