Category: Apostles’ Creed

THE SECOND ARTICLE OF THE APOSTLES CREED

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And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord

         to be continued shortly…….

 

 

 

 

Original Sin

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Original Sin

   This will be the last post on The First Article of The Apostles Creed. Like I stated before, here we are only touching on the basic teachings of our beautiful Catholic Faith ; in the future we will look at more intermediate and advanced questions and teachings that will  help enrich our study of The Catholic Faith. Our understanding, and especially our childrens and grandchildrens understanding of The Catholic Faith must grow in keeping with their secular education. If their education in The Faith does not grow alongside their secular education, their is a great danger that they will end up abandoning their faith. We have seen the result of this in all the pew studies. In all truth, even as is stated in General Catechetical Directory by Pope Paul VI, teaching the faith should start at physical birth. Daily prayer, going to Mass regularly, sacramentals in the home like Holy Water and Blessed statues and Crucifixes should be common place in a faithful Catholics home.  This helps in creating the domestic Church for Husband, Wife and Children and in instruction, and also in witnessing to others about our beautiful Catholic Faith. Now, getting to Original Sin…

  Ultimately Original Sin is the absence of supernatural life that our first parents lost when they sinned. The results of original sin are that we do not have a share in the divine life of the soul which is necessary to enter heaven. Also, we lost the immortality of the body. We must all die. We also lost our immunity from disease and sickness. Last but not least, we have that inner struggle with concupiscience. In other words, we are much more inclined to sin, even when we do not want to. We have a weakened will and our intellect has been darkened. Strange thing with sin is, the more we sin, the weaker our will becomes and the darker our intellect becomes. It is a very hard circle to exit once it becomes a lifestyle choice. It takes a great grace, and lots of prayers from loved ones to help break that cycle, but with God, anything is possible. The power of prayer is not to be under estimated, as St Alphonsus said, ” its the short prayers that penetrate the heavens.”

 The sin of our first parents was a sin of disobedience. Rom 5:19 “By the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners.” The root of the disobedience was pride. Sound familiar? “non serviam” the words of Lucifer himself. Do I say this throughout the day? Unfortunately I do, not always consciously, but I do catch myself in the selfish, I will not serve mode. This is one of the results of Original Sin in many cases, no doubt. Thank God for those short prayers, the Sacraments, and Holy mass which all help to make it much easier to say, ” Thy will , not mine be done, ” instead of ” I will not serve.”  The Council of Trent teaches that Adam lost sanctity and justice by transgressing the Divine Commandment (D 788). Since the punishment is proportionate to the guilt, the sin of Adam was clearly a serious sin. So, maybe you ask why do I inherit Adams sin? And why was his disobedience dealt with so harshly? To answer the first question, Adam was the human race in a sense. Adam was the representative of the whole human race. On his decision, which was made freely, depended the preservation or the loss of the supernatural endowment, which was a gift, not to him personally, but to the human nature. Remember what God said in Gen 2:16,17   ” [16] And he commanded him, saying: Of every tree of paradise thou shalt eat: [17] But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat. For in what day soever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death.” So, indeed Original Sin is transmitted by natural generation, from Adam all the way down to our parents, and handed on to us. We are all born with it, except of course in  the case of Jesus and Mary. Jesus and Mary were both conceived without the stain of original sin. The Council of Trent says  In the Baptism of children that is expurgated which they have incurred through generation (D 790, 791). Baptism renews friendship with God and any guilt of original or actual sin of the one being baptized and restores us to supernatural life. The other Sacraments help us to stay friends with God and keep us pleasing to Him through the ups and downs of this journey we call life. And if by chance we fall from grace and do sin, He has been kind enough to give us the awesome gift of Confession. A most amazing Sacrament, and I try and go at least twice a month. So many graces have been transmitted to me through this most awesome Sacrament.

    Now to deal with the severity of Adams sin. I will try and state this plainly. When you assault a regular citizen you may get probation for a first offence depending on how bad the assault was. When you assault a police officer, it is most certain you will go to jail and be judged more harshly. Could you imagine the person who would assault a Supreme Court Justice or the Prime Minister, that person would definitely be punished much more harshly considering the offense and whom the offense was directed at. It would have long lasting effects on that persons life and possibly even affect others. Now, imagine the offense against Almighty God, Creator of All things seen and unseen, who is Eternal. When you offend our Eternal God, it will have eternal consequences. Especially considering the simple command that was given to Adam and Eve. Hence the reason for the results of their sin.

So, the Good News, God immediately promised a Saviour in Gen 3:15       [15] I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.

[15] She shall crush: Ipsa, the woman; so divers of the fathers read this place, conformably to the Latin: others read it ipsum, viz., the seed. The sense is the same: for it is by her seed, Jesus Christ, that the woman crushes the serpent’s head.

God always has a plan, and uses the fall to send His own Son Jesus Christ to redeem us and give us the chance to have a share in Gods own Divine Life. What an Awesome God we have!  Next time we will begin to look at The Second Article of The Apostles’ Creed…And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord

In JMJ,  Lee

PS   Oh yes, in case you are wondering about Adam and Eves final destiny, they are Saints in Heaven with God and even have a feast day, Dec 24 every year.

 

The Nature and Origin of Man

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Nature and Origin of Man

      So one question that definitely seems to escape the thoughts of most it seems today, finds its answer here in The Catholic Church. My hope is that we all ask this question and come to the only true answer. The question is, why are we here, or better yet, why did God create us? The answer is simple and should be memorized and taught especially to our youngsters, they NEED to know this. God created man to know, love, and serve his Creator and Lord in this life and in this way attain heaven and eternal happiness in the life to come. Once again, please teach and re-teach your children and grandchildren this important truth, it is a simple but effective moral compass in this turbulent place we call  earth.Now, more than at any other time in history, we need direction and True purpose. This is our purpose for being, we have mission.

 Once again , we are Gods creatures, composed of spirit and body, and by spirit we refer to our immaterial soul. By our bodies we refer to our material nature. Man is a rational animal, therefore, man has the use of reason, unlike mere animals. Our soul is immortal and will never die. The soul is a very special gift from God. It is created “ex nihlo,”  out of nothing and infused into our body at the exact moment of our conception. Our parents help in the creation of our body, but God alone creates the soul and unites it with our body. We also refer to this moment as immediate animation. At that very moment, we are a human person and need to be protected as such!

We will touch also on some of the specific gifts that Adam and Eve possessed before the fall. Adam and Eve possessed supernatural gifts and also what we call preternatural gifts. So, to start with, Adam and Eve had sanctifying grace. This can be described as friendship with God, coupled with faith, hope and charity and the right to enter heaven. No creature has a right to these gifts, hence the name supernatural, since they only belong to God alone.

Now we get to the preternatural gifts, I remember them by referring to the three I’s , bodily immortality, integrity, and infused knowledge. It helps in remembering, and teaching little memorization tricks to keep the Truths of the Faith always ready and accessible. So these preternatural gifts are not natural to man, they were gifts given to our first parents which they lost through their fall. Sanctifying grace, the most important gift that was lost is restored with Baptism, but the preternatural gifts are not restored. Immortality simply means our First Parents were never intended to die, and this gift was intended to be passed on through generations. Integrity means that our First Parents were free of concupiscence. In other words, they were not inclined to sin. They didn’t have that tension between the flesh and spirit, their body and soul were in harmony with one another. They were well aware of Gods will. Infused knowledgerefers to the fact that they didn’t have to struggle to learn or overcome ignorance. Adam and Eve certainly would have known that serpents do not speak, and that something was out of order when the “nahash” entered the Garden.

  Adam and Eve are truly historical figures, our First Parents. All human beings on this earth descend from Adam and Eve, a single set of parents, this is called monogenism. Polygenism was rejected by Pope Pius XII, who warned, ” the faithful cannot embrace that opinion that maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation through him as the first parent of all or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents.” ( Humani Generis 37).

In the next post we will look at Original Sin and its effects. May GOD bless us all, and keep us safe from ourselves, the devil and the world.  In JMJ,  Lee

PS   :   as always, comments, questions and discussion is encouraged   🙂

Bad Angels

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BAD ANGELS…..First Article of Apostles Creed Continued

      So, were the bad angels always bad? The answer is no, God created all of the angels good. Lets see what The 4th Lateran Council in 1215 has to say, ” the devil and the other demons were created by God good in their nature but they by themselves have made themselves evil” D 428, D 427.

The Angels were subjected to a moral testing, they were in a state of pilgrimage in which they were required to merit The Beatific Vision of God. The Good Angels who passed the test entered into the blessedness of heaven (Matt 18:10, Tob 12:15, Heb 12:22, Rev 5:11, 7:11. The bad angels who did not cooperate freely with Gods will, and through their own pride and envy chose freely not to serve God, fell  under the ban of eternal damnation (2 Peter 2:4, Jud 6 ). The Fathers and theologians generally refer to the fall the words from Jeremiah 2:20 ” non serviam ” in English, it translates as ” I will not serve .”

Well, what if I choose not to believe that the devil and his demons are real? You had better change your mind quick, and it is a good chance that the devil or one of his demons has made that suggestion to you. The devil truly exists and we see his handiwork everywhere we look. Satanism, satanic cults, devil worship, abortion, radical feminism,exorcisms are all very publicized and glamourized in the secular world for it not to be true. So, how do we resist the devil and his temptations and is it always the devil that tempts us? We resist the devil with our will and the help of the Sacraments of the Church. 1 Cor 10:13 states ” God will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able. ” It is not always the demon who tempts, it could be our own flesh or the world, but always keep your guard up through daily prayer, regular confession, daily rosary, and of course The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Eucharist to protect yourself from the evil one. Sacramentals like Holy Water and the Brown Scapular are also very helpful in fending off the evil one . Some of the other ways we protect ourselves from the evil one are by making prudent decisions by what we expose ourselves to. Definitely stay away from astrology, palm readers, psychics, yoga, white or black magic, mediums, Ouija boards, séances, pornography, sexually explicit movies or images, and away from other sources ,or potential sources of temptations. We have that responsibility also to make willfull decisions that won’t put us in an occasion to sin or draw others into sin either.

The Council of Trent names as a consequence of Adams sin mans subjection to the power of the devil D 788, D793. The Church’s belief finds liturgical expression in the ceremonies of Baptism. We know that the devil tempts and tries to hurt us spiritually and morally, but in certain circumstances, he can in fact harm us physically. A type of demonic infestation is possession, obsession , and oppression. This is when the evil spirit , takes forceable possession of the human body, so that the bodily organs and lower part of the soul, but not the higher parts of the soul are dominated by him. In these cases often a good confession can heal the one afflicted. Sometimes some deliverance prayers will be needed, and in less common cases, a priest who is granted permission by the Bishop will have to perform an exorcism or exorcisms to rid the person of the demonic possession.

in JMJ,  Lee

Good Angels

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Good Angels…..First Article of  Apostles  Creed continued

     I find it a very appropriate day to blog about Good Angels. Of course today is the First Class Feast of The Annunciation of The Blessed Virgin Mary, March 25 and yesterday was St Gabriels feast day, the Archangel chosen by God to announce to Mary that she was to be the Mother of Christ. The Angel in the above image of the Annunciation is none other than the Angel Gabriel. He was hand picked by God to deliver Good News to Mary.

I think it is important to note that although each individual angel is indeed a different unique species from one another since they are not of a material nature but a spiritual nature, that their still are different classes of angels. Actually, nine Choirs of Angels is the language we use to identify the hierarchy,types or government if you will, of angels.. Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Quod Apostolici muneris, writes of the distinct nature of the choirs of angels, ” Just then as the Almighty willed that, in the Heavenly Kingdom itself, the choirs of angels should be of different ranks, and subordinated the one to the other; again just as in the Church, God has established different grades of orders with diversity of functions…”  St Teresa of Avila who saw angels on more than one occasion, a favourite Saint of mine, and most powerful intercessor , also Doctor of the Church writes of the choirs, ” Their names they never tell me; but I see very well that their is in heaven so great a difference between one angel and another, and between these and the others, I cannot explain it.”

The nine choirs are as follows, The Seraphim, The Cherubim, The Thrones, The Dominations, The Virtues, The Powers, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels. In a more intermediate study in the future, we will look at the different functions of these nine choirs and how they relate with God, one another and with us here on earth.

The Archangels that are known to us as Catholics definitively through Sacred Scripture and Sacred tradition are Archangel St Michael, Archangel St Gabriel, and Archangel St Raphael. We know that their are more Archangels, ” I am Raphael, one of the seven who stand before the Lord” (Tob 12:16). We do not know the names of the other four, we might have wait and see who they are in heaven. If you want to read more about Angels, you might like Joan Carrol Cruz’s book Angels and Demons or Peter Kreefts book Angels and Demons: What do we Really Know about Them? I have read both these books and really appreciated the thoroughness of each.

Next time we will look at Bad Angels….

         in JMJ, Lee

First Article of Creed Continued…..Angels

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 Angels

  As we continue looking at the First Article of the Apostles Creed, “ I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth we will do a basic study on Angels. This is a very popular subject with people of all religions and even no religion, since most people seem to believe in angels existence. Of course we know they do exist and have a very active part in our day to day life. We will take a quick look at what The Church has to say about Angels.

 The word  Angel, actually means “one who is sent” or ” messenger.”  Angels are revealed to us all through Sacred Scripture (Psalm 103:20-21, 148:2, Genesis 48:16, Matt 22:30, Lk1:26,Peter 2:4, Rev 5:11……) and all through Sacred Tradition.

God created angels as pure spirits. They are spiritual beings, non-corporeal : therefore, having no bodies. Each Angel is a person, a subsisting intelligent being with an intellect and a will. Angels are immortal beings, not to be confused with God, who is Eternal. Each Angel  is a completely unique creature of God, naturally superior to man and closer to God in semblance. He is the creator, they are creatures. His knowledge is infinite, angels knowledge is finite. He knows past, present, future….Angels do not know the future unless specially revealed to them by God. Angels , good and bad had choice in the beginning, to either co-operate with Gods will and spend eternity with Him in heaven, or be cast into hell for willful disobedience. We will continue for the next two or three posts on Angels: Good and Bad. Don’t forget to stay in constant contact with your guardian angel. I ask mine to remind me of appointments, to help me remember many things and to help protect me from the world, the devil and myself. I also try and thank him also for the guidance he gives me and all the help he has given me over the years. This is the Guardian Angel prayer, I say it every day when I wake and when I go to bed and also say it to my children and ask their Guardian Angels to watch over them always.

Angel of God, my guardian dear, To whom God’s love commits me here, Ever this day, be at my side, To light and guard, Rule and guide.

Amen.

“From infancy to death human life is  surrounded by their (the angels) watchful care and  intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united to God.”

– from the Catechism of the Catholic  Church; 336.

in JMJ,   Lee

Divine Providence

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Divine Providence

This post in particular I will be trying to keep as basic and understandable as possible. For those who would like to explore more into the topic  of Providence I can suggest a book by Father Reginald Garrigou Lagrange called Providence.

To begin, I will use the definition from the Modern Catholic Dictionary by Father John Hardon. Providence-” God’s all-wise plan for the universe, and the carrying out of this plan by his loving rule or governance. The eternal world plan and its fulfillment in time are together called divine providence.”  Also as expressed by the First Vatican Council (1869-70) ” God in His providence watches over and governs all things that He made, reaching from end to end with might and disposing all things with gentleness (Denzinger 3003).

Ok, so through Gods Providence He guides all that He has created always taking into account our free will, which if we use to cooperate with His will, we shall reach heaven. Human freedom is part of the divine plan.Nothing happens that is not either permitted or ordained by God’s will. So, we often hear a lot about God’s will and some people like to loosely attach this or that situation, event, churchman to God’s will. And, that this event, or what this or that person said must be God’s will. Well, when you hear a person say that this or that action is Gods will, in a certain sense they are correct. But, you may want to interject that it may be God’s permissive will, allowing something to take place, rather than God’s Holy ordained will, being pleased with a situation and blessing an act.

Prayer is a big part of divine providence. We must pray, I say again, we must pray. God has forseen our prayers from eternity and thus included them in His plan for the universe, to give us and others, what He knew we would ask for. We should always choose to pray, it is a great use of the liberty that God gave us. Another point about prayer is that it is not God who changes His mind when a prayer is answered even though it may appear that way. We already learned that earlier, God does not change. The change that occurs through prayer is due to God’s grace, and the change takes place in the pray-er.

Ok, so why all the evil in the world? God can only know for sure. We know God does not create evil or cause people to sin, sin is an abuse of our free-will. We know that God permits evil. The Catechism has this to say about why God permits evil in the world , ” Faith gives us the certainty that God would not permit an evil if He did not cause good to come from that very evil, by ways that we should fully know only in eternal life” (324).

Romans 11:33
O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways

Next post we will be taking a look at Angels : Good and Bad, may God Bless you and keep you safe from the world, the devil, and yourself  :-).    in JMJ… Lee

 

 

 

 

First Article Continued…

CREATION

 

Well, I feel compelled to continue on this topic as it has so much importance especially in this day and age. As I pour through my resources on the First Article of the Apostles Creed, I feel a responsibility to make sure what I communicate to you is what could be described as the ” meat “, not just the milk. The resources I am primarily using for this part of my blog I must note: Marian Catechist textbooks always, The Catholic Catechism by Servant of God Father John Hardon SJ, and also My Catholic Faith by Most Reverend Louis LaRavoire Morrow, DD and of course The Holy Bible, I prefer the Douay-Rheims translation. The last book I mentioned, My Catholic Faith is an excellent beginner Catechism and beautifully put together with some beautiful old art, which I have come to love. Before we get to the next topic of The First Article, I also want to suggest a book on The Trinity that has really enriched and elevated my personal relationship with The Blessed Trinity. That book is “The Spiritual Doctrine  of Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity. ” This spiritual doctrine of hers has helped change my prayer life for the better  to incorporate the Trinity especially through mental prayer.

Creation

( Gen 1:1 )  ” In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”  Indeed, He did. God created the world out of no existent material, ex nihlo, out of nothing. This is not a theory, this is a fact , and how do we know? Because God Himself has revealed this to us through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Not only that, but so many of the brightest scientific minds, are coming to the conclusion through their studies that  Someone is intimately involved in the mechanics of our universe. Really? We know that, and we know without a doubt it is God. Because of Gods love, He chose to create the world to share something of His own perfection with us. Also to be noted, time began with the creation of the world, therefore God created the world in time, as time is also a measure in change.

By Gods complete freedom He chose to create the world we live in, however, He didn’t have to create this world at all, He could have created a different one if He chose to. His creation also cannot add or subtract anything from Our God, who is Infinitely Perfect in Complete Fullness. Therefore it is a completely gratuitous action on Gods part, so we owe Him adoration, praise and thanksgiving through prayer and deed at all times. Also to be noted EVERYTIME a child is conceived, God creates a soul ex nihlo, out of nothing , and immediately unites the soul with the body prepared for it by the parents.( Jer 1:5 ) “Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb,”

Upcoming posts will be on Divine Providence closely followed by Angels: Good and Bad,  see you soon. Feel free to comment or ask questions. We are just brushing the surface for now, but I believe it is important to start with the basics. And remember, yes it is extremely important to learn about God, but it is just as important to really get to know God, through prayer and deed. And the highest form of prayer is The Holy Mass. ” Don’t just say the Mass, Pray The Mass! ”

 

 

 

 

The First Article of the Apostles’ Creed

The First Article of the Apostles’ Creed

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            I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth

The Apostles’ Creed  is a statement of belief of the principle truths of our Faith. The Creed dates back to the Apostles’ themselves. It is important to understand that what we believe are Truths, not opinions, theories, or myths, but indeed Truths for all mankind.

One fact needs to be stated firstly about the First Article of the Apostles’ Creed , and that is only God must exist. Everything we have is a gift of God’s Almighty Power. Everything we have is from God, but He has chosen to give us something which we can call our own, and that is our free will.

Divine Attributes

The First Vatican council defined 15 of God’s divine perfections, even though God’s perfections are beyond numbering. For our case, we will look at six that help us to understand God.

   The first is that  God is unchangeable or immutableFor I The Lord do not change” (Malachi 3:6). It may be hard for us to grasp because everything around us changes, but God does not. He cannot gain anything He doesn’t already possess, or lose anything He already has. He is the absolute fullness of infinite perfection within Himself.

  God is infinitely good. EVERYTHING He does is good . God cannot sin or lie. God wastes no thing He has created and no opportunity to draw goodness from it, even though it may look otherwise to some, God ALWAYS draws good from evil.

God is infinitely free. He was free to create us and the world or not, and if He had chosen He could have even created a different or better world.

God is omnipotent, all powerful and almighty. What God wills is done, unlike us creatures. God alone only has to exist, He keeps all created things in existence because He wills it.

God is omniscient or all knowing or seeing. He knows past, present and future, His knowledge is infinite, it has no bounds.

God is all-loving of Himself necessarily. Love is His nature. He is loving of all His creatures in willing their very existence. “God is love, and he who abides in love , abides in God, and God abides in Him ” (1 John 4:16)

Their are so many more that we could state, but we will stick to  these six ; many others I am certain will come out through the coming posts, or you can do some research on your own with the resources I mentioned in the previous post.

Three Persons in One God, The Holy Trinity

The Trinity is the cardinal mystery of Christianity. Three Divine Persons in One God. These three persons are God The Father ( Creator ), God The SonRedeemer ), and God The Holy Ghost ( Sanctifier ). They all have one Divine will, the same nature and same being. We can try and help you understand this, but this mystery is hidden from reason alone and faith is needed. I have to give a suggestion that really helped in my understanding of The Holy Trinity. The suggestion is to read Frank Sheed’s book “Theology and Sanity.” It is the best communicated explanation of the mystery of The Holy Trinity I know of. Jesus Christ Himself revealed to us the existence of The Trinity when He said ” Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of The Son, and of The Holy Ghost” Matt 28:19

To Be Continued…

    In JM+JT,

             Lee