April 14, 2014
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 ”  And he commanded him, saying: Of every tree of paradise thou shalt eat:  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  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.
 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
April 5, 2014
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 knowledge, refers 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 🙂
March 30, 2014
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
March 26, 2014
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
March 20, 2014
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.
“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