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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Fides et Spes

Daily Lenten Meditation: There is one thing in the world we can call our own. There is only one thing we can give to God that is ours as against His – and that not even He will take away, and that is our own will with its power to choose the object of its love.

Hence the most perfect give we can give to God is the gift of our will. The giving of that gift to God is the greatest defeat that one can suffer in the eyes of the world, but it is the greatest victory we can win in the eyes of God. (Writings of Fulton J. Sheen [1895-1979] in Path to Peace)

Questions to ponder: How long has it been since I freely offered myself to God? How long since I genuinely prayed, “Your will be done”? The next time I receive You in Holy Communion, I will pray for the courage to conform my will to Yours.


Today, I will be talking about the other two Theological Virtues- Faith and Hope that are important elements to living the Catholic life.

By definition: Faith is the virtue by which we firmly believe all the truths God has revealed, on the word of God revealing them, Who can neither deceive nor be deceived.
1.) Faith is belief in truth, on the word of another, though that truth be not fully understood.
2.) Divine Faith is the belief in a truth or mystery known only because God has revealed it.

Catholics believe everything that Jesus Christ teaches, and subsequently handed down to us through the centuries by the work of His institution- the Catholic Church. "Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed." were Jesus' words to Doubting Thomas, who, for an inconceivable reason did not believe that Jesus rose from the dead.
As a result of his non-belief, Jesus miraculously reappeared to the Apostles and luckily Thomas was there to witness the fact that He did indeed rise from the dead; Consequently, Thomas placed his fingers in the side of Christ and therefore really believed.
One may wonder how can the Catholic Church have any authenticity at all because all of its members believe solely on Faith alone, although they may or may not understand all the Truths.

Throughout the history of the Catholic Church, from when Jesus' walked on this earth, to the present day, there have been numerous, miraculous appearances and works wrought that add testament to the credibility of the Catholic Church as being the One True Church.
I will begin with the first several hundred years after Christ died. The Church was in its infancy at this time and its members were called Christians (I wish to note that Christianity is indeed Catholicism, and Christians are the rightful name for Catholics. Now, all because of Martin Luther nailed his 95 thesis on the church doors in Wittenburg in 1517, and as a result, the heresy, Protestantism ensued. The world has to have a pseudo-distinction between the two religions....Catholics being as who they are and Christians-being Protestants.) and the Faith of the Christians was Christianity. The Roman persecutions loosely began under Nero when he punished them for the supposed crime of arson. It is interesting to note that Nero was the one who began the widespread fire of Rome, to destroy it and then rebuild a much more beautiful city. The Christian persecution really began under Diocletian, and his corrupted successors.
Back to the virtue of Faith, these Christians believed without seeing and were killed for believing. Why would these pagan Roman Emperors sought to destroy the Catholic Church, if they some how knew that it was a threat-religiously speaking. Because we have the history of the Roman persecution and stories of some well known Saints who lived during that time such as, St. Lucy, St. Agatha, St. Agnes, St. Lawrence and countless others to further exemplify that Catholicism is indeed the one, true, religion.

The Virtue of Hope: is the virtue by which we firmly trust that God, Who is all-powerful and faithful to His promises, will in His mercy give us eternal happiness and the means to obtain it. Hope is necessary for our salvation. "He that putteth his trust in me shall inherit the land, and shall posses my holy mount." (Isaiah. 57:13)
Faith, Hope and Charity go hand in hand and are necessary for our salvation. The aim of these supernatural virtues is God Himself. It is said that one who possesses these three virtues has all other virtues in varying degrees.
With Faith we know and believe the teachings of Jesus Christ, through Hope we believe that we can persevere in our sojourns in this life to attain Heaven and by Charity we practice the Christian virtues to give up will to please God and not our own. 

We are told that all who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution, and this is certainly true. The path we take is a narrow one, and strewn with thorns, though we follow Christ, who has preceded us and made of it a royal road.
We can proceed confidently, though, for Christ promises us that it will not be too much for us, as He will not let us be tempted above that which we are able.
We know that there is also an eternal reward for what we shall suffer in this life, and that the pains of this life cannot be compared to the reward that awaits us at the end of our earthly pilgrimage. Christ wishes to encourage us to take up our cross and follow him, consoling us Himself as we embrace life’s tribulations.

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