Posted by: Thomas Richard | January 4, 2017

The Great Blessings in the Catholic Faith

The Catholic Church has been entrusted with the fullness of divine revelation, revealed perfectly in the divine Person of the Word become man, Jesus Christ. As the apostle John wrote:

1Jn 1:1  That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—
1Jn 1:2  the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—
1Jn 1:3  that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

Who is this “we” who were there with Him, to see and hear and touch Him? Those who were called into supernatural fellowship (Greek κοινωνία – koinōnia) with Him and with one another. This supernatural fellowship is made possible because of the Gift who is God Himself, given “within” human persons, the indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit. This divine fellowship was the beginnings of His one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church (ἐκκλησία – ekklēsia, the “out-called”) – the men and women called out of the world and into Christ to share in His holy and eternal life! This sharing is possible only in, and by virtue of, the divine Holy Spirit, sent and given by the Father and the Son.

This same Holy Catholic Church today calls all men and women, in the name of Christ, out of the futility of this world and into the life of the Son, Jesus the Lord. This Church, His Church, can enable human persons to find, to receive, to embrace and to hold fast to their divine vocation to return to God, to live in Him in the fullness of life forever. This embrace of Christ is found and experienced in His way, a way of four facets, or dimensions:

1) The Truth. Jesus the Word of God is Truth. He entrusted to His Church of Apostles the fullness of revealed Truth, insured in them by the abiding Holy Spirit sent to be with them (and their successors) until the end of time. Because of this certainty, they and their successors could do what He sent them to do, with doctrinal certainty. His Church was entrusted with His Truth, thus they could teach, thus they could make disciples:
“make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Mt 28:19-20)

2) The means of divine grace: the Sacraments. Knowing the Truth is not enough to live in the Truth! Men and women need the power of God in them, to live His truth and thus to be His faithful witnesses for others in the world. Thus God empowered His Church with the seven-fold storehouse of His sacraments each with its particular sacramental graces: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Confession, Anointing of the Sick, Matrimony and Holy Orders.

3) The true path of living His life: Christian Moral Truth. Knowing the Truth of God, and receiving the empowering grace to live His will, is still not enough to enlighten the actual path that human persons walk “in real life,” to know and to choose the way of righteousness in real-life situations today. Catholic moral principles give this light to men and women of today, married and single, living in a world far different from that in the days of Jesus, but guided by His Spirit, as He promised, light for “things that are to come”:

Jn 16:13  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

4) Finally, there is that “dimension” or ”facet” of life in Christ that must be included and considered: it is Prayer. We are called into the life of prayer, to grow in prayer, to grow in communion with Him, in His life. Every Christian has, by virtue of the abiding Holy Spirit, an “interior life” that is begotten by the Spirit, vivified by the Spirit, nurtured by the Spirit, and is satisfied and fulfilled only in intimate personal communion with God in the Spirit, and with brothers and sisters in that same Spirit. This “interior life” is the life of communio – of fellowship – of koinonia enjoyed by the Apostle John in the early Church:

1Jn 1:3  that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

This treasure – in its four-fold completeness – the Church was given, and her charge is to preserve and protect it in its fullness, and to offer it to all men in darkness that they may become free, finally, in Him.

These four aspects of Catholic Faith are much more fully developed in our current Catechism of the Catholic Church, available for exploration on-line. As Jesus said, “Come and see.”


Responses

  1. Dear Thomas, before I even got to the end of the blog article, and saw the link to the online version, I was thinking of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and how the Catechism is divided into those same four facets!

    How blessed indeed are we, being baptized into the Catholic Church, and entrusted with the fullness of God’s Truth in Jesus! Would that every Catholic Family had both Bibles and Catechisms in daily use to know Jesus and His Bride the Church better, and to live the Truth we learn.

    Thanks for encouraging more persons to seek and find Jesus, as the Magi did. By God’s Grace, may we ask His Holy Spirit’s help to receive Jesus in His Word and in His Sacraments. May we seek and find Him in others as we live His Truth, and may we knock on the door of His Heart that He may open to us in Prayer.

    It is significant that the Magi found Jesus with Mary, His Mother. May we behold our Mother too! Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us.

  2. Thanks,Tom. We usually think of Catechism as something for school aged children to learn. We adults have already learned it. Nothing is further from the truth. I continue to learn more every Sunday than I expected. It is exciting to learn and love God and our Church.


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