Monthly Archives: March 2012

YOUCAT Series 11 – What We Believe: Fallen Man

Questions 67 to 70
A closer look at man’s fallen nature due to original sin; our inclination to sin, or reject God, and the knowledge that Jesus Christ is our Redeemer and Savior.

Q. 67
In this passage called The Catholic View of Sin, it gives a quick snapshot of the Church’s teaching on sin; including mortal and venial sin, indulgences and then focuses some important issues;

Catholic theology divides the punishment for sin into two parts: eternal and temporal (‘temporal’ in this context means lasting only for a limited period of time). Normally, the eternal punishment for sin can be remitted through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, as we saw above. However, the church maintains that there is still a temporal punishment to be borne, as all sin is an affront to God. This then leads to the idea of Purgatory as a place where unremitted sin can be removed in the afterlife.

Q. 68
Original sin as looked at in Theology of the Body;

As an expression and symbol of the covenant with God broken in man’s heart, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil delimits and contrasts two diametrically opposed situations and states: that of original innocence and that of original sin, and at the same time man’s hereditary sinfulness which derives from it. However, Christ’s words, which refer to the “beginning,” enable us to find in man an essential continuity and a link between these two different states or dimensions of the human being.

Here is the full text of Pope Benedict XVI’s quotation in this question also.

Q. 69
From Sins of Omission by Archbishop, Cardinal Henry Edward Manning;

Every day of your life pray God to give you light to see yourselves just as He sees you now: to show you what sin is in all its hideousness, in all its subtlety, and to show you those secret sins which now you do not see in yourselves. Every day of your life ask this of God. Remember the young man who came to our Lord, and asked what he should do to inherit the kingdom of Heaven. Our Lord said: “Sell all thou hast and give to the poor, and come and follow me.” (Matt. 19:21).

Q. 70
A great discussion on salvation: Defining Salvation and its 4 Individual Aspects: Sanctification, Redemption, Forgiveness, and Justification

Also, here from the encyclical on the Redeemer of Man;

The Church’s fundamental function in every age and particularly in ours is to direct man’s gaze, to point the awareness and experience of the whole of humanity towards the mystery of God, to help all men to be familiar with the profundity of the Redemption taking place in Christ Jesus. At the same time man’s deepest sphere is involved-we mean the sphere of human hearts, consciences and events.

Reflection Questions
• What is Phenomenology?
See: Philosophy: Edith Stein & the call of the philosophical life

• What is Postmodernism?
See: 7 characteristics of postmodernism in Generation Y

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Marriage Part 2: Dating

    What is dating? Generally in todays society dating is seen as having someone with fuzzy feelings. A date to prom, a nice Valentines day dinner and all those other lovey dovey things. People often talk about wanting to find love and find “the one,” which is precisely my point. What dating should be about is finding your future spouse. Not emotions.
Now I realize as a teen, you’re probably not ready to get married. Most of you are probably concerned about finding a prom date before marriage. Which is great! I’m not saying you have to be ready to get married before you date. I mean, when I was first interested in guys I certainly wasn’t ready to get married. When I met my husband, I was 17, and I wasn’t ready to get married. While it’s true that he’s my first and only relationship, sometimes God doesn’t let everyone find their future spouse on their first try. You have to let God be a part of you love life.
So how can you start trying to find you’re future spouse? Well I think that first it would be most important to decide if God is even calling you to the married life at all! Maybe this is something you haven’t thought about. Maybe you’re afraid of the answer, or maybe you simply haven’t given it much thought yet, but it’s so incredibly important to discern what God is calling you to do. It’s a process even I went through, even though I was in a relationship while I was in the process of becoming Catholic. I can’t tell you how to discern. Everyones process is a little bit different, but two really important components would be praying to God about it, and talking to a priest if you have any questions or you’re feeling called one way or the other. Not only is it important to talk to God and someone who can help you discern the call, but if you are dating someone, it’s important to be honest about your discernment process so no one is surprised in the end, and so no one gets hurt. Don’t lead anyone on!
So to get back to dating. How exactly do you go about this whole thing to begin with? The first thing I’d like to note is that you might not find your future spouse on your very first try. We’re all different people from different walks of life. While I did find my future husband on my first try, I know that it’s not the case for everyone. It’s important to let God in on this whole process. He loves you, and He has a plan for you. He knows what’s best for you, so I can definitely say that prayer is a great way to go. Let God in on your love life. Talk to Him about someone you’re interested in or someone you’re dating. Pray for your future spouse! God very much wants to be a part of it. Not only that, but having a strong relationship with God is a great way to meet your future spouse. It’s also a bit important to be open to who God may bring into your life. It’s okay to have an ideal of what you’re looking for, but in the case of my husband, I certainly wasn’t exactly what he was looking for. I was Agnostic and had a very different way of living than he did and he was looking for someone who would share his faith with him. He did find that someone, he just had to help bring me to it. And last but not least, remember what love really is. Love is not warm fuzzy emotions. Love is wanting the good of another even at ones own expense.

YOUCAT Series 9 – What We Believe: Heaven and Heavenly Creatures

Questions 52 to 55
In this section we delve a bit deeper into the realities of Heaven, Hell and the Angels.

Q. 52
Here the philosopher Peter Kreeft looks at all those tricky questions that one asks about Heaven with some interesting insights;

Thus, we must learn detachment to enter Heaven. Willy-nilly, death detaches us from everything, even ourselves. We must learn to “die before you die. There is no chance after.”[58] Learning detachment from the world, which can be possessed, is our training for learning detachment from the desire to possess Heaven, which cannot be possessed. Asked whether he thought he would possess any of his beloved library books in Heaven, C. S. Lewis replied, “Only those I gave away on earth.[59]

Q. 53
From Heaven we now look at Hell.

Again I’m using one of Peter Kreeft’s articles because I find him so easy to understand.

This time he warns us not to be complacent about Hell;

We desperately need to hear this truth about hell again, simply out of honesty, because it is there. And also out of compassion. For when an abyss looms ahead, the least compassionate thing to tell the traveler is “peace, peace, when there is no peace”. Out of love for God and man, let us tell the truth about hell!
Sure, we’ll be mocked as vindictive, manipulative, or fundamentalist. Let it be so. Sometimes it seems that we’re more afraid of sharing our Lord’s holy unrespectability than of hell itself. It’s a small price to pay for the salvation of a single infinitely precious soul. And that is the business we’re supposed to be in.

Q. 54
This is a summary of the teachings on the Angels from St Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica.

Here’s an excerpt;

5. By natural love, angels love God more than they love themselves. All creatures belong absolutely to God; they naturally tend to God as their ultimate end or goal. Freely loving creatures must recognize God as their end or goal and tend to him before all else. Hence love of God comes naturally (in free creatures) before love of self, and is the greater love. If this were not so, natural love would be a contradiction, for it would not be perfected by attaining its true object, but would be fruitless and self-destroying.

Q. 55
St Gemma is well known for her devotion to her Guardian Angel.

Here is the Prayer to Our Guardian Angel;

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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.

Reflection Questions
• What is Totalitarianism?
See Pope Benedict XVI: Totalitarianism and Relativism Arise from the Failure to Respect the Natural Law

• What is Reductionism?
See Four Arguments for Transcendence