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YOUCAT Series 12 – What We Believe: I Believe in Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God

Questions 71 to 112
An in-depth examination of the meaning of the person of Jesus Christ, as laid out for us by the Creed.

Q. 71
See This is the Message We Proclaim.

Q. 72
An explanation on what the name Jesus means from an article named, The Holy Name of Jesus:

The name Jesus comes from the Greek Iesous which was derived from the Aramaic, Yeshu. It means “Yaweh is salvation.” The name was not unique, even in biblical times, and today it is common in Arabic-speaking East and in Spanish-speaking countries. From apostolic times the name has been treated with the greatest respect, as honor is due the name which represents Our Lord, himself.

The Holy Name of Jesus is, first of all, an all-powerful prayer. Our Lord Himself solemnly promises that whatever we ask the Father in His Name we shall receive. God never fails to keep His word.

When, therefore, we say, “Jesus,” let us ask God for all we need with absolute confidence of being heard. For this reason, the Church ends her prayer with the words, “through Jesus Christ,” which gives the prayer a new and Divine efficacy.

But the Holy Name is something still greater.

Each time we say, “Jesus,” we give God infinite joy and glory, for we offer Him all the infinite merits of the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ. St. Paul tells us that Jesus merited the Name Jesus by His Passion and Death.

Each time we say “Jesus,” let us clearly wish to offer God all the Masses being said all over the world for all our intentions. We thus share in these thousands of Masses.

Each time we say “Jesus,” we gain indulgences for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, thus relieving and liberating very many of these holy souls from their awful pains. Thus they may be our best friends and pray for us—–they cannot pray for themselves, however.

Each time we say “Jesus,” it is an act of perfect love, for we offer to God the infinite love of Jesus.

The Holy Name of Jesus saves us from innumerable evils and delivers us especially from the power of the devil, who is constantly seeking to do us harm.

The Holy Name of Jesus gradually fills our souls with a peace and joy we never had before.

The Holy Name of Jesus gives us strength that our sufferings become light and easy to bear.

Q. 73
For more information on this, go here.

Q. 74
See this, and from an article called Begotten, not made: The grammar of Christmas:

That Christ was before there was a “was” is a grammatical remark that suggests that Christ is not some subsequent thought God might have had, but rather that whatever it means to say God means we must also say Christ. Unlike us there was or is no time when Christ was not.

This reality – that is, that there was never a time when Christ was not – forced the church to say what we say when we say God is three in one. That is why we say Sunday after Sunday, “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father.” “Begotten, not made” is a grammatical remark.

Q. 75
From Why we call Jesus “Lord”;

Jesus Christ is Our Lord, the Son of God the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, true God and true Man. We call Him “Our Lord” because as God He is Lord and Master of all, and as our Saviour He redeemed us with His Blood.

Christ is our Creator, Redeemer, Lawgiver. Teacher, and judge. All these we mean when we say Our Lord. St. Paul says: “He is the Blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords … to whom be honor and everlasting dominion. Amen” (1 Tim. 6: 15,16).

Q. 76
Two extremely insightful articles on the Incarnation:

Why Did God Become Man ? By Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J.

Infinity dwindled to infancy: The why of Christmas By George Weigel.

Q. 77
See The Son is Equal to the Father.

Q. 78
See An absolute mystery:

Involved are both the meaning of man himself and the revealed reality of the Holy Trinity, for when we say that “God became man”, we mean that the Word of God, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, united to himself a human nature. So God became in Jesus as we are. It is the defined, official teaching of the Church that the Incarnation, as a term of the divine action, is the mysterious union of the divine nature and the human nature in the Person of the Word. This is also called the “Hypostatic Union”, since the union of the divine nature and the human nature takes place in the Person of the Word. Hypostatic is the Greek word for “personal”.

Q. 79
See The Enfleshment of God.

Q. 80
See Was Mary a Perpetual Virgin?

Q. 81
From Mary: Ever Virgin:

An important historical document which supports the teaching of Mary’s perpetual virginity is the Protoevangelium of James, which was written probably less than sixty years after the conclusion of Mary’s earthly life (around A.D. 120), when memories of her life were still vivid in the minds of many.

The article goes on to use direct quotes from the Protoevangelium, including dialect between an angel of the Lord and Our Lady’s mother, St Anne.

Q. 82
For a discussion of the meaning of Theotokos (God-bearer), go to Chapter II of Bl. Pope John Paul II’s Encyclical on the Dignity and Vocation of Women.

Q. 83
See Immaculate Conception and Assumption:

It’s important to understand what the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is and what it is not. Some people think the term refers to Christ’s conception in Mary’s womb without the intervention of a human father; but that is the Virgin Birth. Others think the Immaculate Conception means Mary was conceived “by the power of the Holy Spirit,” in the way Jesus was, but that, too, is incorrect. The Immaculate Conception means that Mary, whose conception was brought about the normal way, was conceived without original sin or its stain—that’s what “immaculate” means: without stain. The essence of original sin consists in the deprivation of sanctifying grace, and its stain is a corrupt nature. Mary was preserved from these defects by God’s grace; from the first instant of her existence she was in the state of sanctifying grace and was free from the corrupt nature original sin brings.

Q. 84
This page has a list of Saints quotes on the necessity of devotion to Our Lady for salvation.

Here is but one:

O chosen Queen of Heaven! You alone are the refuge of guilty mortals to whom so many a tearful eye, so many a wounded and miserable heart is raised . . .
You, O elect Queen, are the gate of all grace, the door of compassion that has never yet been shut!

Bl. Henry Suso

Q. 85
From Mary is Our Mother:

Looking first at Scripture, the principal basis for the doctrine of Mary as Spiritual Mother of all humanity is found in the Gospel of John. In this scene, Mary is at Calvary at the foot of the Cross with John, the beloved disciple. John tells us, “When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother’” (John 19: 26-27). Throughout the Church’s history, numerous popes, theologians, and writers have confirmed their belief that here John is symbolic of all humanity. In other words, that Jesus from the Cross gave His Mother to every human person for all time.

Q. 86
Here is the full text of the quote used in this question.

It is a great look at the errors of feminism and how to establish a “new feminism”.

Q. 87
From Why was Jesus Baptised?

In Christ’s baptism we can find a reflection of the way the sacrament of Baptism affects a person. Christ’s baptism was the exemplar of our own. In it the mystery of the Blessed Trinity was revealed, and the faithful, on receiving Baptism, are consecrated by the invocation of and by the power of the Blessed Trinity. Similarly, heaven opening signifies that the power, the effectiveness, of this sacrament comes from above, from God, and that the baptized have the road to heaven opened up for them, a road which original sin had closed. Jesus’ prayer after his baptism teaches us that “after Baptism man needs to pray continually in order to enter heaven; for though sins are remitted through Baptism, there still remains the inclination to sin which assails us from within, and also the flesh and the devil which assails us from without” (St, Thomas, ibid., III, q. 39, a. 5).

Q. 88
See here:

The Holy Spirit led Jesus into a huge fifteen-by-thirty-five mile desert between the mountain of Jerusalem and the Dead Sea so that He could pray to the Father about the public ministry which He was about to commence. He prayed and fasted for an incredible forty days, which obviously would have left Him physically weak and famished. It was at this moment that the Devil came to Him to tempt Him. Much like God the Father had once allowed Job to be tested, the same Father allowed His Son to be tempted. The first temptation was aimed right at Jesus’ tremendous hunger: ‘If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of Bread.’ Jesus had come to save people, to feed their most important hunger — the hunger of their souls. Jesus refused to change a stone into bread for the devil; but for us, His beloved flock, He changes bread into His own flesh and blood for He is the word that comes from the mouth of God and God wants to put that Word in our mouths. Let us not presumptuously tempt God by receiving Him and then going out and live in a way incompatible with the Gift we receive. Let us, rather, “worship Him, the Lord our God, and serve Him alone.”

Q. 89
Litany of Humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved…
From the desire of being extolled …
From the desire of being honored …
From the desire of being praised …
From the desire of being preferred to others…
From the desire of being consulted …
From the desire of being approved …
From the fear of being humiliated …
From the fear of being despised…
From the fear of suffering rebukes …
From the fear of being calumniated …
From the fear of being forgotten …
From the fear of being ridiculed …
From the fear of being wronged …
From the fear of being suspected …

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I …
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease …
That others may be chosen and I set aside …
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
That others may be preferred to me in everything…
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…

Q. 90
See a reflection on miracles by St Augustine from his book City of God.

Q. 91
See Miracles: Signs of God’s Presence.

Q. 92
This is a great page on the 12 Apostles of the Catholic Church. You can click on each Apostle and go to a link about them.

Q. 93
Here Pope Benedict XVI talks about the Transfiguration:

In his address before the Angelus on August 6, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI described how the events of the transfiguration display Christ as the “full manifestation of God’s light.”

This light, which shines forth from Christ both at the transfiguration and after his resurrection, is ultimately triumphant over “the power of the darkness of evil.”

The Pope stressed that the feast of the Transfiguration is an important opportunity for believers to look to Christ as “the light of the world,” and to experience the kind of conversion which the Bible frequently describes as an emergence from darkness to light.

“In our time too,” Pope Benedict said, “we urgently need to emerge from the darkness of evil, to experience the joy of the children of light!”

Q. 94
See How did the messianic entrance into Jerusalem come about?

Q. 95
What I took away from reading this is that prior to the Exodus, just as whoever didn’t participate in the eating of the lamb and putting the lamb’s blood on their door, lost their first-born. We too risk losing our souls if we knowingly don’t participate in the sacrifice of the Mass on Sunday (See Q. 365).

Q. 96
See Who Killed Jesus?

Q. 97
See Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, n. 4:

True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ;(13) still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures. All should see to it, then, that in catechetical work or in the preaching of the word of God they do not teach anything that does not conform to the truth of the Gospel and the spirit of Christ.

Q. 98
See Lenten Grace!

Home to the Father. To Abba, who waits for us with arms as outstretched as those of His Only Begotten Son on the Cross. O Holy exchange on the cross – my death in exchange for His life, my sin for His salvation, my shame for His glory. Epitomised in the exchange of Jesus for Barabbas. We (Barabbas stands for each one of us) who were guilty, were set free and He took our place (scapegoat – Leviticus Chapter 16). He took our punishment so we could become Bar-Abba (Son of the Father).

Q. 99
See Homily of his holiness Benedict XVI, Basilica of St John Lateran, Holy Thursday, 21 April 2011:

“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you”. Lord, you desire us, you desire me. You eagerly desire to share yourself with us in the Holy Eucharist, to be one with us. Lord, awaken in us the desire for you. Strengthen us in unity with you and with one another. Grant unity to your Church, so that the world may believe. Amen.

Q. 100
See Pope Benedict XVI on fear of death.

Q. 101
From Good Friday:

It is fitting that Christians glorify the Cross as a sign of Christ’s resurrection and victory over sin and death, of course. But we should remember each time we see a cross that the Cross of Jesus’ crucifixion was an emblem of physical anguish and personal defilement, not triumph-of debasement and humiliation, not glory-of degradation and shame, not beauty. It was a means of execution, like a gallows or a gas chamber. What the Son of God endured for us was the depth of ugliness and humiliation. We need to be reminded of the tremendous personal cost of love.

As Lent advances we contemplate the redeeming Mystery of the Cross which aids the Church in her pursuit of the renewal of the faithful. The image of the Cross may help each of us to learn more fully the meaning of Christ’s sacrifice, and how we are to imitate His example. We can hope that our prayers which focus on the Crucifixion of our Lord will help atone for our own sins and the many grave sins of our society.

And from the encyclical Deus Caritas Est n. 6:

In these words, Jesus portrays his own path, which leads through the Cross to the Resurrection: the path of the grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies, and in this way bears much fruit. Starting from the depths of his own sacrifice and of the love that reaches fulfilment therein, he also portrays in these words the essence of love and indeed of human life itself.

Q. 102
See Offering it Up.

Q. 103
See The Blood and Water from His Side:

If you desire further proof of the power of this blood, remember where it came from, how it ran down from the cross, flowing from the Master’s side. The gospel records that when Christ was dead, but still hung on the cross, a soldier came and pierced his side with a lance and immediately there poured out water and blood. Now the water was a symbol of baptism and the blood, of the holy eucharist. The soldier pierced the Lord’s side, he breached the wall of the sacred temple, and I have found the treasure and made it my own. So also with the lamb: the Jews sacrificed the victim and I have been saved by it.

Q. 104
From Pope Benedict XVI:

You have made a very appropriate choice, putting the Risen Jesus Christ at the centre of the Convention’s attention, and of all the life and witness of the Church in Italy. The Resurrection of Christ is a fact that occurred in history, of which the Apostles were witnesses and certainly not its inventors. At the same time, it was not simply a return to our earthly life. Instead, it is the greatest “mutation” that ever occurred, the decisive “jump” towards a profoundly new dimension of life, the entry into a decidedly different order that regards above all Jesus of Nazareth, but with him also us, the whole human family, history and the entire universe.

This is why the Resurrection of Christ is the centre of the preaching and the Christian witness from the beginning and until the end of time. Certainly, it is a great mystery, the mystery of our salvation, which finds its fulfilment in the Resurrection of the Incarnate Word and both anticipates and guarantees our hope. But the mark of this mystery is love, and only in the logic of love can it be brought close and somehow understood: Jesus Christ risen from the dead, because all of his being is perfectly and intimately united with God who is love, which is truly stronger than death.

He was one with indestructible Life and therefore he could give his own life, letting himself be killed, but he could not succumb to death definitively: at the Last Supper he concretely anticipated and accepted out of love his own death on the Cross, thus transforming it into the gift of himself, that gift which gives us life, liberty and salvation.

His Resurrection, therefore, has been like an explosion of light, an explosion of love that melts the chains of sin and death. It inaugurated a new dimension of life and reality, from which the new world comes forth, that continuously penetrates our world, transforming it and drawing it to himself.

Q. 105
See The Glorified Body of Jesus:

In order to confirm the faith of his disciples in his Resurrection, Jesus had to convince them that it was really he. All four Gospels mention the Resurrection, and each gives some details regarding the appearances (cf. Mk 28; Mk 16; Lk 24; Jn 20-21). First of all, they recognized him in his physical appearance — his body was the same body, though transformed, that they had known during the preceding three years. Thomas doubted, so the Lord said to him: “Put your finger here and see my hands; and put out your hand and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing” (Jn 20:27). To all the assembled disciples, he said: “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have” (Lk 24:39).

Q. 106
See On the Resurrection of Jesus Christ: A Catholic View:

Why is the resurrection of the body important? The bodily resurrection is key to not only the belief in the resurrection, but also other tenets of the Christian faith (e.g. the Sacraments). First, it is a continuation of the Incarnation. God’s loving identification with his people is in both death and the victory over death. Second, the bodily resurrection affirms the goodness of and God’s lordship over the created realm. In the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God’s original purpose for mankind is fulfilled. We were created for a bodily existence and are redeemed by Jesus Christ in that state. The bodily resurrection also finalizes and affirms the redemption of all creation begun when God become man in the Incarnation. Third, the bodily resurrection has important ethical implications. Because the redemption of the world has come through the created order, it demonstrates how highly God values the created order and specifically the body. Our bodies can and must be dedicated to God’s glory now. This forms the basis for not only personal holiness, but also social justice. How we treat others, in the now, in the material realm, matters. Redemption did not occur in the some abstract spiritual realm, but in history, in creation. Thus, the living of God’s kingdom is now, in creation, not just in some future spiritual state.

Q. 107
See The Resurrection of Christ: the basis of our Faith.

Q. 108
From here:

Because of Jesus’ Resurrection, death is not what it seems to be. It is not the end, but the beginning of a new type of life for the saved. While remaining human beings of flesh and blood, we shall all be transformed (1 Cor 15:51) into “spiritual bodies” (1 Cor 15:44). And God plans, in the fullness of time, ” to unite all things in him (Christ), things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph 1:10).

Q. 109
From Fr Kenneth Baker;

The Ascension of Jesus can be defined as the transfer of his risen, glorious body to heaven, that is, to the world of the divine. In the Old Testament, God is described in some texts as “descending” from heaven to accomplish something on earth; he then “ascends” or returns to the world of the divine. Jesus himself speaks of descending to this earth and ascending again to the Father once his work of redemption has been accomplished (cf. Jn 3:13, Eph 4:10).

Q. 110
See The Glory of the Lord.

Q. 111
See The Second Coming:

By the expression “the Second Coming”, we are referring to the Christian belief in the words of Jesus that he will come again in glory to judge all men. The Parousia will signal the end of human history as we know it. When this will take place no one knows but the Father (Acts 1:11), nor is there any clear indication in Scripture of just how it will be accomplished.

Q. 112
See Jesus Will Judge the Living and the Dead:

When the Creed says that Jesus will judge “the living and the dead”, it means that he will judge all men — past, present and future. No person will escape his judgment. Since all men are subject to sin (Rom 5), they are all likewise subject to death (Rom 6:23). Even Christ and Mary had to die. Some have interpreted “the living” in the Creed to mean those in a state of grace, and “the dead” to mean those in sin. However, “the living” can also mean those who are still on this earth at the time of the Second Coming. Since all men are subject to death, the most probable meaning is that they will die and be brought before the judgment seat of Christ in an instant.

Reflection Questions
• What is body-self dualism?
See Dualistic Delusions

• What is Devotion of Divine Mercy?
See Background of the Divine Mercy Devotion

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YOUCAT Series 7 – What We Believe: I Believe in God the Father

Questions 30 to 48
The remaining questions in Part 1 hone in more closely on the contents of the Creed. Here we will be looking specifically at God the Father.

I’m using a great deal of links to broaden your knowledge of the concepts in the YOUCAT this time. I hope you gain insight from them.

Q. 30
Although I am trying to not just cite the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 1997) in our study, it is worth reading what it says about the One God,

These are the words with which the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed begins. The confession of God’s oneness, which has its roots in the divine revelation of the Old Covenant, is inseparable from the profession of God’s existence and is equally fundamental…Jesus himself affirms that God is “the one Lord” whom you must love “with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength”.

Q. 31
The General Directory For Catechesis explains why God gave Himself a name;

– Jesus, with the Kingdom, proclaims and reveals that God is not a distant inaccessible Being, “a remote power without a name” (332) but a Father, who is present among his creatures and whose power is his love.

Q. 32
Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote a wonderful encyclical on the splendor of truth, I highly recommend reading it when you have time.

Q. 33
Many people today have no idea of the concept of real love -that love is always coupled with suffering. Pope Benedict goes to explain,

“God has so loved us that he gave himself up for us: This is the message of the Cross, ‘mystery of death and of glory. ‘The cross reminds us that there is no true love without suffering, there is no gift of life without pain,”

Q. 34
So much wisdom in this question! How often, even during the day, when, on the whole, we are trying to put God first in our lives, do we slip up and think we will find fulfillment in our own wants?

This has some helpful strategies to help put God first in our lives.

Q. 35
On the Trinity,

[T]he concrete saving way that God gives grace to us corresponds to three distinct, interrelated ways of existing within God’s own being. God exists in a threefold manner, as first, second and third person, or as radically transcendent, incarnate and continually present, as we experience in the Christ event. In speaking of the triune God, we exercise a radical faith that, as Catherine LaCugna writes, “we do not know a shadow image of God but the real living God of Jesus Christ in their Spirit. The God who saves—this is God.”

Q. 36
St Theresa of Avila on the Trinity.

Q. 37
The line that stands out for me here is ‘… father and mother stand for origin and authority, for what is protective and supportive.’

Read this page for some Saints’ quotes on the subject of obedience.

Q. 38
Encyclical on the Holy Spirit (1986),

Q. 39
A discussion on who Jesus is;

For all men of good will to whom creation speaks as a wonderful work of God, for all honest men who feel within themselves the experience of emptiness and of hunger for truth and justice for all men who search for a meaning in life and a destiny to pursue, for all of those and to all of them Christ offers Himself as the way, the truth and the life which begin and end with God.

Q. 40
The word almighty here is worth further analysis I believe.

Q. 41
This is the best description on the topic of evolution and creation; it makes St Thomas Aquinas’ teachings much more easy to understand compared to anything else I’ve read.

Q. 42
How was the Genesis account of creation interpreted before Darwin?:

The history of Christian thought has not been consistently dominated by proponents of a literal interpretation of Genesis. The discoveries of modern science should neither be seen as the instigator of some abandonment of trust in Scripture, nor as contradictory to Scripture, but as guideposts toward a proper understanding of Scripture’s meaning.

Q. 43
See How do randomness and chance align with belief in God’s sovereignty and purpose?

And from Catholics/Free Will/ Predestination;

The only proper framework to understand predestination must be rooted in the notion of a communion of persons in love. Why? The nature of God as Trinity is this very kind of communion and God created man to share in that “blessed life” (cf. Catechism, no. 1). This communion of love demands freedom of will. For love is not something thrust upon a person, but offered as a gift. This communion of love in the Trinity is also the basis for evangelization in the Church (cf. Catechism, no. 850). As this is the very essence of the relationship between God and man, everything in one way or another must refer back to it and be measured by it. As this was God’s purpose in creating man, it is also intimately tied to our redemption and our ultimate destiny. God is love (1 Jn. 4:8).

Q. 44
These two pages (one and two), on the topic of Creation, are helpful to understand this question.

Q. 45
The more that you can understand the principle of natural law the better. It can be used as a foundation for dialogue on contemporary issues such as euthanasia, abortion and same-sex marriage. Hence, it is writen about in the context of its relationship to democracy in Evangelium Vitae and it is also discussed in the Compendium of Catholic Social Doctrine ;

138. In the exercise of their freedom, men and women perform morally good acts that are constructive for the person and for society when they are obedient to truth, that is, when they do not presume to be the creators and absolute masters of truth or of ethical norms[261]. Freedom in fact does not have “its absolute and unconditional origin … in itself, but in the life within which it is situated and which represents for it, at one and the same time, both a limitation and a possibility. Human freedom belongs to us as creatures; it is a freedom which is given as a gift, one to be received like a seed and to be cultivated responsibly”[262]. When the contrary is the case, freedom dies, destroying man and society[263].

139. The truth concerning good and evil is recognized in a practical and concrete manner by the judgment of conscience, which leads to the acceptance of responsibility for the good accomplished and the evil committed. “Consequently in the practical judgment of conscience, which imposes on the person the obligation to perform a given act, the link between freedom and truth is made manifest. Precisely for this reason conscience expresses itself in acts of ‘judgment’ which reflect the truth about the good, and not in arbitrary ‘decisions’. The maturity and responsibility of these judgments — and, when all is said and done, of the individual who is their subject — are not measured by the liberation of the conscience from objective truth, in favour of an alleged autonomy in personal decisions, but, on the contrary, by an insistent search for truth and by allowing oneself to be guided by that truth in one’s actions”[264].

140. The exercise of freedom implies a reference to a natural moral law, of a universal character, that precedes and unites all rights and duties[265]. The natural law “is nothing other than the light of intellect infused within us by God. Thanks to this, we know what must be done and what must be avoided. This light or this law has been given by God to creation”[266]. It consists in the participation in his eternal law, which is identified with God himself[267]. This law is called “natural” because the reason that promulgates it is proper to human nature. It is universal, it extends to all people insofar as it is established by reason. In its principal precepts, the divine and natural law is presented in the Decalogue and indicates the primary and essential norms regulating moral life[268]. Its central focus is the act of aspiring and submitting to God, the source and judge of everything that is good, and also the act of seeing others as equal to oneself. The natural law expresses the dignity of the person and lays the foundations of the person’s fundamental duties[269].

141. In the diversity of cultures, the natural law unites peoples, enjoining common principles. Although its application may require adaptations to the many different conditions of life according to place, time and circumstances,[270] it remains immutable “under the flux of ideas and customs and supports their progress … Even when it is rejected in its very principles, it cannot be destroyed or removed from the heart of man. It always rises again in the life of individuals and societies”[271]

Its precepts, however, are not clearly and immediately perceived by everyone. Religious and moral truths can be known “by everyone with facility, with firm certainty and without the admixture of error”[272] only with the help of Grace and Revelation. The natural law offers a foundation prepared by God for the revealed law and Grace, in full harmony with the work of the Spirit[273].

142. The natural law, which is the law of God, cannot be annulled by human sinfulness[274]. It lays the indispensable moral foundation for building the human community and for establishing the civil law that draws its consequences of a concrete and contingent nature from the principles of the natural law[275]. If the perception of the universality of the moral law is dimmed, people cannot build a true and lasting communion with others, because when a correspondence between truth and good is lacking, “whether culpably or not, our acts damage the communion of persons, to the detriment of each”[276]. Only freedom rooted in a common nature, in fact, can make all men responsible and enable them to justify public morality. Those who proclaim themselves to be the sole measure of realities and of truth cannot live peacefully in society with their fellow men and cooperate with them[277].

143. Freedom mysteriously tends to betray the openness to truth and human goodness, and too often it prefers evil and being selfishly closed off, raising itself to the status of a divinity that creates good and evil: “Although he was made by God in a state of holiness, from the very onset of his history man abused his liberty, at the urging of the Evil One. Man set himself against God and sought to attain his goal apart from God … Often refusing to acknowledge God as his beginning, man has disrupted also his proper relationship to his own ultimate goal as well as his whole relationship toward himself and others and all created things”[278]. Human freedom needs therefore to be liberated. Christ, by the power of his Paschal Mystery, frees man from his disordered love of self[279], which is the source of his contempt for his neighbour and of those relationships marked by domination of others. Christ shows us that freedom attains its fulfilment in the gift of self[280]. By his sacrifice on the cross, Jesus places man once more in communion with God and his neighbour.

Many Catholics have no idea about the richness of Catholic social teaching; so when you have time it will be really worthwhile to get aquatinted with the whole Compendium!

This is another of my favorites on natural law.

St Thomas Aquinas, moreover, was the one who developed the understanding of natural law from ancient greek philosophy, work by Saint Augustine and revelation. Even though many others have approaches to Natural Law, St Thomas Aquinas is still acknowledged by the Church as the most regarded. For more on its history go here.

– A slideshow on Natural Law.

Useful information on the basis of Natural Law, especially when debating for its existence with someone who follows a secular humanist life philosophy, such as one defined by John Hagee;

Secular humanism by its very nature rejects the belief in God as well as the belief that man needs to submit to a moral code proposed by a higher power. It rejects the belief in spirit and supernatural and takes on a “naturalistic” philosophy that embraces science rather than faith. It teaches that there is no god and that what you see in the physical realm is all that exists. The secular humanist does not believe in sin, the concept of need for a savior, in miracles or supernatural experiences on earth or in life after death.

One area that must be considered is that there is no sin or concept of good and evil, as described in Scripture, in secular humanism. Additionally, there is no demonic or angelic activity. Without the concepts of “good and evil” contributing to a moral code, the secular humanist looks towards science to describe and explain human behavior as well as to develop an individual moral code. According to the Secular Humanism Declaration,“It should be noted that secular humanism is not so much a specific morality as it is a method for the explanation and discovery of rational moral principles.”

Q. 46
For a discussion on how to interpret Genesis see these two pages, here and here.

Q. 47
Time for Sabbath Rest?

Q. 48
Ways to glorify God

Reflection Questions
• What does ‘utilitarianism’ mean?

• What is the difference between the terms ‘greater good’ and ‘common good’?