Today’s Question: What is the main philosophy of Christianity?


Question:
What is the main philosophy of Christianity?

Answer: Redemption from perpetual slavery to Satan, sin and death, through the grace and merits of Jesus Christ, true man and true God.

Question of the day: If god loves us so much why does he go through all these games and shenanigans? Why did he send his son to jump through hoops and die?


Question:
If god loves us so much why does he go through all these games and shenanigans? Why did he send his son to jump through hoops and die?

Answer: The Fall of Man unwittingly transferred dominion over the whole earth from Adam to Satan, with mankind ending up hopelessly and perpetually enslaved to Satan, sin and death.

So, mere forgiveness would have changed nothing.
The only hope for mankind
was divine intervention of a very particular type,
something only God was capable of accomplishing, for us.

Once redeemed from perpetual slavery to Satan, sin and death by Jesus Christ, it would be supremely foolish and wasteful for man to be voluntarily compromised by sin, once again. That’s why God holds us to high standards, yet mercifully forgives, so long as we remain faithful (to him) and are truly repentant.

God typically accomplishes this for us by means of his grace and through our full, faithful and consistent participation in all the work, worship, sacraments and devotions of his Holy Catholic Church.

Asked and answered on Yahoo!Answers. Edited for clarity and content.

Answered today on Yahoo Answers: A question about our redemption in Jesus Christ.

Question: So god required a sacrifice and then he sacrificed his son who was also himself?

Answer: Not exactly.

The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are three divine and distinct persons who essentially constitute the one, true God.

1 X 1 X 1 = 1

The 2nd person of the Holy Trinity (the Son) took on flesh and became man, while never ceasing to be God. We know him as Jesus Christ.

Jesus did for the human race what Adam failed to do: He remained totally and completely obedient to God the Father, even unto death on the cross.

Since Jesus is the eternal God, it is impossible for him to commit any type of sin, so Jesus is immune to the wickedness and snares of the devil. Jesus’ act of total obedience to his heavenly Father, as one of us and on our behalf,  served to appease God’s wrath (due to our sins) redeem mankind and “make” the peace between man and God.

When Jesus permitted the forces of evil to unjustly put him to death, he became the perfect and spotless sacrifice for the sins of the world and the forces of evil became subject to divine judgment, subsequently forfeiting the dominion over all the earth that they enjoyed after “the fall of man”.

When he rose again three days later, Jesus defeated death and proved his claim to divinity, as well as his mastery over Satan, sin and death. Jesus is now the King if Kings and Lord of Lords, wielding all power over heaven and earth, death and hell.

Fallen mankind does not have that type of power. Only Jesus does.

Through faithful allegiance to Jesus Christ, along with baptism into his church, the power to overcome death becomes available to all who truly seek it. This is primarily a function of divine grace, which is a free gift from God.

All we need do is accept God’s saving grace (which Jesus deliberately obtained for us by his life, death and resurrection) and make a free will choice to cooperate with that grace, as a full, faithful member of his church, and then, hope for the best.

God will do the rest. His grace is sufficient.

President Obama’s Christmas message – with a few very important Catholic corrections

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by Doug Lawrence

The President had this to say at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree: 

“Each Christmas, we celebrate the birth of a child who came into the world with only a stable’s roof to shelter Him,” he said. “But through a life of humility and the ultimate sacrifice, a life guided by faith and kindness towards others, Christ assumed a mighty voice, teaching us lessons of compassion and charity that have lasted more than two millennia. He ministered to the poor. He embraced the outcast. He healed the sick. And in Him we see a living example of scripture that we ought to love others not only through our words, but also through our deeds.” “It’s a message both timeless and universal — no matter what God you pray to, or if you pray to none at all — we all have a responsibility to ourselves and to each other to make a difference that is real and lasting,” he continued. “We are our brother’s keeper. We are our sister’s keeper.”

Link

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Now for a few very essential Catholic criticisms and revisions to the above:

Jesus Christ, the 2nd Person of the Holy Trinity, came into the world and assumed human flesh, along with a human soul, according to the divine plan and power of God, his Father, in order to redeem mankind from sin.

Taking on human flesh and becoming like us in all things, except for sin, Jesus is true man. Yet Jesus never ceased to be God. 

During his earthly existence, Jesus led a totally sinless life of humility and sacrifice, compassion, mercy and healing – because God is love – Jesus Christ is God and Messiah – and anything to the contrary is simply not a part of his awesome divinity – nor part of his sinless, perfect, totally incorrupt humanity.

By merely being himself, Jesus Christ fulfilled everything that was written about him in the the prophetic biblical volumes of the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets. Only God could do that! Research this for yourself, if you don’t believe me. Just make sure you actually do the work!

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Jesus – complete with his glorified and resurrected human body and soul, which is now eternally united with his Divine Spirit – is enthroned in Heaven, at the right hand of God the Father, as King if Kings and Lord of Lords.

Jesus has absolute power over all things in Heaven, on Earth and under the Earth – and he promises to come again, at the end of time, to judge the living and the dead.

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The same Jesus is also the head of the Catholic (Universal) Church and it is only by Jesus’ name – according to God’s grace, in faith – that any man might hope to be saved from eternal death and Hell.

So be nice, if it makes you feel better – but remember that corrupt, tin-horn politicians like Barack Obama – who want to “keep” you – actually intend to oppress you – while God’s loving plan is one of unbridled, genuine peace and true, personal freedom.

So reject all of Barack Obama’s “slick” worldly nonsense, “reasonable” advice and other vain deceits and put all your trust in Jesus Christ and the only Church he ever founded, authorized, empowered and eternally guaranteed, for the purpose of our eternal salvation – the Catholic Church!

The only sure and certain hope of making a difference that is real and lasting (for your eternal soul and the souls of your loved ones) is membership in the Catholic Church – which typically begins with the Sacrament of Baptism – followed by a lifetime of fervent prayer and religious studies, along with full, faithful and regular participation in all of the Church’s other authentic work, worship, sacraments and devotions.

Nothing less is likely to get the job done,
but miracles do occasionally happen,
if you think God might be willing to make an exception,
just for you!
 

The main thing Jesus came to do was set people free from the eternal oppression of Satan, sin and death – so that we humans might – one day – be able to once again enjoy eternity in Heaven, with God – without having to put up with lies, obfuscations and other inane chatter from shameless demagogues, like Barack Obama.

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Jesus succeeded.

Such is the reason for our joy.

 M E R R Y  C H R I S T M A S !

Related link: Christmas – the prequel

National tree photo: Wikipedia.org

All About Eve: Satan quickly surmised that women are the key to ultimate human potential.

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by Doug Lawrence

Nowhere in scripture do we read of Satan tempting Adam at any time, prior to the existence of Eve.

In fact, nowhere in scripture do we read of Satan directly tempting Adam, at all. All we can do is a bit of exegesis, based on the fact that Jesus Christ,  “The New Adam” – was tempted by Satan – and based on that, we can assume that Adam was tempted, as well.

But I digress!

The point is … humanity was going nowhere until God created Eve. Only then did the possibility exist of an entire race of human beings – numbering greater than the stars in the heavens and the sands on the sea shore (Genesis 22:17) and only then did Satan make his move: first, on Eve. Then, Eve quite easily enlisted Adam in their offense.

Consequently, mankind soon found himself evicted from Eden, in addition to being  permanently and hopelessly enslaved to Satan, sin and death. If not for the saving work of Jesus Christ, our Holy Redeemer, it would have remained so, for an eternity.

Satan continues to concentrate on Eve’s “daughters – sisters” to this very day. And except for the superabundantly graced, totally sinless Blessed Virgin Mary, “The New Eve” – most women tend to remain extraordinarily easy marks! I trust it is unnecessary to name names and cite specifics.

Not that men – except for Our Bless Lord, Jesus Christ – are any better. Most are just bold, recidivist sinners of a different gender. And life goes on.

Get wisdom, because it is better than gold:
and purchase prudence, for it is more precious than silver.
The path of the just departs from evil:
he that keeps his soul keeps his way.
Pride goes before destruction:
and the spirit is lifted up before a fall.
 (Proverbs 16:16-18)

Something to think about, this Advent!

Understanding the how’s and why’s of the need for our salvation in Christ is essential to our understanding of the truths of the Catholic faith

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by Doug Lawrence

For why did Christ, when as yet we were weak, according to the time, die for the ungodly? For scarce for a just man will one die: yet perhaps for a good man some one would dare to die. But God commendeth his charity (love) towards us: because when as yet we were sinners according to the time. Christ died for us.

Much more therefore, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son: much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. (Romans 5:6-10)

Life is a winner-take-all contest,
with one of only two possible outcomes:
Heaven or Hell.

Thanks to the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary, we get to freely choose sides. But it is also one of those “negative default” situations. Do nothing and you lose big –
and you may lose, forever!

That’s because – very early in man’s history – due to the deliberate, grave sin of our first parents, who pridefully teamed up with Satan the Devil, against God – the first man traded away his birthright and freedom for a lie – and all of mankind (even children and little babies) became hopelessly and permanently enslaved to Satan, sin and death.

Adam and Eve in the Garden by Michelangelo

How can that be? Children of slaves are born into slavery and so are themselves slaves, with only their slavery and Adam’s Original Sin for their inheritance. The Evil One had long ago, successfully usurped virtually everything else!

Hence, every child born of Adam, the first man – and all the children of his descendants – are born tainted by sin, and already, in a very real way, “pledged” to Satan the Devil and subject to his evil dominion of sin, death and Hell.

Without God’s powerful, awesomely creative, loving, merciful, and very timely intervention, things would have remained that way forever – dooming every human being – body and soul – to a decrepit, temporal earthly existence, followed by death – and then an eternity of supernatural bondage and unimaginable suffering, in Hell.

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In the fullness of time, God sent his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, into the world, to redeem us. Incarnate of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus is a perfect and sinless man, in no way subject
to Satan, sin or death.

Having taken on human flesh, as well as a human soul,
Jesus Christ is true man. Yet Jesus never ceased to be God. 

Satan has power only over sinners.
so he had no power or authority at all
over Our Holy Lord, Jesus Christ.
(John 14:27-30)

Even though he had been warned (see Genesis 3:15) Satan plotted to do his worst, enlisting his minions to put Jesus on trial and wrongfully convict him of blasphemy and sedition, leading shortly to Jesus’ crucifixion and death, which was followed three days hence by his glorious and totally unprecedented resurrection from the dead – proving that Jesus is God, just as he claimed – and that he does indeed have power over Satan, death and Hell.

God permitted all of this, as part of his plan for our salvation:

Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him, in the midst of you, as you also know: This same being delivered up, by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you by the hands of wicked men have crucified and slain. Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the sorrows of hell, as it was impossible that he should be holden by it. (Acts 2:22-24)

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As Satan had absolutely no right to disturb so much as a hair on Jesus’ head, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ became Satan’s ultimate undoing. Satan’s earthly power and dominion was destroyed and virtually all that Satan had earlier gained by Adam’s Fall was forfeit.

Today, Satan is still permitted to wander the earth, but is allowed to recruit “fresh” minions only by default (Original Sin and concupiscence, along with the deliberate and willful rejection of the Gospel) and through the vain deceits of the world and the flesh (this should be self-explanatory). But thanks to the saving work of Jesus Christ, Satan’s time of virtually unrestrained power and near total dominion has long been officially over!

For our part, Jesus’ flawless obedience to his Father’s will – as a man – even unto death on the cross – served as the perfect atoning sacrifice for the disobedience, pride and sins of all mankind.

Through Jesus Christ, God the Father supplied what fallen mankind could not (Genesis 22:8) in order to reconcile Heaven and Earth and declare the Divine Peace.

The risen Christ also became the official new and sinless head of all mankind – offering grace, peace, reconciliation and eternal life to all who would reject Satan and his works – and swear faithful allegiance to the Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

This would typically be accomplished through the Sacrament of Baptism, which would also entail, among many other good things, full and faithful membership in the universal (Catholic) Church, which Jesus personally founded, for the purpose of our salvation –  and for the salvation of future generations, yet to come.

A word about sacraments:

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Sacraments are defined as Christ-instituted, outward signs of a certain spiritual reality: divine grace being infused directly into a human soul. Since each of the sacraments was personally instituted by Jesus Christ, each sacrament constitutes nothing less than an intimate, personal encounter with Almighty God.

For those seeking a “relationship” with God – this is the ultimate and absolute best way to do it – personally recommended by none other than our Holy Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

There are seven sacraments – each intended to provide whatever is spiritually necessary for every faithful Catholic, at various stages of human existence. In no particular order, they are: (1) Baptism, (2) Reconciliation, (3) Holy Eucharist, (4) Confirmation, (5) Holy Orders, (6) Matrimony and (7) Anointing of the Sick.

These grace-giving sacraments are administered by the Catholic Church, which is the God-designated, primary earthly ministry of his divine grace – primarily through the work of duly ordained bishops and priests – the men who constitute the ranks of the Catholic Ministerial Priesthood.

The only exception to this is the sacrament of baptism, which can be administered by just about anyone, with due concern for proper form, matter and intention, of course.

A word about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:

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The Holy Mass makes present for us, in this time and this age, the one time, once for all, perfect and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, at Calvary.

When Jesus Christ – body, blood, soul and divinity – under the appearance of ordinary bread and wine – becomes truly present for us on the altar – we are wonderfully empowered to collectively and personally offer Jesus up to God the Father – for our sins and the sins of the whole world.

Presented with this totally acceptable, holy and spotless sacrifice, Our Father in Heaven is always pleased, so he responds in love, and all graces flow.

Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of all Catholic worship – and the Holy Mass – centered on Jesus Christ – acts to constantly replenish the “well” of supernatural grace – obtained for us by the sufferings of Christ –  which is regularly poured out on behalf of sinners – much as Jesus’ precious blood was poured out for many, some twenty centuries ago, so that sins could be forgiven and the world might be redeemed and reconciled.

The next time you’re at Mass, pay particular attention the words leading up to the “Great Amen”. That’s the “sweet spot”. Of course, personally receiving Jesus Christ, in the Holy Eucharist, is also pretty sweet!

Fulfilling an ancient Bible prophecy:

For most of the last two thousand years, a Holy Mass has been celebrated for the glory of God and for the salvation of souls, in many nations, all around the world – every hour of every day – every day of every year – 24/7 & 365.

For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a perfect offering: for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 1:11)

Jesus IS the perfect and eternal sacrifice for the sins of the world. Wherever Jesus is, his atoning sacrifice is also truly present. That’s why we can truly say that the Holy Mass IS a genuine sacrifice – with Jesus Christ presiding as  perfect victim, High Priest, Savior, God and King.

If we Catholics attempted to worship God in any other way, offering a sacrifice other than Jesus Christ, our Holy Redeemer – we would probably be wasting our time – and his!  That’s why Catholics remain obligated to attend Holy Mass every Sunday – and on designated Holy Days. 

Saint Paul reminds us, in the words of Jesus Christ, that God’s grace is sufficient:

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.  (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

Saint Paul also reminds us:

Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:18-21)

Forty Days after his glorious resurrection from the dead, Jesus ascended back to Heaven, where he was enthroned – body and spirit – at the right hand of God the Father – as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (1 Tim 6:15, Rev 17:14, Rev 19:16)

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Doing so, Jesus made permanent and eternal all that he had accomplished for us during his earthly existence. There was no going back, nor could there ever be any chance of another human Fall From Grace! The battle between good and evil had been definitively won by Jesus Christ – and it was all over, except for the fighting!

O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory? The sting of death [is] sin; and the strength of sin [is] the law. But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:55-58)

By divine mandate and through his supernatural protection, Jesus empowered his Holy Church to remain behind on earth – supernaturally preserved from destruction – serving as his primary channel of divine grace – for us – and for all the souls yet to be born.

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  (Matthew 16:18-19)

Grace is a totally gratuitous (absolutely free) gift from Almighty God – a share in his own divine life – obtained for us by Jesus Christ, on the cross at Calvary, at great personal cost – yet offered to us freely, in the spirit of love and eternal friendship, so that we might choose to cast off the shackles of eternal death and claim our rightful inheritance with God in Heaven, as adopted sons and daughters.

As a result of all this, Christians are justified before God (credited with righteousness – see Genesis 15:3-6) through faith in Jesus Christ.

Faith itself is a positive response to God’s grace and his call. (John 6:44)

Sanctification (becoming holy) is also a critical function of God’s grace – since God is holy and no one/nothing less than holy can live up to Heavenly standards. (Leviticus 11:45)

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The primary manifestation of our willing acceptance of God’s grace and our voluntary cooperation with his will is the Cardinal Virtue known as Faith, which is typically accompanied by two other Cardinal Virtues: Hope And Charity (Love).

Once a Christian is initially justified and sanctified before God through grace and Faith, the order of priority typically reverses – with Charity moving to the front – leaving  Hope solidly in the middle, and Faith acting as a  bulwark, keeping everything rightly ordered, balanced and in its’ proper place.

For baptized, faithful Christians, it works pretty much like this:

Love God. Love your neighbor. This is Practical Charity.

Love works no ill to his neighbor:
therefore love [is] the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:10)

Responding to God’s grace, through Love
we keep all God’s Commandments.

Giving freely of ourselves in Faith,
while constantly striving to cooperate with his grace,
we Hope to merit eternal life. 

All should take note

… without faith [it is] impossible to please God: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.  (Hebrews 11:6)

Hebrews 11:1-40 is probably the greatest litany of faith ever written. Look it up and read it for yourself.

A constant teaching of the Catholic Church, from the earliest days, is: Outside the Church There Is No Salvation. That’s because full, faithful and active membership in the Catholic Church is the divinely-designated, Christ-instituted, “ordinary” means of obtaining  the necessary measure of God’s saving grace, for all those alive here on earth.

When God gives us a gift, he expects us to use it, in the spirit in which it was given. Jesus Christ instituted the Catholic Church for the purpose of our salvation – for the care of souls – for the common good of all mankind – for teaching, sanctifying and rightly governing –
with power and authority – in his holy name.

Jesus never founded or authorized any other church! To the contrary:

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gave to me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
(John 17:21-23)

A synthesis of all damnable heresies:

According to the personal opinions of many of today’s highly placed religious leaders and politicians, as well as a fair number of “regular” Catholics and even some Catholic clerics  – God is love and love conquers all – so there’s no need to worry about Jesus, church, grace, truth, commandments, life, death, Heaven or Hell, one’s personal religious beliefs/affiliation – or much of anything else.

“Just BE nice,” they say!

To the contrary,
in accordance with settled Catholic dogma (and common sense)
salvation by any other means,
other than a lifetime of full, faithful, active membership
in the Catholic Church – the only Church that Jesus Christ
ever personally founded, authorized,
supernaturally empowered and eternally guaranteed –
is likely to require a great miracle.

And miracles continue to be very, very rare!

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The sacred scriptures rightly remind us:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  (John 3:16-18)

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)

But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.  (Hebrews 11:6)

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, [even] by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.  (Acts 4:10-12)

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Of course, God is sovereign, merciful,
loving, all-knowing  and all-powerful,
so he might decide to save anyone – of any faith – or no faith at all –
for any reason – or for no reason at all!

In such an event, salvation would still be obtained
only by the divine application of that saving grace
which was obtained for us by Jesus Christ,
on the cross, at Calvary.

So it is possible that non-Catholics, non-Christians, and virtually anyone might be saved – but is that likely?

  Let’s focus on the definition of the word “might”:

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aux.v. Past tense of may

1.

a. Used to indicate a condition or state contrary to fact: She might help if she knew the truth.
b. Used to indicate a possibility or probability that is weaker than may: We might discover a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
2. Used to express possibility or probability or permission in the past: She told him yesterday he might not go on the trip.
3. Used to express a higher degree of deference or politeness than may, ought, or should: Might I express my opinion?

The Bottom Line

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There is no substitute for a lifetime
of fervent prayer and practical religious study
combined with full, faithful and regular participation
in all of the work, worship, sacraments and devotions
of the Catholic Church. 

Please share this Thanksgiving message of grace and salvation
with your friends and family.

A short but comprehensive review of the Catholic Faith (PDF)

Further study

Redeemed – certainly. Justified – perhaps, someday.

Pope Francis says atheists who do good are redeemed too.

The Vatican issued an “explanatory note on the meaning of “salvation,” on Thursday, May 23, after media reports circulated indicating that Pope Francis” promised heaven for everyone engaged in good works, including atheists.

In response to the media attention, the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, said that people who know about the Catholic church “cannot be saved” if they “refuse to enter her or remain in her.”

Rosica also said that Francis had “no intention of provoking a theological debate on the nature of salvation,” during his homily on Wednesday.

 

The gratuitous “secret” of our redemption: Jesus Christ – the “New Adam” – is also the new, divine and perfect Head of all mankind.

Thanks to his finished work on the cross at Calvary, Jesus Christ, eternally enthroned in Heaven at the right hand of God the Father, already personifies the supernatural reality of human perfection …
a state of being which all Christians hope to achieve, according to the power of God’s grace.    

(616 – From the Catechism of the Catholic Church)

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We know this is true because Jesus is not a mythical figure.
Jesus Christ is in fact, a real, well documented, 
historical person.

 Jesus fulfilled every Messianic Bible prophecy, to the letter.

No one else has ever done so. No one else ever will.

Jesus demonstrated the power of God by His perfect, sinless,
earthly existence, by His (truly) charismatic personality,
and by His miracles.

No one else has ever done so. No one else ever will.

Jesus demonstrated His divinity
and His mastery over the power of death
by raising Himself up again from the dead,
just as he said he would.

No one else has ever done so. No one else ever will.

Saint Anselm had things properly figured out around 1000 years ago.

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8 Things You Need to Know About the Immaculate Conception

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This Saturday, December 8th, is the feast of the Immaculate Conception. It celebrates an important point of Catholic teaching, and it is a holy day of obligation.

Here are 8 things you need to know about the teaching and the way we celebrate it.

1. Who does the Immaculate Conception refer to?

There’s a popular idea that it refers to Jesus’ conception by the Virgin Mary.

It doesn’t.

Instead, it refers to the special way in which the Virgin Mary herself was conceived.

This conception was not virginal. (That is, she had a human father as well as a human mother.) But it was special and unique in another way. . . .

7 more

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted has issued new advance medical directives to help Catholics better understand the Church’s teaching on end-of-life issues and to provide guidance to caregivers.

Dr. Frank Agnone, a Catholic internal medicine physician, has stood many times at the bedside of patients facing the end of their lives. He said the advance directives issued by the Phoenix Diocese are based on the magisterial teaching of the Church and will be a big help to the faithful.

“None of us is equipped to put something this profound and this insightful together about human nature and natural law as God would have us live it out in His plan for creation, redemption and our salvation,” Dr. Agnone said, “but the Magisterium of our Church has and it makes so much sense.”

Dr. Agnone said the time during which patients and their families face the end of life is sacred and shouldn’t be rushed.

“We want to create the most sacred environment in which to finish the journey,” Dr. Agnone said. “We don’t prolong death but we respect that there are still some final chapters, some final moments of this life that can be carefully observed.”

Read more

“Prevenient” grace

The One selected to become the Mother of God was given a unique kind of preservative so that She would not be in any way contaminated and thus unfit for Her divine maternity. This intervention of God, this reaching out into history to interrupt the normal flow of the ‘bug’ of original sin is given its precise theological name in the prayer that I will say after the Offertory; the name for it “prevenient grace.”

I dare say that the word ‘grace’ alone is a word that, while common enough in our language, is little understood by the majority of Catholic people. When one adds to that the rare word ‘prevenient’ many will not have a clue to the meaning. And while this usage of some uncommon terminology was one of the major criticisms of the new English text (it is supposed to be too lofty for the comprehension of the lay people), one cannot on that account omit or dismiss the realities such theological words signify.

‘Prevenient grace’ is a gift that God gives ‘before’ or ‘in anticipation of’ some benefit. In this case, God gave to Mary beforehand the gift of sanctifying grace which was not yet given to the rest of humanity until Christ’s redeeming death on the cross.

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This Week’s Ask Alice: Precisely how does Jesus’ death serve to reconcile mankind with God?



Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer your Catholic questions
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

*** Alice is off this week – Doug is “sitting in” ***

Skeptical Christian asks: Notwithstanding the awesome power of God or the holiness of his divine son, Jesus Christ, can someone please explain precisely by what mechanism the killing of Jesus served to reconcile fallen humanity with God? Thank you.

Doug Lawrence answers: Your question is one that is rarely explained, these days. But the answer is absolutely essential for a proper understanding of the basis of the Judeo-Christian faith tradition, and especially, Catholic Christianity.

On the most basic level, Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice was a divine “do-over”.

Adam, the first man, miserably failed. Having failed, all his natural offspring (without exception) would be consigned to his fate … eternal slavery to Satan, sin, and death … unless and until God personally intervened, to remedy the situation.

But many ask, “Why was it necessary for God to redeem man? Couldn’t God have simply decided to forgive and forget?”

There’s simply no way a just and loving God could go along with such an evil compromise. Besides, with Satan, the “Prince of this world” … totally opposed to God … still in charge on earth … forgiving and forgetting would accomplish absolutely nothing.

Satan would first have to go. 

While Satan’s dominion was all encompassing, it was not without limits. That limit was defined by sin.

Satan held the virtually unrestricted power of death over every sinner. But regarding one with no sin, Satan had absolutely no power at all. 

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in his divine humanity, was sinless and totally immune to the powers of hell. Satan had no right to harm the sinless Christ, in any way.

So, the moment Satan and his minions .. the Pagan Romans and the corrupt Jewish Pharisees … put Jesus to death … Satan’s dominion was crushed, everything he gained from Adam’s fall was forfeit, and his (official) power over mankind was at an end.

Once Satan was out of the way, God’s plan for the reconciliation of mankind would proceed, without further delay.

The resurrected Christ … the New Adam … would be crowned the new head of all mankind … King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Satan would have to rely only on stealth and lies for any power he might still have.

Anyone willing to swear allegiance to Jesus Christ would be able to obtain true freedom, along with grace, peace, and forgiveness, from God … typically through baptism, and a lifetime of faithful participation in all the work, worship, sacraments and devotions of the Catholic Church.

For much more on this rather complicated subject, click here.

  Click here to see all of Alice’s other columns

No one … not even the devil … had the power or the authority to harm the only begotten Son of God.


by Doug Lawrence

No one … not even the devil … had the power or the authority to harm the only begotten Son of God … let alone the sinless, totally innocent son of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Jesus is both.

Jesus acknowledged Satan as “The Prince of This World” … yet the power of the devil had very specific limitations:

Satan had absolute power over sinners … even unto death
but … Satan had absolutely NO power over the sinless!

Since he is God, Jesus was and is totally devoid of sin. Hence, Satan held absolutely no power over Jesus. Nothing!

John 14:30
I will not now speak many things with you.
For the prince of this world cometh:
and in me he hath not any thing.

The moment Satan set out to induce his willing minions … some of the Jews and Romans of that time … to crucify Jesus … Satan once again became subject to divine judgment. That judgment would be harsh, but fair:

John 12:31
Now is the judgment of the world:
now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

That is in fact, what happened. Satan had absolutely no authority over Jesus Christ. Rightly judged responsible for Jesus’ unjust crucifixion and death, Satan lost everything that he had earlier gained from Adam’s fall, and was left destitute.

His evil dominion now destroyed, Satan would remain a wanderer and a vagabond upon the earth, relying only on the weak and the confused, for any temporal power that he might manage to retain.

Since Jesus thoroughly pleased his Father, all that Satan lost (and more) was awarded to him. The risen and triumphant Jesus makes that exceedingly clear:

Matthew 28:18
And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying:
All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.

Ever since … Jesus … the New Adam … King of Kings and Lord of Lords … and through him, the Catholic Church … has graciously offered salvation to every person of every generation … as he will continue to do … until he comes again in glory, on the Last Day.

Such was the main point of the life of Christ on earth,
and such is the continuing mission of the Catholic Church.

Simple enough? Thank God!

Jesus and the Cross: Incarnation, Crucifixion, Salvation.


by Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Our Lord finished His work, but we have not finished ours. He pointed the way we must follow. He laid down the Cross at the finish, but we must take it up. He finished Redemption in His physical Body, but we have not finished it in His Mystical Body.

He has finished salvation, we have not yet applied it to our souls. He has finished the Temple, but we must live in it. He has finished the model Cross, we must fashion ours to its pattern. He has finished sowing the seed, we must reap the harvest. He has finished filling the chalice, but we have not finished drinking its refreshing draughts. He has planted the wheat field; we must gather it into our barns. He has finished the Sacrifice of Calvary; we must finish the Mass.

The Crucifixion was not meant to be an inspirational drama, but a pattern act on which to model our lives. We are not meant to sit and watch the Cross as something done and ended like the life of Socrates. What was done on Calvary avails for us only in the degree that we repeat it in our own lives.

Read more

In a nutshell: How divine redemption works.


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Some Light Lenten Reading On The Passion of Jesus Christ


(click any graphic to enlarge)

Read “The Passion Behind the Passion”

Dr. Robert Moynihan: Rather, what Benedict is saying, clearly, is that the blood of Christ will bring about the redemption of the Jews from their sins.

If one goes to Google now and types in “Pope on Jews” you will find that this article is now cited numerous times among the first items, suggesting that this “exoneration” by Benedict of “the Jews” for blame in the execution of Jesus is the central point of Benedict’s teaching on Jews and Judaism. (Don’t think so? Click here.)

But this is not an accurate presentation of what Benedict is saying.

Rather, what Benedict is saying, clearly, is that the blood of Christ will bring about the redemption of the Jews from their sins.

Here again is what the Pope writes: When in Matthew’s account the “whole people” say: “His blood be on us and on our children” (27:25), the Christian will remember that Jesus’ blood speaks a different language from the blood of Abel (Heb 12:24): it does not cry out for vengeance and punishment; it brings reconciliation… These words are not a curse, but rather redemption, salvation.

The Pope certainly does not hold to a theory that all the Jewish people without exception were complicit in and guilty of the decision to execute Jesus (the theory of “deicide”). This is clear.

But, in fact, the teaching that the Jewish people, as a whole (corporately) committed “deicide” has always been a distortion of true Christian teaching, has never been the established doctrine of the Church, and this is why the teaching of Nostra Aetate (drafted and promulgated in 1965 at the close of the Second Vatican Council) — which makes clear this point unambiguously — is not an innovation, as is sometimes alleged, not a “new” teaching of the Church, but a clarification of the Church’s perennial teaching. (At least as clear as any church document written around that time could be. Hence, all the various, subsequent  distortions and misappropriations. – Ed.)

So Benedict does not “exonerate” the “Jews” for “Jesus’ death”; nor is it in his thought to do so.

Editor’s note: So … to Dr. Robert Moynihan … publisher of “Inside the Vatican Magazine” … I say, Amen, brother! Good job … and God speed.”

Link to the book site

This Week’s Ask Alice: Fallen Angels, the True Nature of Heaven, What Would Things Be Like If Adam Hadn’t Sinned?

Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer as many questions as possible,
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Mike S. Asks: If Heaven is perfect (without sin) how could there be a war between the good angels and the bad angels? If Adam and Eve had not sinned, what would have happened to Jesus Christ?

Alice Answers: Heaven is the perfect state of existence. It is the eternal home of God, angels and saints. There are no devils in Heaven. The evil spirits were banished to hell during a war between the good and bad angels which occurred before God created Adam and Eve. The mighty battle, led by St. Michael the Archangel against Satan, is described in the book of Revelation.

“Then war broke out in Heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. Although the dragon and his angels fought back they were overpowered and lost their place in Heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent known as the devil or Satan, the seducer of the whole world, was driven out; he was hurled down to earth and his minions with him.” (Revelation 12:7- 9)

There are no conflicts in Heaven, since no one can enter Heaven with hate in his or her heart. The souls of people who refuse to give or accept the love of God and neighbor are in hell.

The good news is that Satan was banished from Heaven! The bad news is, “But woe to you, earth and sea, for the devil has come down upon you!” (Revelation 12:12)

Satan and his demons wander the earth seducing people, such as Adam and Eve, to sin. If our first parents had not sinned, Jesus could have remained in Heaven rather than come to earth as a helpless infant (through the mystery of the Incarnation) to suffer a horrible crucifixion and death to save us from our sins.

However, all human beings have an inclination toward sin called concupiscence. After the Great Flood, God promised Noah and his descendants that he would not destroy all of humanity because of our sinfulness.

“Never again will I doom the earth because of man, since the desires of man’s heart are evil from the start; nor will I ever again strike down all living beings as I have done.” (Genesis 8:21)

Even if Adam and Eve had not sinned, Jesus would have come to earth to save any one of us from the wages of our sins, which is death. “For God so love the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him may not die but may have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

Doug Lawrence adds: Regarding the perfection of heaven and the fall of the angels: Please see paragraph 63 of St. Thomas Aquinas’ treatise on the angels.

63. SIN OF THE FALLEN ANGELS

1. A rational creature (that is, a creature with intellect and will) can sin. If it be unable to sin, this is a gift of grace, not a condition of nature. While angels were yet unbeatified they could sin. And some of them did sin.

2. The sinning angels (or demons) are guilty of all sins in so far as they lead man to commit every kind of sin. But in the bad angels themselves there could be no tendency to fleshly sins, but only to such sins as can be committed by a purely spiritual being, and these sins are two only: pride and envy.

3. Lucifer who became Satan, leader of the fallen angels, wished to be as God. This prideful desire was not a wish to be equal to God, for Satan knew by his natural knowledge that equality of creature with creator is utterly impossible. Besides, no creature actually desires to destroy itself, even to become something greater. On this point man sometimes deceives himself by a trick of imagination; he imagines himself to be another and greater being, and yet it is himself that is somehow this other being. But an angel has no sense-faculty of imagination to abuse in this fashion. The angelic intellect, with its clear knowledge, makes such self-deception impossible. Lucifer knew that to be equal with God, he would have to be God, and he knew perfectly that this could not be. What he wanted was to be as God; he wished to be like God in a way not suited to his nature, such as to create things by his own power, or to achieve final beatitude without God’s help, or to have command over others in a way proper to God alone.

4. Every nature, that is every essence as operating, tends to some good. An intellectual nature tends to good in general, good under its common aspects, good as such. The fallen angels therefore are not naturally evil.

5. The devil did not sin in the very instant of his creation. When a perfect cause makes a nature, the first operation of that nature must be in line with the perfection of its cause. Hence the devil was not created in wickedness. He, like all the angels, was created in the state of sanctifying grace.

6. But the devil, with his companions, sinned immediately after creation. He rejected the grace in which he was created, and which he was meant to use, as the good angels used it, to merit beatitude. If, however, the angels were not created in grace (as some hold) but had grace available as soon as they were created, then it may be that some interval occurred between the creation and the sin of Lucifer and his companions.

7. Lucifer, chief of the sinning angels, was probably the highest of all the angels. But there are some who think that Lucifer was highest only among the rebel angels.

8. The sin of the highest angel was a bad example which attracted the other rebel angels, and, to this extent, was the cause of their sin.

9. The faithful angels are a greater multitude than the fallen angels. For sin is contrary to the natural order. Now, what is opposed to the natural order occurs less frequently, or in fewer instances, than what accords with the natural order.

64. STATE OF THE FALLEN ANGELS

1. The fallen angels did not lose their natural knowledge by their sin; nor did they lose their angelic intellect.

2. The fallen angels are obstinate in evil, unrepentant, inflexibly determined in their sin. This follows from their nature as pure spirits, for the choice of a pure spirit is necessarily final and unchanging.

3. Yet we must say that there is sorrow in the fallen angels, though not the sorrow of repentance. They have sorrow in the affliction of knowing that they cannot attain beatitude; that there are curbs upon their wicked will; that men, despite their efforts, may get to heaven.

4. The fallen angels are engaged in battling against man’s salvation and in torturing lost souls in hell. The fallen angels that beset man on earth, carry with them their own dark and punishing atmosphere, and wherever they are they endure the pains of hell. [Note: For further discussion of angels, see Qq. 106-114.]

What would have happened if Adam had not sinned?

Even if Adam had never sinned, God would still be God, we would still be his human creatures, and there would likely be at least some type of a divinely instituted system of justice. While the nature and the “flavor” of our human existence would be radically different from what we currently experience, any effect on God himself would probably be minuscule, since he is dependent on us for nothing, at all.

For more on these types of things, go here.

Redemption

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