Friday, July 31, 2009

Why Evil Exists According to the Catholic Catechism

It’s strange to realize how easy it is to sin. Most of the time, we don’t think about it, and when bad things happen, we rarely blame sin as the reason. Yet, that’s the reality of it.

Drunk drivers who kill entire families are sinners refusing to be responsible. Abusive parents who harm their children or don’t provide for their needs are in fact sinning through their neglect.

Rude people who cut in front of you at the grocery store are also sinners, as are the people who gossip and ruin the reputation of others. Negative acts are rooted in sin, and we are all to blame for turning against the goodness of God.

“God is in no way, directly or indirectly the cause of moral evil. He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it:
For almighty God…, because he is supremely good, would never allow any evil whatsoever to exist in his works if he were not so all-powerful and good as to cause good to emerge from evil itself.” (CCC p. 92)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Dignity of Man

“For God grants His creatures not only their existence, but also the dignity of acting on their own, of being causes and principles for each other, and thus of cooperating in the accomplishment of his plan.” (CCC pgs. 90-91) God loves us enough to let us participate in His plans. We were created not as puppets, but as free, intelligent people, and we are invited and encouraged to play a part in God’s work.

It makes sense, actually. When you are part of a family, each member plays a role to make the family complete. Some detract from the love and value of the family, while others are the pride and joy of it. We are all part of God’s family, and therefore we are members of creation, united for a common cause, with God as our head. It is good to be loved this much!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Catholic Site Review: Catholic Treasury

In my search for links about Divine Providence today, I came across the most amazing internet site, Catholic Treasury. It is with great pleasure that I share this site with you, in an effort to give you better access to the Catholic Catechism, as well as a library of spiritual works.

Catholic Treasury is produced by a Catholic family layman. He explains the purpose of it simply. “So the purpose of this site is primarily to make these impeccable sources of saints, doctors of the Church and respected theologians available to Catholics (and all men of goodwill) looking for help on life's journey.”

He goes on to express his desires for those who visit, “May the fire that moved these writers to put pen to paper inflame the reader as he receives instruction. With the help of the Holy Spirit, it will happen.”

I am thrilled to have found this site, and I hope it will help you in your journey with the Lord.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

God Made Creation Out of Nothing

When was the last time you felt creative? Do you remember the burning desire to make something new? There you were gathering the things you needed to beautify the garden, crochet a baby’s blanket, or simply cook dinner. Perhaps you were at work, contemplating the perfect words to use in that proposal that was going to mean big bucks for your company. The enjoyment of creation is exhilarating, isn’t it?

Without bursting your bubble, for indeed your creativity matters greatly in the scheme of things, think about all of creation now. Recognize a world that was created entirely out of nothing, for the sheer joy of putting it into existence. Feel the sense of awe and pleasure our creator must have for the things He alone has made.

We are loved so much, and because of that love, we are never abandoned! More than that though, we are dependent upon God, because He’s the one who made us. He’s the one who keeps our spirit alive and active in the rest of His creation.

Just as you are the master of all that you make, God is the Master of creation. You can choose to change your creation at will, or disregard it entirely. Surely you’ve experience frustration when your projects seem to take on a life of their own, and somehow turned out much differently than you expected. At what point did you step back and allow life to do what it will?

God makes life out of nothing, and life responds to the gift of being created. It is our calling to respect the God of all wisdom, and thereby gain spiritual freedom in spite of our sinfulness. If we open our hearts and listen to God’s voice, we will soon come to understand the power of Divine Love.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Why God Made Creation

Life exists for one purpose, to give glory to its creator, God. Think about that for a moment, and see the truth of that statement. The oceans waves, if you’ve ever seen them, move to the rhythm of the earth. They explode with emotion given by the very breath of God.

A mother’s womb too is filled with joyful anticipation, lively and active at the sounds and stimulants of the soul in the world. All things come together, uniting as one with the common bond of creation, a gift given to us from God.

Birds chatter incessantly, and then fly away to their nests. Dogs have personalities, either aggressive or passive, yet always loyal to their master. They instinctively know who provides for them, just as we know takes care of us.

Sometimes we try to take care of ourselves, and give little heed to God. We neglect our duty to pay Him homage, and foolishly hinder our own goals and needs. What is our one and only goal that everything we do should lead to? Who is our only need that will be there when all else fails?

That’s right! It’s God, and the only goal we ever need to worry about is meeting Him in Heaven when we die. Every other goal we have should lead to that end, where we will give Him glory forever. No matter what we have, lose, want, or need, God supplies the grace to wake up each morning and find satisfaction each day. The Catholic Catechism rightly teaches, “The ultimate purpose of creation is that God “who is the creator of all things may at last become ‘all in all,’ thus simultaneously assuring his own glory and our beatitude.”

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Story of Creation in Genesis According to Catholic Catechism

Catholics have always read the Bible. We listen to the Word of God at Mass, reflect on its message privately in our homes, and even participate in Bible Study groups and classes. The Bible is one of the directing factors toward the center of our faith, Jesus Christ, our Savior.

We do not read Scripture as anything other than the Word of God. And who is the Word of God, in whom everything has been revealed? Jesus is the source of our Divine Revelation. The Bible is all about Him. Whether it is prophecy from the Old Testament, or fulfillment in the New Testament, Sacred Scripture is Revelation handed on to God’s creation from His own Spirit and Truth.

Therefore, the stories written in the Holy Bible must be studied in light of Divine Revelation, and not diminished by man’s limitations of interpretation. If we are to understand the story of creation, we must do so with an open heart and mind, allowing God to supply what is missing in our hearts.

“Among all the Scriptural texts about creation, the first three chapters of Genesis occupy a unique place. From a literary standpoint these texts may have had diverse sources. The inspired authors have placed them at the beginning of Scripture to express in their solemn language the truths of creation – its origin and its end in God, its order and goodness, the vocation of man, and finally the drama of sin and the hope of salvation.” (CCC p. 84 – 85)

I discovered a wonderful article written by Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco titled: Reading Genesis with Cardinal Ratzinger. Interpreting Scripture is not a scientific process, but an enlightening one. This article explains how to read the Story of Creation in Genesis, in light of the Catholic faith, and explains why it is important to “move beyond a literalist reading of the Genesis text.”

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Heaven or Hell

God created us, but He did not spare us from ourselves. When people give service or money, they like to be acknowledged for it. And as recipients of their gifts, we should acknowledge their generosity.

Love is reciprocal. It is never one sided. Jesus loved us enough to die for us, but His death doesn’t have the power to redeem us, if we don’t accept and claim it as our salvation.

There is no free ride to Heaven. We must choose to acknowledge and respond to the gifts presented in creation. When we do we will act according to our own free will, and develop a relationship with (or without) God that will lead us to our eternal destiny.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Power of Love

I am here because I was loved into existence by my creator. I was born because someone wanted me to be a part of the world around me. I exist to love and be loved in a world often stricken by pain and suffering, a world that seems plagued with tragedy and abuse, when in reality it is a place of understanding, compassion, and mercy.

Please don’t misunderstand me. The pain humans inflict on each other is very real, and it strikes so deeply that only true love can overcome it. Hatred, abuse, and chemical dependency take on lives of their own, often repeating their offenses for generations.

The Love of God is the only thing that can conquer such heartbreak! How else can you explain victims turning into heroes that help others overcome similar hurts? These people recognize the power of love, and they share their love with others because they’ve come to know how sacred life is. They loathe the pain and destruction that impacts the world, and they do whatever it takes to respond to the gift of life.

My mission is to share my life with others so that they might see Christ in me. I don’t always do that very well, but that should never stop me from trying. And yes, I am looking forward to eternity. I have great hope in the promise of life without sin, where good has conquered evil once and for all.

I don’t like the wounds I’ve had to bear in this life. Honestly, I don’t think I could have done it without God’s unfailing love. I needed Him, even when I wanted no part of Him. He knew it, and never left my side. This life on earth is a journey, a short period of time where we experience many things.

For all of the trials I have faced and overcome, I know one thing, love was stronger, and when the time comes, I hope to spend my days in eternity where love is all there is.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What Are Your Thoughts About Creation?

Now that we understand a little bit more about the Trinity, it is time to consider creation. What does it mean to be a creature made by God? Why were you born? What will happen to you when you die? Is life truly sacred?

Before we begin studying what the Catholic Catechism teaches about this, I’d like you to think about how you feel about it. Who are you, and why are you here? What is your mission? Do you even have a mission? Are you looking forward to eternity? Why or why not?

Please share your thoughts with others in the comment section, and let’s have a healthy discussion about our presence here on earth, as well as our future when we die. Thank you in advance for your participation in this discussion.