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St. Michael
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do you, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into Hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen. Advertise Now

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REFLECTIONS

"Jesus' Baptism"

Why did Jesus, the sinless one sent from the Father in heaven, submit himself to John's baptism? John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3). In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of the "baptism" of Jesus bloody death upon the cross. Jesus' baptism is the acceptance and the beginning of his mission as God's suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-15; 53:1-12). He allowed himself to be numbered among sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father's will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust and submission to God? Read More »

The Creation, Nature and Fall of Man

Nature and Origin of the Human Race

We are creatures made up of spirit and matter, body and soul. Our spirit is the immaterial soul, which our senses cannot feel. But our faith tells us it is there. So by way of our soul, we have some share in the nature of the angels.

We can see that we have a spiritual soul in this way. Each of us has a concept or idea of dog in general. Our mental dog is not high or low, long or short, sharp-nosed or pug-nosed. If we hired the very best artist, offered him any sum and his choice of mediums: oil paints, carving, casting etc. , to make an image of our dog, we would get nothing. For no material can hold this concept.
So that in us which holds it is not material, but spiritual. This is all the more obvious in our concepts of goodness, truth, justice etc.

Our soul can exist apart from the body. It will never die, because being spiritual, it has no parts, and so cannot come apart. It will live forever in happiness beyond what we can imagine, or in the reverse, eternal damnation. The Book of Wisdom 3:1-4 says: "The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment will touch them. They seemed to die, to the eyes of foolish people, and their departure was considered evil . . . but they are in peace. Their hope is full of immortality."

Each human soul is directly created by God Himself, it is not produced by or derived from the

parents. The parents produce only the human body, and do even that, only with the help of God's power. The uniting of the soul with the body is called infusion. Modern biology knows that at the moment of conception, when the 23 chromosomes from each parent join, the complete genetic pattern of a unique being is already present. So abortion is gravely sinful.

Many today think that the human body evolved from lower beings. If they say that this happened without any help from God, it is atheistic evolution. Not only theology rejects that foolish idea, even mere reason rejects it: it supposes that matter could lift itself up and up higher by its shoelaces, as it were, with no outside source for the higher leves of complexity.

Pope Pius XII in Humani generis in 1950 told us we may consider as a possible--not as something proved--that God established some natural laws that would bring about this evolution from lower to higher. Even so, the whole process would depend on God's creative power. This is true especially of the human soul, which, being spiritual, cannot have evolved. We would call this theistic evolution, that is evolution involving the power of God at so many points.

The scientific evidence for bodily evolution is almost non-existent. "Research News" in Science, November 21, 1980, reported that the majority of 160 scientists at a conference at the Field Museum in Chicago said Darwin was wrong in supposing there had been many intermediate forms between species, e.g., between fish and birds. The fossils do not give one clear case of that. So the scientists decided on, "Punctuated equilibria", the theory that a species might stay the same for millions of years, and then suddenly by a fluke leap up into something higher. No solid proof was reported as offered at the meeting.

Pius XII also noted that Catholics must believe, as a consequence of the doctrine of original sin, that all men have descended from the same two first parents. Science News, August 13, 1983, reported that Allan Wilson, of the University of California, Berkeley, said his study of specimens of mitochrondrial DNA from all over the world, showed all existing humans come from one mother, who lived 350,000 years ago. More recent studies by many scientists agree that there was only one mother, but lower the age to 200,000 years (cf. Newsweek, January 11, 1988).

Original sin

God had given to Adam and Eve, our first parents, three levels of gifts: 1) basic humanity, consisting of a body and soul, with mind and will. Each has within it certain natural drives and needs. No one of these is evil in itself, but without the help of some added gift to coordinate them, they tend to get out of order, to rebel. 2) God gave to our first parents an added gift, which is just such a coordinating gift, which made it easy to keep each drive in its place. (It is sometimes called the gift of integrity). When Adam and Eve sinned, the lower flesh began to get out of line, to rebel. Hence Adam felt the need of cover; before the fall, he did not feel that, for the flesh was easily docile. God gave them also exemption from physical death, which otherwise would be natural to a being composed of parts, body and soul, which can come apart, and so die.

3) He gave them the life of grace, a share in His own life, which made the soul basically capable of the vision of God in the life to come.

God clearly intended they should pass on all thee gifts to their children, including us. Through the narrative of the forbidden fruit, however, the Sacred author tells us that God gave our first parents some kind of command, whether it was about a tree or something else. Whatever it was, they violated His orders, and fell from His favor, losing sanctifying grace and the coordinating gift. Hence they transmitted to us only that basic humanity, without the other gifts.

Except for Jesus and Mary, all the descendents of Adam and Eve were conceived without sanctifying grace. Without that grace, the soul is not capable of the vision of God in heaven.

Each new baby arrives without the grace God willed it should have. An adult who sins mortally also lacks that grace: hence both can be said to be in the "state of sin", they lack the grace they should have, except that the adult is that way by his own fault, the baby without any fault. John Paul II explained, in a General Audience of October 1, 1986: "... it is evident that original sin in Adam's descendants has not the character of personal guilt. It is the privation of sanctifying grace... ." Privation means the lack of what ought to be there. So when we speak of transmission of original sin, it would be more accurate to speak of non-transmission of sanctifying grace.

Original sin also resulted in a darkening of the mind and weakening of the will, in comparison to what it might have been. Hence John Paul II also said in a General Audience of October 8, 1986: "According to the Church's teaching it is a case of a relative and not an absolute deterioration, not intrinsic to the human faculties . . . not of a loss of their essential capacities even in relation to the knowledge and love of God." In other words, original sin took our race down only to the essential level, the first level we described. It did not make it positively corrupt, surely not totally corrupt as Martin Luther thought.

Right after the fall, God promised to send a Redeemer. God said to the serpent in Genesis 3:15: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, between her descendants and yours. He will strike at your head, you will strike at his heel." The Church, as did the Jews, inteprets this as a prophecy of the Messiah.

-Taken from The Basic Catholic Catechism
PART TWO: The Apostle's Creed
First Article of the Creed: "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth."

©Copyright 1990 by William G. Most

 

TYPE KEYWORDS OF THE MONTH
ROSARY FATIMA JUDE

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LIVES OF THE SAINTS

MAY 1
ST. JOSEPH THE WORKER

This is St. Joseph's second feast day on the Church calendar of celebrations. We honor him also on March 19. St. Joseph is a very important saint. Read More »

MAY 2
ST. ATHANASIUS

St. Athanasius was born around 297 in Alexandria, Egypt. He devoted his life to proving that Jesus is truly.. Read More »

MAY 3
ST. PHILIP AND ST. JAMES

Both of these saints were part of the original group of Jesus'.. Read More »

MAY 4
BLESSED MARIE-LEONIE PARADIS

Blessed Marie-Elodie Paradis was born in the village of L'Acadie in Quebec, Canada. It was May 12, 1840. Read More »

MAY 5
ST. JUDITH OF PRUSSIA

St. Judith lived in the thirteenth century. She was born in Thuringia. This was in what is now central Germany. She wanted to model her life on the example of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Read More »

MAY 6
BLESSED FRANCOIS DE MONTMORENCY LAVAL

Blessed Francois was the first bishop of Quebec City, Canada. He was born in 1623 in a small town.. Read More »

MAY 7
BLESSED ROSE VENERINI

Blessed Rose was born in Viterbo, Italy, in 1656. Her father was a physician. Rose entered the convent but returned home after a few months. Read More »

MAY 8
BLESSED CATHERINE OF ST. AUGUSTINE

St. Catherine was born on May 3, 1632, in a little village in France. She was baptized the same day. Read More »

MAY 9
BLESSED NICHOLAS ALBERGATI

Blessed Nicholas was born in Bologna, Italy. Nicholas' family could afford to send him to the university where he began to study law. Read More »

MAY 10
ST. ANTONINUS

St. Antoninus lived in the fifteenth century. Even as a boy he showed that he had good sense and will power. Read More »

MAY 11
ST. IGNATIUS OF LACONI

St. Ignatius was the son of a poor farmer in Laconi, Italy. He was born on December 17, 1701. Read More »

MAY 12
ST. NEREUS, ST. ACHILLEUS AND ST. PANCRAS

Sts. Nereus and Achilleus were Roman soldiers who died around 304. They were probably Praetorian guards under Emperor Trajan. We know little else about them. Read More »

MAY 13
ST. ANDREW FOURNET

St. Andrew Fournet was born on December 6, 1752. He was from Maille, a little town near Poitiers, in France. Andrew's parents were.. Read More »

MAY 14
ST. MATTHIAS

St. Matthias was one of Our Lord's seventy-two disciples. Read More »

MAY 15
ST. ISIDORE THE FARMER

Saint Isidore was born in 1070, in Madrid, Spain. His parents were deeply religious. They named their son after the great St. Isidore, archbishop of.. Read More »

MAY 16
ST. UBALD

St. Ubald lived in twelfth-century Italy. He was an orphan raised by his uncle, a bishop. Ubald was given a good education. Read More »

MAY 17
ST. PASCHAL BAYLON

St. Paschal, a Spanish saint, was born in 1540. From the time he was seven, he worked as a shepherd. He never had the opportunity to go to school. Read More »

MAY 18
ST. JOHN I

St. John I was a priest of Rome. He became pope after the death of Pope St. Hormisdas in 523. At that time, Italy's ruler, heodoric the Goth.. Read More »

MAY 19
ST. CELESTINE V

Peter di Morone was the eleventh of twelve children. He was born around 1210 in Isernia, Italy. His father died when he was small. Read More »

MAY 20
ST. BERNARDINE OF SIENA

St. Bernardine of Siena was born in 1380 in a town near Siena, Italy. He was the son of an Italian governor. Read More »

MAY 21
BLESSED EUGENE DE MAZENOD

Blessed Eugene was born in France in 1782. He became a priest in 1811. Father Eugene was sensitive to the needs of the poor and he ministered..Read More »

MAY 22
ST. RITA OF CASCIA

St. Rita was born in 1381 in a little Italian village. Her parents were older. They had begged God to send them a child. They brought Rita up well. Read More »

MAY 23
ST. JOHN BAPTIST ROSSI

St. John Baptist Rossi was born in 1698 in a village near Genoa, Italy. His family loved him. They were proud when a wealthy couple visiting their town offered to educate him. His parents knew the couple and trusted them. Read More »

MAY 24
ST. DAVID I OF SCOTLAND

St. David was born in 1080. He was the youngest son of St. Margaret, queen of Scotland, and her good husband, King Malcom. Read More »

MAY 25
VENERABLE BEDE

Venerable Bede, the English priest, was famous as a saint, a priest, a monk, a teacher and a writer of history. He was born in England in 673. Read More »

MAY 26
ST. PHILIP NERI

St. Philip Neri was born in Florence, Italy, in 1515. As a child, his nickname was "Good little Phil." He was always so jolly and friendly that everyone he met loved him. Read More »

MAY 27
ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY

St. Augustine was the abbot of St. Andrew's monastery in Rome. Pope St. Gregory the Great chose him and forty other monks for a mission.. Read More »

MAY 28
BLESSED MARGARET POLE

Blessed Margaret was born in 1471. She was the niece of two English kings, Edward IV and Richard III. Henry VII arranged her marriage to Sir Reginald Pole. Read More »

MAY 29
ST. MAXIMINIUS

St. Maximinius was a bishop who lived in the fourth century. It is believed that he was born in Poitiers, France. As a young man, he heard of a saintly bishop of Trier, in Gaul. Read More »

MAY 30
ST. JOAN OF ARC

St. Joan was born in 1412. Her hometown was Domremy, a little village in France. Jacques d'Arc, her father, was a hard working farmer. Read More »

MAY 31
THE VISITATION OF MARY

Visitation means "visit." The Archangel Gabriel told the Blessed Virgin Mary that her cousin Elizabeth was going to have a baby. Read More »

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