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A Leaven In The World . . . The Infinite And Divine Gift Of Grace

December 22, 2013 Our Catholic Faith Comments Off

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Dear single Mom, You wrote to me, sadly, informing me that you had decided to withdraw your daughter from Confirmation faith formation classes as you had reached a conclusion that she is not “prepared” to receive Confirmation this year. You are right. But here is why I am recommending that we go forward with it anyway. No one can ever adequately prepare for the infinite and divine gift of grace because we are all human. Human beings merit nothing except in Christ who has alone “merited” it for us by reason of His sacred humanity and divinity through His Passion, death, and Resurrection. Grace is never given because it is deserved but because of the…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

December 21, 2013 Our Catholic Faith Comments Off

“That’s Why There’s a Christmas Day”: There is a popular song at this time of year that is based on the letters in the word “Christmas.” Here are some thoughts on the lines in this song to meditate upon during this holy season. C is for the Christ Child, born on Christmas day: The importance of this Child is indicated by the word “Christ,” which is a Greek translation (Christos) of the Hebrew word Messiah, a title meaning “anointed one.” Throughout the Bible the anointing of a person with oil signified that the person was dedicated to God. A well-known example would be Samuel’s anointing of the youthful David to be the future king of Israel, “and from that day…Continue Reading

The Journey Of The Magi

December 20, 2013 Our Catholic Faith Comments Off

By JUDE P. DOUGHERTY The narrator toward the end of T.S. Eliot’s Journey of the Magi reflects, “Were we led all that way for Birth or Death. There was Birth certainly. We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death, but thought they were different.” The birth, of course, was that of Christ, and the introduction of a new order. The death was that of the pagan way of life. This is conveyed in the closing lines of the poem when the narrator continues, “We returned to our places, these kingdoms. But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation with an alien people clutching their gods.” (1) This reference to the Birth of Christ is…Continue Reading

Some Speculations About The First Christmas

December 19, 2013 Our Catholic Faith Comments Off

By JOHN YOUNG Matthew and Luke tell us all we need to know about the coming of Christ into the world, but it is fascinating to speculate about things left unsaid — and a vast amount is omitted from their accounts. It is similar regarding our Savior’s life as a whole: St. John emphasizes this with his hyperbolical statement that the world couldn’t contain all the books that would be needed to record all the facts. We don’t know exactly when Jesus was born, but it is certain that the traditional date is too late. Herod died in 4 BC, so that is the latest possible date; 6 BC is probably about right. The crucifixion was most probably in the…Continue Reading

All Ye Crawling Things, Praise The Lord!

December 18, 2013 Our Catholic Faith Comments Off

By FR. MICHAEL P. ORSI It was late in August 1982 when I received a call from the diocesan superintendent of schools. Msgr. James Tracey told me that Bishop George Guilfoyle wanted me to teach at Wildwood Catholic High School. In prior years I dodged similar requests by the bishop, pleading love for parish work. But, this time it was different. I had lived for almost a year with a very difficult pastor. I was so disillusioned and spiritually drained by the experience that this latest invitation came like a reprieve from hell. I readily accepted the offer to become part of the Camden Diocese’s teaching apostolate. I arrived in Lower Cape May County on Labor Day Weekend. School was…Continue Reading

What Can We Truly Give To God?

December 17, 2013 Our Catholic Faith Comments Off

By CAROLE BRESLIN Gifts, gifts, and more gifts — that is the essence of the secular “Holiday” season. Christmas gifts — now that is an entirely different story. All things in our lives should be considered from a Catholic perspective. What is the ultimate gift that God has given to us? What is the only gift that we can give to God? What is a gift? What is it that makes a gift worthwhile? Even when it is past the time of giving gifts for Christmas Day, it is not past the time for considering the gifts we may yet give on a continuing basis. A gift involves an “alienation or giving up of the first owner’s right, and acceptance…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . Tweeting The Advent Gospel

December 15, 2013 Our Catholic Faith Comments Off

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK (Editor’s Note: When space permits, Fr. Cusick will conclude his column with a Catechism reflection to go with the Sunday readings.) +    +    + Our sound-bite society may have found an almost perfect marriage with Twitter. Getting your message out in 140 characters or less, though, is nothing new. Some of our Lord’s most effective communication anticipated the need to get the attention of others quickly and effectively when there is much competition for their hearts and minds. And Pope Francis frequently uses Twitter! Among these urgent messages is the admonition to “stay awake,” to remain alert for the coming of the Lord. The First Sunday of Advent presents us with the alarming image of…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

December 14, 2013 Our Catholic Faith Comments Off

Editor’s Note: Regarding a question about the suffering of animals, D.O. of West Virginia sent along the following comments: “Years ago I read a book by Lewis Thomas, MD, in which he commented about injured animals who commonly go into seclusion and calmly die. He suggested that studies be done to determine whether they are naturally able to produce sufficient endorphins to eliminate pain. I asked a local veterinarian about his experience with suffering animals, and he said it was a very strange thing because felines brought to him with the most severe injuries often do not indicate evidence of pain, but frequently are purring, which they normally do only when happy and contented. He said the only exception seems to…Continue Reading

Is Mary The Mother Of God… Or Only The Mother Of Jesus?

December 13, 2013 Our Catholic Faith Comments Off

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 Responding to a common misconception among separated brethren and ill-informed Catholics: What did the Early Christians believe about the Catholic doctrine on the divine Motherhood? Those men, women, and children who sacrificed everything for the true faith in Jesus — even their very own lives? They were imprisoned, tortured, murdered. Some were burned alive, racked, beheaded. Others were crucified, flayed alive, and eaten by wild beasts. And they preferred to die rather than to deny Jesus Christ and their belonging to His Church. Let us see three examples, taken exclusively from those heroes who lived before the Bible was put together as we know it in AD 397: St. Ephrem, who died in…Continue Reading

Interpretation Of Sacred Scripture And Tradition

December 12, 2013 Our Catholic Faith Comments Off

By DON FIER Last week, we spoke of the two means by which God, in His infinite wisdom, has chosen to make known to mankind the saving message contained in His supernatural divine Revelation, namely, through Sacred Scripture (the written word) and Sacred Tradition (the spoken word). Taken together, they comprise the depositum fidei, or the Catholic “Deposit of Faith.” As expressed in the Compendium of the Catechism: “Tradition and Sacred Scripture are bound closely together and communicate one with the other. Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ. They flow out of the same divine wellspring and together make up one sacred Deposit of Faith from which the Church derives her certainty…Continue Reading