by Patrick Miron
“The Catholic Creeds”
The Apostles Creed, which we use in beginning to say the Rosary, is believed to have been written by the Apostles directly under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord :
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
He descended into hell. (not the hell of damnation)
The third day He arose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from there He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit;
the Holy Catholic Church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.
The Nicene Creed Used In The Holy mass
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.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he was born of the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.
Understanding Our Roman Catholic Creeds…
Profession and expression of our faith
No single government, and no other faith comes close to the 2000 years of continuous existence and service to which Roman Catholic faith lays provable claim. The Roman Catholic Church has been under constant attack, both from within, and outside her ranks. From the Apostle Judas to today’s pernicious “New Age, New church” advocates, the battle for our souls rages on.
We have the best guarantee possible in the promise of Jesus Christ Himself that Satan won’t win. But the promise does not limit the number of souls that have and will be lost, and does not assure continuance of the Catholic Church in America.
Our Roman Catholic Creeds, or credos, as they are termed in Latin have their origin according to Catholic Tradition, with the Apostles who are thought to have composed the original version after the first Pentecost, and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
To know, understand and live our Creeds is the essential and the best foundation to knowing and living the Catholic faith.
The two common Latin Creeds are called the “Apostles Creed,” and the “Nicene Creed.” (Articulated, defined and Decreed by the Church Council at Nicia in the year 381 AD.) Credo or Creed’s are a summary of the principle articles of faith professed by a church or community of believers, and a distinctive, identifying mark and sign of a group of believers.
The biblical reference to the mandate is found in Mt: 28: 19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you”.
Our Creed’s articulate a profession of our faith that is both an object lesson in loyalty and a means of strengthening our bonds of unity in a common faith.
For our purposes, we will use what is believed to be the original, and oldest creed, The Apostles Creed.
“We believe in God, The Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth”
This first expression of our faith acknowledges the Existence and Nature of Almighty God. When we speak of God’s abilities or qualities, we use the term ”attributes.” God’s attributes are complete both in the sense that God possesses all (every) good attribute and God posses these attributes fully, completely and without limit. God is “infinite” (meaning unlimited) while we are “finite” (meaning limited.)
“God is unchangeable and eternal ”
By which we mean that God always possess the fullness of His attributes, even when He chooses to share His gifts with us, His children.
“But he is unchangeable and who can turn him? Job: 23: 13 “ “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Rev: 1: 8
“God is omnipotent”
Which means literally all-powerful, and nothing is impossible for Him. Nothing! “ For with God nothing can or will be impossible.” c.f. Lk: 1:37
“God is omniscient”
Which means that He knows all things, including everything that has not yet taken place or form. God knows everything that is done, has been done and that will be done.
“Speak boastfully no longer, nor let arrogance issue from your mouths. For an all-knowing God is the Lord.” 1 Sam: 2: 1-2
“ God is omnipresent”
Which means that everything is in the presence of God’s mind.
“Ever present in your midst, I will be your God, and you will be my people.” Lev: 26: 12
“God is all just
By which we acknowledge that not only will God be just at all times, in all matters, but also that God must be, can be nothing but all just. It is good for us to keep uppermost in our minds that final judgment will be made on our lives and works by this very same God. He will reward those who do good and punish those who do evil.
“He will not fail or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coast lands wait for his law.” Isaiah: 42: 4
“ God is all knowing”
By which we mean that not only does God know everything, He understands everything and is all-wise. “ All things have been delivered to me by my Father”. Mt: 11: 27
“God is all good.”
God is both only, and all goodness. He desires only what is good, is the source for all good, and cannot do evil, which is against His very nature. God permits evil and calamity to accomplish His often mysterious will and His permissive will draws a greater good from everything that happens. It has been noted that sin and trials make easier mankind’s recognition and appreciation of God’s grace and goodness. Many of us have come back to God though personal trials. God is love, in all of love’s manifestations.
“ All good giving and every perfect gift is from above.” Jas: 1: 17
We profess only God as “Creator; that is one who makes something out of nothing, which only God can do. As the only Creator, we acknowledge that God is the origin, and the true owner of all things. Even, and in particular, the works of “our hands,” which are only made possible by God’s gifts to us and of us, which is His grace. Further, we acknowledge God as the Creator of all things in nature, and the sole controller of all things natural.
Today’s youth are being taught that there are no absolutes, no right and wrong, beyond ones own personal beliefs. That the only wrong is to judge someone else’s actions or choice of life style. (Oh!, so their is an absolute!) If you doubt this, talk to your kids. If and when God ceases to exist, so do we!
The first mystery of our Catholic Faith. “I believe in God”
This mysterious, but absolutely necessary to our salvation, proclamation that not only do we believe in One God, but also God as a Trinity.
The expressed will of the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit as three separate, yet unable to be separated deities. One God, but three Divine persons. “The three divine persons are co-equal, co-eternal, and consubstantial and deserve co-equal glory and adoration.”(Catholic dictionary)
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” Mt: 28:17-19
All doctrines and dogmas are to be accepted with assent of our minds and wills. Canon Law # 753 – 754. A doctrine is defined as:
“ Any truth taught by the church as necessary for acceptance by the faithful. The truth can be either formally revealed (The Real Presence), or a theological conclusion (as the canonization of a saint), or a part of natural law (such as the sinfulness of contraception). It may be done solemnly by the Pope (officially from the chair of Saint Peter – called ex cathedra pronouncements), or by the Churches teaching authority, the Magisterium, which is made up of all bishops in communion (obedient and in agreement with the Pope.) Dogmas are those doctrines, which the Church proposes for belief as formally revealed by God. Formally defined doctrines are termed dogmas.
God’s Divine Providence:
Is another attribute that we need to understand. “God’s all-wise plan for the universe, and the carrying out of this plan by His loving rule of governance. The eternal world plan and its fulfillment in time are together called divine providence.” (Catholic dictionary)
Simply and accurately put, this means that nothing, absolutely nothing happens by mere happenstance, or by accident. Every thing, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is either ordered by God or permitted by God for His greater glory, and our greater good. Every person we encounter, every trial, every challenge, are all part of God’s plan for our possible salvation. This is all the more amazing, as the most powerful force on earth, a gift of God more often abused, than properly used, in mans Free Will. So powerful is this gift of God, that man can and does sin, which while a part of God’s plan, is not in accord to God’s desire and will for us.
Mankind has a “natural concupiscence, ” that is an inherent tendency to sin.
Thank you Adam and Eve! Not only need we thank our first parents for being here (with God’s providence of course), but we can also trace many of what we often call “our problems,” our “natural concupiscence to sin,” back to their direct disobedience to Almighty God in the Garden of Eden.
“He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Gen: 3: 1-5
The second article of faith: “We believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.”
There are many mysteries involved in this statement of belief. First is the mystery of the Incarnation, which is the birth of the “God-man,” through his human mother Mary, in union with the operation of the Holy Spirit of God.
”In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. “ Lk: 1: 26-31
Jesus Christ, is at the same time, Truly God and Truly man, possessing two perfect and complete natures. And two perfect separated wills,.
Christ was born, lived and died here on earth, where He desired to be like us in every way but sin. He is also one in being with The Father and the Holy Spirit. Christ as the second Person of the Blessed Trinity was always and remains always true God and retained His divine nature.
“He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Mt: 16: 15-16
Jesus mission was and continues to be to redeem us from our sins. He chooses the most humiliating and painful death known to the people at the time of the Roman Empire. The Jewish people, who are our ancestors.
As we are all children of the great prophet, Abraham, we too betrayed Christ, and our sins placed us at the foot of the Cross. Their guilt is our guilt. The blood on their hands is the same Holy blood that is on our hands. It wasn’t just “them,” it was, in a real sense, we who crucified Christ. Thus we are able to participate in His Redemptive Sacrifice.
Jesus Christ proved time and again, His dual natures of humanity and Divinity.
Christ humanity: It was necessary to our salvation that Christ becomes man, so that He could live, suffer and die for payment of our sins, and thus earn for us the possibility of salvation. He knew human nature but wanted to experience it.
Christ showed just anger at the usury grabbing temple money – changer’s, “ And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changer’s and overturned their tables” Jn: 2:15
Christ shed tears for us: “ And when he drew near and saw the city he wept over it, saying, “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes.” Lk: 19: 41-42
Christ felt sorrow: “Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb; it was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. I knew that thou hearest me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that thou didst send me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” Jn:11: 38-44
Jesus felt joy: “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Jn: 15: 7 “ But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.” Mk: 2: 8-11
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” Jn: 15: 9-10
“In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.” Jn: 4: 10
“ He (Jesus The Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything He might be pre-eminent. Col: 15-18
Jesus performed countless miracles not only because He loved us, and had compassion for us, but also and very importantly, that we might know that He really is both God and man.
“The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.” Jn:10: 25-28
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread, which comes down from heaven that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” The Jews then disputed among them selves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” Jn: 6: 49-56
The third article of faith we proclaim in our Creed: “Conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary.”
Mary, Mother of God, is the first, the most perfect and the most beautiful tabernacle of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
What is it we are saying, and what is it we believe about this mystery and gift from God, of Himself?
First we are saying that Mary is truly and really the Mother of the Second person of the divine Trinity, whom we recognize and identify as Jesus Christ.
“And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God” Lk: 1: 34-35
Faith is a requirement of most religions and it is Almighty God’s plan not to reveal all secrets to us, because not knowing, or being able to comprehend and understand these mysteries, makes us all the more reliant on Him our Creator, Him our Savior, Him our Comforter.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Is: 55: 8-9
Our Church Fathers, inspired by God, teach us through many wonderful resources; one of the most recent and most valuable is the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), issued in 1994 and again in 1997.
Not only is Mary the Mother of God, but she is also our mother ……
“Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 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!” Jn: 19: 25-27
And in this special grace from God to Mary, and to us, He made His mother, for all time, “mother of all mankind.”
Consider this: Almighty God entrusted His only Son to the virginal womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In human terms and in reality, Mary is the Mother of God! Should we, may we not also trust ourselves to her loving guidance and embrace? By a gift from Christ on the cross of Calvary, Mary was to adopt us as her own.
The second mystery of the Incarnation involves understanding the singular honor and requirements of this special call, of the teenage Mary, who did not fully understand yet responded with complete faith. “And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Lk: 1: 38
The catechism tells us, “”Mary is more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ.” CCC 506
Mary is chosen for this highest honor, from all women, in all ages, because of her complete faith. She therefore is our model of faith and faithfulness. Mary is the only person to accept and properly apply all of God’s offered graces.
The third mystery is a dogma of faith of the Roman Catholic Church, declared by our Supreme Pontiff, Pope Pius IX, and proclaimed in 1854, “from the chair of Peter.” It is the inspired word of God, and therefore cannot be in error. From the very moment of inception, Mary was without any trace of sin, even “original sin,” which all mankind inherits from the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve. Further, Mary’s soul remained spotless without sin throughout her entire life. This was necessary because Mary, as we indicated at this beginning of this topic, was the first and most perfect tabernacle of Jesus. God could not settle for less. Ineffabilis Deus
The forth mystery, a dogma of our faith, confesses that Mary was Virgin prior to being impregnated by the Holy Spirit, gave birth to Jesus and remained a Virgin even after the birth of the Son of God. Again we ask why, and are told that these gifts are “appropriate to her role as Mother of God. CCC 490, CCC 500 “The Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the “Ever-virgin”, before, during and after birth. CCC 499 Ineffabilis Deus
Why do Catholics pray to Mary and other saints?
1Thess: 5:7 admonishes us to “pray constantly.”
The practice of praying to Mary and other saints is an affirmed tradition that has been approved by our Church Fathers. Its very roots can be traced to the Old Testament, to Jesus Himself and to the Apostles.
“Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God” (CCC 2590)
Our understanding of why this practice is not only tolerated, but greatly encouraged, is aided by the understanding that properly understood and practiced, Catholics, pray “through,” more than pray ”too” Mary and the Saints.
What is our Church saying? The “bottom line” is that while our prayers are directed to Mary and the Saints who by the good example of that part of their lives that were holy, worthy of emulation and lasting reward, the prayers we say are but petitions to God through them. (In Mary’s case, it is her entire life.) They are called “intercessory prayers.”
Two examples will help make the point clearer.
Praying the Rosary is a long established Catholic Tradition. The Rosary begins with the very “Apostles Creed” we are speaking about. Then proceeds to “The Lords Prayer,” the “Our Father,” and three “Hail Mary’s,” and then our common prayer to the Blessed Trinity, that we call the “Glory be.” This is a prayer of glory, praise and thanks to each person of the Trinity. Each “decade” of the rosary begins with recalling a significant event in the Life of Christ, Joyous, Sorrowful, Glorious, and the most recent Luminous Mysteries, and then proceeds with an “Our Father, followed by ten “Hail Mary’s and ends with a “Glory-be.” Each is directed to God through our mother’s intercession.
The second example reviews briefly the words and meaning of the “Hail Mary prayer’” for those unfamiliar with it or who have not given its words careful thought. “Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with thee,” are the words of the angel Gabrielle’s greeting to her. ” Hallowed be thy name. Blessed art thou among women and blessed be the fruit of your womb, Jesus,” facts that are the honor due the sinless Mother of God, and the words expressed by her cousin Elizabeth when she went to visit her before Jesus was born. We then ask our mother Mary to intercede with her son, our Savior, Jesus on our behalf, by praying: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen!” (Which means, I believe!). We are praying through, more than to Mary. Our prayer request is similar when we are praying to (through) Saints.
Are these particular prayers, strictly required for our salvation? No! But praying in general is. If not absolutely necessary, then why do we pray them?
There are three very good reasons. 1. Our efforts are duplicated and doubled by our mother Mary and the saints to whom we direct our prayers. 2. Their lives and sacrifices have earned them a place in heaven where they can, and do see God, face to face, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face” 1 Cor: 13: 12, they have justly earned a greater access to God, which they utilize on our behalf. 3. We sometimes, with cause fear the Lord, or feel unworthy and inadequate to speak to The Almighty directly. Because prayer is essential to our salvation, and our salvation is God’s desire for each of us, our Churches teaching authority, the Magisterium, strongly recommends these and other prayers and pious acts.
“By keeping the memorials of the saints – first of all the holy Mother of God, then the apostles, the martyrs, and other saints – on fixed days of the liturgical year, the Church on earth shows that she is united with the liturgy of heaven.” (CCC 1195)
“Conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit”
Affirms and confirms Mary as Mother of God! It was this Godly impregnation that makes Mary so unique and the Mother of God! Her perpetual virginity is yet another special gift to Mary from a All Powerful God, who kept Mary completely sinless throughout her entire life, not by influencing Mary’s “free-will,” but rather by providing super abundant Graces, which Mary accepted and fully applied to her life.
Our Creeds fourth Article of Faith is: “Jesus Christ suffered Under Pontius Pilate, was crucified and was buried.” A historically provable fact.
Here again are several questions and points of consideration. Oddly, the logical place to begin to understand these mysteries is to begin at “the end.”
The last words of Jesus on the Cross of Salvation were: “It is finished.”
Jn: 19: 30 What was finished we ask? The payment for the price of admission to Eternal Life with God for ALL eternity. The “tickets” have been brought with a great price, ”you were bought with a price.” cf. 1Cor: 6: 20, but they are attainable to us only if we too “pay the price of admission” through informed obedience to God’s and Church laws, works of mercy, and, as best we are able, love each other as He loves us.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Jn: 15:12
Salvation history begins with the birth of Jesus the Christ (which means, “Savior”), proceeds to a life of teaching by example, miracles of faith to establish faith, and ended with the greatest possible manifestation of love that was possible, even for The God-man. Death, death on the cross, made necessary by our sinful lives.
“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1.Cor: 1:18
“Can you imagine what a crucifixion is?
“And you, who were dead in sin, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our sins, having canceled the bond which stood against us with its just demands of retribution; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” cf. Col:.2:13-14
The Salvation story is often told, and is known to all of the world’s “great religions,” Christians and heathens alike. It need not be recounted here. What is amazing, is that the providence and will of God does not demand that everyone accept its reality and truth.
That the offer of salvation, while open to all, is not equally available to all is evident,”
Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him” Ps: 85:9, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, kept in heaven for you” (Peter 1:3-4).
“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all.” 1 Tim: .2:5-6
“Whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” Jas: 5:20
Why was Christ feared, hated and put to death by the Religious Leaders of the time?
First: They choose not to accept God’s grace and comprehend that Jesus was the long awaited Christ; the very Savior foretold in their parchment scrolls. “O thou hope of Israel, its savior in time of trouble, why should thou be like a stranger in the land, like a wayfarer who turns aside to tarry for a night” Jer: 14: 8
Second: Jesus ate with sinners, spoke and forgave prostitutes, healed the poor and lame, claimed to have the power to forgive sins and even gave them a demonstration that He indeed did have this power. He allowed his followers to “work” on the Sabbath; worked countless miracles, many of them too on the Sabbath, and was exceedingly successful in starting a religious revolt against Jesus was a threat, both real and imagined. many of the unfair practices of the Scribes and Pharisees. They feared Him because He usurped their power. Full of greed, full of fear, full of pride, they could not be full of grace. Unrepentant sinners, they were unable to recognize Goodness and God, in the presence of what they perceived only as greatness.
Paralyzed by a fear that they “had to” kill, they hung their fear on the Cross of Calvary. “I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” Jn:10:17-18
Over time they had transformed Yahweh God’s Ten Commandments into over three hundred unbending, must abide rules; their oppression was worse than that of the Roman conquerors. They could not see that the Age of Law, had to give way to the Age of Grace. That Salvation was at hand, and Faith, Hope and Love were the way to earn it.
What happened to the soul of Jesus when He died?
“When Jesus died, His body and soul were separated from each other, as it will be with us (Only for the time that He remained in the tomb” CCC 624). But His soul was never separated from His Divine Nature.
Christ wished to be buried in order to prove that He had really died. “And when he (Joseph the priest) learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. And he bought a linen shroud, And taking him (Jesus) down (from the cross), wrapped him in the linen shroud, and laid him in a tomb, which had been hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. ” Mk: 15:45-46
The Fifth Article of our faith: “He descended into hell, the third day He arose again from the dead.”
Whether we term it “hell,” or “Sheol” in Hebrew, or “Hades” in Greek, we speak of a place of eternal Damnation. We should do so with the greatest fear and trepidation. Hell may or may not be a pool of fire. It certainly is the location of deep and everlasting depression. A place void of hope, filled with constant unrelenting despair. The full knowledge that God’s presence is forever lost, that one is forever separated From all love, that no chance for forgiveness exist, and complete isolation from every good, from every Happiness, and a permanent tormented mind and soul, are the just rewards of those who earn it. God does not send souls to hell, we send ourselves!
Why did Christ visit hell? (small “h”.)
“Christ went down into the depths of death (Limbo) so that “the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” Jesus did not actually visit “the Hell” we know about, but rather the “hell” small “h” that was the place where all the good went and stayed, awaiting the opening of the “Gates of Heaven.” Catholic term, this place as “Limbo.” A place of waiting, an in-between Heaven and Hell place of no suffering but also of incomplete joy and happiness.
Prior to the act of Salvation, the death of Christ on the cross, access to heaven was denied to souls who had passed into eternal life worthy of access to heaven. They were “In the Limbo of the fathers”. A place of rest and peace, but lacking the beatific vision (being in the actual presence of God), and therefore lacking that total and complete happiness which can only be had in God’s presence.
The sixth Article of our faith: “He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.”
The Creed imposes a dual trinity of belief. Our God is Triune in nature, with three equal, but unable to be separated persons; Father, Son and Holy Spirit; and The Son was born, did die, and is risen as was foretold. Amen!
Obedient to His Fathers will, Jesus lays down His life for us.
“For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father.” Jn:10:17-18
Jesus The Christ: Mission accomplished!
“After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said, “I thirst.” A bowl full of wine vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the wine vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”(Died) Jn:19:28-30
“As they (the Apostles) were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts: 1:9-11
Why? “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself.” Jn:12:32
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father” Jn:1: 14
The seventh Article of faith is: “From there he will come to judge the living and the dead”
“I the Lord speak the truth, I declare what is right.” Isa: 45:19 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father, but by me.” Jn: 14: 6
“Vengeance is mine, I will repay. “The Lord will judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Heb:10: 30-31
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own liking, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”1 Timothy 4: 1-5
God’s specific plan for our individual salvation varies.
The Catholic Church is not the only means to heaven, it is however the specific means chosen by God for our salvation, and it is, when faithfully followed the surest way to get there. Indeed all salvation is channeled through her. God gave the Church, His bride His Mother as guide. Christ gave us a Pope to lead us, a teaching authority, the Magisterium, which consist of all bishops who are in union with him, to instruct us, and two simple commands:
Love God and love your neighbor as you love yourself.
We regularly underestimate how much God wishes to do for us, and will do for us if we ask with humility; “Father if it is your will…” and when our pleas conform to His plan for our greater good.
Grace, which is a free gift from God, is the means of leading us in faith, hope and love, and is needed for salvation. The single greatest source of grace is the Holy Eucharist, and why not? It is The Christ!
a free unmerited gift from God, helps us to be happy in this world and the next, has several forms:
Temporary supernatural intervention by God to enlighten the mind or strengthen the will.
The actual grace to which free consent is given by the will so that graces produce their divinely intended purpose.
A supernatural gift that makes one pleasing to God.
The grace by which one is restored to God’s friendship, through baptism and penance.
The grace conferred by the valid and fruitful reception of the seven sacraments. The single greatest source of grace available to us is in receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, Holy Communion.
Participation in divine life received from God.
Are special graces infused into ones soul so as to be habitual (they help form a proper conscience) and aid in Supernatural direction and inclination for Justification and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. These graces stem from the Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of The Lord, and from the three Moral virtues: Justice, Temperance and Fortitude, and the three Theological virtues: Faith, Hope and Charity.
The Final Judgments.
The Particular Judgment “
Like a thief in the night” Christ will come. We will face immediate judgment the very moment we die. Accounting will have to be given for fulfilling God’s plan for us. We will be judged for what we could have done and what we should have done. Did we practice selfless Charity; did we love God most or love others (yes even our family are to take second place) and ourselves more? Were we Obedient to His Commandants and the Corporal and Spiritual works of mercy and did we live our faith, which always requires sacrifice? Heaven and Hell are real! Where we spend eternity, is up to us. God always provides and offers sufficient graces. It is our decision to accept or reject them.
The General Judgment:
The same Christ will come in all His Glory and final judgment will be made on mankind from all ages, and our bodies will be reunited with our soul. “ Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; their men will weep and gnash their teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.” Mt: .22: 13-14
In our profession of faith, when we proclaim belief in the “living and the dead,” we acknowledge the General Judgment, where mankind from all ages will be separated and found justified to be and remain in God’s presence for all time, or in justice be condemned to the depths of hell for eternity. There is always a price to pay. Play now and pay latter, or sacrifice and pray now to attain the peace and joy that can only be had in the presence of the Almighty.
The eighth article of our faith: “I believe In the Holy Spirit”
As we have already discussed the Trinity we shall limit our discussion of this truth to biblical evidence and the purpose of the Spirit of God in our midst.
“John baptized with water, you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Acts: 1: 5 “ You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses to the end of the earth” Tells us that we are called to know, live and share our faith and are offered sufficient graces to accomplish the task. When we are in the state of grace, there is an indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
“Know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Cor: 6: 19-20
Clearly and directly we are told that all sins against the body; abortion, birth control, masturbation, adultery, are all serious sins against God, for our bodies are not ours, but His, and judgment will be made on how we use all of the gifts God loans us, our very bodies included.
Jesus and the Father are one, so too are Jesus and The Holy Spirit. “Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” Jn: 20: 20-23
Jesus here instituted the Sacrament of Reconcillation. This is an exclusive Sacrament of the Catholic (Universal) Church. Take advantage of it.
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” 1Cor: 12: 4-7
This sums up the purpose of The Holy Spirit, guide, provider, protector and comforter.
God Triune desires that we get to heaven and that we lead other to heaven; the Holy Spirit is the manifestation of God, sent to lead us there.
The ninth article of the Roman Catholic faith is: “The Holy Catholic Church, and the Communion of Saints.”
The Communion of Saints acknowledges the eternal union with God in heaven of all those who by the manner and the degree that they knew, loved, served and obeyed God; endured the suffering and trials of earth, and triumphed over evil, have become the “Church Triumphant”, the saints of heaven.
“The Holy Catholic Church” is a proclamation of many statements about our faith.
“The” signifies One, and properly so. For Christ founded only one Church, the Roman Catholic Church. Every church that calls themselves “Christian” is rooted in the only Church that Christ founded. Every church outside full communion with the Roman Catholic Church is in schism.
The term ”schism” is understood as a willful separation from the unity of the one true Church. All other sects are clearly heretical, and in serious error, for we shall see that “The Church” cannot be in error in her official pronouncements, therefore it follows naturally that all those who disagree with, or fail to abide by official doctrine and dogma’s of the One Church must be, and factually are in error as they have built their houses on the quicksand of heresy and rejection of the single truth. “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my (singular) church”. Mt: 16:18
Christ’ One TRUE Church, now has thousands of denominational branches. In 1913, only 168 different religious denominations were reported in the Catholic Encyclopedia. The 2000 edition of the World Christian Encyclopedia reports 33,820.
We Catholics, who pick and choose who and what we will obey, are no better. We are guiltier. Members of Christ only and true Church are offered graces not available outside this Mother’s embrace. Shame on us! We will be judged all the more severely.
In 1965 (The year Vatican II ended) the Catholic population in the U.S. was reported at 45,600,000, and obligatory Sunday Holy Mass attendance was approximately 70%, (31,920,000). In 2001 the official National Catholic Directory reports the number of professed Catholics in the U.S. had climbed to 63,683,030, and yet obligatory Sunday Mass attendance, is about one third of the 1965 number, at 15,921,000, which in only 25% of professed Catholics.
This clearly points out that there are many Catholics not practicing their faith, and potentially hell bound. God’s laws become and are expressed as Church Law. They remain God’s law, and our salvation depends on compliance and obedience to all of them. God does not permit us to choose only what we wish to obey!
Christ Church, properly named and understood is ‘The Mystical Body of Christ,” as she is modeled after Christ Himself, and is both a society and a community of believers. A society on a worldwide perspective, made up of a multitude of individual communities of believers that we here call parishes, which in turn consist of us, “the Church militant,” so named as we are in constant battle with the forces of evil. The Mystical Body with the Pope as its head, and the bishops who in union with the Pope, teach and lead the faithful.
Christ Church, the Roman Catholic Church continues to this day to be governed by the structure ordained by Christ. A single leader, our ordained Pontiff, who like Peter, is the undisputed head of the body, “The Vicar of Christ,” supported by all bishops who are in full communion with our Pontiff form the Magisterium, the Catholic Teaching Authority of the Roman Catholic Church. A body cannot function without a head, or a head without a body. Only in unity (communion) does the body of the church function well and properly as designed and ordained by God. Only the Catholic Church can support the claim of an unbroken 2000-year tradition of continuous rule and governance.
“Holy” The only Church founded by the Christ, Jesus, is and has to be, can only be “holy,” in that she represents Christ Himself, and because Christ founded Her, made Her His bride, and died to sanctify her. (This cannot and does not preclude the very real possibility of Her children being serious sinners. Nor, as we now painfully know, are our leaders exempt from the possibility of serious sin. Pjm) “The Church then, is the holy people of God, and her members are called ‘saints.’ (And are called to become Saints. Pjm) “ CCC 823
“Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD has said, ‘I will show myself holy among those who are near me, and before all the people I will be glorified.'” Liv. 10: 3
“Catholic” “Its original meaning of “general” or “universal” has taken on a variety of applications in the course of Christian history.
First used by St. Ingatius of Antioch, it is now mainly used in five recognized senses: (1) The Catholic Church is distinct from Christian ecclesiastical bodies that do not recognize the papal primacy; (2) the Catholic faith as the belief of the universal body of the faithful, namely that which is believed “everywhere,” always and by all; (3) Orthodoxy as distinguished from what is heretical or schismatical; (4) the undivided Church before the Eastern Schism of 1054; thereafter the Eastern Church has called itself orthodox, in contrast with those Christian bodies which did not accept the definitions of Ephesus and Chalcedon (Church Councils), on the divinity of Christ; (5) In general today the term “Catholic” refers to those Christians who profess a continued tradition of faith and worship and who hold to the Apostolic succession of bishops and priest since the time of Christ.” Catholic dictionary
“Church” There are two distinct understandings of the term “church.”
First we, the people of God are the church body. But we are not, “The Church” (As in a suitable replacement for the Real Presence of Christ, as some would have us believe.) We, the community of believers, the kingdom of God, the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church Militant make up the church.
The Church Council of Trent, 1545-1563 has defined this society with Christ as her head as, “the union of human beings who are united by a common profession of the same Christian faith, and by participation of and in the same sacraments under the direction of their lawful pastors, especially of the one representative of Christ on earth, the Bishop of Rome. Each element in this definition is meant to exclude all others from actual and vital membership in the Catholic Church. “ Catholic dictionary
Second: “A church, “a house of prayer in which the Eucharist is celebrated and reserved, where the faithful assemble (All of the faithful), and where is worshipped the presence of the Son of God our Savior, offered for us on the sacrificial altar for the help and consolation of the faithful – this house ought to be in good taste and a worthy place for prayer and sacred ceremonial.” CCC 1181
“All Salvation is through the Roman Catholic Church”
The First Vatican Council, 1867-1870 repeated, clarified and certified as Catholic doctrine and dogma several key elements to this belief of our faith that was also proclaimed in the Church Council of Ephesus 431 AD, again at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, and at the Council of Florence, 1438-1445.
A dogma is repeated usually to correct current heresies, because of a Holy Spirit inspired greater understanding, and or, because of the importance of the issue. A “doctrine” is defined as any truth taught by the Church as necessary for acceptance by the faithful.”
A “dogma” is a proposed (defined and to be accepted) truth that relates to issues of faith and morals, is revealed from God through Divine Revelation, transmitted from the Apostles or Sacred Scripture, or by tradition and proposed by the Church for acceptance by all the faithful, and also when the Church proposes in a definitive way, truths having a necessary connection to these. A dogma, is first in the hierarchy of truths to be accepted and believed.
Quoting the Vatican Council Encyclical letter of December 9, 1854, by his holiness Pope Pius IX, Singulari quadam, written to correct a current heresy that all religions are of equal value, affording equal opportunity to eternal salvation,
Pius IX wrote infallibly: “It must, of course be held as a matter of faith that outside the apostolic Roman Church no one can be saved, that the Church is the only ark of salvation, and whoever does not enter will perish in the flood. On the other hand it must likewise be held as certain that those affected by ignorance of the true religion, if it is not invincible ignorance (our fault – if we have accepted every opportunity and grace to know or learn the truth), are not subject to any guilt in this matter before the eyes of the Lord.” No.1647
It then goes on to say: “ Let us tenaciously cling to the Catholic doctrine that there is (but) one God, one faith, one baptism,” referencing Eph: 4: 4 – 6 “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.”
Let us be clear on what is being infallibly said. PJM
We are saying that all, each and every soul that is saved is somehow mysteriously connected, although perhaps not directly, to the only Church founded by Jesus Christ. There are many who lead lives that are faithful and faith-filled despite their limited understanding of the one true Church as the sole avenue of salvation. Two who come to mind are Dr. Billy Graham and Dr. James Dobson of Focus On The Family.
“Jesus declared, “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding. Yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will. No one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” cf Mt: 11: 25 – 28
Why in His providence, God enlightens some and withholds understanding from others is, and shall continue to be a great mystery of our faith.
Many saved souls have never, through their own fault, been exposed to the concept and reality of Christ and Christianity, and yet God’s Providential Will provides salvation, if they too have lived to the best of their ability, God’s rule of charity and love, which is laid on the hearts, and souls of all mankind. Christ is the only means of salvation, and Divine Will, connects His Church to anyone and everyone.
We need be clear that those born into the Catholic Church, raised in the Church, or given the opportunity to know or to learn the truth, will be severely judged if they leave, deny, fail to accept in total and in truth, the wisdom, doctrine, dogma’s and teachings that infallibly bind all of His children. Good and bad, informed, misinformed, obedient and disobedient are all expected to know, to live and to share the faith, and are offered the necessary graces to do so. To be clear, opportunity to know is fully equal to actual knowledge of the truth! Laziness, difficulty, hardship, following the crowd, earns their own just reward, eternal damnation!
One’s Christian Faith cannot be fully and correctly practiced except through the Church that Christ founded.
The tenth expression of our Catholic belief is, The forgiveness of sins.
It is sheer stupidity to deny that you and I are sinners. It is a simple denial of truth, a lie. What may be true is that we do not have a full and clear understanding of what sin is, of the various natures of sin, or the damnable consequences of our sinful actions.
All sin lessens God’s flow of love and grace to us by degree, depending on the seriousness of the offence. There are two categories of sin. Sins of lesser harm are termed “venial sins.” They need not be, but should be confessed, as the humiliation is good for our souls and a source of additional grace. Venial sins are forgiven when we ask God with firm intention to avoid them in the future and by proper participation of Holy Mass and reception of the Body and Blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ, in the sacrament of Holy Communion, and or by a proper confession. The other category, “mortal sins,” are so serious that they permanently (until we repent, Confess and receive absolution) separate us from God’s grace, and condemn us to hell, should we die before we are able to properly repent and confess them. “Mortal sin destroys sanctifying grace and causes the supernatural death of the soul.” Catholic dictionary.
Mortal sin requires serious matter, full knowledge and understanding, clear and deliberate intent, and full consent of the will. Opportunity and ability to know and to understand is the same as actual knowledge. Sin is an act of the will that does not require fulfillment in order for serious sin to exist, knowledge and desire are sufficient. A proper sacramental confession that includes a complete telling of all our mortal sins, true contrition, a firm purpose of amendment, agreement to avoid the temptation when possible, and to, with God’s special help, not sin in the same manner again, sealed with absolution and penance are the essential requirements for forgiveness and being reunited to God’s grace, and full communion with His Church.
Christ Himself instituted the sacrament of Penance, and requires confession of all serious (Mortal) sins to a duly ordained priest confessor, to be reunited with Him and his bride, our Church.
“It is through the sacrament of Penance that the baptized can be reconciled with God and with the Church: The sacrament of Penance is necessary for salvation for those who have fallen after Baptism, just as Baptism is necessary for salvation for those who have not yet been reborn.” cf. CCC 980
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 Jn: 1:9
“Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace. Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance.” CCC 1415 To receive Christ in serious sin is to blaspheme our Lord!
The eleventh article of our faith proclaimed in our Creed is: “I Believe In The Resurrection of The Body.”
We are made in the image and likeness of Christ. Christ was born, lived on earth, and died for our sins and possible salvation. On Easter Sunday, according to historical proven testimony of eyewitnesses, Christ rose bodily from the dead, and thus, in the second, the General Judgment, we shall too.
“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” Jn: 14: 2-3 Our glorified bodies will be reunited with our soul, and in this state we shall spend eternity.
“The Father has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment” Jn: 5: 27-29
Why indeed? Why were we created? To know, love and serve the Lord in this world, and to be happy with Him in the next. Why were we created in the image and likeness of God? Because it was His will to do so. Why would The Almighty offer His Son for our possible salvation, a sacrifice that he did not even require from father Abraham? Why would Jesus endure, even for a time, to be made less than the angels, and to willingly endure the most painful and the most humiliating death known to the age of the God murderers? And why would that same Christ, desire and insist to remain here, Body and Soul, complete humanity and complete Divinity, neglected, ignored, abused, hidden and humiliated in the Sacred Host of Holy Communion, within our tabernacles?
Why, you ask. The answer is Perfect Love, because true Love knows no bounds, and we are truly loved! Amen.
The twelve and final proclamation of our Creed: “And life Everlasting”
Could, would God in mercy and justice ordain anything less? No!
The sacrifice was too great, the offer of salvation too important to God, and to us. The will of God had to come to fruition. God’s love, mercy and justice are too complete, too perfect to allow for anything except eternity. But eternity where and with whom? With Almighty, all loving God, or with the hateful, evil, spiteful, vengeful Satan, we decide. Life everlasting infers and confers no ending, no time limit. It is an eternal judgment, and a final judgment. Nothing is impossible for God, and nothing is impossible for us with God’s love, mercy and assistance.
Never lose HOPE!
The decision to go to Heaven or to condemn us to Hell is ours!
Even Almighty God cannot (will- not) because to do so would invalidate the very reason why God made us in His Very Image and Likeness, and along with His Holy angels, we alone have a “free-will and an intellect.”
These gifts are “free” but with strings attached. We are to use our intellect to discover and know God, then to serve Him, even to the point of following our Blessed Mother and the Saints, but returning to God our wills. Meaning we are to make right use of the talents, gifts and graces God makes available to each of us.
God will never ask more of us than we are able WITH HIS HELP to do!
This is our Roman Catholic FAITH. Please learn it, love it, live it and share it!
Discussion Questions: Booklet Two
1. If asked, what do Catholics believe, what might you suggest they read? Why?
2. Do all Catholics believe the same things?
What binds all Catholics together?
4. Name three very important things unique to our Catholic faith, when compared to other Christian religions.
5. Why must we listen and obey our pope? Are his pronouncements mandatory? Whom do they bind?
The Creed is divided into three main parts. What are the major divisions?
1. 2. 3.