Catechism in Motion: 14. Spreading the Tradition

Taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Articles 74-79:

God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”: that is, of Christ Jesus. Christ must be proclaimed to all nations and individuals, so that this revelation may reach to the ends of the earth:

God graciously arranged that the things he had once revealed for the salvation of all peoples should remain in their entirety, throughout the ages, and be transmitted to all generations.

“Christ the Lord, in whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up, commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel, which had been promised beforehand by the prophets, and which he fulfilled in his own person and promulgated with his own lips. In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all men. This Gospel was to be the source of all saving truth and moral discipline.”

In the apostolic preaching. . .

In keeping with the Lord’s command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways:
- orally “by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received – whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit”;
- in writing “by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing”.

. . . continued in apostolic succession

“In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority.” Indeed, “the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time.”

This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, “the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes.” “The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer.”

The Father’s self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church: “God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. and the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church – and through her in the world – leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness.”

Bible Passages for Further Reflection:

“[God} wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:4

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth  and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

“For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him; therefore, the Amen from us also goes through him to God for glory.” 2 Corinthians 1:20

“…but whenever a person turns to the Lord the veil is removed.” 2 Corinthians 3:16

“For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of (Jesus) Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6

“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. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”   Matthew 28:19-20

“He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15

Catechism in Motion: 13. God Speaks through Jesus

Taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Articles 65-67:

God has said Everything in His Word

In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son.” Christ, the Son of God made man, is the Father’s one, perfect and unsurpassable Word. In him he has said everything; there will be no other word than this one. St. John of the Cross, among others, commented strikingly on Hebrews 1:1-2:

“In giving us his Son, his only Word (for he possesses no other), he spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word – and he has no more to say. . . because what he spoke before to the prophets in parts, he has now spoken all at once by giving us the All Who is His Son. Any person questioning God or desiring some vision or revelation would be guilty not only of foolish behaviour but also of offending him, by not fixing his eyes entirely upon Christ and by living with the desire for some other novelty.”

There will be no further Revelation

“The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries.

Throughout the ages, there have been so-called “private” revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.

Christian faith cannot accept “revelations” that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfilment, as is the case in certain nonChristian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such “revelations”.

Bible Passages for Further Reflection

“In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he spoke to us through a son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe” ~ Hebrews 1:1-2

“I charge (you) before God, who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate for the noble confession,
to keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~ I Timothy 6:13-14

“…as we await the blessed hope, the appearance 3 of the glory of the great God and of our savior Jesus Christ” ~ Titus 2:13

Catechism in Motion: 12. Israel

Taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 62-64:

“After the patriarchs, God formed Israel as his people by freeing them from slavery in Egypt. He established with them the covenant of Mount Sinai and, through Moses, gave them his law so that they would recognize him and serve him as the one living and true God, the provident Father and just judge, and so that they would look for the promised Saviour. Israel is the priestly people of God, “called by the name of the LORD”, and “the first to hear the word of God”, The people of “elder brethren” in the faith of Abraham.Through the prophets, God forms his people in the hope of salvation, in the expectation of a new and everlasting Covenant intended for all, to be written on their hearts. The prophets proclaim a radical redemption of the People of God, purification from all their infidelities, a salvation which will include all the nations. Above all, the poor and humble of the Lord will bear this hope. Such holy women as Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Judith and Esther kept alive the hope of Israel’s salvation. the purest figure among them is Mary.”

To read the passages that go along with these articles, go here.

Catechism in Motion: 11. The Covenant with Abraham

 

Taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 59-61:

“In order to gather together scattered humanity God calls Abram from his country, his kindred and his father’s house, and makes him Abraham, that is, “the father of a multitude of nations”. “In you all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.” The people descended from Abraham would be the trustee of the promise made to the patriarchs, the chosen people, called to prepare for that day when God would gather all his children into the unity of the Church. They would be the root on to which the Gentiles would be grafted, once they came to believe. The patriarchs, prophets and certain other Old Testament figures have been and always will be honoured as saints in all the Church’s liturgical traditions.”

Bible Passages for Further Reflection:

“The LORD said to Abram: “Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.” ~Genesis 12:1

“No longer shall you be called Abram; your name shall be Abraham, for I am making you the father of a host of nations.” ~Genesis 17:5

“Scripture, which saw in advance that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, foretold the good news to Abraham, saying, “Through you shall all the nations be blessed.” ~Galatians 3:8

“In respect to the gospel, they are enemies on your account; but in respect to election, they are beloved because of the patriarchs.” ~Romans 11:28 (look up this passage for greater context)

“He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.” ~John 11:51-52

“I have other sheep 7 that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.” Jesus speaking in John 10:16

“…some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place and have come to share in the rich root of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. If you do boast, consider that you do not support the root; the root supports you….. For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated one, how much more will they who belong to it by nature be grafted back into their own olive tree.” ~Paul, speaking of how non-Jews had become chosen people of God through Christ, even though they were not originally part of the Jewish people in Romans 11:17-18

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Catechism in Motion: 10. God’s Covenant with Noah

Taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 56-58:

56 After the unity of the human race was shattered by sin God at once sought to save humanity part by part. the covenant with Noah after the flood gives expression to the principle of the divine economy toward the “nations”, in other words, towards men grouped “in their lands, each with (its) own language, by their families, in their nations”.9

“This state of division into many nations, each entrusted by divine providence to the guardianship of angels, is at once cosmic, social and religious. It is intended to limit the pride of fallen humanity united only in its perverse ambition to forge its own unity as at Babel. But, because of sin, both polytheism and the idolatry of the nation and of its rulers constantly threaten this provisional economy with the perversion of paganism.

The covenant with Noah remains in force during the times of the Gentiles, until the universal proclamation of the Gospel. The Bible venerates several great figures among the Gentiles: Abel the just, the king-priest Melchisedek – a figure of Christ – and the upright “Noah, Daniel, and Job”. Scripture thus expresses the heights of sanctity that can be reached by those who live according to the covenant of Noah, waiting for Christ to “gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad”.”

Bible passages for further reflection:

“These are the descendants of Japheth, and from them sprang the maritime nations, in their respective lands - each with its own language - by theirclans within their nations.” ~Genesis 10:5

“See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you: all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals that were with you and came out of the ark…. As the bow appears in the clouds, I will see it and recall the everlasting covenant that I have established between God and all living beings - all mortal creatures that are on earth.” ~Genesis 9:9-10, 16

“He made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions, so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us.” ~Acts 17:26-27

“And when you look up to the heavens and behold the sun or the moon or any star among the heavenly hosts, do not be led astray into adoring them andserving them. These the LORD, your God, has let fall to the lot of all other nations under the heavens;” ~Deuteronomy 4:19

“She, [Wisdom] when the nations were sunk in universal wickedness, knew the just man, kept him blameless before God, and preserved him resolute against pity for his child.” ~Wisdom 10:5

“The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness. For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them. Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse; for although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened. While claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes. Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” ~Romans 1:18-25

“Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine, and being a priest of God Most High, he blessed Abram with these words” ~Genesis 14:18 (example of a non-Jewish follower of God)

“He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.” ~John 11:51-52

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Catechism in Motion: 9. Our First Parents

Taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 54-55:

“God, who creates and conserves all things by his Word, provides men with constant evidence of himself in created realities. and furthermore, wishing to open up the way to heavenly salvation – he manifested himself to our first parents from the very beginning.” He invited them to intimate communion with himself and clothed them with resplendent grace and justice.

55 This revelation was not broken off by our first parents’ sin. “After the fall, (God) buoyed them up with the hope of salvation, by promising redemption; and he has never ceased to show his solicitude for the human race. For he wishes to give eternal life to all those who seek salvation by patience in well-doing.”

Even when he disobeyed you and lost your friendship you did not abandon him to the power of death. . . Again and again you offered a covenant to man.

Bible Passages for Further Reflection:

“All things came to be through him [Jesus Christ], and without him nothing came to be.” ~John 1:3

“For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them. Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse…” ~Romans 1:19-20

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.” ~Genesis 3:15

“who will repay everyone according to his works: eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality through perseverance in good works.” ~Romans 2:6-7

 

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Catechism in Motion: 8. God Reveals Himself

Taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 51-53:

“It pleased God, in his goodness and wisdom, to reveal himself and to make known the mystery of his will. His will was that men should have access to the Father, through Christ, the Word made flesh, in the Holy Spirit, and thus become sharers in the divine nature.”

God, who “dwells in unapproachable light”, wants to communicate his own divine life to the men he freely created, in order to adopt them as his sons in his only-begotten Son. By revealing himself God wishes to make them capable of responding to him, and of knowing him and of loving him far beyond their own natural capacity.

The divine plan of Revelation is realized simultaneously “by deeds and words which are intrinsically bound up with each other” and shed light on each another. It involves a specific divine pedagogy: God communicates himself to man gradually. He prepares him to welcome by stages the supernatural Revelation that is to culminate in the person and mission of the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ.

St. Irenaeus of Lyons repeatedly speaks of this divine pedagogy using the image of God and man becoming accustomed to one another: the Word of God dwelt in man and became the Son of man in order to accustom man to perceive God and to accustom God to dwell in man, according to the Father’s pleasure.”

 

Bible Passages for Further Reflection:

“…he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him”  ~Ephesians 1:9

“…for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” ~Ephesians 2:18

“Through these, he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.” ~2 Peter 1:4

“…who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, and whom no human being has seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal power. Amen.” ~ 1 Timothy 6:16

“…as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will” ~Ephesians 1:4-5