Posts Tagged ‘christianity’

Christian Faith As A divine gift

December 3, 2013

The introduction of the Motu Proprio data “Porta Fidei” of Pope Benedict XVI is a good starting point to fully understand this topic. “The door of faith is always open for us, ushering us into a life of communion with God and offering entry into his church.’

What then is Faith?

Faith starts with the willingness to recognize and question the core mysteries at the heart of existence: why we exist at all and how to make meaning out of our existence. Over the ages Philosophers have sough to discover the essence of human existence. Schools of thought like Satre’s Existentialism which posited that existence and actuality come first and essence is derived afterwards. Kierkegaard posited that man’s essence came from man. Before them Plato and Aristotle had come up with philosophies of Human existence. St Augustine gives the perfect thesis when he proclaimed; “you are great, O lord, and greatly to be praised… you have made us for your self and our heart is restless until it rests in you. From this it can be deducted that the ultimate essence of man can be found only in relation to Divinity.

 Faith, the Catholic Encyclopedia notes, is the virtue “by which the intellect is perfected by a supernatural light,” allowing the intellect to assent “firmly to the supernatural truths of Revelation.” Faith is, as Saint Paul says in the Letter to the Hebrews, “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). It is, in other words, a form of knowledge that extends beyond the natural limits of our intellect, to help us grasp the truths of divine revelation, truths that we cannot arrive at purely by the aid of natural reason. In Lumen Genitum, the Fathers of the Second Vatican council posit that “by faith Man commits his entire life to God, making the full submission of his intellect and will who reveals… and willingly assenting to the revelation given by him. According to the CCC compendium “Faith is the Theological virtue by which we believe in God and all that he has revealed to us and that the Church proposes for our belief because God is truth it self.

What is a Theological virtue?

Unlike the cardinal virtues, which can be practiced by anyone, the theological virtues are gifts of God through grace. Like all other virtues, the theological virtues are habits; the practice of the virtues strengthens them. Because they aim at a supernatural end, however—that is, they have God as “their immediate and proper object” (in the words of the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913)—the theological virtues must be supernaturally infused into the soul. Thus faith is not something that one can simply begin to practice, but something beyond our nature. The Theological virtues are the pledge of the presence and action of the holy spirit in the faculties of the human being.

What does God reveal to man?

Over history God has revealed himself first of all to Adam and eve, Noah and in a special way to Abraham our father in faith. However the full and definitive stage of God’s revelation is accomplished in Jesus, the word made flesh. The deposit of faith which Christ has left behind through his Apostles comprises of the Dogmatic tradition and sacred scripture. The both are so closely united that one of them cannot stand without the other. It must be noted however that Christian Faith is not a “religion of the book”, but of the word of God – not a written and mute word, but incarnate and living. The bible doesn’t contain the whole of Jesus’ teaching or Christianity (mk 4:33, lk 24; 15-16. Jn 16:12, 20:30)

Sins against faith

 The first commandment requires us to nourish and protect our faith with prudence and vigilance, and to reject everything that is opposed to it. There are various ways of sinning against faith:

Voluntary doubt about the faith disregards or refuses to hold as true what God has revealed and the Church proposes for belief. Involuntary doubt refers to hesitation in believing, difficulty in overcoming objections connected with the faith, or also anxiety aroused by its obscurity. If deliberately cultivated doubt can lead to spiritual blindness.

 Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assent to it. “Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.”

 Indifferentism – This is the belief that one religion is as good as another. In other words, the Catholic faith is equal to the Anglican, ECWA or Pentecostal faith. This rejects the truth that the Catholic Church is the Mother Church.

 

How to preserve the gift from God; Faith.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in Porta Fidei proclaims that the year of faith is an opportunity for the whole church to reappropriate the exact knowledge of faith so as to reinvigorate it, purify it, confirm it and confess it so as to live it.

1.     Faith come by perception: reading catholic literature especially Papal documents Roms 3:8

2.     Study the lives of the saints

3.     Avoid listening to charlatans.

4.     Prayers and sincere reception of the sacraments.

Namse Udosen

Bibliography and further reading

·        Catechism of the Catholic Church: The compendium

·        Porta Fidei: Apostolic exhortation by Pope Benedixt XVI

·        Lumen Fidei: Papal Encyclical of Pope Francis

·        www.catholicencyclopedia.com

n

What is the Church

April 16, 2009
pope Benedict xvi

pope Benedict xvi

The Church is one: she acknowledges one Lord, confesses one faith, is born of one Baptism, forms only one Body, is given life by the one Spirit, for the sake of one hope (cf. Eph 4:3-5), at whose fulfillment all divisions will be overcome.

867 The Church is holy: the Most Holy God is her author; Christ, her bridegroom, gave himself up to make her holy; the Spirit of holiness gives her life. Since she still includes sinners, she is “the sinless one made up of sinners.” Her holiness shines in the saints; in Mary she is already all-holy.

868 The Church is catholic: she proclaims the fullness of the faith. She bears in herself and administers the totality of the means of salvation. She is sent out to all peoples. She speaks to all men. She encompasses all times. She is “missionary of her very nature” (AG 2).

869 The Church is apostolic. She is built on a lasting foundation: “the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Rev 21:14). She is indestructible (cf. Mt 16:18). She is upheld infallibly in the truth: Christ governs her through Peter and the other apostles, who are present in their successors, the Pope and the college of bishops.

870 “The sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, . . . subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him. Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines”(LG 8).
Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter.”322 Those “who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church.”323 With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound “that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord’s Eucharist.”324
The Church and non-Christians

839 “Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways.”325

The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People. When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People,326 “the first to hear the Word of God.”327 The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God’s revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews “belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ”,328 “for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.”329

840 And when one considers the future, God’s People of the Old Covenant and the new People of God tend towards similar goals: expectation of the coming (or the return) of the Messiah. But one awaits the return of the Messiah who died and rose from the dead and is recognized as Lord and Son of God; the other awaits the coming of a Messiah, whose features remain hidden till the end of time; and the latter waiting is accompanied by the drama of not knowing or of misunderstanding Christ Jesus.

841 The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”330

842 The Church’s bond with non-Christian religions is in the first place the common origin and end of the human race:

All nations form but one community. This is so because all stem from the one stock which God created to people the entire earth, and also because all share a common destiny, namely God. His providence, evident goodness, and saving designs extend to all against the day when the elect are gathered together in the holy city. . .331
843 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as “a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life.”332

844 In their religious behavior, however, men also display the limits and errors that disfigure the image of God in them:

namseliciousnamse

    

Will this work

April 2, 2009

I read a report on the new integrated science scheme of work that has been approved by the government to be introduced to junior secondary schools in Lagos, Cross River, Benue states etc. The scheme demands that junior secondary schools students study techniques of kissing, masturbation, caressing, withdrawal, ejaculation, erection, taking drugs to avoid pregnancy in school, sterilization, infertility etc, in the name of sex education in integrated science. It is aimed at encouraging children to explore their sexuality. This curriculum is modeled after guidelines for comprehensive sexuality education in Nigeria by Action Health Incorporated which it borrowed from American sexual health institution. This is not the first time we are copying such schemes from Americans and Europeans in the name of advancement, but this case is alarming because as it is, the government is setting up a landslide for a whole generation. This scheme is fashioned to copy the western obnoxious school of thought aimed at getting young girls on pills, abortifacients, getting them to wear intra uterine devices (IUD) and boys to wear condoms. Why should any right thinking person want to expose kids aged 9-15 years to such immorality? When we are yet to come to grips with the high rate of immorality among our youths and adults, we are setting the kids on a worse path. A complete collapse of public morality is what we’ll harvest when we sow sexuality education without moral values. How can we imbibe a culture that teaches that chastity is unnecessary, regressive and impossibility and if sex makes you feel good do it. Sex before marriage is okay, “safe sex” is what to aim at because you have the right to choose to be sexually active, just be “responsible” and do not get pregnant, use condoms. What if you get pregnant? You can kill the baby, but if you contact HIV/AIDS, you must have been careless. Sexuality education is not bad in its totality but the model presented by Action Health Incorporated and others like it is outright ridiculous and its flaws must be pointed out. It fails to emphasis the social and psychological aspects of sex. Children should be made to know that the nature of sex is not primarily physical but emotional and spiritual. In sex we take down our most private veils, when these very sensitive veils are removed outside of marriage it tends to result in severe emotional scaring. Also this sexuality education scheme does not address the aspects of love, intimacy and commitment. It show cases sex as a “chop clean mouth” situation , value free and with no strings attached thereby making human sexuality seem very cheap and worthless. It must be brought to bear on the consciousness of the young generation that premarital sex erodes the dignity of a person. It should be noted that sex education without values doesn’t and can never promote the ideal that personal happiness, love; intimacy and happy family life are most likely to occur within the confines of a faithful marriage. Most of what we are being made to believe and practice only make family commitment seem unwholesome and Cardinal Arinze rightly stated that “the family is under siege, opposed by an anti-life mentality as seen in contraception, infanticide, abortion and euthanasia. It is scorned and banalized by pornography, desecrated by fornication and adultery, mocked by homosexuality, sabotaged by irregular unions and cut in two by divorce. When people and organizations go about teaching kids about contraception; they never mention the contra indications. For example none of the condom promos say that condoms are only about 65% to 75% effective in preventing pregnancy and the HIV virus is 500 times smaller than sperm cells. So can condoms prevent AIDS? They will never tell them that contraceptive pills are capable of causing hormonal imbalance and also cancer. To round off let us be reminded that the children are the leaders of tomorrow and this form of sexuality education being recommended by Action Health Incorporated is equivalent to wearing a bullet proof vest into a mine field.


%d bloggers like this: