Posts Tagged ‘roman catholicism’

The need for Advent

December 10, 2013

THE NEED FOR ADVENT.
Every year when enter the “ember” months, most people (including yours sincerely) start earnestly planning for Christmas. As the mad rush and hectic plans for Christmas goes on, poor old advent just gets ignored and run past as if it doesn’t exist or is not relevant. After the celebration of Christ the King in the last week of November, we just jump to Xmas leaving the poor season of advent alone, cold and lonely. From 1st December the Christmas carols blare out and drown out the penitence of advent, while the faithful start wishing each other a merry Christmas in advance! A pertinent question must be asked: is advent relevant in the life of a Christian?
The Catholic Church, the mother and teacher of all Christians in her infinite wisdom calls her faithful, during this beautiful liturgical season to live in anticipation of a new beginning, a new coming of the Lord. St Bernard a renowned Doctor of the Church explains it clearly in one of his advent homilies:
“We know that there are three comings of the Lord. The 3rd lies between the other two. It is invisible while the other two are visible. In the first coming he was seen on Earth, dwelling among men; in the final coming all flesh will see the salvation of God and they will look upon him that they pierced. The intermediate coming is a hidden one, in it only the elect see the Lord within their own selves, and they are saved. In his first coming our Lord came in our flesh and our weakness, in the middle coming he comes in spirit and in power; in the final coming he will be seen in glory and majesty. Because this coming lies between the other two, it is a road on which we travel from the first coming to the last.”
Advent therefore is a period of joyful anticipation of the final coming of Jesus which comes after his first coming, which Christmas commemorates. This is the heart of the message which Christians must bring to an age often staggering in existential and materialistic sadness which are the horrid after effects of the dictatorship of relativism. At advent we are called to look inwards and discover our true essence and to remember that the lord is always coming for those who look for him in truth. It is a season in which Christians are invited by the church to get ready, to make a place for the lord in our lives, relationships, families and homes to anticipate his comings. The O come, O come Emmanuel hymns will serve for us a call to “make straight in the desert a highway for the Lord” (cf Isaiah 40).
The purple color of Advent is a sign of repentance and expectation; two key actions and attitudes at the heart and spirit of the season. We are called at advent to repent from sin and vice and renounce all our choices that are at variance with divine and ecclesial law. It is a time not for shopping, but of emptying ourselves of the clutter of our daily idolatry and renouncing the disordered self love that squeezes God’s grace out of our lives.
May God give us the grace to tap into the spirit of advent as we await in joyful hope the coming of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with the Father and Holy Spirit World without end.
We also wait with Mary, who prefigured advent after receiving the angelic message and waited nine months in hope and prayer for the delivery of he who would be great and called son of the most High God (cf Luke 1 vs 32).
Have a blessed advent!
NB
Christmas season begins with Christmas vigil on the 24th of December and ends on the epiphany of the Lord which falls around 6th of January.
Namse Udosen

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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:

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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.


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