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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Catechism in Brief (3 times)

In this year of faith, many people are being encouraged to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church CCC. Let me encourage you as well. I am a kind of person though that likes to step back and see the big picture in things, especially our Faith. Now you probably know the 4 parts of the CCC: The Creed (that we say at Mass and during the Rosary) the 7 sacraments, the 10 commandments, and the Our Father. If you know those then rest of the CCC is just one big awesome commentary on those 4 sections. But each of the 4 parts has an introduction.So I went through the 4 parts of the Catechism and summarized those introductions to give you 3 birds eye views of the CCC.

If you would like a free copy of this in PDF form. Please write me at and I will send one to you to print.

I recommend memorizing the first two summaries before diving into the big Catechism. The underlined parts refer to specific subsections of the CCC.


I. We are designed for God, and God came to meet us and we should respond in faith to Him by believing  in what he has revealed as summarized by the articles of THE CREED.
II. In the Creed we confess the new Passover of Christ which is in hope communicated and celebrated by the Church in the liturgy; especially THE SACRAMENTS.
III. The Sacraments empower us by the Holy Spirit who calls man individually and in community to live by grace in the love of God and neighbor as summarized by THE 10 COMMANDMENTS.
IV. Prayer expresses that personal relationship with the living God that we are all called to, but we need to be taught what to pray and how to pray especially the greatest of prayers THE OUR FATHER.


I. We have a desire for God and we can know that he exists by reason.
The church warns that even naturally there are obstacles to clear reasoning.
We can really speak about God though we can’t exhaust the mystery.
God has revealed Himself to people especially in the person of Christ.
This revelation has been carefully handed on, especially in the words of Sacred Scripture.
We respond to God’s revelation by faith individually and as a community.

II. The Liturgy is the work of the Holy Trinity, especially the new Passover of Christ.
This is communicated to us in the Sacraments.
There are essential features to a liturgical celebration and yet there is diversity as well.

III. Man is made in God’s image for happiness. Man is made free to choose good and avoid evil. Feelings contribute to our actions. Conscience judges these actions. We are called to practice virtue and avoid sin.
Society resembles the Trinity and people need to participate in it on various levels in a just way.
God gives us laws to live by and gives us the grace to live by these laws. The Church is the mother and teacher that sustains us and instructs us concerning these laws.

IV. From the Old Testament through the New Testament into the Age of the Church we have all been called to prayer.
There are many sources of prayer to the Trinity and there are many schools of prayer.
There are 3 expressions of prayer and many struggles in prayer. Jesus’ high priestly prayer sums up the whole of salvation history.


I. We have a desire for God and we can know that he exists by reason.
The church warns that even naturally there are obstacles to clear reasoning.
We can really speak about God though we can’t exhaust the mystery.
God reveals himself and his plan of loving goodness where, in Christ, all people by the grace of the Holy Spirit are to share in the divine life as adopted “sons” in the only begotten Son of God.
God has revealed himself to man by gradually communicating his own mystery in deeds and in words; CCC 69 First to Adam, then Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David.
Finally, God has revealed himself fully by sending his own Son, in whom he has established his covenant forever. The Son is his Father's definitive Word; so there will be no further Revelation after him. CCC 73
Faith is a personal adherence to God which involves an assent of the intellect and will to God who has made himself known through his deeds and words. CCC 176
We must believe in no one but God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. CCC 178
The Church professes with a united voice the one faith that was received from the one Lord and that was passed on by the one Apostolic Tradition.

II. The Father is the source and goal of the liturgy. Christ’s work in the liturgy is sacramental. The Holy Spirit prepares the Church to meet Christ. He recalls, manifests, and makes Christ’s work present so as to bear fruit.
The New Passover of Christ is now made present in the sacraments which he gave to the Church to nourish, strengthen, and express The Faith. Through them the Holy Spirit applies to the faithful the New Passover of Christ and are necessary for salvation and are a foretaste of eternal life.
In general the liturgy is celebrated by Christ through the ordained and baptized. It involves signs and symbols, the reading of God’s word, songs and music, as well as sacred images. The Church commemorates Sunday’s and other liturgical seasons and days through the year. The liturgy is celebrated primarily in the hearts of believers as well as in church buildings.
The Liturgy is celebrated by the Church according to various liturgical traditions because the mystery of Christ cannot be exhausted by any single liturgical tradition. CP 247

III. Man is made in the image of God for happiness. This is reached through conforming ourselves to the beatitudes of Christ and fulfilled in heaven.
We are given the gift of freedom to choose the good and avoid evil. We are responsible for our own actions. Though our freedom is wounded by sin Christ set us free to make us coworkers with him in the world.
The sources of morality are the object, the intention, and circumstances that make an act good or evil. Only when these three are all good can an act be called good.
Our feelings are neither good nor bad but can contribute to our actions. If they contribute to good acts they are good, and if they contribute to bad acts they are bad.
The moral conscience drives a person to act or not. Our conscience must be formed according to the teachings of the Church and reason. When there is a moral choice we should follow our conscience. While erroneous judgments might be made, these might or might not excuse the person from guilt.
Virtue is a habitual and firm disposition to do good. CCC 1833. The four cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. The Three theological virtues are Faith, Hope, and Charity. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit bestowed upon Christians are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. CCC 1845
"God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all" ( Rom 11:32).CCC 1870 Sin is “a word, an act, or a desire contrary to the eternal Law” (Saint Augustine). There are two kinds of sin, Mortal and Venial. The repetition of sins - even venial ones - engenders vices, among which are the capital sins. CCC 1876
We are designed to live in community which has some resemblance to the Holy Trinity. The destiny of the individual and the community is the same and that is heaven. When society has fallen into sin it is called to convert back toward God.
The authority of the community comes from God and must be exercised for the common good. The common good involves: (1) respect for and promotion of the fundamental rights of the person, (2) the development of the spiritual and temporal goods of persons and society, (3) and the peace and security of all. Christians have a responsibility to promote the common good.
Justice in society requires that we have respect for the human person, even those that differ from us because we are all in this together.
God gave us the moral law to lead us to heaven and avoid hell. Natural law flows from man being created in God’s image and likeness. It expresses that original moral sense which enables one to discern by reason the good and the bad (CP 416). In the Old Testament many of the laws that God gave were accessible by reason and it prepared us for the New Law of Christ. The New Law of Christ fulfills the old law and is powered by grace from the sacraments.
The grace of the Holy Spirit confers upon us the righteousness of God. Justification includes the remission of sins, sanctification, and the renewal of the inner man which has been merited for us by the New Passover of Christ. CCC 2017, 2019 Grace is the participation in the life of God that saves us and makes us holy. God in his goodness may reward our good deeds that we perform only by his grace, this is merit. All Christians are called to holiness.
The Christian moral life is nourished by the liturgy; especially the sacraments. The Church’s five precepts help conform the Christian to Christ. Once this conformity is fulfilled in the Christian, he now becomes another Christ drawing others to the Gospel of salvation.

IV. "Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God"
God tirelessly calls each person to this mysterious encounter with Himself. Prayer unfolds throughout the whole history of salvation as a reciprocal call between God and man.
Jesus' filial prayer is the perfect model of prayer in the New Testament which he taught his disciples to pray with a purified heart, with lively and persevering faith, with filial boldness.
The Holy Spirit instructs the Church in the life of prayer, inspiring new expressions of the same basic forms of prayer: blessing, petition, intercession, thanksgiving, and praise. CCC 2590, 2591, 2620, 2621, 2644
By a living transmission -Tradition - the Holy Spirit in the Church teaches the children of God to pray using as wellsprings the Word of God, the liturgy of the Church, and the virtues of faith, hope, and charity are sources of prayer. CCC 2661, 2662
Prayer is directed to God the Father in the name of Jesus as taught and aided by the Holy Spirit. The Church prays to Mary and with Mary who shows us the “Way” who is her Son.
The Church invites the faithful to regular prayer: daily prayers, the Liturgy of the Hours, Sunday Eucharist, the feasts of the liturgical year. CCC 2720
The three expressions of prayer are vocal, meditation, and contemplative prayer.
The struggles of prayer include not having time to pray or that it is useless and without success. Distraction, dryness, and acedia all call us to constant vigilance of Heart. As children of God we need to trust God and persevere in prayer at all times.
The prayer of the hour of Jesus, rightly called the "priestly prayer" (cf  Jn 17), sums up the whole economy of creation and salvation. It fulfills the great petitions of the Our Father. CCC 2758

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Today we are going to talk about the cardinal virtue of Prudence and where example of it can be found in the Bible.

To begin, what is a virtue?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says in the Glossary that a virtue is a habitual and firm disposition to do the good. So they are habits of doing good.

The Catechism in the glossary also has the Cardinal virtues defined –four pivotal human virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance; the human virtues are stable dispositions of the intellect and will that govern our acts, order our passions, and guide our conduct in accordance with reason and faith'


Let’s begin with prudence; what is it and where do we see examples of it in the Bible


CCC 1806    Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it.


This virtue is called the charioteer of all the virtues. A charioteer is one who drives a chariot of course. So how do we acquire this virtue? Where do we get it from?

We get it from listening to good people and putting what they say into practice. For example the Bible specifically Jesus.

Listen to the Book of Proverbs:
 Proverbs 1:8 Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and reject not your mother's teaching; 9 for they are a fair garland for your head, and pendants for your neck.
Proverbs 6:20 My son, keep your father's commandment, and forsake not your mother's teaching. 21 Bind them upon your heart always; tie them about your neck. 22 When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you.

And as we read the book of Proverbs, and Wisdom, and Sirach they are filled with very good day-to-day advice and tell us how to be good and avoid evil.


Let me continue reading that Chapter 6 from Proverbs


Proverbs 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life, 24 to preserve you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adventuress. 25 Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes; 26 for a harlot may be hired for a loaf of bread, but an adulteress stalks a man's very life. 27 Can a man carry fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned? 28 Or can one walk upon hot coals and his feet not be scorched? 29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife; none who touches her will go unpunished. 30 Do not men despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry? 31 And if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold; he will give all the goods of his house. 32 He who commits adultery has no sense; he who does it destroys himself. 33 Wounds and dishonor will he get, and his disgrace will not be wiped away. 34 For jealousy makes a man furious, and he will not spare when he takes revenge. 35 He will accept no compensation, nor be appeased though you multiply gifts.


So this is the trouble that one goes through on the outside when you commit adultery. Jesus talk about the inside.


Matthew 5:27 "You have heard that it was said, `You shall not commit adultery.' 28 But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.


So now that we are informed from a reliable source we can use prudence to help us avoid a situation that might lead us to commit adultery and other such sins.


We have all heard people say to us after we make a poorly thought out decision – why did you drive through a snow storm just to pick up a  movie – that wasn’t smart. This person should have been more prudent and thought through the risks before acting.


Prudence is really a call to constantly keep a clear mind about you. St. Peter puts it into perspective.


RSV 1 Peter 4:7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore keep sane and sober for your prayers.


He is saying that we are only here for a moment so in a spiritual sense – stay awake.


Proverbs 14 gives more advice on prudence.


Proverbs 14:15 The simple believes everything, but the prudent looks where he is going.
16 A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool throws off restraint and is careless.
17 A man of quick temper acts foolishly, but a man of discretion is patient.
18 The simple acquire folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.

Remember Solomon from the Old Testament – God appears to Solomon in a dream and says – ask of me what you will – and this is what Solomon asks for:

1 Kings 3:9 Give thy servant therefore an understanding mind to govern thy people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to govern this thy great people?" 10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this.

This is Solomon’s prayer for Prudence and God was pleased by this prayer.

We end with the words of our Lord.
Matthew 7:24 "Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; 25 and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; 27 and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it."

We need to take our Lord’s advice and make our decisions based on his commands and wisdom and this will lead to happiness.