Archive for the ‘Creation’ Category

The “In Brief” Catechism On God “The Creator” (CCC #315-324)

September 6, 2013

● In the creation of the world and of man, God gave the first and universal witness to his almighty love and his wisdom, the first proclamation of the plan of his loving goodness, which finds its goal in the new creation in Christ.

●  Though the work of creation is attributed to the Father in particular, it is equally a truth of faith that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit together are the one, indivisible principle of creation.

●  God alone created the universe, freely, directly and without any help.

●  No creature has the infinite power necessary to “create” in the proper sense of the word, that is, to produce and give being to that which had in no way possessed it to call into existence “out of nothing.”

●  God created the world to show forth and communicate his glory. That his creatures should share in his truth, goodness and beauty—this is the glory for which God created them.

●  God created the universe and keeps it in existence by his Word, the Son “upholding the universe by his word of power” (Hebrews 1:3), and by his Creator Spirit, the giver of life.

●  Divine providence consists of the dispositions by which God guides all his creatures with wisdom and love to their ultimate end.

●  Christ invites us to filial trust in the providence of our heavenly Father, and St. Peter the apostle repeats: “Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.” (1st Peter 5:7)

●  Divine providence works also through the actions of creatures. To human beings God grants the ability to co-operate freely with his plans.

●  The fact that God permits physical and even moral evil is a mystery that God illuminates by his Son Jesus Christ who died and rose to vanquish evil. Faith gives us the certainty that God would not permit an evil if he did not cause a good to come from that very evil, by ways that we shall fully know only in eternal life.

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“He Is Not Here” — Easter Vigil

April 23, 2011

When the women came to the tomb they did not find Jesus, but a radiant messenger. He told them, “Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here.…” The tomb was empty, Jesus was not there.

Jesus was present at the beginning of creation, for through Him all things were made. Going forth from the Father’s mouth, He was at hand on earth throughout the ages, achieving His purposes.

He was mystically with Noah, who saved his family from death by building a ship, just as Jesus built the Church to save us.

He was mystically with Isaac, who, though bound and led to sacrifice, was not to be lost forever.

He was mystically with Moses, who freed God’s people from Pharaoh’s demonic slavery by leading them through miraculous waters.

He was mystically with all the prophets, in proclaiming a law to be written on hearts instead of stones, in promising the gift of a Holy Spirit from Heaven, in suffering at the hands of those who refused to hear wisdom.

He has been in His saints, from the least to the greatest, throughout the centuries to this very night. He is present here in all of us who are ‘living for God in Christ Jesus.’

By the all foreshadowings that proceeded His coming, and by the fruitful witness of all His saints ever since, we can confirm the angel’s words, “he has been raised just as he said.”

Jesus is not there in the empty tomb. He is here,  tonight, with us.

Evil: Unholy Holes — Tuesday, 5th Week of Ordinary Time—Year I

February 8, 2011

“God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good.” Everything that God has made, everything that has being, contains God’s goodness. What then is this thing called evil?

Think of a hole in the ground. What is the hole made of? Nothing really. If not for the good earth surrounding it you would not even know that a hole was there. Evil is like that hole, it’s an absence, a deprivation, a negation of something good. Evil can only be present within something good, as a corruption. Even though evil is essentially nothingness, that doesn’t mean that it can’t still hurt you, like falling into a deep, gaping hole.

Let no one think that evil is necessary for there to be good. No one should think of evil as the Ying to God’s Yang. God created a universe which was entirely good. It has been the free choices of the demons and of us to rebel in sin which have brought evils upon us.

Because of the goodness that remains in them, God shall love and preserve the Devil, the demons, and the damned forever. They shall not be destroyed, but they shall no longer do harm. They shall be as the wounds in Jesus’ hands, feet and side, which are as they are due to evil, but which cause no more pain, only glory.

Attacks Within — Tuesday, 1st Week of Ordinary Time—Year I

January 18, 2011

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, He also created purely spiritual beings called angels to serve Him and share His friendship. Unfortunately, some of these spirits decided that they would not serve, and rejected His friendship. We call these rebels demons, and with intense hate they wage spiritual war against us on the battlefields of our hearts and minds.

Demons are pleased when we hold either of these two extreme attitudes towards them: either in denying their very existence, so that we will be completely unaware of their activity in the world, or in fixating upon them, so that we are paralyzed with false fears of their power. Demons are powerful (by nature we human being are “lower than the angels”) but we should not be terrorized. First, Jesus is greater than them all. Made “for a little while lower than the angels” the Father has crowned Jesus “with glory and honor, subjecting all things under his feet.” Second, as a baptized Christian, you belong to Christ, you are claimed by Him, and that gives you special protection. Demons cannot possess you like the man in the Gospels unless you invite them in. (This is why Ouija Boards, Tarot cards, seances, magic and other things occult are so dangerous.) Demons cannot control us, overriding our freewill, but they can influence our thoughts and feelings.

When I interact with you, I can influence your thoughts and feelings by what I say and how I act. If I mention elephants, you’ll think of elephants. If I smile and compliment you, you’ll feel good, and if I insult you, you’ll feel bad. But however I interact with you, you can see and hear me doing it right in front of you. The work of spirits, on the other hand, is more subtle since they operate invisibly, speaking in our thoughts and influencing our hearts. God’s good angels direct us toward what is good, but demons would lead us toward sin and harm. To be forewarned and aware of the demons’ tactics is to be forearmed and prepared to resist them.

One typical demonic tactic is to first entice and then condemn. Suppose you gave up cookies for Lent and you notice the cookie jar sitting on the counter. A demon might entice you by speaking thoughts to you like this: “… a cookie would be great right now …this sucks …I’ve been good all Lent… I’ve earned it.” Then, once you give in and have the cookie, the enemy shifts to words of condemnation: “…couldn’t even give up one cookie for God.” Whenever you fall into sin, the demons don’t want you to get back up with Christ, they want to kick you when you’re down and keep you there. Sometimes our heavenly friends will correct and challenge us, but whenever they do, they always do it in a way that makes us stronger to do what’s right.

Another demonic tactic is Always/Never, or All or Nothing Thinking. If you find yourself thinking that you’re “always” this, or “never” that, you’re probably being fed a lie; either an untruth welling-up out of your own human brokenness, or a lie coming from an external attack. If you find yourself thinking that you ‘always mess things up,’ or that you ‘don’t have any friends,’ or that you ‘never really sin,’ you’re facing a falsehood. The truth is that only in rare cases are you “always” or “never” anything. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

Another tip: don’t dialogue with temptations. Whether the temptation springs from an external enemy or merely from our own desirous passions, both demons and we ourselves are cleaver enough to persuade us into sinning, if granted enough time for convincing.

So what can we do to defend against such attacks? We should pray every day and stay close to Jesus Christ through frequent reception of confession and the Eucharist. We should use holy water and holy images to sanctify the places where we dwell. We should call on our heavenly friends; Mary, St. Michael the Archangel, leader of God’s angelic armies, and all the saints. We should also remember that we are always accompanied by a Guardian Angel who God-given mission is to light, to guard, to rule, and to guide us.

Demons want us to either fixate on them or to deny that they even exist. Instead, let’s be forewarned in faith and confident in Christ about the invisible spiritual warfare fought on the battlefields of our hearts and minds.

Seen and Unseen — December 28 — St. John the Evangelist

December 27, 2010

Today’s Gospel says that when John the Apostle went into the tomb on Easter morning “he saw and believed.” What did he see that led him to believe? Was it how the burial cloth which had wrapped Jesus’ body wasn’t taken away or tossed in a mess on the floor,  but left behind (perhaps deflated) in its place? Or was the cloth which had covered the Lord’s head rolled up in a familiar way, such that John recognized Jesus’ hand behind it. Or perhaps, if the Shroud of Turin is truly the burial shroud of Christ, John believed through beholding its testimony to the resurrection.

On the other hand, maybe it wasn’t something John saw that led him to believe, but something he didn’t see. Perhaps it was from the fact that Jesus wasn’t there that he infered the truth. “Dead bodies don’t just disappear for no reason at all. I didn’t do this. None of us did this. And what motive would our enemies have to take Him? This is the work of God.”

Just as John may have inferred the resurrection of Jesus from the empty tomb, so we can infer the truth of God from the presence of the universe: “Things don’t just appear for no reason at all. I didn’t make this. None of us made this. And how could an enemy have to create beauty, life, and love? This is the work of God.”

Tradition says that after Jesus entrusted the care of His mother into the care of John the Apostle, they went to live in what is modern-day Turkey.  What if we had gone to visit them in their home at Ephesus and asked them how someone can believe in the God of the universe, or the Lord Jesus Christ, when their reality can sometimes seem so distant.

I can imagine Mary or John replying, “Beloved, the One who was from the beginning, whom we have heard, whom we have seen with our eyes, whom we looked upon and touched with our hands, the Word of God, the Word of Life, the Lord Jesus Christ——we have seen Him, and testify to Him, and proclaim to you His eternal life.” The Christian faith is firmly founded, upon the unseen things we can infer and the things which we  have seen.