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Catechism Emily Faith Formation Prayer Uncategorized

Hey Catholics, Did You Know…?

The Sign of the Cross

One day while perusing around Facebook, which I have a tendency to do, I came upon a great image posted in my newsfeed:

(Image posted by the page http://www.facebook.com/TheCatholicChurch, maintained by http://www.uCatholic.com)

Many of us Catholic Sistas (and friends) began discussing the image.  I was surprised by how many had never heard of this tradition!  I had actually been taught this while I was in high school, with a slight variation – to cross myself with 3 fingers (thumb, index, middle) as the sign of the Trinity, while bending the other 2 (ring and pinky) as the dual nature of Christ. Other ladies had their own ways that they were taught.

So, in noticing the differences, I decided to do a little homework and share some of the history of this interesting little tradition with you all!

Let’s go back to the 5th Century… when some heresies were arising…  Nestorianism and Monophysitism were taking aim at the nature of Christ.
Was he really fully human?
Was he really fully divine?
Or was he some sort of meshy-in-between god-like-man?

It was getting messy… so the Councils were called (Ephesus 1 & 2 and Chalcedon), heresies were shouted, excommunications were handed down, and the dust began to settle out.

Christ was ONE  hypostasis (person), but TWO natures.

CCC 469      The Church thus confesses that Jesus is inseparably true God and true man. He is truly the Son of God who, without ceasing to be God and Lord, became a man and our brother.

THUS… the SIGN OF THE CROSS began to evolve…

At first, Christians made a small cross only on their foreheads with their thumbs.  It seems that this began to change when the heresies mentioned above began to come to light… one thumb transitioned to two fingers – signifying the dual nature of Christ (like the picture above).  After that it seems many different traditions were spawned.

Here are some of the variations I came across:

~Touch your thumb and ring finger together and hold your index finger and middle finger together to signify the two natures of Christ.

~Hold your thumb and index finger together to signify the two natures of Christ.

~Hold your thumb, index finger, middle finger together (signifying the Trinity) while tucking the ring finger and pinky finger (signifying the two natures of Christ) toward your palm.

~ Hold your hand open with all 5 fingers — representing the 5 Wounds of Christ — together and very slightly curved, and thumb slightly tucked into palm

So Catholics… did you know this tradition?

Which method do you use?

 

Categories
Splendid Sundays

Spendid Sundays – Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

You can find today’s readings here.

1st Reading: Deuteronomy 4: 32-34, 39-40
Psalm: Psalm 33
2nd Reading: Romans 8:14-17
Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20

Today we celebrate our Lord’s existence in the Most Holy Trinity. The Truth of the Trinity is one of the most difficult mysteries of our faith to understand. Some non-Catholic Bible believing faiths argue that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three distinct and separate persons, which is much easier for our human brains to grab a hold of. However, to understand how three persons can be distinct, yet the same One Holy God… well, we have nothing on Earth that quite replicates this Truth, so we accept it on faith. We take this Truth on faith so much, that it’s not explicitly spelled out in the pages of Sacred Scripture, but we can see where it is referenced in both the Old and New Testaments. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is clearest in Holy Mother Church’s Sacred Tradition.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the Trinity as, “The mystery of one God in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The revealed truth of the Holy Trinity is at the very root of the Church’s living faith as expressed in the Creed. The mystery of the Trinity in itself is inaccessible to the human mind and is the object of faith only because it was revealed by Jesus Christ, the divine Son of the eternal Father.”

It is by this Holy Trinity we are saved and can delight in life eternal in Heaven. God, the Father created us, created our souls and bodies. The Son, died for our sins and reopened the gates of Heaven so that we can gain salvation. We receive the Holy Spirit at baptism, and are sanctified through uniting our suffering to Christ’s suffering and through keeping our Lord’s commandments.

It is simply wondrous that after 2,000 years, the truth of the Trinity has been protected and handed down, generation by generation, such that so many Christians today can properly believe in God. The doctrine of the Trinity is a testament to the Holy Spirit protected truths taught by Holy Mother Church.

 

Categories
Faith Formation Ink Slingers Stacy

Why Contraception Will Never Be Permitted

 

Alright Sistas! Let’s talk about contraception and theology.

People opine a lot that someday there can be a development of doctrine that will permit the practice of contraception, but they don’t understand the reason why contraception can never be permitted.  Catholic moral laws are most fundamentally rooted in love.  That is probably the single most misunderstood part of moral theology.  It’s about love.

And this is not loving.

marriage, man and woman united as one, is the most 1) fundamental and 2) intimate social unit.  Scripture describes how the Father, the First Person of the Trinity, conceives the Word and begets the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, gives all of Himself to the Son except to be Father. Did you catch the eternal fecundity in God, conceiving and begetting?

From the Father and the Son together – as one substance – breaths forth the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Holy Spirit, which is Love Himself.  In God there is perfect unity, perfect giving, perfect receiving, perfect love between three Persons, so much so that they are One God.

Families are a reflection of that perfection.

Anything that compromises the openness to communication and personified love for each other and for children cannot, therefore, be permissible. What is revealed by God is infallible, and Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, said that loving God and your neighbor is the basis of the whole law.

You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment.  And the second is like to this:  You shall love your neighbour as yourself.  On these two commandments depends the whole law and the prophets.”  Matthew 22: 37-40

Father Benedict Ashley O.P. addresses contraception in his book, “Living the Truth in Love” and says that contraception, just as anything else that degrades the sexual act to an act only for recreation, “depersonalizes love.” (221-222) It is intrinsically immoral to render the beautiful and loving gift of the sexual act between a husband and a wife sterile by mechanical, surgical, or chemical means in order to merely obtain for one’s self sexual pleasure unrelated to procreation. That is what we call selfishness. Ahem, selfishness is a vice, and vices do not lead to real happiness.

This wonderful, loving truth is what makes the nasty demons roar their ugly lies.  Why?  Because the destruction of the family is Satan’s most effective weapon.  Break families and you break people, then you break society.  God made us to belong, to be loved, to be known – and we are desperate without it.  Satan is against love and unity, a cosmic war on the family.

Therefore, if a doctrine developed that permitted contraception, it would be a doctrine that directly contradicted the very basis of the entire moral law from God for how man is to live and find happiness, and for how man is to achieve an eternal life of bliss.  Doctrine cannot contradict the infallible revelations of God. God is Love. God is Unity. God perfectly communicates Love.

God is not, “Come here baby and let me hold you and use you, but first I need to medicate myself against you or wrap myself up in plastic so I don’t really touch you because you might do something to me that is unplanned.”

However, it should be noted that it is permissible to know and communicate the natural cycles of the body between married couples, and to choose to abstain from the procreative act during fertile periods, so long as the couple does not completely become closed to raising a family in love.

OK, bring it home then.

When I see my husband, the love of my life, stare at our baby boy as if he would pour all of himself into that child if only it were somehow mystically possible, and when I even begin to think of the damage it would do to that child were our sacred marital bond ever broken, I understand the Blessed Trinity, One God as three Persons, a little better and I am lifted Heavenward.

Contraception robs you of that.

 

The thief comes not, but for to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10