The law of the Church is called Canon Law. It governs how the Church operates and the obligations and duties of its members. The Church’s law provides the rules and norms that help the faithful to live a moral life and guide them toward holiness. Some of these rules are particularly important and are called precepts of the Church.
Month: August 2019
Sometimes, the most basic truth of Christianity is too much to get our minds around: God became our brother. That’s an astounding thing. No other religion makes this claim. In Greek and Roman mythology, the gods came down to earth to meddle and to frustrate humanity—not to become human. In other major religions, such as Islam, God is so far above and beyond the world that the idea of God becoming man is inconceivable. Only in Christianity does God, as part of the economy of salvation, take on our human nature and become man.
“Take up and read.”
These are the words that launched St. Augustine on his path to becoming one of the greatest Fathers of the Church and most influential biblical scholars of all time. Augustine didn’t just discover the treasure of the Bible for himself when he followed God’s prompting to take up and read—he helped countless Christians over the millennia.
If God was speaking to you, would you hurry Him along, let your mind wander? Of course not. Yet that is what happens so often during the Liturgy of the Word, as lectors rush through the readings while we ponder grocery lists or the game. It’s far too easy for us to tune out and treat the Liturgy of the Word like an intermission between the Preparation and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. We sometimes give in to the feeling that all that really matters is receiving the Eucharist and that the Liturgy of the Word is inessential to our worship.
“Throughout the Old Covenant the mission of many holy women prepared for that of Mary. . . . Mary ‘stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation from him. After a long period of waiting the times are fulfilled in her, the exalted Daughter of Sion, and the new plan of salvation is established’” (CCC 489).
The evangelist Luke wrote both the Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles. This means more than the fact that both books share the same literary style, vocabulary, and perspective. They share the same plot. Indeed, Luke begins his sequel to his Gospel by noting how the second work is a continuation of the first, because the life of Jesus is recapitulated in the life of the Church. “In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach” (Acts 1:1). Note the key verb “began,” which underscores that the story of Jesus has not ended but rather has surprisingly taken on a new form in the life of the Church.
“O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” one of my favorite songs, contains the line: “Ransom captive Israel.” This line surely refers to slavery to sin. We shall see that there is something very profound in all of this: God’s actions throughout salvation history often reflect a deeper spiritual reality. In the Old Testament, God dramatizes His people’s deliverance from sin by delivering them from slavery.