Month: August 2019

What Is Virtue?

What is virtue? Go ahead and try to come up with a definition—and don’t cheat by looking at the rest of this article!

I am willing to bet this was a difficult task for most—I can’t remember the last time I heard a meaningful definition of a virtue given in everyday circumstances. Most of us mistakenly think that the virtues are academic categories reserved for philosophers and theologians. However, the virtues are the basic stuff of the Christian moral life. The Catechism has defined virtue as “habitual and firm disposition to do good” (1833).

Is Mary’s Assumption in the Bible?

Traditionally, Catholics have seen the woman in Revelation 12 as Mary. Of course, just as other passages in Revelation have multiple meanings, Catholics affirm that the woman doesn’t only represent Mary. As we shall see, the “woman” must also be understood as “Daughter Zion,” depicted in Isaiah. What reasons are there for recognizing the woman as Mary at all? When one examines the way Revelation 11 leads into Revelation 12, the reasons for such an interpretation are clearly seen.

Scripture Study and Eucharistic Amazement

Scripture study has played a huge part in my faith. It was a Bible study on the Eucharist that really transformed my faith. I remember hearing great things about the study and so I decided to check it out, but I couldn’t have anticipated what it would be like to hear someone speak about the Eucharist who really believed in the Real Presence. That study shook me, and from that moment my life took a different trajectory. I started attending daily Mass, making holy hours, and taking my faith more seriously. And now I work with the St. Paul Center to bring that experience to more Catholics.

Do this in remembrance, formed in christ, jacob wood, the sacraments

The Sacraments: Chisels in the Hands of Christ

The Word became flesh so that His humanity would be the instrument for the salvation of all men of all times. However, since Jesus lived as a man on this earth for a short time in a tiny part of the world, He desired some way to make Himself present as man to succeeding ages. While leaving us in the darkness of faith, with the corresponding possibility of merit, He still wishes that we truly encounter His humanity and its salvific power. The sacraments are the divinely appointed means for this encounter in faith. They offer this encounter with Christ by functioning as instruments of His humanity. They sanctify us by providing a mysterious contact with Christ’s humanity even after He has physically ascended into heaven.

Why the Eucharist Gives Us the Grace to Avoid Sin

Eucharistic Prayers, in the epiclesis for the sanctification of the faithful, frequently mention the forgiveness of sins as a primary effect of Communion. This is interpreted by Innocent III to mean that devout reception of the Eucharist “blots out venial sins and wards off mortal sins.” Both effects are made possible by the infusion of charity. This does not mean, of course, that all mortal sins are effectively warded off, nor that all venial sins are actually forgiven, for the infusion of charity is according to the measure of the disposition of the communicant and both effects require our free and active cooperation.

How God Acts in Our Lives

When we read the Bible, we easily notice all the great miracles and mighty deeds of the past, and wonder why God does not act in our lives. But that is where the sacraments and the liturgy come in. Christianity is not a “religion of the book,” in that we only read about what God did in the past; no, through the sacraments and liturgy God continues to make present His saving grace.

In the Order of Melchizedek

Throughout salvation history the People of God have always had priests to mediate between God and man. The priests offered sacrifices to atone for the people’s sins and officiated over the liturgy. The priests of the Old Covenant offered sheep, goats, and bulls. In the New Covenant, Jesus, who is at the same time the high priest and the sacrifice, offers Himself on the Cross to the Father in heaven. By virtue of our Baptism, each Christian shares, to a certain degree, in Christ’s priesthood. This priesthood of all believers is known as the common priesthood of the faithful (CCC 1591). We offer the sacrifices of our lives to the Father in union with the sacrifice of Christ, which the priest presents to Our Heavenly Father at the Mass.