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Catholic Northwest Progress
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March 8, 1963     Catholic Northwest Progress
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March 8, 1963
 

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6--TH E PROGRESS .... Friday, March 8, 1963 THEOLOGY FOR THE LAYMAN: (Lesson 12) CHRISTIAN CULTURE is the history of every single hu- man life. Christ made it possi- ble for each one of us to be Once again friends of God; but we as individuals are purified and made perfect and acceptable to the Father only to the degree that we make ourselves like to " Christ His Son. We must freely choose to apply the merits of Christ to our own lives. All are redeemed; all are not saved. The Kingdom is like a great university that opens its doors to everyone. All can enter it and gain a new and better life by profiting from education. But only those who actually make the sacrifices, only those who enter and make use of the facili- ties for learning, ever become educated, ever actually attain a new life. Means At Our Disposal So it is with the Church. The means to a New and Perfect Life are at our disposal, Christ's redeeming sacrifice has made this possible. God has done His part. We must do ours. There is nothing automatic about sal- vation. God created us men, be- Chapter XI Redemption .. RedemptlonParadise Regained {God's Part} At this point in our discus- sion of the Great Perfector, the Great Redeemer, we must ask this question: in what does Re: demption essentially consist? The answer, from what we sltldied of man's life with God in the first chapter of Genesis, ought to be quite clear. Redemp- tion must consist essentially i n the restoration of what was es- sentially lost in paradise. The one great gift Adam and Eve had in paradise was a created share in DIVINE LIFE--SANC- TIFYING GRACE. Thus re- demption consists essentially in the restoration to the essential good: DIVINE LIFE. :The whole history of the human race is one of purifica- tion, growth and spiritual de- velopment through human trial, error and failure, guided by God. And all for one purpose, to pre- pare man for the restoration of a share in Divine Life. It is to St. John's Gospel that . ings who possess we must turn for our explana- and freedom of tion of the inner meaning of Christianity. For St. John, all of intelligence choice. God wants our salvation to be a hu- man thing, something we freely choose. God did not make us dumb animals driven by impulse. We are free to choose whether we will love and serve God or not. In t h i s lies man's greatest glory and his greatest failure. Upon this choice of acceptance or rejection of what God has done for us shall depend our whole salvation or rejection for all eternity. Salvation is within our reach; but not within our grasp! To grasp it requires a free act of our will. The Kingdom Is Made to Last Our Divine Lord knew that He would not remain forever with men in the way that He came to them on Christmas night. He would soon suffer, die, rise from the dead and then ascend to the right hand of I-I]'s Father there to remain forever. Yet His Kingdom must re- main. This Kingdom for which He was about to suffer and die, this Kingdom which possessed the Truth and the Life which He alone could give it, this King- dom must not suffer error and corruption or e 1 s e all of the work of the Son of God would have been in vain.  There Would Be Sin So important was it that His Church not fail that He prom- ised His Apostles after He had given the command to go out and spread His Kingdom to the world: "... behold, I am with you all days, even unto the con- summation of the world." (Matt. 28:20). This promise does not mean, however, that God would take away man's free will. No! Within the Kingdom itself, since it would be intrusted into the hands of fallen human beings, there would be sin, there would be misuse of power from time to time. There would be mis- takes in those things which were not essential. We saw all of these things in the Old Testament Kingdom. We saw how God the Father preserved the essential elements of the law in spite of the weak human beings who were chosen to be His instruments. The New Kingdom itself would be a per- fect society. It would possess within itself all the means nec- essary for man once again to be a friend of God. Yet while the society and the means are now perfect, those who would seek Christianity can be summed up in this one central idea: NEW- LIFE. This new-life is the life of God restored to mankind. This new-life is CHRIST. It is attained by the Christian through FAITH in the new means es- tablished by Christ for the com- munication of His Life: the sac- rifice of the Cross and the Christian Sacraments. SalvationParadise Relived (Our Part) The whole wonderful process whereby mankind has been re- stored and made once again ac- ceptable to God, is a history not only of humanity in general, it MADE THIS POSSIBLE during he Ins 12-monh period 1,380 $521,931.28 230 $208,420.50 19,435 1,031 $29,90S.30 $1,755.69 Number of Employees .................. Total Wages Paid ..................... Handicapped Workers ................. Handicapped Workers' Wages .......... Total Meals Served .................... Number of Families Given Food ......... Merchandise Given Needy Families ...... Cash Given During Emergencies ........... On Behalf of the Poor and Less Fortunate, We Say Thank You and God Bless You . II St. Vincenf de Paul Salvage Bureau 1001 Falrvlew Ave. N. Seattle 9 MA. 3-1492 $ERi|5 to enter this society and make use of those means were not perfect. And so we are faced with the divine and human ele- ment in Christ's Church. Our Lord predicted that these elements would be found in His Kingdom and so as we look around to the Christian world the human element in the Church ought not to shock us. St. Matthew tells us that Jesus likened His Kingdom to "a man who sowed, good seed in his field, but while men were asleep, his enemy came: and sowed weeds among the wheat .... " Satan's Work Seen Our 'Blessed Lord was warn- ing us that the devil is constant- ly at w0ik trying to lead good members of His Kingdom into sin. And-as we look about us we do find the effects of Satan's work very apparent in Christ's Kingdom. And we, like the ser- vants in the parable, seeing evil members in Christ's Kingdom are tempted to ask: "Wilt thou have us go and gather them up?" Our Lord gives us the an- swer to the problem of evil in His Church when He answers the question proposed by the . servants in the parable who wanted to gather up the weeds in the wheat field. "No," C h r i s t has the man say, "lest in gathering the weed you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow to- gether until the harvest; and at harvest time I will say to the reapers, Gather up the weeds first and bind them in bundles to burn (hell); but gather the wheat (good members) into my barn (heaven)." Human Elements in the Kingdom 'We are not trying to say from our r e mar k s above that the human element in Christ's Church is evil, Far from it. Human nature as we saw in the beginning is essentially good. We admit that it is weak and when it gives in to weakness then sin and evil do result. But God came to save human nature .as it is He did not come to de- stroy it. God so loved men that He Himself took on a human nature like our own in all things save sin. And so if the kingdom is to be a human thing it must be put together and run as an intelligent human society. There is still the necessity of Law . And if there are laws and truths to be taught there must be Prophets: men to teach the law. If any s o c i e t y is to function properly there must be authority, there is still need for a leader, a KING. And in any religious so- ciety..where human beings are involved, beings who possess bodies as well as souls, there must be Sacrifice and S a c r e d Signs. Looking at the human ele- ment in the Kingdom of God, Christ's Church on earth, was to be no different in these basic fundamental respects than the Kingdom of God established under Moses in the Old Testa- ment, Apostles Chosen From the very outset of His public ministry, as soon as Christ began to Teach His New Law, He likewise began to look for human teachers who could pass " it down from generation to gen- efati0ri the way men of all ages pass truths down: throug h word of mouth. For this task our Lord chose the twelve Apostles. No sooner had Christ declared to the world that He was a Man possessed of Divine Authority, than He chose a man to repre- sent His Authority to the people after He ascended into heaven. That man was Peter. The night before He die d, Christ instituted a New and per- fect Sacrifice; and immediately He Ordained His Apostles as Priests in order that they might 0 @ doesn't do this. He rather allows men and w o m e n to cooperate with Him in bringing natural life into this world. This is the human way to do it. Any other way might be just ture, it would not be natural. This is also true of the way 1. What does Redemption mean? 2. In the Old Testament, God chose humans (Moses, Solomon, David, Isias) to be His spokesmen, to be the leaders of His people. Do you see how this pattern, established by God from the beginning, was continued by Christ when He founded His Church? 3. The Church is human, but more importantly, the Church is Divine. When you think of the humans who are your Pope, your bishop, your priests, do you think of these men as guardians of Christ's truth, and the recipients of God's special favor and protection? Isn't it through their presence among us that Christ is with us all days? 4. What about the man who tries to be his own priest, his own prophet, his own religious leader and spiritual director? There are many who think that while a Church is good for those who need it, it is not necessary for themselves. What part of Christ's teach- ing are they neglecting. 5. On what do you base your respect for a Catholic priest? mWhile we may admire the attractive human traits that are his, musn't we first see this man as chosen by God and delegated by Christ with great spiritual privilege? When we do not observe any attractive human traits in him, can we fail to give him the respect due to "another Christ? 6. When we know that Christ mixed the human with the Divine in His Church, what should be our attitude when we see, either in history or in the present, human failures in the Church? _= i =--= flrI!i1I1ii 1!Irllllll iiii i qltqlr1111 1iII1lIII1r[iIIIIn perpetuate it. "Do this in com- memoration of Me." Through- out His I i f e Christ perfected Sacred-Signs making them Sac- raments. And time and again He commanded His A p o s t i e s to make use of them. "Go,--make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit . . ." "Whose sins you shall forgive;" "This is My Body . . . do this in commemoration of Me." In all of this Our Lord was thinking of each one of us. He was thinking of the thousands and thousands of souls who would never seen Him in the flesh, never be present at His Bloody sacrifice on the Cross, never hear Him preach His Law of Love nor hear His words of forgiveness. Our Lord was think- ing of the best possible human way of transmitting His King- dom whole and entire to men and women of every age. Out of this great desire grew the Cath- olic Church, Christ's Kingdom come on earth. Showed .Work of Redemption God does not multiply mira- cles without necessity. He has willed to give human beings a share in the very work of re- demption to the degree that it is humanly possible for them to share it. Since human beings can pass on truth, offer sacrifice, rule, teach and perform sacred rites, Our Lord put these duties into our human hands. The whole purpose of this Kingdom is to communicate Di- vine Life to men. One might be tempted to ask: Why does God go to such elaborate means to give us divine life, setting up a complex and highly organized kingdom? Why doesn't He just give it to us directly and private- ly? Certainly God could do this, no one denies this. But the whole poin t of human life would be missed if one thinks in this. way. God made man in His own image in order that man might cooperate with God in working out His salva- tion. To ask why God allows us to cooperate with Him in the dispensation of Divine Life also forces us to ask why He allows us to cooperate in the passing on of Human Life. God could create each of us separately, pri- vately, independently of anybody else. But as a matter of fact He supernatural life comes to man. It must be through other men or it is not natural, God wants us to be saved as cooperating hu- man beings. Divine Element in the Kingdom Parents who Cooperate with God in bringing new life into this world do not create the child's immortal s0ul, nor his personality. God alone can do this. The parents bring to the creative act all that they can. God does the rest. Yet God re. spects that littlebit that the par- ents can do. He does not create immortal human souls until hu- man beings first do their part. Why? Because this is the human way. God's action is certainly far greater, more wonderful, more powerful, infinitely more per- fect, yet God somehow wills to make man necessary, God insists that man cooperate, work along with Him. That's what a human being is created for. Nevertb.eless, let us never for- get the Divine element in the conception and growth Of chil- dren, arid never of course let us forget the all essential Divine Element in the conception, de- velopment and growth of Christ's Church. The TRUTH which is pre- served in the Church is not hu- man but divine, it is the product of Revelation. Man m e r ely passes this Truth along, Those whom Christ chooses to teach this Truth are indeed human and without d i v i n e strength and guidance at all times they could never meet the difficulties and make the sacrifices inherent in teaching the word of God. Not Even Peter . . . Christ's vicar on earth, Peter, is a human being, yet he could never think of representing the Son of God, never exercise pow- ers in His Name Without special unique graces from God Him- self. Priests could never change bread and wine into Christ's Body and Blood without the power of the Holy Spirit given to them in the Sacrament of Order. Nor could anyone a'd- minister any Sacrament without God, for after all a sacrament has as its essential purpose the communication of Divine Life! Furthermore, for any man- made society to be preserved in- tact till the end of the world is not human. The fact that the Kingdom of God has been pre- A ( ......