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March 7, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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March 7, 1998

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l' rch 7, 1998 Page 5 An educational section of ARKANSAS CATHOLIC 9 @ hristian, recognize your dignity and, now that you l~ ~A share in God's own nature, do not return to your Ormer base condition by sinning. Remember who is [otw head and of whose body you are a member. Never c0rget that you have been rescued from the power of arkness and brought into the light of the Kingdom of riot. (CC #1691). . , , .. The .third book of the Catechism of the Camolic tihttrch concerns how we are to act and live as brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ because of our baptism, be- coming members of the Body of Christ. The book is divided into two parts -- Our Vocation: Life in the Spirit ~d the Ten Commandments. The first section is fur- er divided into three chapters -- dignity of the human )S person, the human commumty and God salvation: law image and likeness of God. This divine image is present in every person and shines forth in the communion of persons, for if our God is a community of persons, we most image our God when we gather as the People of GOd. There are two ways to discover how we should act according to God's plan, human reason and divine rev- elation. Throughout the centuries people have used their intellects to discover principles for moral behav- ior: murder is wrong for it is a threat to community, theft is wrong for it destroys trust, adultery is wrong for it damages family life. Divine revelation as found in the Scriptures reveals what God wishes us to know about Himself. In the incarnation, Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh, sharing life with us, calling us friends, and showing us how to fully live as human beings in order to bring about the reign of God. Christian morality asks the question -- How should we live as brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ? Christian morality judges atti- tudes and actions as being right or wrong for a follower of Jesus. Christian morality implies freedom and knowledge. Freedom means that we can make choices about our actions and the direction of our lives, for to be human is not to be ruled solely by instinct, to be human is to love and love requires freedom Knowledge means that we can gain information to help us understand God's plan 'for us. Human intellect and divine revelation to- tiny GOd has in store for us, for we will only be happy when out hearts rest in triune God. The catechism states: "The beatitudes reveal the goal of human existence, the ultimate end of human acts: God calls us to his own beatitude. This vocation is addressed to each individual personally, but also to the Church as a whole, the new people made up of those who have accepted the prom- ise and live from it in faith" (CC #1719). The Christian concept of the human person involves our seeing ourselves as a material/spiritual being, a whole person body and soul created by God; having a free will and can choose; belonging to each other; made in the image of GOd thus we are fundamentally good; we sin but GOd forgives and supports us; and our voca- tion is to love. God has made us co-creators, everything we have is a gift from God, for us to use, develop, and enjoy in a responsive manner that reflects the glory of God. Christian morality involves responsibility. How do we respond to God's invitation of salvation through Jesus Christ? How do we show our yes to living and acting as brothers and sisters of Jesus? Our ability to respond to God's invitation is rooted in the Holy Spirit who comes to us at our baptism, and through grace enabling us to say yes to discipleship, yes to a life long process of leaning and growing in our relationship with God and each other. For Christian morality seeks to enhance the dignity of human persons, created in the image of triune God, and views human life through the grace. The Christian vision of humanity is to be a child of gether help us to grow in our knowledge of what is life and teachings of Jesus christ, for the sake of bring- God with basic dignity and eternal destiny. Today we good and l~ad, right-and wrong. Throughout history we ing about the reign of God. ~i~~~i~!:i!~i~,~ i~;~:~ ~;~ ueed to ask the auestion what does it mean to be hu- have grown in moral knowledge. For example, slavery ...... :,.. ..................... ...................... ......... ........... ............ man? Th " " " " was once accepted, but now we realize the equality of iii:.i!i~il ~'~"~ ':~:~"~::i]ii'Ji :iili ~;:: ra ere are many different ideas today of what tt h earls to be human. Some would say that an unborn all people. Testing nuclear weapons was accepted, but i:~:i~::~i~i~ ............ ~ :~i~~ ~ aby is not human, others that the individual exists now we know the harm that can be done. Capital pun- u~y for the state, an advertiser may see people only as ishment was accepted under some circumstances, but ,aSUrners, a ealin to vani , ride and appetites, now we recognize the dignity of each person. catechis Pcle rgv statesp the dignity of the At the heart of the teachings of Jesus is the beati- man person is rooted in our being created m thetudes, beatitude means happiness, and reflects the des- !!~iii~~ Understanding Our Church Vhy are Bibles different? A brief history A Word on Scripture and Sacred TradRion Abbot Jerome Kodeil, OSB Daniel and Esther. These books were among the writ- ings considered inspired by Jews of Jesus' time and used by the early generations of Christians. Why, then, were they declared nonbiblical by the Reformers? At the time of Jesus, the Jews did not have a defined collection of the books that all considered inspired. Everyone accepted the books called the Law and the Prophets, but there were differences concerning books belonging to the grolip called the Writings, which were among the last to be produced. Many of these were written in Greek and did not seem to have the status of the earlier books written in Hebrew. But all the addi- tional books now part of the Catholic Bible were being circulated as Scripture among the Greek-speaking Jews ~Catholic who has tried to defend the biblical in the time before Christ and during and after His is of the practice of praying for the dead has lifetime. When the Jews finally set the limits of the Old Tes- into the problem of diverse canons of Scripture. cond Maccabees endorses prayer for the dead as tament about 200 A.D., those in leadership at the time . excellent and noble" and based on faith in the res- left out these additional books, though they had been e rn ection (12:43). But that book is not contained in considered part of the Bible during the lifetime of Jesus, e Bible read by Protestants and cannot be refer- and several had been quoted as inspired by early Chris- ced in interfaith discussion, tian writers. Why don't all Christians have the same Bible? The By the 16th century the smaller collection of Old Testament iltholic Bible has the same books as the Protestant books had become standard in the Jewish lble, but it also contains some additional Old Testa- community. When the Reformers were looking for ways ;nt books which were removed by the Reformers in to get back to the original setting of the time of Christ, e 16th century, they thought the Jews of their time would be reliable There are seven additional books: Baruch, Judith, guides to the Bible used by Jesus. So they mistakenly l nd 2 Maccabees, Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus), Tobit followed the Jews in recognizing the shorter collection Wisdom; plus additional parts for the books of of Old Testament books. However, the English-speaking Reform tradition rep- resented by the King James Bible of the Anglican Church was not originally as hard and fast in disasso- ciating from the longer collection as was that of the continent. From its production in the early 1600s until about 1830, the questioned books were still published in the King James Bible, but in a separate section. We see this situation reflected in, for example, the following passage from George Eliot's novel, "Adam Bede," written about 1850 hut reflecting the society of the early 1800s: "And on some mornings, when he read in the Apocrypha, of which he was very fond, the son of Sirach's keen-edged words would bring a de- lighted smile, though he also enjoyed the freedom of occasionally differing from an Apocryphal writer. For Adam knew the Articles quite well, as became a good churchman." Political events of the mid-1800s changed this attitude both in England and the United States. This difference of Bible books would be confusing enough, but another problem is that Catholics and Protestants have different ways of referring to them (as evidenced in the passage just quoted): Catholics call them the"Deuterocanonicals" and Protestants the "Apocrypha." Today Catholics and some Protestants are drawing closer again on the issue of the biblical books. Several Protestant publishers issue Bibles in two editions: one "with the Apocrypha" (especially for Catholic usage) and another without the disputed books. abbot Jeror Ko&U wri from S Nam Abbey.