Thursday, April 29, 2010

Theology, Religion, Local Practice (Part 2)

    To reiterate, I am a catholic and will remain to be a catholic. No amount of persuasion or discouragement will change that. But neither would I be likely to force others to be one nor judging anyone unworthy of God's kindness and compassion. 
    The Church offers itself to the world. What was given to it by grace, it also gives back this gift gratis. The Church does not proselytize as some religions do. It rather presents itself as a living witness to the risen Christ.  This is the "religion" of the Catholic Church. Some may say that religion will not save you. On the contrary, religion means "to bind again", religiare, and is even taught to its faithful in all catechism classes. That is to bind with God. But to begin to have a relationship to Him, you need to believe in Him. What the modern man may have lost (belief), the Church has kept ever since its foundation which is faith. It is precisely in the Church where faith is found. One only has to sincerely ask of it. And what does Faith do? It gives eternal life. It enables man to rise from all misunderstandings, from suffering, from spiritual death towards everlasting life. All religions for that matter necessarily entails a relationship with the divine. The very reason people look to God. The need to be taken out of misery, a difficult situation. Man seeing himself in a mess with no one to turn to, finally kneels down in supplication and surrenders himself completely to God. In this instance, man seeks to be saved from realized depravation. 
    However, if religion is taken to mean as some kind of a formal structure like a club or a fraternity or just a fad, then the difference of opinion against it will hold true. It will surely not save anybody.
    In Faith, the Church receives  into its fold those who seek eternal life baptizing them in the "name of the Father, of the Son , and of the Holy Spirit". Herewith are excerpts from the Holy Scriptures invoked in the sacrament of Baptism:
    "Father, you give us grace through sacramental signs, which tell us of the wonders of your unseen power. In baptism we use your gift of water, which you have made a rich symbol of the grace you give us in this sacrament.
At the very dawn of creation your Spirit breathed on the waters, making them the wellspring of holiness.
The waters of the great flood you made a sign of the waters of baptism, that made an end of delusion and a new beginning of goodness.
Through the waters of the Red Sea you led Israel out of slavery, to be an image of God's holy people, set free from delusion by baptism,
In the waters of the Jordan your Son was baptized by John and anointed with the Spirit.
After his resurrection he hold his disciples: "Go out and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."



   "Thus says the Lord God: I will take you away from among the nations, gather you from all the foreign lands, and bring you back to your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you. I will refresh your heart and enhance the spirit within you, enlivening your natural hearts. I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statues, careful to observe my decrees. You shall live in the land I have given your fathers; you shall be my people, and I will be your God." 

3 comments:

  1. As a schoolmate of mine, Francisco Castro, further noted "the Faith of the Church is rooted in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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  2. It pains me to remember the "faith" of a friend, a Franciscan Capuchin priest, who questioned his fraternity. Doubts were cast upon him when he was assigned in a retreat center regarding funds. One time, I chanced upon him at SM Sta Rosa Laguna. He hugged me so hard I felt my heart will explode. I felt his pain in that hug. Then he whispered, "Pray for me, te Bebs, I would like to die as a Capuchin!" What goes on in his mind I could not fathom. I could only pray unceasingly to God that he might find again the way to his old fraternity.

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  3. I can only empathize with the good Reverend too, Pinoy Pabahay.

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