Saturday, May 31, 2008

2Cor 2, 17 In the presence of God we speak in Christ

(2Cor 2, 17) In the presence of God we speak in Christ
[17] For we are not like the many who trade on the word of God; but as out of sincerity, indeed as from God and in the presence of God, we speak in Christ.
(CCC 53) The divine plan of Revelation is realized simultaneously "by deeds and words which are intrinsically bound up with each other" (DV 2) and shed light on each another. It involves a specific divine pedagogy: God communicates himself to man gradually. He prepares him to welcome by stages the supernatural Revelation that is to culminate in the person and mission of the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ. St. Irenaeus of Lyons repeatedly speaks of this divine pedagogy using the image of God and man becoming accustomed to one another: the Word of God dwelt in man and became the Son of man in order to accustom man to perceive God and to accustom God to dwell in man, according to the Father's pleasure (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 20, 2: PG 7/1, 944; cf. 3, 17, 1; 4, 12, 4; 4, 21, 3). (CCC 2) So that this call should resound throughout the world, Christ sent forth the apostles he had chosen, commissioning them to proclaim the gospel: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." (Mt 28:19-20) Strengthened by this mission, the apostles "went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it." (Mk 16:20). (CCC 3) Those who with God's help have welcomed Christ's call and freely responded to it are urged on by love of Christ to proclaim the Good News everywhere in the world. This treasure, received from the apostles, has been faithfully guarded by their successors. All Christ's faithful are called to hand it on from generation to generation, by professing the faith, by living it in fraternal sharing, and by celebrating it in liturgy and prayer (Acts 2:42).

2Cor 2, 15-16 We are the aroma of Christ for God

(2Cor 2, 15-16) We are the aroma of Christ for God
[15] For we are the aroma of Christ for God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, [16] to the latter an odor of death that leads to death, to the former an odor of life that leads to life. Who is qualified for this?
(CCC 1289) Very early, the better to signify the gift of the Holy Spirit, an anointing with perfumed oil (chrism) was added to the laying on of hands. This anointing highlights the name "Christian," which means "anointed" and derives from that of Christ himself whom God "anointed with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 10:38). This rite of anointing has continued ever since, in both East and West. For this reason the Eastern Churches call this sacrament Chrismation, anointing with chrism, or myron which means "chrism." In the West, the term Confirmation suggests that this sacrament both confirms baptism, and strengthens baptismal grace. (CCC 1294) Anointing with oil has all these meanings in the sacramental life. The pre-baptismal anointing with the oil of catechumens signifies cleansing and strengthening; the anointing of the sick expresses healing and comfort. The post-baptismal anointing with sacred chrism in Confirmation and ordination is the sign of consecration. By Confirmation Christians, that is, those who are anointed, share more completely in the mission of Jesus Christ and the fullness of the Holy Spirit with which he is filled, so that their lives may give off "the aroma of Christ" (2 Cor 2:15).

2Cor 2, 12-14 The odor of the knowledge of him

(2Cor 2, 12-14) The odor of the knowledge of him
[12] When I went to Troas for the gospel of Christ, although a door was opened for me in the Lord, [13] I had no relief in my spirit because I did not find my brother Titus. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia. [14] But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ and manifests through us the odor of the knowledge of him in every place.
(CCC 1241) The anointing with sacred chrism, perfumed oil consecrated by the bishop, signifies the gift of the Holy Spirit to the newly baptized, who has become a Christian, that is, one "anointed" by the Holy Spirit, incorporated into Christ who is anointed priest, prophet, and king (Cf. RBC 62). (CCC 1242) In the liturgy of the Eastern Churches, the post-baptismal anointing is the sacrament of Chrismation (Confirmation). In the Roman liturgy the post-baptismal anointing announces a second anointing with sacred chrism to be conferred later by the bishop-Confirmation, which will as it were "confirm" and complete the baptismal anointing.

Friday, May 30, 2008

2Cor 2, 11b We are not unaware of his purposes

(2Cor 2, 11b) We are not unaware of his purposes
[11b] for we are not unaware of his purposes.
(CCC 550) The coming of God's kingdom means the defeat of Satan's: "If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you" (Mt 12:26, 28). Jesus' exorcisms free some individuals from the domination of demons. They anticipate Jesus' great victory over "the ruler of this world" (Jn 12:31; cf. Lk 8:26-39). The kingdom of God will be definitively established through Christ's cross: "God reigned from the wood" (LH, Lent, Holy Week, Evening Prayer, Hymn Vexilla Regis: “Regnavit a ligno Deus”). (CCC 636) By the expression "He descended into hell", the Apostles' Creed confesses that Jesus did really die and through his death for us conquered death and the devil "who has the power of death" (Heb 2:14). (CCC 2853) Victory over the "prince of this world" (Jn 14:30) was won once for all at the Hour when Jesus freely gave himself up to death to give us his life. This is the judgment of this world, and the prince of this world is "cast out" (Jn 12:31; Rev 12:10). "He pursued the woman" (Rev 12:13-169) but had no hold on her: the new Eve, "full of grace" of the Holy Spirit, is preserved from sin and the corruption of death (the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God, Mary, ever virgin). "Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring" (Rev 12:17). Therefore the Spirit and the Church pray: "Come, Lord Jesus" (Rev 22:17,20), since his coming will deliver us from the Evil One.

2Cor 2, 10-11a Not be taken advantage of by Satan

(2Cor 2, 10-11a) Not be taken advantage of by Satan
[10] Whomever you forgive anything, so do I. For indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for you in the presence of Christ, [11a] so that we might not be taken advantage of by Satan,
(CCC 414) Satan or the devil and the other demons are fallen angels who have freely refused to serve God and his plan. Their choice against God is definitive. They try to associate man in their revolt against God. (CCC 415) "Although set by God in a state of rectitude man, enticed by the evil one, abused his freedom at the very start of history. He lifted himself up against God, and sought to attain his goal apart from him" (GS 13 § 1). (CCC 394) Scripture witnesses to the disastrous influence of the one Jesus calls "a murderer from the beginning", who would even try to divert Jesus from the mission received from his Father (Jn 8:44; cf. Mt 4:1-11). "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (I Jn 3:8). In its consequences the gravest of these works was the mendacious seduction that led man to disobey God. (CCC 395) The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God's reign. Although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries - of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature - to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but "we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him” (Rom 8:28).

2Cor 2, 6-9 Reaffirm your love for him

(2Cor 2, 6-9) Reaffirm your love for him
[6] This punishment by the majority is enough for such a person, [7] so that on the contrary you should forgive and encourage him instead, or else the person may be overwhelmed by excessive pain. [8] Therefore, I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. [9] For this is why I wrote, to know your proven character, whether you were obedient in everything.
(CCC 2608) From the Sermon on the Mount onwards, Jesus insists on conversion of heart: reconciliation with one's brother before presenting an offering on the altar, love of enemies, and prayer for persecutors, prayer to the Father in secret, not heaping up empty phrases, prayerful forgiveness from the depths of the heart, purity of heart, and seeking the Kingdom before all else (Cf. Mt 5:23-24, 44-45; 6:7, 14-15, 21, 25, 33). This filial conversion is entirely directed to the Father. (CCC 986) By Christ's will, the Church possesses the power to forgive the sins of the baptized and exercises it through bishops and priests normally in the sacrament of Penance. (CCC 987) "In the forgiveness of sins, both priests and sacraments are instruments which our Lord Jesus Christ, the only author and liberal giver of salvation, wills to use in order to efface our sins and give us the grace of justification" (Roman Catechism, I, 11, 6). (CCC 1694) Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, Christians are "dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus" and so participate in the life of the Risen Lord (Rom 6:11 and cf. 6:5; cf. Col 2:12). Following Christ and united with him (Cf. Jn 15:5), Christians can strive to be "imitators of God as beloved children, and walk in love" (Eph 5:1-2) by conforming their thoughts, words and actions to the "mind… which is yours in Christ Jesus" (Phil 2:5), and by following his example (Cf. Jn 13:12-16).

Thursday, May 29, 2008

2Cor 2, 4-5 Out of much affliction and anguish of heart

(2Cor 2, 4-5) Out of much affliction and anguish of heart
[4] For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears, not that you might be pained but that you might know the abundant love I have for you. [5] If anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure (not to exaggerate) to all of you.
(CCC 1767) In themselves passions are neither good nor evil. They are morally qualified only to the extent that they effectively engage reason and will. Passions are said to be voluntary, "either because they are commanded by the will or because the will does not place obstacles in their way" (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 24, 1 corp. art.). It belongs to the perfection of the moral or human good that the passions be governed by reason (Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 24, 3). (CCC 1768) Strong feelings are not decisive for the morality or the holiness of persons; they are simply the inexhaustible reservoir of images and affections in which the moral life is expressed. Passions are morally good when they contribute to a good action, evil in the opposite case. The upright will orders the movements of the senses it appropriates to the good and to beatitude; an evil will succumbs to disordered passions and exacerbates them. Emotions and feelings can be taken up into the virtues or perverted by the vices. (CCC 1769) In the Christian life, the Holy Spirit himself accomplishes his work by mobilizing the whole being, with all its sorrows, fears and sadness, as is visible in the Lord's agony and passion. In Christ human feelings are able to reach their consummation in charity and divine beatitude. (CCC 1770) Moral perfection consists in man's being moved to the good not by his will alone, but also by his sensitive appetite, as in the words of the psalm: "My heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God" (Ps 84:2).

2Cor 2, 1-3 That my joy is that of all of you

2Corinthians 2
(2Cor 2, 1-3) That my joy is that of all of you

[1] For I decided not to come to you again in painful circumstances. [2] For if I inflict pain upon you, then who is there to cheer me except the one pained by me? [3] And I wrote as I did so that when I came I might not be pained by those in whom I should have rejoiced, confident about all of you that my joy is that of all of you.
(CCC 1762) The human person is ordered to beatitude by his deliberate acts: the passions or feelings he experiences can dispose him to it and contribute to it. (CCC 1763) The term "passions" belongs to the Christian patrimony. Feelings or passions are emotions or movements of the sensitive appetite that incline us to act or not to act in regard to something felt or imagined to be good or evil. (CCC 1764) The passions are natural components of the human psyche; they form the passageway and ensure the connection between the life of the senses and the life of the mind. Our Lord called man's heart the source from which the passions spring (Cf. Mk 7:21). (CCC 1765) There are many passions. The most fundamental passion is love, aroused by the attraction of the good. Love causes a desire for the absent good and the hope of obtaining it; this movement finds completion in the pleasure and joy of the good possessed. The apprehension of evil causes hatred, aversion, and fear of the impending evil; this movement ends in sadness at some present evil, or in the anger that resists it. (CCC 1766) "To love is to will the good of another" (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 26, 4, corp. art.). All other affections have their source in this first movement of the human heart toward the good. Only the good can be loved (Cf. St. Augustine, De Trin., 8, 3, 4: PL 42, 949-950). Passions "are evil if love is evil and good if it is good" (St. Augustine, De civ. Dei, 14, 7, 2: PL 41, 410).

2Cor 1, 22-24 He has also put his seal upon us

(2Cor 1, 22-24) He has also put his seal upon us
[22] He has also put his seal upon us and given the Spirit in our hearts as a first installment. [23] But I call upon God as witness, on my life, that it is to spare you that I have not yet gone to Corinth. [24] Not that we lord it over your faith; rather, we work together for your joy, for you stand firm in the faith.
(CCC 698) The seal is a symbol close to that of anointing. "The Father has set his seal" on Christ and also seals us in him (Jn 6:27; cf. 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13; 4:30). Because this seal indicates the indelible effect of the anointing with the Holy Spirit in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders, the image of the seal (sphragis) has been used in some theological traditions to express the indelible "character" imprinted by these three unrepeatable sacraments. (CCC 1296) Christ himself declared that he was marked with his Father's seal (Cf. Jn 6:27). Christians are also marked with a seal: "It is God who establishes us with you in Christ and has commissioned us; he has put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee" (2 Cor 1:21-22; cf. Eph 1:13; 4, 30). This seal of the Holy Spirit marks our total belonging to Christ, our enrollment in his service for ever, as well as the promise of divine protection in the great eschatological trial (Cf. Rev 7:2-3; 9:4; Ezek 9:4-6). (CCC 1107) The Holy Spirit's transforming power in the liturgy hastens the coming of the kingdom and the consummation of the mystery of salvation. While we wait in hope he causes us really to anticipate the fullness of communion with the Holy Trinity. Sent by the Father who hears the epiclesis of the Church, the Spirit gives life to those who accept him and is, even now, the "guarantee" of their inheritance (Cf. Eph 1:14; 2 Cor 1:22). (CCC 735) He, then, gives us the "pledge" or "first fruits" of our inheritance: the very life of the Holy Trinity, which is to love as "God [has] loved us" (1 Jn 4:11-12; cf. Rom 8:23; 2 Cor 1:21). This love (the "charity" of 1 Cor 13) is the source of the new life in Christ, made possible because we have received "power" from the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; cf. 1 Cor 13).

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

2Cor 1, 21 Who anointed us is God

(2Cor 1, 21) Who anointed us is God
[21] But the one who gives us security with you in Christ and who anointed us is God;
(CCC 695) Anointing. The symbolism of anointing with oil also signifies the Holy Spirit (Cf. 1 Jn 2:20:27; 2 Cor 1:21), to the point of becoming a synonym for the Holy Spirit. In Christian initiation, anointing is the sacramental sign of Confirmation, called "chrismation" in the Churches of the East. Its full force can be grasped only in relation to the primary anointing accomplished by the Holy Spirit, that of Jesus. Christ (in Hebrew "messiah") means the one "anointed" by God's Spirit. There were several anointed ones of the Lord in the Old Covenant, pre-eminently King David (Cf. Ex 30:22-32; 1 Sam 16:13). But Jesus is God's Anointed in a unique way: the humanity the Son assumed was entirely anointed by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit established him as "Christ" (Cf. Lk 4: 18-19; Isa 61:1). The Virgin Mary conceived Christ by the Holy Spirit who, through the angel, proclaimed him the Christ at his birth, and prompted Simeon to come to the temple to see the Christ of the Lord (Cf. Lk 2:11, 26-27). The Spirit filled Christ and the power of the Spirit went out from him in his acts of healing and of saving (Cf. Lk 4:1; 6:19; 8:46). Finally, it was the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead (Cf. Rom 1:4; 8:11). Now, fully established as "Christ" in his humanity victorious over death, Jesus pours out the Holy Spirit abundantly until "the saints" constitute - in their union with the humanity of the Son of God - that perfect man "to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph 4:13; cf. Acts 2:36): "the whole Christ," in St. Augustine's expression.

2Cor 1, 20 Amen from us goes through him to God

(2Cor 1, 20) Amen from us goes through him to God
[20] For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him; therefore, the Amen from us also goes through him to God for glory.
(CCC 1061) The Creed, like the last book of the Bible (Cf. Rev 22:21), ends with the Hebrew word amen. This word frequently concludes prayers in the New Testament. The Church likewise ends her prayers with "Amen." (CCC 1062) In Hebrew, amen comes from the same root as the word "believe." This root expresses solidity, trustworthiness, faithfulness. And so we can understand why "Amen" may express both God's faithfulness towards us and our trust in him.

2Cor 1, 19 Jesus Christ was not "yes" and "no", but "yes"

(2Cor 1, 19) Jesus Christ was not "yes" and "no", but "yes"
[19] For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was proclaimed to you by us, Silvanus and Timothy and me, was not "yes" and "no," but "yes" has been in him.
(CCC 1063) In the book of the prophet Isaiah, we find the expression "God of truth" (literally "God of the Amen"), that is, the God who is faithful to his promises: "He who blesses himself in the land shall bless himself by the God of truth [amen]" (Isa 65:16). Our Lord often used the word "Amen," sometimes repeated (Cf. Mt 6:2, 5, 16; Jn 5:19), to emphasize the trustworthiness of his teaching, his authority founded on God's truth. (CCC 215) "The sum of your word is truth; and every one of your righteous ordinances endures forever" (Ps 119:160) "and now, O LORD God, you are God, and your words are true" (2 Sam 7:28); this is why God's promises always come true (Cf. Dt 7:9). God is Truth itself, whose words cannot deceive. This is why one can abandon oneself in full trust to the truth and faithfulness of his word in all things. The beginning of sin and of man's fall was due to a lie of the tempter who induced doubt of God's word, kindness and faithfulness. (CCC 422) “But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Gal 4:4-5). This is “the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mk 1:1): God has visited his people. He has fulfilled the promise he made to Abraham and his descendants. He acted far beyond all expectation - he has sent his own “beloved Son” (Mk 1:11; cf. Lk 1:5, 68).

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

2Cor 1, 12-18 With the simplicity and sincerity of God

(2Cor 1, 12-18) With the simplicity and sincerity of God
[12] For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you, with the simplicity and sincerity of God, (and) not by human wisdom but by the grace of God. [13] For we write you nothing but what you can read and understand, and I hope that you will understand completely, [14] as you have come to understand us partially, that we are your boast as you also are ours, on the day of (our) Lord Jesus. [15] With this confidence I formerly intended to come to you so that you might receive a double favor, [16] namely, to go by way of you to Macedonia, and then to come to you again on my return from Macedonia, and have you send me on my way to Judea. [17] So when I intended this, did I act lightly? Or do I make my plans according to human considerations, so that with me it is "yes, yes" and "no, no"? [18] As God is faithful, our word to you is not "yes" and "no."
(CCC 1065) Jesus Christ himself is the "Amen" (Rev 3:14). He is the definitive "Amen" of the Father's love for us. He takes up and completes our "Amen" to the Father: "For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why we utter the Amen through him, to the glory of God" (2 Cor 1:20): Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, God, for ever and ever. AMEN. (CCC 2153) In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explained the second commandment: "You have heard that it was said to the men of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.' But I say to you, Do not swear at all.... Let what you say be simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything more than this comes from the evil one" (Mt 5:33-34, 37; cf. Jas 5:12). Jesus teaches that every oath involves a reference to God and that God's presence and his truth must be honored in all speech. Discretion in calling upon God is allied with a respectful awareness of his presence, which all our assertions either witness to or mock.

2Cor 1, 10-11 He will continue to rescue us

(2Cor 1, 10-11) He will continue to rescue us
[10] He rescued us from such great danger of death, and he will continue to rescue us; in him we have put our hope (that) he will also rescue us again, [11] as you help us with prayer, so that thanks may be given by many on our behalf for the gift granted us through the prayers of many.
(CCC 2854) When we ask to be delivered from the Evil One, we pray as well to be freed from all evils, present, past, and future, of which he is the author or instigator. In this final petition, the Church brings before the Father all the distress of the world. Along with deliverance from the evils that overwhelm humanity, she implores the precious gift of peace and the grace of perseverance in expectation of Christ's return. By praying in this way, she anticipates in humility of faith the gathering together of everyone and everything in him who has "the keys of Death and Hades," who "is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty" (Rev 1:8, 18; cf. Rev 1:4; Eph 1:10). Deliver us, Lord, we beseech you, from every evil and grant us peace in our day, so that aided by your mercy we might be ever free from sin and protected from all anxiety, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. (Roman Missal, Embolism after the Lord's Prayer, 126: Libera nos, quaesumus, Domine, ab omnibus malis, da propitius pacem in diebus nostris, ut, ope misericordiae tuae adiuti, et a peccato simus semper liberi, et ab omni perturbatione securi: expectantes beatam spem et adventum Salvatoris nostri Iesu Christi).

2Cor 1, 8-9 We might trust in God who raises the dead

(2Cor 1, 8-9) We might trust in God who raises the dead
[8] We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction that came to us in the province of Asia; we were utterly weighed down beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life. [9] Indeed, we had accepted within ourselves the sentence of death, that we might trust not in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.
(CCC 1748) "For freedom Christ has set us free" (Gal 5:1). (CCC 1741) Liberation and salvation. By his glorious Cross Christ has won salvation for all men. He redeemed them from the sin that held them in bondage. "For freedom Christ has set us free" (Gal 5: 1). In him we have communion with the "truth that makes us free" (Cf. In 8:32). The Holy Spirit has been given to us and, as the Apostle teaches, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (2 Cor 3:17). Already we glory in the "liberty of the children of God" (Rom 8:21). (CCC 1742) Freedom and grace. The grace of Christ is not in the slightest way a rival of our freedom when this freedom accords with the sense of the true and the good that God has put in the human heart. On the contrary, as Christian experience attests especially in prayer, the more docile we are to the promptings of grace, the more we grow in inner freedom and confidence during trials, such as those we face in the pressures and constraints of the outer world. By the working of grace the Holy Spirit educates us in spiritual freedom in order to make us free collaborators in his work in the Church and in the world: Almighty and merciful God, in your goodness take away from us all that is harmful, so that, made ready both in mind and body, we may freely accomplish your will (Roman Missal, 32nd Sunday, Opening Prayer: Omnipotens et misericors Deus, universa nobis adversantia propitiatus exclude, ut, mente et corpore pariter expediti, quae tua sunt liberis mentibus exsequamur).

Monday, May 26, 2008

2Cor 1, 7 Our hope for you is firm

(2Cor 1, 7) Our hope for you is firm
[7] Our hope for you is firm, for we know that as you share in the sufferings, you also share in the encouragement.
(CCC 556) On the threshold of the public life: the baptism; on the threshold of the Passover: the Transfiguration. Jesus' baptism proclaimed "the mystery of the first regeneration", namely, our Baptism; the Transfiguration "is the sacrament of the second regeneration": our own Resurrection (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 45, 4, ad 2). From now on we share in the Lord's Resurrection through the Spirit who acts in the sacraments of the Body of Christ. The Transfiguration gives us a foretaste of Christ's glorious coming, when he "will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body" (Phil 3:21). But it also recalls that "it is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22): Peter did not yet understand this when he wanted to remain with Christ on the mountain. It has been reserved for you, Peter, but for after death. For now, Jesus says: "Go down to toil on earth, to serve on earth, to be scorned and crucified on earth. Life goes down to be killed; Bread goes down to suffer hunger; the Way goes down to be exhausted on his journey; the Spring goes down to suffer thirst; and you refuse to suffer?" (St. Augustine, Sermo 78, 6: PL 38, 492-493; cf. Lk 9:33).

2Cor 1, 5-6 We are encouraged for your encouragemen

(2Cor 1, 5-6) We are encouraged for your encouragement
[5] For as Christ's sufferings overflow to us, so through Christ does our encouragement also overflow. [6] If we are afflicted, it is for your encouragement and salvation; if we are encouraged, it is for your encouragement, which enables you to endure the same sufferings that we suffer.
(CCC 2734) Filial trust is tested - it proves itself - in tribulation (Cf. Rom 5:3-5). The principal difficulty concerns the prayer of petition, for oneself or for others in intercession. Some even stop praying because they think their petition is not heard. Here two questions should be asked: Why do we think our petition has not been heard? How is our prayer heard, how is it "efficacious"? (CCC 2735) In the first place, we ought to be astonished by this fact: when we praise God or give him thanks for his benefits in general, we are not particularly concerned whether or not our prayer is acceptable to him. On the other hand, we demand to see the results of our petitions. What is the image of God that motivates our prayer: an instrument to be used? or the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ?

2Cor 1, 1-4 Blessed be the God and Father

Second Letter to Corinthians
2 Corinthians 1
(2Cor 1, 1-4) Blessed be the God and Father
[1] Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God that is in Corinth, with all the holy ones throughout Achaia: [2] grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. [3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement, [4] who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God.
(CCC 2626) Blessing expresses the basic movement of Christian prayer: it is an encounter between God and man. In blessing, God's gift and man's acceptance of it are united in dialogue with each other. The prayer of blessing is man's response to God's gifts: because God blesses, the human heart can in return bless the One who is the source of every blessing. (CCC 2627) Two fundamental forms express this movement: our prayer ascends in the Holy Spirit through Christ to the Father - we bless him for having blessed us (Cf. Eph 1:3-14; 2 Cor 1:3 7; 1 Pet 1:3-9); it implores the grace of the Holy Spirit that descends through Christ from the Father - he blesses us (Cf. 2 Cor 13:14; Rom 15:5-6, 13; Eph 6:23-24).

Sunday, May 25, 2008

1 Cor 16, 23-24 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you

(1 Cor 16, 23-24) The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you
Marana tha. [23] The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. [24] My love to all of you in Christ Jesus.
(CCC 1130) The Church celebrates the mystery of her Lord "until he comes," when God will be "everything to everyone" (1 Cor 11:26; 15:28). Since the apostolic age the liturgy has been drawn toward its goal by the Spirit's groaning in the Church: Marana tha! (1 Cor 16:22). The liturgy thus shares in Jesus' desire: "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you… until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God" (Lk 22:15). In the sacraments of Christ the Church already receives the guarantee of her inheritance and even now shares in everlasting life, while "awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus" (Titus 2:13). The "Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come… Come, Lord Jesus!"' (Rev 22:17, 20). St. Thomas sums up the various aspects of sacramental signs: "Therefore a sacrament is a sign that commemorates what precedes it - Christ's Passion; demonstrates what is accomplished in us through Christ's Passion - grace; and prefigures what that Passion pledges to us - future glory" (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 60, 3). (CCC 1403) At the Last Supper the Lord himself directed his disciples' attention toward the fulfillment of the Passover in the kingdom of God: "I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom" (Mt 26:29; cf. Lk 22:18; Mk 14 25). Whenever the Church celebrates the Eucharist she remembers this promise and turns her gaze "to him who is to come." In her prayer she calls for his coming: "Marana tha!" "Come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev 1:4; 22 20; 1 Cor 16 22). "May your grace come and this world pass away!" (Didache 10, 6: SCh 248, 180).

1 Cor 16, 20-22 Greet one another with a holy kiss

(1 Cor 16, 20-22) Greet one another with a holy kiss
[20] All the brothers greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. [21] I, Paul, write you this greeting in my own hand. [22] If anyone does not love the Lord, let him be accursed.
(CCC 451) Christian prayer is characterized by the title "Lord", whether in the invitation to prayer ("The Lord be with you"), its conclusion ("through Christ our Lord") or the exclamation full of trust and hope: Maran atha ("Our Lord, come!") or Marana tha ("Come, Lord!") - "Amen Come Lord Jesus!" (1 Cor 16:22; Rev 22:20). (CCC 671) Though already present in his Church, Christ's reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled "with power and great glory" by the King's return to earth (Lk 21:27; cf. Mt 25:31). This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ's Passover (Cf. 2 Th 2:7). Until everything is subject to him, "until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God" (LG 48 § 3; cf. 2 Pt 3:13; Rom 8:19-22; 1 Cor 15:28). That is why Christians pray, above all in the Eucharist, to hasten Christ's return by saying to him (Cf. 1 Cor 11:26; 2 Pt 3:11-12): Marana tha! "Our Lord, come!" (1 Cor 16:22; Rev 22:17, 20).

1 Cor 16, 19 The church at their house send greetings

(1 Cor 16, 19) The church at their house send greetings
[19] The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca together with the church at their house send you many greetings in the Lord.
(CCC 1655) Christ chose to be born and grow up in the bosom of the holy family of Joseph and Mary. The Church is nothing other than "the family of God." From the beginning, the core of the Church was often constituted by those who had become believers "together with all [their] household" (Cf. Acts 18:8). When they were converted, they desired that "their whole household" should also be saved (Cf. Acts 16:31; Acts 11:14). These families who became believers were islands of Christian life in an unbelieving world. (CCC 1656) In our own time, in a world often alien and even hostile to faith, believing families are of primary importance as centers of living, radiant faith. For this reason the Second Vatican Council, using an ancient expression, calls the family the Ecclesia domestica (LG 11; cf. FC 21). It is in the bosom of the family that parents are "by word and example… the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. They should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each child, fostering with special care any religious vocation" (LG 11).

1 Cor 16, 15-18 To the service of the holy ones

(1 Cor 16, 15-18) To the service of the holy ones
[15] I urge you, brothers - you know that the household of Stephanas is the firstfruits of Achaia and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the holy ones – [16] be subordinate to such people and to everyone who works and toils with them. [17] I rejoice in the arrival of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, because they made up for your absence, [18] for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. So give recognition to such people.
(CCC 896) The Good Shepherd ought to be the model and "form" of the bishop's pastoral office. Conscious of his own weaknesses, "the bishop… can have compassion for those who are ignorant and erring. He should not refuse to listen to his subjects whose welfare he promotes as of his very own children.... The faithful... should be closely attached to the bishop as the Church is to Jesus Christ, and as Jesus Christ is to the Father" (LG 27 § 2): Let all follow the bishop, as Jesus Christ follows his Father, and the college of presbyters as the apostles; respect the deacons as you do God's law. Let no one do anything concerning the Church in separation from the bishop (St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Smyrn. 8, 1: Apostolic Fathers, II/2, 309). (CCC 901) "Hence the laity, dedicated as they are to Christ and anointed by the Holy Spirit, are marvellously called and prepared so that even richer fruits of the Spirit maybe produced in them. For all their works, prayers, and apostolic undertakings, family and married life, daily work, relaxation of mind and body, if they are accomplished in the Spirit - indeed even the hardships of life if patiently born - all these become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. In the celebration of the Eucharist these may most fittingly be offered to the Father along with the body of the Lord. And so, worshipping everywhere by their holy actions, the laity consecrate the world itself to God, everywhere offering worship by the holiness of their lives" (LG 34; cf. LG 10, 1 Pet 2:5).

Saturday, May 24, 2008

1 Cor 16, 13-14 Stand firm in the faith, be courageous

(1 Cor 16, 13-14) Stand firm in the faith, be courageous
[13] Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong. [14] Your every act should be done with love.
(CCC 2849) Such a battle and such a victory become possible only through prayer. It is by his prayer that Jesus vanquishes the tempter, both at the outset of his public mission and in the ultimate struggle of his agony (Cf. Mt 4:1-11; 26:36-44). In this petition to our heavenly Father, Christ unites us to his battle and his agony. He urges us to vigilance of the heart in communion with his own. Vigilance is "custody of the heart," and Jesus prayed for us to the Father: "Keep them in your name" (Jn 17:11; Cf. Mk 13:9, 23, 33-37; 14:38; Lk 12:35-40). The Holy Spirit constantly seeks to awaken us to keep watch (Cf. 1 Cor 16:13; Col 4:2; 1 Thess 5:6; 1 Pet 5:8). Finally, this petition takes on all its dramatic meaning in relation to the last temptation of our earthly battle; it asks for final perseverance. "Lo, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is he who is awake" (Rev 16:15). (CCC 25) To conclude this Prologue, it is fitting to recall this pastoral principle stated by the Roman Catechism: The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends. Whether something is proposed for belief, for hope or for action, the love of our Lord must always be made accessible, so that anyone can see that all the works of perfect Christian virtue spring from love and have no other objective than to arrive at love. (Roman Catechism, Preface 10; cf. 1 Cor 13: 8).

1 Cor 16, 5-12 A door has opened for me

(1 Cor 16, 5-12) A door has opened for me
[5] I shall come to you after I pass through Macedonia (for I am going to pass through Macedonia), [6] and perhaps I shall stay or even spend the winter with you, so that you may send me on my way wherever I may go. [7] For I do not wish to see you now just in passing, but I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. [8] I shall stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, [9] because a door has opened for me wide and productive for work, but there are many opponents. [10] If Timothy comes, see that he is without fear in your company, for he is doing the work of the Lord just as I am. [11] Therefore no one should disdain him. Rather, send him on his way in peace that he may come to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers. [12] Now in regard to our brother Apollos, I urged him strongly to go to you with the brothers, but it was not at all his will that he go now. He will go when he has an opportunity.
(CCC 1590) St. Paul said to his disciple Timothy: "I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands" (2 Tim 1:6), and "If any one aspires to the office of bishop, he desires a noble task." (1 Tim 3:1) To Titus he said: "This is why I left you in Crete, that you amend what was defective, and appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you" (Titus 1:5). (CCC 162) Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man. We can lose this priceless gift, as St. Paul indicated to St. Timothy: "Wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith" (1 Tim 1:18-19). To live, grow and persevere in the faith until the end we must nourish it with the word of God; we must beg the Lord to increase our faith (Cf. Mk 9:24; Lk 17:5; 22:32); it must be "working through charity," abounding in hope, and rooted in the faith of the Church (Gal 5:6; Rom 15:13; cf. Jas 2:14-26). (CCC 1269) Having become a member of the Church, the person baptized belongs no longer to himself, but to him who died and rose for us (Cf. 1 Cor 6:19; 2 Cor 5:15). From now on, he is called to be subject to others, to serve them in the communion of the Church, and to "obey and submit" to the Church's leaders (Heb 13:17), holding them in respect and affection (Cf. Eph 5:21; 1 Cor 16:15-16; 1 Thess 5:12-13; Jn 13:12-15). Just as Baptism is the source of responsibilities and duties, the baptized person also enjoys rights within the Church: to receive the sacraments, to be nourished with the Word of God and to be sustained by the other spiritual helps of the Church (Cf. LG 37; CIC, cann. 208-223; CCEO, can. 675:2).

1 Cor 16, 1-4 The collection for the holy ones

1Corinthians 16
(1 Cor 16, 1-4) The collection for the holy ones

[1] Now in regard to the collection for the holy ones, you also should do as I ordered the churches of Galatia. [2] On the first day of the week each of you should set aside and save whatever one can afford, so that collections will not be going on when I come. [3] And when I arrive, I shall send those whom you have approved with letters of recommendation to take your gracious gift to Jerusalem. [4] If it seems fitting that I should go also, they will go with me.
(CCC 751) The word "Church" (Latin ecclesia, from the Greek ek-ka-lein, to "call out of") means a convocation or an assembly. It designates the assemblies of the people, usually for a religious purpose (Cf. Acts 19:39). Ekklesia is used frequently in the Greek Old Testament for the assembly of the Chosen People before God, above all for their assembly on Mount Sinai where Israel received the Law and was established by God as his holy people (Cf. Ex 19). By calling itself "Church," the first community of Christian believers recognized itself as heir to that assembly. In the Church, God is "calling together" his people from all the ends of the earth. The equivalent Greek term Kyriake, from which the English word Church and the German Kirche are derived, means "what belongs to the Lord." (CCC 752) In Christian usage, the word "church" designates the liturgical assembly (Cf. 1 Cor 11:18; 14:19, 28, 34, 35), but also the local community (Cf. 1 Cor 1:2; 16:1) or the whole universal community of believers (Cf. 1 Cor 15:9; Gal 1:13; Phil 3:6). These three meanings are inseparable. "The Church" is the People that God gathers in the whole world. She exists in local communities and is made real as a liturgical, above all a Eucharistic, assembly. She draws her life from the word and the Body of Christ and so herself becomes Christ's Body. (CCC 1351) From the very beginning Christians have brought, along with the bread and wine for the Eucharist, gifts to share with those in need. This custom of the collection, ever appropriate, is inspired by the example of Christ who became poor to make us rich (Cf. 1 Cor 16:1; 2 Cor 8:9): Those who are well off, and who are also willing, give as each chooses. What is gathered is given to him who presides to assist orphans and widows, those whom illness or any other cause has deprived of resources, prisoners, immigrants and, in a word, all who are in need (St. Justin, Apol. 1, 67: PG 6, 429).

Friday, May 23, 2008

1Cor 15, 58 In the Lord your labor is not in vain

(1Cor 15, 58) In the Lord your labor is not in vain
[58] Therefore, my beloved brothers, be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
(CCC 1019) Jesus, the Son of God, freely suffered death for us in complete and free submission to the will of God, his Father. By his death he has conquered death, and so opened the possibility of salvation to all men. (CCC 1020) The Christian who unites his own death to that of Jesus views it as a step towards him and an entrance into everlasting life. When the Church for the last time speaks Christ's words of pardon and absolution over the dying Christian, seals him for the last time with a strengthening anointing, and gives him Christ in viaticum as nourishment for the journey, she speaks with gentle assurance: Go forth, Christian soul, from this world in the name of God the almighty Father, who created you, in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, who suffered for you, in the name of the Holy Spirit, who was poured out upon you. Go forth, faithful Christian! May you live in peace this day, may your home be with God in Zion, with Mary, the virgin Mother of God, with Joseph, and all the angels and saints.... May you return to [your Creator] who formed you from the dust of the earth. May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints come to meet you as you go forth from this life... May you see your Redeemer face to face… (OCF, Prayer of Commendation).

1Cor 15, 55-57 Where, O death, is your victory?

(1Cor 15, 55-57) Where, O death, is your victory?
[55] Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" [56] The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. [57] But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(CCC 1014) The Church encourages us to prepare ourselves for the hour of our death. In the litany of the saints, for instance, she has us pray: "From a sudden and unforeseen death, deliver us, O Lord" (Roman Missal, Litany of the Saints); to ask the Mother of God to intercede for us "at the hour of our death" in the Hail Mary; and to entrust ourselves to St. Joseph, the patron of a happy death. Every action of yours, every thought, should be those of one who expects to die before the day is out. Death would have no great terrors for you if you had a quiet conscience.... Then why not keep clear of sin instead of running away from death? If you aren't fit to face death today, it's very unlikely you will be tomorrow.... (The Imitation of Christ, 1, 23, 1). Praised are you, my Lord, for our sister bodily Death, from whom no living man can escape.Woe on those who will die in mortal sin! Blessed are they who will be found in your most holy will, for the second death will not harm them (St. Francis of Assisi, Canticle of the Creatures). (CCC 1018) As a consequence of original sin, man must suffer "bodily death, from which man would have been immune had he not sinned" (GS § 18). (CCC 1017) "We believe in the true resurrection of this flesh that we now possess" (Council of Lyons II: DS 854). We sow a corruptible body in the tomb, but he raises up an incorruptible body, a "spiritual body" (cf. 1 Cor 15:42-44).

1Cor 15, 53-54 Death is swallowed up in victory

(1Cor 15, 53-54) Death is swallowed up in victory
[53] For that which is corruptible must clothe itself with incorruptibility, and that which is mortal must clothe itself with immortality. [54] And when this which is corruptible clothes itself with incorruptibility and this which is mortal clothes itself with immortality, then the word that is written shall come about: Death is swallowed up in victory.
(CCC 1011) In death, God calls man to himself. Therefore the Christian can experience a desire for death like St. Paul's: "My desire is to depart and be with Christ" (Phil 1:23). He can transform his own death into an act of obedience and love towards the Father, after the example of Christ (Cf. Lk 23:46): My earthly desire has been crucified; . . . there is living water in me, water that murmurs and says within me: Come to the Father (St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Rom., 6, 1- 2: Apostolic Fathers, II/2, 223-224). I want to see God and, in order to see him, I must die (St. Teresa of Avila, Life, chap. 1). I am not dying; I am entering life (St. Therese of Lisieux, The Last Conversations). (CCC 1016) By death the soul is separated from the body, but in the resurrection God will give incorruptible life to our body, transformed by reunion with our soul. Just as Christ is risen and lives for ever, so all of us will rise at the last day.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

1Cor 15, 50-52 We will all be changed

(1Cor 15, 50-52) We will all be changed
[50] This I declare, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption. [51] Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, [52] in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
(CCC 1007) Death is the end of earthly life. Our lives are measured by time, in the course of which we change, grow old and, as with all living beings on earth, death seems like the normal end of life. That aspect of death lends urgency to our lives: remembering our mortality helps us realize that we have only a limited time in which to bring our lives to fulfillment: Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth,… before the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it (Eccl 12:1, 7). (CCC 1015) "The flesh is the hinge of salvation" (Tertullian, De res. 8, 2: PL 2, 852). We believe in God who is creator of the flesh; we believe in the Word made flesh in order to redeem the flesh; we believe in the resurrection of the flesh, the fulfillment of both the creation and the redemption of the flesh.

1Cor 15, 49 We’ll bear the image of the heavenly one

(1Cor 15, 49) We’ll bear the image of the heavenly one
[49] Just as we have borne the image of the earthly one, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one.
(CCC 364) The human body shares in the dignity of "the image of God": it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit (Cf. 1 Cor 6:19-20; 15:44-45): Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honor since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day (GS 14 § 1; cf. Dan 3:57-80). (CCC 365) The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the "form" of the body (Cf. Council of Vienne (1312): DS 902): i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature. (CCC 504) Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary's womb because he is the New Adam, who inaugurates the new creation: "The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven" (1 Cor 15:45, 47). From his conception, Christ's humanity is filled with the Holy Spirit, for God "gives him the Spirit without measure" (Jn 3:34). From "his fullness" as the head of redeemed humanity "we have all received, grace upon grace" (Jn 1:16; cf. Col 1:18).

(1Cor 15, 42-48) So also is the resurrection of the dead

(1Cor 15, 42-48) So also is the resurrection of the dead
[42] So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown corruptible; it is raised incorruptible. [43] It is sown dishonorable; it is raised glorious. It is sown weak; it is raised powerful. [44] It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual one. [45] So, too, it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living being," the last Adam a life-giving spirit. [46] But the spiritual was not first; rather the natural and then the spiritual. [47] The first man was from the earth, earthly; the second man, from heaven. [48] As was the earthly one, so also are the earthly, and as is the heavenly one, so also are the heavenly.
(CCC 410) After his fall, man was not abandoned by God. On the contrary, God calls him and in a mysterious way heralds the coming victory over evil and his restoration from his fall (Cf. Gen 3:9, 15). This passage in Genesis is called the Protoevangelium ("first gospel"): the first announcement of the Messiah and Redeemer, of a battle between the serpent and the Woman, and of the final victory of a descendant of hers. (CCC 411) The Christian tradition sees in this passage an announcement of the "New Adam" who, because he "became obedient unto death, even death on a cross", makes amends superabundantly for the disobedience of Adam (Cf. 1 Cor 15:21-22, 45; Phil 2:8; Rom 5:19-20). Furthermore many Fathers and Doctors of the Church have seen the woman announced in the "Protoevangelium" as Mary, the mother of Christ, the "new Eve". Mary benefited first of all and uniquely from Christ's victory over sin: she was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life (Cf. Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus: DS 2803; Council of Trent: DS 1573).

1Cor 15, 39-41 Star differs from star in brightness

(1Cor 15, 39-41) Star differs from star in brightness
[39] Not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for human beings, another kind of flesh for animals, another kind of flesh for birds, and another for fish. [40] There are both heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the brightness of the heavenly is one kind and that of the earthly another. [41] The brightness of the sun is one kind, the brightness of the moon another, and the brightness of the stars another. For star differs from star in brightness.
(CCC 999) How? Christ is raised with his own body: "See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself" (Lk 24:39); but he did not return to an earthly life. So, in him, "all of them will rise again with their own bodies which they now bear," but Christ "will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body," into a "spiritual body" (Lateran Council IV (1215): DS 801; Phil 3:21; 2 Cor 15:44): But someone will ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?" You foolish man! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel…. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable…. The dead will be raised imperishable… For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality (1 Cor 15:35-37, 42, 52, 53). (CCC 1000) This "how" exceeds our imagination and understanding; it is accessible only to faith. Yet our participation in the Eucharist already gives us a foretaste of Christ's transfiguration of our bodies: Just as bread that comes from the earth, after God's blessing has been invoked upon it, is no longer ordinary bread, but Eucharist, formed of two things, the one earthly and the other heavenly: so too our bodies, which partake of the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, but possess the hope of resurrection (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4, 18, 4-5: PG 7/1, 1028-1029).

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

1Cor 15, 35-38 How are the dead raised?

(1Cor 15, 35-38) How are the dead raised?
[35] But someone may say, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come back?" [36] You fool! What you sow is not brought to life unless it dies. [37] And what you sow is not the body that is to be but a bare kernel of wheat, perhaps, or of some other kind; [38] but God gives it a body as he chooses, and to each of the seeds its own body.
(CCC 646) Christ's Resurrection was not a return to earthly life, as was the case with the raisings from the dead that he had performed before Easter: Jairus' daughter, the young man of Naim, Lazarus. These actions were miraculous events, but the persons miraculously raised returned by Jesus' power to ordinary earthly life. At some particular moment they would die again. Christ's Resurrection is essentially different. In his risen body he passes from the state of death to another life beyond time and space. At Jesus' Resurrection his body is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit: he shares the divine life in his glorious state, so that St. Paul can say that Christ is "the man of heaven" (Cf. 1 Cor 15:35-50).

1Cor 15, 29-34 Do not be led astray

(1Cor 15, 29-34) Do not be led astray
[29] Otherwise, what will people accomplish by having themselves baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, then why are they having themselves baptized for them? [30] Moreover, why are we endangering ourselves all the time? [31] Every day I face death; I swear it by the pride in you (brothers) that I have in Christ Jesus our Lord. [32] If at Ephesus I fought with beasts, so to speak, what benefit was it to me? If the dead are not raised: "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." [33] Do not be led astray: "Bad company corrupts good morals." [34] Become sober as you ought and stop sinning. For some have no knowledge of God; I say this to your shame.
(CCC 628) Baptism, the original and full sign of which is immersion, efficaciously signifies the descent into the tomb by the Christian who dies to sin with Christ in order to live a new life. "We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life" (Rom 6:4; cf. Col 2:12; Eph 5:26). (CCC 629) To the benefit of every man, Jesus Christ tasted death (cf. Heb 2:9). It is truly the Son of God made man who died and was buried. (CCC 630) During Christ's period in the tomb, his divine person continued to assume both his soul and his body, although they were separated from each other by death. For this reason the dead Christ's body "saw no corruption" (Acts 13:37).

1Cor 15, 28 So that God may be all in all

(1Cor 15, 28) So that God may be all in all
[28] When everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will (also) be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all.
(CCC 2550) On this way of perfection, the Spirit and the Bride call whoever hears them (Cf. Rev 22:17) to perfect communion with God: There will true glory be, where no one will be praised by mistake or flattery; true honor will not be refused to the worthy, nor granted to the unworthy; likewise, no one unworthy will pretend to be worthy, where only those who are worthy will be admitted. There true peace will reign, where no one will experience opposition either from self or others. God himself will be virtue's reward; he gives virtue and has promised to give himself as the best and greatest reward that could exist.... "I shall be their God and they will be my people...." This is also the meaning of the Apostle's words: "So that God may be all in all." God himself will be the goal of our desires; we shall contemplate him without end, love him without surfeit, praise him without weariness. This gift, this state, this act, like eternal life itself, will assuredly be common to all (St. Augustine, De civ. Dei, 22, 30: PL 41, 801-802; cf. Lev 26:12; cf. 1 Cor 15:28).

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

1Cor 15, 27 He subjected everything under his feet

(1Cor 15, 27) He subjected everything under his feet
[27] for "he subjected everything under his feet." But when it says that everything has been subjected, it is clear that it excludes the one who subjected everything to him.
(CCC 1060) At the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. Then the just will reign with Christ for ever, glorified in body and soul, and the material universe itself will be transformed. God will then be "all in all" (1 Cor 15:28), in eternal life. (CCC 2855) The final doxology, "For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever," takes up again, by inclusion, the first three petitions to our Father: the glorification of his name, the coming of his reign, and the power of his saving will. But these prayers are now proclaimed as adoration and thanksgiving, as in the liturgy of heaven (Cf. Rev 1:6; 4:11; 5:13). The ruler of this world has mendaciously attributed to himself the three titles of kingship, power, and glory (Cf. Lk 4:5-6). Christ, the Lord, restores them to his Father and our Father, until he hands over the kingdom to him when the mystery of salvation will be brought to its completion and God will be all in all (1 Cor 15:24-28).

1Cor 15, 23-26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death

(1Cor 15, 23-26) The last enemy to be destroyed is death
[23] but each one in proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; [24] then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. [25] For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. [26] The last enemy to be destroyed is death,
(CCC 668) "Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living" (Rom 14:9). Christ's Ascension into heaven signifies his participation, in his humanity, in God's power and authority. Jesus Christ is Lord: he possesses all power in heaven and on earth. He is "far above all rule and authority and power and dominion", for the Father "has put all things under his feet" (Eph 1:20-22). Christ is Lord of the cosmos and of history. In him human history and indeed all creation are "set forth" and transcendently fulfilled (Eph 1:10; cf. 4:10; 1 Cor 15:24, 27-28).

1Cor 15, 20-22 But Christ raised from the dead

(1Cor 15, 20-22) But Christ raised from the dead
[20] But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. [21] For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came also through a human being. [22] For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,
(CCC 632) The frequent New Testament affirmations that Jesus was "raised from the dead" presuppose that the crucified one sojourned in the realm of the dead prior to his resurrection (Acts 3:15; Rom 8:11; 1 Cor 15:20; cf. Heb 13:20). This was the first meaning given in the apostolic preaching to Christ's descent into hell: that Jesus, like all men, experienced death and in his soul joined the others in the realm of the dead. But he descended there as Savior, proclaiming the Good News to the spirits imprisoned there (Cf. 1 Pt 3:18-19). (CCC 655) Finally, Christ's Resurrection - and the risen Christ himself - is the principle and source of our future resurrection: "Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep… For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor 15:20-22). The risen Christ lives in the hearts of his faithful while they await that fulfilment. In Christ, Christians "have tasted… the powers of the age to come" (Heb 6:5) and their lives are swept up by Christ into the heart of divine life, so that they may "live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised" (2 Cor 5:15; cf. Col 3:1-3). (CCC 411) The Christian tradition sees in this passage an announcement of the "New Adam" who, because he "became obedient unto death, even death on a cross", makes amends superabundantly for the disobedience of Adam (Cf. 1 Cor 15:21-22, 45; Phil 2:8; Rom 5:19-20). Furthermore many Fathers and Doctors of the Church have seen the woman announced in the "Proto-evangelium" as Mary, the mother of Christ, the "new Eve". Mary benefited first of all and uniquely from Christ's victory over sin: she was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life (Cf. Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus: DS 2803; Council of Trent: DS 1573).

Monday, May 19, 2008

1Cor 15, 15-19 Then we are also false witnesses to God

(1Cor 15, 15-19) Then we are also false witnesses to God
[15] Then we are also false witnesses to God, because we testified against God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if in fact the dead are not raised. [16] For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised, [17] and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins. [18] Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. [19] If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all.
(CCC 996) From the beginning, Christian faith in the resurrection has met with incomprehension and opposition (Cf. Acts 17:32; 12Cor 15:12-13). "On no point does the Christian faith encounter more opposition than on the resurrection of the body"(St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 88, 5: PL 37, 1134). It is very commonly accepted that the life of the human person continues in a spiritual fashion after death. But how can we believe that this body, so clearly mortal, could rise to everlasting life? (CCC 989) We firmly believe, and hence we hope that, just as Christ is truly risen from the dead and lives for ever, so after death the righteous will live for ever with the risen Christ and he will raise them up on the last day (Cf. Jn 6:39-40). Our resurrection, like his own, will be the work of the Most Holy Trinity: If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit who dwells in you (Rom 8:11; cf. 1 Thess 4:14; 1 Cor 6:14; 2 Cor 4:14; Phil 3:10-11). (CCC 988) The Christian Creed - the profession of our faith in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and in God's creative, saving, and sanctifying action - culminates in the proclamation of the resurrection of the dead on the last day and in life everlasting.

1Cor 15, 11-14 So we preach and so you believed

(1Cor 15, 11-14) So we preach and so you believed
[11] Therefore, whether it be I or they, so we preach and so you believed. [12] But if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead? [13] If there is no resurrection of the dead, then neither has Christ been raised. [14] And if Christ has not been raised, then empty (too) is our preaching; empty, too, your faith.
(CCC 651) "If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain" (1 Cor 15:14). The Resurrection above all constitutes the confirmation of all Christ's works and teachings. All truths, even those most inaccessible to human reason, find their justification if Christ by his Resurrection has given the definitive proof of his divine authority, which he had promised. (CCC 991) Belief in the resurrection of the dead has been an essential element of the Christian faith from its beginnings. "The confidence of Christians is the resurrection of the dead; believing this we live" (Tertullian, De res. 1, 1: PL 2, 841). How can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.... But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep (1 Cor 15:12-14). (CCC 997) What is "rising"? In death, the separation of the soul from the body, the human body decays and the soul goes to meet God, while awaiting its reunion with its glorified body. God, in his almighty power, will definitively grant incorruptible life to our bodies by reuniting them with our souls, through the power of Jesus' Resurrection.

1Cor 15, 10 By the grace of God I am what I am

(1Cor 15, 10) By the grace of God I am what I am
[10] But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective. Indeed, I have toiled harder than all of them; not I, however, but the grace of God (that is) with me.
(CCC 601) The Scriptures had foretold this divine plan of salvation through the putting to death of "the righteous one, my Servant" as a mystery of universal redemption, that is, as the ransom that would free men from the slavery of sin (Isa 53:11; cf. 53:12; Jn 8:34-36; Acts 3:14). Citing a confession of faith that he himself had "received", St. Paul professes that "Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures" (1 Cor 15:3; cf. also Acts 3:18; 7:52; 13:29; 26:22-23). In particular Jesus' redemptive death fulfils Isaiah's prophecy of the suffering Servant (Cf. Isa 53:7-8 and Acts 8:32-35). Indeed Jesus himself explained the meaning of his life and death in the light of God's suffering Servant (Cf. Mt 20:28). After his Resurrection he gave this interpretation of the Scriptures to the disciples at Emmaus, and then to the apostles (Cf. Lk 24:25-27, 44-45). (CCC 442) […] Similarly Paul will write, regarding his conversion on the road to Damascus, "When he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles..." (Gal 1:15-16). "And in the synagogues immediately [Paul] proclaimed Jesus, saying, 'He is the Son of God'" (Acts 9:20). From the beginning this acknowledgment of Christ's divine sonship will be the centre of the apostolic faith, first professed by Peter as the Church's foundation (Cf. 1 Th 1:10; Jn 20:31; Mt 16:18).

Sunday, May 18, 2008

1Cor 15, 8-9 Last of all, he appeared to me

(1Cor 15, 8-9) Last of all, he appeared to me
[8] Last of all, as to one born abnormally, he appeared to me. [9] For I am the least of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
(CCC 659) "So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God" (Mk 16:19). Christ's body was glorified at the moment of his Resurrection, as proved by the new and supernatural properties it subsequently and permanently enjoys (Cf. Lk 24:31; Jn 20:19, 26). But during the forty days when he eats and drinks familiarly with his disciples and teaches them about the kingdom, his glory remains veiled under the appearance of ordinary humanity (Cf. Acts 1:3; 10:41; Mk 16:12; Lk 24:15; Jn 20:14-15; 21:4). Jesus' final apparition ends with the irreversible entry of his humanity into divine glory, symbolized by the cloud and by heaven, where he is seated from that time forward at God's right hand (Cf. Acts 1:9; 2:33; 7:56; Lk 9:34-35; 24:51; Ex 13:22; Mk 16:19; Ps 110:1). Only in a wholly exceptional and unique way would Jesus show himself to Paul "as to one untimely born", in a last apparition that established him as an apostle (1 Cor 15:8; cf. 9:1; Gal 1:16).

1Cor 15, 7 Appeared to James then to all the apostles

(1Cor 15, 7) Appeared to James then to all the apostles
[7] After that he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
(CCC 656) Faith in the Resurrection has as its object an event which as historically attested to by the disciples, who really encountered the Risen One. At the same time, this event is mysteriously transcendent insofar as it is the entry of Christ's humanity into the glory of God. (CCC 647) O truly blessed Night, sings the Exsultet of the Easter Vigil, which alone deserved to know the time and the hour when Christ rose from the realm of the dead! (“O vere beata nox, quae sola meruit scire tempus et horam, in qua Christus ab inferis resurrexit!”). But no one was an eyewitness to Christ's Resurrection and no evangelist describes it. No one can say how it came about physically. Still less was its innermost essence, his passing over to another life, perceptible to the senses. Although the Resurrection was an historical event that could be verified by the sign of the empty tomb and by the reality of the apostles' encounters with the risen Christ, still it remains at the very heart of the mystery of faith as something that transcends and surpasses history. This is why the risen Christ does not reveal himself to the world, but to his disciples, "to those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people" (Acts 13:31; cf. Jn 14:22).

1Cor 15, 6 Appeared to more than five hundred brothers

(1Cor 15, 6) Appeared to more than five hundred brothers
[6] After that, he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
(CCC 639) The mystery of Christ's resurrection is a real event, with manifestations that were historically verified, as the New Testament bears witness. In about a.d. 56 St. Paul could already write to the Corinthians: "I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve…" (1 Cor 15:3-4). The Apostle speaks here of the living tradition of the Resurrection which he had learned after his conversion at the gates of Damascus (Cf. Acts 9:3-18). (CCC 642) Everything that happened during those Paschal days involves each of the apostles - and Peter in particular - in the building of the new era begun on Easter morning. As witnesses of the Risen One, they remain the foundation stones of his Church. The faith of the first community of believers is based on the witness of concrete men known to the Christians and for the most part still living among them. Peter and the Twelve are the primary "witnesses to his Resurrection", but they are not the only ones - Paul speaks clearly of more than five hundred persons to whom Jesus appeared on a single occasion and also of James and of all the apostles (1 Cor 15:4-8; cf. Acts 1:22).

Saturday, May 17, 2008

1 Cor 15, 1-5 Christ died for our sins and was raised

1Corinthians 15
(1 Cor 15, 1-5) Christ died for our sins and was raised

[1] Now I am reminding you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you indeed received and in which you also stand. [2] Through it you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. [3] For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; [4] that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures; [5] that he appeared to Kephas, then to the Twelve.
(CCC 186) From the beginning, the apostolic Church expressed and handed on her faith in brief formulae normative for all (Cf. Rom 10:9; 1 Cor 15:3-5, etc.). But already very early on, the Church also wanted to gather the essential elements of her faith into organic and articulated summaries, intended especially for candidates for Baptism: This synthesis of faith was not made to accord with human opinions, but rather what was of the greatest importance was gathered from all the Scriptures, to present the one teaching of the faith in its entirety. And just as the mustard seed contains a great number of branches in a tiny grain, so too this summary of faith encompassed in a few words the whole knowledge of the true religion contained in the Old and the New Testaments (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. illum. 5, 12: PG 33, 521-524). (CCC 639) The mystery of Christ's resurrection is a real event, with manifestations that were historically verified, as the New Testament bears witness. In about a.d. 56 St. Paul could already write to the Corinthians: "I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve…" (1 Cor 15:3-4). The Apostle speaks here of the living tradition of the Resurrection which he had learned after his conversion at the gates of Damascus (Cf. Acts 9:3-18). (CCC 652) Christ's Resurrection is the fulfilment of the promises both of the Old Testament and of Jesus himself during his earthly life (Cf. Mt 28:6; Mk 16:7; Lk 24:6-7, 26-27, 44-48). The phrase "in accordance with the Scriptures" (Cf. 1 Cor 15:3-4; cf. The Nicene Creed) indicates that Christ's Resurrection fulfilled these predictions.

1 Cor 14, 34-40 Everything done properly and in order

(1 Cor 14, 34-40) Everything done properly and in order
[34] women should keep silent in the churches, for they are not allowed to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. [35] But if they want to learn anything, they should ask their husbands at home. For it is improper for a woman to speak in the church. [36] Did the word of God go forth from you? Or has it come to you alone? [37] If anyone thinks that he is a prophet or a spiritual person, he should recognize that what I am writing to you is a commandment of the Lord. [38] If anyone does not acknowledge this, he is not acknowledged. [39] So, (my) brothers, strive eagerly to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues, [40] but everything must be done properly and in order.
(CCC 791) The body's unity does not do away with the diversity of its members: "In the building up of Christ's Body there is engaged a diversity of members and functions. There is only one Spirit who, according to his own richness and the needs of the ministries, gives his different gifts for the welfare of the Church" (LG 7 § 3). The unity of the Mystical Body produces and stimulates charity among the faithful: "From this it follows that if one member suffers anything, all the members suffer with him, and if one member is honored, all the members together rejoice" (LG 7 § 3; cf. 1 Cor 12:26). Finally, the unity of the Mystical Body triumphs over all human divisions: "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3:27-28).

1 Cor 14, 26-33 Do everything for building up

(1 Cor 14, 26-33) Do everything for building up
[26] So what is to be done, brothers? When you assemble, one has a psalm, another an instruction, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Everything should be done for building up. [27] If anyone speaks in a tongue, let it be two or at most three, and each in turn, and one should interpret. [28] But if there is no interpreter, the person should keep silent in the church and speak to himself and to God. [29] Two or three prophets should speak, and the others discern. [30] But if a revelation is given to another person sitting there, the first one should be silent. [31] For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged. [32] Indeed, the spirits of prophets are under the prophets' control, [33] since he is not the God of disorder but of peace. As in all the churches of the holy ones,
(CCC 795) Christ and his Church thus together make up the "whole Christ" (Christus totus). The Church is one with Christ. The saints are acutely aware of this unity: Let us rejoice then and give thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Do you understand and grasp, brethren, God's grace toward us? Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ. For if he is the head, we are the members; he and we together are the whole man.... The fullness of Christ then is the head and the members. But what does "head and members" mean? Christ and the Church (St. Augustine, In Jo. Ev, 21, 8: PL 35, 1568). Our redeemer has shown himself to be one person with the holy Church whom he has taken to himself (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Job, praef., 14: PL 75, 525A). Head and members form as it were one and the same mystical person (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 48, 2). A reply of St. Joan of Arc to her judges sums up the faith of the holy doctors and the good sense of the believer: "About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they're just one thing, and we shouldn't complicate the matter" (Acts of the Trial of Joan of Arc).

Friday, May 16, 2008

1 Cor 14, 21-25 God is really in your midst

(1 Cor 14, 21-25) God is really in your midst
[21] It is written in the law: "By people speaking strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people, and even so they will not listen to me, says the Lord." [22] Thus, tongues are a sign not for those who believe but for unbelievers, whereas prophecy is not for unbelievers but for those who believe. [23] So if the whole church meets in one place and everyone speaks in tongues, and then uninstructed people or unbelievers should come in, will they not say that you are out of your minds? [24] But if everyone is prophesying, and an unbeliever or uninstructed person should come in, he will be convinced by everyone and judged by everyone, [25] and the secrets of his heart will be disclosed, and so he will fall down and worship God, declaring, "God is really in your midst."
(CCC 1783) Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings. (CCC 2478) To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor's thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way: Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another's statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved (St. Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, 22).

1 Cor 14, 18-20 Brothers, in your thinking be mature

(1 Cor 14, 18-20) Brothers, in your thinking be mature
[18] I give thanks to God that I speak in tongues more than any of you, [19] but in the church I would rather speak five words with my mind, so as to instruct others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue. [20] Brothers, stop being childish in your thinking. In respect to evil be like infants, but in your thinking be mature.
(CCC 682) When he comes at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, the glorious Christ will reveal the secret disposition of hearts and will render to each man according to his works, and according to his acceptance or refusal of grace. (CCC 681) On Judgment Day at the end of the world, Christ will come in glory to achieve the definitive triumph of good over evil which, like the wheat and the tares, have grown up together in the course of history. (CCC 2032) The Church, the "pillar and bulwark of the truth," "has received this solemn command of Christ from the apostles to announce the saving truth" (1 Tim 3:15; LG 17). "To the Church belongs the right always and everywhere to announce moral principles, including those pertaining to the social order, and to make judgments on any human affairs to the extent that they are required by the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls" (CIC, can. 747 § 2).

1 Cor 14, 13-17 I will pray with spirit but also with mind

(1 Cor 14, 13-17) I will pray with spirit but also with mind
[13] Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray to be able to interpret. [14] (For) if I pray in a tongue, my spirit is at prayer but my mind is unproductive. [15] So what is to be done? I will pray with the spirit, but I will also pray with the mind. I will sing praise with the spirit, but I will also sing praise with the mind. [16] Otherwise, if you pronounce a blessing (with) the spirit, how shall one who holds the place of the uninstructed say the "Amen" to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? [17] For you may be giving thanks very well, but the other is not built up.
(CCC 1831) The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. They belong in their fullness to Christ, Son of David (Cf. Isa 11:1-2). They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations. Let your good spirit lead me on a level path(Ps 143:10). For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God… If children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ (Rom 8:14 17). (CCC 1832) The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: "charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity" (Gal 5:22-23 Vulg.). (CCC 2002) God's free initiative demands man's free response, for God has created man in his image by conferring on him, along with freedom, the power to know him and love him. The soul only enters freely into the communion of love. God immediately touches and directly moves the heart of man. He has placed in man a longing for truth and goodness that only he can satisfy. The promises of "eternal life" respond, beyond all hope, to this desire: If at the end of your very good works…, you rested on the seventh day, it was to foretell by the voice of your book that at the end of our works, which are indeed "very good" since you have given them to us, we shall also rest in you on the sabbath of eternal life (St. Augustine, Conf. 13, 36, 51: PL 32, 868; cf. Gen 1:31).