Friday, October 31, 2008

Phil 3, 7-9 The supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus

(Phil 3, 7-9) The supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus
[7] (But) whatever gains I had, these I have come to consider a loss because of Christ. [8] More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ [9] and be found in him, not having any righteousness of my own based on the law but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God, depending on faith
(CCC 133) The Church "forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful... to learn the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ, by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. ‘Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ’ (DV 25; cf. Phil 3:8 and St. Jerome, Commentariorum in Isaiam libri xviii prol.: PL 24, 17B). (CCC 134) "All Sacred Scripture is but one book, and that one book is Christ, because all divine Scripture speaks of Christ, and all divine Scripture is fulfilled in Christ" (Hugh of St. Victor, De arca Noe 2, 8: cf. ibid. PL 176, 642; 2, 9: PL 176, 642-643). (CCC 428) Whoever is called "to teach Christ" must first seek "the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus"; he must suffer "the loss of all things… " in order to "gain Christ and be found in him", and "to know him and the power of his resurrection, and [to] share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible [he] may attain the resurrection from the dead" (Phil 3:8-11).

Phil 3, 3-6 We who worship through the Spirit of God

(Phil 3, 3-6) We who worship through the Spirit of God
[3] For we are the circumcision, we who worship through the Spirit of God, who boast in Christ Jesus and do not put our confidence in flesh, [4] although I myself have grounds for confidence even in the flesh.If anyone else thinks he can be confident in flesh, all the more can I. [5] Circumcised on the eighth day, of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrew parentage, in observance of the law a Pharisee, [6] in zeal I persecuted the church, in righteousness based on the law I was blameless.
(CCC 829) "But while in the most Blessed Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle, the faithful still strive to conquer sin and increase in holiness. And so they turn their eyes to Mary" (LG 65; Cf. Eph 5:26-27): in her, the Church is already the "all-holy." (CCC 828) By canonizing some of the faithful, i.e., by solemnly pro claiming that they practiced heroic virtue and lived in fidelity to God's grace, the Church recognizes the power of the Spirit of holiness within her and sustains the hope of believers by proposing the saints to them as models and intercessors (Cf. LG 40; 48-51). "The saints have always been the source and origin of renewal in the most difficult moments in the Church's history" (John Paul II, CL 16, 3). Indeed, "holiness is the hidden source and infallible measure of her apostolic activity and missionary zeal" (CL 17, 3).

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Phil 3, 1-2 My brothers, rejoice in the Lord

Philippians 3
(Phil 3, 1-2) My brothers, rejoice in the Lord
[1] Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. Writing the same things to you is no burden for me but is a safeguard for you. [2] Beware of the dogs! Beware of the evil workers! Beware of the mutilation!
(CCC 823) "The Church… is held, as a matter of faith, to be unfailingly holy. This is because Christ, the Son of God, who with the Father and the Spirit is hailed as 'alone holy,' loved the Church as his Bride, giving himself up for her so as to sanctify her; he joined her to himself as his body and endowed her with the gift of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God" (LG 39; Cf. Eph 5:25-26). The Church, then, is "the holy People of God" (LG 12) and her members are called "saints" (Acts 913; 1 Cor 61; 16 1). (CCC 824) United with Christ, the Church is sanctified by him; through him and with him she becomes sanctifying. "All the activities of the Church are directed, as toward their end, to the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God" SC 10). It is in the Church that "the fullness of the means of salvation" (UR 3 § 5) has been deposited. It is in her that "by the grace of God we acquire holiness" (LG 48). (CCC 825) "The Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real though imperfect" (LG 48 § 3). In her members perfect holiness is something yet to be acquired: "Strengthened by so many and such great means of salvation, all the faithful, whatever their condition or state - though each in his own way - are called by the Lord to that perfection of sanctity by which the Father himself is perfect" (LG 11 § 3).

Phil 2, 27-30 Close to death but God had mercy on him

(Phil 2, 27-30) Close to death but God had mercy on him
[27] He was indeed ill, close to death; but God had mercy on him, not just on him but also on me, so that I might not have sorrow upon sorrow. [28] I send him therefore with the greater eagerness, so that, on seeing him, you may rejoice again, and I may have less anxiety. [29] Welcome him then in the Lord with all joy and hold such people in esteem, [30] because for the sake of the work of Christ he came close to death, risking his life to make up for those services to me that you could not perform.
(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 1009) Death is transformed by Christ. Jesus, the Son of God, also himself suffered the death that is part of the human condition. Yet, despite his anguish as he faced death, he accepted it in an act of complete and free submission to his Father's will (Cf. Mk 14:33-34; Heb 5:7-8). The obedience of Jesus has transformed the curse of death into a blessing (Cf. Rom 5:19-21).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Phil 2, 25-26 You heard that he was ill

(Phil 2, 25-26) You heard that he was ill
[25] With regard to Epaphroditus, my brother and co-worker and fellow soldier, your messenger and minister in my need, I consider it necessary to send him to you. [26] For he has been longing for all of you and was distressed because you heard that he was ill.
(CCC 1500) Illness and suffering have always been among the gravest problems confronted in human life. In illness, man experiences his powerlessness, his limitations, and his finitude. Every illness can make us glimpse death. (CCC 1501) Illness can lead to anguish, self-absorption, sometimes even despair and revolt against God. It can also make a person more mature, helping him discern in his life what is not essential so that he can turn toward that which is. Very often illness provokes a search for God and a return to him. (CCC 1502) The man of the Old Testament lives his sickness in the presence of God. It is before God that he laments his illness, and it is of God, Master of life and death, that he implores healing (Cf. Pss 6:3; 38; Isa 38). Illness becomes a way to conversion; God's forgiveness initiates the healing (Cf. Pss 32:5; 38:5; 39:9, 12; 107:20; cf. Mk 2:5-12). It is the experience of Israel that illness is mysteriously linked to sin and evil, and that faithfulness to God according to his law restores life: "For I am the Lord, your healer" (Ex 15:26). The prophet intuits that suffering can also have a redemptive meaning for the sins of others (Cf. Isa 53:11). Finally Isaiah announces that God will usher in a time for Zion when he will pardon every offense and heal every illness (Cf. Isa 33:24).

Phil 2, 19-24 I am confident in the Lord

(Phil 2, 19-24) I am confident in the Lord
[19] I hope, in the Lord Jesus, to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be heartened by hearing news of you. [20] For I have no one comparable to him for genuine interest in whatever concerns you. [21] For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. [22] But you know his worth, how as a child with a father he served along with me in the cause of the gospel. [23] He it is, then, whom I hope to send as soon as I see how things go with me, [24] but I am confident in the Lord that I myself will also come soon.
(CCC 876) Intrinsically linked to the sacramental nature of ecclesial ministry is its character as service. Entirely dependent on Christ who gives mission and authority, ministers are truly "slaves of Christ" (Cf. Rom 1:1) in the image of him who freely took "the form of a slave" for us (Phil 2:7). Because the word and grace of which they are ministers are not their own, but are given to them by Christ for the sake of others, they must freely become the slaves of all (Cf. 1 Cor 9:19). (CCC 877) Likewise, it belongs to the sacramental nature of ecclesial ministry that it have a collegial character. In fact, from the beginning of his ministry, the Lord Jesus instituted the Twelve as "the seeds of the new Israel and the beginning of the sacred hierarchy" (AG 5). Chosen together, they were also sent out together, and their fraternal unity would be at the service of the fraternal communion of all the faithful: they would reflect and witness to the communion of the divine persons (Cf. Jn 17:21-23). For this reason every bishop exercises his ministry from within the episcopal college, in communion with the bishop of Rome, the successor of St. Peter and head of the college. So also priests exercise their ministry from within the presbyterium of the diocese, under the direction of their bishop. (CCC 878) Finally, it belongs to the sacramental nature of ecclesial ministry that it have a personal character. Although Christ's ministers act in communion with one another, they also always act in a personal way. Each one is called personally: "You, follow me" (Jn 21:22; Cf. Mt 4:19. 21; Jn 1:4) in order to be a personal witness within the common mission, to bear personal responsibility before him who gives the mission, acting "in his person" and for other persons: "I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit..."; "I absolve you...."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Phil 2, 15-18 That you may be blameless and innocent

(Phil 2, 15-18) That you may be blameless and innocent
[15] that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world, [16] as you hold on to the word of life, so that my boast for the day of Christ may be that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. [17] But, even if I am poured out as a libation upon the sacrificial service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with all of you. [18] In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.
(CCC 1070) In the New Testament the word "liturgy" refers not only to the celebration of divine worship but also to the proclamation of the Gospel and to active charity (Cf. Lk 1:23; Acts 13:2; Rom 15:16, 27; 2 Cor 9:12; Phil 2:14-17, 25, 30). In all of these situations it is a question of the service of God and neighbor. In a liturgical celebration the Church is servant in the image of her Lord, the one "leitourgos" (Cf. Heb 8:2, 6); she shares in Christ's priesthood (worship), which is both prophetic (proclamation) and kingly (service of charity): The liturgy then is rightly seen as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. It involves the presentation of man's sanctification under the guise of signs perceptible by the senses and its accomplishment in ways appropriate to each of these signs. In it full public worship is performed by the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the Head and his members. From this it follows that every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of his Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others. No other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree (SC 7 § 2-3). (CCC 1243) The white garment symbolizes that the person baptized has "put on Christ" (Gal 3:27), has risen with Christ. The candle, lit from the Easter candle, signifies that Christ has enlightened the neophyte. In him the baptized are "the light of the world" (Mt 5:14; cf. Phil 2:15). The newly baptized is now, in the only Son, a child of God entitled to say the prayer of the children of God: "Our Father."

Phil 2, 14 Do everything without grumbling

(Phil 2, 14) Do everything without grumbling
[14] Do everything without grumbling or questioning,
(CCC 2477) Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury (Cf. CIC, can. 220). He becomes guilty: - of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor; - of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another's faults and failings to persons who did not know them (Cf. Sir 21:28); - of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them. (CCC 2479) Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of one's neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity. (CCC 2487) Every offense committed against justice and truth entails the duty of reparation, even if its author has been forgiven. When it is impossible publicly to make reparation for a wrong, it must be made secretly. If someone who has suffered harm cannot be directly compensated, he must be given moral satisfaction in the name of charity. This duty of reparation also concerns offenses against another's reputation. This reparation, moral and sometimes material, must be evaluated in terms of the extent of the damage inflicted. It obliges in conscience.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Phil 2, 12-13 God works in you both to desire and to work

(Phil 2, 12-13) God works in you both to desire and to work
[12] then, my beloved, obedient as you have always been, not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent, work out your salvation with fear and trembling. [13] For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work.
(CCC 308) The truth that God is at work in all the actions of his creatures is inseparable from faith in God the Creator. God is the first cause who operates in and through secondary causes: "For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil 2:13; cf. 1 Cor 12:6). Far from diminishing the creature's dignity, this truth enhances it. Drawn from nothingness by God's power, wisdom and goodness, it can do nothing if it is cut off from its origin, for "without a Creator the creature vanishes" (GS 36 § 3). Still less can a creature attain its ultimate end without the help of God's grace (Cf. Mt 19:26; Jn 15:5; 14:13).

Phil 2, 11 Every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord

(Phil 2, 11) Every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord
[11] and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(CCC 461) Taking up St. John's expression, "The Word became flesh", (Jn 1:14). The Church calls "Incarnation" the fact that the Son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it. In a hymn cited by St. Paul, the Church sings the mystery of the Incarnation: Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross (Phil 2:5-8; cf. LH, Saturday, Canticle at Evening Prayer). (CCC 449) By attributing to Jesus the divine title "Lord", the first confessions of the Church's faith affirm from the beginning that the power, honour and glory due to God the Father are due also to Jesus, because "he was in the form of God" (Cf. Acts 2:34 - 36; Rom 9:5; Titus 2:13; Rev 5:13; Phil 2:6), and the Father manifested the sovereignty of Jesus by raising him from the dead and exalting him into his glory (Cf. Rom 10:9; 1 Cor 12:3; Phil 2:9-11). (CCC 2812) Finally, in Jesus the name of the Holy God is revealed and given to us, in the flesh, as Savior, revealed by what he is, by his word, and by his sacrifice (Cf. Mt 1:21; Lk 1:31; Jn 8:28; 17:8; 17:17-19). This is the heart of his priestly prayer: "Holy Father… for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth" (Jn 17:11, 19). Because he "sanctifies" his own name, Jesus reveals to us the name of the Father (Cf. Ezek 20:39; 36:20-21; Jn 17:6). At the end of Christ's Passover, the Father gives him the name that is above all names: "Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil 2:9-11).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Phil 2, 10 At the name of Jesus every knee should bend

(Phil 2, 10) At the name of Jesus every knee should bend
[10] that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
(CCC 2668) The invocation of the holy name of Jesus is the simplest way of praying always. When the holy name is repeated often by a humbly attentive heart, the prayer is not lost by heaping up empty phrases (Cf. Mt 6:7). But holds fast to the word and "brings forth fruit with patience" (Cf. Lk 8:15). This prayer is possible "at all times" because it is not one occupation among others but the only occupation: that of loving God, which animates and transfigures every action in Christ Jesus. (CCC 2669) The prayer of the Church venerates and honors the Heart of Jesus just as it invokes his most holy name. It adores the incarnate Word and his Heart which, out of love for men, he allowed to be pierced by our sins. Christian prayer loves to follow the way of the cross in the Savior's steps. The stations from the Praetorium to Golgotha and the tomb trace the way of Jesus, who by his holy Cross has redeemed the world. (CCC 434) Jesus' Resurrection glorifies the name of the Saviour God, for from that time on it is the name of Jesus that fully manifests the supreme power of the "name which is above every name" (Phil 2:9-10; cf. Jn 12:28). The evil spirits fear his name; in his name his disciples perform miracles, for the Father grants all they ask in this name (Cf. Acts 16:16-18; 19:13-16; Mk 16:17; Jn 15:16). (CCC 435) The name of Jesus is at the heart of Christian prayer. All liturgical prayers conclude with the words "through our Lord Jesus Christ". The Hail Mary reaches its high point in the words "blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus." the Eastern prayer of the heart, the Jesus Prayer, says: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." Many Christians, such as St. Joan of Arc, have died with the one word "Jesus" on their lips.

Phil 2, 9 Because of this, God greatly exalted him

(Phil 2, 9) Because of this, God greatly exalted him
[9] Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
(CCC 2666) But the one name that contains everything is the one that the Son of God received in his incarnation: JESUS. The divine name may not be spoken by human lips, but by assuming our humanity The Word of God hands it over to us and we can invoke it: "Jesus," "YHWH saves" (Cf. Ex 3:14; 33: 19-23; Mt 1:21). The name "Jesus" contains all: God and man and the whole economy of creation and salvation. To pray "Jesus" is to invoke him and to call him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies. Jesus is the Risen One, and whoever invokes the name of Jesus is welcoming the Son of God who loved him and who gave himself up for him (Rom 10:13; Acts 2:21; 3:15-16; Gal 2:20). (CCC 2667) This simple invocation of faith developed in the tradition of prayer under many forms in East and West. The most usual formulation, transmitted by the spiritual writers of the Sinai, Syria, and Mt. Athos, is the invocation, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners." It combines the Christological hymn of Philippians 2:6-11 with the cry of the publican and the blind men begging for light (Cf. Mk 10:46-52; Lk 18:13). By it the heart is opened to human wretchedness and the Savior's mercy.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Phil 2, 8 He humbled himself becoming obedient to death

(Phil 2, 8) He humbled himself becoming obedient to death
[8] he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.
(CCC 612) The cup of the New Covenant, which Jesus anticipated when he offered himself at the Last Supper, is afterwards accepted by him from his Father's hands in his agony in the garden at Gethsemani (Cf. Mt 26:42; Lk 22:20), making himself "obedient unto death". Jesus prays: "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me…" (Phil 2:8; Mt 26:39; cf. Heb 5:7-8). Thus he expresses the horror that death represented for his human nature. Like ours, his human nature is destined for eternal life; but unlike ours, it is perfectly exempt from sin, the cause of death (Cf. Rom 5:12; Heb 4:15). Above all, his human nature has been assumed by the divine person of the "Author of life", the "Living One" (Cf. Acts 3:15; Rev 1:17; Jn 1:4; 5:26). By accepting in his human will that the Father's will be done, he accepts his death as redemptive, for "he himself bore our sins in his body on the tree" (1 Pt 2:24; cf. Mt 26:42). (CCC 623) By his loving obedience to the Father, "unto death, even death on a cross" (Phil 2:8), Jesus fulfils the atoning mission (cf. Isa 53:10) of the suffering Servant, who will "make many righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities" (Isa 53:11; cf. Rom 5:19). (CCC 908) By his obedience unto death (Cf. Phil 2:8-9), Christ communicated to his disciples the gift of royal freedom, so that they might "by the self-abnegation of a holy life, overcome the reign of sin in themselves" (LG 36): That man is rightly called a king who makes his own body an obedient subject and, by governing himself with suitable rigor, refuses to let his passions breed rebellion in his soul, for he exercises a kind of royal power over himself. And because he knows how to rule his own person as king, so too does he sit as its judge. He will not let himself be imprisoned by sin, or thrown headlong into wickedness (St. Ambrose, Psal 118:14:30: PL 15:1476).

Phil 2, 6-7 He emptied himself taking the form of a slave

(Phil 2, 6-7) He emptied himself taking the form of a slave
[6] Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. [7] Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance,
(CCC 602) Consequently, St. Peter can formulate the apostolic faith in the divine plan of salvation in this way: "You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers... with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake" (1 Pet 1:18-20). Man's sins, following on original sin, are punishable by death (Cf. Rom 5:12; 1 Cor 15:56). By sending his own Son in the form of a slave, in the form of a fallen humanity, on account of sin, God "made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Cor 5:21; cf. Phil 2:7; Rom 8:3). (CCC 472) This human soul that the Son of God assumed is endowed with a true human knowledge. As such, this knowledge could not in itself be unlimited: it was exercised in the historical conditions of his existence in space and time. This is why the Son of God could, when he became man, "increase in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man" (Lk 2:52), and would even have to inquire for himself about what one in the human condition can learn only from experience (Cf. Mk 6 38; 8:27; Jn 11:34; etc.). This corresponded to the reality of his voluntary emptying of himself, taking "the form of a slave" (Phil 2:7). (CCC 713) The Messiah's characteristics are revealed above all in the "Servant songs" (Cf. Isa 42:1-9; Mt 12:18-21; Jn 1:32-34; then cf. Isa 49:1-6; Mt 3:17; Lk 2:32; finally cf. Isa 50:4-10 and Isa 52:13-53:12). These songs proclaim the meaning of Jesus' Passion and show how he will pour out the Holy Spirit to give life to the many: not as an outsider, but by embracing our "form as slave" (Phil 2:7). Taking our death upon himself, he can communicate to us his own Spirit of life. (CCC 1224) Our Lord voluntarily submitted himself to the baptism of St. John, intended for sinners, in order to "fulfill all righteousness" (Mt 3:15). Jesus' gesture is a manifestation of his self-emptying (Cf. Phil 2:7). The Spirit who had hovered over the waters of the first creation descended then on the Christ as a prelude of the new creation, and the Father revealed Jesus as his "beloved Son" (Mt 3:16-17).

Friday, October 24, 2008

Phil 2, 5 Have among yourselves the same attitude

(Phil 2, 5) Have among yourselves the same attitude
[5] Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus,
(CCC 520) In all of his life Jesus presents himself as our model. He is "the perfect man" (GS 38; cf. Rom 15:5; Phil 2:5), who invites us to become his disciples and follow him. In humbling himself, he has given us an example to imitate, through his prayer he draws us to pray, and by his poverty he calls us to accept freely the privation and persecutions that may come our way (Cf. Jn 13:15; Lk 11:1; Mt 5:11-12). (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).

Phil 2, 1-4 The same mind the same love united in heart

Philippians 2
(Phil 2, 1-4) The same mind the same love united in heart
[1] If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, [2] complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. [3] Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, [4] each looking out not for his own interests, but (also) everyone for those of others.
(CCC 2842) This "as" is not unique in Jesus' teaching: "You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect"; "Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful"; "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another" (Mt 5:48; Lk 6:36; Jn 13:34). It is impossible to keep the Lord's commandment by imitating the divine model from outside; there has to be a vital participation, coming from the depths of the heart, in the holiness and the mercy and the love of our God. Only the Spirit by whom we live can make "ours" the same mind that was in Christ Jesus (Cf. Gal 5:25; Phil 2:1,5). Then the unity of forgiveness becomes possible and we find ourselves "forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave" us (Eph 4:32). (CCC 2635) Since Abraham, intercession - asking on behalf of another - has been characteristic of a heart attuned to God's mercy. In the age of the Church, Christian intercession participates in Christ's, as an expression of the communion of saints. In intercession, he who prays looks "not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others," even to the point of praying for those who do him harm (Phil 2:4; cf. Acts 7:60; Lk 23:28, 34).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Phil 1, 28b-30 To believe in him but also to suffer for him

(Phil 1, 28b-30) To believe in him but also to suffer for him
[28] This is proof to them of destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God's doing. [29] For to you has been granted, for the sake of Christ, not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him. [30] Yours is the same struggle as you saw in me and now hear about me.
(CCC 1696) The way of Christ "leads to life"; a contrary way "leads to destruction" (Mt 7:13; cf. Deut 30: 15-20). The Gospel parable of the two ways remains ever present in the catechesis of the Church; it shows the importance of moral decisions for our salvation: "There are two ways, the one of life, the other of death; but between the two, there is a great difference" (Didache 1, 1: SCh 248, 140).

Phil 1, 27-28a A way worthy of the gospel of Christ

(Phil 1, 27-28a) A way worthy of the gospel of Christ
[27] Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear news of you, that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind struggling together for the faith of the gospel, [28] not intimidated in any way by your opponents.
(CCC 1692) The Symbol of the faith confesses the greatness of God's gifts to man in his work of creation, and even more in redemption and sanctification. What faith confesses, the sacraments communicate: by the sacraments of rebirth, Christians have become "children of God" (Jn 1:12; 1 Jn 3:1). "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Pet 1:4). Coming to see in the faith their new dignity, Christians are called to lead henceforth a life "worthy of the gospel of Christ" (Phil 1:27). They are made capable of doing so by the grace of Christ and the gifts of his Spirit, which they receive through the sacraments and through prayer.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Phil 1, 23-26 Be with Christ is far better

(Phil 1, 23-26) Be with Christ is far better
[23] I am caught between the two. I long to depart this life and be with Christ, (for) that is far better. [24] Yet that I remain (in) the flesh is more necessary for your benefit. [25] And this I know with confidence, that I shall remain and continue in the service of all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, [26] so that your boasting in Christ Jesus may abound on account of me when I come to you again.
(CCC 1012) The Christian vision of death receives privileged expression in the liturgy of the Church (Cf. 1 Thess 4:13-14): Lord, for your faithful people life is changed, not ended. When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven (Roman Missal, Preface of Christian Death I). (CCC 1005) To rise with Christ, we must die with Christ: we must "be away from the body and at home with the Lord" (2 Cor 5:8). In that "departure" which is death the soul is separated from the body (Cf. Phil 1:23). It will be reunited with the body on the day of resurrection of the dead (Cf. Paul VI, CPG § 28). (CCC 1021) Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ (Cf. 2 Tim 1:9-10). The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. The parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul - a destiny which can be different for some and for others (Cf. Lk 16:22; 23:43; Mt 16:26; 2 Cor 5:8; Phil 1:23; Heb 9:27; 12:23). (CCC 1025) To live in heaven is "to be with Christ." The elect live "in Christ" (Phil 1:23; cf. Jn 14:3; 1 Thess 4:17) but they retain, or rather find, their true identity, their own name (Cf. Rev 2:17). For life is to be with Christ; where Christ is, there is life, there is the kingdom (St. Ambrose, In Luc., 10, 121: PL 15, 1834A).

Phil 1, 21-22 For to me life is Christ and death is gain

(Phil 1, 21-22) For to me life is Christ and death is gain
[21] For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. [22] If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. And I do not know which I shall choose.
(CCC 1010) Because of Christ, Christian death has a positive meaning: "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Phil 1:21). "The saying is sure: if we have died with him, we will also live with him (2 Tim 2:11). What is essentially new about Christian death is this: through Baptism, the Christian has already "died with Christ" sacramentally, in order to live a new life; and if we die in Christ's grace, physical death completes this "dying with Christ" and so completes our incorporation into him in his redeeming act: It is better for me to die in (eis) Christ Jesus than to reign over the ends of the earth. Him it is I seek - who died for us. Him it is I desire - who rose for us. I am on the point of giving birth.... Let me receive pure light; when I shall have arrived there, then shall I be a man (St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Rom., 6, 1-2: Apostolic Fathers, II/2, 217-220). (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).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Phil 1, 18-20 Christ will be magnified in my body

(Phil 1, 18-20) Christ will be magnified in my body
[18] What difference does it make, as long as in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is being proclaimed? And in that I rejoice. Indeed I shall continue to rejoice, [19] for I know that this will result in deliverance for me through your prayers and support from the Spirit of Jesus Christ. [20] My eager expectation and hope is that I shall not be put to shame in any way, but that with all boldness, now as always, Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.
(CCC 618) The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the "one mediator between God and men" (1 Tim 2:5). But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, "the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery" is offered to all men (GS 22 § 5; cf. § 2). He calls his disciples to "take up [their] cross and follow [him]" (Mt 16:24), for "Christ also suffered for [us], leaving [us] an example so that [we] should follow in his steps" (1 Pt 2:21). In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries (Cf. Mk 10:39; Jn 21:18-19; Col 1:24). This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering (Cf. Lk 2:35). Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven (St. Rose of Lima: cf. P. Hansen, Vita mirabilis, (Louvain, 1668).

Phil 1, 12-17 Dare more than ever to proclaim the word

(Phil 1, 12-17) Dare more than ever to proclaim the word
[12] I want you to know, brothers, that my situation has turned out rather to advance the gospel, [13] so that my imprisonment has become well known in Christ throughout the whole praetorium and to all the rest, [14] and so that the majority of the brothers, having taken encouragement in the Lord from my imprisonment, dare more than ever to proclaim the word fearlessly. [15] Of course, some preach Christ from envy and rivalry, others from good will. [16] The latter act out of love, aware that I am here for the defense of the gospel; [17] the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not from pure motives, thinking that they will cause me trouble in my imprisonment.
(CCC 164) Now, however, "we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor 5:7); we perceive God as "in a mirror, dimly" and only "in part" (l Cor 13:12). Even though enlightened by him in whom it believes, faith is often lived in darkness and can be put to the test. The world we live in often seems very far from the one promised us by faith. Our experiences of evil and suffering, injustice and death, seem to contradict the Good News; they can shake our faith and become a temptation against it. (CCC 1808) Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions. It disposes one even to renounce and sacrifice his life in defense of a just cause. "The Lord is my strength and my song" (Ps 118:14). "In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (Jn 16:33).

Monday, October 20, 2008

Phil 1, 7-11 That your love may increase ever more

(Phil 1, 7-11) That your love may increase ever more
[7] It is right that I should think this way about all of you, because I hold you in my heart, you who are all partners with me in grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. [8] For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. [9] And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, [10] to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, [11] filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.
(CCC 2632) Christian petition is centered on the desire and search for the Kingdom to come, in keeping with the teaching of Christ (Cf. Mt 6:10, 33; Lk 11:2, 13). There is a hierarchy in these petitions: we pray first for the Kingdom, then for what is necessary to welcome it and cooperate with its coming. This collaboration with the mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit, which is now that of the Church, is the object of the prayer of the apostolic community (Cf. Acts 6:6; 13:3). It is the prayer of Paul, the apostle par excellence, which reveals to us how the divine solicitude for all the churches ought to inspire Christian prayer (Cf. Rom 10:1; Eph 1:16-23; Phil 19-11; Col 1:3-6; 4:3-4, 12). By prayer every baptized person works for the coming of the Kingdom. (CCC 2633) When we share in God's saving love, we understand that every need can become the object of petition. Christ, who assumed all things in order to redeem all things, is glorified by what we ask the Father in his name (Cf. Jn 14:13). It is with this confidence that St. James and St. Paul exhort us to pray at all times (Cf. Jas 1:5-8; Eph 5:20; Phil 4:6-7; Col 3:16-17; 1 Thess 5:17-18).

Phil 1, 3-6 Praying always with joy in my every prayer

(Phil 1, 3-6) Praying always with joy in my every prayer
[3] I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you, [4] praying always with joy in my every prayer for all of you, [5] because of your partnership for the gospel from the first day until now. [6] I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.
(CCC 2637) Thanksgiving characterizes the prayer of the Church which, in celebrating the Eucharist, reveals and becomes more fully what she is. Indeed, in the work of salvation, Christ sets creation free from sin and death to consecrate it anew and make it return to the Father, for his glory. The thanksgiving of the members of the Body participates in that of their Head. (CCC 2636) The first Christian communities lived this form of fellowship intensely (Cf. Acts 12:5; 20:36; 21:5; 2 Cor 9:14). Thus the Apostle Paul gives them a share in his ministry of preaching the Gospel (Cf. Eph 6:18-20; Col 4:3-4; 1 Thess 5:25) but also intercedes for them (Cf. 2 Thess 1:11; Col 1:3; Phil 1:3-4). The intercession of Christians recognizes no boundaries: "for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions," for persecutors, for the salvation of those who reject the Gospel (2 Tim 2:1; cf. Rom 12:14; 10:1).

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Phil 1, 1-2 To all the holy ones in Christ Jesus

Letter to Philippians
Philippians 1
(Phil 1, 1-2) To all the holy ones in Christ Jesus
[1] 1 Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, to all the holy ones in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the overseers and ministers: [2] grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
(CCC 2019) Justification includes the remission of sins, sanctification, and the renewal of the inner man. (CCC 2023) Sanctifying grace is the gratuitous gift of his life that God makes to us; it is infused by the Holy Spirit into the soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. (CCC 2024) Sanctifying grace makes us "pleasing to God." Charisms, special graces of the Holy Spirit, are oriented to sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. God also acts through many actual graces, to be distinguished from habitual grace which is permanent in us. (CCC 2045) Because they are members of the Body whose Head is Christ (Cf. Eph 1:22), Christians contribute to building up the Church by the constancy of their convictions and their moral lives. The Church increases, grows, and develops through the holiness of her faithful, until "we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph 4:13; cf. LG 39). (CCC 736) By this power of the Spirit, God's children can bear much fruit. He who has grafted us onto the true vine will make us bear "the fruit of the Spirit:… love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Gal 5:22-23). "We live by the Spirit"; the more we renounce ourselves, the more we "walk by the Spirit" (Gal 5:25; cf. Mt 16:24-26). Through the Holy Spirit we are restored to paradise, led back to the Kingdom of heaven, and adopted as children, given confidence to call God "Father" and to share in Christ's grace, called children of light and given a share in eternal glory (St. Basil, De Spiritu Sancto, 15, 36: PG 32, 132).

Eph 6, 23-24 Love with faith from God the Father

(Eph 6, 23-24) Love with faith from God the Father
[23] Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. [24] Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in immortality.
(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). (CCC 2638) As in the prayer of petition, every event and need can become an offering of thanksgiving. The letters of St. Paul often begin and end with thanksgiving, and the Lord Jesus is always present in it: "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you"; "Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving" (1 Thess 5:18; Col 4:2).

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Eph 6, 18-22 Pray at every opportunity in the Spirit

(Eph 6, 18-22) Pray at every opportunity in the Spirit
[18] With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones [19] and also for me, that speech may be given me to open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel [20] for which I am an ambassador in chains, so that I may have the courage to speak as I must. [21] So that you also may have news of me and of what I am doing, Tychicus, my beloved brother and trustworthy minister in the Lord, will tell you everything. [22] I am sending him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know about us and that he may encourage your hearts.
(CCC 2744) Prayer is a vital necessity. Proof from the contrary is no less convincing: if we do not allow the Spirit to lead us, we fall back into the slavery of sin (Cf. Gal 5:16-25). How can the Holy Spirit be our life if our heart is far from him? Nothing is equal to prayer; for what is impossible it makes possible, what is difficult, easy.... For it is impossible, utterly impossible, for the man who prays eagerly and invokes God ceaselessly ever to sin (St. John Chrysostom, De Anna 4, 5: PG 54, 666). Those who pray are certainly saved; those who do not pray are certainly damned (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Del gran Mezzo della preghiera). (CCC 2752) Prayer presupposes an effort, a fight against ourselves and the wiles of the Tempter. The battle of prayer is inseparable from the necessary "spiritual battle" to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ: we pray as we live, because we live as we pray. (CCC 2635) Since Abraham, intercession - asking on behalf of another - has been characteristic of a heart attuned to God's mercy. In the age of the Church, Christian intercession participates in Christ's, as an expression of the communion of saints. In intercession, he who prays looks "not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others," even to the point of praying for those who do him harm (Phil 2:4; cf. Acts 7:60; Lk 23:28, 34). (CCC 2636) The first Christian communities lived this form of fellowship intensely (Cf. Acts 12:5; 20:36; 21:5; 2 Cor 9:14). Thus the Apostle Paul gives them a share in his ministry of preaching the Gospel (Cf. Eph 6:18-20; Col 4:3-4; 1 Thess 5:25) but also intercedes for them (Cf. 2 Thess 1:11; Col 1:3; Phil 1:3-4). The intercession of Christians recognizes no boundaries: "for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions," for persecutors, for the salvation of those who reject the Gospel (2 Tim 2:1; cf. Rom 12:14; 10:1).

Eph 6, 16-17 Hold faith as a shield

(Eph 6, 16-17) Hold faith as a shield
[16] In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all (the) flaming arrows of the evil one. [17] And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
(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. (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).

Friday, October 17, 2008

Eph 6, 13-15 You may be able to resist on the evil day

(Eph 6, 13-15) You may be able to resist on the evil day
[13] Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. [14] So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, [15] and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace.
(CCC 2852) "A murderer from the beginning,… a liar and the father of lies," Satan is "the deceiver of the whole world" (Jn 8:44; Rev 12:9). Through him sin and death entered the world and by his definitive defeat all creation will be "freed from the corruption of sin and death" (Roman Missal, Eucharistic Prayer IV, 125). Now "we know that anyone born of God does not sin, but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one" (1 Jn 5:18-19). The Lord who has taken away your sin and pardoned your faults also protects you and keeps you from the wiles of your adversary the devil, so that the enemy, who is accustomed to leading into sin, may not surprise you. One who entrusts himself to God does not dread the devil. "If God is for us, who is against us?" (St. Ambrose, De Sacr. 5, 4, 30: PL 16, 454; cf. Rom 8:31).

Eph 6, 12b The evil spirits in the heavens

(Eph 6, 12b) The evil spirits in the heavens
[12b] with the evil spirits in the heavens.
(CCC 409) This dramatic situation of "the whole world [which] is in the power of the evil one" (1 Jn 5:19; cf. 1 Pt 5:8) makes man's life a battle: The whole of man's history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God's grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity (GS 37 § 2). (CCC 566) The temptation in the desert shows Jesus, the humble Messiah, who triumphs over Satan by his total adherence to the plan of salvation willed by the Father. (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).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Eph 6, 12a Our struggle is with the principalities

(Eph 6, 12a) Our struggle is with the principalities
[12a] For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness,
(CCC 391) Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy (Cf. Gen 3:1-5; Wis 2:24). Scripture and the Church's Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called "Satan" or the "devil" (Cf. Jn 8:44; Rev 12:9). The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: "The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing” (Lateran Council IV (1215): DS 800). (CCC 2851) In this petition, evil is not an abstraction, but refers to a person, Satan, the Evil One, the angel who opposes God. The devil (dia-bolos) is the one who "throws himself across" God's plan and his work of salvation accomplished in Christ. (CCC 407) The doctrine of original sin, closely connected with that of redemption by Christ, provides lucid discernment of man's situation and activity in the world. By our first parents' sin, the devil has acquired a certain domination over man, even though man remains free. Original sin entails "captivity under the power of him who thenceforth had the power of death, that is, the devil" (Council of Trent (1546): DS 1511; cf. Heb 2:14). Ignorance of the fact that man has a wounded nature inclined to evil gives rise to serious errors in the areas of education, politics, social action (Cf. John Paul II, CA 25) and morals.

Eph 6, 10-11 Stand firm against the tactics of the devil

(Eph 6, 10-11) Stand firm against the tactics of the devil
[10] Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. [11] Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.
(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 392) Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels (Cf. 2 Pt 2:4). This "fall" consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign. We find a reflection of that rebellion in the tempter's words to our first parents: "You will be like God (Gen 3:5)". The devil "has sinned from the beginning"; he is "a liar and the father of lies (1 Jn 3:8; Jn 8:44)." (CCC 393) It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels' sin unforgivable. "There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death” (St. John Damascene, De fide orth. 2, 4: PG 94, 877). (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).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Eph 6, 8-9 Masters, act in the same way toward them

(Eph 6, 8-9) Masters, act in the same way toward them
[8] knowing that each will be requited from the Lord for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. [9] Masters, act in the same way toward them, and stop bullying, knowing that both they and you have a Master in heaven and that with him there is no partiality.
(CCC 2414) The seventh commandment forbids acts or enterprises that for any reason - selfish or ideological, commercial, or totalitarian - lead to the enslavement of human beings, to their being bought, sold and exchanged like merchandise, in disregard for their personal dignity. It is a sin against the dignity of persons and their fundamental rights to reduce them by violence to their productive value or to a source of profit. St. Paul directed a Christian master to treat his Christian slave "no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother,… Both in the flesh and in the Lord" (Philem 16). (CCC 2297) Kidnapping and hostage taking bring on a reign of terror; by means of threats they subject their victims to intolerable pressures. They are morally wrong. Terrorism threatens, wounds, and kills indiscriminately; it is gravely against justice and charity. Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity. Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law (Cf. DS 3722).

Eph 6, 5-7 Serving the Lord and not human beings

(Eph 6, 5-7) Serving the Lord and not human beings
[5] Slaves, be obedient to your human masters with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ, [6] not only when being watched, as currying favor, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, [7] willingly serving the Lord and not human beings,
(CCC 1738) Freedom is exercised in relationships between human beings. Every human person, created in the image of God, has the natural right to be recognized as a free and responsible being. All owe to each other this duty of respect. The right to the exercise of freedom, especially in moral and religious matters, is an inalienable requirement of the dignity of the human person. This right must be recognized and protected by civil authority within the limits of the common good and public order (Cf. DH 2 § 7). (CCC 1739) Freedom and sin. Man's freedom is limited and fallible. In fact, man failed. He freely sinned. By refusing God's plan of love, he deceived himself and became a slave to sin. This first alienation engendered a multitude of others. From its outset, human history attests the wretchedness and oppression born of the human heart in consequence of the abuse of freedom.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Eph 6, 4b Bring them up with the instruction of the Lord

(Eph 6, 4b) Bring them up with the instruction of the Lord
[4b] but bring them up with the training and instruction of the Lord.
(CCC 2226) Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child's earliest years. This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God (Cf. LG 11). The parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place for the catechesis of children and parents. (CCC 2229) As those first responsible for the education of their children, parents have the right to choose a school for them which corresponds to their own convictions. This right is fundamental. As far as possible parents have the duty of choosing schools that will best help them in their task as Christian educators (Cf. GE 6). Public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right and of ensuring the concrete conditions for its exercise. (CCC 2232) Family ties are important but not absolute. Just as the child grows to maturity and human and spiritual autonomy, so his unique vocation which comes from God asserts itself more clearly and forcefully. Parents should respect this call and encourage their children to follow it. They must be convinced that the first vocation of the Christian is to follow Jesus: "He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me" (Mt 10:37; cf. 16:25).

Eph 6, 4a Do not provoke your children to anger

(Eph 6, 4a) Do not provoke your children to anger
[4a] Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger,
(CCC 2221) The fecundity of conjugal love cannot be reduced solely to the procreation of children, but must extend to their moral education and their spiritual formation. "The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute" (GE 3). The right and the duty of parents to educate their children are primordial and inalienable (Cf. FC 36). (CCC 2222) Parents must regard their children as children of God and respect them as human persons. Showing themselves obedient to the will of the Father in heaven, they educate their children to fulfill God's law. (CCC 2225) Through the grace of the sacrament of marriage, parents receive the responsibility and privilege of evangelizing their children. Parents should initiate their children at an early age into the mysteries of the faith of which they are the "first heralds" for their children. They should associate them from their tenderest years with the life of the Church (LG 11 § 2). A wholesome family life can foster interior dispositions that are a genuine preparation for a living faith and remain a support for it throughout one's life.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Eph 6, 3 That it may go well with you

(Eph 6, 3) That it may go well with you
[3] "that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life on earth."
(CCC 2220) For Christians a special gratitude is due to those from whom they have received the gift of faith, the grace of Baptism, and life in the Church. These may include parents, grandparents, other members of the family, pastors, catechists, and other teachers or friends. "I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you” (2 Tim 1:5). (CCC 2230) When they become adults, children have the right and duty to choose their profession and state of life. They should assume their new responsibilities within a trusting relationship with their parents, willingly asking and receiving their advice and counsel. Parents should be careful not to exert pressure on their children either in the choice of a profession or in that of a spouse. This necessary restraint does not prevent them - quite the contrary - from giving their children judicious advice, particularly when they are planning to start a family. (CCC 2231) Some forgo marriage in order to care for their parents or brothers and sisters, to give themselves more completely to a profession, or to serve other honorable ends. They can contribute greatly to the good of the human family.

Eph 6, 2 Honor your father and mother

(Eph 6, 2) Honor your father and mother
[2] "Honor your father and mother." This is the first commandment with a promise,
(CCC 2218) The fourth commandment reminds grown children of their responsibilities toward their parents. As much as they can, they must give them material and moral support in old age and in times of illness, loneliness, or distress. Jesus recalls this duty of gratitude (Cf. Mk 7:10-12). For the Lord honored the father above the children, and he confirmed the right of the mother over her sons. Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and whoever glorifies his mother is like one who lays up treasure. Whoever honors his father will be gladdened by his own children, and when he prays he will be heard. Whoever glorifies his father will have long life, and whoever obeys the Lord will refresh his mother (Sir 3:2-6). O son, help your father in his old age, and do not grieve him as long as he lives; even if he is lacking in understanding, show forbearance; in all your strength do not despise him.... Whoever forsakes his father is like a blasphemer, and whoever angers his mother is cursed by the Lord (Sir 3:12-13, 16). (CCC 2219) Filial respect promotes harmony in all of family life; it also concerns relationships between brothers and sisters. Respect toward parents fills the home with light and warmth. "Grandchildren are the crown of the aged" (Prov 17:6). "With all humility and meekness, with patience, [support] one another in charity" (Eph 4:2).

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Eph 6, 1 Children, obey your parents

Ephesians 6
(Eph 6, 1) Children, obey your parents
[1] Children, obey your parents (in the Lord), for this is right.
(CCC 2214) The divine fatherhood is the source of human fatherhood (Cf. Eph 3:14) this is the foundation of the honor owed to parents. The respect of children, whether minors or adults, for their father and mother (Cf. Prov 1:8; Tob 4:3-4) is nourished by the natural affection born of the bond uniting them. It is required by God's commandment (Cf. Ex 20:12). (CCC 2215) Respect for parents (filial piety) derives from gratitude toward those who, by the gift of life, their love and their work, have brought their children into the world and enabled them to grow in stature, wisdom, and grace. "With all your heart honor your father, and do not forget the birth pangs of your mother. Remember that through your parents you were born; what can you give back to them that equals their gift to you?" (Sir 7:27-28). (CCC 2216) Filial respect is shown by true docility and obedience. "My son, keep your father's commandment, and forsake not your mother's teaching.... When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you" (Prov 6:20-22). "A wise son hears his father's instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke" (Prov 13:1). (CCC 2217) As long as a child lives at home with his parents, the child should obey his parents in all that they ask of him when it is for his good or that of the family. "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord" (Col 3:20; cf. Eph 6:1). Children should also obey the reasonable directions of their teachers and all to whom their parents have entrusted them. But if a child is convinced in conscience that it would be morally wrong to obey a particular order, he must not do so. As they grow up, children should continue to respect their parents. They should anticipate their wishes, willingly seek their advice, and accept their just admonitions. Obedience toward parents ceases with the emancipation of the children; not so respect, which is always owed to them. This respect has its roots in the fear of God, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Eph 5, 29-33 The two shall become one flesh

(Eph 5, 29-33) The two shall become one flesh
[29] For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, [30] because we are members of his body. [31] "For this reason a man shall leave (his) father and (his) mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." [32] This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church. [33] In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.
(CCC 1602) Sacred Scripture begins with the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God and concludes with a vision of "the wedding-feast of the Lamb" (Rev 19:7, 9; cf. Gen 1:26-27). Scripture speaks throughout of marriage and its "mystery," its institution and the meaning God has given it, its origin and its end, its various realizations throughout the history of salvation, the difficulties arising from sin and its renewal "in the Lord" in the New Covenant of Christ and the Church (1 Cor 7:39; cf. Eph 5:31-32). (CCC 1659) St. Paul said: "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church.... This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church" Eph 5:25, 32). (CCC 1616) This is what the Apostle Paul makes clear when he says: "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her," adding at once: "'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one. This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church" (Eph 5:25-26, 31-32; cf. Gen 2:24). (CCC 1605) Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another: "It is not good that the man should be alone" (Gen 2:18). The woman, "flesh of his flesh," his equal, his nearest in all things, is given to him by God as a "helpmate"; she thus represents God from whom comes our help (Cf. Gen 2:18-25). "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh" (Gen 2:24). The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been "in the beginning": "So they are no longer two, but one flesh" (Mt 19:6).

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Eph 5, 22-28 As Christ loved the church

(Eph 5, 22-28) As Christ loved the church
[22] Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. [23] For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. [24] As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. [25] Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her [26] to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, [27] that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. [28] So (also) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
(CCC 1641) "By reason of their state in life and of their order, [Christian spouses] have their own special gifts in the People of God" (LG 11 § 2). This grace proper to the sacrament of Matrimony is intended to perfect the couple's love and to strengthen their indissoluble unity. By this grace they "help one another to attain holiness in their married life and in welcoming and educating their children" (LG 11 § 2; cf. LG 41). (CCC 1642) Christ is the source of this grace. "Just as of old God encountered his people with a covenant of love and fidelity, so our Savior, the spouse of the Church, now encounters Christian spouses through the sacrament of Matrimony" (GS 48 § 2). Christ dwells with them, gives them the strength to take up their crosses and so follow him, to rise again after they have fallen, to forgive one another, to bear one another's burdens, to "be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ" (Eph 5:21; cf. Gal 6:2), and to love one another with supernatural, tender, and fruitful love. In the joys of their love and family life he gives them here on earth a foretaste of the wedding feast of the Lamb: How can I ever express the happiness of a marriage joined by the Church, strengthened by an offering, sealed by a blessing, announced by angels, and ratified by the Father?... How wonderful the bond between two believers, now one in hope, one in desire, one in discipline, one in the same service! They are both children of one Father and servants of the same Master, undivided in spirit and flesh, truly two in one flesh. Where the flesh is one, one also is the spirit (Tertullian, Ad uxorem. 2, 8, 6-7: PL 1, 1412-1413; cf. FC 13).

Eph 5, 21 Be subordinate to one another

(Eph 5, 21) Be subordinate to one another
[21] Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.
(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).

Friday, October 10, 2008

Eph 5, 20 Giving thanks always and for everything

(Eph 5, 20) Giving thanks always and for everything
[20] giving thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.
(CCC 2633) When we share in God's saving love, we understand that every need can become the object of petition. Christ, who assumed all things in order to redeem all things, is glorified by what we ask the Father in his name (Cf. Jn 14:13). It is with this confidence that St. James and St. Paul exhort us to pray at all times (Cf. Jas 1:5-8; Eph 5:20; Phil 4:6-7; Col 3:16-17; 1 Thess 5:17-18). (CCC 2634) Intercession is a prayer of petition which leads us to pray as Jesus did. He is the one intercessor with the Father on behalf of all men, especially sinners (Cf. Rom 8:34; 1 Jn 2:1; 1 Tim 2:5-8). He is "able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them" (Heb 7:25). The Holy Spirit "himself intercedes for us… and intercedes for the saints according to the will of God" (Rom 8:26-27). (CCC 2742) "Pray constantly… always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father" (1 Thess 5:17; Eph 5:20). St. Paul adds, "Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance making supplication for all the saints" (Eph 6:18). For "we have not been commanded to work, to keep watch and to fast constantly, but it has been laid down that we are to pray without ceasing" (Evagrius Ponticus, Pract. 49: PG 40, 1245C). This tireless fervor can come only from love. Against our dullness and laziness, the battle of prayer is that of humble, trusting, and persevering love. This love opens our hearts to three enlightening and life-giving facts of faith about prayer.

Eph 5, 19 Singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts

(Eph 5, 19) Singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts
[19] addressing one another (in) psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts,
(CCC 2641) "[Address] one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart" (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16). Like the inspired writers of the New Testament, the first Christian communities read the Book of Psalms in a new way, singing in it the mystery of Christ. In the newness of the Spirit, they also composed hymns and canticles in the light of the unheard-of event that God accomplished in his Son: his Incarnation, his death which conquered death, his Resurrection, and Ascension to the right hand of the Father (Cf. Phil 2:6-11; Col 1:15-20; Eph 5:14; 1 Tim 3:16; 6:15-16; 2 Tim 2:11-13). Doxology, the praise of God, arises from this "marvelous work" of the whole economy of salvation (Cf. Eph 1:3-14; Rom 16:25-27; Eph 3:20-21; Jude 24-25). (CCC 1156) "The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as a combination of sacred music and words, it forms a necessary or integral part of solemn liturgy" (SC 112). The composition and singing of inspired psalms, often accompanied by musical instruments, were already closely linked to the liturgical celebrations of the Old Covenant. The Church continues and develops this tradition: "Address … one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart." "He who sings prays twice" (Eph 5:19; St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 72,1: PL 36, 914; cf. Col 3:16). (CCC 1157) Song and music fulfill their function as signs in a manner all the more significant when they are "more closely connected… with the liturgical action" (SC 112 § 3), according to three principal criteria: beauty expressive of prayer, the unanimous participation of the assembly at the designated moments, and the solemn character of the celebration. In this way they participate in the purpose of the liturgical words and actions: the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful (Cf. SC 112): How I wept, deeply moved by your hymns, songs, and the voices that echoed through your Church! What emotion I experienced in them! Those sounds flowed into my ears distilling the truth in my heart. A feeling of devotion surged within me, and tears streamed down my face - tears that did me good (St. Augustine, Conf. 9, 6, 14: PL 32, 769-770).

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Eph 5, 18 Be filled with the Spirit

(Eph 5, 18) Be filled with the Spirit
[18] And do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
(CCC 2290) The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine. Those incur grave guilt who, by drunkenness or a love of speed, endanger their own and others' safety on the road, at sea, or in the air. (CCC 2291) The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense. Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs are scandalous practices. They constitute direct co-operation in evil, since they encourage people to practices gravely contrary to the moral law. (CCC 2211) The political community has a duty to honor the family, to assist it, and to ensure especially: - the freedom to establish a family, have children, and bring them up in keeping with the family's own moral and religious convictions; - the protection of the stability of the marriage bond and the institution of the family; - the freedom to profess one's faith, to hand it on, and raise one's children in it, with the necessary means and institutions; - the right to private property, to free enterprise, to obtain work and housing, and the right to emigrate; - in keeping with the country's institutions, the right to medical care, assistance for the aged, and family benefits; - the protection of security and health, especially with respect to dangers like drugs, pornography, alcoholism, etc.; - the freedom to form associations with other families and so to have representation before civil authority (Cf. FC 46).

Eph 5, 14-17 Christ will give you light

(Eph 5, 14-17) Christ will give you light
[14] for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, it says: "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light." [15] Watch carefully then how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, [16] making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil. [17] Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord.
(CCC 1036) The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few" (Mt 7:13-14). Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where "men will weep and gnash their teeth" (LG 48 § 3; Mt 22:13; cf. Heb 9:27; Mt 25:13, 26, 30, 31 46). (CCC 2088) The first commandment requires us to nourish and protect our faith with prudence and vigilance, and to reject everything that is opposed to it. There are various ways of sinning against faith: Voluntary doubt about the faith disregards or refuses to hold as true what God has revealed and the Church proposes for belief. Involuntary doubt refers to hesitation in believing, difficulty in overcoming objections connected with the faith, or also anxiety aroused by its obscurity. If deliberately cultivated doubt can lead to spiritual blindness. (CCC 2727) We must also face the fact that certain attitudes deriving from the mentality of "this present world" can penetrate our lives if we are not vigilant. For example, some would have it that only that is true which can be verified by reason and science; yet prayer is a mystery that overflows both our conscious and unconscious lives. Others overly prize production and profit; thus prayer, being unproductive, is useless. Still others exalt sensuality and comfort as the criteria of the true, the good, and the beautiful; whereas prayer, the "love of beauty" (philokalia), is caught up in the glory of the living and true God. Finally, some see prayer as a flight from the world in reaction against activism; but in fact, Christian prayer is neither an escape from reality nor a divorce from life.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Eph 5, 10-13 Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord

(Eph 5, 10-13) Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord
[10] Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. [11] Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them, [12] for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; [13] but everything exposed by the light becomes visible,
(CCC 1691) "Christian, recognize your dignity and, now that you share in God's own nature, do not return to your former base condition by sinning. Remember who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Never forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of the Kingdom of God" (St. Leo the Great, Sermo 21 in nat. Dom., 3: PL 54, 192C). (CCC 1708) By his Passion, Christ delivered us from Satan and from sin. He merited for us the new life in the Holy Spirit. His grace restores what sin had damaged in us. (CCC 1709) He who believes in Christ becomes a son of God. This filial adoption transforms him by giving him the ability to follow the example of Christ. It makes him capable of acting rightly and doing good. In union with his Savior, the disciple attains the perfection of charity which is holiness. Having matured in grace, the moral life blossoms into eternal life in the glory of heaven.

Eph 5, 8-9 Live as children of light

(Eph 5, 8-9) Live as children of light
[8] For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, [9] for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.
(CCC 1216) "This bath is called enlightenment, because those who receive this [catechetical] instruction are enlightened in their understanding…." (St. Justin, Apol. 1, 61, 12: PG 6, 421). Having received in Baptism the Word, "the true light that enlightens every man," the person baptized has been "enlightened," he becomes a "son of light," indeed, he becomes "light" himself (Jn 1:9; 1 Thess 5:5; Heb 10:32; Eph 5:8): Baptism is God's most beautiful and magnificent gift....We call it gift, grace, anointing, enlightenment, garment of immortality, bath of rebirth, seal, and most precious gift. It is called gift because it is conferred on those who bring nothing of their own; grace since it is given even to the guilty; Baptism because sin is buried in the water; anointing for it is priestly and royal as are those who are anointed; enlightenment because it radiates light; clothing since it veils our shame; bath because it washes; and seal as it is our guard and the sign of God's Lordship (St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio 40, 3-4: PG 36, 361C). (CCC 1695) "Justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God" (2 Cor 6:11), "sanctified… (and) called to be saints" (1 Cor 1:2), Christians have become the temple of the Holy Spirit (Cf. 1 Cor 6:19). This "Spirit of the Son" teaches them to pray to the Father (Cf. Gal 4:6) and, having become their life, prompts them to act so as to bear "the fruit of the Spirit" (Gal 5:22, 25) by charity in action. Healing the wounds of sin, the Holy Spirit renews us interiorly through a spiritual transformation (Cf. Eph 4:23). He enlightens and strengthens us to live as "children of light" through "all that is good and right and true" (Eph 5:8, 9).