The Three Theological Virtues

The three theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity are given by God to those who are in a state of grace.  Regarding the theological virtues St. Thomas Aquinas states, “the theological virtues direct man to supernatural happiness in the same way as by the natural inclination man is directed to his connatural end”  (STII, Q62, A3).  The three virtues are different, but linked together in purpose, function, and motive.

The author of the letter to the Hebrews described faith as something hoped for.  We see this in Hebrews 11:1 where the author states, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (NRSV).  Faith is the basis on which our hopes are founded and is the basis of merit (Hardon Ch. 10).  Through faith we do not believe in fanciful myths or new theologies because we know what has been revealed, and to whom it has been entrusted.

Hope is related to faith because faith spurs hope.  Furthermore, hope looks to the object of our faith.  The object of our faith is supernatural, and hope helps us to attain supernatural truth.  It shows us what to strive for and implies a modicum of pursuit.  Are we pursuing the truth of God, or are we pursuing temporal things?  If temporal, then we hope to attain them through our own efforts.  If supernatural, thee is no way possible to attain them on our own.  This is the error of Pelagianism that was condemned in the early days of the church.  It is only through the revelation and assistance of God that we may achieve this end.

Charity, as is hope, is something that is directed to and fulfilled by the Almighty (Hardon Ch. 10).  Hope is self-serving in a way because it is and end that we hope for ourselves, but charity is different.  Charity comes about when we love God for who he is instead of what we can attain through Him.  When we love God with everything we have we then seek to love him the way he wishes to be loved.

Faith, hope, and charity have their beginning and end in God.  Faith is the substance of things hope for.  Hope looks to God who is the object of our faith.  In Charity we seek to love God the way he wishes us to love, and that includes loving him above all things and loving our neighbor.  It is in this way that the three are distinct but intrinsically connected.

Works Cited

Aquinas, Thomas.  Summa Theologia. Trans. Thomas Gornall.  Blackfriars, St. Joseph, IN:  Ave Maria Press, 1981.  Accessed September 15, 2018.

Hardon, John.  History and Theology of Grace.  Ann Arbor, MI:  Sapientia Press, 2005.

Advertisements

God is Love

Beloved, if God so loved us,
we also must love one another.
No one has ever seen God.
Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us.

This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us,
that he has given us of his Spirit.
Moreover, we have seen and testify
that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world.
Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,
God remains in him and he in God.
We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.

God is love, and whoever remains in love
remains in God and God in him.-1 John 4:11-16

The second reading in today’s mass is from the first letter of St. John.  This letter is a personal favorite of mine.  There is so much theological depth and things we can use on an everyday basis.  This letter is an extension of the Gospel he wrote, and we see a lot of talk about love.  Today’s passage is especially challenging for us.  St. John writes that to love is how we remain in God because God is love.  In a world that seems to be about revenge and shaming to get what we want this may seem extreme.  In fact, it is outright countercultural.

If we acknowledge and accept Christ as the Son of God then St. John says that we have come to know the love that God has for us.  Since we know that love we have been called, and have the obligation, to love others.  Even those who may not like us.  This doesn’t mean that we need to have someone in our home who does us harm, but we have to acknowledge their worth as someone who is made in the image of God.  Remember that God is love, and if we claim Christ then we have an obligation to reflect that love to others.  Are we doing it?

Quote

The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist.
–Pope St. Gregory the Great

Christ and Theology of the Body

From the beginnings of sacred scripture, we read many prophecies about the coming of the Messiah.  This first gospel announcement can be seen as early as Genesis 3:15. After much anticipation the Savior is born of a virgin and walked among us.  In our fallen state he revealed himself as the “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15 NRSV).  Adam sinned in the garden, but Christ is perfect in every way and comes among us as the new Adam.  As the new Adam he shows each of the human person as it was intended in the beginning.

This is an important concept when it comes to the Theology of the Body.  The body is the mystery of God revealed in human flesh, and this is one factor that makes Christianity logical (Ostrowski 201).  The human body is a study of God as it is His creation, and He created us out of love.  He wants us to share that love, and as such the marital act of spouses is the created version of His love, making visible the invisible reality of His mystery.

From the beginning God wanted his plan to be plainly visible.  Regarding this Christopher West writes, “God wanted this great marital plan of union and eternal life to be so plain to the world that He impressed an image of it right in our bodies by creating us male and female” (Ostrowski 202).  Therefore, the model for human sexuality is that which was present before the fall of our first parents.  Though we have fallen we have redemption in Christ who showed us the way as the new Adam.  We are made for union, and we long for union, but we must only be in union with our spouse.  Until then we must be celibate and rely on the grace of Christ to overcome our lustful desires.

Image result for theology of the body

WORKS CITED

Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version

 

Ostrowski, Thaddeus ed., Primary Source Readings in Christian Morality.  Winona, MN: Saint Mary’s Press, 2008, Print.

The Deeds of Jesus

Every Sunday in the creed we declare that Jesus is our Lord, but what does that mean?  What implications does that have on our lives?  In the Gospels Jesus tells us to love our neighbor (Mark 12:31), love God (Matthew 22:37), and show mercy (John 8:11).  How do his words correlate to his deeds, and what does that mean for us as his followers?  This post will take a deeper look at the scriptures referenced to illustrate how the words that Christ spoke correspond with his actions.

Jesus often spoke of what we now the call the perfect commandment.  Jesus spoke about loving God with all our heart and loving our neighbor as yourself.  The first verse mentioned above is Mark 12:31 which states, “The second is this ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these” (NRSV).  To love your neighbor means so much more than greeting them when they are in their front yard.  Whether they treated him as he deserved or not, Jesus showed compassion to everyone (Collins 51).  He healed the centurion’s servant in Matthew 8:13, St. Peter’s mother in law in Matthew 8:14, and healed a multitude in Matthew 14:14.  In healing the centurion’s servant in Matthew 8:13, Jesus shows that his salvation is for Jew and Gentile alike.  In addition, this was a member of the occupying government and an enemy of the Jewish people.  He shows us what we must do with those we do not agree with.  We must still them as people as they are created in the image of God.

To go along with loving our neighbor, Jesus tells us “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37 NRSV).  How is loving God a deed of Jesus?  As the Son of God he is the only way to the Father, and Christ said we can only know the Father through him (John 14:6).  To love God with all your heart is to go where he leads and to do what he is telling us to do.  In short, we must follow his will if we love him with our whole being.  Jesus demonstrated this is many ways, with the most notable being his Passion.

In the garden of Gethsemane, we see the human will of Jesus manifesting itself.  He is so terrified about what he must endure that he begins to sweat drops of blood (Luke 22:44).  This is a medical condition known as Hematidrosis, and occurs when an individual in experiencing extreme stress.  He prayed that he may not have to endure, and this shows he is human.  He was scared, and above all it means he can relate to what we go through.  Though he was terrified, Christ knew his mission and because of his overwhelming love we are redeemed.

In John chapter 8 Jesus encounters a group of Pharisees who are circling a woman and looking to stone her for the sin of adultery.  According to Leviticus 20:10 this was the consequence for such an action, but adultery takes two people.  The woman was about to get stoned, but where was the man?  It is speculated that the man was in the crowd that was wanting to stone the woman, and this was a way to trap Jesus.  He knew what was going on, and said if someone present has never sinned then he could throw the stone (John 8:7).  Jesus told her to stop sinning, and did not condemn her.  He forgave her for the sin by saying “Neither do I condemn you.  Go your way, and from now on do not sin again” (John 8:11 NRSV).  Jesus showed mercy and did not just talk about it.  We see this several times in the Gospels, but this example is significant as the penalty was death for such a sin.  He gave the woman a new life and hope, and tells us to do the same.

 

Image result for jesus

 

Works Cited

O’ Collins, Gerald. Jesus: A Portrait. New York: Maryknoll, 2013

We All Need Sympathy

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.- Hebrews 4:15 (NRSV)

 

Like it or not, we are in the throws of the holiday season.  Christmas songs are already on the radio, and a couple weeks ago retailers started to put up their “holiday” decorations.  This is also the time of the year when people feel alone and get lost in the business that has become the holiday season.  With the popularity of social media people who are hurting may say so on the platform of their choice.  They may be depressed, alone, lost a loved one, or are hurting in some other way.  It is in our nature to want to connect, and that desire is heightened when we are hurting in some way.

Why?  Because, whether we want to admit it or not, we all need sympathy.  We want to know that people are supporting us during our darkest of times, and that other people have been where we are currently and have made it through to the other side.  Today’s verse shows us something remarkable, simple, and reassuring.  It shows us that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, is not some unfeeling and uncaring figure.  He walked on this Earth and felt what we felt.  He was tempted (Matt. 4:1-11), he felt the pain of someone close to him dying (John 11), and his friends abandoned him in his hour of need (Mark 14:50).

What are you struggling with today?  Do you feel that nobody understands what you are going through?  I want to encourage you and say that many sympathize and care for you.  Jesus Christ himself sympathizes and loves you with an everlasting love.  Throughout life we will always have hard times, but our savior lived on this earth and knows all about them on a personal level.  Jesus is there to sympathize, guide you, and walk you through the dark times.  Keep your head up!

Deeds of Christ

Every Sunday in the creed we declare that Jesus is our Lord, but what does that mean?  What implications does that have on our lives?  In the Gospels Jesus tells us to love our neighbor (Mark 12:31), love God (Matthew 22:37), and show mercy (John 8:11).  How do his words correlate to his deeds, and what does that mean for us as his followers?  This essay will take a deeper look at the scriptures referenced to illustrate how the words that Christ spoke correspond with his actions.

Jesus often spoke of what we now the call the perfect commandment.  Jesus spoke about loving God with all our heart and loving our neighbor as yourself.  The first verse mentioned above is Mark 12:31 which states, “The second is this ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these” (NRSV).  To love your neighbor means so much more than greeting them when they are in their front yard.  Whether they treated him as he deserved or not, Jesus showed compassion to everyone (Collins 51).  He healed the centurion’s servant in Matthew 8:13, St. Peter’s mother in law in Matthew 8:14, and healed a multitude in Matthew 14:14.  In healing the centurion’s servant in Matthew 8:13, Jesus shows that his salvation is for Jew and Gentile alike.  In addition, this was a member of the occupying government and an enemy of the Jewish people.  He shows us what we must do with those we do not agree with.  We must still them as people as they are created in the image of God.

To go along with loving our neighbor, Jesus tells us “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37 NRSV).  How is loving God a deed of Jesus?  As the Son of God he is the only way to the Father, and Christ said we can only know the Father through him (John 14:6).  To love God with all your heart is to go where he leads and to do what he is telling us to do.  In short, we must follow his will if we love him with our whole being.  Jesus demonstrated this is many ways, with the most notable being his Passion.

In the garden of Gethsemane, we see the human will of Jesus manifesting itself.  He is so terrified about what he must endure that he begins to sweat drops of blood (Luke 22:44).  This is a medical condition known as Hematidrosis, and occurs when an individual in experiencing extreme stress.  He prayed that he may not have to endure, and this shows he is human.  He was scared, and above all it means he can relate to what we go through.  Though he was terrified, Christ knew his mission and because of his overwhelming love we are redeemed.

In John chapter 8 Jesus encounters a group of Pharisees who are circling a woman and looking to stone her for the sin of adultery.  According to Leviticus 20:10 this was the consequence for such an action, but adultery takes two people.  The woman was about to get stoned, but where was the man?  It is speculated that the man was in the crowd that was wanting to stone the woman, and this was a way to trap Jesus.  He knew what was going on, and said if someone present has never sinned then he could throw the stone (John 8:7).  Jesus told her to stop sinning, and did not condemn her.  He forgave her for the sin by saying “Neither do I condemn you.  Go your way, and from now on do not sin again” (John 8:11 NRSV).  Jesus showed mercy and did not just talk about it.  We see this several times in the Gospels, but this example is significant as the penalty was death for such a sin.  He gave the woman a new life and hope, and he does the same for us.

 

Book Review: Where Does Love Hide?

The book Where Does Love Hide?  is a children’s book that teaches small children what love is and how it can be expressed to others.  The author utilizes great illustrations and the popular lift-the -flap  pages to keep children intrigued.  When each flat id lifted it revealed a corresponding passage from scripture to drive home the message.

The book itself is fairly short as is only 13 pages long.  Though it is not meant for the normal reader of this blog, it is important that the youngest among us are steeped on these lessons early on.  The book is a board book which will hold its own in the hand of 2-4 year olds.  In fact, my twin three year olds tested the endurance of this book and it held up nicely.

In a note to parents the author writes, “I love you.  A child’s understanding of this message begins very simply, when he or she connects actions with words.”  The book teaches the child the joy of giving and the joy of receiving love.  My children loved it and I am sure yours will s well.

The book can be purchased at https://www.tyndale.com/p/where-does-love-hide/9781496411686

[Note:  This book was received free of charge from Tyndale publishing in exchange for an honest review.]

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.- Lamentations 3:22-23

Lamentations is a book of the Bible that speaks volumes.  It was written by Jeremiah after the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem, destroyed the temple, and the Israelites were put into exile.  Though it was written in a very difficult time it speaks of the mercy of God, and his plan for his people.

The prophecy given to Jeremiah involved the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and that the people would be given yet another chance.  The love of God is not consumed, or in other words, it is without end.  Though we may be going through rough times his compassion never fails.  We can always go to him no matter what the situation.  In so doing we encounter the creator of the universe who will be with us every step of the way.  Many in my family are going through rough patches, and odds are it is the same in yours.  May we never forget that our God is loving and compassionate, and loves us with an everlasting love.  No matter what the situation or circumstances He is there.  May we always remember to go to Him in good times and bad.  Great is His faithfulness!

Never too Late

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning.”- Joel 2:12

When we do wrong we often get puffed up with pride and refuse to admit what we did.  We may make every effort to avoid the person, or even try to rationalize our wrongdoing.  In the end what does this prove?  It just makes further damage to a relationship.

Today’s verse is one that emphasizes the mercy of God.  Though Israel had experienced God’s judgment He still tells them to turn back.  He tells them that “even now”, after everything, that He still loves them.  Let us examine our minds this morning.  Is there a sin that we are selfishly holding on to?  What damage is that sin doing with our relationship with the Lord?  God is telling us to repent of it, and ask forgiveness through Christ.  You may be thinking that you are to far gone, but that is not true.  Look again at today’s verse.  It is never to late to return to the lord.  God love you and have a great day!

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑