capa-blog copy
Mar 032017
 

Saint Peter's Square from the dome

By valyag (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons


Since the beginning of His Mission, Jesus incorporated His Disciples (His Church) to His life.

“Jesus said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men’” (Mark 1,17); and for three years, He unveiled the Mystery of the Kingdom of God to them.

He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted” (Matthew 13,11).

He wanted His Disciples to share His Mission of rescuing mankind and also share His joys and pains.

The seventy[-two] returned rejoicing, and said, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name” (Luke 10, 17).

“It is you who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer a kingdom on you, just as my Father has conferred one on me, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom; and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22, 28-30).

Jesus wanted to be joined in intimate communion with those who followed Him:

“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” (John 6, 56).

That real and mysterious union has awesome effects:

“Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me”(John 6, 57). “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (John 6,51).

He maintains and supports His Church; the Catechism tells us that: “The Church is communion with Jesus” (CCC # 787).

We enter into communion with the Christ through Eucharist:

“Because the loaf of bread is one, we, through many, are one body, for we partake of the one loaf” (The First Letter to the Corinthians 10, 17).

Pope Paul VI once said that “those who do not love the Church, do not love Jesus Christ” for they are one single reality.

Professor Felipe Aquino

Professor Felipe Aquino is a widower, father of five children. On TV Canção Nova he presents the program “Escola da Fé” [School of faith] and “Pergunte e Responderemos” [Ask and respond], on Radio he presents the program “in the heart of the Church”. On weekends he preaches deepening meetings throughout Brazil and abroad. He wrote 73 books of Catholic background by publishers, Loyola and Cleopas and Canção Nova. His teacher’s page:www.cleofas.com.br Twitter: @pfelipeaquino

 Posted by at 01:01
Feb 242017
 

More than a human and legal Institution, the Church is a “Mystery”; it is a human-divine complex. The same way Jesus is man and God at the same time, His Church is also human and divine and was created after His likeness. That is the Mystery we shall never be able to perfectly understand during earthly life, though it is a reality.

Chapter I of “Lumen Gentium” (Peoples’ Light) – the Vatican Council II Dogmatic Constitution on the Church – is devoted to that Mystery and starts as follows:

“… The Church is in Christ like a sacrament or as a sign and instrument both of a very closely knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race…” (LG, 1).

Vatican Council II teaches us that God did not want to save mankind individually; on the contrary, “He planned to assemble in the holy Church all those who would believe in Christ” (LG, 2).

God the Father decreed the salvation of mankind through the Body of Christ, the Church.  Each baptized individual becomes a member of that Body, in which God gathers His human family that sin had dispersed. In his First Letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul clearly explains that reality:

“As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body… Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it” (The First Letter to the Corinthians 12, 12-27).

That is an awesome reality: we are the Body of Christ. The Father decided to bring back His human family to His Proximity through the creation of this human-divine Mystical Body (mysterious Body), so that we can co-experience His blissful life once again.

“Grafted in Christ” (Romans 11, 17) through Baptism, we participate in His Death and Resurrection; in Him we become God’s adoptive children and heirs of eternal life. That is the redeeming reality of the Church, “the universal sacrament of salvation” (LG, 48) and “mystery of men’s union with God” (CCC # 772).

Prof Felipe Aquino

Professor Felipe Aquino is a widower, father of five children. On TV Canção Nova he presents the program “Escola da Fé” [School of faith] and “Pergunte e Responderemos” [Ask and respond], on Radio he presents the program “in the heart of the Church”. On weekends he preaches deepening meetings throughout Brazil and abroad. He wrote 73 books of Catholic background by publishers, Loyola and Cleopas and Canção Nova. His teacher’s page:www.cleofas.com.br Twitter: @pfelipeaquino

 Posted by at 01:01
Feb 172017
 

 Christians of the first centuries did not hesitate in saying that “The world was created for the sake of the Church.” Saint Clemens of Alexandria (died in 215 AD) stated:

“Just as God’s will is creation and is called “the world,” so his intention is the salvation of men, and it is called “the Church” (CCC  760).

Many children of that loving Mother knew how to be faithful to Her up to the end. In 1988, Monsignor Ignatius Ong Pin-Mei, Bishop of Shangai, after being kept in jail for 30 long years in China because of his love for the Christ and faithfulness to the Catholic Church, declared on the following day of his release from prison:

“I stayed faithful to the Roman Catholic Church. Thirty years of prison did not change me. I kept my faith. I am ready to go back to prison tomorrow to defend my faith.”

The Cardinal of Czechoslovakia Frantisek Tomasek, Archbishop of Prague was living hard times of communist persecution in 1985. A reporter asked him: “Your Eminency, are you not tired of combating unsuccessfully?” And he answered:

 

“I always repeat: those who work for the Kingdom of God do a lot; those who pray, do more; those who suffer, do everything. That everything is exactly the little we do here in Czechoslovakia” (IL Sabato 8, 14/06/85, p.11), (PR,  284, Jan 1986).

 

It is opportune to remember here that a few years later, in 1989, communism started to crumble all through the Iron Curtain…

Christians of all times shed their blood because of their faith in the Church; starting with the martyrs of the Roman Empire, followed by the martyrs of Nazism and Communism and also of modern times.

Tertullian, Bishop and Historian of the Church during the III Century, wrote to the Emperor of his time telling him that it was useless to kill Christians because “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of new Christians”. The more Christians were devoured by beasts, burnt at the stake and slain by the sword, the bigger was Christianity in Rome, up to the time when the Roman Emperor Constantine himself converted to Christ, around the year 313 AD, and finally banned the persecution of Christians.

In the year 390 AC the Emperor Theodosius made Christianism the official religion of Roman Empire. Years later, his successor Julian, the Apostate, wanted to revive paganism but it was too late; he died with this exclamation in his lips: “You won, o Galileo!”

Prof Felipe Aquino

Professor Felipe Aquino is a widower, father of five children. On TV Canção Nova he presents the program “Escola da Fé” [School of faith] and “Pergunte e Responderemos” [Ask and respond], on Radio he presents the program “in the heart of the Church”. On weekends he preaches deepening meetings throughout Brazil and abroad. He wrote 73 books of Catholic background by publishers, Loyola and Cleopas and Canção Nova. His teacher’s page:www.cleofas.com.br Twitter: @pfelipeaquino

 Posted by at 01:01
Feb 102017
 

Biblical texts concerning the role of the Apostles and Peter in the Church make it clear that Jesus wanted a structured and juridical Church under the guidance of Supreme Shepherd Peter; He did not want, as many people do, a mere spiritual community gathered by faith and love. Catechist affirms that the Church is “both visible and spiritual” (CCC  770) and also that

 

“The Lord Jesus endowed his community with a structure that will remain until the Kingdom is fully achieved” (CCC  765).

 

Jesus was aware that His Church would last long on Earth until the complete fulfillment of Her Mission: gathering the whole of mankind in God. Parables about the Church show that. The Parable of the Weeds among the Wheat (Matthew 13, 24-30) shows that believers and sinners will live together in the Church until the end of times. The Parable of the Mustard Seed (Matthew 13, 31-32) also points at the long journey and the long time taken to build the Church on earth in a permanent enduring way.

 

“It is the smallest of all seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches’” (Matthew 13, 32).

 

The Kingdom of God [the Church] is also compared to a net that is thrown into the sea, “which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away” (Matthew 13, 47-49). This passage also shows that the Church shall endure until the end of times, because Jesus estates that only then the separation will be made:

 

“Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, and there will be wailing and grinding of teeth”.

 

 

Also in the Parable of the Feast (Matthew 9,15) and the Parable of the Yeast (Matthew 13, 33) show that the Church has a long mission that demands patience to be accomplished until the total fulfillment of times.

The Church, therefore, is not a mere “Society of Friends of Jesus and the Gospel”: She is much more than that, She is an Institution created by Jesus Himself, integrated to Him, His own Body, so that She is Jesus’ continuation in the history of mankind. She gathers human beings together in Him, to take them back to their Father’s House.

Prof Felipe Aquino

Professor Felipe Aquino is a widower, father of five children. On TV Canção Nova he presents the program “Escola da Fé” [School of faith] and “Pergunte e Responderemos” [Ask and respond], on Radio he presents the program “in the heart of the Church”. On weekends he preaches deepening meetings throughout Brazil and abroad. He wrote 73 books of Catholic background by publishers, Loyola and Cleopas and Canção Nova. His teacher’s page:www.cleofas.com.br Twitter: @pfelipeaquino

 Posted by at 01:01
Feb 032017
 

The Church is direct consequence of the Mystery of Incarnation and its continuation.

Many people want to say YES to the Christ and NO to the Church though this attitude affects the very identity of Christianity. The Church and Her directives were instituted by the will of the Christ as the continuation of the Word of God Made Flesh; as such, the Church became the privileged meeting point between mankind and the Christ, and consequently between mankind and the Father.

People who ask: “Why the Church?” make the same mistake of those who ask: “Why the Christ?” Christ came from the Father and left His Church on earth to mankind. The Father sent Jesus in order to save the world, and the Christ in His turn sent the Church to mankind. “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (John, 20, 21).

Many people want the Church to be a “modern democracy” wherein all issues are decided by the will of the majority. The Church would therefore be a great Religious Club, with easily assimilated and “flexible” rules. The consequence – and the big mistake – is that men in that case would be guided exclusively by themselves and not by God. “The Church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3,15) would not exist anymore.

The fact that the Sacred Tradition originated in the Christ and the Apostles guides the Church is the guarantee that Jesus Himself, present in the Church, guides Her.

The first “Sacrament”, the foundation, is the Most Sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ, through which (His acts and words) God poured His grace over mankind. The Church is the continuation of that “Sacrament”; that is the reason why Saint Paul calls the Church “The Body of the Christ” (Colossians 1, 24).

The ultimate expressions of that Sacrament “Christ – Church” are the seven Sacraments that lead men toward salvation, from birth to death. There can be no Sacrament without the Church; hence there can be no salvation. One can thus clearly infer that the Church is as essential to Christianity as the mystery of the Incarnation of God’s Word.

Christianity without the Church instituted by the Christ (Matthew 16,16) onto Peter and the Apostles is equivalent to a mutilated Christ, a beheaded Christ…

This Church is the only and unique Church: it is the Catholic (which means Universal) Apostolic and Roman Church.

Professor Felipe Aquino é viuvo, pai de cinco filhos. Na TV Canção Nova, apresenta o programa “Escola da Fé” e “Pergunte e Responderemos”, na Rádio apresenta o programa “No Coração da Igreja”. Nos finais de semana prega encontros de aprofundamento em todo o Brasil e no exterior. Escreveu 73 livros de formação católica pelas editoras Cléofas, Loyola e Canção Nova. Página do professor: www.cleofas.com.br Twitter: @pfelipeaquino

 Posted by at 01:01
Jan 272017
 

It is important to clearly understand that God decided to establish His Kingdom among us through His Church. Vatican Council II, “Lumen Gentium” teaches us that the Church has “the mission to proclaim and to spread among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and of God and to be, on earth, the initial budding forth of that kingdom” (LG 5). In other words, there is no Kingdom of God without the Church. Therefore the Church is not something dispensable, She is fundamental.

According to Saint Augustine’s words, “the Church received the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven so that She can accomplish the forgiveness of all sins through the Blood of the Christ and the Action of the Holy Spirit. Our souls were dead because of sin; even though they can now revive in the Church”.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church shows all the beauty, reality, mission and identity of the Church and teaches us that the Church:

  • Is “a Plan born in the Father’s Heart” (CCC, 759);
  • Was “foreshadowed from the world’s beginning” (CCC, 760);
  • Was “prepared for in the Old Covenant” (CCC, 761);
  • Was “instituted by Jesus Christ” (CCC, 763);
  • Is “revealed by the Holy Spirit” (CCC, 767);
  • Will be “perfected in glory” (CCC, 769);
  • Is the “mystery of men’s union with God” (CCC, 772);
  • Is “the Universal Sacrament of Salvation” (CCC, 774);
  • Is “the Body of Christ” (CCC, 787);
  • Is “the Bride of Christ” (CCC, 796);
  • Is “the Temple of the Holy Spirit” (CCC, 797);
  • Is “the People of God” (CCC, 781).

 

All these expressions have a vast meaning and you should know them in depth.

Some people ask: “why do we need a Church? Is it not enough to have faith in Jesus Christ?”

The answer for that question is that Jesus Himself wanted the Church as the continuation of His Redeeming Presence amidst men. He gave us the Church and the Creed as a guarantee that we are not merely following our own common sense or an undefined anonymous religiosity: we are walking along the pathways of God.

Prof Felipe Aquino

Professor Felipe Aquino is a widower, father of five children. On TV Canção Nova he presents the program “Escola da Fé” [School of faith] and “Pergunte e Responderemos” [Ask and respond], on Radio he presents the program “in the heart of the Church”. On weekends he preaches deepening meetings throughout Brazil and abroad. He wrote 73 books of Catholic background by publishers, Loyola and Cleopas and Canção Nova. His teacher’s page:www.cleofas.com.br Twitter: @pfelipeaquino

 Posted by at 01:01
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