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Jul 262018
 

I believe in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church

Respond quickly to this question: “What is the full name of the Catholic Church?”

If your answer was “Catholic Church, Apostolic, Roman,” I’d say you got it right, but only in parts. A more complete and precise answer to this question can be found in the beautiful composition of theNicene-Constantinopolitan Creed: “I Believe in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.”

Illustrative photo: Wesley Almeida / cancaonova.com

It would be very important that all those who freely profess their faith through the Creed to be thoroughly aware of the wealth that lies behind each of these terms. To say that the Catholic Church is one, for example, entails saying that among many other things it has a single founder, professes a single faith, has a common celebration of divine worship. Besides, she is One, because she has a single Pope since Saint Peter, she has a single doctrine. As we can see, in the trace of each attribute, one finds an inestimable treasure , encompassing rich meanings, permeated by history and the most crystalline Tradition.

Get ready for this irrefutable proposal!

How can we dive, little by little, into this source of grace and fruitfulness, which are some of the teachings of the Catholic Church? In other words, how about we stand before this precious treasure to contemplate its brilliance and its beauty? Of course, as we do this, we will be more aware of our faith, more enlightened “in” and “for” reason and enlightened “in” and “by” the Spirit.

We will have, therefore, four more articles. They were prepared with much affection for you. Through them we will be given the opportunity to delve deeper into each attribute of the Church (One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic).

What is behind the expression “Church”?

Since we leave to deal with these attributes in the next articles, I want to at least point to some basic meanings about the expression “Church”.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in paragraph 751, tells us that this word derives from the Greek term “ekklésia”, and means “convocation.” And “convocation” can be understood in the following sense: God who “summons” his people from the ends of the earth, to form the community of those who believe in him. In this way, God wants to bring together in one community all men dispersed by sin.

Church as God’s house and our house

Leaving the etymological context of “Church”, and giving a slightly more metaphorical sense, this word can also be understood as “House of God”. How interesting is this definition!

Surely, I can say that the sense of “home” for me and for you is very rich and deep. Our house represents, among many other things, security, warmth, freedom. We show ourselves, truly, who we are within our home. Such a sense of welcome is so intense, for example, that when we want to welcome a person into our home, we often say to her, “Feel at home” or “It’s your house.” Ask yourself this question and try to answer it within yourself: Am I making the Church my home?

Church is a place of intimacy

In our house, we live with those people closer and, as a consequence, we know them very well. So the house is a place of intimacy. We know the most intimate secrets of those who live with us and they also know our secrets. Without a doubt, the most effective way to truly know a person is to live with them under one roof. Here is another question: Am I living a relationship of intimacy with God and with my brothers within this house, which is the Church?

Once we live inside this house (Church), we find people who represent for us the presence of real parents, mothers, brothers. We can then say: We are a family, by the way, we are a big family. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in the first paragraph, proves this thesis, which affirms the familiarity among the faithful. God calls us “to the unity of his family, the Church”.

The gateway to this house, which is the Church

It may seem the greatest of all the truisms, but there is no house without a door and, of course, the Church also has its door. But what door would that be? The Catechism of the Catholic Church responds clearly to this question in paragraph 950: “… the sacraments, especially baptism, which is the door through which one enters the Church …”.

If, therefore, we were baptized, we are residents of that house. This reality is so important that I will repeat it in other words. The moment we were baptized, we became residents of that house. The Church is your home, my brother! In short, the Church is the house of God, and it is also our home.

Important warning that the Church makes us

To conclude, I want to leave here a fraternal admonition made by the Catholic Church . It can be found in paragraph 837: “They are fully incorporated into the Church, those who… Accept the whole of their organization and all the means of salvation instituted therein. However, one who, not persevering in charity, remains within the Church ‘with the body’, but not ‘with the heart’ is not saved, although it is incorporated into the Church. “

In other words, it is no use to be only present in the Church, it is necessary to be in full.

In the following articles, we will have the opportunity to reflect a little more about the four attributes of the Catholic Church: One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.

God bless and see you next time!

 

 

Seminarian Gleidson de Souza Carvalho (Instagram: @cngleidson) 
Missionary of the Canção Nova Community

 Posted by at 01:01
Feb 232018
 

 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

Jan 192018
 

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
Jan 122018
 

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 052018
 

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
Dec 222017
 

The Catechism of the Church teaches us in its first lines that God “calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church” (CCC, Prologue, I.1).

God created mankind to be “His family’ but sin scattered His children and at present God is once more gathering them together through the Church, the very own Body of the Christ Who was sent to mankind. In this context, one can spotlight the importance and reality of the Church, the family of God. The Catechism also teaches us that, “to accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life” (CCC-Prologue I.1).

It is necessary to analyze these words attentively. It is through His Son that the Father rebuilds the communion between He and mankind. The Son becomes Church (the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ). We enter this Body through Baptism and we become adoptive children of God through the Holy Spirit; consequently, we are again heirs of God’s blissful life; that joyful life sin had canceled. By doing so, we can go back to Paradise.

This is the glorious history of our salvation that will be accomplished by the Church, when She is completely glorified in God. This is the reason why Saint Augustine said that:

“The Church is the reconciled world.”

Nothing is more important than knowing, loving and serving the Church with all our strength. She is Christ’s Wife and He loves Her with eternal love. He suffered Passion and shed His blood for Her. He loves Her like a passionate Husband:

“Husbands, love your wives even as Christ loved the church and handed Himself over for her” (The Letter to the Ephesians 5, 25).

These words express Jesus’ deep love for “His” Church.

Pope Paul IV, who immensely loved the Church, referred to Her like that:

“The Church! She is our constant love, our primeval solicitude and our fixed idea! … Those who do not love the Church do not love the Christ; and we do not love the Church if we do not love Her like the Lord has loved: “Christ loved the church and handed Himself over for her” (The Letter to the Ephesians 5, 25).

We can go even further and say: if you do not know the Church, you do not know the Christ; if you do not serve the Church, you do not serve the Christ; if you do not obey the Church, you do not obey the Christ; if you do not subject yourself to the Church, you do not subject yourself to the Christ; if you are not in the truth of the Church, you are not in the truth of the Christ…

Vatican Council II called Her “Lumen Gentium”, “The Light of the Nations”, because Her Light is the same Light of Jesus Christ.

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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