Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Catechism, Part 2 of ?


Q. What must we do to save our souls?
A. To save our souls, we must worship God by faith, hope, and charity; that is, we must believe in Him, hope in Him, and love Him with all our heart.

Worship means we must give God (and only Him!) divine honor. People are honored all over the place. At the Winter Olympics athletes were honored for their skating, skiing, luge-ing, etc. We honor writers with Pulitzer Prizes, we honor military personnel with medals, and we honor filmmakers with those statuettes we can't mention without paying the Academy a huge royalty.

Basically, we honor people for their achievements and greatness, and because God is the greatest, we give Him the greatest honors. This is not just a matter of "quantity" but of category, i.e., "divine" honors which properly belong to God alone. When you think about it, we are closer in stature to, say, a tapeworm than we are to God. Even the greatest human being around today is not even a gazillionth of what God is, stature-wise.

For instance, in St. John's account of the Gospel we read (1:27) what St. John the Baptist had to say about about God (in the person of Jesus): "The same is he that shall come after me, who is preferred before me: the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose." and in St. Luke's account (7:28)Jesus says: "For I say to you: Amongst those that are born of women, there is not a greater prophet that John the Baptist. But he that is the lesser in the kingdom of God, is greater than he."

There are basically three kinds of worship, usually known by their Latin names:

1- Latria (supreme worship reserved exclusively for God only) and which can't be given to any creature or created thing (think Golden Calf) without sinning the sin of idolatry (idol + latria = idolatry...get it?);
2- Dulia, that "next-best" veneration we give to angels (and saints, blesseds, venerables...) as being especially close to God, and
3- Hyperdulia ("next-best" Plus!) which is higher veneration which Catholics give to the Virgin Mary as the most honored of all God's creatures. This is more than the veneration shown to "regular" saints, but clearly, explicitly and definitely less than the worship (latria) we give to God Himself.

We honor God by never doubting whatever He reveals to us, (i.e., "faith"), by being certain of His promises (i.e., "hope") and by loving Him more than anyone/anything else, (i.e., "charity" which is not what you thought it meant, was it?)

The way we love God is something intellectual instead of emotional. Now, since this love is not measured by intense our emotions are, how can we tell if we love God more than anything/anyone else? Easy! We can tell by the desire to never offend Him for any reason, and by being always ready to obey and serve Him before anyone else.

Q. What is God?
A. God is a spirit infinitely perfect.

Remember this from last time? Let's look at this mo' fully...

Like it was mentioned before, spirits are living, intelligent, invisible-to-our-eyes beings. Spirits have intelligence and as a result they think, they understand, etc.

But there's more to being also as spirit than being invisible...a spirit must also be indivisible, which, aside from rhyming nicely with invisible, means something can't be dissassembled into parts. God is spirit. God is also "infinitely perfect," because He has every possible perfection to the maximum level. If God was missing some perfection, He wouldn't be infinite. DUH. God has limitless wisdom, mercy, power, goodness, kindness, justice, beauty, etc.

Just because people and angels and so forth have some measure of wisdom or beauty, that doesn't mean "God can't have it all, because He's missing the hunk that belongs to those people/angels/etc.," because what the these others have belongs to God, who only lends it to them.

"Perfect" means to be without any defect or fault. We can be perfect ("Be thou therefore perfect, as also thy heavenly Father is perfect. " St. Matthew 6:48) which always shocks a lot of people, until you realize that we can't be INFINITELY perfect. We can hit a 5-iron perfectly, we can make a perfect vinaigrette, we can hit a certain note perfectly...we just can't be doing this infinitely.

More later!




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