By ZOE CANNON
GRATITUDE FOR THE GIFT OF FAITH
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26).
Children are precious gifts from God; their innocence and unconditional love bring joy into family life, and purpose for a healthy society. Our commitment is not only to protect them physically, but with spiritual safeguard too! We must teach children to know, love and serve God!
Our catechism book for religion class this year was written by Father Alfred McBride, O.PRAEM., and printed by Our Sunday Visitor. The introduction begins with a passage from Romans 10:14, “How can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach?” These are very important questions, and those who believe are responsible for the answers!
In class recently, we read a chapter titled “Original Sin and the Lost Paradise.” It was also the feast day of Sts. Simon and Jude. The readings for both topics tied together with perfect clarity for their young minds – and mine, too. We discussed the disobedience of Adam and Eve, the removal of our original sin through Baptism and the effects that still remain for us because of their fall from grace.
We learned about the six wounds of original sin. There are two wounds for the body, its exposure to physical suffering, and its mortality – that is, death. The four wounds of the soul are: Ignorance: the difficulty we have in knowing truth; Malice: inclination to think and do evil to others; Weakness in the will: disordered desire for pleasure; and Uncontrolled emotions: feelings that dominate our lives.
We are born deprived of the gifts and graces of original holiness and justice, but we are renewed by the gift of baptism and the deliverance of faith into our lives. We talked about what we think of when evil comes to mind, and how to avoid the occasion of sin. We came up with three thoughts: do right, show mercy and avoid evil! There was a lot to unpack in this lesson!
To finish up our class, we read about the life of St. Jude, the Saint of Impossible Causes. I was reminded of the novena and the notice people used to print in the personal section of the newspaper to thank St. Jude for favors granted. We also read that he was associated with writing the Letter of Jude in the New Testament. If you have not read this short, one-chapter letter, I suggest you take the time. The letter is an urgent message t omembers of a Christian community about their salvation.
He addresses it to “those who are called, beloved in God the Father, and kept safe for Jesus Christ.” He warns them about false teachers worming their way into the community. In verse 22, Jude tells them to show mercy to those who waiver; and in the footnotes, we are reminded that showing mercy means to convince or reprove. Our three thoughts on living well were perfect!
The challenges we face in our culture today are as serious as the first-century message from Jude. In Jude 1:18-21, we read, “In the last time there will be scoffers who will live according to their own godless desires. These are the ones who cause divisions; they live on the natural plane devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.”
Share truth and love to all those you know because we are all children of God! Amen!