Catholic Tradition Newsletter A9: Confirmation, Quinquagesima, Saint Marinus

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Vol 12 Issue 9 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward KrierMarch 2, 2019 ~ Our Lady on Saturday

1.      What is the Sacrament of Confirmation
2.      Quinquagesima Sunday
3.      Saints Marinus and Astyrius
4.      Family and Marriage
5.      Articles and notices

Dear Reader:

March is the month of Saint Joseph, whose feast falls on March 19. The role of Joseph was to be a protector, a provider, a guide and example of husband and father to Mary and Jesus. It would be a hard command to fulfil, but God, who sees the heart and will of man, knew Joseph was capable of fulfilling the responsibility that would be laid upon him. It would not be just the natural qualities of Joseph, but Joseph’s personal holiness that allowed him to listen to and carry out the divine Will of God.

The two Evangelists, Matthew and Luke give us a clear picture of Saint Joseph that is reliable. Here I want to reflect on Matthew’s presentation.

Matthew introduces Joseph by giving the genealogy of Joseph, and therefore establishing Joseph as of the offspring of Abraham, the descendant of King David, and therefore giving his stepson the right to the throne of David:

The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham begot Isaac. And Isaac begot Jacob. And Jacob begot Judas and his brethren. And Judas begot Phares and Zara of Thamar. . . . And Jesse begot David the king. And David the king begot Solomon, of her that had been the wife of Urias. . . . And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. (Matt. 1:1-3, 6, 16)

One may note the inspired Evangelist is clear, though, to distinguish between the other revered women who were in the genealogy and that of Mary. For them it is simply stated “of”. But there is a separation from Joseph and the Christ Child: the husband of Mary, of whom (Mary) was born Jesus. This definitely places Joseph only as the guardian, but transfers, according to Hebrew law, the rights of sonship to his stepson.

Matthew stresses the point that it was not the Child of Joseph: Now the generation of Christ was in this wise. When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost. (Matt. 1:18)

In the historical context one must consider two aspects of the time: first, all Jewish maidens were expected to marry according to the law interpreted of Genesis 1:27, 28 and with the view that it was expected a Jewish woman would bear the Promised One; secondly, because a young woman left alone was subject to enslavement and violation. One cannot imagine the horrific plight of women before the coming of the Gospel. One can only get a glimpse when one sees how the Mohammedans today treat women, buying and selling them as chattel and killing them without consequence or remorse. There is a hint of this in the following words of Matthew, not willing publicly to expose her. (1:19) One reads of Mary Magdalene: The scribes and the Pharisees bring unto him a woman taken in adultery: and they set her in the midst, and said to him: Master, this woman was even now taken in adultery. Now Moses in the law commanded us to stone such a one. But what sayest thou?(John 8:3-5) Joseph has a crisis of faith, to publicly expose her or accept her as his wife, but send her away for the seeming infidelity: Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately. (Matt. 1:19) It was his faithfulness to God, his religious integrity, that God rewarded because Joseph could not act on retribution, but justice, being a just man. God intervenes and sends His Angel, giving Joseph the vocation to be the protector, provider and guide of Mary and her divine Child:

But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus. For he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. And Joseph rising up from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and took unto him his wife. (1:20-24)

The burden laid upon Joseph does not take him for an elderly man, for it would have been too much. Though it seems that Joseph dies at an early age, it was because of the weight of his duties and because Joseph would have looked forward to the redemption being accomplished, knowing his presence would be a stumbling block to the listeners of Jesus: And they said: Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How then saith he, I came down from heaven? (John 6:42) Besides, Joseph had to be in the life of the boy Jesus not just past His twelfth birthday (cf. Luke 2:42) as Jesus Christ learned the trade of carpentry, which means that He had to have learned the laborious skills from Joseph and then continued after the death of Joseph: Is not this (Jesus) the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joseph, and Jude, and Simon? are not also his sisters here with us? And they were scandalized in regard of him. (Mark 6:3) At the same time, one does not want to take the words: And he (Joseph) knew her not till she brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus. Rather, Matthew, for the third time (an Hebraism) once more stresses the virgin birth of Christ in a threefold manner.

a)      for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost. (1:20)

b)      Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, (1:23)

c)      And he (Joseph) knew her not (1:25)

Since my reflections exceeded the space for a brief commentary, I will continue next week.

A reminder that Ash Wednesday begins this week. Ash Wednesday, itself, is a day of fasting and complete abstinence. Those of us who must complete the days of fast, let us do so in a spirit of penance and with the disposition to obtain the graces we need to persevere in grace and obtain the salvation of others. We should make a special effort to avoid all sin and add extra prayers, such as the Stations of the Cross on Fridays.

As always, enjoy the readings and commentaries provided for your benefit. —The Editor

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WHAT IS THE SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION?

by Rev. Courtney Edward Krier

ADDENDUM

A CATECHISM FOR CONFIRMATION

By John J Morris (1955)

Lesson 1         Who May Be Confirmed

1.         Who may receive the Sacrament of Confirmation?

Anyone who is a baptized Catholic, but not yet confirmed, may receive the Sacrament.

2.         At what age is the Sacrament of Confirmation usually given?

Usually the Sacrament is given when the child is around eleven years old.

3.         Does the Church ever confirm infants?

Only those infants in danger of death are confirmed.

4.         What must you do before being confirmed?

Before being confirmed you must:

•           Bring a Baptismal Certificate.

•           Choose the name of a saint; usually a different one than the one given in Baptism.

•           Choose a sponsor, a godfather or godmother, other than the one you had in Baptism.

•           Know the chief teachings of the Catholic religion.

•           Be in the state of grace; if necessary, you must make a good confession.

5.         Why must you bring a Baptismal Certificate?

You must bring a Baptismal Certificate to prove you were baptized because without Baptism you cannot receive any other sacrament.

6.         Why do you take a new name in Confirmation?

You take a new name in Confirmation so that you may place yourself under the protection of another saint, and follow the good example of that saint.

7.         Suggest a list of the saints that you may take for Confirmation.

Men

Albert

Alphonsus

Andrew

Anthony         

Augustine

Bartholomew

Benedict

Bernard

Boniface

Charles

Daniel

Dominic

Edmund

Edward

Francis

George

Gregory

Henry

Ignatius

Isidore

James

John

Joseph

Jude

Lawrence

Leo

Louis

Luke

Mark

Matthew

Norbert

Patrick

Paul

Peter

Philip

Raymond

Richard

Robert

Stanislaus

Stephen

Thomas

Vincent

William

Women

Agnes

Angela

Anne

Barbara

Bernadette

Catherine

Cecilia

Christine

Clara

Constance

Dorothy

Elizabeth

Ethelreda

Frances

Gertrude

Helen

Irene

Lucy

Madeleine

Margaret

Martha

Mary

Monica

Joan

Rita

Rose

Theresa

Veronica

Lesson 2         The Sponsor in Confirmation

8.         Why do you need a sponsor for Confirmation?

You need a sponsor for Confirmation to see that you live up to the Catholic religion.

9.         What is absolutely required of your sponsor in Confirmation?

Your sponsor in Confirmation must:

•           Be confirmed.

•           Have the use of reason, and the intention of acting as sponsor.

•           Be a good Catholic, and not excommunicated.

•           Be a person other than your father, mother or spouse.

•           Be chosen by you, or your parents or guardian, or the bishop or pastor.

•           In the very act of Confirmation, physically touch your right shoulder.

10.       Are there any other conditions that your sponsor must fulfill?

Unless there is a good reason, and the Bishop or pastor give their permission otherwise, your sponsor must:

•           Be a different person other than the sponsor at Baptism.

•           Be of the same sex as you are.

•           Be more than fourteen years old.

•           Not be a public criminal.

•           Know the chief teachings of the Church.

•           Not have received sacred orders, or be a novice or professed religious.

11.       How many sponsors are required?

There should be one sponsor for each person confirmed

12.       May two sponsors stand for all those who are confirmed?

In an emergency, one man and one woman may act as sponsor for an entire group: the man for the boys, and the woman for the girls.

13.       Why should your sponsor be a good practical Catholic?

Your sponsor should be a good Catholic because of the great honor given him of presenting you to the Bishop, and because he must think of you as under his permanent care, and must see to your religious instruction.

Lesson 3         How to Prepare to Receive Confirmation

14.       What prayers should you know before being confirmed?

You should memorize the Apostles’ Creed, the Our Father and the Hail Mary.

15.       What are the chief teachings of the Catholic religion?

The chief teachings of the Catholic religion are:

1)         There is a God.  This we know from the world around us, and from the word of God contained in the Bible.

2)         There are three persons in one God: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost.

3)         Jesus Christ became man:  Jesus Christ is God, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity.  He was conceived and made man at the time the Angle Gabriel announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she was to be the Mother of God.

4)         God will reward the good, and punish those who have done wrong and have not repented for their sins.

5)         The reward for being good will be heaven, and the punishment for the wicked will be hell.

16.       Explain briefly the seven sacraments.

1)         Baptism is the sacrament that cleanses our soul from original sin, and gives our soul the new Life of grace.  It makes us Christians, children of God, and heirs of heaven.

2)         Confirmation is the sacrament through which the Holy Ghost comes to us in a special way to make us strong and more active Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ.

3)         The Holy Eucharist is the sacrament which contains the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ under the appearances of bread and wine.

4)         Penance is the sacrament by which the sins committed after Baptism are forgiven.

5)         Holy Orders is the sacrament that gives a man the powers of the priesthood.

6)         Extreme Unction  is the sacrament   which, through  the  anointing  and  prayer of the priest, gives health and strength to the  soul and sometimes even  to the body when we are in danger of death  sickness and accident

7)         Matrimony is the sacrament which unites a Christian man and woman in lawful marriage.

17.       What are the Ten Commandments of God?

1)         I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.

2)         Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

3)         Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.

4)         Honor thy father and thy mother.

5)         Thou shalt not kill.

6)         Thou shalt not commit adultery.

7)         Thou shalt not steal.

8)         Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

9)         Thou shalt covet thy neighbor’s wife.

10)       Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.

18.       Name the chief laws of the Church.

1)         To assist at Mass on all Sundays and holydays of obligation.

2)         To fast and abstain on the days appointed.

3)         To confess our sins at least once a year.

4)         To receive Holy Communion during the Easter time.

5)         To contribute to the support of your parish church.

6)         To observe all the laws of the Church concerning marriage.

19.       Are you allowed to eat and drink before being confirmed?

Yes, you are allowed to eat and drink before being confirmed.        

20.       What kind of sin is it to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation with a mortal sin on your soul?

It is a mortal sin of sacrilege.  You do receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, but you do not its graces until you go to confession and receive absolution.

(To be continued)

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The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers

M. F. Toal

THE GOSPEL OF THE SUNDAY

LUKE xviii. 31-43

At that time, Jesus took unto him the twelve, and said to them: Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished, which were written by the prophets, concerning the Son of man. For he shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and scourged, and spit upon: and after they have scourged him, they will put him to death; and the third day he shall rise again.

And they understood none of these things, and this word was hid from them, and they understood not the things that were said.

Now it came to pass, when he drew nigh to Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the way side, begging. And when he heard the multitude passing by, he asked what this meant. And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying: Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me. And they that went before, rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried out much more: Son of David, have mercy on me.

And Jesus standing, commanded him to be brought unto him. And when he was come near, he asked him, saying: What wilt thou that I do to thee? But he said: Lord, that I may see. And Jesus said to him: Receive thy sight: thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he saw, and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

EXPOSITION FROM THE CATENA AUREA

GREGORY, Hom. 2 in Evang.: The Saviour foreseeing that because of His passion, the minds of His Disciples would be troubled, told them well beforehand of the chastisements of His passion, and of the glory of His resurrection; accordingly we are told: Then Jesus took unto Him the twelve, and said to them: Behold we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the prophets concerning the Son of man.

BEDE: Foreseeing there would be certain heretics, who would say that Christ taught that which was contrary to the Law and the Prophets, He shows that His passion, and later glory, would be the perfect fulfilment of what the prophets had foretold concerning His death.

CHRYSOSTOM, Hom. 66 in Matt.: He spoke of His passion apart with His Disciples; it was unnecessary that His words be made known to the people, lest they be troubled. But He foretold it to His Disciples, so that they being awakened through expectation would more readily meet it; CYRIL: and also that they might know that He foreknew of His passion, and of His own will went towards it, so that afterwards they might not say: How came it that He fell into the hands of His enemies Who promised to save us? And so He foretells the order of His passion, adding: For he shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and scourged and spit upon.

CHRYSOSTOM: This Isaias had foretold, saying: I have given my body to the strikers, and my cheeks to them that plucked them: I have not turned away my face from them that spit upon me (Is. l. 6; liii. 12). And the yoke of the Cross the prophet also foretold when he says: He hath delivered his soul unto death, and was reputed with the wicked. Then Our Saviour continues: And after they have scourged him, they will put him to death. And David foretold His resurrection, saying: Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (Ps. xv. 10). Accordingly, He then here adds: And the third day he shall rise again.

ISIDORUS PELUS, II 212: I am astonished at the madness of those who question why Christ arose before the third day. For had He risen later than He foretold, it would be a sign of lack of power; but if earlier, it is a sign of supreme power. For if we see a man, who has promised to pay a debt after three days, pay it on that same day, we look on him, not as a deceiver, but rather as a very truthful man. I affirm that He did not say that He would rise again after three days, but on the third day. So you have the sabbath eve, the sabbath till sunset, and after the sabbath He rose from the dead.

CYRIL: The Disciples however had not yet come to know precisely what the prophets had foretold. But after He arose their minds were opened, so that they understood the Scriptures. And so there follows: And they understood none of these things.

BEDE: For since the Disciples supremely desired that He might live, they could not listen to anything concerning His death; since they knew He was not alone an innocent man, but truly God, they could not conceive that He would die. And as they were accustomed to hear Him speak in parables, they believed that as often as He said anything concerning His passion, that this must be applied allegorically to something else. And so there follows: And this word was hid from them, and they understood not the things that were said. But the Jews, who were plotting against His life, knew that He was speaking of His passion when He said: The Son of man must be lifted up (Jn. iii. xiv). Because of which they said: We have heard out of the Law, that Christ abideth for ever; and how sayest thou: the Son of man must be lifted up? (Jn. xii. 34).

GREGORY, as above: Because the Disciples were yet carnal men, they could not understand words of mystery, and so a miracle is performed. Before their eyes a blind man receives sight, so that their faith might be made firm through signs from heaven. Hence it is narrated: Now it came to pass, when he drew nigh to Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the way side, begging.

THEOPHYLACTUS: And that His entry might not be without profit, He wrought on the way the miracle of the blind man, giving His Disciples by this a lesson, that we must turn all things to profit, and be never wholly idle.

AUGUSTINE, de Quaest. Evang. II, 48: We could understand regarding those approaching Jericho in this manner, that they had already left it, but were still close to that city; which is not a usual manner of speaking. But it seems that it can be said, since Matthew says, that as they were going out from Jericho, two blind men who sat by the way side were given sight. There is indeed no question as to the number, if another of the Evangelists is silent concerning one and mentions the other. For Mark also speaks of one blind man, since he says that he was healed of his blindness as they were going out from Jericho; and mentions his name, and also his father’s, so we may believe the man was well known, and that the other was unknown, and so it was reasonable that only the one who was known should be commemorated. But since the events which follow, in the Gospel according to Luke, very plainly show that what he describes took place while they were yet approaching Jericho, there is no alternative but to believe that this miracle took place twice: once for a single blind man, whilst they were yet going into that city, and again for two blind men when He was going out from it; and that Luke records one event, and Matthew another.

CYRIL: There were many people around Jesus, and the blind man had not known Him, but he felt His presence, and laid hold of Him with his heart whom his eye could not see: and so there follows: And when he heard the multitude passing by, he asked what this meant. And those who could see were speaking of Him according to common report; for there follows: And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. But the blind man cried out that which was true. Told one thing, he proclaims another: And he cried, saying: Jesus Son of David, have mercy on me. Who has taught you to speak thus, O man? Have you, though deprived of sight, read the Scriptures? How have you discerned the Light of the world? Truly the Lord enlighteneth the blind (Ps. cxlv. 8).2

CYRIL: Nurtured in Judaism, he knew that God would be born, according to the flesh, from the family of David; and so he speaks to Him as to God, saying: Have mercy on me. Let them imitate him who divide Christ in two: for he comes to Christ as to God, and calls Him Son of David. Let them admire the urgency of his confession: for while he proclaims his faith, some rebuked him. Then follows: And they that went before, rebuked him, that he should hold his peace. But his courage was not hindered by their rebukes, for faith learns to withstand all things, and to overcome all things; and in the service of God it is profitable to put aside timidity. For if many thrust themselves forward for the sake of gain, should not a man put timidity aside for his soul’s salvation? Hence: But he cried Out much more: Son of David, have mercy on me.

The voice of the man crying out in faith causes Christ to stand, and He looks back to those crying to Him in faith: and He calls the blind man, and bids him come to Him; so there follows: And Jesus standing, commanded him to be brought to Him, so that he who had drawn nigh to him in faith, might now come near to Him in body. The Lord questions him as He comes near; for there follows: And when he was come near, He asked Him, saying: What wilt thou that I do to thee? He asked him for a purpose, not as though He were ignorant, but so that those who stood about Him might learn that the blind man was seeking, not money, but a divine remedy, as from God; and so there follows: But he said: Lord, that I may see.

CHRYSOSTOM: Or because the Jews being betrayers of the truth, might say, as they said of the man born blind: it was not this man, but one like him (Jn. ix). He desired the blind man might first show the nature of his infirmity, and then learn the greatness of the favour. And when the blind man had made evident the nature of his petition then, with supreme power He commanded him to see: so there follows: And Jesus said to him: receive thy sight; a sign which recoiled on the deceitfulness of the Jews; for who among the prophets had said a thing of this kind?

Note what the Physician claims from him to whom He has given health; for there follows: Thy faith hath made thee whole. Favours are given in exchange for faith. Grace is poured out, which faith receives. And as from a fountain some draw a little water in little vessels, and others draw more in bigger vessels, the fountain not distinguishing between the one vessel and the other, since it is the vessels, not the fountain, that measures the water, and each draws according to his measure; and as the splendour of light enters to a greater or less degree according to the dimensions of the window, so is grace received according to the measure of our desire. The voice of Christ, becomes now the light of the blind, for it is the word of the true light; and so there follows: And immediately he saw. And as the blind man showed a vigorous faith before he received this favour, so afterwards he failed not to give thanks; for the Gospel relates: And he followed Him, glorifying God.

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3 : SS. MARINUS AND ASTYRIUS, MARTYRS (c. A.D. 262)

EUSEBIUS, in his Ecclesiastical History, describes the martyrdom of St Marinus. As a man who belonged to a noble family of Caesarea in Palestine, and had served with distinction in the army, he was about to be honoured with the decoration of the vine switch (κληµα), emblematic of the dignity of “centurion”, when a rival, who was in the running for the same distinction, raised the objection that since Marinus was a Christian and would not sacrifice to the emperor, he was therefore disqualified. Achaeus, the governor, accordingly questioned him, and eliciting a confession of his faith, gave him three hours in which to reconsider his position. As he left the judgement hall he was met by Theotecnus, bishop of the city, who leading him into the church made him stand close to the altar. Pointing to the sword which hung at his side and then to the book of the gospels, he told him to choose between the two. Marinus without hesitation stretched out his hand and took the book. “Hold fast then to God “, said the bishop, “that, strengthened by Him, thou mayest obtain what thou hast chosen. Go in peace.” Upon returning before the judge he declared his faith with as great determination as before, and was immediately led away to execution.

St Astyrius, a Roman senator in high favour with the emperor, was present at the martyrdom. Wrapping the body in the cloak he was wearing he carried it away on his own shoulders and gave it honourable burial. Eusebius does not say that Astyrius himself was put to death, but Rufinus in his Latin version of the history assumes this, and both the Roman Martyrology and the Greek Menaion (under August 7) commemorate the senator as a martyr.

(Butler’s Lives of the Saints)

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The Catholic Marriage Manual

Reverend George A. Kelly

Random House, New York 1958

14

If Your Mate

Is Not a Catholic

How can you encourage your spouse to take a more active interest in the Church? There are four basic ways:

By prayer and example. St. Paul tells us, “The unbelieving husband is sanctified by the believing wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the believing husband.” (1 Corinthians, 7:14) The Catholic who leads a virtuous life can call blessings down from heaven upon her mate. Her prayers will not only enlist the help of heaven, but will also enable her to regard her husband with greater kindness. Recognizing the virtue of hope, she will continue to pray for him even if he seems to reject any thought of conversion outright.

The power of example can hardly be overestimated. No loving husband can long remain unmoved when he observes the fruits of faith in his wife’s life. The typical nonbeliever has a “show me” attitude; he is less impressed by your frequent attendance at Mass and reception of the sacraments than by what your beliefs do for you—by the virtues of patience, humility, self-sacrifice, kindness and forgiveness that your faith gives you. The nonbeliever will accept the truths of religion only as he sees how their application enriches your spiritual life. Here is the area in which the Catholic pays for compromises made over birth control, the Catholic education of children, participation in parish activity, and family religious ritual. The prospective convert is usually married to a convinced and consistent Catholic.

By exposing him to the faith. The adage, “You hate and fear only what you don’t know,” applies to religion as well as to other aspects of life. Invite him to participate in parish social activities and to take an active part in the P.T.A. if your children attend Catholic schools. Some non-Catholics have been taught from childhood that priests are ogres. Introducing your husband to your pastor or other parish priests should help dispel this notion. Many parishes now conduct annual Cana Conferences in which the problems of Catholic married life are discussed and to which non-Catholics are invited on an equal footing with their Catholic spouses. Parish social affairs are good opportunities for him to learn to be at ease with priests and Catholic laymen. Many informal contacts with priests have helped remove prejudice against the Church and prepared the way for serious discussion of conversion. Invite him to attend, assuring him that his own religious beliefs will be respected. Subscribe to at least one Catholic newspaper or magazine so that he may read about the faith as he chooses.

By identifying him with yourself and the family at periods of religious observance. One of the worst hazards of a mixed marriage is that it separates husband and wife at those intimate moments of family life when they should be fully united: when the baby is born and baptized, when he receives his First Communion and is confirmed, when there is a death of a parent or relative, and on Christmas, Easter and other feast days. Husband and wife should be able to attend church together, to pray together, and to share their moments of great joy and sorrow as a complete family unit. Unfortunately, in many mixed marriages, the Catholic partner tends to isolate her husband from herself and the children at these moments. Even if she does not deliberately close him out, he is aware that he is not a part of the family at the very time when he should be present.

Always encourage your non-Catholic partner to join the family’s religious observances. Instead of going separate ways on Christmas and Easter morning, urge him to attend Mass with you and the children. Ask him to listen to his child’s catechism answers as the youngster prepares for his First Communion. Almost any husband will feel a closer bond with his children, if he attends the Masses at which their First Communions are received. He might also be encouraged to say their night prayers with them. Ask him to join in singing carols with the family in preparation for the birth of Christ. Other occasions when your non-Catholic mate could join in your religious observances will undoubtedly come to mind. Because he refused a first request is no reason to believe he will refuse a second, or that a more favorable disposition cannot be acquired with the passing of years.

By encouraging him to take instructions. Before permitting a non-Catholic to be married in the Church, many dioceses now require that he be instructed in Catholic doctrines covering marriage. These instructions are necessarily limited. The non-Catholic frequently does not realize that our position is solidly based upon the bedrock of Scripture and tradition. He obtains merely a bare glimpse into the truth and sanctity of the Faith.

He should be encouraged to learn more about Catholicism, if only for the minimum reason that he will then understand why you must confess your sins, attend Mass, obey the rules of the Church regarding fast and abstinence, and perform other religious duties. He should also know the basic teachings of the Church so that he may sometimes help in educating the children.

Many dioceses conduct classes of instructions for non-Catholics. Your husband (or wife) can attend these courses as one of a group of non-Catholics. He can express his doubts freely. He will not be forced to reach any conclusions except those dictated by his own judgment.

Nonbelievers are often surprised at the complete absence of “salesmanship” at these courses. They are told that the Church demands a complete investigation of her teachings and does not wish anyone to be baptized unless he believes them fully, sincerely and without reservation. The Church does not want him unless he first wants the Church. It is one thing to be morally convinced of the truth of the Faith or to admire the Church, and another thing to take steps toward baptism. Most people, even if they have no religious faith of their own (and many of those who marry Catholics are not active in their own religions), are tied to family traditions or molded by strict parental attitudes and youthful experiences which make them wary of Catholicism. Serious consideration of the Church is to them tantamount to rejection of people and ways to which they are sentimentally attached. Hence, formal instruction is the last thing they will consider. Sometimes, however, they are not averse to informal discussion of religious matters in their own home. Such contacts have often helped the non-Catholic to get the feel of things Catholic. Silence on religion in the home or isolation from Catholic neighbors is one certain way to confirm a non-Catholic in his indifference to conversion. Your spouse, therefore, may need your gentle encouragement and patient support to help him overcome emotional barriers that may stand between him and his full acceptance of Catholicism.

By joining with you and your children in your spiritual life, your husband will not only gain the benefits of the Faith for himself but will have the satisfaction of contributing to the spiritual welfare of his wife and children. In this atmosphere of shared religious experience, his sense of oneness with you will thrive.

(To be continued)

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Father Krier will be in Los Angeles March 5. He will be in Pahrump, Nevada, March 14, and Eureka March 28.

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