July 7, 2012

Notes July 3

·         Jeanne, Tom, Pam and Carol attended tonight.
·         We started with a follow-up on last week’s lesson on Beatitude by looking briefly at Cantalamessa’s book: Beatitudes.  He gave some sample questions based on the beatitudes we might use as a nightly examination of conscience, a check on how well we are living this important teaching from the Mount.  Cantalamessa noted:  Christ lived three degrees of poverty:  being and living poor, with few possessions; poor with regards to friends and even relatives; and poor with regard to his power, wisdom, and glory.  This is being poor in spirit.  Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
·         We said opening prayers for wisdom and the Prayer to the Apostle Paul, and then sang two of Amy Grant’s songs, Lord I Hope This Day is Good and Amazing Grace.  (She sings a lot better than I), and then read the readings of the day.  It was the feast day of St. Thomas, and his lack of faith seemed appropriate to reflect on, and why we are doing these study nights.
·         We then read the prayers for Ourselves, Those We Love, Those Who Need Your Help, and For The Church, adding numerous petitions of those people and things we care about.  And then we prayed the Prayer of Thanksgiving.  We closed with the prayer noting that we will continue to struggle on.  And after about 45 minutes, we turned to the catechism study for the night.
·         We briefly looked at the key points on the paper about how to use the catechism, in particular the importance of using the paragraph cross-references provided in the margins to relate the full, complete teaching of the catechism --- the CCC is not a book listing separate doctrines, they are all related to the meaning and living of the Christian faith.
·         Article 3 (page 430 in my book) defined freedom, noting that it is rooted in reason and will (1731) --- two important points brought out again and again in the following paragraphs.  Freedom, in its perfection, is the free submission to God, a friendship with God.
·         Paragraph 1733 notes that the proper use of freedom is to choose the good, with a conscience formed by practice of virtue, the “habitual and firm disposition to do the good.” (1803).  In P1734 it is noted that freedom comes with responsibilities; in choosing your are responsible for your choices, good or bad, but our life’s goal is to progress in virtue, knowledge of the good, and self-control, so we can freely choose the good.
·         In paragraph 1738 we see these words:  “The right to the exercise of freedom, especially in moral and religious matters, is an inalienable requirement of the dignity of the human person.  This right must be recognized and protected by civil authority.”  This doctrine of the Catholic Church is what is being clearly violated by the HHS mandate on paying for contraception and abortificants. 
·         Paragraphs 1740 and onward talk about threats to freedom, and that the continual choosing of evil if falling into the slavery of sin, which takes away man’s freedom to choose good.  In the x-ref P1887 we read: “The inversion of means and ends, which results in giving the value of ultimate end to what is only a means for attaining it…” 
·         In P1742 and e-ref P1784 is re-emphasized that we must grow in freedom, with the help of God’s grace, and that the education of conscience is a lifelong task. 
·         Article 4 talked about the morality of human acts, and the importance of all three, the object, intention, and circumstances of our actions.  P1760 summarizes:  A morally good act requires the goodness of the object, of its end, and of its circumstances together.  The catechism had good examples, but we wished for more.
·         Article 5 spoke of the morality of human passions, like anger.  In general, it noted that we must form our consciences for the good, so that good becomes natural for us.  Then, when our passions kick in, they will kick in for the good, but that will seem reasonable to us.  “It belongs to the perfection of the moral or human good that the passions be governed by reason.” (P1767).  Therefore, there is no such thing as “mindless anger.”  Our passions arise from within us, and as P1773 summarizes, “In the passions, as movements of the sensitive appetite, there is neither moral good nor evil, But insofar as they engage reason and will, there is moral good or evil in them.
·         Paragraph 1775 importantly says:  “The perfection of the moral good consists in man’s being moved to the good not only by his will but also by his “heart”.
·         In YOUCAT question 293 there is this:  Q: Why did God give us passions or emotions?  A: God made man in such a way that he can love and hate, desire or despise something, be attracted by some things and afraid of others, be full of joy, sorrow, or anger.  In the depths of his heart, man always loves good and hates evil --- or what he considers to be such. 
·         In YOUCAT Question 294 there is this:  Q: Is someone a sinner if he experiences strong passions within himself?  A:  Passions that are ordered to the good become virtues.  They then become the motive force of a life of fighting for love and justice.  Passions that overpower a person, rob him of his freedom and entice him to evil, we call vice. 
While we did three Articles this week, there were only 45 paragraphs.  Next week we will only do the next two Articles (6 & 7) on Moral Conscience and Virtues, but it will be 69 paragraphs. Read ahead if possible, and look at the cross-references!!

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