Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Preparation for Adult Confirmation 2011:
Class One

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses.” (Acts 1:8)
Preparation for Adult Confirmation

Class Outline for May 4, 2011

Introduction to Catechesis – “to make resound like an echo”

  • remembering the events of salvation history and making them known, so as to provoke an "echo" of the faith in the mind and in the heart of the listener, and thereby transform his or her life
I. God, Man, and Salvation History

A. The Lord God (CCC 26-50, 74-354)

1. Knowledge of God
  • reason and observation and natural revelation in the universe, the world, our bodies
  • Divine Revelation, the Living Word of God – (written) Sacred Scripture and (oral) Tradition
    • Revelation is God making it easier for us to know Him and know ourselves
    • inspired, guided, and protected by the Holy Spirit
    • interpret scripture as a whole, OT in light of NT and vice versa
    • assistance of Magisterium in interpreting Revelation
2. Faith and Reason
  • faith and reason are not contrary or incompatible, but assist each other
  • faith itself is reasonable, being arrived at by revelation assisted by right reason
  • pure reason is necessarily limited, and it is also impaired by influences of the world and sin
  • reason’s search for truth always relies on and trusts (takes on faith) prior revealed knowledge
  • religious faith helps reason to discover itself and open it to transcendence
3. Existence and Nature of God - Who and What is God?
  • “I AM” – Logos – Creative Reason – Being itself – Perfect Complete Truth
  • Perfect Complete Love - philia, purified eros, and agape, a "spousal" type of love that is both unitive and fruitful
  • Alpha and Omega - Complete in Himself and only Necessary Being
  • Transcendent of Space and Time, thus omnipresent and eternal, singularity and totality of time
  • Personal Being
4. The Trinity – One and Three - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
  • God is Love, and love, by its very nature, is relational – total perfect love is communion
  • God is Truth – One and complete in Himself
  • In God, there is an everlasting personal love, the Holy Spirit, that proceeds from and between the persons of the Father and Son
  • a loving communion of three distinct persons in one undivided divine nature, substance, and essence
5. God the Father – Creator
  • creation of universe ex nihilo and ab initio temporis
  • the universe and human beings are not accidental or arbitrary products of chance, but willed by God
  • Divine Providence sustaining what God has created

B. Existence and Nature of Man (CCC 355-421, 1846-1876)

1. Who and What is Man?
  • created by God in Love and Truth, contingent and dependent upon Him
  • Man, male and female, equal and complementary, made in the image of the Triune God
  • “not good for the man to be alone” – emptiness of individual solitude
  • social-relational beings, incomplete in ourselves, in need of an other and Other in order to be true to ourselves
  • body and soul, having one nature of matter and spirit, which is temporal and transcendent
  • human personhood – a free subject with an inherent dignity, not an object or thing, possessed with sentience and free will, as well as the capacity for reason and for love
2. What is the Meaning of Life?
  • “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself”
  • love one another, as Jesus loves us, so too should we love one another
  • God reveals meaning of life in scripture and in our very bodies, male and female
  • we are made to love and be loved in truth
  • made in love and truth, we are naturally drawn toward God, who is Love and Truth
  • made in the image of the Trinity, this love is not merely relational, but spousal in nature
  • meant to exist both in general society and in a specific loving communion of persons
  • spousal-type communion with another human in marriage, or with God alone, is both unitive and fruitful (procreative)
3. Love and Truth and the Freedom of Mankind
  • love is not love if it is not freely given and freely received
  • God does not force His love or truth on us against our will – God does not even save us without our consent, we are free to choose to return His love or to reject Him and live our lives apart from Him
  • Man has independent agency, with rational control and freedom to think and act - the universe is not purely materialistic and pre-determined
  • the existence of a free will not pre-determined by physical factors suggests the existence of an extra-corporeal aspect to the person
  • it is the spirit that allows one to transcend and overcome the mere biological electro-chemical reactions in the brain and thereby choose our actions
  • the existence of free will means that we are morally responsible for our own willful choices
4. The Fall of Man – Original and Individual Sin
  • sin, Original and personal, necessarily is in opposition to God, who is Truth and Love
  • Adam and Eve erroneously believed that they did not need God, but could be gods themselves with the power to choose their own truth, their own concepts of right and wrong
    • this Original Sin has affected and infected us all, leaving a stain on our very being
    • the stain of Original Sin cannot be removed by our own efforts, but requires the transformative power of God, which we receive in Baptism
    • a wide gulf of separation between humanity and God was created, so great that man is incapable of crossing it on his own
    • mankind forgot knowledge of God
  • individual and social nature and consequence of sin
    • corruption of human nature, including ability to love and discern truth
    • weakened will and impairment of reason, judgment, and ability to see and know God, rejection of Light has thrown us into darkness
    • intrinsic punishment of being a slave to error and further sin, temptations overwhelm us
    • ultimately, sin so removes us from Truth and Love, that is, Life, that we are “doomed to die”
    • poisons all relations with others, both other humans and God
  • types of sin – mortal and venial
    • mortal sin involves a grave/serious matter, full knowledge, and deliberate consent, such that it destroys love in the heart and turns one away from God, thereby resulting in eternal death if forgiveness is not sought and accepted
    • venial sin wounds love in the heart and weakens grace, but is not so serious as to break the covenant with God, warranting temporal punishment and purgation, but not eternal death
C. Salvation History: God – Who is Divine Mercy – Calls Humanity Back to Himself (CCC 50-73, 484-511)
  • Preparing Mankind for the Coming of Jesus Christ
  • Establishing Relationships with Specific Peoples, and Gradually Revealing Himself, with Christ and the Church Prefigured Repeatedly Throughout History
1. Salvation History While Still in the Garden
  • in breathing His Spirit into us and making us in His image, God imprinted upon our very being a natural desire for God
  • the proto-evangelium, a promise of deliverance
2. The Covenant with Noah
  • the Flood and the Ark
3. The Covenant with Abraham
  • revelation of One God, the God of all peoples and all places
  • a chosen people and a promised land
  • called out of a far country
  • sign of the covenant
  • the meaning of total faith – offering to sacrifice Isaac
4. The Covenant with Jacob/Israel
  • the suffering of Joseph leads to saving the people of God
5. Moses and Freedom from Bondage in Egypt
  • the blood of the Passover lamb saves God’s people from death
  • God leads His people out of bondage – passage through the waters of the Red Sea
  • God protects His people, manna and water in the desert
  • God gives His people freedom by giving them the Law - Torah
6. Judges and Kings
  • military rulers
  • the people desire a king, Saul is anointed, followed by David
  • the covenant with David – promise of the Messiah
  • psalms and other writings describe marital and parental relationship with God
  • Solomon builds the first Temple
7. Repeated Infidelities of God’s People
  • God’s people turn away and fall into sin, and God allows them to suffer the consequences
  • enemies and invaders threaten and conquer Israel
  • God mercifully forgives when the people seek to return to Him
  • the Temple is defiled and razed
  • the Diaspora and Babylonian exile
  • the Prophets remind people of God’s mercy, encouraging them to have hope and return to Him
  • the messianic prophecies of Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel
8. Prophecy of a New Covenant
  • prophets Jeremiah and Joel announce the coming of a New Covenant, which includes the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit upon all mankind
9. Return from Exile
  • the land of Israel is heavily influenced by Greeks and other foreigners
  • Maccabean revolt and Jewish independence
  • the eternal light of the Temple
  • Rome conquers “Palestine” and installs Herod the Great as king

D. The Culmination of Salvation History – Jesus Christ

1. St. Mary, the Handmaid of the Lord
  • “Hail, Full of Grace”
  • Immaculate Conception
  • Mary’s “Yes”
  • Theotókos, the Mother of God, living temple of God
  • Ever Virgin
  • New Eve
  • Assumption into Heaven
2. St. Joseph, Protector of Jesus and Mary
  • model of faith and love – selfless sacrifice and love without possessing
  • wise and faithful servant
  • Joseph’s “Yes” – the love and mercy of the just and righteous man
  • teacher and provider for Jesus
3. The Incarnation and Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ
  • God merges into humanity, the Fruit of Mary’s womb, flesh of her flesh, bone of her bone
  • the mystery of the eternal, omnipresent, and all-powerful God entering time and becoming small and dependent
4. St. John the Baptist
  • last and greatest of the prophets
  • prepares the way for the Lord
  • announces to the world that the long wait is over, salvation has come

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