Blog #12

In order to complete this blog, I went into Sakai and looked at all the different outside readings as well as the multiple class PowerPoint’s we covered over the semester. Think back. We covered an overview of the bible, the monotheistic creation story as well as alternative possibilities for the genesis of life. We delved into God’s covenant relationship with his people. Our class touched on kings, prophets, the divided kingdom, the exile, all four Gospels, and early Christian traditions. We looked over the differing accounts of the Infancy Narrative, the Passion, and the Resurrection of Christ. Finally, we studied the early Church and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the martyrs, revelation, and the creeds. At first glance it is nearly impossible not to think, “Wow that is a whole lot of theology in only one semester!” We covered what I learned in my four years of high school religion class in one semester at Notre Dame. However, there is a similar thread throughout all the different lessons, and that is the common theme of Revelation as God reveals himself, Truth, to his people. Therefore, instead of Foundations of Theology, this course could be called, The Trinity Revealed or God’s Gift to Man (a little cheesy, but you get the point!). Throughout the semester we looked at how the image of God played out in history, and we look forward to the eschaton when we are finally one with the Revealer.

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Blog #11

My blog group is arguing Arius’s beliefs. I think the strongest arguments for our debate position will be taken from the life of Christ. Arius believed Christ was a creature made by God. He stressed Christ’s humanity. Our strongest arguments will be examples of Christ’s humanness. How could Jesus be God if he had to be born just as every other human being? Look to the infancy narratives (Luke and Matthew) to see that his life started the same way ours did. What about the temptation in the desert? If Jesus is God, Satan would not have the courage to even confront him with three different temptations. If Jesus is God, Satan would have cringed beneath God’s power. Clearly Jesus is solely a creature of God as he experienced pain in the agony of the garden. Is not God above pain? No human can inflict pain on an omnipotent and omniscient being. If Jesus is God, why did he feel pain? Finally, why did he have to die? If Jesus is God, why was suffering on the cross necessary? God has the power to forgive all sins.

The biggest fallacy in the argument is that, if Jesus was not God, his Passion would not have allowed for the Gates of Heaven to be opened. If Jesus was not God, his death would be the death of a mere human. Yes, it would be a model of selflessness and innocence, but it would not be accompanied by the perfection of a Sacrificial Lamb.

Blog #10

The lines from Psalm 82 characterize the content of the film as despite the evident holiness, the monks had to suffer. This psalm is a foreshadowing of what is to come. The monks know they will receive their reward for trusting in Christ, that is, eternal life.

This film was so amazing! It was such an inspiration on how to live daily; it emphasized the importance of truly living out one’s vocation in modern life.  I liked how the film did not focus on the societal and impending violence but, rather, on the faith of the Trappist monks. My favorite part was the Last Supper scene. It was so symbolic.

      With the question of the different religions and the different gods, this movie was undeniably applicable to modern religious situations. The monks were able to live in harmony with the Muslims around them. They saw themselves as brothers and sisters. Despite their religious differences, the characters in this movie really emphasize the importance of solidarity and community.

      Currently, there is so much conflict between religious groups. In order to achieve the solidarity seen (at some parts) in this movie is to become educated. It is important that we understand the differences and embrace the similarities of our religions. Likewise, it is important to become involved with people from a variety of different backgrounds.

Blog #9

I remember hearing of Perpetua and Felicity’s martyrdom when I was only in middle school. The graphic reading inspired the same response as the talk did when I was thirteen.  It still gives me shivers! As I read the assignment I could not help but think, “Do I have that kind of trust in God?” “Can I be called by a name other than Christian?” “What in life is holding me back from being a living martyr?”

Christianity provides an alternative “world view” in large part because Christians believe in a power, and are working towards a union, much outside of this world.  Family in the Christian sense is the family of believers. The martyrs all wanted to enter into the victory of peace together.

These accounts, still relevant today, appeal to Christians because we have a desire for Truth written on our hearts. When we hear accounts of such faith and trust in God, we are inspired to be the person we all are deep (sometimes very deep) down. In my opinion, martyrdom accounts and the lives of saints in general remind me that I am not the sum of my failings. I am not the sum of the times I am prideful, ignorant, and selfish (sometimes very selfish). When I am living in Christ, I am the person I was created to be. I am now the sum of my persistent desire for Truth, the mere fact that I am a daughter of Christ, and my relationship with the Eucharist. Early Christians would take comfort in these accounts because it is a reminder to stay strong. The lives of the saints point to the joy that is to come. They allow us to bear our worldly suffering with patience and fortitude.

I feel these stories would appeal to non-Christians as well. We all have a desire for Truth (Jesus, half the time we do not know it) and goodness written on our hearts. These accounts remind the reader- believer or unbeliever- to strive for greatness.

The nature of man has not changed. It does not change if you call yourself a Christian or not. All people have a desire to seek out, to receive, and to give Love, whatever that interpretation is due to culture/upbringing/etc. Finally, not to get ridiculously relative as if the definition of Love varies based on the whims of the human mind, how joyful it is to know that the aforementioned Love and Truth is present in the Mass and in each other.

Blog #8

The biblical images and themes are clearly presented in the prayer for the blessing of baptismal water in the Roman Rite. The prayer emphasizes the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. It talks of Christ and his union with the Church much like it does in the passage from John speaking of the bride and the bridegroom. It represents the Church’s understanding of a Sacrament with the following: “invisible power accomplish a wondrous effect through sacramental signs.” Words and phrases such as, “end to vice and a beginning of virtue,” “power to sanctify,” “grace,” and “rise to life” demonstrate the Catholic understanding of the Sacrament of Initiation, Baptism.

I pulled out key sections of the prayer as well as the biblical passages from the Gospel of John and Romans. If I were a leading a religious education class to adults and adults with children about to be baptized, I would emphasize different aspects of the sources. The following sources would be stressed to adults about to be baptized. The section from John talks about the Messiah as the bridegroom who holds the bride, the Church. As we grow in our faith it becomes a general trend to start picking certain teachings of the Church we want to believe and others that we are too stubborn (or too uncomfortable) to support. The sections from the prayer and John point to the Tradition, Scripture, and Magisterium of the Church and, ultimately, the legitimacy of the baptismal sacrament. The section from Romans is to reiterate to adults that a Catholic life is challenging, but the rewards equate to lasting life!

The Blessing of Water

O God, whose Son,
baptized by John in the waters of the Jordan
was anointed with the Holy Spirit,
and, as he hung upon the Cross,
gave forth water from his side along with blood,
and after his Resurrection, commanded his disciples:
“Go forth, teach all nations, baptizing them
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”
look now, we pray, upon the face of your Church
and graciously unseal for her the fountain of Baptism.

John 3:28-30

“You yourselves can testify that I said [that] I am not the Messiah, but that I was sent before him. The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man,who stands and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made complete.He must increase; I must decrease.”

Romans 6:3-4

“Or are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.“

For parents who are about to have their infants baptized, I would stress what it means to be a parent, both the gifts and responsibilities. Baptism is a tremendous gift to one’s children. Romans speaks of a “pattern of teaching” If I were speaking to these parents, I would ask, “Who is going to give your children that teaching?” I would stress the each parent’s responsibility in the salvation of the souls of their spouse and their children. The family is the domestic church, and the Holy Spirit must be allowed to flourish in our homes as well as our society.

The Blessing of Water

May this water receive by the Holy Spirit
the grace of your Only Begotten Son,
so that human nature, created in your image,
and washed clean through the Sacrament of Baptism
from all the squalor of the life of old,
may be found worthy to rise to the life of newborn children
through water and the Holy Spirit.

Romans 6:17

“But thanks be to God that, although you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient from the heart to the pattern of teaching to which you were entrusted

Blog #7

The three different accounts of Paul’s conversion elicit multiple similarities and differences. For example, both the accounts from Galatians and Acts 22 are in the first person narrative as if Paul is actually the writer of the narrative. It makes the accounts more personal and relates to the potential authorship of the book as a whole. In contrast, the account from Acts 9 is depicted by an onlooker- an individual other than Paul.

Both accounts from Acts are similar as they have Christ saying to Paul something along the lines of. “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” The story of Paul’s conversion in Galatians does not have this verse but, rather, contains the following: “I was unknown personally to the churches of Judea that are in Christ; they only kept hearing that ‘the one who once was persecuting us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.’ So they glorified God because of me.”

However all three accounts are similar in that they truly represent Paul’s conversion of heart. All three accounts remind the reader of Paul’s previous offenses. It is through his sin, that he is able to find his redemption. I believe the purpose of all these accounts, despite their differences, is to articulate just that. Each account is for a varying audience, but the point is that it is through our faults that we are able to find healing. I have always heard it said, “No Cross, no Resurrection.” The account of Paul provides just that message.

Blog #6

Before going into answering the prompt, I wanted to share how great this outside reading is! St. Athanasius is a Doctor of the Church and was the Patriarch of Alexandria, and is an amazing writer. This was seriously my favorite outside reading so far! I thought it was a well-organized argument. Please disregard how nerdy I sound.

Paragraph 7 states, “Had it been a case of a trespass only, and not of a subsequent corruption, repentance would have been well enough; but when once transgression had begun men came under the power of the corruption proper to their nature and were bereft of the grace which belonged to them as creatures in the Image of God.” Humans were left with the marks and consequences of sin. Repentance alone would not wash away concupiscence and original sin. Man needed and will always need Christ. Likewise, paragraph 8 shares, “Thus He would make death to disappear from them as utterly as straw from fire.” Because of Christ’s death on the cross, man is able to attain eternal life. The fractured relationship between God and Man has been restored through Christ’s Love. Paragraph 13 answers this with, “Men could not have done it, for they are only made after the Image; nor could angels have done it, for they are not the images of God. The Word of God came in His own Person, because it was He alone, the Image of the Father Who could recreate man made after the Image.” Paragraph 14 states, “Perhaps you will say, then, that creation was enough to teach men about the Father. But if that had been so, such great evils would never have occurred. Creation was there all the time, but it did not prevent men from wallowing in error. Once more, then, it was the Word of God, Who sees all that is in man and moves all things in creation, Who alone could meet the needs of the situation.” Do you think the incarnation was inevitable?  St. Athanasius definitely has an answer. He believes that Christ was inevitable, as Creation clearly did not prevent the fall. It would only be a matter of time. I believe that, regardless of the events of history, humanity would always be in need of Christ as Christ reveals Truth in a way that we can better understand. Sinless or not, Christ would have had to come to better teach us how to Love.