First Semester Exam
THE MYSTERY OF REDEMPTION
The Original State of Man
Man and woman are the high point of visible creation. We were created in the image and likeness of God with a body and, unlike animals, with a rational soul. Before the Fall, Adam and Eve possessed a clear awareness of God's presence and enjoyed a profound and loving relationship with him.
Original Sin and its Consequences
Eventually, the Devil, in the form of a serpent would visit them. He tempted them to eat the fruit of the Tree saying "You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
Humans have an inclination to sin called concupiscence. However, Adam and Eve were born without this and their disobedience to God by eating the fruit was deliberate.
The consequences of this Original Sin were immediate. Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, lost their original state of holiness, friendship with God and justice. God even found them hiding from Him because they knew they were naked.
Additionally, they harmed not only themselves, but also all of their descendants. Original Sin introduced suffering and death to the whole human race. The human conscience became lax and unreliable to judge between good and evil, to the point where we are enslaved to bodily desires and passions. From this point on, humans would focus inwardly on themselves rather than God, further alienating ourselves from him.
The Word Became Flesh
The Word became flesh to make expiation for sins, reconcile man with God, and restore human nature lost by sin. Original Sin had created a rift between God and the human race and we never could have repaired the damage on our own. But since man had brought sin into the world, justice demanded a man should offer the atonement for sin. The only possibility would be for the man offering the sacrifice to be, at the same time, God. Only Christ could save us.
The Word became Flesh to manifest God's love- to show us how much he loves us, so that we might serve him out of love rather than fear. Even after Adam and Eve sinned, God never gave up on mankind but instead created for us a plan of redemption. Christ was born into humanity, where he experienced both pain and love. His love was demonstrated by his Passion and Death on the Cross- wear He actually suffered for our sins.
The Word became Flesh to offer a model of holiness. Jesus is the perfect example of holiness and dignity of the human person. He showed us that with grace, we can overcome the temptations of the world the Devil, and the flesh. His Passion taught us charity, humility, obedience, and prayer.
The Word became Flesh to allow a share in Divine Life. Lastly, God became man because he wanted us to experience his own divine life. Jesus gave us the seven Sacraments so that we can grow closer to God and live with him eternally.
The Paschal Mystery
The Paschal Mystery describes the redemptive work of Christ especially in the events of Last Supper, and the Passion, reaching their climax on Easter Sunday when He resurrected.
"By dying he destroyed our death; by rising he restored our life."
He died on a cross and resurrected from the dead three days later. Christ offered Himself to our heavenly Father to save us from sin and to sanctify us. This reversed Adam's fault and atoned for the faults of all people.
By becoming flesh and dying for us, Jesus has caused people to appreciate the great love of God and to be aware of the evil of sin. The Eucharist renews the paschal sacrifice of Christ as the offer sacrificed by the Church.
The Theological Virtues
The theological virtues are faith, hope and charity.
Faith helps a person assent to the truth revealed by God and put those truths into practice.
Hope gives the mind strength to trust that God will provide for us.
Charity enables a person to love God above everything and to love his neighbor as himself.
Charity is the most important. Without it faith and hope are ineffective to attain eternal life.
Most prayers end with the word Amen, the Hebrew word for so be it.
There are a few expressions of prayer. Vocal prayer is a simple conversation with God. While Meditative prayer is used to gain a greater understanding of the life of Christ. Contemplative prayer consists in of resting in God's presence.
The forms of prayer are blessing and adoration, petition, intercession, thanksgiving, praise, and contrition.
God answers all of our prayers, though not necessarily how we'd expect. God offers the grace to accept His will and we are called to trust His plan.
The Four Marks of the Church
The Church is one. We have unity of faith, unity of worship, and unity of leadership. When Christians reject the leadership of the Church's Pope and bishops this leads to a false belief or teaching called a heresy.
The Church is holy. The church received holiness from Christ, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Church is holy in that its origin is Jesus Himself and that its goal is always the glory of God.
The Church is catholic. The term catholic comes from the the Greek word katholikos, which means "universal." The church is catholic because it is whole and complete. Christ gave the Church universal authority to fulfill its universal mission.
The Church is apostolic. This is because of Christ's selection of the Twelve Apostles to be the foundation of His church. The church guards the teachings of the Apostles and those continue to be taught by their successors: the bishops and most of all the Pope.
All four marks can only be found in the Catholic Church.
The Last Things
Purgatory is like a waiting room. It is a state of purification from venial sins so that souls achieve the purity necessary to enter the joy of Heaven.
Hell is self exclusion from communion with God and Heaven. The souls in Hell died unrepentant and refused God's love.
Heaven is the state of everlasting life in which we see God. We become like him in glory and enjoy eternal happiness. During our lives we should work to get to Heaven to participate in this glory.
The Parousia is the culmination of the history of salvation.