1st Semester Exam - Part One
By James McGehee
The Mystery of Redemption
Chapter 1 - The Original State of Man; Original Sin and its Consequences
The Original State of Man
The first humans, Adam and Eve, were created by God and given the unique ability to freely love and share in His divine life. God endowed them with His supernatural grace and virtues that are essential for participating in eternal life with Him in heaven. They had a profound relationship with God and were extremely happy with the world He had given them and were destined to join Him in Heaven. The original humans, prior to the existence of original sin, were granted immunity from suffering, sickness, and death, as well as freedom from disordered appetites and passions. Every facet of their lives was mean to be easy and fulfilling. This state of holiness is known as original justice.
Original Sin and its Consequences
Adam and Eve were put in the Garden of Eden to take care of it, cultivate it, and they had ascendancy over all of creation. God bestowed upon them complete freedom with the exception of one rule: not to eat the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Little could divide the bond of love and trust between God and our original parents except for one being, whose only goal is to overturn God's plan for humanity, Satan. Satan approached Eve in the form of a serpent and convinced her to greedily consume the fruit of the Forbidden Tree through temptations and lies, claiming that God did not want them to become like him. Immediately, Eve and Adam, who had also consumed the fruit, lost their state of original justice and were expelled from the holy garden. Through this single action they allowed sin to enter the world, plaguing not only themselves, but all of their descendants for the rest of eternity. This indelible mark on each of our souls changes the nature of the human race from what God originally intended it to be, causing us to be self-centered and inclined to error. The wound that is Original Sin brought about opposition to the four cardinal virtues, creating flaws in the human character. These are Malice, Ignorance, Weakness, and Concupiscence. As a consequence of Original Sin, there will always be a barrier that apprehends us from truly knowing God and having an invulnerable relationship with Him.
Chapter 3 - The Word Became Flesh
Chapter 4 - The Paschal Mystery
Chapter 6 - The Theological Virtues
Finally, Charity is the virtue to love God above all things and live in His essence of eternal love forever.
Chapter 7 - Prayer: How We Communicate With God
Chapter 5 - The Four Marks of the Church
The Church is One:
When we profess our belief in the marks of the Church every Mass by reciting the Nicene Creed, we are accepting that the Church is One, so, what does it really mean when we say that? Firstly, we are professing the individuality of the Church and that it is thoroughly unique. We are also declaring our firm belief in only one God and that Jesus put His authority into just one Church. Furthermore, this mark states that the Church's unity comes from one God in three persons.
The Church is Holy:
The second mark, received by the Church through the power of the Holy Spirit, recognizes that God fills His Church with grace so that it itself becomes sanctifying and hallowed. The Church is holy because it receives its origin in Christ and its goal is the glory of God.
The Church is Catholic:
The Church is considered catholic because it is totally whole and complete. Jesus united himself eternally with His body, the Church. The Church is also Catholic because it is universal and spread throughout the world, not being limited to one nation or area.
The Church is Apostolic:
The Church is Apostolic primarily because of the fact that Jesus hand-picked the Twelve Apostles to be the foundation and the leaders of the Church. The Church is also Apostolic because of what is known as Apostolic succession: that the Pope and the college of bishops are successors of St. Peter the apostle.