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“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness’ God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27

A friend recently asked, “What does it mean to be made in the Image of God?” and “Do we look like God?” Now, at first glance it sure does look like it’s saying that we “look like” God. But the meaning is actually, far deeper than that. On the last day of creation, God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness” Genesis 1:26. Thus, He finished His work with a “personal touch.” God formed man from the dust and gave him life by sharing His own breath Genesis 2:7. Accordingly, man is unique among all God’s creations, having both a material body and an immaterial soul.

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On the Beatitudes

The sublime promises of the Sermon on the Mount have always been the crown jewel and the heart of the Christian message. But now, scholars have accepted the Sermon on the Mount as the scripture of the Essenes.

The words of the Beatitudes are attributed to those of the Teacher of Righteousness, the founder of the Essenes who they recognized as their long-awaited Messiah. Their content can also be found in the Credo of the Essenes.

The texts found among the Dead Sea Scrolls show how the ancient Essene teachings were the origin of many of Christ’s teachings. St Paul and other New Testament writers often used the very phrases, sometimes word for word, of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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By Design

“The Argument starts with the major premise that where there is design, there must be a designer. The minor premise is the existence of design throughout the universe. The conclusion is that there must be a universal designer”

The Argument from Design focuses on the fact that the universe is designed for human habitation. The Argument starts with the major premise that where there is design, there must be a designer. The minor premise is the existence of design throughout the universe. The conclusion is that there must be a universal designer. There are many ways that the universe might have been, the argument from design tells us it might have had different laws of physics; it might have had a different arrangement of planets and stars; it might have begun with a bigger or a smaller big bang and the vast majority of these universes would not have allowed for the existence of life. We are very fortunate indeed to have a universe that does.

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When examining the importance of daily prayer and the Divine Office, or Liturgy of the Hours, we can find ourselves faced with several questions concerning prayer itself. When we begin to answer some of the basic questions involving prayer, we can begin see the importance of the Divine Office in our daily conversations with God. We are called as Catholics “in the events of each day, to make prayer spring up from us.”[1]

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This may seem like a strange topic for this time of year, with Christmas having just passed, however, it was the subject of a conversation I had with a colleague recently. My Colleague, a devout atheist, asked: “If God exists, why does (He) allow so much evil in the world?” This is a question submerged in Theology and long discussed by philosophers. It can be very complicated to answer. In order to answer his question, I lead the conversation to Theodicy. Theodicy is the study of Divine Justice, or, as many philosophers like to term it “If God is all good, why do bad things happen?”….that is…why is there evil in the world.

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The closest and most far-reaching union that can exist is that between two wills; we strive to make our wills one with the person whom we love. A self-seeking person seeks only to further his own interests. However, when a person truly loves another, he directs his thoughts, words, feelings, and actions towards pleasing the object of his love. This is exemplified in the unselfish love between husband and wife, and the self-sacrificing love of parents towards their children. In the spiritual life, this union is expressed by uniting our will to that of Christ.

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Dante’s Divine Comedy is not so much meant to be a reflection of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven as such but is meant to be a good and entertaining story that, by poetic device, reflects the entire moral order as understood by Thomistic philosophical and theological principles. This is achieved in a three-fold way reflected through the three respective parts that make up the Comedy. First, Dante takes his Pilgrim (the veritable Everyman) with Virgil (natural reason unaided by grace) through the Inferno (hell) wherein we are shown the gravity and nature of sin with ranking commensurate with Thomistic principles. Then we travel with the Pilgrim and Virgil through the Purgatorio wherein we are presented a consideration of the virtues through looking at their respective opposing vices, the capital sins; Purgatory, where nature and grace meet, and thus so does the moral philosophy and moral theology of St. Thomas. Lastly, Dante leads us through the Paradiso -Heaven- which admits of no imperfection, and is therefore the appropriate place to consider the infused virtues, the four cardinal virtues and the three theological virtues. By the end, we have traversed the moral order, from a consideration of sin (and virtue apart from grace) through sin conquered and virtue acquired through effort and grace, to virtue infused by grace apart from the efforts of man.

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“The quietness and hiddenness and placidity of the truly good people in the world all proclaim the glory of God. We refuse to hear the million different voices through which God speaks to us, and every refusal hardens us more and more against His grace and yet He continues to speak to us: and we say He is without mercy! Glorious Mother of God, shall I ever again distrust you? Shall I ever look anywhere else but in the face of your love, to find out true counsel, and to know my way, in all the days and all the moments of my life?” Thomas Merton

One of the publishing marvels of the twentieth century was a book written by a contemplative monk, The Seven Storey Mountain. The monk was Frater Louis: Thomas Merton. The book was his autobiography. The fact that it had been written by an enclosed religious, coupled with its theme, the author’s conversion to the Catholic faith and his subsequent entrance to one of the Church’s most rigorous religious orders, the Trappists, made it a source of fascination to the reading public. [2] It sold some 600,000 copies in its first year of publication.

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The Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the greatest and most glorious feast of the entire ecclesiastical year, just as the Passover was the greatest feast for the Israelites in the Old Testament.

The reason for this is quite simple: the Resurrection of Our Lord is the very foundation of Christianity. For if, after His death, Jesus had not risen, who would have had faith in Him as the promised Messiah, the Redeemer, the Son of God? If Jesus had not risen, there would be no Christianity today. If Jesus Christ had not risen, His Apostles and disciples would not have gone forth to preach about His life, death and Resurrection, sealing the truth of their testimony with their very blood. As St. Paul tells us in his Epistle to the Corinthians:

“And if Christ be not risen again, your Faith is in vain, for you are yet in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17).

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To be a Catholic

What does it mean? Does it mean putting another title next to my name? Does it mean getting up early every Sunday? Is it the same as other Christian religions?

No. Our society is living in a culture of death where lies spread because some prefer the darkness to the light. These people hate the Truth – the Truth that Jesus Christ started the Catholic Church (Matthew 16:18) and the Seven Sacraments of the Church. Through the ages, people have taken the teachings of Christ and changed them! They call Christ and his Church liars!

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It’s Almost Lent

The Holy Season of Lent begins the Church’s solemn preparation for the glorious Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and there are many spiritual and doctrinal aspects of Lent which we should consider in order to properly benefit from this penitential season.

The first aspect of Lent is primarily spiritual. It pertains to the history of Lent, its purpose and principle end. The second aspect of Lent is primarily doctrinal and reminds us of the evil consequences of sin; the original sin of our parents, Adam and Eve, and the actual sins which we ourselves commit.

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What does Christian Unity Mean for Catholics:

It would be extremely easy to fall into error this week while seeking unity. We as Catholics follow the complete Truth of Jesus Christ revealed over the past 2,000 years. And that is what we will always believe. We shall not, must not, disregard a single teaching of the Church for “unity”. Unity does not mean that all of the separated Christians should come together and make compromises until a new Creed is made. This is heresy! We will not compromise one single article of doctrine, or one single dogma, or one single practice of our faith. For that is a common misconception of what this Week of Christian Unity is about. This week of Christian Unity is about praying for fellow non-Catholics to repent for their sins and enter into the Catholic Church, completely obedient to the magisterium and all honoured Traditions of the Faith. Yes, it is a sin to refuse to believe a single dogma of the Church. And, it may compromise one’s soul if that person refuses to believe even one part of the Faith taught by Christ and revealed through the years by the Holy Catholic Church. Again, anyone who will disregard a dogma or teaching of the Holy Church in the name of ecumenism will surely answer to Almighty God.

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On Ordinary Time

It’s that time of year again… Ordinary Time. That time of the year when everything seems…well, for lack of a better word… ordinary. The Advent and Christmas seasons have passed. Lent is still a few weeks away. And who has even begun to think about the Easter season?

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