“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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The doctrine of original sin is an important doctrine because it sets stage on which man stands before God. If the fall of man has little impact on his original state, then the work of redemption is less significant; but if original sin has had great impact on the original state of man, then the work of Christ in redemption will have much more significance for humanity. Similarly, if the fall of Adam has caused little or no damage to man, then grace has little or no importance; but if man has been greatly damaged by the fall, and then grace is of great importance. My intent is to discuss the views of St. Augustine and Pelagius on the doctrine of original sin. I will discuss the state of man prior to the fall and then the effects of the fall on mankind. The differences of these views will then follow this discussion.

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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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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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“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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Advent got off to a great start for me, but it quickly deteriorated into a crazy busy, trying week that was full of bad moods and frustration. I felt my Christmas spirit go right out the window and get soggy in the pouring rain we had. Not good. Purposeful realignment is required here. I need a lot more Advent and a lot less… everything else.

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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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The Ten Commandments are like an “owner’s manual” for our humanity. Far from being arbitrary or outdated, they are God’s way of helping us know how we should live so as to attain true happiness and fulfill the purpose of our existence. What they teach can be known, however imperfectly, by reason. They universally apply to people of all times and places.

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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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It’s amazing to me how many people when things are going good in their lives, rarely do they give God the credit for it, but as soon as trouble comes along, the first one to get the blame is God. Even worse, there are ministers out there telling people its O.K. to get angry with God. This just boggles my mind.

I am really not sure how they rationalize that, but just read the last few chapters of the Book of Job and then tell me that it is O.K. to be angry at God. God scolded Job for his self-righteous attitude, and this was before God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ to the Cross for us.

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Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions for May:

Universal: That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.

Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.

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