Author: FrancisMary

Does God Have a Body?

Does God Have a Body?

Question

Why do the older books of the Old Testament describe God as if he has a body?

Answer

In Jewish tradition, there are two different aspects of thought. One camp views the passages of the Old Testament that refer to God’s body as metaphorical. The other camp accepts them literally and agrees that God either has a body or, at the very least, has a form that he can allow man to see. Since Maimonides’s thirteen principles of faith in the twelfth century, Jewish thought has generally been that God is incorporeal.

Christian tradition has been virtually unanimous in viewing these passages in a metaphorical context (see John 1:18). Any reference to God’s body is considered a symbolic means of making God’s actions more comprehensible to human beings living in a material world.

Exodus 33:23 and 33:11 are most often cited as examples of God having a form, but they have to be viewed in their total context.

In as much as Exodus does record that Moses spoke to God “face to face” (Exod. 33:11) we also read a few verses later that no one can see God’s “face” and live (33:20). Therefore, it is clearly a metaphorical expression.

God does say that he will let Moses see his “back” (33:23), but this is in response to Moses asking to see God’s glory (Exod. 23:18). This is understood as God veiling his essence in some way from Moses but showing himself to some degree to Moses.

In the passages from the prophets where they claim to have seen God on his throne and these descriptions sound totally human-like, these are understood as visions to help the prophet comprehend and not a true seeing of the divine essence.

How Do I Convince a Non-Believer?

How Do I Convince a Non-Believer?

Question

What should I say to convince someone that practicing religion isn’t a waste of time?

Answer

A good place to start is the issue of happiness. Every human being by nature desires his or her own happiness. As Thomas Aquinas writes, “To desire happiness is nothing else than to desire that one’s will be satisfied. And this everyone desires” (Summa Theologiae I-II:5:8).

But whatever satisfaction we receive from the goods that satisfy our wills is always subject to being undermined. Consider, for instance, how easily bodily and material goods can be taken away from us. Many healthy people wake up and discover that they have a life-threatening illness, with only a few months to live. Natural disasters can take away our material goods in an instant. Can one actually be content knowing that these evils could pop up any day?

There is also the looming threat of death. Any goods that we possess in this life will ultimately be lost, since “the living know that they will die” (Eccl. 9:5). I don’t think any sane person likes the idea that all the goods of this life could be wiped out at any moment by death.

Religion offers a solution to these various aspects of the problem of happiness in some way or another. And since every human being cares about his or her own happiness, he or she should care about religion. I will speak here only of the Christian religion.

Christianity says that there is an ultimate good for us to possess that can in no way be lost. That ultimate good is God himself, and full possession of him is to be had in heaven. And any goods that we lose in this life will not be missed, because God himself will completely satisfy the will’s desire. This experience of complete satisfaction, of happiness, is unending and free of all looming threats that could possibly undermine it.

Christianity also gives a solution to the issues of happiness with its teaching that Jesus Christ has conquered death. In as much as man must die, he can live again with a glorified body in the new heaven and new earth on condition that he dies in friendship with Christ. And such life is forever, free from corruption and the threat of death.

The bottom line is that Christianity is crucial because it offers man the key to being man fully alive. It offers a total and perfect state of happiness that is definitive and unending. And that hope for eternal life is such that Paul can say, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

Celebrating Saints With African Heritage

Celebrating Saints With African Heritage

February is Black History Month. In this article you will learn about two well-known black Catholics. One is the patron saint of African-Americans, and the other is an American priest who is being considered for sainthood.

St. Benedict the Moor (1526–1589) 

Feast day: April 4

Born in Sicily, St. Benedict the Moor’s parents were Ethiopian slaves and pious Christians. Because of their faithfulness, their master freed St. Benedict (the couple’s first-born child). At a young age, he joined a group of hermits. He later became a lay Franciscan brother and worked as a cook at St. Mary’s convent near Palermo. Even tough He was not being able to read or write, he was appointed superior of the convent. After his service as a superior, he became a novice master, but he requested to be relieved of those duties and return to his former position as a cook. A holy man, he had a reputation for miracles, and his fame as a confessor attracted visitors who wanted to see him. Canonized in 1807, he is the patron saint of African-Americans. The surname “the Moor” is from the Italian il moro (the black).

Fr. Augustus Tolton (1854–1897)

Augustus Tolton was the first Roman Catholic priest in the United States publicly known to be black when he was ordained in 1886. He was born a slave in Missouri, but during the Civil War, he escaped with his mother and siblings to the free state of Illinois.

Fr. Peter McGirr, an Irish immigrant priest, assisted Fr. Tolton receive schooling during the winter months and also gave Fr. Tolton the right to go to Rome and become a priest. Fr. Tolton was assigned to serve in Chicago, where he built up and administered a Negro national parish called St. Monica’s Catholic Church. He was colloquially known as “Good Fr. Gus” and was notable for his singing voice, clear speech, and his capability to play the accordion. Fr. Tolton is presently being considered for sainthood. His official designation is Servant of God, Fr. Augustus Tolton.

Five Facts About The Carthusian Order

Five Facts About The Carthusian Order

St. Bruno, pray for us!

St. Bruno of Cologne’s feast day is Oct. 6. St. Bruno was the founder of the Carthusian order, otherwise known as the Order of St. Bruno. In honor of his feast day.

Here are five facts about the Carthusians.

The name “Carthusian” is derived from the Chartreuse Mountains

The Chartreuse Mountains was the location of St. Bruno’s first hermitage. The English word “charterhouse” which is used to refer to a Carthusian monastery, is also derived from the name of the mountains.

Grande Chartreuse is still the head monastery of the Carthusian order in modern day France 

Grande Chartreuse is the same monastery that St. Bruno established in 1084 in the Chartreuse Mountains. At the end World War II, the monastery was used as a hospital for the Allied Forces. There is also a museum that neighbors the building that is presented to the history of the Carthusians.

The monks of the monastery are involved with the production of Chartreuse liqueur

Deriving its name from the monastery, this liqueur is made using distilled alcohol aged with a large variety of plants and herbs. The color chartreuse, a blend of yellow and green, received its name from this liqueur.

Members of the Carthusian order lead solitary lives

St. Bruno himself decided to be a hermit and, pursuant to this, his order is similarly eremitic. The Grande Chartreuse is closed to outsiders, and the monks of the order follow protocols that keep them mostly solitary.

The Carthusians have their own Rule

Instead of following the Rule of St. Benedict, as most monasteries do, the Carthusian order follows its own rule referred to as the Statutes.

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