Tag: Facts

10 Facts About The Birth Of Jesus You May Not Know 

10 Facts About The Birth Of Jesus You May Not Know 

At the heart of Catholicism and the gospel is the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Apart from the “Word becoming flesh” (John 1:14) and the incarnate Son of God living and dying in our place as our Savior, there is no salvation. Apart from the coming of the eternal Son, his taking on human nature and acting as our covenant representative, there is no hope for the world.

It is appropriate at Christmas to think more deeply about the incarnation. Here are 10 things we should grasp.

1. The person or active subject of the incarnation is the eternal Son.

John 1:14 is clear: “The Word became flesh.” In other words, it was the Son from eternity who became incarnate, not the divine nature. The Son, who is in eternal relation to the Father and Spirit, willingly humbled himself and chose to assume a human nature in obedience to his Father and for our salvation (Phil. 2:6–8).

2. As the eternal Son, the second person of the triune Godhead, he is the full image and expression of the Father and is thus fully God.

Along with the Father and Spirit, the Son fully and equally shares the divine nature. As the image and exact correspondence of the Father (Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3), the Son is fully God. All of God’s perfections and attributes are his since Christ is God the Son (Col. 2:9). As the Son, he participates in the divine rule, receives divine worship, and does all divine works as the Son (Ps. 110:1; Eph. 1:22; Phil. 2:9–11; Col 1:15–17; Heb. 1:2–3; Rev. 5:11–12).

3. As God the Son, he has always existed in an eternally ordered relation to the Father and Spirit, which now is gloriously displayed in the incarnation.

It was fitting that the Son alone, who is from the Father by the Spirit, became incarnate rather than the other divine persons (John 1:1–2, 14, 18). In the incarnation, the Son displayed his divine-filial dependence on the Father and always acted in relation to the Father by the Spirit (John 5:19–30; Mark 1:12; Luke 4:1–21). From eternity and in the incarnation, the Son never acted on his own or independently, but always in relation to and inseparably from his Father and the Spirit.

4. The incarnation is an act of addition, not subtraction.

In the incarnation, the eternal Son who has always possessed the divine nature has not changed or set aside his deity. Instead, he has added to himself a second nature, namely a human nature consisting of a human body and soul (Phil. 2:6–8). As a result, the individual Jesus is one person—the Son—who now subsists in two natures, and thus is fully God and fully man.

5. The human nature assumed by the divine Son is fully human and completely sinless.

Christ’s human nature was unfallen and untainted by the effects of sin. Our inborn inclination to anti-God rebellion was not part of Jesus’s human makeup. Jesus fully experienced the effects of living in a fallen world, but he did not share the guilt or disposition of Adam’s sin passed on to the human race. In fact, Jesus never committed a sin, nor could he (Matt. 3:15; John 8:46; Heb. 4:15; 7:26; 1 Pet. 1:19). Although he was tempted like us, he perfectly obeyed his Father, even unto death, as our covenant mediator, thus accomplishing our salvation as the man, Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 5:5–10).

6. The virgin conception was the glorious means by which the incarnation took place.

The incarnation was thoroughly supernatural and a demonstration of our triune God’s sovereign and gracious initiative to redeem his people (Matt 1:1–25Luke 1:26–38). The virgin conception was the time and means by which the divine Son added to himself a human nature. By the virgin conception, the triune God created a new human nature for the Son, and as a result of this action, in Jesus we truly meet God face-to-face—not indwelling or overshadowing human flesh but in full undiminished glory. Although we behold Jesus as a man, he is much more; he is the Lord, the divine Son who humbles himself and veils his glory by becoming one with us.

7. From conception, the Son limited his divine life in such a way that he did not override the limitations of his human nature.

As a result of the incarnation, the divine Son lives as a true man with the normal physical, mental, volitional, and psychological attributes and capacities of original humanity. As the incarnate Son, he experienced the wonder and weaknesses of a completely human life. He grew in wisdom and physical stature (Luke 2:52), experienced tears and joy, and suffered death and a glorious resurrection for his people’s salvation (John 11:33, 35; 19:30; 1 Cor. 15:3–4).

8. But the Son was not limited to his human nature alone since he continued to act in and through his divine nature.

This truth is best demonstrated in the incarnate Son’s continuing to sustain the universe (Col. 1:16–17; Heb. 1:3), alongside Christ’s other divine actions during his life and ministry. In Christ, there are two natures that remain distinct and retain their own attributes and integrity, yet the Son is able to act through both natures. For this reason, the Son is not completely circumscribed by his human nature; he is also able to act outside of it in his divine nature.

When and how the Son acts through both natures is best explained in terms of Trinitarian relations worked out in redemptive history for the sake of our salvation. The Son, who has always inseparably acted from the Father and by the Spirit, continues to do so but now as the obedient Son acting as our covenant representative and substitute. In the incarnation, neither the Son’s deity nor his humanity is diminished.

9. By taking on our human nature, the Son became the first man of the new creation, our great mediator and new covenant head.

As the Son incarnate, our Lord Jesus Christ in his life, death, and resurrection, reverses the work of the first Adam and forges ahead as the last Adam, our great trailblazer and champion (Heb. 2:10). As a result of the incarnation, God the Son becomes perfectly qualified to meet our every need, especially our need for the forgiveness of sin (Heb. 2:5–18; 7:22–28; 9:15–10:18).

10. God the Son incarnate is utterly unique and alone Lord and Savior.

Jesus is in a category all by himself. Given who God is in all of his glory and moral perfection, and what sin is before God, apart from the Son’s incarnation and his entire work for us, there is no salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:11).

As the divine Son, he alone satisfies God’s own judgment against us and the demand for perfect obedience (Rom 5:12–21).

As the incarnate Son, he alone can identify with us as our representative and substitute (Heb. 5:1).

Our salvation hope for the payment of our sins and our full restoration as God’s image-bearers is only accomplished in Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 3:21–26; Heb. 2:5–18).

11 Facts About The Vatican Most People Don’t Know 

11 Facts About The Vatican Most People Don’t Know 

The Vatican in Rome,  is far from being an amusement park for conspiracy theorists. In fact, most of the activity one finds behind its walls might be quite boring for a general audience. For instance, the mysterious aura surrounding the Archivum Secretum Apostolicum Vaticanum — that’s the official full name for the Vatican Archives— might only be due to a mistranslation from the original Latin: “secretum,” far from being translated as “secret,” simply means “personal.” Whomever has ever had a secretaire (a secretary desk, an escritoire) might probably get a hint of what’s at stake here: the Vatican “Secret Archive” is a collection of personal documents, mainly private letters, chronicles and historical records of past popes. Sorry to burst your bubble, Dan Brown & Co.

Here, we wanted to share with you a list of 11 questions you might have always wanted to ask about the Vatican.


1. How many people live in the Vatican?

Exactly 605 people.


2. How many of those 605 inhabitants are priests?

Sixty-two lay people live in the Vatican, in addition to the 105 members of the Swiss Guard. The rest of its inhabitants are cardinals, bishops, priests, and religious brothers and sisters.


3. How many people work at the Vatican?

It is said that when a journalist asked Blessed John XXIII (pope from 1958 to 1963) how many people work in the Vatican, the pope paused, thought for a bit and replied, “About half of them.”

Now, jokes aside, 4,810 people work for the Holy See (in the assistance to the pastoral work of the pope in the world) and in the Vatican City. Like any other city, the Vatican has a supermarket, museums, a bank, and so forth.

The Holy See employs 2,880 people in 65 different bodies (Vatican congregations, pontifical councils, dicasteries, nunciatures, offices, and so forth). In the Vatican City alone, one finds 1,930 workers.


4. How many churches are there in the Vatican?

In addition to St. Peter’s Basilica, there are six other churches: San Pellegrino in Vaticano, Saints Martin and Sebastian of the Swiss, Sant’Anna dei Palafrenieri, Sant’Egidio in Borgo, Santo Stefano degli Ungheresi, and St. Stephen of the Abyssinians.


5. How many museums?

Even if we refer to the “Vatican Museums” in the plural, one can argue the “Vatican Museum” is just one, comprising many different museums and galleries (such as the Pinacoteca Vaticana, the Pio-Clementine Museum, the Collection of Religious Modern Art, the Chiaramonti Museum, and the Etrurian-Gregorian and Egyptian-Gregorian museums). There are 54 galleries in total, including the Sistine Chapel.

The Museum contains roughly 70,000 works of art, of which 20,000 are on display, and currently employs 640 people who work in 40 different administrative, scholarly, and restoration departments.

As a side note, in St. Charles Palace one finds the Vatican film screening room (managed by the Vatican Film Library), in which popes, Vatican staff or guests attend film screenings. The screening room is an old church that was deconsecrated because there was not a pastoral reason to keep it active, as it is inside the Vatican. St. John Paul II, who attended plenty of screenings there, once said in reference to that old church: “there are only two places in the world where a church has been transformed into a movie theatre: the Soviet Union and the Vatican!”


6. How many buildings?

As far as we know, there is not an official number. But there cannot be too many in 0.44 sq km (0.17 sq mi), especially when one has to make room for the great St. Peter’s Basilica and its piazza. Keep in mind, also, that the Vatican City has 13 buildings in the city of Rome (including the Basilicas of Santa Maria Maggiore and St. John Lateran), as well as the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi and Castel Gandolfo (the summer residence of the popes). These are extraterritorial buildings: that is, when you enter those places you are not in Italy, but in the Vatican.


7. How many radio stations are there?

Just one: Vatican Radio, with its different channels. It now forms part of the Secretariat for Communications of the Holy See, after the reform of Pope Francis. It was created in 1931 by the inventor of the radio himself, the Italian Guglielmo Marconi. It broadcasts on the internet in 38 languages, and employs a team of 355 people from 59 different countries.

8. How many TV channels?

None. The Vatican Television Center is not a television channel. It is a television production center, especially dedicated to covering the pope’s activities, sharing their signal with different television channels, the web and YouTube channels from around the world.

9. How old is the Vatican State?

The Vatican State was founded on February 11,1929, when the Lateran Treaty was signed. Its origins go back to the martyrdom of St. Peter in Nero’s Circus, which stood where St. Peter’s Basilica is today.

10. Why is the St. Peter’s Basilica the Pope’s Cathedral?

Actually, it is not. The pope’s cathedral — his church as Bishop of Rome — is the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, which is outside the Vatican but has extraterritorial status.

11. How many ATMs are there in Vatican City?

One. And it’s in Latin!😂

Guardian Angels: 11 Amazing Facts Every Mortal Should Know 

Guardian Angels: 11 Amazing Facts Every Mortal Should Know 

Belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity

We owe much to our Guardian Angels, who most of the time guard and protect us without our knowledge

“See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10).

October 2 is observed in the Catholic Church as the feast of the Holy Guardian Angels. In 1670, Pope Clement X established this day in the universal calendar as a day to honor the angels who protect us each day.

While most of the attention this day is given to personal Guardian Angels, it is a tradition in the Church (taught by theologians such as Saint Thomas Aquinas) that all countries, cities, dioceses, and parishes have their own Guardian Angel.

They are fascinating creatures of God, shrouded with great mystery. On occasion newspapers will report on miracles when someone is saved from an accident by a mysterious figure, often never seen again.

We owe much to our Guardian Angels, who most of the time guard and protect us without our knowledge. They intervene quietly, fulfilling their task as humbly as possible.

To help us appreciate these “heavenly helpers,” here are 5 amazing facts about our Guardian Angels:


1) Who is a Guardian angel?

A guardian angel is a pure spirit (a created, non-human, non-corporeal being) that has been assigned to guard a particular person, especially with respect to helping that person avoid spiritual dangers and achieve salvation.

The angel may also help the person avoid physical dangers, particularly if this will help the person achieve salvation.

Note that ‘Angel’ is the name of their office. They are actually pure spirits! 


2) Who has a Guardian Angel?

Every person in the world has a Guardian Angel (whether Christian or not). It is believed by theologians and is confirmed in the YOUCAT that “Every person receives from God a Guardian Angel” (n. 55).

This is consistent with Sacred Scripture, the teachings of Saints Thomas Aquinas, Basil and Jerome as well as experiences from non-Christians who believe they were helped by a Guardian Angel.

Mike Aquilina writes about such an experience from a friend he knew in his book Angels of God:

“A friend of mine, a noted Harvard-trained philosopher, was an unbeliever as a young man. One day he was swimming in the ocean, and the undertow swept him away. He knew he was drowning, with no hope of rescue, when suddenly a strong arm grabbed him and towed him to shore. His rescuer was a big muscle-bound guy. When my sputtering friend tried to thank him, the guy laughed at him—and then vanished. This marked a milestone on my friend’s road to conversion.”

Although it is certain that the faithful have guardian angels, it is commonly thought that they are even more widely available. Ludwig Ott explains:

According to the general teaching of the theologians, however, not only every baptized person, but every human being, including unbelievers, has his own special guardian angel from his birth [Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 120].

This understanding is reflected in an Angelus address by Benedict XVI, who stated:

Dear friends, the Lord is ever close and active in humanity’s history and accompanies us with the unique presence of his Angels, whom today the Church venerates as “Guardian Angels”, that is, ministers of the divine care for every human being. From the beginning until the hour of death, human life is surrounded by their constant protection [Angelus, Oct. 2, 2011]. 


3) Where do we read about Guardian Angels in Scripture?

We see angels helping people on various occasions in Scripture, but there are certain instances in which we see angels providing a protective function over a period of time.

In Tobit, Raphael is assigned to an extended mission to help Tobit’s son (and his family in general).

In Daniel, Michael is described as “the great prince who has charge of your [Daniel’s] people” (Dan. 12:1). He is thus depicted as the guardian angel of Israel.

In the Gospels, Jesus indicates that there are guardian angels for individuals, including little children. He says:

See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven (Matt. 18:10).

4) What does Jesus mean when he says these angels “always behold” the face of the Father?

It may mean that they are constantly standing in his presence in heaven and able to communicate the needs of their charges to him.

Alternately, based on the idea that angels are messengers (Greek, angelos = “messenger”) in the heavenly court, it may mean that whenever these angels seek access to the heavenly court, they are always granted it and allowed to present the needs of their charges to God.


5) What does the Church teach about Guardian Angels?

Guardian Angels are appointed at the beginning of life. As the Catechism explains, “From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession” (CCC 336). This statement leads some to believe (Saint Anselm for example) that angels are appointed at the very moment of the union of body and soul in the womb. If true (it is not dogmatically declared and is therefore up for debate), it would follow that women who are pregnant have two Guardian Angels watching over them and their child.


6) Guardian Angels have names, but God gives those names to them.

The Catholic Church has instructed us that:

“The practice of assigning names to the Holy Angels should be discouraged, except in the cases of Gabriel, Raphael and Michael whose names are contained in Holy Scripture.” (Congregation of Divine Worship and the Sacraments, The Directory of Popular Piety, n. 217, 2001).

The reasoning behind this is that a name contains a certain amount of authority over another person. If I know your name I can call you whenever I want and can feel a certain amount of authority over you. We do not have authority over our Guardian Angels. They only report to one commander: God Himself. We can ask for their assistance or help, but we should not feel like they are at our beck and call.

The Church then discourages us from naming our Guardian Angels as we may receive a name in prayer, but it may not be divinely inspired. It could be influenced by the devil or by our own human thoughts. We have only three names of angels confirmed in Scripture and so any other name we receive is difficult to confirm as inspired by God.


7) Are there dangers to watch out for in venerating angels?

The Congregation stated:

Popular devotion to the Holy Angels, which is legitimate and good, can, however, also give rise to possible deviations:

  • When, as sometimes can happen, the faithful are taken by the idea that the world is subject to demiurgical struggles, or an incessant battle between good and evil spirits, or Angels and demons, in which man is left at the mercy of superior forces and over which he is helpless; such cosmologies bear little relation to the true Gospel vision of the struggle to overcome the Devil, which requires moral commitment, a fundamental option for the Gospel, humility and prayer;
  • When the daily events of life, which have nothing or little to do with our progressive maturing on the journey towards Christ are read schematically or simplistically, indeed childishly, so as to ascribe all setbacks to the Devil and all success to the Guardian Angels [op. cit., 217].


8) We do not become Guardian Angels when we die. 

Contrary to popular belief, there is no way for us to transform into an angel after death. When we die, we may be separated from our bodies for the moment, but will be reunited with them at the end of time. We don’t become an angel while we wait. All Guardian Angels were created at the beginning of time in a single moment of creation.

Remember the words of God to the prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you” (Jeremiah 1:5).

God had a Guardian Angel in mind for you when he created the world.


9) Guardian Angels are here to help us.

The Catechism describes a Guardian Angel as a “shepherd” who is meant to protect us and lead us into everlasting life. Their chief goal is to help us get to heaven, and we are encouraged to pray to them on a daily basis, asking their help in every need.


10) How can we thank them for the help they give us?

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments explained:

Devotion to the Holy Angels gives rise to a certain form of the Christian life which is characterized by:

Devout gratitude to God for having placed these heavenly spirits of great sanctity and dignity at the service of man;

An attitude of devotion deriving from the knowledge of living constantly in the presence of the Holy Angels of God;- serenity and confidence in facing difficult situations, since the Lord guides and protects the faithful in the way of justice through the ministry of His Holy Angels. Among the prayers to the Guardian Angels the Angele Dei is especially popular, and is often recited by families at morning and evening prayers, or at the recitation of the Angelus [Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, 216].


11) What is the Angele Dei prayer?

Translated into English, it reads:

Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
to whom God’s love
commits me here,
ever this day,
be at my side,
to light and guard,
rule and guide.

Amen.

This prayer is particular suited for devotion to guardian angels, since it is addressed directly to one’s own guardian angel.

Fun Facts About The British Royal Family 

Fun Facts About The British Royal Family 

Fun Facts About The British Royal Family

The royal family is an intriguing bunch and we just can’t seem to get enough of them! The sweet family is so elegant, but they still know how to have fun and have a humorous side! Here are a few fun facts about the family via Bright Side:

Members Of The Royal Family are not allowed to play Monopoly:

In 2008, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, told how the Royal Family were not allowed to play Monopoly. It’s all “because it gets too vicious.”

Queen Elizabeth II prefers to wear very bright colors: 

Conservative in dress, Queen Elizabeth II prefers to add a little more color to her clothing. Thus, she often can be seen in public wearing clothes of bright colors: fuchsia, lemon yellow, light blue. “I can’t wear beige-colored clothing because nobody can recognize me like that,” she once explained to one of her staff members. The choice of bright colors for the Queen’s clothes is determined not only by her taste and style but also by the fact that it’s easier to recognize her in a crowd.

The Queen celebrates 2 birthdays: 

She has an official birthday that is celebrated on a range of dates in the different countries of the Commonwealth of Nations. The second is her actual birthday: the 21st of April, the day she was born in 1926. The Queen prefers to celebrate her actual birthday privately in her family circle, but the official one is a national day marked by a parade and mass celebrations.

Members of the Royal Family have to accept absolutely all gifts: 

Ethics oblige them to accept with sincere courtesy any gifts presented by anyone. The fate of the gifts is decided by the Queen because all gifts belong to the Monarchy.

The Queen doesn’t need a passport to travel:

As a British passport is issued in the name of Her Majesty, it is unnecessary for the Queen to possess one when traveling overseas. It will be enough to show a coin or a banknote with her image, but even that is not required in real life. It should be noted that this exception doesn’t extend to other royalty: all other members of the Royal Family have passports.

The Queen can drive without a license plate on her state car:

The Queen is the only person in the UK who has this right. Even during World War II, when she served as the mechanic-driver of an ambulance. She’s been driving without a license since then. Eyewitnesses who saw the Queen driving noted that Elizabeth II wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.

Royals must obtain a marriage license from the Queen: 

According to the latest revision to the Inheritance Act, the first 6 people in line to the throne aged up to 25 years have to obtain a marriage license from the Queen. If she opposes, there won’t be a wedding.

[Source/Brightside]

%d bloggers like this: