Mary's Little Office

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

On The Way Back Home - Chapter 11

Christ intended that the Church He founded should remain one and undivided until the end of time.  Unity then must be a mark of the one, true Church.  "And there shall be," says Christ, "but one Fold and one Shepherd."  Nowhere but in the Catholic Church do we find the perfect example of such unity, all Catholics the world over believing the same doctrines, offering up the same sacrifice, and governed by the one visible head, the Pope, the Vicar of Christ upon earth.  This is the unity Christ Himself prayed for the night before He died.  "And not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in Me;  that they all may be one, as Thou Father in me, and I in Thee;  that they also may be one of us, that the world may believe that Thou has sent Me."  (John 17; 20, 21) 

The night before He died Christ not only prayed that His Apostles would remain united and all those with them who through the preaching of the Apostles should believe in Christ but He also adds the prayer that the world witnessing the perfect unity existing in His Church, may be drawn to believe in Christ Himself.  Unity then must be an outstanding mark of the true Church.

Some non-Catholics like to talk of the Catholic Church as the Mother Church, as though it were a matter of merit to have sprung from the Mother Church.  But in reality it is of little merit to have sprung from the Mother Church when to have sprung or descended from the Catholic Church means that that you are now split away, divided from and cut asunder from the Church Christ founded.  Christ never meant that the Church He founded should give birth to a dozen others.  And in the back of the mind of many non-Catholics this feeling ever persists, as is exemplified in the story of the following conversion.  

Norway today is not the Catholic country it once was, and yet Norway too witnesses its conversions to the faith of its fathers.  One such was the conversion of Mrs. Marie Elizabeth Brataas.  She was the daughter of Peter Overn and Maren Flannum, both strict Lutheran Norwegians.  One Sunday, coming home from the Lutheran Church, she asked her husband also a Lutheran, what the minister meant when he preached about the one Fold and the one Shepherd.  She told him that she had always thought that the Lutheran religion was the one Fold but, to her amazement, she heard him say:  "No!  not the Lutheran but the Catholic is the one Fold and the One True Religion."  Her sister Petrea, in the meantime, had become a Catholic and a Carmelite nun.  When she asked her Pastor, Krogh Tonning, for permission to have her name taken off the church registers, as she was becoming a Catholic, he answered:  "You are taking the right path."  Later on he followed her into the Catholic Church.  

This unity of faith is not only one of the glories of the Catholic Church, a mark to show that she has been divinely instituted but it is a thing that Christ Himelf earnestly prayed for.  Holy Scripture is the revealed word of God.  Through it God speaks to us clearly and plainly.  And in the strongest words possible Christ makes it plain in Holy Scripture that His followers should persevere in the unity of faith, should admit no doctrines contrary to those He Himself had taught the Apostles.  St. Paul gives us a striking warning in this matter.  Speaking to the Galatians he says:  "But though we or an angel from heaven preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.  As we said before, so now I say again:  if anyone preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema."  
(Gal. 1. 8-9)

To preach a doctrine then, other than that Christ taught the Apostles, is not to preach the Christianity of Christ.  To set up a division in Christianity to do this, that is to establish a sect, is directly contrary to the command of Christ.  For this reason the establishing of sects, divisions of Christian believers, is listed as one of the greatest of sins.  In his letter to the Galatians St. Paul says:  "Now the works of the flesh are manifest which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, idolatries, witchcrafts, enmities, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissentions, etc., of which I foretell you, as I have foretold you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God.  (Gal. 5. 19-21)  Hence though millions of men have embraced this sect or that in the course of time, and particularly since the Protestant Reformation, it was neither the wish nor the intention of Christ, that they should save their souls anywhere else but in the bosom of the One True Church He Himself founded.  

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Pray Your Rosary Every Day

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