Monday, July 11, 2011

I missed my parish's Bible study on Thursday night because I was taking another class. But last Thursday a couple of topics came up that I want to mention.

The first was kind of strange: a man who attends "ecumenical" Bible studies with his wife asked the deacon about predestination. The deacon replied gruffly that the word "predestination" can't be found in the Catechism. I didn't have a Catechism with me but I reasoned to him that since the word "predestination" appears in the Bible, it necessarily appears in the Catechism. Here's my research, after the fact:
"Predestined" is mentioned in 381, 600 and 2012 (quoting Romans 8:28-30).

In regards to "Mary's predestination," paragraph 488 says "from all eternity God chose for the mother of his Son a daughter of Israel, a young Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee." The same section quotes paragraph 56 of Lumen Gentium (as well as paragraph 61), "The Father of mercies willed that the Incarnation should be preceded by assent on the part of the predestined mother, so that just as a woman had a share in the coming of death, so also should a woman contribute to the coming of life."

Paragraph 307 says, "Though often unconscious collaborators with God’s will, they can also enter deliberately into the divine plan by their actions, their prayers, and their sufferings (Cf. Col. 1:24)." Paragraph 1037 says, "God predestines no one to go to hell (2 Pet. 3:9)," a point I affirmed to the group twice.

The document "Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ," put out by the Anglican - Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) reads in paragraph 54: "Viewed eschatologically, Mary thus embodies the ‘elect Israel’ of whom Paul speaks - glorified, justified, called, predestined. … Mary is marked out from the beginning as the one chosen, called and graced by God through the Holy Spirit for the task that lay ahead of her."

Catechetical texts in conformity with the Catechism should "teach that man is predestined to reproduce the image of God's Son made man, the "image of the invisible God."(381)"

I think the point the deacon failed to make is found in paragraph 1993: "Justification establishes cooperation between God's grace and man's freedom." The text goes on to quote the Council of Trent: "When God touches man's heart through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, man himself is not inactive while receiving that inspiration, since he could reject it; and yet, without God's grace, he cannot by his own free will move himself toward justice in God's sight."
The second topic was also a little strange, as regards the deacon's reaction. This was the Thursday after Corpus Christi and a member of the Bible study group said he'd heard about a eucharistic procession in nearby Monroe (Metuchen Diocese).

Sounding apologetic and sad, the deacon explained gently, "They're not allowed to do that any more." I was so taken aback by his ignorance that I prodded, "What do you mean? On Corpus Christi? Of course, they can. There was a procession at St. Veronica's in Howell and another one at St. Raphael's in Hamilton. Do you think Fr. Williams would do anything irregular?" The deacon thought a procession was only for Holy Thursday night.

I had heard these ceremonies announced on the new Catholic radio station and had hoped there was a way to attend the one in Howell. But I couldn't get there. What I didn't know at the time until I read this week's diocesan newspaper is that the bishop also participated in a procession that day. He appears in the photo on the right, below.

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