Passing On the Deposit of Faith

For the Catholic there is what is known as the Deposit of Faith which is considered that which cannot be altered, or omitted by the Church. Although our understanding of the contents may be expanded and explained in an organic growth of the Church’s understanding, the substance itself must never be changed. This Deposit of Faith is all that the Church was given by Christ and His Apostles as a deposit to be presented to Him at His Parousia (the second coming): so that we may not be guilty of the stern warning of Christ, “But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8)

Indeed the Church is responsible for keeping this faith incorrupt whether by word (Holy Scripture) or by Holy Tradition. She is accountable to God for passing this faith on, spotless and undefiled.

I was thinking of Paul’s verse in I Corinthians 9:24, “Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? ” It seems to me to paint a picture that may help non-Catholics understand the necessity of this mission to carry forth this Deposit of Faith completely intact.

A Modern Parable might then be constructed as follows:

If there were a great relay Race that were to be run by mankind where a Baton would be passed from father to son until the Judge decided the Race was done, we would expect that the rules would be fair and that a handicap would be given to those in need to compensate for their disadvantage.

At the start of the Race mankind would let the Apostles and those who were converted to the faith at Pentecost carry the Baton until their death. They would all receive the Holy Spirit which could then be passed on to their sons in faith via the Baton. It is a standard Baton with a miraculous property such that it can be multiplied and handed on to many more people than those who start the race and it remains exactly the same no matter how many times this reoccurs. This Baton is measured and weighed for its content before the Race and thereby the Judge can examine the Baton once again at the finish.

Some over the ages will drop their Batons or quit the Race. Others will stoop to pick up something that may look somewhat similar to the Baton but is much lighter in weight, with some of the content gone missing. That is obviously an unfair advantage to those who traded the original for a lighter replica.

If we are to be judged by the Judge at the end of this Great Race, how will He handicap those who have been handed a lighter replica as opposed to those who have succeeded in passing on the Original? Though we do not know the mind of the Judge, it is suspected that if rewards are being given as trophies to those who finish the Race, the more Glorious Awards might go to those who present the Baton intact.

So it is with the Church. Our aim is to pass on the Baton from generation to generation completely intact with nothing added and nothing removed. It might be a somewhat relevant analogy up to a point.

Saint Padre Pio Gives Us Sound Advice for Spiritual Advancement

Saint Padre Pio

Catholic saints and spiritual writers have always agreed that the quickest and easiest method of advancing in the spiritual life is in the practice of obedience. The simplicity of this method as thus stated belies the difficulty in the actual living out of this dictum. The reasons for this are many: pride, anger, sloth, and just plain old Americanism. For in our country a pioneering spirit of unbridled individualism and self-actualization is an ingrained commandment that cannot be violated without tearing asunder the very fabric of our self-worth and respect. This is associated with our misguided understanding of one of the very foundation stones of our country; namely, freedom.

How can we feel free if we are to cow-tow to another’s whims and directives especially when we are sure that we are smarter or better equipped to make our own decisions? But that is exactly what we are asked to do in order to become saints ourselves. Note the following quote from the newly canonized Saint, Padre Pio: “Obey promptly! Do not consider the age or merit of the person. And in order to succeed, imagine you are obeying the Lord.”  And should you wince at the mistakes that your superiors make and seethe from the unfairness that permeates this world one must also keep in mind another of his councils: “Do not disturb your soul at the sad spectacle of human injustice…. One day you will see the inevitable triumph of Divine justice over it.”

Why is obedience to those in a position of authority a necessity for spiritual progress? Why should we take our direction from those who seem incompetent or those who we know are simply wrong? Saint Pio responds, “Where there is no obedience, there is no virtue; where there is no virtue, there is no good. Where good is wanting, there is no love; where there is no love, God is absent; where God is absent, there is no heaven.” Therefore, obedience is directly connected to our salvation by its relationship to the theological virtue of charity or love. Says our Saint: “Charity is the queen of virtues. As the pearls are held together by the thread, thus the virtues are held together by charity; as the pearls fall when the thread breaks, thus virtues are lost if charity diminishes.” Obedience it seems is the epitome of self-denial: correcting inordinate self-interest and self-love, for the love of God. Christ counseled us on precisely this same point: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” __Luke 9:23

Obedience in little insignificant things is necessary in order that we might become prepared for more important things. “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in that which is greater: and he that is unjust in that which is little is unjust also in that which is greater. If then you have not been faithful in the unjust mammon, who will trust you with that which is the true?” __ Luke 16:10,11

So according to Padre Pio we are told the following: “Try always to advance more in charity; enlarge your heart with confidence for the divine gifts which the Holy Spirit is anxious to pour into it.” Because, “To fail in charity is like wounding God in the apple of His eye. What is more delicate than the pupil of the eye? To fail in charity is like failing against nature.” In order to gain this virtue, obedience leading to humility is needed. Our Saint makes this connection when he says: “Humility and charity go hand in hand. The one glorifies, the other sanctifies.” Since, “The pivot of perfection is love; he who lives in love lives in God, because God is love, as the Apostle says.”

If you think that glorifying God by your obedience and humility is foolishness, our Saint reminds us that: “The time spent for the glory of God and the salvation of souls is never spent badly.” For, “God can reject everything in a creature conceived in sin and of which it bears the indelible impression inherited from Adam. But He can absolutely not reject the sincere desire to love Him.” Your desire to love Him is proved by your everyday practice of obedience for love of Him.