Saturday, January 30, 2010

Precepts of the Catholic Church, part I

I am beginning a discussion of the Precepts of the Catholic Church in my parish bulletin.

This is the entry for Jan 31st.

Watch for more in the upcoming weeks.

Fr. Leo

As we approach the season of Lent, it is good to reflect upon these precepts. It is a chance for us to ask ourselves how we are doing when it comes to living out our life of faith.

The following is from the Catechism of the Catholic Church

2041 The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. The obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor:

2042 The first precept ("You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor") requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal liturgical feasts honoring the mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucharistic celebration, in which the Christian community is gathered, and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.

The second precept ("You shall confess your sins at least once a year") ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism's work of conversion and forgiveness.

The third precept ("You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season") guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord's Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.

2043 The fourth precept ("You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church") ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts and help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.

The fifth precept ("You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church") means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.

The faithful also have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his own abilities.

Another precept that is often added, but is not found in this section of the Catechism, is to follow the laws of the Church regarding marriage. I hope to address all of these over the weeks of Lent.

May God keep you all safe during the next couple of weeks while I am visiting seminaries and seminarians.

Fr. Leo
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