Corpus Christi Blog

Stewardship of Talent

10-18-2020Weekly ReflectionJen Arnold, M.A. in Theology and Catechetics

Continuing with our reflection on Christian stewardship, this week we will take a closer look at how we can use the gift of our talents on our mission of discipleship in this life.

Remember last week we discussed Jesus’ great commission when he told his apostles to go and make disciples of all nations, and how that this call to action applies to us as well (Mt. 28:19). After a period of intentional, focused prayer, the Holy Spirit descended upon them and enabled them to speak many different languages so that they might use that gift in order to convert others to Christianity, which they did (Acts 2:1-41). The ability to speak to different groups of people was not something they sought out or worked to cultivate by their own human desire, but rather a gift of talent, freely given to them by God with an implied invitation to use the gift in their mission of creating disciples. You also have talents given to you by God, which He invites you to use for the good of His Kingdom on Earth.

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Stewardship of Time

10-11-2020Weekly ReflectionJen Arnold, M.A. in Theology and Catechetics

October is a month in which we like to examine how we’ve utilized our gifts of time, talent, and treasure in serving God and others over the past year and decide how we might commit to growth in the coming year. Last year, you may recall, we filled out commitment forms detailing how we might be better Christian stewards in the coming year. Needless to say, the year did not go as any of us planned and it very likely impacted the commitments we made.

It is important to note that circumstances in life can always change, at any time, for any reason. Loss of employment, loss of a loved one, illness, and unexpected bills are all examples of things that can get lobbed at us, throwing us off course. Not one of us is promised anything in this life, particularly stability. Life is constantly in flux because that’s the nature of it. That being said, we can still plan, while remaining flexible and trusting that God has everything under control.

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Mary's Spiritual Motherhood

10-04-2020Weekly ReflectionJen Arnold, M.A. in Theology and Catechetics

We have now reached the fifth and final week of this Marian series. We covered the four Marian dogmas and will now conclude with the one doctrine which the Church teaches regarding our Blessed Mother. If you remember from the first week, the doctrine is to be held as true and a matter of our Faith to be believed, but it has not yet been elevated to the level of dogma, which could be for any number of reasons. This doctrine defines Mary’s spiritual motherhood over the Body of Christ through her three-fold role of co-redemptrix, mediatrix, and advocate. Generally, it makes sense that we should call Mary our own spiritual mother. After all, she gave physical birth to Jesus, who is the head of the mystical body, the Church. If we are all members of that mystical body, joined to the head, then, by extension, she’s a mother to the full-body, not simply just the head. In his encyclical Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum on the Immaculate Conception, Pope Pius X says:

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The Assumption of Mary

09-27-2020Weekly ReflectionJen Arnold, M.A. in Theology and Catechetics

We have now reached the fourth and final Marian Dogma as defined and taught by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church – the Assumption of Mary. In a sense, the Assumption is the natural culmination of the previous three dogmas. If you accept, as the Church teaches, that Mary is the Mother of God, that she kept her virginal purity and integrity intact, and that she is the Immaculate Conception, the dogma on the Assumption is nothing less than fitting.

On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII proclaimed the fourth Marian dogma in his document Munificentissimus Deus. In this document, Pope Pius says, “We pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed, body and soul, into heavenly glory.” In other words, Mary is currently enjoying her bodily resurrection in heaven with Jesus, which is what we all look forward to one day. As with the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Pius refers to Genesis 3:15 as part of the foundation for the Assumption. In Genesis, Satan and his seed are put in direct opposition to the woman and her seed. Again, if Satan brings about sin and death, then to be in direct opposition to that necessarily means no sin and no death. Mary and Jesus must triumph over death.

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The Immaculate Conception

09-20-2020Weekly ReflectionJen Arnold, M.A. in Theology and Catechetics

I hope you are enjoying this Marian series. This week we continue our in-depth look at what the Church teaches about Mary as we dive into the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

Typically, we would start by explaining what we mean by Immaculate Conception. In this case though, we must first settle on what it is not. It is not uncommon for people to think the Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of Jesus Christ in Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit. That was certainly a miraculous conception, but it is not what we mean by the Immaculate Conception. By means of the Magisterium, on December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX gave us a very succinct and meaty definition of the Immaculate Conception in his apostolic constitution entitled Ineffabilis Deus which reads:

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Mary's Perpetual Virginity

09-10-2020Weekly ReflectionJen Arnold, M.A. in Theology and Catechetics

This week, we’ll take a closer look at the second Marian Dogma declared by the Magisterium, which is Mary’s perpetual, or three-fold, virginity. This dogma was confirmed at the Second Council of Constantinople in 553 AD and then later pronounced by Pope Martin I at the First Lateran Council in 640 AD. By three-fold virginity, we mean that Mary was a virgin before the birth of Jesus, during the birth of Jesus, and after the birth of Jesus. I will explain what each of those mean in more detail and clarify some common questions.

To start, Mary was a virgin before she conceived and bore Jesus. This is something all Christian religions agree on and is not much of a hurdle to get across. We look to Tradition for our first source of authenticity on this matter. The Apostles’ Creed, which was developed in the very early Church, proclaims, we believe in Jesus “…who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary…” This shows that even the earliest Christians understood the Savior to be born of a virgin. We can also look to Scripture for the foundations of this belief. Isaiah 7:14 tells us, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Then, after the Angel Gabriel appears to Mary to tell her she will conceive and bear a son, her response is, “How will this be, since I do not know man?” (Luke 1:34). Here, she is alluding to her virginity. She is not doubting the word of the angel, but merely asking how it will come about since it will not be in the natural way. Gabriel explains that the Holy Spirit will descend upon her in order for the conception to occur. So, between both Tradition and Scripture, it is not a far leap for Christians to agree on the state of Mary’s virginity before the birth of Christ.

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Theotokos

09-06-2020Weekly ReflectionJen Arnold, M.A. in Theology and Catechetics

Today, I begin a five-part series on the four Marian dogmas and the fifth Marian doctrine as defined by the Catholic Church. First, though, we should deal with how we define the terms doctrine and dogma. Doctrine refers to a teaching from the Magisterium pertaining to faith and morals that has been determined to be theologically true and certain. As Catholics, we are called to give our assent to any teaching the Magisterium has declared to be doctrine. Dogma, however, is an elevated truth that has been certainly revealed by God and is to be believed. This does not make a doctrine any less true than a dogma or that we should not give our assent to doctrine, rather, it simply highlights some things as worthy of understanding at a higher level. A doctrine can actually become a dogma in one of two ways. One way is for an Ecumenical Council to discuss the matter, come to an agreement on elevating the doctrine, and then have it confirmed by the Holy Father. The second way is for the Holy Father to make an “ex-cathedra,” or infallible, a statement on the matter himself. A doctrine may be further developed as more truth is revealed (though it can never change). Dogma cannot be changed, as it is the fullness of truth as revealed by God. Today, I begin a five-part series on the four Marian dogmas and the fifth Marian doctrine as defined by the Catholic Church. First, though, we should deal with how we define the terms doctrine and dogma. Doctrine refers to a teaching from the Magisterium pertaining to faith and morals that has been determined to be theologically true and certain. As Catholics, we are called to give our assent to any teaching the Magisterium has declared to be doctrine. Dogma, however, is an elevated truth that has been certainly revealed by God and is to be believed. This does not make a doctrine any less true than a dogma or that we should not give our assent to doctrine, rather, it simply highlights some things as worthy of understanding at a higher level. A doctrine can actually become a dogma in one of two ways. One way is for an Ecumenical Council to discuss the matter, come to an agreement on elevating the doctrine, and then have it confirmed by the Holy Father. The second way is for the Holy Father to make an “ex-cathedra,” or infallible, a statement on the matter himself. A doctrine may be further developed as more truth is revealed (though it can never change). Dogma cannot be changed, as it is the fullness of truth as revealed by God.

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