Friday, August 26, 2011

Catholic Q&A: Part 11

This post continues my series of short answers to common questions about Catholicism. For the previous parts in the series, see the "Catholic Q-A Series" blog label.

What is the transfiguration?

The transfiguration is the moment when Jesus’ divine glory was made manifest to the apostles Peter, James, and John on the top of a mountain. In other words, Jesus’ divinity was not veiled or hidden by his humanity. Instead, Jesus allowed it to shine forth in splendor and power. His face was bright like the sun and his garments were pure white. Moses and Elijah also appeared, and a great cloud overshadowed them. From the heavens a voice declared, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” (Lk 9:35). Peter offered to build tents for the three figures, no doubt to prolong the experience! You can read all about the transfiguration in the synoptic Gospels. See Mt 17:1-9; Mk 9:2-10; Lk 9:28-36.

Who is Jean de Brebeuf?

Jean de Brebeuf is a Jesuit missionary and martyr, born on March 25, 1593. He is known as the “Apostle of the Hurons” because of his missionary endeavors among that Native American tribe. He took great pains to learn the Huron customs and language, and is said to have written the first dictionary of the Huron language. When the Iroquois attacked his village, on March 16, 1649, he was brutally tortured and killed. Jean de Brefeuf was a man of truly heroic virtue who endured every kind of suffering in order to spread the Gospel and convert souls to Christ. He was canonized in 1930 with seven other missionaries who are collectively referred to as “the North American martyrs.” His feast day is October 19.

What is “apostolic succession”?

Apostolic succession is the handing on of the authority of the apostles through the laying on of hands in the sacrament of Holy Orders. The bishops of the Church are the primary successors of the apostles, although priests have a certain share in their authority as well. Apostolic succession insures that the mission entrusted by Christ to the Apostles to be guardians and teachers of the faith and the principal pastors and spiritual authorities of the faithful is preserved down to the present day. Only the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church continue to maintain a true apostolic succession.

Pax Christi,

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