Thursday, July 08, 2010

Catholic Q&A: Part 8

What are the 5 Wisdom books of the Catholic bible?

There are actually seven books in the Catholic bible that are traditionally called the "Wisdom books." They are: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Wisdom, and Sirach. These are called the Wisdom books because they are comprised of poetry, proverbs, aphorisms, and other forms of practical advice on how to live in a manner pleasing to God.

Where does the Bible say to be “in the world but not of the world?”

I think the clearest indication of this maxim is found in Jesus’ high priestly prayer in Jn 17:15-19, which reads as follows:

“I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.”

Jesus is saying these words at the Last Supper. Judas has already left the table to prepare for his betrayal. Jesus knows that His time here is short and so He wishes to impart some final words to the remaining 11 apostles and to pray for them, that they will be able to go out into the world, to be men set apart by truth, who do His will in the world without succumbing to the things of this world. “In the world but not of the world” — that’s really what the Christian life is all about.

Can there be morality without religion?

Good question! Because of the natural law imprinted on the hearts of men, we can come to a basic awareness of the rightness and wrongness of certain actions without being introduced to religion. For example, even atheists know that murder is wrong. So, in a sense, the answer is “Yes.” But, some people advocate doing away with religion all together. They say that “religion” gets in the way of a relationship with Jesus, or of living a good life. We must disagree with such people. The Catechism defines religion as “a set of beliefs and practices followed by those committed to the service and worship of God.” Without religion, without a rule against which to “test all things and hold fast to what is good,” it becomes much more difficult for man to discern what is right and wrong. In a wonderfully paradoxical way, religion provides the boundaries that make us free.

Is the expression "by God" considered blasphemy?

Yes. God's name should not be colloquialized, or tossed about in our every-day exclamations and catch phrases. His name should only be uttered with the deepest sincerity and with purely religious intent.

Pax Christi,

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