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Catechism

The Didache Bible – A Perfect Combination Of Scripture And Tradition!

 

Catholic speaker and author Gary Zimak is available to speak at your parish or conference

Catholic speaker and author Gary Zimak endorses the Didache Bible from the Midwest Theological Forum and Ignatius Press

In the Vatican II document Dei Verbum, the Catholic Church makes a powerful statement:

Hence there exists a close connection and communication between sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For Sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit, while sacred tradition takes the word of God entrusted by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and hands it on to their successors in its full purity, so that led by the light of the Spirit of truth, they may in proclaiming it preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known. Consequently it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence.
(Dei Verbum, 9)

Basically, the above excerpt reminds us of the danger of reading the Bible “in a vacuum” or without regard to the teaching of the Church. Since the Bible was compiled by the Catholic Church, it makes perfect sense that it should be read with Catholic teaching in mind. Otherwise, it’s entirely possible that we could derive some erroneous messages from its pages. Far from being a hypothetical danger, this is a real pitfall that happens frequently. Fortunately, we have a great summary of Catholic teaching in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. While this can aid us in reading the Bible, however, what if we’re not too familiar with the Catechism? How can we read Scripture without fear of misinterpretation?

I was recently given a complimentary copy of the Didache Bible from the folks at Midwest Theological Forum and I was blown away. I have many different Bibles in my possession, some with excellent Catholic commentary, but I’ve never seen one like this. This version contains an extensive commentary which is based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In the Didache Bible, you can read the Ignatius Bible Edition (Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition) supplemented with commentary taken directly from the Catechism. In addition, there are 100 explanations spread throughout the Bible that help to answer common questions about the faith. It doesn’t get much better than that!

If you are looking for a solid Catholic Bible (the RSV-CE is my favorite edition), I strongly encourage you to check out the Didache Bible from Midwest Theological Forum. You won’t be disappointed!

(Gary Zimak is a Catholic speaker and author who travels throughout the United States and Canada giving inspirational talks and leading parish missions and retreats. Click HERE to invite Gary to speak at your parish or conference or to inquire about his availability.)

Looking For A Copy Of The Catechism?


 

For those of you who are following my nightly walk through the Catechism of the Catholic Church on my radio show, HERE is the best place to get your copy or view it online. I personally think it’s good to have a paper version of the book, but many people like to read it online (or use both). No matter how you read it, it’s a GREAT book!

Announcement Number Three – My Most Ambitious Project Ever!


 

Catholic Speaker Gary Zimak will begin discussing the Catechism of the Catholic Church on his BlogTalkRadio show

Happy New Year! Here’s the third in a series of four announcements that I’ve been making all week…

Wouldn’t it be great if we could get to know God better in 2015? Have you ever wished that you could know Jesus personally and ask Him to become intimately involved in every area of your life? Do you sometimes feel that you should know more about the teachings of the Catholic Church?

Here’s some good news for you. The Catechism of the Catholic Church will help you with each of those areas. Unfortunately, the size of the book (900+ pages) and our busy schedules can easily make us believe that it’s not practical to read through it. No problem!

On January 5, 2015 on The Gary Zimak Show on BlogTalkRadio I will begin walking through the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Together, we’ll discuss this great document for 30 minutes each night. I’ll start at the beginning and keep going until I reach the end. Whether you’ve read the Catechism before or never even looked at it, I can promise you that you’re going to hear the contents presented in a new and practical way. I’ll make every effort to ensure that you have a better understanding of God, a better relationship with Christ, a clearer understanding of the teachings of the Catholic Church and the ability to apply them to your daily life. I hope you can tune in on Monday, January 5 at 8 PM Eastern. All programs will be archived and can be downloaded from my BlogTalkRadio page and iTunes. See you on Monday!

Announcement #4 is coming tomorrow…

The Year Of Faith – 10 Things You Should Know


 

In his Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (The Door of Faith), Pope Benedict XVI explained his reasoning behind declaring the Year of Faith (Oct 11, 2012 – November 24, 2013). While I recommend that you read the full document, here are 10 highlights that every Catholic should know.

1. The Door of Faith Is Always Open – Although we may choose to resist, the Lord’s door is always open and He waits patiently for us to enter.

2. The Journey of Faith Lasts A Lifetime – We start on this journey at baptism and complete it at our death. Faith is not a destination, but a journey – one which lasts a lifetime!

3. Lukewarmness is Not an Option! – The Holy Father states that we “cannot accept that salt should become tasteless or the light be kept hidden”. We are called to live and share our Catholic Faith and can’t get complacent.

4. Belief In Jesus Is the Way to Salvation – Want to know the way to “arrive definitively at salvation”? Believe in Jesus Christ and follow the teachings of His Church.

5. Vatican II Meant Something – As Catholics, we should all become familiar with the documents of the Second Vatican Council. Reading them will teach us much about our Catholic Faith.

6. Read The Catechism – It’s been 20 years since the new Catechism of the Catholic Church was published. If you’re serious about living your Catholic Faith, it’s time to either get a copy, take your copy off of the bookshelf or read it online. It is a treasure and summarizes 2000 years of Church teaching!

7. Share Your Faith – According to Pope Benedict, “A Christian may never think of belief as a private act”. While that’s exactly the opposite of what the world tells us, who are you gonna believe – the pope or the world?

8. Look To The Past – By faith…Mary accepted the angel’s word and believed the message, the Apostles left everything to follow Jesus, the disciples formed the first community and the martyrs gave their lives. These men and women are our role models and show us what it means to truly believe. Imitate their lives!

9. Be Nice – Faith and charity go hand in hand. We can believe all we want, but it is meaningless without love.

10. Trust in Mary – When we begin to stumble, we should turn to the Mother of God, who was proclaimed “blessed because she believed” (Luke 1:45). She’ll help you to overcome your doubts and continue on your journey of faith.

This Year of Faith provides us with an excellent opportunity to learn, live and share our Catholic Faith. Let’s not pass up the chance. Jesus is holding the door open for us. Let’s be sure to enter in!

Whatever Happened To Admonishing The Sinner?

Anyone remember the Spiritual Works of Mercy?  According to Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Dictionary, these acts “focus on the spiritual welfare of the one in need”.  In case you need a refresher, they are:

•To instruct the ignorant;
•To counsel the doubtful;
•To admonish the sinner;
•To bear wrongs patiently;
•To forgive offences willingly;
•To comfort the afflicted;
•To pray for the living and the dead. 

To put it simply, when we perform one of these works, we are attempting to help someone spiritually.  Considering that one’s spiritual health has a direct relationship to whether they end up in Heaven or Hell makes these works pretty important.  Although many of today’s Catholics have never heard of the Spiritual Works of Mercy, one of them completely goes against the message of our culture – to admonish the sinner.

While the world would call this being judgmental, the purpose of admonishing the sinner is to help them recognize that their behavior is sinful and could result in the loss of their salvation.  Not only is this task an act of charity, but an obligation.  According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), remaining silent about the sins of others could cause us to end up in hot water:

Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:

  • by participating directly and voluntarily in them;
  • by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;
  • by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;
  • by protecting evil-doers. (CCC 1868)

While this doesn’t apply in every case, it’s certainly something we should take seriously.  We can’t ignore the fact that we have an obligation to look out for the spiritual well being of those around us.  Otherwise, we could end up bearing some of the guilt!

So the next time the topic of gay “marriage” comes up at the office, one of your children stops going to Mass, a friend moves in with his girlfriend or a divorced Catholic gets married outside of the Church, it’s ok to speak out (just make sure you choose a good time and remain charitable) .  There is a possibility that they may really not know what they’re doing is wrong.  On the other hand, if you know it’s wrong and don’t say anything…

you could end up in a place you’d rather not go!

3 Reasons Why The Eucharist REALLY Matters

As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, commonly referred to as Corpus Christi, I thought it would be a good idea to point out 3 benefits we obtain by receiving the Sacrament of the Eucharist.  Why must I do this?  Because, for many Catholics, receiving Holy Communion has become nothing more than a custom – something that we do out of habit.  Unfortunately, that is the biggest mistake we can make.  Our Lord’s gift of His Body and Blood provides us with what we need to reach Heaven.  Let’s look at 3 reasons why the Eucharist REALLY matters, direct from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 1391 – 1401):

Holy Communion augments our union with Christ – The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is an intimate union with Christ Jesus.  Do you want to know Christ?  There is NO better way than to receive Holy Communion. 

Holy Communion separates us from sinThe Eucharist cannot unite us to Christ without at the same time cleansing us from past sins and preserving us from future sins.  Would you like the become a better person and eliminate some of your “favorite” sins from your life?  Here’s your answer!

The unity of the Mystical Body: the Eucharist makes the ChurchThose who receive the Eucharist are united more closely to Christ. Through it Christ unites them to all the faithful in one body—the Church.  Receiving Holy Communion not only allows you to get closer to Christ, it unites you with all the members of His Catholic Church – including your deceased relatives, friends and the saints.

Don’t get fooled into thinking that the Eucharist really doesn’t matter.  IT DOES MATTER, and a sinner like me would have just about no chance of getting to Heaven without this Sacrament.  If you want to be a better person, if you want to get to know Jesus, if you want to live with Him in perfect happiness forever…

The Eucharist is the answer!   

 

So You Wanna Be A Priest? No Problem!

In my work as a Catholic lay evangelist, I often run into people who criticize the “restrictive” nature of the Catholic priesthood.  We often focus so much on the fact that women and married men (with some exceptions) aren’t eligible for this vocation, that we miss a key point…We are ALL called to participate in the priesthood of the faithful.  By virtue of our Baptism and Confirmation, we are not only priests, but prophets and kings!

Don’t believe me?  Here’s what the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)  has to say about the topic:

Christ, high priest and unique mediator, has made of the Church “a kingdom, priests for his God and Father.”  The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly. The faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ’s mission as priest, prophet, and king. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation the faithful are “consecrated to be . . . a holy priesthood.” (CCC 1546)

The whole Church is a priestly people. Through Baptism all the faithful share in the priesthood of Christ. This participation is called the “common priesthood of the faithful.” Based on this common priesthood and ordered to its service, there exists another participation in the mission of Christ: the ministry conferred by the sacrament of Holy Orders, where the task is to serve in the name and in the person of Christ the Head in the midst of the community. (CCC 1591)

Pretty neat, huh?  Although lay Catholics are not members of the ministerial priesthood (reserved for the clergy), we are all called to be not only priests, but prophets and kings as well.  While this should make us feel really good, we have to remember that we are allowed to participate in these roles only through the merits of Jesus Christ.

So now that we’re all priests, prophets and kinds what does it mean?  Is there something that we’re supposed to do?  In reality, it’s relatively simple.  Let’s take a brief look at our three-fold role: 

Priest – Unite ourselves with the Lord as He offers the perfect sacrifice to the Father.  All of our works, all of our suffering, everything we do should be brought to Mass, united with the Lord’s sacrifice and given to the Father.

Prophet – We must proclaim the word of God to everyone.  We do this not just with words, but also by our actions. 

King –  If we follow the commandments of the Lord as taught by His Church, we will one day live with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven. 

There you have it…Not only can you be a priest, but also a prophet and king!

Feel better now?