Maccabees, The First
and Second Books of - A family
that controlled the course of Jewish history from 166 to 63 B.C. and
secured some measure of religious freedom and political independence
during those troubled years. The Seleucid king, Antiochus Epiphanes,
who dominated Palestine was determined to wipe out Judaism and force
Hellenistic culture on the Jews (I Maccabees 1). When he resorted to
the crowning indignity of introducing pagan sacrifices to Zeus in
the Temple in Jerusalem, the priest Mattathias launched open
rebellion, refusing to conduct heathen sacrifices and killing an
apostate Jew who agreed to do so. Mattathias and his five sons had
to leave Jerusalem, but the struggle had only begun. After the
father died, his son, the great Judas Maccabaeus, took over
leadership (I Maccabees 2) and re-entered Jerusalem victoriously and
purified the Temple (I Maccabees 3-9). He eventually died in battle,
but his brother, Jonathan, continued the struggle for eighteen years
(I Maccabees 9-12). He was followed by a third brother, Simon, who
finally achieved political freedom in 142 B.C. But intrigue and
violence never ceased; both Jonathan and Simon were murdered. It was
not until the reign of John Hyrcanus, Simon's son, that Judaea
became the dominant power in Palestine (I Maccabees 13-16). Several
other Maccabees followed (Aristobulus I, Alexander Jannaeus,
Alexandra, and Aristobulus II), but increasing internal dissension
weakened the government. Finally Roman legions besieged Jerusalem in
63 B.C., took over control, and the Jewish kingship was abolished.
The Maccabee dynasty became extinct after a tempestuous century of
violence. The history of this heroic struggle is told in detail in
the First Book of Maccabees. The Second Book of Maccabees is a more
rambling account that parallels the first seven chapters of the
First Book but covers only fifteen years.
Magi - The “wise men from the East” who came to adore Jesus in Bethlehem as told by Matthew. They were most likely members of a priestly caste of Medes who provided priests for Persia. The religion of the Magi was fundamentally that of Zoroaster, and they developed great skill in astrology and interpretation of dreams. Some authors speak of three Magi, influenced likely by the number of gifts; but Oriental tradition favors twelve. Early Christian art is inconsistent; some paintings show two, three, or four, while a vase shows eight. The names of the Magi are as uncertain as their number. The following names arose in the 7th century, with slight variations: Caspar, Melchoir, and Balthasar.
The precise time of the visit of the Magi is vague, but it probably took place after the Presentation of the Child in the Temple. After the Presentation, the Holy Family returned to Galilee. The stay at Nazareth was very brief, and then the Holy Family evidently returned to Bethlehem. Then the Magi came, probably a year, or a little more than a year, after the birth of Christ. From Persia, whence the Magi are supposed to have come, to Jerusalem was a trip of between 1,000 and 1,200 miles. Such a distance may have taken any time between three and twelve months, plus preparation. The Magi could not have reached Jerusalem until a year or more had elapsed from the time of the appearance of the star. Only one early monument represents the Child in the crib while the Magi adore; in others Jesus rests upon Mary’s knees and is at times fairly well grown.
The Magi adored the Child as God and offered
Him gold, frankincense, and myrrh in keeping with Oriental
Magisterium of the
Church - The Church’s teaching authority, instituted by
Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit, which seeks to safeguard and
explain the truths of the faith. The Magisterium is exercised in two
ways: extraordinary, when the Pope and ecumenical councils
infallibly define a truth of faith or morals that is necessary for
one’s salvation and that has been constantly taught and held by the
Church; ordinary, when the Church infallibly defines truths
of the Faith: 1) taught universally and without dissent, 2) which
must be taught or the Magisterium would be failing in its duty, 3)
connected with a grave matter of faith or morals, and 4) which is
taught authoritatively. Not everything taught by the Magisterium is
done so infallibly; however, the exercise of the Magisterium is
faithful to Christ and what He taught..
Malachi, The book of.
- The last book of the Old Testament and part of the
prophetic literature. It is helpful to read this book against the
background of Ezr 7-10 and Neh 1-13. During the Persian period,
after the rebuilding of the temple, the priests began to be
negligent about offering sacrifices and instructing the people. The
returned exiles entered into marriage with unbelievers; their own
diluted faith resulted in failure to pay tithes, particularly in
times of plagues and famines. This book was produced by a genuine
religious reformer, probably a Jewish priest, who thought it prudent
to remain anonymous. The first verse introduces “the word of the
Lord through my messenger (malaki)” and makes of it a proper name.
The author has a high sense of the responsibility of priests for
religious education (2:6-9) and for reverence in liturgical worship
(1:12-13). He is confident that God will send His messenger to purge
the people (3:1-5); in New Testament times, John the Baptist strove
to fulfill this role. Malachi looks forward (1:11) to a universal
and pure sacrifice, to be offered at all times and in all places;
the verse is often quoted as having been fulfilled in the sacrifice
of the Mass.
Mandatum - The ceremony of the
washing of the feet which takes place within the liturgy on Holy
Thursday evening. The priest ordinarily washes the feet of twelve
men in the sanctuary. This is done in imitation of the Lord Jesus
who washed the feet of his apostles at the Last Supper and told them
to do likewise. This gesture is a symbol of the attitude of humble
service and love which should permeate the Christian community. The
name Mandatum comes from the Latin Mandatum novum do vobis (a
new commandment I give you) which is sung during the ceremony. The
ceremony has become more commonplace in recent years.
Marian year - The
dedication of a specific year, by way of prayers, indulgences,
colloquiums, etc., in honor of the Mother of God. Pope Pius XII so
proclaimed 1954 in acknowledging the one-hundredth anniversary of
the defining of the dogma of Immaculate Conception (Fulgens
Corona). In Redemptoris Mater, Pope John Paul II
announced that the Marian Year 1987-1988 would be in preparation for
the inauguration of Christianity’s third millennium.
Mark, Saint - The evangelist of
apostolic times is sometimes called John Mark and at other times he
is referred to as Mark whose surname is John. John Mark’s mother, a
certain Mary, lived in Jerusalem and appears to have been a woman of
affluence. Her house was the meeting place of early Christians, and
she was probably numbered among the devout women disciples of Jesus.
Mark’s deep interest in spreading the Gospel is indicated by his
association with Paul and Barnabas, his cousin, and in his
partnership with Barnabas in a mission to Cyprus and other places.
The period of some ten years following this mission in which his
name does not appear in biblical records was probably spent in Asia
Minor, as he afterwards sent salutations to the church at Colossae
and to other churches in Asia Minor. He visited Paul during his
first imprisonment in Rome, and he is recognized as the writer of
the Gospel that bears his name although he may have been writing
under the direction of St. Peter. The details of Mark’s death are
unknown, but tradition tells us he was martyred at Alexandria in
Mark, The Gospel of
- This Gospel is the shortest and generally thought of as
the earliest of the four Gospels. It has a precise focus, the
revelation of God’s kingdom that comes to us through Jesus Christ,
the Son of God (1:1). Jesus’ identity, ministry, and purpose, as
well as the response of the disciples, all relate to this central
theme of God’s kingdom. God’s kingdom is found in Jesus’ preaching:
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent
and believe in the Gospel” (1:15). God’s kingdom arrives in power
and might; it overtakes and breaks Satan’s stronghold on “the
world.” Jesus uses the parables as an effective form of
communicating various aspects of God’s kingdom. Jesus is the parable
of God’s kingdom – He casts out demons, heals, forgives sins, and is
crucified and raised to resurrected life, all of which are signals
that the age of salvation which the Jews awaited for centuries was
“at hand.” Jesus’ titles illustrate His role in the coming of God’s
kingdom; the term “Christ” occurs throughout Mark (1:1, 34; 8:29;
14:61; 15:32) and must be understood in terms of its Old Testament
use, which was mainly for royal leaders who were anointed either to
save Israel from an enemy or to restore the Davidic rule (e.g. 2 Sm
7:12-14). Jesus is God’s anointed in the sense that He fulfills the
Davidic rule but in a totally just, righteous, and everlasting
fashion, by bringing salvation, the power of God over sin, Satan,
and even death. Mark’s Gospel is a “saving action” Gospel, with more
of Jesus’ acts of power over the powers of darkness (e.g.,
exorcisms, healings, forgiveness of sins), all of which illustrate
that the age of salvation (i.e., of being freed from the grasp sin
has over the individual ) is in fact present. The Gospel is written
to draw out what this “age of salvation” means for the follower of
Christ (discipleship). Major themes: The key theme is the person of
Jesus, what He does and says. Jesus, Son of God, brings the Kingdom
of God in divine power and might through forgiveness of sins (2:
10-12); dominion over the Sabbath (2:28; 3:1-5); authority over
demons (1:28, 34; 3:11, etc.); knowledge of the kingdom secrets
(2:8; 8:17; 12:15), etc. The earliest explicit evidence that “Mark”
wrote this Gospel is a reference to the marks of Papias of
Hierapolis (early second century) quoted by Eusebius (Ecclesiastical
History, 3.39, 15). The widespread affirmation that “Mark” wrote
this Gospel is probably behind the title of the Gospel “According to
Mark,” which did not originate with the narrative. Scholars do not
agree as to the exact historical identity of “Mark” (Acts 12:12, 25;
15:37, 39; Col 4:10; 2 Tm 4:11; Phlm 24; 1 Pt 5:13). Thus although
the indirect evidence and traditional attestation point to Mark as
the author of this Gospel, we are not yet certain of exactly who
this person was. Tradition identifies this Mark as “Peter’s
interpreter,” and situates this Gospel in Rome after Peter’s death,
circa A.D. 64-67.
Marks of the Church
- The four essential notes that characterize the Church of
Christ, first fully enumerated in the Nicene-Constantinople Creed;
one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic. Since the Eastern Schism and the
Protestant Reformation they have become means of identifying the
true Church among the rival claimants in Christianity. Some writers
add other notes besides the traditional four, e.g., St. Robert
Bellarmine with a total of fifteen, including the mark of
Martyr - (From Greek martyria:
witness). One who gives up his or her life rather than deny Christ
and the Gospel. A martyr strives for conformity to Christ and is
willing to part with his or her earthly life rather than reject God.
The Church’s history is marked with the heroism of martyrs. St.
Augustine contended that martyrs are made not by the suffering
endured but by the motive compelling them to relinquish their lives.
Mary Magdalene, Saint -
Woman from Magdala in Galilee, relieved of seven demons (Lk 3:2),
who followed Jesus, was with Him at the cross (Mt 27:56; Mk 15:40;
Jn 19:25), and to whom Jesus appeared first after the Resurrection
Mary, Blessed Virgin
(Greek for of Miryam, possibly from Hebrew for “rebellion”). Young
woman of Nazareth in Galilee, betrothed to a righteous carpenter
named Joseph and visited by the angel Gabriel, who announced that
she had been chosen by God to be the mother of His only-begotten
Son, to be named Jesus, who would become the Christ, or Messiah,
Savior of the world. She visited her cousin Elizabeth (mother of
John the Baptist), sang the Magnificat, gave birth in Bethlehem of
Judea, fled Herod’s wrath to Egypt with her husband, but returned to
nurture Jesus until He began His mission (Mt 1:16-2:23; Lk
1:26-2:52). She occasioned her Son’s first miracle at Cana (jn
2:1-12), followed Him during His mission (Mt 12:46; Mk 3:3), was
with Him at His crucifixion and death on Calvary, and was with the
Apostles in the upper room after His resurrection and at Pentecost
(Acts 1:14). Catholics believe she was immaculately conceived and
assumed bodily into Heaven, according her hyperdulia (i.e.
veneration greater than for other saints,) as Christ-bearer and
Mother of God.
Mass - The Sacrifice of the Eucharist as the central act of worship of the Catholic Church. The "Mass" is a late form of missio (sending), from which the faithful are sent to put into practice what they have learned and use the graces they have received in the Eucharistic liturgy.
As defined by the Church at the Council of Trent, in the Mass, "The same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross, is present and offered in an unbloody manner." Consequently, the Mass is a truly propitiatory sacrifice, which means that by this oblation "the Lord is appeased, He grants grace and the gift of repentance, and He pardons wrongdoings and sins, even grave ones. For it is one and the same victim.
He who now makes the offering through the ministry of priests and he who then offered himself on the cross. The only difference is the manner of offering" (Denzinger 1743).
The Mass cannot be understood apart from Calvary, of which it is a re-presentation, memorial, and effective application of the merits gained by Christ
The re-presentation means that because Christ is really present in his humanity, in heaven and on the altar, he is capable now as he was on Good Friday of freely offering himself to the Father. He can no longer die because he now has a glorified body, but the essence of his oblation remains the same.
The Mass is also a memorial. Christ's death is commemorated not only as a psychological remembrance but as a mystical reality. He voluntarily offers himself, the eternal high priest, as really as he did on Calvary.
The Mass is, moreover, a sacred banquet or paschal meal. The banquet aspect of the Mass is the reception of Holy Communion by the celebrant and the people, when the same Christ who offers himself to the Father as a sacrifice then gives himself to the faithful as their heavenly food. It was this fact that inspired the Holy See, after the Second Vatican Council, to restore the practice of receiving Communion under both kinds for all the faithful: "The entire tradition of the Church teaches that the faithful participate more perfectly in the Eucharistic celebration through sacramental Communion. By Communion, in fact, the faithful share more fully in the Eucharistic Sacrifice. In this way they are not limited to sharing in the sacrifice by faith and prayer, nor to merely spiritual communion with Christ offered on the altar, but receive Christ himself sacramentally, so as to receive more fully the fruits of this most holy sacrifice. In order that the fullness of the sign in the Eucharistic banquet may be seen more clearly by the faithful, the Second Vatican Council prescribed that in certain cases, to be decided by the Holy See, the faithful could receive Holy Communion under both species" (Sacramentali Communione, June 29, 1970).
Finally the Mass is the divinely ordained means of applying the merits of Calvary. Christ won for the world all the graces it needs for salvation and sanctification. But these blessings are conferred gradually and continually since Calvary and mainly through the Mass. Their measure of conferral is in proportion to the faith and loving response of the faithful who unite themselves in spirit with the Mass.
It is in this sense that the Mass is an
oblation of the whole Mystical Body, head and members. Yet, among
the faithful, some have been ordained priests and their role in the
Mass is essentially different from that of the laity. The priest is
indispensable, since he alone by his powers can change the elements
of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. Nevertheless
the role of the participants is of great importance; not as though
there would be no Mass without a congregation but because the
people's "full, active and conscious participation will involve them
in both body and soul and will inspire them with faith, hope and
charity." The more active this participation, the more glory is
given to God and the more grace is bestowed not only on the Church
but on all the members of the human race.
Mass Obligation - A grave
obligation of Catholics to assist at Mass on all Sundays and holy
days of obligation. As expressed by the Second Vatican Council,
referring to Mass on Sunday, "On this day the faithful are bound to
come together into one place. They should listen to the word of God
and take part in the Eucharist, thus calling to mind the Passion,
Resurrection and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ" (Constitution on
the Liturgy, V, 106). The imperative "are bound to come
together" indicates the gravity of the obligation, which, according
to the Church's tradition, affects all baptized persons who have
reached the age of reason. They are obliged under penalty of serious
sin to hear Mass on Sundays and holy days, which means that the duty
is objectively serious. Subjectively the gravity of the sin will
depend on excusing circumstances, notably a person's awareness of
the dignity and necessity of the Eucharistic Sacrifice.
Matrimony - Matrimony is the sacrament of the church through which a Christian man and woman are united as husband and wife. They assume new responsibilities and privileges in this state of life. The Church has always recognized the sacredness of marriage. The marriage promises have been expressed in various ways throughout the ages, and marriage itself has adapted to various social structures. In all ages and cultures marriage is maintained as a Christian vocation and call to holiness. Vatican II has spoken of marriage in the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes).
Conjugal Love: This kind of love is characteristic of the marital state. The partners in marriage express this love to each other in various ways, and it is perfected in the marital act. Through this kind of love the partners in marriage come to share in the gifts of healing, perfecting of selves, and charity. This love is sealed by mutual trust and faithfulness.
Responsible Parenthood: Conjugal love by nature is ordained toward the begetting and educating of children. Parents are to fulfill their vocation to parenthood with a generous sense of Christian responsibility. The marriage vocation not only carries with it the responsibility of begetting children but also of educating children. The love of God which resides in the married couple should be transmitted to the children through conception and education. This vocation to parenthood must be treated with a sense of sacredness and generosity.
Unity and Dissolubility: By unity of marriage we mean there can be but one man and one woman as partners in each contract. Both polygamy (having two or more wives at the same time) and polyandry having two or more husbands at the same time) are forbidden. Most pagans regarded polyandry as an abomination. While polygamy was tolerated under the imperfect Mosaic Law, it was abolished by Christ when He told the Pharisees, “I now say to you, whoever divorces his wife (lewd conduct is a separate case) and marries another commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
The bonds of valid marriage cannot be broken either by the contracting parties themselves or by any other human being In Matthew 19, 4-9, Christ Himself explicitly commanded, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become as one flesh’? so they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” They said to him, “Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss [her]?” He said to them, “Because of the hardness of you hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” He replied, “I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marry another commits adultery.” With those words Our Lord abolished the permission for divorce given under the old Mosaic Law.
The church, as the representative of Christ, does not have the power to dissolve any valid marriage, if the parties have lived together as man and wife. For certain very serious reasons it can grant a separation of husband and wife, but this separation does not give either party permission to remarry within the lifetime of the other. A few causes which would justify the seeking of a separation are: living a criminal or ignominious life; causing grave danger to soul or body of the partner; habitual drunkenness; adultery. Pope Eugene IV (1421-47) in his Decretum Pro Armenis said, “Though it be allowed, because of fornication, to obtain a separation, it is not permissible to contract a new marriage, because the bond of lawful wedlock is perpetual.”
Occasions may arise when a separated couple seeks to obtain a civil divorce in order to facilitate legal matters. This may be permitted by the Church in individual cases, but the couple is still married according to the Church and may not remarry.
Occasionally the Church may decide, after extremely careful and detailed information, that a supposedly valid marriage actually was not so. In such cases the Church issues a declaration of invalidity or an annulment. This is a declaration that, from the beginning, because of the absence of some condition essential for validity, there never was a valid marriage in that particular case.
Pauline Privilege: A marriage between unbaptized persons is not a sacrament. However, if one of the parties is baptized, and the other party departs, the baptized party may enter a new marriage; when the baptized party enters the new marriage, the former marriage is automatically dissolved. The Pauline Privilege is also known as the Privilege of the Faith since it is seen as favorable to the preservation of the faith of the convert who was baptized. This is called the Pauline Privilege because St. Paul wrote about it to the Corinthians. This Pauline Privilege has been extended to similar cases, but not identical to the situation described above. These cases are then referred to as the Petrine Privilege.
Marriage Ceremony: The sacrament of
marriage is really ministered to the bride and groom by each other.
The Church requires the presence of a properly delegated priest as a
witness necessary for validity; two other witnesses are also
required for validity. In cases where one of the parties being
married is a non-Catholic, a dispensation may be obtained which
allows the non-Catholic minister to be the official witness in place
of the priest. The essential part of the marriage ceremony is the
mutual promise made by the bride and groom. The marriage ritual
allows for many options in the course of the rite. Ordinarily the
marriage is celebrated in the church of the bride; however, this is
regulated by custom and not law.
Matter of a Sacrament - That part of a sacrament which is used to perform the
sacramental rite. It is that part of a sacrament with which or to
which something is done in order to confer grace, e.g., water in
baptism, chrism in confirmation, bread and wine in the Eucharist.
Matthew, Saint - This Apostle of Our Lord was also called Levi; the change of his name to Matthew appears to have taken place upon his call to become a disciple. His new name was derived from the Hebrew, meaning gift of Jehovah. Prior to his conversion, Matthew was a tax collector, commonly known as a publican. His place of work was near Capharnaum on the road to Damascus from the Mediterranean; here he collected dues for Herod the tetrarch. He probably belonged to the agent or inferior class of tax collectors, and was not one of the wealthy, grafting collectors. Nevertheless, he was probably fairly rich and had much to give up in becoming a follower of Jesus.
Our Lord evidently recognized in Matthew a man
of high moral worth, of superior intellectual keenness, and of
spiritual perceptions which fitted him to become one of the leading
Apostles and the author of the Gospel especially adapted to the
needs of the Jewish people. Tradition says that Matthew remained in
Palestine and preached to his own people for fifteen years, and that
he afterwards went as a missionary to Ethiopia and other countries.
We have no information as tot his death, but it is generally held
that he dies a martyr.
Matthew, The Gospel of
- St. Matthew was unquestionably one of the Twelve Apostles,
his name occurring in all four lists of the New Testament. Prior to
this calling, he had been a tax collector named Levi (Mt 9:9-13 with
Lk 5:27-32). It is the unanimous tradition of Christian antiquity
that he was the author of the first of the four Gospels. In the
latter half of the twentieth century, this ascription has been
challenged by a solid phalanx of Catholic commentators. The problem
is compounded by the fact, admitted by the conservative commentators
as well, that we do not have a single fragment of the Aramaic
original writing which antiquity ascribed to him. The trend in
contemporary opinion is that the Gospel “of St. Matthew” was written
after and dependent upon the Gospel of St. Mark. If this is true, it
is highly unlikely that one of the Twelve Apostles would have taken
his material from Mark, who had not been an Apostle. Certainly no
one who is aware of the evidence could convincingly maintain that
modern scholars have in hand a literal Greek translation of St.
Matthew’s original Aramaic work. Clearly, its Old Testament
citations are from the Septuagint. Even the most skillful scholars
find great difficulty in trying to retranslate this Greek into
Aramaic. The parallel narratives in St. Mark are much more vivid and
lifelike. The strong Semitic flavor of the first Gospel is
inescapable. It is clearly and apologetical work directed to the
Jews, aimed at showing them that the teaching of Jesus is a genuine
reform of their own venerable and beloved religion.
Medals - Coin-shaped metal disks
bearing the image of Christ, Mary, or some saint, some shrine, or
sacred event. They are blessed by the Church and are used to
increase devotion. The use of medals is very ancient; many have been
found in the catacombs, some with the chi-rho symbol. During the
Middle Ages the pilgrims, on leaving a place of pilgrimage, were
given medal tokens of the shrine. And today pilgrims to Rome,
Lourdes, and elsewhere purchase medals that commemorate their visit.
The efficacy of a medal depends on the faith of the person who wears
or carries it, and on the Church's indulgenced blessing attached to
this sacred object. There are innumerable medals approved by the
Church. Among the most commonly used are the scapular and miraculous
medals in honor of the Blessed Virgin.
Melchizedek - ‘king of
justice.’ The priest-king of Salem, which is another name of
ancient Jerusalem, at the time of Abraham. It was of his priesthood
that the writer of the Hebrews speaks when he says he was “Without
father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning
of days nor end of life, but likened to the Son of God, he continues
a priest forever.” These explanations clarify the significance of
Melchizedek. He is both king and priest and is without successor,
being our high priest forever.
Messiah - The Hebrew word for
"Anointed One." The equivalent word in Greek is Christos. In the Old
Testament it was sometimes applied in a general sense to prophets or
priests (Exodus 30:30), but more specifically it referred to the
coming of one who would usher in a period of righteousness and
conquer sin and evil (Daniel 9:26). In the New Testament the
Evangelists made it clear that they knew Jesus was the
long-anticipated Messiah (Acts 2:36; Matthew 16:17; Galatians
3:24-29). Those who refused to accept Jesus interpreted the promised
kingdom to be a worldly domain and looked forward to a messiah who
would be a military leader to help Israel triumph over her enemies.
Micah, The book of
- Old Testament prophet. A contemporary of Isaiah, the
sixth of the minor prophets, Micah lived in Judah in the latter half
of the eighth century. His name, an abbreviation of Michahiah, is
akin to that of Michael. He is a typical prophet, speaking for a
God Who threatens disaster for the Jewish people because of their
sins, and promising them freedom and prosperity under a new David in
exchange for their repentance. Judah is called to take warning from
the fall of Samaria. While Micah’s chronology is not certain, it
seems likely that the reform under Hezekiah was evidence of his
success. He had a strong social conscience and felt solidarity with
the oppressed poor (2,3,6:9-11). His most famous verse is 6:8, the
definition of a genuine religion; “To do only what is right, to love
goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Miraculous Medal - A distinctive
oval medal of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Its design was revealed in
1830 to St. Catherine Labouré (canonized in 1947), a Daughter of
Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in Paris, in visions she had of Our
Lady. On one side the medal bears an image of Mary with arms
outstretched with the words "O Mary conceived without sin, pray for
us who have recourse to thee," and on the reverse side the letter M
with a cross and twelve stars above it and the Hearts of Jesus and
Mary. The number of miracles attached to the wearing of this medal
gave it the popular description of "miraculous." It shares
popularity with the Scapular Medal. It is the badge of the Sodality
of the Children of Mary. There are numerous special shrines and
devotions dedicated to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal and weekly
devotions to her are on the agenda in thousands of Catholic churches
throughout the world.
Missal - The book containing the
prayers recited by the priest at the altar during Mass. Since the
Second Vatican Council the Missal includes both the sacramentary (or
ritual part of the Mass) used only by the celebrant, and the
lectionary (containing readings from Scripture) for celebrant and
Monstrance- (emblem). A symbol of the
Blessed Sacrament since the monstrance is the sacred vessel which
contains the consecrated Host when exposed or carried in procession.
It is a well-known emblem of St. Clare, who is reported to have
repulsed unbelievers who assaulted her convent of nuns by presenting
to their gaze Christ in the monstrance. St. Peter Julian Eymard,
founder of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers, is symbolized carrying the
monstrance and blessing the people with it. St. Thomas Aquinas has
the monstrance among his many emblems as the author of the famous
hymns Lauda Sion and Pange Lingua, written to honor
the Eucharistic Lord. St. John Neumann, who first established the
forty hours' devotion in America, and St. Paschal Baylon, patron of
Eucharistic Congresses, are both represented in art with the
Mortal sin - A most
serious offense against God, and it is called mortal because it
destroys one’s relationship of friendship with God. Through mortal
sin one condemns self to separation from God which is called
damnation. The conditions for mortal sin are: serious matter,
sufficient reflection, and full consent of the will. Thus the
violation must be grave, such as murder or blasphemy; the individual
must realize the gravity of the situation, and the individual must
freely choose to perform the bad deed.
Moses -‘son child’ The
name Moses is thoroughly identified with the Exodus of Israel from
Egypt and with the making of Israel into a nation, not only with
authentic accounts of the Exodus, the giving of the law to Moses by
God and the historical records of Israel’s wanderings in the
wilderness, but the scores of inspired statements throughout the Old
and New Testaments. Moses is presented as the emancipator, leader,
guide, law-giver, and prophet of Israel in the formative period of
the nation’s history. As a prophet, Moses was given the privilege
of the most intimate intercourse with God. As the emancipator of
Israel he was enabled to overcome the stubborn will of the Egyptian
Pharaoh; as a chosen leader of God he performed the unparalleled
task of guiding the children of Israel through a desert life
covering a forty years, and left them prepared for national conquest
of their God-given homeland. As a lawgiver, he gave to Israel and
the world a system of religious and civil legislations unequaled in
the history of jurisprudence.
Mother of the Church - A title of the Blessed Virgin, formally, recognized by the Second Vatican Council (Lumen Gentium, 60-65) and solemnly proclaimed by Pope Paul VI at the closing address of the third session of the Council on November 21, 1964. Mary is Mother of the Church by a fivefold title: 1. she gave human life to the Son of God, from whom the whole People of God receive the grace and dignity of election; 2. Christ on the Cross explicitly extended his Mother's maternity, through the disciple John, to all the faithful; 3. the Holy Spirit came upon her, together with the Apostles, when on Pentecost Sunday the Church was born in visible form; 4. since then all generations of Christ's followers, such as John, spiritually took Mary as their Mother; 5. she continues to exercise her maternal care for the Church by her presence and powerful intercession in heaven before the throne of God.
Pope John Paul II further identified Mary's
motherhood of the Church with her Immaculate Heart. "This heart," he
said, "the heart of both a virgin and a mother, has always followed
the work of her Son and has gone out to all those whom Christ has
embraced and continues to embrace with inexhaustible love" (Redemptor
Mystical Body - The Catholic Church established by Christ as an extension and continuation of the Incarnation.
In the words of Pius XII, "If we would define and describe the true Church of Jesus Christ – which is the one, holy, Catholic, apostolic Roman Church – we shall find nothing more noble, more sublime, or more divine than the expression ‘the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ’ – an expression that flows spontaneously from the repeated teaching of the sacred Scriptures and the holy Fathers."
The term "body," when referring to the Church, derives its meaning from the analogy used by St. Paul, where he speaks of Christians: "You are the Body of Christ, member for member" (I Corinthians 12:27), and of Christ: "the Head of His Body, the Church" (Colossians 1:18).
Corollary to being a body, the Church must have a multiplicity of discernible members because the possession of parts is an essential feature of anything bodily. And just as a natural body is formed of different organs with different functions arranged in due order, so the Church is bound together by the combination of structurally united parts, and has a variety of members that are reciprocally dependent. Another name for this interdependence is the hierarchy, with its graded levels of orders and jurisdiction, of superiors and subjects, beginning with the Sovereign Pontiff and terminating in the laity.
The body (soma) that St. Paul identifies with the Church is a living reality, and like every organism requires suitable means to enter into life, to grow and mature and prosper according to its nature. Similarly in the Catholic Church, the sacraments are available for every spiritual need and circumstance of human life.
Moreover, the Roman Catholic Church regards herself as the Body of Christ. He was the originator of the Church by his preaching and choice of the Apostles to carry on his work, by his death on the Cross when he merited the graces to be channeled through the Mystical Body, and by the descent of the Holy Spirit, whom he sent on Pentecost. He continues to rule the Church from within by supernatural means that are permanent and constantly active within the members
The Church is called Mystical because she is a
mystery, which God revealed to be true but whose inner essence must
be accepted on faith and without full comprehension by the mind.
Otherwise than in other societies, the end or purpose of the Church
is not temporal or earthly but heavenly and eternal; its spiritual
bond is the will of God; incorporation in the Church effects a
profound internal change in the members; and the whole reality is
called supernatural because it leads to the destiny of seeing God in
the beatific vision after death. But the Roman Catholic Church is
mainly said to be the Mystical Body of Christ because it is
sacramental. The Church is the great sacrament of the New Law,
instituted by Christ for the communication of invisible grace to the