Throughout history, the Church has received numerous letters, exhortations, and encyclicals from its holy fathers. These works help the faithful examine and reflect on particular aspects of faith and morals, and aid us in living out our call to be missionary disciples. These works are often written in response to a specific need at a particular moment in time. For example, Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae affirmed Church teaching on the sanctity of life and the rejection of contraception right as the sexual revolution began. His encyclical has proven to be vitally relevant up to the present day, as the beauty of God’s plan for married love becomes more and more clouded in society. Encyclicals/apostolic letters and exhortations are a gift of the Church and a gift to you.
The Catholic Church has a gift in the religious communities of women and men. Members take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and devote their lives to God, dividing their time between private prayer, communal worship, and service. Each active religious community has a particular mission for which it was founded, such as education, care for the sick to missionary work. Contemplative religious devote themselves entirely to private prayer, and cloistered contemplative sisters and brothers live apart from the rest of the world. Religious Brothers and Sisters are a gift of the Church and gift to you.
As the Church was founded by Jesus Christ himself, the Catholic Church bears with it through the centuries the fullness of the Truth. He entrusted the Church with the responsibility of passing on this inestimable gift and irrefutable truth of the Roman Catholic Faith as the path to eternal life.
Fullness of Truth is a gift of the Church and a gift to you.
Priests and deacons are enabled to minister in Christ’s name and that of the Church. Our priests and deacons bring can administer the sacraments which gives life in the Church and carries on our sacred tradition. In the Gospel according to Saint John, Jesus instructs us that we should “not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life” (Jn 6:27) Priests and deacons work to proclaim the truth that is in Christ and the Gospel. Priest and deacons are gifts of the Church and a gift to you.
We’ve probably all been told to “offer it up” at some point in our lives. Though we might be tempted to roll our eyes at this, it’s actually what we’re all called to do when we face hardships. When we unite our suffering to the Passion of Christ, it becomes a powerful prayer. Just as Jesus’ suffering gave us new life and cleansed us of sin, our own suffering can be offered for the benefit of others. By his Cross and Death, Jesus reclaimed suffering from the enemy and made it something life-giving. So when you find yourself suffering, trust that it is not in vain; Jesus suffered first, he suffers with you now, and he is using your suffering to bring about good. Redemptive suffering is a gift of the Church and a gift to you.
Sacred Music is a treasure of immeasurable value. The words and music together form an integral part of the solemn liturgy. Sacred Music can be the simple, methodical Gregorian chant or the magnificent works of composers with unparalleled human voices. It brings beauty to God’s Word and can stir a soul. Sacred Music is a gift of the Church and a gift to you.
Saint Josemaria Escriva said, “The Holy Rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence and you’ll be amazed at the results.” When we pray the rosary, we walk with our Blessed Mother through the mysteries of Christ’s life and ponder them in our heart. When we feel distracted or distant during prayer, the rosary can provide us with the words to say. Throughout history, Mary has urged humanity to pray the rosary more because it is a powerful weapon against evil. If you struggle to pray the rosary, I challenge you to try again today and ask God to help you see the great gift that it is. The Rosary is a gift of the Church and a gift to you.
Sacred art can capture us. The beauty can draw us in and illuminate our minds with the dramatic unfolding of the life of Christ, the divine mysteries, and the history of salvation. In Sacred Art we find the
beauty of God in all His glory, goodness, and truth. Sacred Art is a tool of evangelization and education.
It makes us contemplate and become immersed in the beauty of our Faith. Sacred art bridges together faith and tradition and can evoke emotions that bring us closer to God. Sacred Art is a gift of the Church and a gift to you.
Pope Saint John Paul II said that “In reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we can perceive the wonderful unity of the mystery of God...” The Catechism is a comprehensive summary of Catholic faith, morals, and doctrine. It provides historical and scriptural context to help the faithful understand and easily access what the Church holds and teaches throughout the world. The Catechism is a gift of the Church and a gift to you.
The Magisterium is the teaching office of the Church. It is the pope in communion with the bishops, divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit to interpret the Word of God. Jesus gave the Church a gift in the Magisterium. Its goal is not to police the faithful into following a set of rules. Rather, it seeks to make the truth of the faith more accessible to all people. After all, Jesus has no intention of being obscure or difficult to understand. God’s Law and Word are for us, and he desires that we accept and live out the truths of the faith with all our hearts. The Magisterium is a gift of the Church and a gift to you.
Out of his superfluous love for humanity, Jesus gave us the great gift of his mother Mary. Since she was born without sin, Mary loved God perfectly and can help us to do the same. When we consecrate ourselves to Mary we can be assured that she will help us draw closer to her Son, protect us from the enemy, and intercede on our behalf. Like any good mother, Mary loves us tenderly and wants only our good—which is to be united with Christ. Having been assumed body and soul to heaven, our Blessed Mother is a gift of the Church and a gift to you.
Sacred Tradition stands together with Sacred Scripture to give us our beautiful gift of Faith. Sacred Tradition takes the word of God entrusted by our Lord and the Holy Spirit and gives it to the Apostles and onto their successors...all the way to us, so that we may preserve His word, explain it, live it, and pass it on to make the ends of the earth know about our Lord, Jesus Christ. Now that is gift to truly pass down. Sacred Tradition is a gift of the Church and a gift to you.
The Holy Eucharist is our most treasured gift of the Church. It is the source and summit of our Christian life and stands above all else. As Advent begins, we wait anxiously for the coming of Jesus. Let us remember that Jesus is truly with us at every Mass in the Holy Eucharist. We receive Him and all the graces He bestows upon us. The Holy Eucharist is a gift of the Church and a gift to you.