Learn by Topic: Study Notes
Satanspel – The Devil’s Story
At Eden, Satan seduces Man with the false story (from the Old English “spel”) that humans can have “all knowledge” and “become like gods” (Gen 3:5). The turning away from God and His Truth to the devil’s false story, the Satanspel, is the fall of Man into Original Sin.
The Satanspel of today promises that a “modern” secular society (humans can be gods) and information technology (knowledge) will lead to the salvation of humans. Secularists seek to neutralize God in the public square and promote an individualist order where all humans can fulfill their personal cravings for material goods and sexual perversion. The “knowledge” of Eden is the “information” of today with Man submerged in a swamp of information through ever-more intrusive media devices. In the “information overload”, the trivial, obscene and morbid seduce Man into greater and greater distraction from God, with Man falling into ever-greater darkness of sin.
Gospel of Jesus Christ the Divine Evangelist
In Divine contrast to the dark lies of the Satanspel, the Gospel (literally, “Good news” or “God’s story”) is the Truth of Jesus Christ. Jesus, whose name means “God saves”, brings the Divine good news that God Is and Man can be saved by God through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, He, Himself, is the Good News, for He is God who comes into the world through the Incarnation to save Man from the dark spell cast by Satan. The Good News is the Story of Salvation for mankind. The Good News is that, rather than the randomness of deconstruction and cold evolutionary forces without a plot or storyline, there is the Truth of the Salvation Story in Jesus Christ.
What Jesus Teaches as Divine Evangelist
The Gospel Himself, Jesus Christ the Divine Evangelist teaches that:
There is a Kingdom of God – Rather then the confusion and waywardness of Israel or the deception of the human tendency to want to become gods, Jesus Christ brings the Good News that God exists and rules eternity in His Kingdom (CCC 544).
Salvation is the Story – Rather then a long string of meaningless events, human history has a trajectory in God. Even in the treason of Eden, God describes the victory over Satan in the protoevangelium (Gen 3:15; CCC 410), in which Mary, the New Eve, through her seed Jesus Christ, will conquer evil. The Gospel is the Good News of the God Story, that Man can be saved from Original Sin and death, that Satan has been defeated (CCC 1086) and that there is a way of life and a way of death (CCC 1696). Jesus Christ is the turning point in Salvation History, fulfilling all the promises by God in the Old Testament (CCC 1964-70). Men are given a real history, a family history, in the Bible and the Traditions of the Church.
Jesus, Himself, is the Good News of the New Covenant – In the Incarnation, Jesus gives definitive proof of God’s existence. Jesus pays a high price and works tirelessly to bring the Good News, walking thousands of miles, healing the multitudes, living without a home, accepting the Will of the Father to submit to the injustice of puny men unto death. In the Incarnation, Jesus gives God a human face and man preserves this idea of Christ’s Good News in the blessings of Icons (CCC 1160).
Man must repent and accept the Good News – Jesus comes to set the record straight. Man is in deep trouble because of Original Sin, which is the opposite of the Gospel (CCC 389). Man must reject the false idols of human gods and scientific rationalism. Man has a choice and is accountable (1 Pt 4:17) for conversion (CCC 1427). Man will either be in the kingdom or outside with “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt 22:13). Man must not be ashamed of the Gospel (Rom 1:15), “live a life worthy of the Gospel” (CCC 1692) and be prepared to give up all for the Gospel (CCC 2544).
There is Salvation in Christ – Jesus Christ ushers in a New Covenant, paying the price for human sin through His Crucifixion and offering all men the new life of the Resurrection (CCC 571). Christ teaches that there is no salvation for man without self-sacrificing love.
Man must embrace the Gospel through lifelong catechesis– Jesus Christ, Himself, is the Word, which is the Gospel. The Gospel is promulgated in writing and speaking (CCC 76). Man must continually be catechized and pass along the faith to the next generation through education/catechesis (CCC 2226).
Man must embrace the Church – Jesus Christ establishes His Church so that men can know the Truth be given Grace through the Sacraments. The Apostles pass along the authority for Christ’s Church on earth to bishops so that “the full and living Gospel might be preserved in the Church” (CCC 77) as their first and primary task (CCC 888). The Gospel is preached at every mass (CCC 1160). Christ establishes communio in the Church and the fraternity of brotherhood (CCC 2636).
Men are commanded to evangelize – Jesus preaches the Gospel with His own lips (CCC 75) and commands the Apostles to understand and preach the Gospel to all nations (Matt 26:13; Mark 13:10) for it is good news for all nations (CCC 528). Today, Man is called to be obedient evangelists (CCC 3; CCC 673), for the preaching of the Gospel has the power through the Holy Spirit to renew culture in Christ (CCC 2527). Man must take the Gospel seriously for it has been passed down for 2000 years with great hardship and sacrifice.
Responding to the Gospel has requirements – To fully respond to the Gospel, Man must embrace renewal in prayer (CCC 821) and be drawn into the sacraments (CCC 977). Jesus leaves a perpetual evangelization of man through the Sacraments (CCC 1247). To bear witness and promulgate the Gospel, Man must live a life faithful to the Gospel (CCC 2044: CCC 2226; CCC 2472).
Men must persevere to preach the Gospel – Christ teaches that there is great resistance to His Gospel, and despite apparent defeats and setbacks, Man must never cease to preach the Gospel (CCC 854).
He will send the Holy Spirit – Key to the Gospel is the promise that Christ makes to send the Holy Spirit to give the power to transmit the Gospel (CCC 2600, 2640).
Disobedience and Destruction
The word “Obedience” comes from the Latin, oboedire, meaning “to obey, pay attention to, give ear.” The Church teaches that obedience “in faith is to submit freely to the word that has been heard, because its truth is guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself” (CCC 144).
The disobedience of men to the Father traces back to Eden. “Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command…All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in His goodness” (CCC 397). Man’s “concupiscence” leads him to pursue pleasure to the point of sin, rising up in rebellion and disobedience against God (cf. CCC 1871). Since Satan deceived Adam, men have rebelled against the Father.
Disobedience is an epidemic today. All over the world, angry men are rebelling against governments, society, religion and all forms of authority. Feral young men are forming flash mobs around the world, bent on destructiveness, confusing mutiny for manhood. Men are rebelling against the “constraints” of marriage, siring children out of wedlock and divorcing wives. Sons are rebelling against fathers. Men actively and passively rebel against organized religion, choosing to sin rather then be held to a moral standard. Men, blessed to be Catholic, abandon or neglect their faith, becoming Casual Catholics.
Disobedience is destructive. Man’s disobedience has tragic consequences: the harmony of Creation is broken and man is subject to the bondage of decay, pain and death (CCC 399-400). History catalogs the destructive perpetual wars of man against man, of sons against fathers. Today’s society shows the awful scars of disobedience; destruction of the family, addictions to pornography and other perverted sexual behavior, addictions to alcohol and drugs, the murder of children in the womb, mental illness, social unrest and widespread criminality. At the center of all human suffering is disobedience to God.
Each man, young or old, is called to obedience to God, and each man, in his own way, has the need to be more obedient to God. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, comes to the world to teach men that joy and true manhood is gained through obedience to the Father.
What Jesus Teaches through His Obedience
Jesus Christ, the King of All Creation, the most powerful human of all time, seeks to save men through His perfect obedience to the Father. Through His Perfect Obedience, Jesus teaches:
The salvation of obedience to God – Jesus is resurrected from the dead after the obedience of the Cross for the Father. This spectacular gift of salvation sets right the disobedience of Adam, through the obedience of Jesus Christ, the New Adam (CCC 411). All sin today, “like the first sin, it is disobedience…and is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation” (CCC 1850). “The obedience of Jesus has transformed the curse of death into a blessing” (CCC 1009).
To keep the 10 Commandments – As the Son of God, Jesus Christ is perfectly obedient to all the commandments of His heavenly Father. His obedience to the Fourth Commandment to the Virgin Mother Mary and his legal father, Joseph, anticipates the obedience of Holy Thursday (CCC 532). As the Obedient Son, Jesus teaches men to obey their parents, for it pleases the Lord (CCC 2217).
The Devil is defeated through obedience to God – Jesus shows how one can beat the devils’ temptations through His complete obedience to God in each of His responses to the Devil’s temptations (Matt 4:1-11). “Jesus is the new Adam who… (is) totally obedient to the divine will. In this, Jesus is the devil’s conqueror… Jesus’ victory over the tempter in the desert anticipates victory at the Passion, the supreme act of obedience of his filial love for the Father.” (CCC 539).
To be obedient in work – “By his obedience to…his humble work during the long years in Nazareth, Jesus gives us the example of holiness in the daily life of family and work.” (CCC 564).
To obediently serve the poor – If man is to be obedient to Jesus Christ, man must obediently serve the “poor and suffering” as Jesus obediently served (CCC 786).
Be obedient to His call to Evangelize – “Having been divinely sent to the nations that she might be ‘the universal sacrament of salvation,’ the Church, in obedience to the command of her founder…strives to preach the Gospel to all men”(CCC 849). “This mission continues and…the Church, urged on by the Spirit of Christ, must walk the road Christ himself walked, a way of poverty and obedience” (CCC 852).
That holy obedience can overcome sinful passions – Jesus Christ’s obedience unto death gives men freedom through a holy life to make their bodies “obedient” and to resist “rebellion in (man’s) soul.” (CCC 908).
To render unto Caesar… – Jesus Christ teaches that God, first and foremost, must be obeyed, but that man must also cooperate with legitimate authority by “rendering unto Caesar” (Matt 22:21). But when human authority abuses “natural law or the Law of the Gospel”, Christians are called upon to obediently defend their rights and the Church (CCC 1897, 2242, 2286).
The Obedience of Prayer – Jesus followed strict habits of prayer, adoration of the Father and keeping the commandments. “Contemplative prayer is hearing the Word of God. Far from being passive, such attentiveness is the obedience of faith, the unconditional acceptance of a servant, and the loving commitment of a child.” (CCC 2716).
The example of the consecrated life – “In imitation of the Obedience of Christ, as an evangelical counsel, the faithful may profess a vow of obedience; a public vow of obedience, accepted by Church authority, is one element that characterized the consecrated life” (CCC 915).