To accept the Church that Christ founded is to accept all the teachings of that same Church. And we all are called to an ongoing and everyday conversion to Jesus Christ. So, there is a continual need to grow in our acceptance of those beautiful truths and as we grow in our understanding of how they give us life. There is one particular rubric of the Mass that can be most useful in encouraging a complete fidelity in this regard.
During the Creed at Mass we are called to bow when we profess, "by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the virgin Mary, and became man."
Looking at the Catholic faith as a whole, I see that everything that I believe is based on the fact that Jesus is the God-Man. I accept everything that He said and every promise that He made as true because HE IS GOD. My criteria for determining the truth is not to judge according to my prejudice but according to my faith in Christ, that He is the God-Man, and that He will be faithful to His promise.
Because He promised to build His Church on Saint Peter and that he would send the infallible guidance of the Holy Spirit to that Church I accept what that Church declares: for example, what is be accepted as the Holy Scriptures - the Bible - and everything else that she declares to be certain and true. I give assent to the ordinary teachings of the magisterium and form my conscience to all those teachings because of the special guidance given to the Holy Father.
At first it was hard for me to bow since, I did not understand why we were to do so or what it meant. It also, seemed so strange since most of the other parishioners din not do so either. I don’t like to stick out in the crowd.
Now, however, this is one of my favorite rubrics. While in the Holy Land I got to see the rabbi's there bowing before the wall of the temple as they recited their prayers. It really struck me to see it in person even though I had seen it on TV many times earlier. They kept bowing constantly as they prayed. Then I really understood that bowing was a form a worshipping and adoration, at least in this instance.
Now, with much joy, even if I stick out in the crowd, I worship Jesus with a special bow as I profess my belief in the Incarnation \ Annunciation. We are called to bow in acknowledgment of what God did in sending down His Son, not because of what we did or because we deserved it, but because of His awesome love for us. This gesture shows our humility in the presence of such an awesome love. As a Catholic apologist, the Incarnation is the very foundation of all that I profess and defend, that I can trust Christ’s promise to Infallibly protect the teachings of the Church because He is God.
Mark 1:38 "He told them, ‘Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.’ " NAB
Because He is the God-Man, we can trust His promise to protect the
Church from error in her definitive teachings. John 16:13,
John 17: 17-23, Luke 10:16, Matthew 16:13-19,
The belief in the charism of Infallibility that God gives to His Church is a very beautiful and life giving truth. It is a belief in the Love of the Father that He will guide us into the truth with a way of knowing it with certainty. (e.g. What constitutes the Bible and how to interpret it, etc.)
It is a belief in the power of the Holy Spirit to guide the Church in spite of the sins of the people in the Church. It is a belief of hope in the faithfulness of Jesus Christ to keep His promise in a world in much need of miraculous hope.
Father Don Bosco had a vision of how the Church was to be guided safely through troubled waters. When the Pope had anchored the Bark, or ship, of Saint Peter, between the pillars of the Eucharist on one side, and the Blessed Virgin Mary on the other side the Church was protected from all harm. The feast of the Annunciation points both to reverence for the Body and Blood of Christ in Mary’s womb as well as to her special role in mankind’s Salvation.
By encouraging a continual and growing devotion to the feast of the Annunciation we can point others toward a complete fidelity to the Church, which it implied by this belief. We are called to express this devotion by making a reverent bow when we profess this in the creed.
The Feast of the Annunciation is when we celebrate the event when the angle Gabriel asked the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the Mother of our Savior, and when Jesus Christ was conceived in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit. Luke 1: 26-38. At the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25, and at Christmas nine months later we genuflect as we profess in the creed this most glorious truth of the Incarnation, that God became Man.
This doctrine also gives us the opportunity to strengthen the pro-Life movement. As we help others to see and to be conscious of the fact that Christ came into the world nine months before Christmas, we encourage respect for the babies still in the womb. Christ lived in Mary’s womb for nine months. It is not just a blob of tissue in a mother’s womb, it is a person.
Perhaps someone will start a petition asking our Bishops to bless
us with the opportunity to celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation, March
25, as a Solemnity and as a Holy Day of Obligation. By asking that
this day be raised to a Holy Day of Obligation we can show that we accept
this glorious truth as a blessing to help us to be free from sin, doubt,
dissent, and mere private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20).
And God said to Satan, "I will put enmity between you and the
The Aztec Indians in the sixteenth century believed in a polytheistic religion and had one of the most cruel religious rituals in the world. The Aztec Indians, who were cannibals made 50,000 live human sacrifices to their false god each year. Their victims included men women and children. Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose image shows her with Christ inside her womb, helped to convert 9 million American Indians, including those Aztecs, to her Son and for them to respect all human life.
John 21:15 "Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these ?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ " NAB
Jesus gave over to Saint Peter the care of all of His sheep. Now the only question is how many Christian sheep belong to Jesus ? All of them.
John 16:13 "But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth."
John 17:17-21 "Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth … so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me."
Luke 22:29-32 " … and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.’ " RSV
Luke 22:31-32 "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." KJV
Luke 10:16 "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me."
Matthew 16:15-19 "He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona ! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ " RSV
To find the context of the meaning of the keys we look to the Bible, Isaiah 22.
Isaiah 22:15,19-24 "Thus says the Lord, the GOD of hosts: Up, go to that official, Shebna, master of the palace… 19 I will thrust you from your office and pull you down from your station. On that day I will summon my servant Eliakim, son of Hilkiah; I will clothe him with your robe, and gird him with your sash, and give over to him your authority. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; when he opens, no one shall shut, when he shuts, no one shall open. I will fix him like a peg in a sure spot, to be a place of honor for his family; On him shall hang all the glory of his family: descendants and offspring, all the little dishes, from bowls to jugs." NAB
Isaiah 36:1-3 "In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, … 3 there came out to him the master of the palace, Eliakim, son of Hilkiah, and Shebna the scribe, and the herald Joah, son of Asaph." NAB
The key of the house of David implies succession because King David had been dead for hundreds of years at the time of King Hezekiah’s rule. Just as the king had a successor so did the head of the household, the master of the palace, or in today’s language the ‘prime minister" or even better "the king’s regent", "viceroy", or "vicar" since he had absolute authority under the king. His office was one of being a father to the people.