St. Robert Bellarmine developed 15 marks of the Catholic Church.  He was not only a great catechist and one of the patron saints of catechists but he is also a Doctor of the Church.  He lived from 1542 to 1621.  His Feast Day is September 17th.  These 15 marks are worth considering for all catechists who pass on the treasures of our Catholic Faith.  Maybe for older grades they could be taught as the 15 Marks but I was thinking that if catechists just keeping these concepts in mind it would help students see the wonder and depth of our Catholic Faith.

1. The Church’s Name, Catholic, universal, and world wide, and not confined to any particular nation or people.

2. Antiquity, in tracing her ancestry directly to Jesus Christ.

3. Constant Duration, in lasting substantially unchanged for so many centuries.

4. Extensiveness, in the number of her loyal members.

5. Episcopla Succession, of her Bishops from the first Apostles at the Last Supper to the present hierarchy.

6. Doctrinal Agreement, of her doctrine with the teaching of the ancient Church.

7. Union, of her members among themselves, and with their visible head, the Roman Pontiff.

8. Holiness, of doctrine in reflecting the sanctity of GOD.

9. Efficacy, of doctrine in its power to sanctify believers, and inspire them to great moral achievement.

10. Holiness of Life, of the Church’s representative writers and defenders.

11. The glory of Miracles, worked in the Church and under the Church’s auspices.

12. The gift of Prophesy found among the Church’s saints and spokesmen.

13. The Opposition that the Church arouses among those who attack her on the very grounds that Christ was opposed by His enemies.

14. The Unhappy End, of those who fight against her.

15. The Temporal Peace and Earthly Happiness of those who live by the Church’s teaching and defend her interests.

Happy Second Day of Christmas and Feast of the Holy Family!  Jesus, Mary and Joseph teach all of us the way to Holiness.  The Church has always spoken of the Holy Family as a model and inspiration for each family ever since – they are the domestic church (as well as each of us who have families).  Here are a few thoughts regarding the Holy Family:

1. They are the holy family not because of what they “accomplished” but because of who they were – souls devoted to God.

2.  Today families are very busy doing lots of things (many of them for their children).  Every family is called by their Baptism to be a holy family and we don’t “accomplish” this as much as we live in the grace of God.  Our call and challenge is to be children of God, faithful to His ways and be at His disposal/service.  This is what draws us to holiness and forms us into a family that is modeling the Holy Family.

3. There is not one way of acting to be a holy family but there are a some essentials for parents to consider when striving to be a holy family – personal holiness (prayer life), faithfulness to the Commandments, a spirit of joy lived throughout the week, and an openness to God’s providence each day.

What are the characteristics you think are essential?  What qualities are present in a family that is emulating the Holy Family?

help us to live as the Holy Family,
united in respect and love.
Bring us to the joy and peace of your eternal home.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
~New Saint Joseph Sunday Missal (from the Collect of the Liturgy)

“Martyrdom makes disciples like their Master, who willingly accepted death for the salvation of the world, and through it they are made like him by the shedding of blood. Therefore, the Church considers it the highest gift and supreme test of love. And while it is given to few, all however must be prepared to confess Christ before humanity and to follow him along the way of the cross amid the persecutions which the Church never lacks” (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 42, Austin Flannery translation).