You will post your 3-4 paragraph response ***(minimum of 300-350 words per post)*** to at least 3 of the questions listed below. Please create a new “section” for each question you complete. Label the section with the Question #. Please include some direct reference to the assigned readings, including direct quotes and page numbers. Connection to your personal experience should also be included.
1. Read the Athanasian Creed and reflect on the Trinity, the central belief of the Christian faith. It was not until the Council of Constantinople in 381 CE that the doctrine of the Trinity was fully affirmed in the Church. Comment on if you have learned about this concept of Trinity earlier in your life. What do you remember? The doctrine is that there is 1 God in 3 distinct Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Share your insights on this and be certain to add some of Athanasius’ wisdom from his creed.
2. After reading the Pentecost event at the beginning of chapter 2 in Acts of the Apostles, describe the events of the day. How many were present for the coming of the Spirit? What was their mood? What were the 2 signs that accompanied the descent of the Spirit? What did the disciples do immediately after being empowered by the Holy Spirit? Include some comment about Peter’s great speech and the baptism of 3,000 people.
3. Focus on the Supplemental Paper “Basic Definitions of Trinity,” that provides information and insight about the Christian concept of Trinity = 3 Persons in One God. These 3 distinct Persons in the Trinity share mutual love and purpose. Is Trinity a new concept for you? Share some facts about the 3rd Person of the Trinity (Spirit of God) that were of interest to you. Give your personal response to the presence of the Spirit in our world. Have you felt inspired by the Spirit of Jesus at any point in your life?
4. Focus on the article by Dr. Dominic Colonna, who states that the concept of the Trinity presupposes 2 fundamental ideas: 1) the human person is in need of “salvation” and 2) salvation is brought about by God the Father, through the historical person of Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. These are very deep concepts. Read through the article and offer your insights and comments on these 2 ideas. Do you agree? What was of interest to you in the article? What is the meaning of “salvation” in your life?
5. Jesus’ final discourse in the Gospel of John (Chapters 13 to 17) begins what we call John’s Book of Glory. Within these chapters John articulates a number of messages Jesus wanted to leave us. Jesus washes feet. We are told that those who have faith in Jesus will do the works Jesus does and more. The symbol of the vine and branches is discussed as well as what it means to have a disciple’s love. The role of the Paraclete and Jesus’ final prayer for us are among the many instructions Jesus leaves his disciples. What message within these chapters particularly resonates with you? Why? How does this message connect to an experience in your life?
6. Our reading from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin is very short. But it provides an opportunity to examine his main statement that it is the Holy Spirit that animates the universe and unites all of us and all creation in God’s Love! This seemed like a good reading to include because our focus this week is on the Holy Spirit. What is your opinion? Do you agree with Pierre, or do you have a different insight? This is a good opportunity to also identify that the Catholic Church accepts the basic doctrine of evolution, acknowledging that God “creates” through evolution. You may comment briefly on evolution, if you wish. But please make the above question the main focus of your post.
7. In verses 43-47 in Chapter 2 of Acts of the Apostles you have read about how the early Christians behaved toward one another. Identify several of their ways of loving one another in those early years of the Christian community. Add your own comments about the effect such loving behavior could have in our world today. Do you think such sincere and unselfish love is possible in the 21st century?
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