Questions for Chapter 7

Freedom of Worship (Norman Rockwell)


218 
We don’t usually use the word “spirit” the way it was used in ancient times. When Greek and Roman writers talked about a person’s spirit, what do you think they were referring to? What words do we use to talk about those things? 

219 a 
In some places, the Bible talks about people possessed by evil spirits. Try to describe or explain the behavior that the biblical authors were referring to, without talking about evil spirits. 

219 b 
Think of some people who have (or had) the spirit of Jesus. What are you referring to when you talk about them in this way? 

219 c 
How do you understand what is being referred to when theology talks about the Holy Spirit? 

219 d 
Jesus’ enemies said he had an evil spirit. What do you think they saw in him that led them to say that? 

219 e 
Jesus’ followers said he had the spirit of God. Why do you think they saw in him that led them to say that?

219 f 
Does this way of trying to get back into the mentality of the first followers of Jesus make sense to you? Why or why not? 

219 g 
When you learn that the disciples of Jesus were his students, how does this affect your image of the people that the gospels call the disciples? How does this affect your understanding of discipleship? 

219 h 
Has anyone ever shown you how to live? Who or what has influenced how you live?

219 i
It is important to distinguish what a text says from what a text is talking about. Does this distinction make sense to you? Give an example of two different ways of talking about the same thing. 

220 a 
Old Testament texts speak of kings and prophets being anointed by God. What do you think those texts are talking about? That is, what personal characteristics are the texts referring to? 

220 b 
When the first followers of Jesus referred to him as the messiah, what do you think they saw in him that led them to call him that name? 

220 c 
How did Jesus show that he was filled with the spirit of God? What did he do that led people to say that his was not an ordinary spirit?

220 d
How might the early followers of Jesus have behaved, if people around them said they were anointed with his spirit? 

220 e 
If you read these passages, you know what the texts are saying. Has it ever occurred to you to ask what these texts are talking about? What do you think the texts are referring to?

220 f
Have you ever wondered how the writers of the New Testament came to use language that later became theological language? If they were not talking about theology, what were they talking about?

220 g
Does this explanation make sense to you? Why or why not? 

221 a 
A scented oil called chrism is used in confirmation, but it is also used in baptism. What is the connection between the words chrism, chrismation and Christ?

221 b 
How might our idea of baptism be different if it were called the sacrament of dunking or the sacrament of immersion? 

221 c 
Express in your own words what was being referred to by the metaphors of immersion and anointing. If those two biblical images were not available to you, how else might you describe what the New Testament writers were trying to name? 

221 d 
Why could “putting on Christ” be used to name the experience of personal conversion or spiritual transformation? 

221 e 
Have you ever had a conversion experience of this sort—not necessarily a religious conversion but any profound change in your outlook or behavior? If so, briefly describe it. 

222 a 
Do you agree that thinking and feeling can be considered something that we do? Why or why not?

For some Christians, religious conversion is a memorable moment (for example, when they “accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior” or when they “turn their life over to Christ”), but for other Christians, conversion is a slow and gradual process. How would you describe conversion in your life? 

222 b 
Can you relate to these descriptions of incomplete conversion and conversion becoming undone? If possible, give an example from your own life. 

222 c 
Name some different types of conversion that can you think of. 

222 d 
How would you describe the difference between knowing about Christ and knowing Christ?

What do you think is meant by Christ being mediated by or through a church tradition? 

222 e 
If you experienced becoming a Catholic as an adult, how was the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults instrumental in your conversion process? If you were raised in the Catholic Church, how were the Mass and other sacraments instrumental in your gradual conversion to Christ? If you were raised in another church or religion, how were the services and rituals of that faith instrumental  in your spiritual growth?

222 f 
How can sacraments be both symbols of what we are and symbols of what we are supposed to be?

223 a
These are very personal questions, but why is it important to ask them?
223 b
Is it possible that “disposition” and “fruitfulness” in medieval theology were naming the same inner realities that today are named “conversion” and “authenticity”? Explain your answer.

Give an example of what medieval theology referred to as the reviviscence of a sacrament. How might this process be named or described in more contemporary terms?

223 c
Give another example of people slowly becoming what they do by doing it over and over. 

223 d 
Put in your own words what is said here about the times when Eucharist is a true symbol of ourselves. Explain whether you agree with it or not. 

224 a
According to this paragraph, when does the Mass actually symbolize our sacrificing on behalf of others? Explain whether or not you agree with this interpretation.

224 b
What are some nonreligious events in which you participated in the sense being described here. (You might think of musical, political, or sporting events.) 

224 c 
Can you think of a time when you spiritually connected with the rite of reconciliation and a time when you did not? What do you think made the difference?

224 d
What is being said here about mysteries? How does it relate to what was said earlier in chapter 1, section 2, about mystery?

225 a
Can you relate to this analogy with children’s behavior? If so, how?

225 b
During sacramental ceremonies, have you sometimes felt yourself being spiritually touched or moved in a more Christlike direction? Can you recall at least one such experience?

Have you felt yourself being spiritually touched or moved when reading the Bible or when listening to a sermon? Can you recall at least one such experience? 

225 c 
How many of these experienced mysteries can you relate to? Give a personal example of one of them.

225 d
Would you say your parish church has spirit or not? Why would you say that?

226 a
Have you attended other churches besides your own? How would you describe the spirit you found there? How would you characterize the spirit in your own church?

226 b
Are there groups within your parish that have their own unique spirit? Do they bring that spirit to the liturgy? Do different weekend Masses feel spiritually different to you? How so?

226 c
Would it be possible for a group of Christians in church to have a spirit that is different from the spirit of Christ? Explain your answer.

226 d
Some scripture scholars suggest that the Pharisees in the gospels represent not Jewish leaders in Jesus’ day but church leaders in the first century. Have you ever felt that Christians were behaving like the Pharisees? How so?

227 a
In what sense can ideals be said to be real? Explain your answer.

227 b
Think of a time when you fell short of an ideal that was important to you. 

227 c 
Can you relate to any of these situations? Think of an example in your own life. 

227 d 
How do you understand the connection between ideals and norms? How do you think the ideals lived and exemplified by Jesus became scriptural norms?

227 e
How do you imagine the stories about Jesus and his teachings might have been preserved in community worship, even before they were put into written form?

228 a
Why can what is revealed in the scriptures be called kerygmatic and prophetic? Give an example of a scripture passage that has spoken to you. 

228 b 
Why can what is revealed in the sacraments be called kerygmatic and prophetic? Give an example of a sacramental ritual that has spoken to you.

228 c
Do you think it is misleading to talk about sacraments as though they always do what they are supposed to do? Explain why you say that.

229 a
Do you agree with the claims being made in this paragraph? Why or why not?

229 b
Is this paragraph realistic? Are the things being said here always true? Explain your answer. 

229 c 
Can you relate what is said in this paragraph to your own experience? If so, talk about a way that things like this have happened to you.

230 a
Describe a time when you have felt connected to people with whom you shared some common experience, or talk about a group with whom you feel such a connection today.

230 b
Have you ever had the experience of feeling a certain connection with someone with whom you had little in common, but with whom you shared common ideas or interests? Describe what that was like. 

230 c 
Can you think of a time when you felt connected to someone because of common decisions that you both made (for example, choosing a school, buying a car, or adopting a child). Describe what that was like.

230 d
Does this analysis seem accurate to you? Why or why not? 

231 a 
We can experience community at the level of common experiences, at the level of common ideas, and at the level of common decisions. To which two levels of community are these questions referring? What is the point of asking such questions?

231 b
Are these valid questions? Why or why not?

231 c
A symbol should express what we are, whether as individuals or as a community. Show how this is true for something like a handshake or a family dinner.

231 d
If we do have common experiences with others, why does that not necessarily make us a community? Illustrate what you say with an example from your own experience.

231 e
If we have done things together with others and worked toward common goals with them, why does that not necessarily make us a community? Illustrate what you say with an example from your own experience.

232 a
What do you think about this argument? Give your reasons for agreeing or disagreeing with it.

232 b
What is this paragraph trying to say? Try to put it in your own words. 

232 c 
What is this paragraph trying to say? Put it in your own words, and then explain why you agree or disagree with it. 

232 d 
Give your own examples of how the following might (or might not) participate in the spiritual reality of truth: saying how you feel; giving your opinion about a work of art; a kiss. 

233 a 
If a mystery is a spiritual reality that can be experienced, what does it mean to name it in faith? How might it be possible to name a mystery in the faith language of a different religious tradition?

233 b
In the past, how have you understood the phrase, ex opere operato?

233 c
The argument here is that transition rituals can change spiritual realities such as social identity. The scholastics recognized this and talked about it in metaphysical terms (e.g., the sacramental character), but it is possible to talk about the same process in other ways without denying the reality of the changes in question. Do you agree or disagree with this argument, and why? 

234 a 
Can priestly powers, such as the ability to consecrate the Eucharist and to grant absolution for sins, be real even if they are not thought of as metaphysical realities? Why or why not? 

234 b 
If everything is a gift from God, is it correct to say that a spiritual reality experienced more intensely in a sacramental ritual is a gift from God—traditionally called charis, gratia, or grace? Is it even proper to say that the heightened experience is a gift or moment of grace? Why or why not?

234 c
In order to agree with this paragraph, you have to be able to distinguish between spiritual realities on the one hand, and the words or phrases that are used to talk about them on the other hand. Are you able to make that distinction? If so, give an example. If not, what do you think is preventing you?

234 d
Do you think these are important questions to ask? Why or why not? 

235 a 
How would these questions be answered in your own parish?

235 b
How would these questions be answered in your own parish? 

235 c 
How would these questions be answered in your own parish?

235 d
How would these questions be answered in your own parish?

235 e
How would these questions be answered in your own parish? 

236 a 
How would these questions be answered in your own parish?

236 b
How would these questions be answered in your own parish?

236 c
Put the ideas in this paragraph into your own words and explain why you agree or disagree with what is being said here. 

236 d 
Put the ideas in this paragraph into your own words and explain why you agree or disagree with what is being said here.

236 e
Put the ideas in this paragraph into your own words and explain why you agree or disagree with what is being said here. 

237 a 
Do you have some Protestant friends who talk in ways that Catholics usually do not, or who engage in church-related activities that are different from yours? How would you describe the religious differences between them and you?

237 b
Have you attended non-Catholic church services? How would you describe the spirit of worship in those churches, compared with the spirit of worship in a Catholic church?

238 a
How is the nature of a school, business, or nonprofit organization expressed in what it does? Explain in your own words the idea that what an institution does is symbolic of what it is. Why can it be said that a church signifies or symbolizes what it is by what it does? 

238 b 
Express in your own words the idea that the seven sacraments are special expressions of the spirit of Catholicism, and so they are distinctive ways that the nature of the Catholic Church can be seen. Explain why you agree or disagree with this idea.

238 c
What are some of the spiritual realities that you would say the Catholic Church tries to incarnate or embody as an institution? 

238 d 
Put these ideas into your own words and explain why you agree or disagree with them. 

239
What do you think about the idea that God communicates with human beings through visible signs, including symbolic rituals? Through what other means might God’s self-revelation take place? 

240 a 
To what extent are you aware of and proud of your Catholic heritage? Does the church’s history give Catholics a sense of who they are as believers? Should it? Explain what you think.

240 b
What do you think the Catholic Church says about itself by having a liturgical ritual for entering into priestly ministry? What would you say are the institutional beliefs and ideals, values and commitments that are symbolized by the sacrament of holy orders? 

240 c 
What do you think the Catholic Church says about itself by having a liturgical ritual for entering into wedded life? What would you say are the institutional beliefs and ideals, values and commitments that are symbolized by the sacrament of marriage? 

241 a 
What do you think the Catholic Church says about itself by having a liturgical ritual for the forgiveness of sins? What would you say are the institutional beliefs and ideals, values and commitments that are symbolized by the sacrament of reconciliation?

241 b
What do you think the Catholic Church says about itself by having a liturgical ritual for ministering to the aged and infirm? What would you say are the institutional beliefs and ideals, values and commitments that are symbolized by the anointing of the sick?

241 c
What do you think the Catholic Church says about itself by having a liturgical ritual such as the sacrament of confirmation? What would you say are the institutional beliefs and ideals, values and commitments that are symbolized by this sacrament?

241 d
What do you think the Catholic Church says about itself by having a liturgical ritual for initiation into the Christian community? What would you say are the institutional beliefs and ideals, values and commitments that are symbolized by the sacrament of baptism? 

242 a 
Do you agree that the eucharistic liturgy symbolically expresses all these things about the Catholic Church? Why or why not?

What other institutional beliefs and ideals, values and commitments do you see manifested in this sacrament? 

242 b 
What do you think should be the relationship between an institution’s symbolic representations of itself and the institution’s historical and current reality? 

242 c 
Do you remember reading about those criticisms in the earlier chapters of this book? What did you think about them at the time? 

243 a 
Can you think of any other reasons that the church should not get rid of its sacraments even though they do not always accurately represent what is going on in the institution? 

243 b 
Does this argument sound plausible to you? Why or why not? 

243 c 
Put into your own words the idea that the sacraments are prophetic symbols, and explain whether or not you agree with this idea. 

243 d 
Put into your own words the idea that the sacraments are kerygmatic symbols, and explain whether or not you agree with this idea. 

243 e 
Put into your own words the idea that the sacraments are redemptive symbols, and explain whether or not you agree with this idea. 

243 f 
Put into your own words the idea that the sacraments are eschatological symbols, and explain whether or not you agree with this idea. 

244 a 
Do you believe that the sacraments can have a transformative effect on the church as an institution? Why or why not? 

244 b 
Would you agree that the sacraments give the Catholic Church a unique institutional spirit? Why or why not? 

244 c 
What do you think about the assertion that it is almost impossible to be a generic Christian, living the way that Jesus taught, without being connected to some church? 

244 d 
Do you agree with these statements? Why or why not? 

245 a 
To what extent have you experienced the world becoming smaller during your own lifetime? 

245 b 
What are some of the characteristics of Western science and technology?


What are some indications that this spirit now reaches around the planet? 

245 c 
What do you think of the assertion that, according to the teaching of Jesus, our neighbor is anyone we see in need?

245 d
To phrase the question a different way, should our global awareness be permeated by the ideals and values of Jesus if we call ourselves Christians? 

245 e 
Do you agree that it is wrong to disconnect our Christian beliefs and values from our awareness of all that is going on in the world? Why or why not?

246 a
To what extent does this paragraph describe your inner attitudes?

246 b
If “catholic” means universal, is it a contradiction in terms to call ourselves Catholics and not be concerned about what is going on in the world around us?

246 c
In what ways would you say the church is already a sacrament of salvation?


In what ways might your parish be a sign and instrument of salvation in more ways than it already is?

246 d
Think of some examples from your own life of what is said here about religious experience, ritualism, and legalism.

Does what is said here about salvation square with what you know about church history? How so? 

247 a 
At what point in your life would you say that you began to develop a global consciousness? 

247 b 
What is this paragraph trying to say? Do you agree with it? 

248 a 
How much do you know about the history of Catholic social teaching?

How much have you thought about the social justice issues mentioned here? 

248 b 
What is the theological task being proposed here? State it in your own words. 

249 a 
What is the argument being presented here? Do you agree with it or not? 

249 b 
What do you think of this summary of the meaning of baptism? 

249 c 
Which of these implications of baptism would you agree with? Which ones not? Explain your thinking. 

250 a 
What do you think of this summary of the meaning of confirmation? 

250 b 
Which of these implications of confirmation would you agree with? Which ones not? Explain your thinking. 

250 c 
What do you think of this summary of the meaning of sacramental reconciliation?

251 a
Which of these implications of reconciliation would you agree with? Which ones not? Explain your thinking. 

251 b 
What do you think of this summary of the meaning of sacramental anointing? 

252 a 
Which of these implications of sacramental anointing would you agree with? Which ones not? Explain your thinking. 

252 b 
What do you think of this summary of the meaning of marriage? 

252 c 
Which of these implications of sacramental marriage would you agree with? Which ones not? Explain your thinking. 

253 a 
What do you think of this summary of the meaning of ordination? 

253 b 
What do you think of this summary of the meaning of ministry?

253 c
Which of these implications of ordination would you agree with? Which ones not? Explain your thinking. 

253 d 
What do you think of this summary of the meaning of Eucharist?

254 a
Which of these implications of eucharistic worship would you agree with? Which ones not? Explain your thinking.

254 b
What do you think of this summary of what it means to be a Christian?
254 c
Do you agree with this summary of liturgical history and the recent reforms? Why or why not?

255 a
What is the argument being presented here? What do you think about it?

255 b
What is the argument being presented here? What do you think about it? 

256
What is the vision of the future being presented here? What do you think about it?


Last modified: Saturday, 16 May 2015, 12:41 AM