A tiny primer on Revelation

(to go with this week’s lesson on Marian Apparitions)

Revelation (reh-vuh-LAY-shun):  

  • VERB: God’s activity in making Himself and His purposes known to humankind through Christ, the prophet, and the Apostles.
  • NOUN: The content of the Faith that is communicated and handed on.
  • God reveals to human beings His intention to draw them into union with Him.  In the course of doing so, He discloses the mystery of His own inner Trinitarian life and the true destiny of human beings.  With revelation, therefore, comes a body of knowledge otherwise inaccessible to human discovery.
  • Known as Divine Revelation or Public Revelation, it must be accepted with the assent of faith as part of the Deposit of Faith.

Deposit of Faith:

  • The body of saving truth, entrusted by Christ to the Apostles and handed on by them to the Church to be preserved and proclaimed.
  • It embraces the whole of Christ’s teachings as embodied in Revelation and Tradition.
  • This Revelation was complete with the death of the last Apostle and cannot be added to.
  • However, it is like an inexhaustible treasure, one that consistently rewards reflection and study with new insights and deeper penetration.
  • The teaching is a divine trust, something not to be tampered with, altered, or devalued.
  • The Church sees herself as a trustee to this Deposit, preserving the living tradition with fidelity while making sure its efficacy and richness are undiminished.

Private Revelation:

  • Private revelation stems from apparitions or locutions that, although approved by Church authority as “worthy of belief,” do not require the acceptance of the faithful.
  • The content of such revelations may never be in contradiction to public revelation, which is found in the Sacred Scriptures and in Sacred Tradition.
Hat tip to the Catholic Dictionary, Stravinskas, which I highly recommend you have on your bookshelf!

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