Lord Jesus, love everyone I meet today through me, and help me to love YOU through them.
Blessed John Henry Newman is to be canonized on October 13, 2019.
While you and I may never be formally canonized, we can become saints. In fact, God constantly invites us to become saints. Sainthood should be our main (only) focus in this life – the only thing we should strive for.
Let’s reflect on that for a minute…
All saints are in Heaven with God. If we become saints, we will be in Heaven with God. If we fail to become saints, we will not be in Heaven with God.
If, at the end of our earthly life, we don’t end up as saints in Heaven with God, it will only be because we have rejected His invitation to sainthood. And if that happens, where will we end up?
And if we end up separated from God in Heaven, all happiness we experience as result of our efforts to achieve earthly success, make lots of money, drive the best cars, live in the biggest houses, wear the nicest clothes, eat the best foods and derive the most pleasure won’t matter a wit.
While these things are nice, they do not deliver lasting happiness and, after all, isn’t ‘happiness’ the reason we chase things in the first place? The desire for happiness is pretty much the base cause for all of our actions in this life.
I’m not saying not to have dreams and goals in life. Be grateful to be blessed with the material things in your life, whether big or small. Use them to Godly ends, if you have them. Remember that they are His, and He has loaned them to you. I’m only suggesting that we not make ending up with the most toys the ‘be all to end all.’
Because one day we will leave it all behind, and our happiness will either grow exponentially as saints, or collapse to eternal wailing and gnashing of teeth as NOT saints.
Contrary to popular belief, sainthood is not just handed to us on a silver platter. Possibly the one thing that we have to do to win it is to surrender.
Surrender to what, you ask?
Surrender to the will of God. By surrendering our will to His will, we accept His invitation to sainthood.
As Patrick Coffin says, “Be a saint. What else is there?”
Many people believe that Mary and Joseph had children after Jesus. I would like to pose just one question regarding the “Brothers of Jesus”…
If Mary and Joseph had children after the birth of Jesus, why didn’t they bring them to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover?
Lk 2:41-52 “Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover,
“and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom.
“After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it.
“Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances,
“but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
“After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions,
“and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers.
“When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”
“And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
“But they did not understand what he said to them.
“He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.
“And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.”
Imagine yourself as a child walking through a garden, a light breeze whispering its way through the leaves on the trees and flowering roses as you make your way along the edge of a softly babbling stream, sounds of birds chirping in the background.
You are not alone on this stroll but are walking hand in hand, with your mother, Mary, as she reminisces with you about the life of her Son, Jesus.
She recounts each of the major events that she has kept in her heart from the moment the Angel Gabriel greeted her in the Annunciation, up until the time that her Son, Jesus, ascended into Heaven.
She tells you about her conversation with Gabriel, and how she was overshadowed by the power of the Holy Spirit and conceived God’s only begotten Son.
She recalls how she hurried to the home of Zechariah and was greeted by Elizabeth saying, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.”
She describes how she and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem, and she gave birth to The Savior, and how others came to worship the baby.
She remembers bringing the Child to the Temple in Jerusalem to consecrate Him to The Lord, as was the Law. And she tells you about Simeon and Anna, and their prophesies regarding the Boy… and herself…
She speaks of Losing Jesus, searching for Him and finally finding Him, after three days, in the temple. And she tells us of his remaining obedient to her and Joseph.
As you walk along the stream, Mary recalls how Jesus asked John The Baptist to baptize Him in the Jordan River, and how John refused, at first, because he was not worthy. And how he relented and did, indeed, baptize The Son Of God. And she tells you about how the Holy spirit descended upon Him like a dove – and how a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
She recounts, with love, how she informed Jesus that the supply of wine had been depleted early in the festivities at the wedding in Cana, and how, when He said, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come,” She merely told the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” And they did. And He turned water into the finest wine. And He had performed His first public miracle… at the request of His mother…
She speaks about her Son proclaiming the Kingdom Of God as He stood up in the synagogue on the sabbath day to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. And how He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written…
Lk 4:17-21 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, “and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”
And she continues on about how, rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. And then how He said to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” And she recounts how they reacted…
After a moment of silent reflection, as you approach a small hill, she moves on to relate to you an event on a mountain witnessed by Peter, James and John where Jesus was transfigured and His face became as bright as the sun and His clothes whiter than snow. She tells you about how Elijah and Moses came to Him and how they spoke. And she tells you how a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; and how from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” And she tells you how afraid they were. And she tells you that suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.
As you proceed, She calls to mind the great event of the Passover celebration. Not just any celebration, but the supper – the Last Supper – during which Jesus institutes the one thing that ensures that we are all truly united as one. She reminds you that Jesus prayed that we all be one with each other as He and the Father are one. She also reminds you that He said that “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His Blood, you have no life within you.” And then she goes on…
Lk 22:19-20 “Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.”
“And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.“
Again, silence… Reflection…
Several quiet minutes go by, and you begin to notice a chill in the air. The breeze is no longer whispering, but has begun to shout as a stronger wind. The gently waving leaves and flowers have taken on the appearance of struggling to maintain their hold on the limbs and stalks to which they are connected, many failing to do so and are blown away. Clouds have moved in, darkening the the skies and the garden. The happy chirping of the birds has ceased…
It is dark, windy, and cold…
Mary begins to speak of her Son and His disciples going out to The Mount Of Olives to pray. Hesitantly, her voice breaking, she begins to tell you about how her Son asked his friends to pray with that they not be put to the test. About how He moved away from them and fell to His knees, praying and asking the Father to take this cup from Him, but that the Father’s will, not His, be done. About how He repeated this request several times. About how His sweat became like drops of blood, falling to the ground. About how He found his friends sleeping. And, finally…
About how Judas betrayed Him with a kiss…
As you continue your journey, you happen upon a small cave and, seeking shelter, enter.
Mary continues with her reminiscence…
She describes to you Jesus’ interview with Pilate, the man in who’s hands lies His fate. Her voice faltering, tears falling from her eyes, she tells you how Pilate found no guilt in Him, but, in order to keep the peace, handed Him over to be scourged. She tells you how, tied to a pillar, He was beaten with a Roman flagrum, His flesh shredded and ripped from His bones.
Waiting a few moments, she composes herself and goes on…
She describes how the soldiers then move him to another location, strip him, and place a purple cloak on his shoulders. They then weave a crown of thorns. She describes the thorns as being two to four inches long. She goes on…
She goes on to describe His ‘crowning’. The soldiers do not merely place the thorns on His head – they push them into his skull, piercing one of His eyes. They then hand him a reed – a long blade of grass – as a scepter and, almost immediately, take it from Him and start beating Him with it as they take turns kneeling before Him, mocking Him as the King He claims to be. They blindfold Him and take turns striking Him, taunting Him and telling Him to tell them who had just hit Him.
She goes on, finally, they rip the cloak from His back and prepare Him to go back to Pilate. As they rip the cloak from His back, the dried blood is torn and His wounds reopen.
She says that her Son is taken back to Pontius Pilate where the crowds scream for His crucifixion. Pilate succumbs to their demands, condemning Jesus.
She, again, pauses in silence, tears streaming from her eyes, falling from her face. You both sit there, clasping hands, staring out through the cave opening as rain begins to lightly fall outside…
After awhile, she is ready to continue…
She begins to relate how Jesus was forced to carry his own cross through the town, falling under its weight three times along the way, but that the soldiers pressed into service Simon, the Cyrenian, to help Him bear the weight. She describes large crowds, some taunting, many mourning Him. She tells you about a group of women who were lamenting Him. And she tells you what He said to them…
Lk 23:28-30 “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’ At that time people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’
“And then,” she says, “we came to Golgotha…”
Again, she pauses…
She picks up where she left off, telling you that when they got to Golgotha, they stripped Him, again tearing open the wounds of the scourging. She says that they laid Him down on, and nailed his hands and feet to, the cross. She tells you that the nails were more like railroad spikes than regular nails. She says that when He was raised, He had to push Himself up with His feet just to be able to breath. She could tell that He was in great pain, but she says that He embraced it out of Love. Love for you. Love for me. Love for every person ever created. She tells you that the proof of this is what He asked of His Father…
Lk 23:34 “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”
She tells you that people were taunting Him, telling Him that if He was the Messiah, prove it by saving Himself. She continues, telling you about two thieves who were crucified with Him, one on His right and the other on His left. She says that one of them was taunting Jesus with the same demands. The other defended Jesus, saying that he and his fellow criminal deserved the punishment but that Jesus had done nothing wrong. Then he asked Jesus to remember him when he comes into His kingdom. Jesus promised that he would be there with Him in Paradise that very day.
Mary then describes something that her Son did and said that has stayed with her forever. He looked at His mother and, referring to John, said “Behold your son,” and then looked at John and said, “Behold your mother.” She tells you that, at that moment, she became your mother, too…
Finally, her voice again cracking, Mary describes the moment of Jesus’ death…
Lk 23:46 Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and when he had said this he breathed his last.
At that moment, frightening loud cracks of thunder and flashes of lightning occur outside the cave. You quickly turn to the entrance to see that the light rainfall has become a torrent. You hold Mary’s hand more tightly…
You sit in the quiet darkness, watching the deluge outside the cave. After awhile, Mary is ready to begin again, now with no tears and with joy in her voice. You look look into her face and you see a radiant smile. Mary is happy…
You suddenly realize that the rain, thunder and lightning have stopped. And it is bright and sunny outside the cave. You both walk out into the sunshine and clear skies. And then it hits you – The ground is dry. the plants are dry. everything is fresh, dry and clean. you continue your walk…
Mary Starts out saying that on the third day everything changed. When they went to the tomb of Jesus, He wasn’t there. In stead, there was an Angel of the Lord, who told them,
Mt 28:5-8 Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. “He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ Behold, I have told you.
Mary goes on to tell you about how the disciples were gathered in the upper room that evening, and how Jesus appeared to them saying,”Peace be with you.” She explains that He showed them His wounds and that they all rejoiced. He repeated His greeting, saying, “Peace be with you. As the father has sent me, so I send you.”
Mary recounts the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven, recalling His words…
Mt 28:18-20 Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
And she tells you about how they are gazing up at Him as He rises into the clouds, finally disappearing. And then she tells you about the two men dressed in white who appeared standing next to them saying…
Ac 1:11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”
You and Mary walk on in silent contemplation for a few minutes…
Suddenly Mary says two words: “Holy Spirit.” She calls to mind what Jesus said regarding the Paraclete that He would send to guide and protect His Church…
Jn 14:16-17 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.“
Jn 14-26 The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name – he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.
Ac 1:5,8 …for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the holy Spirit.
But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
And then she shares what happened when the Holy Spirit came…
Ac 2:1-4 And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.
She explains that the Holy Spirit enabled them to speak in all of the languages of all of the people who had gathered in Jerusalem from all over the world and, in fact, that the disciples immediately went out and preached to them. And the people were amazed that they heard the message, each in their own language. There were about three thousand who were converted that day.
As you and Mary walk along, approaching the end of the garden, she tells you a story about two great prophets from the Old Testament of Sacred Scripture. One of them is Elijah and the other is Enoch. She tells you that both of these men, while living in different times and places have something very unique in common. You wonder what that something could be, and you ask her. She responds by telling you that they both were assumed bodily into Heaven…
Heb 11:5 “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and “he was found no more because God had taken him.” Before he was taken up, he was attested to have pleased God.“
2Kg 2:11 “As they walked on conversing, a flaming chariot and flaming horses came between them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.“
Mary then explains to you that she was honored in the same way and that, because of this and the Ascension of Jesus, you can also have hope of a glorified body after the second coming of Christ and the Last Judgement.
Now at the end of your walk, Mary says that she has more to tell you.
Lk 1:49 “For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.”
She explains that the place of the Queen Mother in the Dividic Kingdom is one of intercession for the people, and the king’s main advisor and that Dividic kings took their mothers very seriously and greatly honored their counsel…
2Kg 19 “Then Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah, and the king stood up to meet her and paid her homage. Then he sat down upon his throne, and a throne was provided for the king’s mother, who sat at his right.
“There is one small favor I would ask of you,” she said. “Do not refuse me.” “Ask it, my mother,” the king said to her, “for I will not refuse you.”
She continues, “My child, I am of the line of David, as is my Son, Jesus, the King of Kings.”
Rev 12:1 “A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.“
Rev 12:5 “She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne.”
To me, this is the Rosary – the Gospel on a string…
Hail, Holy Queen…
- This started out as a one line comment on a quote (“The rosary is the gospel on a string.” – Elisa Taylor Berry ), which I found very inspiring, and grew from there.
Sometimes the seemingly smallest things you say can have a huge affect on someone…
When you find a treasure buried in a field, what do you do?
Mt 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
Some decisions are easy. You can make them on the spot with no negative ramifications –
“Do I want strawberry, chocolate or vanilla ice cream?”
Some decisions are a bit more involved –
“Should I buy this house or the other house? Do I really want to buy a house at all? What if I buy this house and regret it? What if I don’t buy it and regret that? Maybe I should wait a couple of days and dig a little more and learn more about it before I make a decision.”
Some decisions are downright HARD and may take years to consider and involve sacrifice (perhaps large sacrifices though yielding even larger rewards). Decisions which, in the end, have to be made one way or the other.
If you don’t dig, you will never know…
Case in point:
Home isn’t about where you’ve been or what’s familiar. Home is about where you belong. – Keith Nester
Guard me then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy…
……is the last petition in one of my favorite prayers to the Holy Spirit.
These days, we live in an “anything goes” society – anything, that is, except morality, reality and truth. Sin and depravity engulf us wherever we go. We are pressured from all sides to comply with the demands of a culture of “tolerance” – pressure that is the result of the exact opposite of what that culture demands of us.
We don’t have to look for it in the newspaper, on television, radio, in movies, music, political speeches, etc.; we just have to go into a grocery store, walk down the street or go for a Sunday drive to find it. In many places, we can even find it when we attend a church service, presenting itself as “God’s” work.
We get hit with “If you love me you will let me do (insert activity here).” Wrong! If I did NOT love you, I’d just say, “proceed with my blessing.” But many of us knuckle under because we are afraid of what family, friends or society will think of us. We are content to let our “beloved” proceed down the wide path to Hell as long as nobody calls us names and/or “unfriends” us. And, in doing so, we may be “lovingly” accompanying them to their final destination…
It’s easy to succumb to the fear brought on by those attacks.
And it is easy to fall prey to temptations by which we are pummeled on a daily basis. (And it’s easy to despair when we do fall. DON’T! God will forgive you and welcome you back! That’s why He became man, suffered, died and rose in the first place.)
We must remember that we are not here to please society. We are here to please God.
The truth is that we cannot resist evil on our own. Only God’s grace can get us through the quagmire of a fallen society. Only God’s grace can enable us to “keep our eyes on the prize.” (Phil 3:14, 1 Cor : 24). And He sent His Holy Spirit to help us do just that…
Don’t hesitate to ask for help…
Guard me then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy…
Strengthen me O Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy…
…is the fourth petition in one of my favorite prayers to the Holy Spirit.
Let’s face it, there are times when we hear someone come right out and attack the Catholic Church for Her teachings; for the failures of Her clergy, leadership or even Her members in general. And the attacks are made whether they are true or not.
I, like many “cradle Catholics”, have been approached by our separated brothers and sisters and evangelized on how the Catholic Church is everything from “errant in Her teachings” to the “whore of Babylon”, but, in any case, certainly not Christian. In fact, there was a period of about ten years where almost none of my friends were Catholic.
During that time, I was VERY heavily tested. I was constantly under “attack” by my Fundamentalist, Pentecostal and Evangelical friends. When you throw in my relatives who succumbed to the same queries I was getting, it pretty much completes the picture.
Thankfully, I was blessed with a grandmother who took the time to catechize me when I was young. (Not that I didn’t get educated via catechism classes or four years in Catholic high school, but Grandma Harrigan was the strongest influence on me when I was growing up.
While I could not respond to inquiries with exact chapter and verse, I understood enough to give high level explanations when presented with “reasons” I should leave the Church. At some point, though, I started getting questions I couldn’t “fake” my way through. I don’t mind saying that my faith was a bit shaken. In fact, there was a brief moment when I actually thought of starting my own church! Seriously.
For some reason, I decided to go hunting for the answer to a question I couldn’t answer. And you know what? I found it. Then it happened again. And again. And again…
And I continued to search out and find the answers to the questions who’s answers were beyond me. Pretty soon, I had complete confidence that if I could not respond to any question about my Catholic faith, I could find the answer.
You should have that same confidence! And the best way I can think of to get that confidence is to patiently and lovingly listen to the question/accusation and then say, “I don’t know, but I’ll go find the answer,” and then… go find the answer! Do that a couple of times and you will loose a lot of fear.
And if you don’t know where to start looking, there are LOTS of resources pointed to, just to the right of where you are reading. ————————–>
There are even some pretty good ones linked at the top of this page.
So go get confident!
Strengthen me O Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy…
Sometimes the simplest things can be the most profound…
Often, we develop complex and detailed ideas and explanations, create and deliver lengthy presentations, write entire books containing hundreds of pages, all to expound on one aspect of a question.
We become so wrapped up in trying to convince someone else, or even ourselves, that something is good, true or just worth thinking about, that we begin to prattle out paragraphs as if we are in a contest where the winner is the one who can come up with the most words.
And then, on the all too rare occasion, we run into something like this…
“There was a point in history where there was only one member of the Church and that member was the Blessed Virgin Mary” – Tommy Tighe
…and when we do, it stops us, frozen in our tracks, our minds boggled in wonder.
Profoundly simple and simply profound…
Draw My Heart O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is Holy…
…Is the third petition in one of my favorite prayers to the Holy Spirit.
“Love”. A word that we hear, and even say, all the time. We “love your your new hair do;” “Love your new car;” ” Love your home;” “Love apples;” “Love long walks on the beach.”
“Love” is everywhere in our conversations, our entertainment, in our successes and maybe even in our failures.
But love is not often enough where it’s supposed to be – in our hearts.
How many of us stop to think about the fact that God IS Love? He is perfect Love. And God is Holy – the ultimate Holiness. And God created each of us in His image and likeness. As such, every person is perfectly Loved by God and is holy. Even the worst of us. On our worst days we are not loved any less by God – the Holiest of Holies.
We are called to love. We are called to love God with all our hearts, all our minds and all our souls, and our neighbor as ourselves. We are called to love each other because we are called to love all that is holy.
Even on our worst days.
Even on theirs.
Draw My Heart O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is Holy…
Act in me O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy…
…Is the second request in one of my favorite prayers to the Holy Spirit.
Most of us don’t just vegetate throughout the day. We have things to do – jobs, work around the house, helping out a neighbor, going to the store, etc. It’s easy to forget that we can offer up our prayers, works, joys and sufferings for the salvation of souls, the forgiveness of sins, the conversion of sinners and the reunion of all Christians. (That’s taken right out of the Morning Offering Prayer.)
We can offer our entire day’s activity in loving service to God and His will (be done). And when we do that, our work becomes holy.
Act in me O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy…
Breathe in me O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy…
…are the first words in one of my favorite prayers to the Holy Spirit. Something that I, at least, could use help with.
There are times (every hour of every day?) in today’s cultural environment when it can be a challenge to maintain holy thoughts, or at least thoughts that aren’t completely detrimental to one’s spiritual (or even mental, emotional or physical) wellbeing.
You cannot turn on the TV or radio, walk down the street, watch a movie, read a newspaper, participate in social media or pick up the phone without being hit with “information” – true or otherwise – designed to make you hate some person, group or thing.
We live our lives around the twenty four hour news cycle. We chase the next “cool” piece of technology, and when we get it, we start looking for its replacement. And we do the same with people…
We spend our time listening to loud music, watching flashy entertainment and absorbing the noisy prattle of opinion from politicians, newscasters and bartenders.
We have abandoned silence. We have abandoned reflection. We have abandoned love.
We have abandoned God.
Now, more than ever, we need to step back out of the traffic jam of our daily lives, find a quiet place within ourselves and listen and reflect and open ourselves to God. We need to find holiness.
Breathe in me O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy…
Earlier today, I saw this come up on a post on Facebook:
I asked a baptist “Where does it say in the bible that everything should be based on the bible?”
He respond this:
2 Timothy 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
A quick answer to this:
1 – “and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” – “Profitable” is true, but it doesn’t say that it’s the only basis for everything. “Profitable” means that it’s helpful, but it doesn’t mean that it’s even necessary.
2 – The scriptures he is referring to are all old testament writings, so he is limiting himself to adhering to the Jewish faith and cannot profess to believe that Jesus is the Savior.
I hadn’t thought if it in terms of not being able to profess that Christ is who He is before, but it seems to make sense. To me, anyway.
Wow… The end of man. That actually sounds a bit ominous, doesn’t it? When the Baltimore Catechism refers to the “End Of Man”, it’s not what it sounds like. We may think that we’re talking about the end of the existence of the Human Race, but…
Q. 126. What do we mean by the “end of man”?
A. By the “end of man” we mean the purpose for which he was created: namely, to know, love, and serve God.
As such, we should strive to achieve our desired end…
Q. 150. Why did God make you?
A. God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.
That last one – “…and to be happy with Him forever in the next (world)”….
We can take care of our body. We can eat the right foods and get the right exercise. We can have the best job, wear the best clothes, drive the best car, live in the nicest house, be a nice person, have the most friends.
But if we don’t nurture our relationship with God, it is all for not. We can do and have all of those things, but it’s all temporary – at some point it’s all going to end. Everybody dies, and when our time comes, we will leave all of that behind.
As the saying goes, “You can’t take it with you.” The only thing we take with us is our soul and how well we did the first three things mentioned – knowing, loving and serving Him.
That’s it. Nothing more.
And if we don’t do the first three, we aren’t going to achieve the last one. And, at that point, there are only two options open to us. Either we are going to be happy with Him forever, or we are going to be without Him forever.
The perfect definition of “Hell” is “the complete absence of God.”
That being the case, the answer to the next question should be easy…
Q. 152. Of which must we take more care, our soul or our body?
A. We must take more care of our soul than of our body.
Taking the path of least resistance only leads to a life of least virtue, least integrity, least trustworthiness, least growth, least accomplishment, and least reward. If any. – BK
This is why…
“The most basic Christian gesture in prayer is and always will be the sign of the cross. It is a way of confessing Christ crucified with one’s very body … To seal oneself with the sign of the cross is a visible and public Yes to him who suffered for us; to him who in the body has made God’s love visible, even to the utmost; to the God who reigns not by destruction but by the humility of suffering and love, which is stronger than all the power of the world and wiser than all the calculating intelligence of men. The sign of the cross is a confession of faith: I believe in him who suffered for me and rose again; in him who has transformed the sign of shame into a sign of hope and of the love of God that is present with us. The confession of faith is a confession of hope: I believe in him who in his weakness is the Almighty; in him who can and will save me even in apparent absence and impotence. By signing ourselves with the cross, we place ourselves under the protection of the cross, hold it in front of us like a shield that will guard us in all the distress of daily life and give us the courage to go on. We accept it as a signpost that we follow … The cross shows us the road of life — the imitation of Christ. . .Whenever we make the sign of the cross, we accept our Baptism anew; Christ from the cross draws us, so to speak, to himself. . .We make the sign of the cross on ourselves and thus enter the power of the blessing of Jesus Christ. We make the sign over people to whom we wish a blessing … Through the cross, we can become sources of blessing for one another.”
Pope Benedict XVI
How many of us shy away from signing ourselves in public? I certainly used to.
It was a hard “habit” to break – refraining from doing it, I mean. I started out slow, kind of moving my hand up-down-across sloppily when I didn’t think anybody could see exactly what I was doing. After a few weeks, I became less “clandestine” about what I was doing. And finally, I just did it. I, pretty much, threw caution to the wind.
Nowa days, If I pass an accident, I make the sign of the cross and say a prayer. If I hear that someone has been injured or died, I make the sign of the cross and say a prayer. If I’m in a restaurant, I make the sign of the cross and say grace. If I’m walking the dog and praying a Rosary, Chaplet or any other prayer, I make the sign of the cross at the appropriate times.
So far, I haven’t had anyone “cross” me off their list of friends for doing it (pun intended). I will let you know if I ever do.
That’s not to say that I am perfect at it. I’m not. I sometimes (often, sadly) forget to do it when I drive by a church or hospital. I need to get better at that. And I’m sure that there are lots of opportunities I miss or pass up.
But I am getting a lot better at it.
And I’ll bet you can, too. Give it a shot, and when you do, think about what Pope Benedict XVI had to say about it. It may make it a bit easier for you to take the plunge. (I was going to say “cross the bridge”, but I figured one bad attempt at humor was enough.)
One of the things that has been going through my head this morning is how Judas betrayed Jesus and some of the things that did NOT come from that act of betrayal.
But first, what was that betrayal? It was the most atrocious sin ever committed. It really was.
Think about that for a minute – Judas intentionally caused the Son of God made man to be horribly tortured, humiliated and murdered. And he did it directly. When you and I strike at God, we generally go through someone or something else to do it. We take the scenic route. Not Judas. He jumped right into the express lane. He completely bypassed everyone else and went directly for the target.
No middle man.
He murdered God, and he did it for thirty pieces of silver.
Did Jesus condemn him for doing this? No. Remember that it was Jesus who said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” That included Judas.
That includes us.
It was not Jesus who condemned Judas, it was Judas who condemned Judas. Think about THAT for a minute, too…
Jesus was ready fo forgive the most horrendous sin ever committed by anyone, embrace the sinner and welcome him back into the family. But Judas despaired. He gave up. He could not accept that God could forgive him. He refused to accept God’s mercy and, instead, went out and hung himself.
We really have no way of knowing if Judas repented at the last moment, so we cannot judge the disposition of his soul, but it doesn’t look good…
So the first thing that comes to my mind that did not come from Judas’ betrayal is that Jesus didn’t condemn Judas.
And if He didn’t condemn Judas, what makes us think that He will condemn us if we truly repent of our own sins? Nothing we can do can possibly be any worse than what Judas did. Remember that Peter directly denied Jesus three times…
Peter repented. So can we.
But what else didn’t happen?
Well, for one thing, Judas’ betrayal did not change anything that Jesus taught. Remember, Judas was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus, one of His closest friends. But his betrayal did nothing to change any of Jesus’ teachings. Jesus did not become any less God than He is because of what Judas did. He did not love Judas any less.
And He does not love us any less when we betray Him.
Something else that didn’t happen is that the other eleven (though their faith may have been temporarily shaken) didn’t just scatter and go their separate ways, abandoning the eternal truths they had learned from their teacher. And after the Resurrection, it became full speed ahead. No turning back. They remained faithful, even to the point of martyrdom.
Jesus died for them and they were willing to do the same for Him. We should all be so faithful.
And what did they do about Judas? They replaced him with Matthias and continued to build the Body of Christ (the Church) on Earth (Eph 4:12).
No matter what we have done; no matter what we have failed to do, God is waiting for us. He is waiting for us to accept His love, mercy, forgiveness and grace.
The real question is, “what are WE waiting for?”
Go to reconciliation. We are all
“…one confession away from sainthood.” – Patrick Madrid
“Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:21–23).
I have friends and family members who have either 1) never been Catholic or 2) left the Church for something “better”. I imagine that you do, too.
Many of them have left organized religion altogether because they want to go directly to Jesus without any human intervention. They believe that other humans just get in the way and muddy the waters of their “personal relationship” with The Son Of God. They want pure, unhindered access to Jesus, and human institutions only get in the way of that “friendship”. They want to go it alone. They don’t need all of the human malarky that the Church inserts into the equation. For them, it’s just “Jesus and me”.
That’s their idea of real Christianity – it’s all personal, directly between them and our Savior.
In reality, however, that’s not Jesus’s plan. At least, not the way they present it.
In reality, Jesus left instructions on how to have that personal relationship with Him. He left those instructions with the apostles, and they have been handed down through history, one generation at a time. And He has remained with us all the way up to this very moment. And He will remain with us even “until the end of the age”. (Mt 28:20)
And, as part of that, He left us the Sacraments, as supported in Sacred Scripture:
And I cannot think of any way to have a more personal relationship with Jesus than through receiving His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist.
And then there is the fact that the Church is the Body Of Christ…
1 Cor 12 – 13, 27:
12 – As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.
13 – For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.
27 – Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it. (Emphasis mine)
22 – And he put all things beneath His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the church,
23 – which is His body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way. (Emphasis mine)
24 – Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, (Emphasis mine)
Again, as with the Eucharist, not in some metaphorical way, but in reality.
So, in one sense, they are correct. It IS important to have a direct relationship with Jesus, with the Body of Christ, and human institutions only get in the way. But DIVINE institutions populated by human beings don’t. You just have to know where to find Him.
The word “devil” is derived from a Greek word meaning “divider”or, more specifically, “the who who divides”.
The devil is rather one who, spiritually speaking, does everything in his power to separate us (dia-bolos in Greek meaning ‘the who who divides’) from the vertical link uniting true believers with God, and which alone saves them from solitude and death. (Luc Ferry)
With the vast multitude of competing Christian “denominations”, each claiming to be the “one true church” and having the only correct understanding of the teachings of Jesus, is it any wonder that the world shuns Christ and His Church?
This is just my opinion, but I think that these divisions have a direct bering on the breakdown of society as a whole. If the world sees conflict among “faithful” Christians, why should they not follow our example? If Jesus can teach conflicting “truth”, why should the world bother to adhere to objective truth and morality?
These divisions do NOT come from God. God is TRUTH. Opposing positions cannot both be true. God cannot divide Himself. God is the great unifier.
And He wants us to be in union with Him…
Personally, I believe that unity among Christians will lead to greater credibility of the Christian faith and, therefore, a more unified society.
Many people embrace the convenient lessons of the Gospel – the parts that are in line with their own lifestyles or desires – and reject the inconvenient parts – the ones which contradict the way they want to live their lives. Scripture is great as long as it doesn’t interfere with their comfort and their ideas of right and wrong, good and evil, truth and falsehood.
The teachings of Christ are perceived as an opportunity to invent one’s own religion by picking “nice” verses and adjusting them to fit one’s own “reality”.
The problem with this is that only reality is real and only truth is true. You cannot reshape these concepts to your own will and still have them be valid.
Many who use scripture this way will condemn Church authority – the pope and the magisterium – not realizing that they are actually setting themselves up as their own “pope”, their own “magisterium”.
Christ’s teachings are not meant as options from which to pick and choose to create your own comfort zone. You either pick them all, or you run the risk of “comforting” yourself into Hell.
Many of us live as if God doesn’t exist or we keep Him locked away in a closet, opening the door only when we need something from Him. We shut Him out of our thoughts. We exclude Him from our plans. We ignore His voice in our consciences. We assume that, because we are “nice people” He will not keep us from entering Heaven when our time on Earth has ended.
In a sense, that last sentence is correct – He will not keep us out of Heaven. The truth is that we will keep ourselves out of Heaven – and He, out of perfect love, will allow us to make that decision. He loves us enough to allow us to exercise our own free will.
Hell will be our own decision, not His…
And we will rehearse making that decision during our time in this life. We are creatures of habit. We practice making our eternal decision right here, right now.
We need to change our habits…
God does not move away from us and is always here for us. It is we who move away from Him.
It’s OK to experience sadness – it’s part of our nature as human beings. Remember that Jesus cried at the death of Lazarus – Jn 11:35 “And Jesus wept.”
What we don’t want to do is let that sadness take up permanent residence in, and fill, our soul. As difficult as it may be, sometimes, we need to learn to trust that God is working in our lives, and that He has something better for us.
Jesus raised Lazarus. He will do the same for you…
It’s easy to believe in Jesus – anybody can do that. It’s not as easy to TRUST in Him.
Trust Him anyway.
Most of us think of Lent as a time to “give something up”, to do without, to sacrifice. Let’s remember that when we give something up, it is replaced with something else. Life isn’t lived in a vacuum…
Let’s make sure that our lenten vacuum isn’t filled with something negative or harmful. Let’s fill it with love…
We hear a lot about tolerance today. Mostly from people who don’t understand how to apply it, at least, in the Christian sense.
Sadly, there is too much “I love you if you agree with me. If you don’t agree with me, we can’t be friends and I don’t want to know you anymore” in the world today.
That’s not love, and it certainly isn’t tolerance, but it has become the way of the world. And we know who the Prince of this world is (see Jn 14:30; Eph 2:1,2; Jn 12:31)
Archbishop Sheen had a simple way to explain how and why we can “love the sinner and hate the sin”…
It’s up to us to embrace it. God won’t do it for us…
The problem with tolerance, today, is that most people can’t tolerate it…
I have a question…
At what point does it become OK to NOT kill a somebody?
At conception? At birth? At three years after birth? When they are no longer useful and are a burden, no matter what age they are?
Or is it just when they can defend themselves?
I have another question, the rhetorical kind…
When does opinion become false?
At its inception? When it falsely presents itself as objective truth?
Yes. When objective truth is involved, an opinion is, by nature, false. That’s because if it is true, it is not an opinion, but truth.
A thing cannot be true and untrue at the same time. Nothing that is true to me is untrue to someone else.
You can’t change truth.
When Jesus said that He would He with us until the end of the age (end of the world), He meant it.
Mt 28:18 – 20
18 Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
He is with us now, every moment of the day, every day of the week, every week of the month, every month of the year, every year until He returns in Glory. He is with us Body, Blood Soul and Divinity…
Let’s not neglect to go see Him. And if we can’t be there, we can see there…
Protestant Christians base their faith on two premises:
- Sola Scriptura – the belief that all truth is contained within the boundaries of scripture
- Sola Fide – the belief that we are saved by faith alone
Neither of these doctrines is mentioned anywhere in the Bible itself, a fact which renders them false before the horse leaves the gate.
Springing from these two false teachings is the belief that anyone can properly interpret scripture for him/herself, a belief that, in the minds of our separated brothers and sisters, makes the Papacy and the Magisterium not only un-needed, but false and evil as well.
This view is also self contradictory because those who hold it are saying that they “don’t need a pope” to tell them what to believe are, in fact, making themselves their own pope. And those who follow the teachings of their pastors are making their pastors their pope.
So, where did these doctrines and ideas originate? How did they come to be accepted by so many sincere and well-meaning Christians? How did so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ come to be separated from the fullness of truth?
Here are a few videos which will shed some light on the origins of Protestantism, various Protestant denominations, the people who started them and the ideas that lead to their creation.
And, as John Henry Cardinal Newman – convert to Catholicism – said, “To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.”
What You Don’t Know About Martin Luther
An extremely important and revealing look at the life of the first Protestant. This video covers how Martin Luther, the first recognizable Protestant and the progenitor of all non-Catholic denominations, “discovered” and invented his doctrines by the day. It shows how he still claimed to be a Catholic at the very time that most Protestants believed he began the Protestant “reformation.” It explains how he came upon his beliefs later than you might think. It covers Indulgences, and more. It shows how all Protestants are following Martin Luther’s man-created religion.
Martin Luther, The Devil And Denominations
An important and interesting look at the shocking and outrageous statements of Martin Luther, the first Protestant. It covers his interaction with the Devil. It also examines the formation of the many non-Catholic, so-called “Christian” denominations, all of which were created by men and ultimately came from Luther.
Who Founded Your Church?
A historical look at many of the tens of thousands of Protestant denominations which exist, showing the dates they were started and the people who founded them.
Sad Story Of The Bible
The History of the doctrines of “Sola Scriptura” and “Sola Fide”.
Some people blame the Romans for the crucifixion. Some people blame the Jews. Some people blame the Sanhedrin.
Some people probably blame bad timing or bad luck, or prejudice.
In one sense, they are right – but only partially so. The blame includes all of those people, but placing the blame on one or all of those groups misses a spot.
Jesus could have avoided the all of the Sorrowful Mysteries of The Rosary any time He wanted to. But He chose not to.
He loves each and every one of us enough to suffer, die and rise again in order to reconnect us to The Father. And He did it in such a way that I cannot miss His intention.
And neither can you, if you are willing to open your eyes and see, open your ears and hear.
We have no way, no hope of salvation unless we allow Him to carry us across the chasm that exists between us and God The Father.
And that is what He was doing…
You have probably seen some form of this before but, in case you haven’t, I thought I would go ahead and show it to you and comment and expand on it a bit.
This is one of those sentences the can mean a lot of different things depending on where you put the emphasis. In fact, it’s pretty difficult to guess what the author is thinking just by reading the words. Let’s check some of the possibilities…
I didn’t tell everybody you were stupid.
BUT SOMEBODY ELSE MAY HAVE
I DIDN’T tell everybody you were stupid.
I didn’t TELL everybody you were stupid.
BUT I LET THEM KNOW IN OTHER WAYS
I didn’t tell EVERYBODY you were stupid.
BUT I TOLD SOMEONE
I didn’t tell everybody YOU were stupid.
BUT I TOLD EVERYBODY THAT SOMEBODY WAS STUPID
I didn’t tell everybody you WERE stupid.
BUT I TOLD EVERYBODY THAT YOU ARE CURRENTLY STUPID
I didn’t tell everybody you were STUPID.
BUT I TOLD EVERYBODY THAT YOU WERE SOMETHING OTHER THAN STUPID
See that? Those words put together in that sentence can mean a lot of different things. It just depends on how you say them. But to the author they mean just one of those things. Can you guess which one he meant? Not without asking the source.
Then, there is the question of context. If the sentence is all by itself with nothing around it, you may break it down within itself. For instance…
I DIN’T WHAT?
TELL EVERYBODY WHAT?
WHAT ABOUT ME?
I WAS WHAT?
You were stupid.
WHEN WAS I STUPID AND WHAT WAS I STUPID ABOUT?
So we can see that context is also important in determining the meaning of sentences and statements.
…you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.
YOU are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.
YOU! I’M TALKING TO YOU!
you ARE Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.
THIS IS WHO YOU ARE NOW!
you are PETER, and upon this rock I will build my church.
I JUST CHANGED YOUR NAME TO ROCK!
you are Peter, AND upon this rock I will build my church.
you are Peter, and UPON this rock I will build my church.
IT’S ALL ON YOU
you are Peter, and upon THIS rock I will build my church.
THIS SPECIFIC ROCK – YOU!
you are Peter, and upon this ROCK I will build my church.
you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.
you are Peter, and upon this rock I WILL build my church.
ABSOLUTELY, WITHOUT FAIL
you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.
you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build MY church.
you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my CHURCH.
It seems pretty clear. But some say that Jesus was referring to Peter’s faith as the rock upon which He would build His church, and this could be argued except for the context in which it is said…
(Mt 16:17 – 19) 17 Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. 18 And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail agains it. 19 I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Some will argue that the Greek “Petra” is little rock and “Petros” is big rock. That’s true. However, Jesus spoke Aramaic, and the word for rock is “Kepha”, which Jesus used.
Again, if you want to correctly understand the meaning of scripture, you really have to go back to the author, or to the person or persons to whom the author clearly explained His meaning. This has been the teaching since apostolic times and, within the Catholic Church, it hasn’t changed since that time. Nor will it ever.
Anyway, just some thoughts…
Have you ever been asked, “Why do Catholics…. Where is that in the Bible?” Here’s a Bible Cheat Sheet, in PDF format, listing doctrines and where they can be found in Sacred Scripture. – (Dr. Taylor Marshall’s Apologetics Bible Sheet)
And, as a special bonus, if you read this post right now, you can also download “The Mass In Scripture”! This document takes you through the Mass, step by step, and provides biblical references for each prayer and action from greeting through dismissal. (From the Against The Heresies Facebook page)
Earlier today, I saw this exchange on a Twitter feed:
I say this in love: Nowhere in the Bible does it say to pray to dead saints or Mary. We are to pray to our Father in heaven in Jesus’ name.
The Catholic involved with the exchange responded:
Catholics are asking the Saints and Mary to pray for us (Ephesians 6:18, James 5:16) There is no prayer as powerful as one from Heaven. God’s power is directly correlated to the faith of those calling Him to act, and no one is more faithful than those in Heaven.
And he is absolutely correct.
This triggered a few thoughts in my head, and I thought i would jot some of them down here…
Actually, nowhere in the Bible does it say that the saints are dead. They are more alive than we are. That’s kinda the point of being Christian, I think.. (Jn. 10:10)
It also says that we are to pray for each other. (Eph. 6:18)
And we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. (Heb. 12:1) Who are the witnesses? The saints in heaven. They surround us, even when we are alone. They can see us. They can hear us. They can, and do, pray for us just as we pray for each other on Earth. They are souls made perfect (Heb 12:23) – and the perfected souls are closest to Jesus and, therefor, their prayers are more efficacious than those of imperfect people on Earth.
Have you ever said something like, “Your loved one is looking down on you from Heaven, and they are with you always.”?
Well, if they are in Heaven, you are right.
The saints in Heaven lift up the prayers of the saints on earth. (Rev. 5:8) It is called intercessory prayer – and people on Earth do it all the time.
Sadly, many people do not take the opportunity to ask the most perfect, and therefor the souls closest to Jesus, to intercede for them…
It’s what Jesus wants…
Jn 17:11 And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are.
Jn 17:17 Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth.
Jn 17:18 As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world.
Jn 17:19 And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.
Jn 17:20 “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
Jn 17:21 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.
Jn 17:22 And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one,
Jn 17:23 I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.
Jn 17:24 Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Jn 17:25 Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me.
Jn 17:26 I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”
Our Protestant brothers and sisters agree on the essentials.
I have a question for our Protestant brothers and sisters: Were Jesus and The Father “one” on the essentials, or were they just “one”?
Jesus doesn’t say, “As you and I are one in the essentials” or You and I are, essentially, one.” He says “As you and I are one”. Period.
And He says, “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.”
He doesn’t say, “that they also may be, essentially, in us”.
And He says, “And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one,”
He doesn’t say, “And I have given them some of the glory you gave me, so that they may be partly oneas we are partly one.”
And He says, “I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.”
He says “perfection” as one. To be perfectly one, there is no room to agree “on the essentials” and agree to disagree on the things that “don’t matter”. There is nothing that doesn’t matter.
Everything matters. If it didn’t, Jesus would not pray that we are “one”.
You are either one, or you are many.
I have another question: What are the essentials?
- Baptism? – Some say it’s important and some don’t
- Baptism of babies? Some say yes, some say no
- Baptism formula? Some say full emersion and some don’t
- Some say Trinitarian formula and some don’t
- Salvation? Some say once saved always saved and some don’t
- Life? – Some support abortion and some don’t
- Marriage? – Some say it’s between God, one woman and one man and some don’t
- End times? some say Pre-millennial, some say Post-millennial, some say A-millennial
Dear Blessed Mother,
You are amazing – pure and immaculate from the time of your conception on into eternity. You love me more than my own earthly mother – not an easy task, but true just the same. You are there for me always when I call – and when I don’t…
Without your “Yes”, I would not know Jesus. He came to me through you, and I come to Him via the same path. You lead me closer to Him every day, and I cannot imagine a greater gift than that.
Thank you so much for all you have done and continue to do with your Son, for all of us…
PS – And as St. Anselm said…
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O sacred Virgin; give me strength against thine enemies, and against the enemy of the whole human race. Give me strength humbly to pray to thee. Give me strength to praise thee in prayer with all my powers, through the merits of thy most sacred nativity, which for the entire Christian world was a birth of joy, the hope and solace of its life.
When thou wast born, O most holy Virgin, then was the world made light.
Happy is thy stock, holy thy root, and blessed thy fruit, for thou alone as a virgin, filled with the Holy Spirit, didst merit to conceive thy God, as a virgin to bear Thy God, as a virgin to bring Him forth, and after His birth to remain a virgin.
Have mercy therefore upon me a sinner, and give me aid, O Lady, so that just as thy nativity, glorious from the seed of Abraham, sprung from the tribe of Judah, illustrious from the stock of David, didst announce joy to the entire world, so may it fill me with true joy and cleanse me from every sin.
Pray for me, O Virgin most prudent, that the gladsome joys of thy most helpful nativity may put a cloak over all my sins.
O holy Mother of God, flowering as the lily, pray to thy sweet Son for me, a wretched sinner.
Lots of ugly things going on right now. Interestingly, some people have decided that they have had enough. They say they will never step inside a Catholic Church again.
This makes no sense. Priests and bishops who commit atrocities condemn themselves, not the Church.
You cannot judge a church by the people who do not live according to its teachings.
If I was present at the last supper, and I knew what Judas was about to do, would I stop following Jesus?
If I were present at the crucifixion and I found out that Judas had arranged it, would I run away from Jesus?
If I elect to leave the Catholic Church because of the actions of people who do not follow the teachings of the Church, that’s exactly what I would be doing.
In whom do I place my faith? My parish priest? My bishop? No. I place my faith in Jesus Christ.
When St. Francis of Assisi was informed that a certain priest was causing scandal, he visited the priest. When he saw him, he knelt in front of the priest and kissed the hands through which the Holy Spirit performes the miracle of trans substantiation – turning bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. It’s not the sinful priest who does it – the most sinful priest in the history of the world is still the medium through which God creates this miracle.
So why would I leave Him in the Eucharist because of something that that a human being did?
The ONLY reason I can think of would be that I do not believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. And If I don’t believe that, I am not really Catholic anyway and I shouldn’t be receiving at Mass. To do so is to bring condemnation upon myself. (See 1 Cor 11:23 – 29)
I am as upset as anyone else about this mess. But I’m not going to blame God. If anything, I am trying to get closer to Him and the Body of Christ on Earth, The Church.
Judge the Catholic Church not by those who barely live by its spirit, but by those who live closest to it. – Fulton Sheen
Another thing that I am not going to do is hate the people who have hurt us so badly. I am praying for their true conversion and for justice according to God’s will. Not mine or anyone else’s.
It seems to me that leaving the Catholic Church because somebody – even lots of somebodies – have disgraced themselves and scandalized the Body of Christ is a lot like finding out that you have a blotch of skin cancer and deciding that, rather than have it cut out, you will commit suicide.
Cut out the cancer.
All Sacred Scripture, all history, all love, all truth, all existence points to, and can be summed up in one word:
As Catholics, we really DO walk by faith and not by sight…
Many, if not most, of us are separated from loved ones – parents, children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters, nieces, nephews, friends, aunts uncles, cousins, etc. – either by long distance or by death. Sometimes for a short while and sometimes for decades. And in the case of death, for the rest of our lives. We all miss somebody.
What many, if not most, of us don’t realize is that there is a way to stay connected with each other that doesn’t involved computers, snail mail or cell phones.
So how do we do that?
We become one. One with Jesus. One with the saints.
One with each other.
Rev. 19:9, 17
9: Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These words are true; they come from God.”
17: Then I saw an angel standing on the sun. He cried out (in) a loud voice to all the birds flying high overhead, “Come here. Gather for God’s great feast,
What is “God’s great feast, the wedding feast of the Lamb”?
The Eucharist – The Mass.
When we receive the Eucharist, we are receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ.* We take Him into our bodies. His blood flows in our bodies. His flesh becomes one with ours.
And we are not partaking of the feast alone. We are joining in communion with everyone who is participating in the feast.
And who is participating?
God The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Saints in Heaven.
And all of those on Earth in the Mass. We are ALL joined with each other – we are one.
…”so that they all may be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also, may be in us,”
And I have given them the glory you gave me,. so that they may be one, as we are one,
I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one,
So if you are missing family or friends, make a date to “meet at the wedding feast of the Lamb” – even if you are a million miles apart in earthly distance, you will be sitting right next to each other at Mass. And if you miss a loved one, or a lot of loved ones, who have gone on to eternity, you can be sitting with them at the same time. And when you properly receive the Eucharist, you will be one with all of them – quite literally.
*It is not within the scope of this post to explain the evidence for the real presence of our Lord in the Eucharist. For information on that, please click on the link below.
Click here for information about the Eucharist, what it is, why it is what it is, its history all the way from the time of creation, and who is eligible to partake of it Also information on where to find the Mass in the Book Of Revelation.
God came to us through the Virgin Mary. It seems logical that we can go to Him the same way.
Mother Mary, pray for us and bring us to your Divine Son, as you brought Him to us. Amen.
Truth is its own argument, its own proof.
You can rail against it. You can vote against it. You can deny it. You can attempt to redefine it. You can accuse it of falsehood. You can stretch it. You can mis-interpret it. You can discriminate against it. You can try to hide it. You can try to hide FROM it. You can write letters to the editor proclaiming it as a lie. You can call it hatred. You can march against it. You can call it intolerant. You can try to shut it down. You can start enormous movements in society to fight it. You can bully against it. You can sue against it.
You can even point to Snopes.com as the ultimate test of truth and have it be wrong.
The one thing you cannot do is change it. Therefore, you cannot defeat it.
Truth doesn’t have to argue back. It simply needs to exist.
Because, in the end, only truth will survive.
The prize behind the prettiest curtain isn’t always what you are looking for…
Glamour and glitz may look good on the outside, but you probably don’t have to look too deeply before it starts to get ugly…
Fast living eventually comes to a screeching halt…
If you take a bottle and pour the contents down the sink, is it empty?
No. That’s because the the liquid that was discarded has been replaced by atmosphere.
likewise, if you take an “empty” bottle and half fill it with liquid, half of the atmosphere is displaced by the liquid, and the bottle remains “full”.
Not “half full”, but completely full. That’s because half of the bottle is full of liquid and the other half is full of atmosphere. It doesn’t matter that you can only see the liquid part, the atmosphere is still there (unless you “suck” the air out of the bottle).
Nature abhors a vacuum, so anytime something is removed from something else, it gets replaced by something other than whatever it was full of in the first place. Pour milk out of a bottle and air rushes in.
If you drink a soda pop through a straw, you are, essentially, reducing the air pressure inside your mouth and the soda is being pushed up into your mouth to replace whatever was in there in the first place (air).
Reduce the air pressure inside of a vacuum cleaner (create a partial vacuum) and more air (and dirt) is pushed (not sucked) into the machine to replace the air and equalize the pressure. The more air that is forced out of the vacuum cleaner the more air and dirt is pushed back in to replace it.
The same thing can be said of your soul…
The more you ignore Christ, the more room there is for other things to get pushed in and fill up the void…
Try to fill your soul with Christ so that it is not empty.
*H/T Fr. Michael Thomas for the quote/meme
Mary, the Mother of God. Where do we get that? “How could Mary be God’s mother?”, we often hear.
“Mary is only the Mother of Jesus the human!”?
Our mothers are not the mothers of our nature, they are the mothers of US – the PERSONS.
No, Mary is not the Mother of Jesus’ NATURE – She is the Mother of Jesus the PERSON.
Jesus is ONE PERSON with two natures – human and Divine.
AND THE PERSON OF JESUS IS GOD.
We are made in the image and likeness of God. In His image, we are spiritual. In His likeness, we are able to create, in cooperation with God, new life – we are “like” Him. The devil cannot create life. To render ourselves incapable – even temporarily – of creating life, we take on the likeness of the devil and forsake our “likeness” of God. So, yes, contraception is in opposition to God’s will, ergo, sinful.
When someone asks me why I am Catholic, I tell them, “I am Catholic for three reasons…
“Everything else revolves around that…”
If a Catholic understands what the Eucharist is, they will never leave.
If a lapsed Catholic figures out what the Eucharist is, they will return home.
If a non-Catholic understood what the Eucharist is, they would not stay away…
Promises, solemn or otherwise, are meant to be kept. A Solemn promise is the same as a vow. A vow is what you took at your wedding. You promised to remain faithful to your spouse until death do you part. To fail to do so can only lead to serious problems. Either in this life or the next. Or both.
To swear an oath is the same as a vow. If you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in a court of law, and then tell a lie, you can go to jail. And there are spiritual consequences, too. You swore that oath and ended it with “So help me God”. You were also making that promise to God and asking for His help in keeping it.
In Christian faith, a sworn oath, vow or solemn promise has spiritual consequences. Break it and face serious consequences, either in this life or the next. Or both.
When you decide to baptize your new child, you decide to make a solemn promise – a vow – to raise your child in the faith. You are swearing to do that. So help you God.
Think of it as the same as your marriage vow – it is just as important. Would you break you marriage vows? If so, how does that affect your relationship with your spouse? And with God?
Many parents will baptize their children just because that’s what their parents did for them or it’s the “cool” thing to do.
Except that it’s NOT cool to do that.
If you are not serious about keeping that promise, don’t baptize your child. To do so does the child no favors, and you will have broken a very serious vow.
And breaking that vow will lead to serious consequences, either in this life or the next. Or both…
Why do we need to pray?
It’s true that God knows everything. It’s true that we cannot possibly add to His wisdom. It’s true that we cannot change his mind. God is perfect and perfection cannot change and stay perfect.
So why pray?
Because when we pray, we are not changing God’s mind – we are changing OURSELVES…
We pray to better align ourselves with the will of God – not to have God change to better align Himself to our will.
“Thy will be done…”
God always answers our prayers. Sometimes He says “yes”, sometimes He says “not yet” and sometimes He says “no”. But He always answers.
So why does He sometimes say “no”? Because He already knows everything, and part of “everything” is knowing what is good for us and what’s not so good for us.
How many times have we wished for something and not received it, only to be relieved down the road that the thing we wanted didn’t happen?
What we think we want is based on what we think we know, and what we think we know is limited to what we perceive in our immediate environment in the immediate “right now”. We have no way to see everything in time and creation that affects us.
But God knows. God sees everything in time, creation and eternity. He knows what will help us and He knows what will hurt us. God is our Father. Father knows best.
It is through a proper mindset toward our prayers (Thy will be done) that we gradually change and become aware that His will is the best thing for us. And it is through that change that we align ourselves with His will for our lives. And it is through that change that we grow closer to Him.
And without that growth in closeness to God, we may have a tough time when, at last, we meet Him face to face…
“He who prays is certain to be saved; while he who prays not is certain to be damned.” St Alphonsus Liguori
And, by the way, it is through changing ourselves that we change the world – either in alignment with God’s will or with our own or someone else’s…
Lent is a time for atonement:
AT – ONE – MENT: Time to work toward becoming ONE IN JESUS…
A lot of us are conflicted by the fact that Ash Wednesday – a day of fasting and abstaining – falls on Valentine’s Day – a day for love and joy – this year.
Actually, it’s appropriate that the two days coincide. This is the day that St. Valentine was martyred via beheading. He did so out of Love for Jesus Christ.
Additionally, Ash Wednesday begins the run-up to the greatest act of Love in the history of the universe.
What could be more appropriate?
St. Valentine was a 3rd century Roman priest who witnessed to his faith in Christ by fasting and the gift of his life. A great AshWednesday saint! This German woodcut is from 1470. The script reads, “Saint Valentine, pray for us to God.” – Msgr. Ronny Jenkins
You’re at Mass, and the Lord’s Prayer is coming up. You fold your hands in the “prayer” position. Everybody else follows the actions of the presiding priest and holds their arms and hands extended and open (the Orans posture).
You are doing it right…
It’s kind of a bugaboo to me parish that congregations are not informed as to the proper way to act during this part of the Mass. I didn’t know it, either, until several years ago when somebody pointed me to this Church document:
In the document, Instruction On Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priests, put out by the Vatican on August 15, 1997, we read,
“In Eucharistic celebrations deacons and non-ordained members of the faithful may not pronounce prayers — e.g. especially the Eucharistic prayer, with its concluding doxology — or any other parts of the liturgy reserved to the celebrant priest. Neither may deacons or non-ordained members of the faithful use gestures or actions which are proper to the same priest celebrant. It is a grave abuse for any member of the non-ordained faithful to “quasi preside” at the Mass while leaving only that minimal participation to the priest which is necessary to secure validity” (ICP Practical Provisions 6 §2).
Additionally, holding hands at this time is also not permitted. Neither is the mouthing of the words of consecration.
I am not pontificating, here, I have a lot to learn and I hope to keep learning until I die. This is just one of the things that I have learned and want to pass it on to anyone who also wants to “do it right”…
The New Testament is hidden in the Old, and the Old Testament is revealed in the New.
To try to understand Holy Scripture without understanding the Old Testament is a fool’s errand. The Hebrew Scriptures are necessary – if they weren’t, they wouldn’t be part of the cannon of the Bible.
And that goes both ways, by the way. Proper understanding of the Old Testament requires the New Testament. They go hand in hand. You can’t know one without the other. It is only in the New Testament that the Old Testament suddenly becomes clear.
The New Testament completes the Old Testament. Catholicism completes Judaism.
Adam & Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden.
Jesus obeyed God in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Dear Lord, help us to stay obedient to your will.
God breathed life into Adam and gave him an immortal soul.
Jesus breathed on the Apostles and told them to receive the Holy Spirit.
Dear Lord, Let us never forget that you gave us life, and only You can determine the length of it.
After God put Adam in a deep sleep he took a rib form his side, which became his bride, Eve.
Jesus’ side was opened with a lance when His bride the church sprang into being.
Dear Lord, never allow us to separate from you, our groom.
Abel one of the first children of Adam and Eve was the first Shepherd. He was killed by his brother Cain.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd; he was killed by us His brothers and sisters.
Dear Lord, help us to be always mindful of your ultimate sacrifice.
One of the first questions man asked God was, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Jesus answered that question when he said we should feed the hungry, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, visit the prisoner, and give drink to the thirsty, visit the sick. Help the least of his people.
Dear Lord, Help us to lovingly help the least of Your people.
Melchizedek, the King of Salem (peace) presented Abraham with bread and wine.
Jesus, the true King of Peace gives us His body and blood in the appearance of bread and wine when we take the Eucharist.
Dear Lord, let us always remember that You are our true King.
When the world was wicked and prideful Man tried to build a tower to heaven.
God confused them by giving them with different languages.
When the Church was born, and the Apostles submitted to God on Pentecost, the language barrier was removed, so they could spread the Gospel to all mankind.
Dear Lord, keep us humble when we are living our day to day lives.
Moses received the Ten Commandments on a mountain. Jesus gave us the beatitudes and the golden rule at the Sermon on the Mount.
Dear Lord, help us to stay obedient to your commandments.
The first ones to recognize Jesus as God were the three Magi. They were looking for the new king of the Jews to replace Herod. They gave gold to the baby Jesus to acknowledge his kingship, frankincense, which is used for God alone, and myrrh for burial.
Samuel went to Bethlehem to find the new king of the Jews, David, he was to replace Saul.
Dear Lord, help us to recognize our separated brothers.
King David wept on the Mountain of Olives:
Jesus wept on that same Mountain.
Dear Lord, Help us to remember that you are with us in time of troubles.
King David danced before the Ark of the Covenant which contained God’s words, the Ten Commandments.
St. John the Baptist leapt with joy in his mother’s womb when they were before The Blessed Virgin Mary, the new Ark of the Covenant which contains the word made flesh.
Dear Lord, Help us to be Joyful especially when we receive the Eucharist.
God told Noah that he would use water to wash away the sinful world.
Jesus instructed us all to be baptized, to wash us free from original sin. After the flood God used a dove to inform Noah that sins were washed away. When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan to demonstrate what God wanted all Christians to undergo, a dove acknowledged that he is the Son of God.
Dear Lord, Help us to always live by our baptismal promise.
Abraham had his son Isaac carry wood up a hill to sacrifice him before God.
God Stopped Abraham, saying that he would provide the lamb. Jesus himself carried wood up a hill to be sacrificed by God His Father.
Dear Lord, Never let us forget that Your love is so great you sacrificed Your only Son for us.
During Passover meal we were to use a pure unblemished lamb. Jesus was pure without blemish. He is the ultimate Passover lamb.
Dear Lord, help us to try and live unblemished lives.
After Moses received the word of God on Mt. Sinai, his face was radiant.
When Jesus, who is the word made flesh, was at Mt. Tabor, he was transfigured and His whole body was radiant.
Dear Lord, let others see your radiant love shine forth in us.
– Deacon Michael Hopper, OFS
Many people don’t think that the Mass is biblical. Actually, the Mass is all over the Bible – and is made up OF the Bible. You just have to know how to recognize it…
The New Testament is hidden in the Old, and the Old Testament is fulfilled in the New.
The Old and New Testaments are actualized in the Mass.
Protestants kind of look to the sermon.
The Catholic Church is not sermon centered, but Eucharistic.
The Bible is FULFILLED in the Mass…
This morning, as I was driving back from Planned Parenthood in the city 40 miles south of me, I was listening to “Go Ask Your Father” on Relevant Radio when the subject of the “Week Of Prayer For Christian Unity” came up. I was not aware of the event, and so I looked it up when I got home.
By: Fr. Thomas Orians, SA
Associate Director – Graymoor
Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute
The theme for the 2018 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, “Your Right Hand, O Lord, Glorious in Power,” is taken from the book of Exodus 15:6. The resources for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity have been prepared by the churches of the Caribbean by an ecumenical team of women and men under the leadership of His Grace Kenneth Richards, Catholic Archbishop of Kingston, the Antilles Episcopal Conference, together with Mr. Gerard Granado, General Secretary of the Caribbean Conference of Churches (CCC).
This 7 day “novena” is celebrated in churches and groups, but I think it’s perfectly fine to throw in our own two cents worth wherever we are. At worst, it couldn’t hurt – prayer never does.
Here’s a short and simple one we can say each day (from Catholic Online):
we praise you for sending your Son
to be one of us and to save us.
Look upon your people with mercy,
for we are divided in so many ways,
and give us the Spirit of Jesus to make us one in love.
Hope you join in!
One of the ways that the devil can win is by convincing you that you are not salvageable. You have sinned too much for God to forgive you. You are evil. You have done too many horrible things to ever be forgiven. You have raped too many women. You have murdered too many people. You have aborted too many babies. You have lusted too much. You have fornicated too many times. You have committed adultery too frequently. You have molested too many children. You have stolen too much money or too many things. You have (enter your sins here) more than can be forgiven…
Don’t believe the devil! You will lose your fight with Satan only if you let him win.
As long as you have an instant of life within you, God will forgive you if you truly repent…
God loves you more than the devil hates you…
For those who don’t believe anything that science cannot prove:
Science cannot prove that there is no God. Does this mean that you cannot be an atheist? I would think that the closest you can come to atheism is agnostic…
It’s probably a good idea to pray…
Here are some ideas to get you started. Pick one or two. Or however many you wish…
God could have come to the world any way He wanted. He wanted to come through Mary.
Mother. Son. Mary. Jesus. Inextricably connected. Where there is Jesus, you will find Mary. Where there is Mary, you will find Jesus. Without Mary, there is no Jesus. Without Jesus, there is no Mary.
You can’t have one without the other…
Mary the Dawn, Christ the Perfect Day;
Mary the Gate, Christ the Heav’nly Way!
Mary the Root, Christ the Mystic Vine;
Mary the Grape, Christ the Sacred Wine!
Mary the Wheat-sheaf, Christ the Living Bread;
Mary the Rose-Tree, Christ the Rose Blood-red!
Mary the Font, Christ the Cleansing Flood;
Mary the Chalice, Christ the Saving Blood!
Mary the Temple, Christ the Temple’s Lord;
Mary the Shrine, Christ the God adored!
Mary the Beacon, Christ the Haven’s Rest;
Mary the Mirror, Christ the Vision Blest!
Mary the Mother, Christ the Mother’s Son.
Both ever blest while endless ages run.
A lesson that I think most of us need to be reminded of…
Jn 8:3 – 11 Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”
Some of the things that that will get you into Hell…
Groping a woman
Missing Mass without good reason
Receiving The Eucharist while in a state of mortal sin or otherwise unworthily
Sex outside of marriage
Taking the name of the Lord in vain
Having and abortion
Performing an abortion
Encouraging someone to have an abortion
Supporting abortion in any way
Excessive use of alcohol…
Or recreational drugs
Gossiping, spreading rumors and besmirching someone’s reputation
Engaging in or supporting homosexual activity
Judging the state of a person’s soul
Mt 7:5You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.
Lk 6:42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’ when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.
Mt 6:12 Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…
We are outraged at the actions of someone else while someone else would be outraged at our own actions. In fact, we would be outraged at someone else performing our own actions. The only difference is that they did it instead of us.
A stone will break a window, but it will also break a mirror. Perhaps we need fewer windows and more mirrors…
We are all sinners.
We are all broken.
We are all saveable.
I was in a discussion about God the other day with a young person who considers himself and atheist. Early on in the discussion he stated that he didn’t know if God exists, but conceded that He might.
At the point where he revealed that he is an atheist, I suggested that he was agnostic rather than atheist because he didn’t know for sure one way or the other. He was adamant that he was atheist because an atheist is one who really doesn’t care one way or the other.
A bit more back and forth ensued, and he left the conversation “knowing” that he was right and I was wrong.
This got me to thinking that there may be others out there who might need some clarification…
Definition of atheist
How agnostic Differs from atheist
Many people are interested in distinguishing between the words agnostic and atheist. The difference is quite simple: atheist refers to someone who believes that there is no god (or gods), and agnostic refers to someone who doesn’t know whether there is a god, or even if such a thing is knowable. This distinction can be troublesome to remember, but examining the origins of the two words can help.
Agnostic first appeared in 1869, (possibly coined by the English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley), and was formed from the Greek agnōstos (meaning “unknown, unknowable”). Atheist came to English from the French athéisme. Although both words share a prefix (which is probably the source of much of the confusion) the main body of each word is quite different. Agnostic shares part of its history with words such as prognosticate and prognosis, words which have something to do with knowledge or knowing something. Atheist shares roots with words such as theology and theism, which generally have something to do with God.
Many long years ago, my wife, Judy, and I were out to dinner. I had been writing songs for the parish youth group/Confirmation class for several years, and Judy came up with the idea of doing one NOT specifically for the teenagers in the parish. She specifically asked me to write one for The Blessed Mother.
She handed me an extra napkin and a pen. I started writing. I got much of the song written that night in the restaurant…
I honestly don’t think it was me, so much, as the Spirit guiding me along with it.
Anyway, It’s been recorded for almost twenty years, and I thought I might want to make it into some sort of video.
My friend, Koni Ritch, helped out with the vocals (she’s the good sounding one)…
The devil could not persuade many people to follow him to Hell by coming right out and saying “yeah, that’s the wrong thing to do and if you do this, you’re going to suffer in Hell forever and ever and ever. And you’re not getting out. Ever. (Refer to earlier post “The Hatred Of Hell“.)
So, if he can’t tell us the truth about what he is trying to get us to do, how does he convince us to destroy ourselves?
The obvious answer to that is “he lies to us.” But how does he do that, exactly?
Well, he uses lots of tricks to make us think reality is something other than what it really is. Among those tricks are Relativism, Indifferentism, Eclecticism, Sentimentalism, Utilitarianism, Incrementalism, Materialism (not what you’re thinking), Scientism, Situational Ethics, and Universalism.
Once you understand what these things are and how they work against you, you can recognize and avoid these pitfalls.
Of course, tragically, some folks will choose to pooh pooh the information and continue to embrace the lies, believing that God won’t allow anybody to go to Hell, or that Hell doesn’t exist.)
I am reminded of what St. Padre Pio said when someone told him that they didn’t believe in Hell. He responded, “you will when you get there.”
To learn about these ten tricks of the devil, click on this link to go to ChurchPop…
Don’t feel like going to Mass? Yes, it IS a mortal sin to miss Mass without a good reason.
And if you decide to miss it now, you will probably decide to miss eternity, too…
If you don’t get there, you won’t get there…
We often hear tell of “The Mark Of The Beast” – the number 666 – being associated with the Pope and, by extension, the Catholic Church. This is used in an effort to show the ‘true satanic nature of the Church of Rome’.
Before I get to my point, I think it would be interesting to learn exactly how that number is arrived at.
Jimmy Akin tells us the origin in an article on Catholic Answers:
…we are told that the number of the beast is 666 and that this is the number of a man’s name (13:18). Not coincidentally, the persecuting, pagan Roman Empire was headed in the A.D. 60s by Caesar Nero, whose name happened to add up to 666 in the Hebrew system of letters and numbers. (In Hebrew, “Caesar Nero” = “NRWN QSR” = N 50 + R 200 + W 6 + N 50 + Q 100 + S 60 + R 200 = 666; a variant spelling of the name, NRW QSR, adds up to 616, which some manuscripts have in place of 666).
You can read the whole article by clicking on this link… It’s pretty enlightening.
There are lots of explanations and accusations flying around regarding to whom the number 666 points, but I, just today, noticed a possibility of which I had not previously been aware…
In the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel, where Jesus is is giving the Bread of Life discourse, many (if not most) of the disciples to whom He is speaking suddenly abandon him. They cannot accept His teaching on the subject and leave in disgust.
“How can this man give us His flesh to eat?”
Jn 6:50 “this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die.”
Jn 6:51 “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
Jn 6:52 “The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
Jn 6:53 “Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”
Jn 6:54 “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.
Jn 6:54 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.”
Jn 6:55 “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.”
Jn 6:60 “Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
They could not accept the reality of The Eucharist – that He really and truly gives us His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity to eat…
And now to the point of this post…
John 6:66 “As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.”
Anyway, I thought it was kind of thought provoking…
Rev 21:27 “but nothing unclean will enter it, nor any (one) who does abominable things or tells lies. Only those will enter whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
Heb 12:23 “and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven, and God the judge of all, and the spirits of the just made perfect,“
God is love. Perfect love. Nothing is more perfect than the love of God.
Heaven is a place of perfect love and is completely devoid of hate.
Nothing unclean or imperfect will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
This is what real love works to obtain for itself and for the beloved.
The Devil is hate. Complete hate. Nothing is more completely hateful than the Devil.
Hell is perfect (not to be confused with the biblical “Perfect Hatred”, which is the hatred of evil) in only one thing – hatred. It is completely devoid of love.
Humans are incapable of complete hatred in our earthly lives. We may really hate someone or something, but we also have the capacity to love greatly. Human hatred is incomplete because the chance to love someone or something exists within us as we live day to day.
You may hate your boss, but love your children.
You may feel love for your spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters and friends. You may love your dog. You may do things that show that love every day. And they may love you just as much.
Now, imagine yourself as a person whose every molecule, every atom, every electron, every proton, every neutron is completely and totally saturated with anger and hatred. Hatred for everyone and everything in the universe. Your parents, your siblings, your children, your friends, your neighbors, your pets and all of nature. And for yourself.
Now multiply those feelings of hatred and anger by infinity.
Now make it permanent. Everlasting. It’s not going away. Ever. You have become hatred and anger itself. It’s no longer just a temporary ‘feeling’, it’s who and what you are.
Now imagine looking into the eyes of your children and seeing that anger and hatred directed at YOU.
That is Hell. Utterly devoid of love. No matter how much you love someone on Earth and how much they love you, if you end up together in Hell all of your capacity for love is gone. You will hate each other, yourselves and everyone and everything else for all eternity. You won’t remember the love you once had – it, and the memory of it, will be erased, completely eradicated.
Even the thought of imperfect love is impossible where only hatred can exist.
This is what real love works to avoid for itself and for the beloved…
This is not meant as a tutorial on how to pray the Rosary, but as an aid in meditation upon the Mysteries.
First, a very brief description of the Mysteries associated with the Rosary devotion. I won’t repeat this in the subsequent posts on the Scriptural basis for the Mysteries, but I thought it might be helpful to those not familiar with those mysteries.
The Rosary is, largely, a meditation on many of the main events in the life of Christ as recorded in Sacred Scripture. These events are recalled in the “Mysteries” attached to each decade of the devotion.
There are four sets of mysteries: The Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries, the Glorious Mysteries and the Luminous Mysteries. Each set consists of five separate mysteries:
Joyful Mysteries: (Mondays and Saturdays)
- The Annunciation
- The Visitation
- The Birth Of The Lord
- The Presentation
- The Finding Of Jesus In The Temple
Sorrowful Mysteries: (Tuesdays and Fridays)
- The Agony In The Garden
- The Scourging At The Pillar
- The Crowning With Thorns
- The Carrying Of The Cross
- The Crucifixion
Glorious Mysteries: (Wednesdays and Sundays)
- The Resurrection
- The Ascension
- The Descent Of The Holy Spirit
- The Assumption Of Mary
- The Coronation Of The Blessed Virgin Mary
Luminous Mysteries: (Thursdays)
- The Baptism Of Jesus
- The Self Manifestation Of Jesus At The Wedding Of Cana
- The Proclamation Of The Kingdom And His Call To Conversion
- The Transfiguration Of Jesus
- The Institution Of The Holy Eucharist
I have decided to start with the Luminous Mysteries because today is Thursday, the normal day of the week to pray the Luminous Mysteries.
I hope this is helpful to somebody – Anybody… 🙂
The Luminous Mysteries (Thursday)
Baptism of Jesus:
Mt 3:13-17 “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.
“John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?”
“Jesus said to him in reply, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed him.
“After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened (for him), and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove (and) coming upon him.
“And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
Self Manifestation At The Wedding at Cana:
Jn 2:1-11 “On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.
“Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.“
“When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”
“Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.”
“His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.”
“Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons.“
“Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim.”
“Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it.“
“And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from, the headwaiter called the bridegroom”
“and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.”
“Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.”
Proclamation of the Kingdom and Call to Conversion:
Mt 1:14-15 “After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
Lk 4:16-21 “He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,
“and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”
“Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
“He said to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Transfiguration of Jesus:
Mk 9:2-8 “After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them,
“and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
“Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus.
“Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
“He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
“Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
“Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.“
Institution of the Eucharist at The Last Supper:
Lk 22:19-20 “Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.”
“And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.“
1 Cor 11:23-27 “For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread,
“and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
“In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.
“Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord.“
My Fidget Spinners…
Enoch was assumed body and soul into Heaven – Gen 5:24; Heb 11:5
“Then Enoch walked with God, and he was no longer here, for God took him.” Gen 5:24
“By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and “he was found no more because God had taken him.” Before he was taken up, he was attested to have pleased God.” Heb 11:5
Elijah was assumed body and soul into Heaven – 2 Kings 2:11
“As they walked on conversing, a flaming chariot and flaming horses came between them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.” 2 Kg 2:11
Two witnesses assumed into Heaven – Rev 11:12
“Then they heard a loud voice from heaven say to them, “Come up here.” So they went up to heaven in a cloud as their enemies looked on.” Rev 11:12
Bodily assumption into Heaven is not contrary to Scripture – it’s right there in Scripture for all to see. God has deemed that these saints be lifted bodily – assumed – into Heaven.
Jesus is God, The Son of God, The Father. By the power of God, The Holy Spirit, Mary is His mother.
If God saw fit to assume Enoch, Elijah, and the two witnesses bodily into Heaven, Why would he not assume His own mother, also?
There are ALWAYS at least two deaths with each abortion. Sometimes it’s the death of the baby and the death of the mother. Other times it’s different…
The worst thing we, as human beings, can lose is not our job. Not our home. Not our friends. Not our self image. Not our health. Not our family. Not our hair. Not our good looks. Not our ability to speak. Not our hope. Not our ambition. Not our popularity. Not our talent. Not our influence. Not our reputation. Not our credibility.
The worst thing we can loose is our conscience because, while that may lead to the loss of all of the above, it will certainly lead to the loss of our soul.
And that is the only thing we cannot live without in eternity…
Happy Mother’s Day!
On this Mother’s Day, My tribute to the greatest Mother of all – The Mother Of God.
And a special thanks to all mothers everywhere…
I used to do this… I think it describes part of me pretty well, actually…
“I get that you want to live life on your own terms, and that may get you where you want to go in this life. But it will get you where you don’t want to go in the next life, and that one is going to last a whole lot longer than this one.”
Truth doesn’t exist to let you bend it to make you feel good. It doesn’t exist one way for you and another way for me. It’s not there to pick and choose the truths you want to believe and pooh pooh the ones that don’t fit into your particular set of values or life style. It’s not there to let you not feel guilty when you do something outside of it’s boundaries. It’s not subjective.
It’s Objective whether you agree with it or not. Whether you accept it or not. Whether it makes you feel good or not.
Truth is there to be true. It will always catch up with you in the end.
It’s there to make you HAPPY in ETERNITY.
And that’s the truth.
I wrote and recorded this about 16 years ago. I was inspired by two friends of mine. Each of them had spent decades addicted to drugs, alcohol and and all that goes with that addiction. One lived on the streets most of that time. The other was in the rock music world. Both of them hit bottom and cried out to God. God heard and answered their cries. Both of them became close friends of mine…One is now a priest – he was the pastor of my parish at the time. The other had become our Music Director in the parish. He has since gone home. To where God led him…
There are a lot of people who neglect God for their own convenience saying that God will forgive them “because He loves everyone and wants them to be with Him in Heaven. A loving god would never send anyone to Hell. Besides, I’m a nice person – I’m nice to people. He’ll let me in.”
I don’t think it works that way.
True, God does love everyone and He does want everyone to be with Him in heaven. The problem is that we choose to not love Him. I think it’s also true that God will never send anyone to Hell.
So there you have it – nobody goes to Hell, right?
Nope, not right. I didn’t say that nobody goes to Hell. I said that God doesn’t send anybody to Hell.
So how does someone get there? Well maybe it’s something like this…
It’s we who disregard His teachings. It’s we who blame Him for our suffering. It’s we who can’t be bothered to go to Mass. It’s we who can’t seem to find the time to pray or spend with Him. It’s we who decide what He wants for us in our lives. It’s we who make our moral decisions based on what we decide He wants us to do.
It’s we who don’t embrace Him.
We spend our lives avoiding Him, avoiding truth, because it doesn’t fit into what we want God to be.
I think that, maybe, the same thing kind of happens when we die – we have lived our lives pushing God away from us and/or trying to conform Him to what we think He should be, and when we finally get to meet him face to face, we are either completely blinded and overwhelmed by His love and cannot absorb it or we simply continue our life long habit of rejecting Him one last time.
God doesn’t send us to Hell, we repel ourselves away from Him, and there’s only one other place to go.
We have spent our lives rejecting Him and His love and now that rejection carries over into eternity…
Is that what happens? I don’t know.
But it seems logical to me…
Any medical procedure performed with the intent of ending the life of a person is not healthcare. It’s murder. BK
If you want to maintain your Catholic faith and still be pro-choice, here is a list of all of the ways you can do it:
Now, here’s the truth:
Faithful Catholicism and pro-choice beliefs and lifestyle are two completely mutually exclusive things. One, Catholicism, worships God and the other, abortion support, worships Satan. There is no middle ground – only self delusion leading to spiritual death.
Light and darkness cannot occupy the same space.
What you “feel” doesn’t matter – only truth matters, and truth does not change.
That’s a big one. Many Protestants (Most? All?) do not believe in Purgatory, largely because the word is not present in the Bible. “If Jesus didn’t say it, I don’t believe it,” is the reasoning behind the disdain for much of Catholic teaching.
We would do well to remember that “nothing unclean shall enter the kingdom of Heaven.” Rev 21:27 How many of us are pristine when we die? If I were to die right now, I wouldn’t be completely clean. I need some sprucing up.
If I go directly to Heaven, I don’t need cleaning. If I go to Hell, that becomes my permanent residence and no amount of cleaning is going to get me out. What’s left?
Did Jesus really not say anything about Purgatory? Not at all. While He never said the word “Purgatory”, He certainly described it…
There are two Bible passages where Jesus taught the reality of purgatory: Matthew 5:25-26 and Matthew 12:32.
The suffering we go through may seem meaningless, but it’s not. Or, rather, it doesn’t have to be. By joining our suffering with that of Jesus, we become partners with Him in the salvific act.
We read in Colossians 1:24: “Now I [Paul] rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.”
That’s not to say that Jesus missed a spot. He didn’t. But it DOES tell us that, when we join our suffering with His (offer it up), we can benefit others in the Body of Christ (The Church). We can even offer it in penance for our own sins.
1 Pet. 2:19-21 “Whenever anyone bears the pain of unjust suffering because of consciousness of God, that is a grace. . . Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps”.
We are to follow His example and join our suffering with His. We are to take up our cross daily: Matt. 10:38 “Whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me”.
Again, we are to follow His example.
But unless we embrace that suffering and pain and join it with the suffering sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, it is simply suffering for suffering’s sake. Worthless.
“There is a hospital that I have occasion to drive by quite often, and whenever I do, I feel a great sadness because within those walls there is so much wasted suffering.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen
Join your suffering to that of Jesus. Don’t waste it. Give it a purpose. Make your own suffering count for something other than just to give you a reason to feel sorry for yourself, or others to feel sorry for you.
Make your suffering count. Make it mean something.
Give your suffering a purpose.
Many Americans, and probably non-Americans around the world, arose this morning expecting to wake up to the news that Hilary Clinton has been elected to be the first woman President of the United States. It was a forgone conclusion – preordained by the irresistible onslaught of the culture of death, made attractive by the likelihood of a female running the White House.
Instead, they woke up, turned on the news and descended into the valley of shock – some in despair, some in anger, some in relief. For some, just plain numbness had set in.
This wasn’t supposed to happen. The forces of culture were in command and the tidal wave of anti-Catholic/Christian rage was carrying the the fleet of destruction to it’s “final” victory over the forces of life and religious liberty in the united States of America. The final nail in the coffin of ancient superstition, slavery of guilt and rule by old men over the lives of women victims around the world would finally be driven, guaranteeing that the moral free-for-all that has become the hallmark of post Christian culture will be safeguarded forever.
Here’s part of what was about to become of America…
Refer to Clinton’s speech at the Women of the World summit:
Far too many women are denied access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth, and laws don’t count for much if they’re not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice — not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.
This quote is taken from a Snopes article stating that she said it, but it was taken out of context.
Gone are all references to education, domestic violence, and the mortality rate of women in childbirth — not to mention the international scope of the subject matter — so what remains could be misrepresented as a direct threat to pro-life Christians in America. That was clearly not the original import of the passage.
I’m sorry, you can put all of the context you want in there, but the statement that “religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” seems pretty clear. It translates to “Catholic Church, you will change your teaching to align with what we say is right. Or else…”
Combine that with the emails from her staff stating that infiltration of the Catholic Church with the intention of changing Catholic teaching. Here’s a sample:
Together with the attempts toforce Catholic institutions (as well as other organizations and people) that have moral objections to providing access to services which go against their consciences and beliefs, and this adds up to a direct attack on religious liberty as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.
And there is the question of constitutional rights for the unborn and when the killing of that child should be made illegal:
Sorry, I’m about to let off some steam. I had an exchange with someone close to me regarding abortion and the conscience of Catholic voters.
What is this person saying?
MY biggest concern about the anti abortion cause is that a child’s life doesn’t end at birth, it begins. Where is the movement when children become homeless? What about ensuring clean air, water, and soil for the child to have surrounding him/her? Food, clothing, shelter, medical, dental and, more than likely needed, mental health care? These are issues LEFT off the table with many “pro-life” politicians. They’ll only say words but provide no evidence of really having a belief in the child.
Oh, and what about the child’s mother? Oh, let’s punish her for being so stupid as to be raped or condemn her for falling for the wrong guy.
1 – A child’s life doesn’t begin at birth. It begins at conception. All of science confirms this. And it’s not the candidate, it’s the platform. I am not voting for a person, I’m voting for LIFE. Any vote against that cause is a vote for the murder of a helpless person (millions of them, actually – about 60 million of them in the US over the last 50 + years alone!). And that vote carries with it the responsibility for that person’s death.
There is no way to explain our support of murder to Jesus when we stand before him in judgement. He won’t accept any excuses – we killed those babies. Period.
2 – All of the things you mention above will not matter to God. We have no way to know how any child born under any circumstances will turn out. God does. There are untold numbers of people who were born under the circumstances you name above, and have become great. We have no way to tell who the next great one will be. To quote St. Mother Teresa when she was asked by Hillary Clinton, “Why do you think we have never had a woman president?”, “You probably aborted her.” And we killed them with our votes just as surely as someone else killed them with their hands. We are culpable. We played a part. We tore apart limb for limb. With our votes.
Homeless? There are thousands of organizations to assist those people. Clean air/water and soil? What does it matter if your dead? While those things are important, they do not trump LIFE. You don’t clean up the environment by murdering defenseless people.
And what about the thousands of couples who cannot have a child who wish to adopt? There are not enough babies to go around. And, by the way, why does it cost $40,000.00 to adopt a child and only $400.00 to about one?
And, as an aside, we need to remember that Jesus said that the poor would always be with us. There’s a reason for that – it gives us a chance to do God’s work, show God’s love. Be his hands voice, feet:
We. Us. You. Me. Ourselves. We need to be involved ourselves. Don’t leave it for someone else to do.
3 – What about the child’s mother? Now we are down to the real issue. The convenience of the mother. There are lots of support agencies for her. Pregnancy centers, etc..
The real issue, here, is why punish the child for the mistakes of the mother? Why punish the child for the violence of the father? The child didn’t do anything to put himself there – the parents did.
OK. End of rant.
I have wondered if a person’s hell will be going through whatever it was that put them there in the first place. For ETERNITY.
If so, what will those who commit, or in any way support abortion (by direct action or by vote) spend eternity experiencing?
Not a pleasant thought…
When one lives unrepentantly in sin, they loose the ability to recognize evil as being evil.
Pray for them…
“Why do you Catholics worship Mary?”
“We don’t ‘worship’ Mary. We HONOR Mary. And no matter how much we honor Mary, we cannot ever honor her as much as God honored her by making her His mother.”
“That’s ridiculous! Mary is not God’s mother! She was only an incubator for Jesus – a vessel for getting Him to earth. Other than that, she’s just like any other woman who ever lived. She was a sinner. She was just a woman who happened to come along and agree to bear Jesus. She had, nor has, no influence on Jesus whatsoever. She’s dead and cannot hear you anyway. Praying to her is worthless. She was nothing special.”
“Can you do me a favor?”
“What is it?”
“Can you please remind me to not be standing next to you when you explain that to Jesus?“
The Catholic Church…
For 2000 years we have endured hostility, persecution, schism and sin. Kings, nations, armies, sects and hoards have tried to bring us down.
And yet we are still here.
We have been accused of idolatry, Satan worship, cannibalism and a hundred other horrible things.
But we are still here.
We have had bad popes, bishops, clergy and religious. There have been Catholics who were murderers, adulterers, fornicators and committers of every other brand of sin and corruption. Any other organization with so much ‘bad’ attributed to it would have been gone centuries ago.
And we are still here.
That, in and of itself, would be enough to convince me that the Catholic Church is the one true church instituted by Christ.
He said that “the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18). He said it and He meant it. And I believe it. Not to believe it would be to say the Jesus was wrong, that He made a mistake or that He lied.
Jesus was never wrong. Jesus never made a mistake. Jesus never lied. To say that He ever did any of these things is to say that He is not God. A true Christian will not and cannot do that.
Jesus is God, and God does not waver. Ever. God is perfect. Absolutely.
The Catholic Church is the Body of Christ on Earth. She has not ever changed, and never will change, doctrine. People who think that The Church will change her teaching on matters of faith and morals do not understand the Catholic Church. And a denomination which changes its teaching on such matters does not understand God and, therefor, Christ and Christianity.
The Catholic Church is not a church of convenience. It can be quite inconvenient to be a Catholic. When someone leaves the Catholic Church, it is often a departure of convenience. They don’t like this teaching or that teaching or the Mass or because somebody made them mad. It doesn’t fit their idea of what Christianity should be, and their idea of Christianity is that it should conform to their own thoughts, lifestyle, tastes or wishes.
God is not here to cater to our whims. We are here to serve Him. And serving God is not often convenient. It requires love and love requires sacrifice. To expect God to go along with our ideas of truth is the opposite of love – it is selfishness and the refusal to accept sacrifice. It puts the focus on us rather than on Him.
God will not be bent to our desires, we must embrace His.
God doesn’t need us – we need Him.
And because the Catholic Church is not in it for itself, she will continue to maintain her doctrines and dogmas. The number of faithful may shrink. She may become more persecuted. She may even disappear from some places.
But she will continue to exist on Earth until the close of the age, and she will do it while not changing her teachings.
I would like to jot down some thoughts on the subject of praying for the dead. What has prompted this post is the response from the local community to a tragic accident here which claimed the life of a twenty year old woman, and left (at last report) her twenty year old passenger in critical condition.
I have been praying for these two young women and I would ask that you consider uttering a word of prayer for them also. Dozens of people are praying for the families of the victims, and for the (so far) survivor. However, no one has mentioned praying for the young woman who died, and this is what has moved me to write.
Each day I pray for the souls who may be in Purgatory (specific family members, friends and prayer requests) and also for those who have no one else to pray for them. I think that there must be a lot of souls there who have been forgotten by their families, or who may not have any loved ones or friends left to pray for them.
Or, perhaps, they don’t believe in Purgatory in the first place.
Matthew tells us that whoever “speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (12:32). This would seem to indicate that there is some sort of “forgiveness” or “second chance” after death, but we know that once we die we cannot change our lives (repent).
So what is this “forgiveness” in the next life? It’s not so much “forgiveness” as it is a purification. In 1 Cor, Paul tells us that if someone “builds on the foundation of Christ using gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay or straw, the work of each will come to light, for the Day will disclose it. It will be revealed with fire and the fire will test the quality of each one’s work. If the work stands that someone built upon the foundation, that person will receive a wage. But if someone’s work is burned up, that one will suffer loss; the person will be saved, but only as through fire” (1Cor 3:12 – 15). The wood, hay and straw are burned away, leaving only the gold, silver and precious stones, purified.
The Book of Revelation tells us that “nothing unclean will enter Heaven” (Rev 21:27) and Hebrews tells us of “the spirits of the just made perfect” (Heb 12:23). Heaven and imperfection are not compatible. God and imperfection are not compatible. Purgatory is a place of purification which enables a soul to become perfected and, therefore, enabled to become “a partaker of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).
While there may be people who, when their time on Earth is over, go straight to Heaven, I suspect that many, if not most, of us stop over in Purgatory on the way. I think that very few of us die in a state of perfection and, therefor, require some “cleanup” before we can enter through the pearly gates.
Of course, there is no way to know the state of a person’s soul when they die (or at any other time), but I believe that it is an act of charity (love) and hope to pray for the repose of their soul. A soul cannot pray for itself after death, but we can pray for them. And we can offer our own suffering as a prayer for them (and each other) (see Colossians 1:24).
And we should, particularly for those for whom no one else is praying.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.
My maternal grandmother was devoted to Jesus through Mary. Every night at 7:00, the Rosary Hour was broadcast over the radio, and the entire household suddenly hit their knees in the living room and prayed the Rosary.
That included any visitors present. No matter what was going on or who was there, ALL activity stopped and you were on your knees for the next fifteen minutes praying the Rosary. Everybody. Nobody escaped. If you were Jewish, you were on your knees praying the rosary.
I spent a LOT of time at my grandparents’ house when I was growing up. A LOT of time. I learned to pray the Rosary before I was in kindergarten. And, maybe even more importantly, I learned to love Mary, the Mother of God. And, through her, Jesus, the only begotten Son of God – the second person of the Holy Trinity. And the Father. And the Holy Spirit.
There was a period of time when I got away from saying the Rosary – years, in fact. While I didn’t realize it was happening, I slowly became far too involved in secular life, concerned mainly with the things of the world. But even in times when I was far from being the person God made me to be, I still felt a deep love for Mary.
Because of that love, I eventually started praying the rosary again and came back around years ago.
Thank you, Lord, for giving me my Grandma Harrigan…
Thank you, Grandma, for leading me to our Mother, Mary, and through her to The Father, Son and Holy Spirit…
And thank you, Mary, for agreeing to be the Mother of Jesus… And for being the Mother of me…
I’m not as young as I used to be. (That’s not to say that I am not as handsome as I used to be – just not as young :-)) I’m still quite a ways from hitting the average age of mortality, but I have lots of friends and family who haven’t lived to where I am now.
I don’t over-dwell on this, but I do use this knowledge when formulating the ways in which I try to live my life. I know there is a lot more out there after my tenure on Earth ends, and I attempt to keep that in mind when making moral decisions. I would strongly prefer that my “lot more out there” be better than my “here and now”, and I also pray the same for my family, friends, and, indeed, all people everywhere.
That’s not to say that I don’t fail – I do. Every day. I have my struggles just like you do. Just like everyone does.
I’ve been thinking about this lately, relative to the current election cycle. This is not a political blog or post, but it is inspired by some of our nation’s politicians.
I’ve been considering how some of our political figures profess to be practicing Catholics or other denomination Christians.
I’ve been thinking about how many of them are personally opposed to things like abortion, but don’t want to put their personal “beliefs” into practice in their political office.
I’ve been thinking about some of those who, somehow, incorporate their political standing into their “Christianity” and not give a second thought to the morality of their actions, or, worse, change their original basic “Christian” beliefs for the sake of political expediency. After all, isn’t a church supposed to be based upon, and teach, truth? And shouldn’t a Christian strive to live that truth? And does truth change? (No, truth does not change – it’s always true.)
Somehow, people have gotten the idea that God will be merciful to us no matter what we do or how we live. It’s true that God IS ALL MERCIFUL. However, it seems that many people today have forgotten the other half of the equation – mercy requires repentance. Without repentance, we cannot accept God’s mercy. And repentance is more than an “I’m sorry”, it’s a firm “I have changed”.
And I have been thinking about those of us who are not “practicing” politicians, but voters who support those politicians. Many of us are “practicing” Catholics or other denomination Christians. And many support those politicians who have decided that, in reality, their faith is not in Christ, but in the number of people who they can convince to vote for them. And that support is often given based on a capital letter in front of the name of the candidate.
We have a limited time on Earth and we don’t seem to realize it. We live our lives each day and really don’t know if we’ll wake up tomorrow. We put off doing the things we should do, we do things we shouldn’t do, and really don’t give a second thought to “what if it all ends today?”. If we are fortunate, we are here for seventy-five or eighty or ninety years and that’s about it.
What’s sad to me is that a lot of these people are a lot closer to death than they realize. The are not spring chickens any more. Some of them are in their late sixty’s and seventy’s. How much time do they have left? Indeed, how much time do any of us have left, no matter what age?
As human beings, we are all headed towards death at breakneck speed and most of us think that we are immune to it, that it won’t happen to us. Well, probably most of those who die today got up thinking the same thing.
We are not immune. The question is not “if” but “when”.
That’s a question most of us have no answer for.
While I certainly welcome comments from anyone who wants to say their piece, I request that any dissenting remarks be made with something other than a Jack Chickian or Loraine Boettnerian method of logic and evidence supporting the views of the person submitting them.
Normally, I would simply moderate these comments out of existence. However, I have decided to share an example of what doesn’t work here, just so you have an opportunity to know where not to go in the future.
I have taken out the identity of the author of the responding comment, as well as the identity of the author of the original comment (and its content).
I have also decided that I will hold my own comments to short requests for evidence backing up the commenter’s statements.
In reply to (Original Commenter’s Name Here).
They are NOT one and the same at all.
I am Christian, and I do not follow catholic dogmas, as they are of the devil and Satan.
BK: Evidence, please
For a catholic to say they are Christian is totally offensive, and an outright lie.
BK: Evidence, please
How can you say you are Christian, when you are a member of an abusive,ungodly ,blasphemous, Mithraistic,Babylonian Cult ??
BK: Evidence, please
There is so much about catholicism that is not biblical, that it really should be referred to as satanism..
BK: Evidence, please
The two commenters above, really need to get themselves
a ‘ Reality check ‘ !!
BK: Evidence, please
Short answer: Catholics are the original Christians, so yes.
A friend once told me that there are three reasons that he is Catholic: “Eucharist, Eucharist and Eucharist.” While there are all sorts of reasons to be Catholic, I think they all stem from, and can be traced back to, the three mentioned by my friend.
Pope Francis, while speaking on the importance of attending Mass during the Angelus, made several comments on the Eucharist (shown below). The one that captured my attention most pretty much sums it up for me.
“Jesus left us the Eucharist with a precise objective: That we can become one with Him.”
Sometimes, about Mass, we hear this objection: ‘ What is the purpose of Mass? I go to Church when I feel like it, and I pray better alone.’ But the Eucharist is not a private prayer or a beautiful spiritual experience. It is not only a commemoration of what Jesus did at the Last Supper. We say, to understand, that the Eucharist is the ‘memorial’.
The Eucharist is Jesus giving Himself.
Jesus left us the Eucharist with a precise objective: That we can become one with Him.
We nourish ourselves with Him and remain in Him through the Eucharistic Communion. If we do it with faith, it transforms our life. It transforms it into a gift to God and a gift to our brothers.
The stated goal of many of the groups aligned against the Catholic Church and her teachings is its total and complete demise. That has been the aim of many throughout the 2,000 + year history of the Church.
Hasn’t happened. Isn’t going to happen.
Even with all of the bad things done by Catholics, some of the clergy and hierarchy, the Church is still here. The fact that she IS still here is testament to the truth that Jesus spoke when He said that the gates of Hell would not prevail against her.
Governments come, governments go; Tyrants come, tyrants go; Oppressors come, oppressors go; But the Catholic Church remains and is constant.
And it always will be.
So what’s the big deal about Mass? If we understood what is going on there, we’d know what the big deal is…
Think about it.
Pray about it.
Immerse your self in it…
This morning, as part of the national protest of Planned Parenthood, I took part in a protest outside a Planned Parenthood facility in Fresno, CA. We displayed signs, prayed the Rosary and discussed various related topics among ourselves. A few trained councilors engaged the few people headed into the facility.
Several drivers acknowledged our efforts in one way or another (supporting or opposing) as they drove by.
One of these drivers, a young woman, actually stopped in front of some of us and addressed us directly, asking if we have private health insurance. She was very courteous and not contentious in her question and in her response when we all answered in the affirmative.
Her response to us was that she also has private insurance, but many people don’t and depend on Planned Parenthood to supply much needed medical services regarding cancer and a few other things. She then asked, again courteously, why we would want to deprive needy people of these services.
Unfortunately, she didn’t wait for an answer this time but drove off.
While there could have been a lot of answers to her statements and question (which I won’t go into here), something occurred to me as she was headed down the street.
While she (in appearance, at least) may have raised some good points regarding other “services” provided, it occurs to me that those “services”, while important (if they existed and did not harm the patient), don’t mean anything if you were never born to begin with.
And Planned Parenthood derives the vast bulk of their income by trying to make sure that birth never happens.
God didn’t put a window to the womb when He created woman. But there is the next best thing available today.
Studies show that when a mother sees her unborn child in an ultrasound, the vast majority of the time she will opt out of the abortion option. The more ultrasound machines that are available to pregnancy centers, the higher the chance that fewer abortions will take place.
If you live near a center, and they do not have an ultrasound machine, perhaps you could check into establishing a fund to provide one to the center. It’s not as simple as it sounds, but well worth the effort…
Think about it. Pray over it…
God Bless… BK
Life far outshines ALL OTHER considerations in our voting decisions. NOTHING else has priority over life. Not other social issues. Not political issues. Not economic issues.
Without the right to life, all other rights are dust and ashes. All other considerations are hollow promises.
This morning I had the blessing of praying the Rosary in front of an abortion clinic – all 20 decades. I do this with the Knights of Columbus each month, along with some other dedicated Pro Life Catholics from other parishes within shouting distance of my home town. Today there were four of us in attendance.
After a few decades of the Sorrowful Mysteries, a second group of people showed up and took their usual place a few yards closer to the clinic entrance. This group is made up of, mostly, Hispanic women, though they were joined by a couple of men a short time after the ladies had begun to pray their rosary. The women ranged in age from young to not so young. They were inspiring. They were beautiful to behold.
And they were saving lives.
After awhile, a young woman showed up and stood with their group. Smiling, she approached one of the ‘not quite as young’ ladies and was warmly greeted. This was a special moment – special because the young woman was not alone. She was carrying a child who appeared to be a few months old. Her baby.
What was most beautiful about this young woman was the joy that emitted, not just from her face but, from her entire demeanor. It was clear that she was in love with her child.
The woman who had greeted her so warmly later came over to our little group of guys and told us about the young woman and her baby.
A few months ago, she had been walking toward the entrance to the clinic with the intention of terminating her pregnancy. She stopped to talk to some of the women praying the Rosary in the public area in front of the entrance. She subsequently changed direction…
Today, she returned to the clinic with her baby, and joined the other women in their prayers…
The love that she received from the women in that prayer group was enough to change her mind about what she was about to do. Love that can only come from God. Love that manifests itself through prayer, compassion and truth.
God works through people like that.
Contrast this with another group of people praying outside an abortion clinic, Preterm, in Cleveland Ohio last October. This particular group included several pastors and anti-life folks, and was led by United Methodist Church pastor, Rev. Laura Young.
In this prayer service, God’s blessings were called down upon the abortion clinic, it’s employees and it’s clientele.
Yes, that’s right – “Christian” pastors were calling on God to bless and protect the act of killing unborn children.
Here’s a sample from the article linked above (and below):
Young accused pro-life advocates of judgment and hate. The self-proclaimed “progressive religious leader,” said she hopes her “blessing” will protect Preterm from “preachy protesters, as well as encourage the strength and bravery of those providing and relying on its services.”
This is substantially different from what one would expect from a group praying in front of an abortion clinic. These people are asking God to look with favor on their mission of destruction of human life. God is THE AUTHOR of life – you really can’t ask him to look favorably upon you destroying it.
Satanists look upon abortion as a sacrament. These pastors seem to agree.
One wonders, to whom are these folks praying? I don’t think we worship the same God.
Keep them in your prayers – they really need them.
My song for Lent…
I wrote and recorded this about 11 years ago. I was inspired by two friends of mine. Each of them had spent decades addicted to drugs, alcohol and and all that goes with that addiction.
One lived on the streets most of that time. The other was in the rock music world.
Both of them hit bottom and cried out to God. God heard and answered their cries.
Both of them became close friends…
One is now a priest – he was the pastor of my parish at the time. The other had become our Music Director in the parish. He has since gone home.
To where God led him…
Just a quick thought that comes to my mind…
We are all accustomed to thinking of Mary as Jesus’ mother and no Christian will argue that she was chosen by God to bear His Son. But what does that entail? Did her ‘blessedness’ stop at Jesus’ birth?
God blesses all mothers with their children, and He blesses all children with their mothers. And fathers are blessed with both their wives and their children.
In a perfect world, an earthly father has a special caring for his wife and children. He may love all children, but he loves his own in a special way. He may love other women (with REAL, pure love), but he has a special love for his wife.
He chose his wife to be the mother of his children and, therefor, it is his wife he trusts to love and care for his children, and she occupies a very special place in his heart. He may not be perfect, but he does this as best he can.
God IS perfect and his love for the mother of His child is perfect. And to Him, Mary is special.
If Mary is special to God, why should she not be special to us?
The following quote should give us something to ponder. What an amazing observation…
How did God the Father love and care for the Incarnate Son while he was on earth? Through the Virgin Mary. (I mean really can’t you just meditate on that for days and days?) – Mary Kochan
The safest place to keep a rosary is in the hands of someone who uses it…
I actually posted this back in March, 2013, but I thought it was appropriate to do so again now…
The really great thing about truth is that it never changes. It’s always true…
It is not defined or proven by those who believe it or disbelieve it. It is only defined by the fact that it is true.
It pays no attention to emotions, is not swayed by “feelings”, is not changed by situations. It is not influenced by popular opinion, nor is it determined by a majority of voters.
Truth is not subject to mood swings or whim, love or hate, good or evil. It is completely objective, it is not subject to any outside influences whatsoever.
It cannot be cajoled, coaxed, argued, begged or tricked into into bending the smallest micron of an amount. It is true to itself. And only to itself.
The idea that “you have your truth and I have mine” is a total, complete and utter falsehood. If everybody in the world had their own truth, at least almost everybody would be wrong. Truth is true whether it is believed or not.
Truth can not be legislated, demanded, wished, hoped, requested, reported, advertised, purchased or lied into existence.
Something is either true, or it isn’t.
Truth is what it is and it can never be what it is not.
And that’s the truth.
God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. – Gen. 1:27
Through these, he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire. – 2Pe 1:4
They disciplined us for a short time as seemed right to them, but he does so for our benefit, in order that we may share his holiness. – Heb 12:10
Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.– 1Jn 3:2
And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ – Mt 25:40
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ – Mt 25:45…
21 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. 22 And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me. – Jn 17:21-23
God created Man with His own dignity. By sinning, it was Man who lowered himself. When the Son of God took on human nature and became man, He wasn’t lowering himself to our level, He was raising us back up to His.
Recently, I was listening to a radio broadcast consisting of a conversation on the topic of the terrorist group, ISIS, and thoughts on the proper response to the threat they bring to the world. There were several response options discussed, including prayer. Eventually, a caller to the show brought up an interesting point regarding ISIS (as well as other terrorist organizations). She said that, while we must hate what these groups do, we have to love the individual terrorists themselves as they are all God’s children along with the rest of humanity. God loves them, too. While, intellectually, I agreed with her point, I struggled with the “love the individual terrorist” part. Let’s face it, sometimes it’s hard to love somebody who does what terrorists do. It can be easy to let our base instincts and emotions get in the way of doing what we know to be right and true. That’s why love is a decision, not a feeling. Then prayer came back into the conversation… We pray to end abortion and other evil practices including terrorism. We pray to save the life of an unborn child who is in danger of abortion. We pray for miraculous healing. We pray for the conversion of sinners… Then – in an “Aha!” moment – the caller suggested that starting a movement to pray, not only for the end of terrorism, but specifically for the conversion of terrorists, might be a worthwhile endeavor. After all, the bigger the sinner, the greater the need for our prayers, and a terrorist is a very great sinner. The idea of a large group of Christians, each one praying for a specific terrorist, presents a powerful weapon in the fight against evil. But most of us don’t actually know a specific terrorist to pray for… This brought to mind a couple of prayers that I say every day, one for the unborn (from Archbishop Fulton Sheen), and the other for the souls in Purgatory (given by Our Lord to St. Gertrude the Great):
“Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I love you very much. I beg you to spare the life of the unborn child that I have spiritually adopted who is in danger of abortion. Amen.” – Archbishop Fulton Sheen
“ETERNAL FATHER, I OFFER THEE THE MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD OF THY DIVINE SON, JESUS, IN UNION WITH THE MASSES SAID THROUGHOUT THE WORLD TODAY, FOR ALL THE HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.” – Our Lord to St. Gertrude the Great
I thought about it and came up with a Hybrid of the two prayers, aimed toward the conversion to Christ and salvation of individual terrorists. I offer it here…
Eternal Father, I offer thee the most precious blood of thy divine son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for the conversion and salvation of the terrorist whom I now spiritually adopt who, through his or her acts of hatred and terrorism, is in danger of losing his or her immortal soul. Amen.
It wasn’t until a week or so later that it occurred to me that this same prayer could be applied to others in need of conversion. Abortionists, murderers, adulterers, thieves, pornographers, etc., all need our prayers. It is a simple matter to make a small adjustment to the prayer to accommodate the “appropriate sinner”. And then it occurred to me that the same could be applied to specific people in our own lives – the fallen away son, daughter, brother, sister, relative or friend. Or friend or relative of a friend. Or friend of a relative. I began including this prayer (for several conversion intentions) after my daily Rosary, trusting in God that it will be beneficial. It has been beneficial to me in that I believe that I have found a way to love the Child of God who’s evil deeds I cannot but hate. And who knows? Some day I may be greeted in Heaven by a terrorist who turned to Christ coming up to me and thanking me for my prayers for him… It could happen…
Jesus is without sin. As such, He obeys all of the Ten Commandments perfectly.
To obey all of the commandments perfectly, He honors His Father and mother perfectly.
Mary is the Mother of Jesus. Jesus loved and honored Mary perfectly.
He remained obedient to His mother perfectly.
The Body of Christ on Earth is the Church.
The Church is called to love, honor and obey Mary.
What does Mary tell the Church to do? “Do whatever He tells you.”
We are members of the Body of Christ, the Church. Again, the Church is the Body of Christ on earth.
Mary is the Mother of Christ and, therefore, the mother of the Church.
Christ honors his mother perfectly because He obeys the commandments perfectly because He is without sin perfectly.
As members of the Body of Christ, imperfect as we are, should we not strive for perfection in our honor of our mother, Mary?
I was reading somewhere where a Bible Christian had asked the question, “Did Jesus attend a Catholic seminary?”
Thinking about that question, I realized that no, He didn’t. Jesus WAS the ORIGINAL Catholic seminary, and the apostles were the original Catholic seminarians. And then the apostles became the next generation Catholic seminaries, and handed down what they had been taught by the original Catholic seminary professor, Jesus Christ, The Son of God.
And that same body of knowledge and teaching has continued to be handed down by the unbroken line of successors of the apostles to this day.
Awhile ago, a Facebook friend posted about a friend who has just discovered that she has stage 4 cancer – truly sad news, and I immediately said some prayers for her.
In her post, she asked the question, “Why can’t all the evil people in the world get cancer? Why it is always the kind gentle souls who suffer?” (Actually, cancer doesn’t make distinctions between good and bad people, but that’s not what encouraged me to write this post.)
What prompted me to jot down a few thoughts was that her words brought to mind an illustration given by Bishop Sheen, the point of which has really stuck with me throughout the years. It was very short and it went something like this”
There is a hospital that I have occasion to drive by quite often, and whenever I do, I feel a great sadness because within those walls there is so much wasted suffering.
The operative word here is “wasted“.
What Bishop Sheen is referring to is the lost opportunity for redemptive suffering – the chance to join our suffering with the suffering of Jesus Christ.
Jesus tells us that we are to take up our crosses daily:
“If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me”” (Luke 9:23)
This was not a suggestion but an admonition – “If you want to follow me, you have to do this.” We are to be imitators of Christ in every way, and this includes taking up our own crosses and following him.
And as Paul writes in his letter to the Colossians:
“Now I [Paul] rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.” – (Col 1:24)
Why did Paul rejoice in his suffering? Because he understood the value and the concept of joining his suffering to that of Jesus, his (and our) Savior. For Paul, it was an act of love.
Why did Jesus embrace his suffering in the first place? He did it out of Love for all of mankind. He performed the the most perfect act of love in the history of all of creation, and he did it through the greatest infliction of suffering on one human being in the history of all of mankind.
We are reminded of this every time we see a crucifix. (This, by the way, is a great reason to have the Corpus on the crucifix, and not simply an empty cross, in our churches – the crucifix is the symbol of the greatest act of love ever performed. Why would we not want to be reminded of His love for us?)
We are called to take up our crosses on a daily basis and follow Jesus.
We are called to imitate Jesus.
Jesus suffered mightily because He loves us. We have the opportunity to turn our own suffering into an act of love by offering it up for the conversion of sinners, the salvation of souls and in penance for our own failures if we will but follow Paul’s example and join it with Jesus’ suffering.
Love. More than anything else, we are called to love.
“So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor 13:13)
What made Bishop Sheen sad is the fact that many, if not most, people inside hospital walls (or any place else) do not avail themselves of the opportunity to turn their suffering into an act of love.
It occurs to me that if there weren’t people turning their suffering into acts of love, there might be even more suffering than what already exists. It also occurs to me that, perhaps, ‘good’ people are allowed to suffer because ‘evil’ people don’t know what to do with it.
OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF
JOHN PAUL II
TO THE BISHOPS, TO THE PRIESTS,
TO THE RELIGIOUS FAMILIES
AND TO THE FAITHFUL
OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
ON THE CHRISTIAN MEANING
OF HUMAN SUFFERING
To expand on Bishop Sheen’s statement about right and wrong…
“Right is always right, even when nobody is right. Wrong is always wrong, even when everybody is wrong.”
Truth is always true, even if nobody believes it. Falsehood is always false, even if everybody believes it.
Good is always good, even when nobody is good. Evil is always evil, even when everybody is evil.
Right and wrong. Truth and falsehood. Good and evil. None of these are reliant upon democracy – they are not decided on by a majority vote. They simply are, and no amount of subjective opinion can change them.
The Catholic Church is accused by Protestants of adding books to the Bible. I was thinking about that and it occurred to me that, technically, that’s true.
The Catholic Church added 27 books to the Bible. Together, they are called the New Testament.
Some time ago, I had two friends. Both had abandoned the Church at a young age. One of them lived on the streets. The other became a rock musician and did a lot of work with some very famous people.
Both fought drug/alcohol addictions for decades.
Both finally screamed to God for help.
One of them became the music director at my parish. The other became the pastor at my parish. Mark died several years ago – God rest his soul. Fr. Pat has moved on to another parish – as have I.
I wrote this for them, but over time I have come to realize that we all have our varying degrees of addiction to something or other. Something that hinders us from complete surrender to God. Money, entertainment, sex, sports, glamour, glitz, video games – we all have our roadblocks to get around. Some of us are affected more strongly than others.
That really hit me when I sang it at a Lenten penance service a few years ago. Several people came up to me afterward to tell me their stories and to tell me how much the song meant to them.
I started writing this song for Mark and Pat. I guess I also wrote it for (your name here)…
Take a listen. Maybe it will mean something positive to you..
I was recently involved in an exchange with the friend of a friend, an atheist. He’s a good guy, and I have enjoyed going back and forth with him. At one point during our back and forth, he stated that he realized that I suffered from ‘cognizant dissonance’ but that he is used to that and so he didn’t mind too much. Made me smile. He also included this meme:
And this meme is what I decided to do my annual Lenten project on. Thanks Jim! See? God even works through atheists!
What this meme tells me is that millions of people, have no clue of how God works. God rarely, though sometimes does (to specific people at specific times), scream out his existence. Rather, He whispers to us, and those who are listening will hear Him. He hides in plain sight. If we look for Him, He’s easy to find.
Basically, God does, and always has, work through people. We are his hands, feet and heart on Earth. We are the evidence that He exists and loves.
Painters work with brush, paint and canvas. Sculptors work with hammer, chisel and stone. People are the medium in which God works.
Could He just directly fix things if He wanted to? Of course. But in doing so, He would be taking away one of His greatest gifts to us – the gift of Free Will. He doesn’t force any decision on us, but allows us to act or not act as we see fit. He doesn’t force us to love Him. He doesn’t force us to hate evil. He doesn’t force us to acknowlege, or even believe in, His very existence. If He did, it wouldn’t mean anything other than that He has an incredible ego and He needs us to make himself feel good about himself. We would be his puppets and He the puppet master, pulling our strings. Any devotion we would give Him would originate as a demand from Him leaving us no choice but to express our loyalty to Him.
That devotion would be empty, devoid of any real love, desire or emotion. It would be superficial – completely worthless.
How many of us would be content with a relationship under those conditions?
But that’s not who God is. He did give us free will and we are free to follow him or not; free to reflect His love toward others or not – it’s our decision, not His. He only gives us the tools to work with, He doesn’t force us to use them. He loves us enough to allow us to decide for ourselves.
Along with free will, God has given many of us great material resources while to some, he has given great material needs. In the great needs of others, God has given those with resources (large or small) great opportunities to be His hands, feet and heart. The opportunity to act in, and convey, His love.
He gives us His law, written on our hearts, and, He gives us the choice to embrace His love or reject it. Every human being has been given these gifts (we all start out with an innate sense of right and wrong), though some (many) have allowed that sense to be distorted and twisted in favor of convenience toward one’s lifestyle.
It’s up to us to decide whether or not to love. It’s up to us to act on what God has written on our hearts, what we know is right.
In the end it’s our decision whether or not to embrace the opportunities that God has given us – not His.
If there is hunger, poverty, oppression and great misery in the world – and there is a lot of each – It’s not because God has stood by and let it be so. It’s because we have stood by and let it be so.
God has given us the tools and resources to do great good in the world. We have the hammer, the chisel, the stone, the brush, the canvas, the paint.
He has also given us the freedom to decide how we will use these gifts, or not use them at all. It’s our responsibility. It’s up to us to create a masterpiece.
The meme shows an empty canvas, an uncut stone, not a failure of God to act, but a reason for us to act.
God Is Love…
1 Corinthians, chapter 13 tells us
1 If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.
2 And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated,
5 it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
6 it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth
7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.
9 For we know partially and we prophesy partially,
10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
11 When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
12 At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
13 So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Notice that of the three – Faith, Hope and Love, Love is the greatest and most important.
Love is what will create the masterpiece. God’s love made active through people. People with a lot of money. People with little money. People with no money. People with only a smile, a kind word or a caring touch to give.
You and me.
If we don’t create the masterpiece, the failure rests on our shoulders and our shoulders alone.
Not on God’s.
Commence to belly laughing.
Regarding the Concluding observations on the second periodic report of the Holy See report released by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, I have gone through most of the report (see link above) and wanted to comment on a few of the findings and provisions that I have read. There’s just too much here to cover in a blog post, but I wanted to hi-light a few things that illustrate the lack of understanding and baselessness with which the report was prepared.
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has decided that it is now God and (in Article 4, section F, Paragraph 55) has directed the Church to, among other things,
“55. The Committee urges the Holy See to review its position on abortion which places obvious risks on the life and health of pregnant girls and to amend Canon 1398 relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services can be permitted.”
The Church does not change doctrine. There will be no amendment to “Canon 1398 relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services can be permitted.”
Truth is an interesting thing. In the end, it cannot be changed, it can only be proven. That’s because the truth is always true.
And abortion is not a service to be rendered, and it is not an act to be performed. Rather, it is a sin which can only be committed and there is not a power on Earth which can change that fact or change the Church’s teaching regarding it.
Not even the United Nations.
The committee also wants the Church to Change its existing teaching so that they become pretty much what the Church currently teaches (with the exception of the last point), as indicated in article 4, section B, paragraph 26 of the report:
“26. The Committee recommends that the Holy See bring all its laws and regulations, as well as its policies and practices, in conformity with article 2 of the Convention and promptly abolish the discriminatory classification of children born out of wedlock as illegitimate children. The Committee also urges the Holy See to
make full use of its moral authority to condemn all forms of harassment, discrimination or violence against children based on their sexual orientation or the sexual orientation of their parents and to support efforts at international level for the decriminalisation of homosexuality.”
The Church does not promote, and in fact condemns, harassment, discrimination and violence against everybody (homosexuals included: CCC 2358) now. And it most certainly does not discriminate against children born out of wedlock as evidenced by the Church’s massive work to protect the unborn, provide assistance for unwed mothers, provide support for orphans, promote and provide adoption services, etc.. All children are children of God and, therefore, legitimate.
There are no “illegitimate” children, only illegitimate parents.
The report goes on to say in paragraph #30:
30. The Committee draws the Holy See’s attention to its general comment No 14 (2013) on the right of the child to have his or her best interests taken as a primary consideration and recommends that the Holy See strengthen its efforts to ensure that this right is appropriately integrated and consistently applied in all legislative,
administrative and judicial proceedings as well as in all policies, programmes and projects that are relevant to and have an impact on children. In this regard, the Holy See is encouraged to provide guidance to all relevant persons in authority for making the best interests of the child a primary consideration in every area, including when dealing with cases of child sexual abuse, and to disseminate them to all Catholic churches, organisations and institutions worldwide.
OK – let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that this “recommendation” is fair enough. The committee fails to define the word “children”.
Apparently, judging by their demand that the Church revisit its teachings on abortion, they exclude the unborn from their definition. While the point of the paragraph appears to be to remove a speck from the Church’s eye as regards to the sex scandals, they would do well to remove the plank from their own eyes in regards to the murder of defenseless children in the womb.
In section D – Violence Against Children, They register a complaint about the Magdalene Laundries of Ireland and demand that the Church investigate the cruelty that, allegedly, though not really, took place there. I’m including the whole section here along with a link to the actual findings made by the McAleese investigation at the end.
“Torture and other cruel or degrading treatment or punishment
37. The Committee is concerned that the Holy See has not taken the necessary measures to protect and ensure justice for girls arbitrarily placed by their families, State institutions and churches in the Magdalene laundries of Ireland run by four congregations of Catholic
Sisters until 1996. The Committee is particularly concerned that:
(a) Girls placed in these institutions were forced to work in slavery like conditions and were often subject to inhuman, cruel and degrading treatment as well as to physical and sexual abuse;
(b) Girls were deprived of their identity, of education and often of food and essential medicines and were imposed with an obligation of silence and prohibited from having any contact with the outside world;
(c) Unmarried girls who gave birth before entering or while incarcerated in the laundries had their babies forcibly removed from them; and
(d) Although the four Catholic congregations concerned function under the authority of the Holy See, no action has been taken to investigate the conduct of the sisters who ran the laundries and to cooperate with law enforcement authorities in holding accountable those who were responsible for the abuse as well as all those who organised and knowingly profited from the girls’ unpaid work.
38. With reference to the recommendations made by the Committee against Torture in 2011 to the Republic of Ireland (CAT/C/IRL/CO/1 para. 11) to prosecute and punish the perpetrators with penalties commensurate with the gravity of the offences committed, and to ensure that all victims obtain redress and have an enforceable right to compensation, the Committee urges the Holy See to:
(a) Conduct an internal investigation into the conduct of religious personnel working in the Magdalene laundries in Ireland as well as in all countries where this system was in place, and ensure that all those responsible for the offences be sanctioned and reported to national judicial authorities for prosecution purposes;
(b) Ensure that full compensation be paid to the victims and their families either through the congregations themselves or through the Holy See as supreme power of the Church and legally responsible for its subordinates in Catholic religious orders placed under its authority;
(c) Take all appropriate measures to ensure the physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of the victims of these offences; and
(d) Assess the circumstances and reasons which have led to such practices and take all necessary measures to ensure that no women and children can be arbitrarily confined for whatever reason in Catholic institutions in the future.”
Personally, I think they forgot to:
(A) Take steps and all appropriate measures to ensure that they weren’t talking out of the wrong ends of their torsos; and
(B) Assess the circumstances and reasons which have led to such slovenly conclusions and take all necessary measures to ensure that they are able to face God with good consciences when their time comes.
The main problem with these “crimes” is that they never happened. The problem with the UN report is that they never bothered to read the results of the investigation. You can click here to see the history of the “scandal”, and the results of the actual investigation.
This shabby reporting by the UN committee is either a case of complete ineptitude or a case of intentional slander. Ineptitude requires no motivation. In fact, it requires laziness and inaction. Slander, on the other hand, does require a motive…
Additionally, the committee is unhappy with the Church’s positions on contraception, same sex marriages and families, Homosexuality in general, gender based teachings, corporal punishment and a host of other topics as outlined in the document.
Then there’s the demand that the Church change the curriculum throughout Catholic schools around the world.
Like I said – there’s just too much to get through here.
These people have no concept of what the Church is or how she sees matters of faith and morals. The Catholic Church does not change doctrine. It never has and it never will. And the Church is not accountable to the United Nations, the United States or the entire world for her teachings. The Catholic Church is accountable only to God.
At some point, everybody in history is going to realize that. Obviously, we’re not there, yet.
I recently saw what I originally thought was a great meme on Facebook. It was about marriage and what makes one perfect:
Photo credit – Jennifer Akers Reams
It actually is pretty cool, but I woke up this morning with the thought in my head that, as good as it is, it is missing something.
So I decided that dress it up a bit:
A perfect marriage is made up of the one perfect God, one imperfect man, one imperfect woman and an unspecified quantity of imperfect children, all of whom refuse to give up on each other.
That’s probably not perfectly stated, either, but I think it’s closer to the mark.
…Recently, my father passed away and we had a funeral Mass celebrated. The Mass was well attended by family and friends, not all of whom were Catholic, or practicing Catholics. When it came time for communion, as is typical on occasions where there would normally be non-Catholics attending, the priest made the same announcement with the addition that anyone not receiving could come forward, if they wished, with their hands crossed over their chest and receive a blessing.
As I discovered later, this caused some confusion, as well as some damaged feelings on the part of some of the attendees. And as came to light later, there was a massive misunderstanding in the room of what The Eucharist is, particularly as taught by the Catholic Church.
To the non-Catholic, and, sadly, even many Catholics, the Eucharist is probably one of the least understood things about the Catholic Mass, indeed about Catholicism in general. In addition, many people don’t know that they don’t understand it. Indeed, millions of Catholics go to communion in robotic fashion, not discerning the Body and Blood of Christ. (1 Cor 11:23-30) To many, it’s just what you do at church.
Hence, the reason I’ve decided to jot down some thoughts on the subject. I envision the distinct possibility of me dying someday, and I don’t want the same thing to happen at my funeral, so I just want to clear up a few things on the Eucharist for Catholics and non-Catholics alike, in hopes of helping someone avoid the same confusion (or worse) when they find themselves planted in the pews and saying “goodbye” to old Bill…
Fruits Of The Contraceptive Mindset – Part 1: Abortion: The Contraceptive of Last Resort – William H. Kammerer, Jr.
“Judah said to Onan, ‘Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.’ But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife he spilled the semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother. And what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, and he slew him also” (Gen. 38:8–10)…
It is a little known fact that until 1930, every Christian denomination condemned artificial contraception. Not just the Catholic Church. All of them. No exceptions. Even the Protestant Reformers condemned the practice –
* “[T]he exceedingly foul deed of Onan, the basest of wretches . . . is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery (emphasis mine). We call it unchastity, yes, a sodomitic sin. For Onan goes in to her; that is, he lies with her and copulates, and when it comes to the point of insemination, spills the semen, lest the woman conceive . Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed (emphasis mine). Accordingly, it was a most disgraceful crime. . . . Consequently, he deserved to be killed by God. He committed an evil deed. Therefore, God punished him.”
Luther doesn’t just equate Onan’s action with incest or adultery, he elevates it to an even higher evil than those two atrocities! He calls it ‘a most disgraceful sin’. Why? his words: ‘…lest the woman conceive.’ And ‘Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed.’
* “The voluntary spilling of semen outside of intercourse between man and woman is a monstrous thing. Deliberately to withdraw from coitus in order that semen may fall on the ground is doubly monstrous. For this is to extinguish the hope of the race and to kill (emphasis mine) before he is born the hoped-for offspring.”
Why does Calvin say that it’s wrong? Not because ‘semen may fall on the ground…’. He says it’s wrong because ‘this is to extinguish the hope of the race and to kill before he is born the hoped-for offspring.’ In other words, it’s wrong because it prevents the birth of a child. In fact, his choice of words sounds amazingly like the description of something else – Abortion… And, as we’ll see later, legalized abortion is one of the results of the change in teaching on artificial contraception that began in 1930…
* “Those sins that dishonor the body are very displeasing to God, and the evidence of vile affections. Observe, the thing which he [Onan] did displeased the Lord—and it is to be feared; thousands, especially of single persons, by this very thing, still displease the Lord, and destroy their own souls (emphasis mine). “
Wesley takes it as far as saying that those who follow in the footsteps of Onan ‘destroy their own souls.’ By doing what? by acting to prevent conception during the Marriage act.
* (You can find these passages, and many others by historic Protestant figures who recognize the evils of contraception, quoted in Charles D. Provan, The Bible and Birth Control.)
These reformers maintained the same belief and teaching that had been the historic Christian position since the very beginning of Christianity. And that was a continuation of Jewish teaching dating back to the time of Onan, way back in the old testament.
In short, this teaching on contraception has been around since God first made himself known to us.
So what happened to cause everybody to change their minds about contraception? And what are the consequences of that change?
As mentioned above, the condemnation of artificial contraception was the universal position of all Christian denominations until 1930. It was at that time that the Anglican Church, during it’s Lambeth Conference, acquiesced to social pressure and allowed artificial contraception in certain circumstances. Shortly thereafter, the Anglicans completely gave into continued social pressure and removed all objection to contraception and allowed it for any reason that a couple could come up with.
It was a true ‘Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile’ moment in Christian history. Sadly, that mile has become a light year today…
And from there, the slippery slope effect came into play and all other Protestant denominations soon followed suit.
In short order, denominations everywhere abandoned thousands of years of Divine Revelation in favor of the demands of a few thousand or million selfish individuals who wanted the the fun of sex without taking on the responsibility of children.
This is truly a new teaching within the boundaries of Christianity. And when this happened, a whole new world opened up – and it’s not very pretty…
Many a Christian evangelist will preach against ‘man-made traditions’ and doctrines, all the while promoting and encouraging what truly is the single most destructive man-made doctrine in the entirety Judeo/Christian history.
How destructive? Well, when Christian society adopted a contraceptive mindset – a mindset that removes the possibility of conception from the sex act, thereby making children an unnecessary hinderance to having a good time, we established a mentality that made it increasingly more acceptable to ‘enjoy’ sex lives outside the norms of society, Christian or otherwise.
The natural result of sexual relations is a child, and since you take the requirement for a baby out of sex, there is no reason to have a normal sexual relationship – they all become normal…
And here’s a short list of what’s become the norm, or is becoming the norm, since we started thinking this way…
- Rampant Adultery
- Ubiquitous pornography
- Mercy killing/Euthanasia
- High divorce rates
- Childhood sex
- Unchecked unwed motherhood
- Gay marriage
- Epidemic levels of sexually transmitted diseases
And that’s just a jumping off point – How many other things can you think of that could be added to this list? How many things can you think of that can be attributed to the the things on the list – subsets, if you will?
For the sake of brevity, I’ll stick with Abortion to start with and address the other things on the list in future articles.
- Abortion – If you want to end abortion, end the contraceptive mentality. Think about it – they both have the same end in mind – The pleasure of sex and the prevention of the birth of a child. They are two siblings in the s
ame family, sharing the same goal and, often, the same methodology for achieving that goal – even if the practitioners don’t realize it.
Even Planned Parenthood and the media tangentially connect contraception and abortion, as evidenced in this piece from Lawrence O’Donnell:
In the video, a ‘friend’ of O’Donnell allegedly sends him an email decrying the movement to defund Planned Parenthood. One of the main reasons she gives for her request is that she won’t be able to afford birth control because she has just lost her job (and insurance). She also mentions her ‘unfortunate and devastating abortion’ in her email.
(Apparently, she was forced to have an abortion because she either didn’t have access to birth control, or it failed. Neither O’Donnell nor the email says. It is also not revealed if the woman is married.)
This is a perfect example of how the Contraceptive mentality has created what we have today in the areas listed above.
First, assuming that the woman is single, I have some observations…
Prior to the general acceptance of contraception as a way to avoid pregnancy, conception was universally recognized as a possibility when engaging in sexual intercourse. Additionally, society demanded that the bearing and raising of children take place within the confines of a committed marital relationship (marriage). With that understanding, sex was also generally expected to take place within the institute of marriage, and those (especially women) who participated in it outside of the marriage bond were looked on with much derision.
Derision does not begin to cover the perception of any woman who became pregnant outside of the marital relationship. Women who found themselves in this situation were strongly stigmatized, and that stigma stayed with them for the rest of their lives, or until they moved somewhere where they were not known.
With these societal norms in place, men and women may have wanted to jump into the sack together, but they had to weigh the possibility of pregnancy and the resulting circumstances and responsibilities that go along with it against the pleasure of engaging in the act. They had to decide whether sex was worth the risk of the consequences of creating a new child.
Those who took the risk and bet wrong paid a heavy price. And, if they were married to other people, those families paid an even greater price. Those families would have suffered even more humiliation, pain, loss of trust, possibly divorce and who knows what else.
Fear of the consequences of elicit sexual intercourse kept much of the religious, and probably non-religious, population in check. People were forced to exercise self-discipline and take responsibility for the way they lived their lives. They had to resist temptation, even if they really didn’t want to. And, when you compare society back then with the train wreck we have today, they actually did a fairly good job of it.
Now, what would happen if all of a sudden the ‘danger’ of getting pregnant while having sex appeared to go away?
Let’s see… What would that mean?
By removing the possibility of creating a new life from the sex act, you removed the the primary natural function of sex from the act itself – that of procreation. God didn’t give us the gift of children so we would be more likely to feel good during sex, he made sex attractive to us so we would procreate! Face it – if sex was painful, would we do it? And if we didn’t do it, there wouldn’t be any of us around to complain about it.
And, having removed conception from the sex act, you have changed the reason for sex from procreation to self expression or self fulfillment. This is NOT what God intended.
Remember: God did NOT say “Go out and have fun expressing and fulfilling yourselves and, if you think of it, make me 2.3 kids, but make sure you don’t mess up this nice planet with too many of the little ankle-biters.” He told us to “Be fruitful and multiply” and “Subdue the Earth”
Now that you have taken the possibility of pregnancy out of the equation, you have also done away with the fear of the consequences of an unwanted pregnancy. And when you threw out the baby, you started down the road toward the breakdown of self-discipline and the destruction of personal responsibility.
And you have opened the door to what, to millions of people, is ‘complete sexual freedom’. It destroys all self discipline. It obliterates any sense of personal responsibility for the consequences of our actions. It gives us the illusion of being the masters of our bodies and decision makers for God.
And this eventually led to the sexual free-for-all we have going on all around us today.
And, in millions of us, it has made us impervious to the destruction of little blobs of tissue growing inside millions of pregnant mothers around the world.
Back to the woman who’s email O’Donnell is reading in the video…
If she’s not married, she shouldn’t be having sex. BUT she is the ‘victim’ of the contraceptive mentality – that mentality says that “you are a sexually free woman, and you can do whatever you want. And if you slip up and get pregnant, you can just get rid of it because you are free to express yourself in any way that you want and you shouldn’t have to worry about the consequences of your actions. You don’t have to be responsible. In fact, you’re being responsible by aborting it. You should be able to have sex and not be punished with a baby because of it.”
Again, the contraceptive mentality discounts any self-discipline and responsibility on the part of the couple, especially the woman.
At this point you’re probably asking, “What are you talking about? Contraception is NOT the same as abortion!”
Well, artificial contraception often fails, and one big reason that there are not more unwed mothers is that when ‘protection’ fails, the baby is jettisoned (aborted).
- Induced abortions usually result from unintended pregnancies, which often occur despite the use of contraception (CDC).
- 54% of women having abortions used a contraceptive method during the month they became pregnant. Among those women, 76% of pill users and 49% of condom users reported using the methods inconsistently, while 13% of pill users and 14% of condom users reported correct use (AGI).
- 8% of women having abortions have never used a method of birth control (AGI).
- 9 in 10 women at risk of unintended pregnancy are using a contraceptive method (AGI).
- Statistics found at Abort73.com
- AGI: The Alan Guttmacher Institute (Research arm of Planned Parenthood)
- CDC: Centers for Disease Control
Nowadays we hear about the use of abortion as a means of contraception as if it was a new idea when, in fact, it has been used that way for thousands of years.
As K.D. Whitehead writes:
Yet there is one more consequence of the contraceptive mentality in our society today which must now be treated —abortion. The legalization of abortion in the United States, by the Supreme Court’s decision of January 22, 1973, has quite rightly evoked a wave of protest everywhere—and not only among Catholics. Abortion—the killing of a living though unborn child—may yet serve to turn our society back from the road down which we have been traveling. People do stop and ask: how is it that we are now permitting the legalized killing of around a million of our children each year? How is it that in supposedly civilized and Christian America we have killed more since the Supreme Court abortion decision of 1973 than in all the wars of American history?Nevertheless, even among those most horrified by legalized killing, there has been a great reluctance to accept the plain fact that we have social acceptance of legalized abortion today because we had social acceptance of contraception first.
I am acquainted, I think, with all of the arguments that will be levelled at this statement. After all, it is argued, abortion is not the same thing as contraception. Abortion is killing; killing is wrong. Contraception, however, is something else; it merely prevents conception; it doesn’t kill a child already alive and growing. So it is urged.
Most people see the evil of abortion and they see that its acceptance is already opening the way towards acceptance of positive euthanasia, or “mercy killing”, of the sick, aged, and “unfit”. Much fewer people see how the evil of contraception and its new ethic of untrammelled sex apart from possible procreation have in fact led to legalized abortion. For even if contraception as such is not as bad as murder, it is an evil; and Our Lord. himself teaches that “the bad tree bears evil fruit”: (Mt 7:17). It is in this sense that abortion—the idea that we may even go so far as to kill in order to make effective the “control” man has assumed over his own, “reproduction”—is one of the evil fruits of the contraceptive mentality.
How many of us were worrying about abortion in 1968 when Paul VI issuedHumanae Vitae? Only four or five States had tentatively modified their abortion statutes at that time (37). Or in 1930? The deluge has come in the past several years. But the encyclicalHumanae Vitae, like the earlier encyclical of Pope Pius XI, was already on the record as a truly prophetic witness of the plague of abortions that has since been visited upon the human race.
Actually, the American experience of seeing the acceptance of contraception lead to the acceptance of abortion was not the first time that the integral and consistent anti-life logic we have been examining here has worked itself out in human history. Consider this statement of St. Epiphanius, who was Bishop of Salamis, and who lived between 315 and 403 A.D. Writing of the contraceptive practices of the pagan society of his day, St. Epiphanius wrote against the idea that conjugal relations might be indulged in without any reference to their natural purpose: “There are those”, he wrote, “who when they have intercourse deliberately prevent having children… Moreover if a man should by mistake deposit some of his emitted seed and his wife becomes pregnant, listen to what further crime they descend. They remove the unformed fetus from the womb anytime they please and actually grind the aborted child (infantem) with mortar and pestle. Then to avoid nausea they use pepper and other spices or ointments” (Emphasis added) (38).
Again, the desired results of both artificial contraception and abortion are the same – the prevention of the birth of a child.
You might argue that, while the expected result of abortion is the prevention of live birth, the expected result of the pill is the avoidance of conception. Well, why would a person (or couple) want to prevent conception? So they don’t have a baby.
Both the practitioner of contraception and the practitioner of abortion have the same expectation: They expect the same outcome from engaging in sex – all fun, no baby. They even use the same reasoning for their respective methods of avoiding the responsibility for their actions…
- I/we can’t have a child right now because
- I/we can’t afford it
- I’m/we’re in school
- I/we have a career
- I/we am not ready to settle down yet
- I/we want to be responsible and protect the Earth
- I/we don’t want to bring a child into such a messed up world
- We just want to be with each other
- I just want to be free to express my sexuality and not have to worry about having a baby
- And the ubiquitous: We have all of the kids we want ** (See note below)
Because of the the natural progression of the contraceptive mentality, many women may not bother with ‘protection’ at all, relying on ‘after the fact’ methods of preventing live birth. That, after all, is what the ‘morning after’ pill is for. And if you miss the ‘morning after’ opportunity, you can always go to RU486 – up to 9 weeks into your pregnancy!
In fact, many forms of contraception act as abortifacients (the IUD, the Patch, the Morning After Pill – which is essentially a very strong version of the common Birth Control Pill, which can also act as an abortifacient – if they don’t catch it on the first go around, they will prevent implantation of the fertilized egg and cause a spontaneous abortion. A woman can abort her baby and never even know she was ever pregnant! How many women have unknowingly aborted their child or children who would never begin to consider intentionally having an abortion under any circumstances?
We hear about the nearly fifty-five million abortions that have been performed in clinics and hospitals since Roe v. Wade became the law of the land. That’s the number 55 followed by six zeros. That’s a lot of lives destroyed at the hands of so called doctors in so called ‘health centers’ around America. That’s an incredibly high number, but where abortion is concerned, the number ‘one’ is too high. You will not find a pro-life person who will dispute that.
But we don’t know how many unknown, spontaneous abortions have taken place through the use of various forms of contraception. It could be a lot fewer than fifty-five million. Or it could be a lot more than fifty-five million.
And when you take the number of intended and non-intended abortions in the United States and add them to the numbers in same categories from every other nation on Earth, what do you come up with? There is no way to tell, is there?
What we can tell is that abortion is the next logical step in the contraceptive mentality. When contraception fails, abort the ‘product of conception’.
Abortion is the contraceptive of last resort.
** (About “We have all the kids we want”, while I plan to address th
is in a future column, I would like to interject a couple of thoughts to ponder…
When a woman conceives a child, she participates, with God, in the creation of an imortal soul. That child, once conceived, lives forever. And as with everything else that God creates, which is everything, that soul belongs to Him.
Serious Christians consider children a gift from God. But have we ever given thought to the fact that every child is also our gift TO God? And when we purposefully reject God’s desired gift from Him, we also intentionally refuse to give God our gift to Him?
God may have given us all of the children we want. But how many children does God want from us? And who are we to decide for God how many souls He wants from us?
How many of us are competent to make God’s decisions for Him?
21 “But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die. 22None of the offenses they have committed will be remembered against them. Because of the righteous things they have done, they will live. 23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
24 “But if a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked person does, will they live? None of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness they are guilty of and because of the sins they have committed, they will die. (EZEKIEL 18:20-24)
Margaret Sanger, Founder of Planned Parenthood, Racist, Eugenicist…
The Contraception Deception…
Earlier this evening, I responded to a comment regarding the part that racism plays in the motivation of conservatives around the country. The comment was left on my “rightlinks” blog by someone who signed his name “Despicable”. If you would like to read his commens, please follow this link…
Having read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” several times in my life, I decided that I should address him by his name…
Actually, it’s not about race at all…
It’s about wanting to NOT spend the country into oblivion.
It’s about wanting our kids to NOT be saddled with eternal debt.
It’s about wanting to NOT trade freedom for a handout.
It’s about NOT having someone else control every part of your life.
It’s about being responsible for our own lives and actions or inactions, and expecting others to do the same.
It’s about freedom vs slavery.
It’s about thinking long term, not just to the end of your nose.
It’s about avoiding unintended consequences that will only serve to make things worse.
It’s about protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States from the bludgeoning it has taken at the hands of those who would destroy it.
It’s about our public servants doing their job and reading bills before they vote on them.
It’s about policy, not race…
And anyone who tries to convince you differently is either disingenuous, ignorant of the facts or has darker motives in mind.
The only incendiary racial comments I have noticed are the ones that come from the mouths of those who accuse patriotic Americans of racial motives. Politicians, news casters – and those uninformed folks who hypnotically get drawn into their web of deceit and destruction. Sadly, those who resort to those tactics are, in fact, creating tension where it otherwise would not be. Equally sad is the fact that they have no argument with which to oppose those with whom they disagree, so they resort to emotional, childish (and potentially dangerous) name calling. In this case, the name “Racist” is applied to anyone who disagrees with them.
The name “Racist” is applied to millions of Americans who are taking time off from work, family and their lives to contribute to the preservation of the freedom which has been the envy of the entire world.
The term is completely non-sensical when applied to people whose only sin is that they don’t want to see the nation, their lives and their children’s lives destroyed by policies that can do nothing else.
As Margaret Thatcher so eloquently said, “The problem with socialism is that, sooner or later, you run out of everyone else’s money.” You can only feed so many people before you run out of pie, and when the pie is gone people are going to starve. And when you get to that point, you’ll be up that proverbial creek without a paddle.
To see that, you need real vision.
As far as our racist and bigoted past is concerned, I refer you to Roger Hedgecock’s article “Drenched In Blood of Slavery” . You may find some surprising history there..