Saturday, June 30, 2007
I'm here to put an end or attempt to 'slow down' the lies such as these. If you'd care to write them, in all charity, like I just did, please do.
I would respond to all the misrepresentations and fallacies here, but it would be too long. Suffice to say, my one response is in bright RED below. The rest are so silly, I don't have time, and I need to get to bed now. G'night Catholics and honest seekers. Let's write to these folks and others like them and give them our blog sites and other links. One never knows when you might write an ex-Catholic and plant that seed to get him or her back home. PAX,
Question: "Are Catholic beliefs and practices Biblical?"
Answer: The issue concerning any church and its practices should be “Is this Biblical?” If a teaching is Biblical (taken in context), it should be embraced. If it is not, it should be rejected. God is more interested in whether a church is doing His will and obeying His Word than whether it can trace a line of succession back to Jesus’ apostles. Jesus was very concerned about abandoning the Word of God to follow the traditions of men (Mark 7:7). Traditions are not inherently invalid…there are some good and valuable traditions. Again, the issue must be whether a doctrine, practice, or tradition is Biblical. How then does the Roman Catholic Church compare with the teachings of the Word of God?
Salvation: The Roman Catholic Church teaches that salvation is by baptismal regeneration and is maintained through the Catholic sacraments unless a willful act of sin is committed that breaks the state of sanctifying grace. The Bible teaches that we are saved by grace which is received through simple faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), and that good works are the result of a change of the heart wrought in salvation (Ephesians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17) and the fruit of that new life in Christ (John 15).
Assurance of salvation: The Roman Catholic Church teaches that salvation cannot be guaranteed or assured. 1 John 5:13 states that the letter of 1 John was written for the purpose of assuring believers of the CERTAINTY of their salvation.
Good Works: The Roman Catholic Church states that Christians are saved by meritorious works (beginning with baptism) and that salvation is maintained by good works (receiving the sacraments, confession of sin to a priest, etc.) The Bible states that Christians are saved by grace through faith, totally apart from works (Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8-9; Galatians 3:10-11; Romans 3:19-24).
Baptism: In the New Testament baptism is ALWAYS practiced AFTER saving faith in Christ. Baptism is not the means of salvation; it is faith in the Gospel that saves (1 Corinthians 1:14-18; Romans 10:13-17). The Roman Catholic Church teaches baptismal regeneration of infants, a practice never found in Scripture. The only possible hint of infant baptism in the Bible that the Roman Catholic Church can point to is that the whole household of the Philippian jailer was baptized in Acts 16:33. However, the context nowhere mentions infants. Acts 16:31 declares that salvation is by faith. Paul spoke to all of the household in verse 32, and the whole household believed (verse 34). This passage only supports the baptism of those who have already believed, not of infants.
Prayer: The Roman Catholic Church teaches Catholics to not only pray to God, but also to petition Mary and the saints for their prayers. Contrary to this, we are taught in Scripture to only pray to God (Matthew 6:9; Luke 18:1-7).
Priesthood: The Roman Catholic Church teaches that there is a distinction between the clergy and the “lay people,” whereas the New Testament teaches the priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2:9).
Sacraments: The Roman Catholic Church teaches that a believer is infused with grace upon reception of the sacraments. Such teaching is nowhere found in Scripture.
Confession: The Roman Catholic Church teaches that unless a believer is hindered, the only way to receive the forgiveness of sins is by confessing them to a priest. Contrary to this, Scripture teaches that confession of sins is to be made to God (1 John 1:9).
How about this for some context?
JAMES 5 : 16
(NIV) Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
(THE MESSAGE bible) Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.
(NAB-Roman Catholic) Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.
(Douay-Rheims - Roman Catholic) Confess therefore your sins one to another: and pray one for another, that you may be saved. For the continual prayer of a just man availeth much.
Mary: The Roman Catholic Church teaches, among other things, that Mary is the Queen of Heaven, a perpetual virgin, and the co-redemptress who ascended into heaven. In Scripture, she is portrayed as an obedient, believing servant of God, who became the mother of Jesus. None of the other attributes mentioned by the Roman Catholic Church have any basis in the Bible. The idea of Mary being the co-redemptress and another mediator between God and man is not only extra-biblical (found only outside of Scripture), but is also unbiblical (contrary to Scripture). Acts 4:12 declares that Jesus is the only redeemer. 1 Timothy 2:5 proclaims that Jesus is the only mediator between God and men.
Many other examples could be given. These issues alone clearly identify the Catholic Church as being unbiblical. Every Christian denomination has traditions and practices that are not explicitly based on Scripture. That is why Scripture must be the standard of Christian faith and practice. The Word of God is always true and reliable. The same cannot be said of church tradition. Our guideline is to be: “What does Scripture say?” (Romans 4:3; Galatians 4:30; Acts 17:11). 2 Timothy 3:16-17 declares, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Tolkien and C.S.Lewis and other friends formed a group called the Inklings. They met regularly and read out passages from their current works. Their most famous meeting point was the Eagle and Child pub, known as the Bird and Baby. There is a plaque inside remembering the Inklings.
Where Tolkein and Lewis sat
over glasses filled with cheer
I'd love to go to the Bird & Baby
and pound a pint o' beer
I wonder if their voices
still must echo in that place
to picture them gathered 'round a table
puts a smile across my face
I can almost hear them raise a toast
to a long-spent colloquial night
the pair of weathered and true friends
shared a capital delight
that of sparkling conversation
the most enjoyable of sounds
like heavenly libation
quenching parched and thirsty ground
yes the walls of this yon pub
hold a treasure trove of speech
as interlocutors now above converse
just across the breach
for friends and laughter will surely greet us
when we leave this pub to go
to our home in Heaven's neighborhood
our sins made whiter than the snow
across the veil we'll one day be
as we pass through the door of death
where the joy of sparkling conversation
will never come to an end
'DA PER MATREM ME VENIRE'
"Grant that I may come to Thee Through Thy Mother"
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Foundation
c/o Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR
St. Leopold Friary
259 Nepperhan Avenue
Yonkers, NY 10701
Dear Friends of Archbishop Sheen,
"May the Lord give you His peace!"
I know "form letters" lack the personal feeling and consideration I like to put into all my letters, but many times they are the only way to respond to a large number of people. So, please accept this brief letter as an expression of my gratitude for your interest in the life and work of Archbishop Fulton John Sheen, and for any sharing of how he has touched your life or the lives of your loved ones for the better. Many people have been sending us testimonies of the profound spiritual influence the Archbishop has had on their lives. The response from his admirers has been astounding! He indeed has many devoted friends.
Let me use this letter to share briefly what is being done to promote the life and the message of Archbishop Sheen. We are conducting a kind of "independent study" to determine how favorably the People of God look upon the Archbishop as a man of holiness. This is reflected in the effects he has had - and continues to have - in the lives of so many people. If it can be determined that Archbishop Sheen enjoys a widespread reputation for holiness and that no significant difficulties can be foreseen, a more formal procedure into the study of his sanctity, possibly even leading to sainthood, can be opened by the proper authorities. In the meantime, we ask you to pray for our work and that God, according to His Divine Will, moves His Church to recognize the sanctity of Archbishop Fulton John Sheen.
Asking God to bless you and yours, I am,
Yours in Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Father Andrew Apostoli, CFR
God was just your little boy, tell me what to say!
Did you lift Him up, sometimes, gently on your knee?
Did you sing to Him the way Mother does to me?
Did you hold His hand at night?
Did you ever try telling stories of the world?
O! And did He cry?
Do you really think He cares if I tell Him things-
little things that happen?
And do the Angels' wings make a noise?
And can He hear me if I speak low?
Does He understand me now?
tell me - for you know?
Lovely Lady dressed in blue teach me how to pray!
God was just your little boy, and you know the way.
JM we love you. Save souls. Pray for us.
Mike is author or editor of more than a dozen books on Catholic history, doctrine, and devotion. He is vice president of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology based in Steubenville, Ohio.
His homepage can be found at:
His blog, 'The Way of the Fathers', can be found at:
Fathers of the Church
St. Gregory Nyssa
St. Justin the Martyr
St. Gregory the Great
St. John Chrysostom
St. Ignatius of Antioch
St. Leo the Great
St. Clement of Rome
St. John of Damascus
St. Clement of Alexandria
Fathers and The Feast of the Epiphany
St. Anthony of the Desert
Mothers of the Church
VATICAN CITY, JUNE 30, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Here is the declaration published by the Holy See upon releasing the letter Benedict XVI wrote to the Catholics in China.
* * *
Declaration: Letter of the Holy Father Benedict XVI to the Bishops, priests, consecrated men and women, and lay faithful of the Catholic Church in the People’s Republic of China
By means of his Letter, which is made public today, Pope Benedict XVI wishes to express his love for the Catholic community in China and his closeness to it.
From the text of the Papal document two basic attitudes are clear: on the one hand, deep spiritual affection for! all Catholics in China and cordial esteem for the Chinese people, and, on the other, an earnest appeal to the perennial principles of the Catholic tradition and the Second Vatican Council in the ecclesiological sphere. It is, therefore, a pressing invitation to charity, unity and truth.
The Letter is directed to the Church in China and deals with eminently religious questions, responding to precise queries which have been addressed for some time to the Holy See by Chinese Bishops and priests. It is not, therefore, a political document, nor, much less, an indictment of the government authorities, although it does not ignore the well-known difficulties which the Church in China must daily tackle.
The Holy Father recalls the "original plan" which Christ had for his Church and which he entrusted to the Apostles and their successors, the Bishops. In this light, he takes into consideration various problems of the Church in China which emerged during the! past fifty years. From this "plan" he also draws inspiration and formulates guidelines to tackle and resolve, in a spirit of communion and truth, the said problems.
In the Letter, Benedict XVI declares himself fully available and open to a serene and constructive dialogue with the civic authorities in order to find a solution to the various problems concerning the Catholic community, and to reach the desired normalization of relations between the Holy See and the Government of the People’s Republic of China, in the certainty that Catholics, by freely professing their faith and by giving generous witness of life, contribute also, as good citizens, to the good of the Chinese people.
Saturday, 30 June 2007
Institute for Priestly Formation
Programs of Spiritual Formation For Diocesan Seminarians,
Priests and Seminary Spiritual Directors
Seminarian Mathius Thelan
Seminarians Matt Mumaugh and Michael Lewon
Seminarians Jacob Welp and Tom Vassalotti
Spirit Catholic Radio is honored to present
Listening for Truth
with Deacon James Keating PhD
"Listening for Truth" at Amazon.com
Download 'Listening for Truth'
Listening for Truth leads men and women in the search for a fuller experience of God that begins in prayer, grows in the rediscovery of our spiritual being, and grounds itself in the truth of Jesus Christ. Our dialogue with God must cultivate a mind that is eager to learn moral truth and a heart that deserves to live a life of virtue based on prayer. The transforming nature of prayer becomes apparent in our desire to draw near to God. That desire is actualized in proportion to the moral goodness we build in our lives -and God draws us to that goodness in response to our desire. The prayerful search for God leads to a moral life based on truth, and personal fulfillment that grows from the denial of self and a turning towards God and others.
Deacon James Keating, Ph.D. is Director of Theological Formation at Creighton University’s Institute for Priestly Formation in Omaha, NE. He was appointed by the Papal Nuncio to be Associate Professor of Moral and Spiritual Theology in the School of Theology at the Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus, OH. Deacon Keating received his Ph.D. in Roman Catholic Theology form Duquesne University in Pittsburg, PA, his M.A. in Religious Studies from Fordham University in New York City and his B.A. in Religious Studies from Siena College. Deacon Keating has done workshops nationally on moral theology and parish life. His essays have appeared in numerous theological journals. His most recent publications include Crossing the Desert: Moral Conversion and Lent (Liguori Press,
2001); Pure Heart, Clear Conscience: Catholic Moral Life (Re-issued by Liguori Press, 2003); Listening for Truth: A Life of Prayers and
Virtue (Liguori Press, 2002) and, with Co-author Dennis Billy, C.Ss.R., Conscience and Prayer: The Spirit of Catholic Moral Theology (Liturgical Press/Michael Glazier, 2001) and The Way of Mystery: Eucharist and Moral Living (Paulist Press, 2006).
Rev. George A. Aschenbrenner, S.J.
Rev. Richard J. Gabuzda, IPF Director
Rev. John P. Horn, S.J.
Kathleen A. Kanavy
MISSION STATEMENT: The Institute for Priestly Formation has been founded to assist in the spiritual formation of diocesan priests in the Roman Catholic Church. Working as a complement to already existing programs of seminary formation, the Institute responds to the need for a more concentrated and integrated spiritual formation. Inspired by the biblical-evangelical spirituality of Ignatius Loyola, the Institute's programs present a spirituality that can inspire, motivate and thus sustain the busy daily lives of contemporary diocesan priests.
or more information, write to:
Rev. Richard Gabuzda, Director
The Institute for Priestly Formation
2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 68178
Telephone: (402) 546-6384
Fax: (402) 280-3529
Rich and I met Deacon James Keating at the Holy Family Shrine when he spoke there on the Theology of the Body. He is a wise and gentle servant of God. We are so very blessed here in Omaha NE! He loves the Shrine and wants to do more out there, in the way of teaching, meetings, Adoration/Benediction. There's nothing like the Shrine when the sun is setting and it gets dark and the stars start to twinkle in the velvet night sky that blankets the prairie. Come on and drive on out, feel the love and power of this holy mound and ground. Mary's presence is very strong, we've been told by many. As is the blessing of JPII the Great.
Listen HERE - archives of Spirit Morning Show.
Pray for their mission and for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Guatemala who need our support and us to be in solidarity with them.
JMJ pray for us!
June 19, 2007
Pro-choice Catholics, not just Catholic politicians, must not receive Communion if they knowingly support legalized abortion says an American bishop.
"By steadfastly choosing to be pro-choice, a Catholic — politician or not — excludes himself or herself from communion," wrote Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli in the June 7 edition of The Beacon, the Paterson diocese newspaper.
In his column Serratelli rebuked "pro-choice" Catholic politicians and those who "arrogantly insist that the Church does not have the right to her own teaching" and who claim a right to Communion at the same time. In particular Serratelli went after the 18 Democratic Congressmen who lashed out at Pope Benedict XVI for stating that supporting abortion is "incompatible with receiving communion."
The Church vigorously teaches that "human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception." However "pro-choice Catholics," as Serratelli pointed out, have reacted in self-righteous "how dare he" indignation when the Pope tells them that the Church has definitive truths, objective criteria for forming a conscience, and does not rubberstamp everyone as worthy to approach Holy Communion.
"[The Pope] is right when he insists that supporting abortion is incompatible with the reception of Holy Communion," said Serratelli.
"Certainly, a politician has the freedom to reject Church's teaching," he stated. "But let's be honest. To choose to be pro-choice is to reject the Gospel of life. It is to be not faithful to Church teaching."
Serratelli noted that guidelines for Catholics receiving Communion prepared by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops also teach that Catholics "should refrain" from receiving Communion if they were to "knowingly and obstinately to repudiate [the Church's] definitive teaching on moral issues," either in their personal or professional life.
"The Church has always taught that a procured abortion is a moral evil," said Seratelli. "The Church's teaching is clear. What is disputed now is the Church's right to speak this truth."
Serratelli noted that the 18 Catholic Congressmen who "strongly chastised" Benedict XVI were refusing "to allow the Pope freedom of speech and the Church freedom of religion."
Politicians in western governments worldwide have attacked the Catholic Church's right to hold its members accountable to Catholic teachings in the name of "pluralism." Right now two Catholic archbishops in Australia, George Pell of Sydney and Hickey of Perth, face investigations into whether their telling Catholic parliamentarians that support for the destruction of human life in stem-cell research is incompatible with receiving communion amounted to "contempt of parliament."
"Why should the Church not have a right to voice her teaching on this important issue in the public square? She must speak and speak often," Serratelli said. "Abortion may be for some just a political issue. But, for the innocent child, it is a matter of life or death."
This update courtesy of LifeSiteNews.com.
Gee, TJ, guess I'm a lot more "kid friendly." Oh the brilliancy of PC idiots never ceases to amaze me. Golly, maybe I've turned into some sort of marshmallow? I"m not sure I'm happy with a PG rating. I think death and abortion, euthanasia and misery, and suffering and the pain and struggles of gays and heterosexuals alike means that we are people and "people are human and human is messy." I don't think SIN is ever "okay" with God and that he'll "look the other way" when I commit SIN. I am a SINNER and need a Savior because I sometimes do WRONG things. Yes there is a WRONG and a RIGHT way to live. We should choose LIFE and choose rightly but we many times fail to do that and then we must live with certain CONSEQUENCES to our sinful choices. uh oh....wonder how that will affect my rating now? Maybe that will get my a NC rating like my BIC, (brother in Christ) TJ.? I'm even okay with the words, "brothers and sisters" said IN THAT ORDER in our prayers!!!! THAT has GOT to give me a NC or worse (meaning better) right?
Friday, June 29, 2007
Can you imagine where we'd be without these men? What we owe these men! Let us find a quiet moment today, whether walking, working, driving, studying, and thank them from the depth of our hearts for their undying loyalty, diligence, faith and martyrdom.
"Dear Saint Peter and Saint Paul, our beloved first Pope and our brother and spiritual father, thank you! We can only hope to be found as "worthy of death" for the love of Christ as you both were. Please pray for us, that we remain in the Faith that you both lived out so extraordinarily and the faith you both were tortured for, for bringing so many souls to Christ and His Church. Pray for the Church in this country that struggles against heresy on every side and becoming lukewarm and apathetic with consumerism and materialism running rampant with it's many temptations always there to lure away those whose faith has grown cold. Pray for us that the Holy Spirit's bright flame will ignite our hearts and our faith will shine and be a light for others trapped in a spiritual darkness."
Saints Peter and Paul are the principle pillars of the Church founded by Christ. Saint Peter was chosen by Christ to be his first Vicar on earth; he was endowed with powers ofthe keys of the kingdom of heaven (Mt 16:13-19) and charged with the role of Shepherd of Christ's flock (Jn 21:15-17). In St. Peter and his sucessors, we have a visible sign of unity and communion in faith and charity. Divine grace led St. Peter to profess Christ's divinity.
St. Peter suffered martyrdom under Nero, in about the year 64 AD. He was buried at the hill of the Vatican; recent excavations have revealed his tomb on the very site of St. Peter's Basilica.
Saint Paul was chosen to form part of the apostolic college by Christ himself on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-16). Selected to bring Christ's name to all peoples (Acts 9:15), he is the greatest missionary of all time, the advocate of pagans, the Apostle of the Gentiles. St. Paul was beheadedd in the Tre Fontane along the Via Ostiense and buried nearby, on the site where the basilica bearing his name now stands.
Source: Daily Roman Missal, Edited by Rev. James Socías, Midwest Theological Forum, Chicago, Illinois ©2003
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Last week on Wednesday, the Shrine had a special visitor, the Reverend Robert Schuller from the Crystal Cathedral in California. He loved the Shrine and felt very “blessed” to see it.
I wasn't volunteering that day, and Matt our caretaker didn't have his camera for some strange reason, (he always does) but the Rev. Schuller signed his name on the guest register with Phil 1:6 beside it.
The Shrine celebrates it's 5th anniversary this July.
Gee, it was one year ago, May 31 that our RECONnecting to the Truth blog jumped into the Blogpool and began it's swim. Happily, it didn't drown. Yeah, it was treading water there for a while, but now it's doing the blogpaddle and it seems to enjoy the water. It's been a blast and a great way to meet all of you fun, friendly, on fire Catholics and sincere seekers of the fullness of Truth. I guess since May was such a BIG and FULL month for me, the last half of it being in Rome, and then recovering from jet lag, my blog's 1 year anniversary escaped me, bloggone it! Next year there will be door prizes and May baskets to all the visitors, old and new in May. Yeah.....that's the ticket....door prizes. ; )
BLESSINGS to all and to all a good night.
susie & rich
Thanks Stan. : )
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Frankly, I have seen my last Robin William's movie and will oppose him and Jay Leno at every opportunity. I just received this from Tim Staples.
Robin Williams and Bill Donahue
New York, Jun 20, 2007 / 10:14 am (CNA).- Robin Williams has decided that he won’t pay any consequences for ridiculing the Church in public, says The Catholic League. On Monday night’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Williams equated all priests with pedophiles and mocked confession.
Leno invited the actor on to his show to plug his upcoming movie “License to Wed,” in which he plays a Protestant minister who forces a couple to go through marriage preparation courses. However, the experience of portraying a minister didn’t seem to engender any respect for the clergy in him.
Williams pretended to play a game with Jay Leno where a pedophile is hidden under a cup. “Here we go. Find the priest, find the pedophile. Find the priest, find the pedophile. Here you go right now. Move ‘em around, move ‘em around. Oh, you found the pedophile.”
Williams then put his hand over his groin, saying, “You have to realize that if you are a Catholic priest, you have retired this. That’s it—no more sex.” Then he took a shot at confession: “But they are going to put you in a small dark box and people are going to tell you the nastiest sexual stuff they have done.”
Bill Donahue was angered by the fact that, “Isaiah Washington lashes out at one gay person in private, and he is banished from ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ Robin Williams lashes out against all priests in public, and he suffers no consequence.”Pointing out that the actor has calculated the risks of targeting the Church, Donahue quoted an interview with MoviesOnline in which Williams recently said, “‘you can’t poke fun at certain religions,’ but ‘we just made major fun of the Catholic Church but hey, they don’t blow you up.’” Donahue said this makes Williams not just “a bigot and a liar” but also “a coward.”
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.
Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5
Here's the study
Friday, June 22, 2007
Catholic Dictionary Website Released!
Trinity Communications has released a new website: CatholicReference.net.
This new website houses a complete Modern Catholic Dictionary (authored by the late Fr. John A. Hardon) in cooperation with Eternal Life.
The dictionary is presented in a simple but attractive environment and can be both browsed and searched.
In the future, we hope to add collaborative tools by which users can suggest both the addition of new terms and refinement of existing terms.
Visit CatholicReference.net to view this exciting new venture.
This new creation is an example of Trinity Communications' dedication to serving and educating Catholics on the Internet.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
This Sunday the Church celebrates the birthday of John, the Voice in the wilderness, preparing the way for Jesus.
Solemnity of the
Birth of John the Baptist
Saint Augustine of Hippo
This reading ion the birth of John the Baptist s taken by a sermon of St. Augustine (Sermo 293, 1-3; PL 38, 1327-1328) and is used in the Roman Office of Readings for June 24, the Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist. St. John the Forerunner (aka San Juan Baptista or San Giovanni Battista) is the only Saint other than the Virgin Mary whose birthday is marked by a liturgical feast. Here Augustine brings out the similarities and contrasts between the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ and that of his cousin, who serves as a sort of boundary between the Old and New Covenants.
The Church observes the birth of John as in some way sacred; and you will not find any other of the great men of old whose birth we celebrate officially. We celebrate John’s, as we celebrate Christ’s. This point cannot be passed over in silence, and if I may not perhaps be able to explain it in the way that such an important matter deserves, it is still worth thinking about it a little more deeply and fruitfully than usual.
John is born of an old woman who is barren; Christ is born of a young woman who is a virgin. That John will be born is not believed, and his father is struck dumb; that Christ will be born is believed, and he is conceived by faith.
I have proposed some matters for inquiry, and listed in advance some things that need to be discussed. I have introduced these points even if we are not up to examining all the twists and turns of such a great mystery, either for lack of capacity or for lack of time. You will be taught much better by the one who speaks in you even when I am not here; the one about whom you think loving thoughts, the one whom you have taken into your hearts and whose temple you have become.
John, it seems, has been inserted as a kind of boundary between the two Testaments, the Old and the New. That he is somehow or other a boundary is something that the Lord himself indicates when he says, The Law and the prophets were until John. So he represents the old and heralds the new. Because he represents the old, he is born of an elderly couple; because he represents the new, he is revealed as a prophet in his mother’s womb. You will remember that, before he was born, at Mary’s arrival he leapt in his mother’s womb. Already he had been marked out there, designated before he was born; it was already shown whose forerunner he would be, even before he saw him. These are divine matters, and exceed the measure of human frailty. Finally, he is born, he receives a name, and his father’s tongue is loosed.
Zachary is struck dumb and loses his voice, until John, the Lord’s forerunner, is born and releases his voice for him. What does Zachary’s silence mean, but that prophecy was obscure and, before the proclamation of Christ, somehow concealed and shut up? It is released and opened up by his arrival, it becomes clear when the one who was being prophesied is about to come. The releasing of Zachary’s voice at the birth of John has the same significance as the tearing of the veil of the Temple at the crucifixion of Christ. If John were meant to proclaim himself, he would not be opening Zachary’s mouth. The tongue is released because a voice is being born – for when John was already heralding the Lord, he was asked, Who are you and he replied I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.
John is the voice, but the Lord in the beginning was the Word. John is a voice for a time, but Christ is the eternal Word from the beginning.
In this vale of tears world we live in, the apparition of our Blessed Mother to Sister Amalia was not the first or only time that Holy Mary bore her sorrow before one of her children.
In the approved account of Mélanie Calvat -- the shepherdess of La Salette -- we witness Our Lady of La Salette's deep sadness, when she appeared in the French Alps on September 19, 1846:
"The Holy Virgin was crying nearly the whole time she spoke to me. Her tears flowed gently, one by one, down to her knees, then, like sparks of light, they disappeared. They were glittering and full of love. I would have liked to comfort Her and stop Her tears. But it seemed to me that She needed the tears to show better Her love forgotten by men. I would have liked to throw myself into Her arms and say to Her: 'My kind Mother, do not cry! I want to love you for all men on earth.' But she seemed to be saying to me: There are so many who know me not!
I was in between life and death, and on one side, I saw so much desire by this Mother to be loved, and on another side, so much cold and indifference . . . Oh! my Mother, most beautiful and lovable Mother, my love, heart of my heart!
The tears of our sweet Mother, far from lessening her air of majesty, of a Queen and a Mistress, seemed, on the contrary, to embellish Her, to make Her more beautiful, more powerful, more filled with love, more maternal, more ravishing, and I could have wiped away her tears which made my heart leap with compassion and love. To see a Mother cry, and such a M other, without doing everything possible to comfort her and change her grief into joy, is that possible? Oh! Mother, who is more than good, you have been formed with all the prerogatives God is able to make; you have married the power of God, so to speak; you are good, and more, you are good with the goodness of God Himself. God has extended Himself by making you his terrestrial and celestial masterpiece."
This is a deeply moving account.
Another visit from our Lady -- in tears -- occurred over the course of five days, from August 29 to September 2, 1953 in Syracuse, Sicily. Then and there, the image of Mary cried incessantly from a common terra-cotta plaque.
Thousands of people came to witness this miracle of Mary's tears in the simple home of a poor Sicilian laborer. A thorough investigation of the event was conducted by the Church, and confirmed -- through the bishops of Sicily -- that the communication was divinely ordained.
Pope Pius XII, the angelic pastor, was most exclamatory on the Vatican radio, when he proclaimed, "O the tears of Mary!"
My friend, Denise, recently returned from Medjugorje and brought me a Chaplet of the Seven Dolors...the 7 Sorrows of Mary. This imgage of Mary, Our Lady of Tears is on every "Our Father" in the chaplet with the picture of each of her sorrows on the other side. I'll take a picture of it and post it. I have a strong devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows. I love the many images of Mary as our sorrowful Mother. I'm researching this and want to start a devotion with my new chaplet. I thought it was worth sharing here, and anyone interested can join me.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
"As far as we know the captors and their masterminds have not yet been clearly identified, however, the evidence points to a well-organized group […] they were fully armed and well equipped and the capture of Father Giancarlo was carefully planned," the PIME communiqué says.
Father Bossi, 57, an Italian member of the PIME, was abducted after celebrating Mass in the southern island group of Mindanao.
The Pontifical Institute statement said: "Who are these captors and masterminds? […] Why don't they declare their purpose? Why are they playing with the life of a person and religious leader serving the people in a remote area? Why the agony of suspense? What interests are involved? We can only plead for mercy.
"We pray that persons of good will may dare to bring out the truth and free the nation from those disgraceful acts of tension. Father Giancarlo may feel abandoned like Jesus on the cross; may we share with him and with all our people the joy of resurrection."
"Hail Mary full of grace, 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. Amen."
Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!
O Blessed Virgin, you opened the doors to paradise that Eve had closed by picking the forbidden fruit of mortal evil from the tree. While the Child of your flesh, the fruit of Salvation, hung from the branches of the Cross, you assisted Him with your tears, which brought joy into the world. You found the key and led your adopted children to the heights of Heaven.
This came to me today. I get these daily "moments with Mary" and thought this too beautiful not to share.
My friend, Mary, agreed that many times, there's sometimes a big lack of "activity" after 9 months or so of RCIA and sometimes, if sponsors haven't been all that enthused or involved, many (up to 20% or more I've heard) drop between the cracks and sometimes out the door of the Church to more "lively" fellowships or perhaps even stumble and fall hard enough to lose their faith, if not grounded or taught thoroughly. Not putting anyone down here, but I was a statistic like that back in the 70's. It was a "sloppy theology" back then, and I was "ripe for the pickin'" by some articulate anti-Catholic tracts by Last Days Ministries. They weren't like Jack Chick tracts, but they sure misled me, because I was hungry for Truth, and the "sloppy" quasi-protestant Catholicism I was being immersed in via the Charismatic Renewal and some misguided Catholics and priests, well, it didn't exactly appeal to me, or draw me closer to the Church when the Church seemed to just want to "not be so Catholic" and appeal to the masses (no pun intended.) The charismatic renewal wasn't "wrong" but where we were, the Church wanted to be more "open and free" so much so, that quite frankly, it was easy to 'slip out the door.' They threw out the baby with the bath water and without the books and plethora of wonderful t.v., radio, as we have today, my 'head' conversion didn't keep me in the Church because my heart longed for the "spirit and heart" I'd witnessed and received at another fellowship of Pentecostals. That took us out and away from the Catholic Church for 26 years and brought about so much confusion at times, I almost lost my faith and my soul.
So, here it is, 2007 and we've been back in the Catholic Church for 2.5 years. Last year, with MUCH enthusiasm, we formed RECON under the auspices of the Church and the blessing of our Chancellor in the Archdiocese of Omaha. We have about 8 people who've been to a meeting or have come to a few meetings and the potential is there for us to take off and grow as time goes on, with air time on KVSS, and our blurb in the Catholic Voice newspaper, it's sure to happen. We are also going to be at the Luis Palau Heartland Festival in Omaha in July, at the KVSS tent to spread the news about Catholic Radio and RECON.
We hope to meet many fallen away Catholics and those who might be seriously thinking of returning, as was my husband before me, and now will find a place that offers safety, and support, understanding of the struggles with friendship and fellowship and prayer. We aren't theologians and we aren't even college grads...no degrees behind either my name or my husbands. What we do possess is a true zeal and love for the Church, Sacred Tradition and orthodoxy. We have a strong desire to share the faith that we're coming to actually LEARN ourselves, through the many books, radio, and EWTN programing. We want to be that support group for others just where we were a few years ago. Seekers of truth, longing for "home" and realizing the weaknesses of Evangelicalism were just too numerous to hold us in the church we were part of for 13 years.
RECON is 'life after RCIA' as someone other than myself or my husband has expressed to us, and I do think it's an apt description of the vision for this endeavor. We're not a "formal" class setting, we're not teaching per se, but simply offering a place to gather to share our love, fears, joys, sorrows, frustrations, etc.
I wanted to post this here to welcome those on this thread or visiting this forum who are from Omaha or the surrounding area, to come to the Holy Family Shrine. Every first Sunday of each month, 5:30 p.m. until 7:30ish...(sometimes we hang out there longer) and find a friendly, small group of people who've got a love and burning passion for the Roman Catholic Church/Faith! Our hope is to be a place where people can meet others from different parishes and find common ground, i.e. a love for bible study, prayer, rosary making, cenacle of Divine Mercy, book club, other interests and "go forth" in "twos" or more, out into the community and help our priests/parishes building up each parish and spread that same fire within those church families to help 'keep the RCIAers' IN the flock and ACTIVE. To radiate Christ and bring home the lost and confused back into the fold with love and vibrantly expressed faith.
Exit 432 on I-80, (Gretna Interchange) Left (S) on Hwy 31 and Right (W) on Pflug Road. The State of NE did finally erect some signs so follow those. It took 3 years to determine that enough people are visiting the Shrine to acquire the signs, so it's easier to find now.
We'd love to see you, meet with you, talk and pray with you. Learn more about RECON here on the webpage.
Monday, June 18, 2007
ASSISI, Italy, JUNE 18, 2007 (zenit.org).- Benedict XVI clarified that the spirit of peace among religions promoted by St. Francis and Pope John Paul II is not religious syncretism.
This was one of the main messages during the German Pope's pilgrimage on Sunday to the city of the saint. The pilgrimage marked the 800th anniversary of Francis' conversion.
"I cannot forget, in the context of today's celebration, the initiative of my predecessor of holy memory, John Paul II, who in 1986, brought together here the representatives of the Christian churches and other religions of the world, for a meeting of prayer for peace," said Benedict XVI at the end of his homily during the Mass celebrated in the! lower square outside the Basilica of St. Francis.
He continued: "It was a prophetic intuition and a moment of grace, as I mentioned a few months ago in my letter to the bishop of this city on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of that event.
"The decision to celebrate that meeting in Assisi was inspired by the witness of Francis as a man of peace, who is looked upon with admiration, even by those of other cultures and religions.
"At the same time, the light of the poor man of Assisi which shone upon that event was a guarantee of its Christian authenticity, given that his life and his message clearly show his choice for Christ, refuting a priori any temptation to religious indifference, which has nothing to do with authentic interreligious dialogue."
Benedict XVI said that the "spirit of Assisi" continues to spread throughout the world since the 1986 event. He called it a spirit "in opposition to the ! spirit of violence, the abuse of religion as a pretext for violence."
The Pope added: "Assisi tells us that faithfulness to one's own religious conviction, faithfulness above all to Christ crucified and risen, is not expressed in violence and intolerance, but in sincere respect for the other, in dialogue, in a message that calls out for freedom and reason, in working for peace and for reconciliation.
"It would not be evangelical, nor Franciscan, to be unable to unite acceptance, dialogue and respect for all with the certainty of faith which each Christian, like the saint of Assisi, is called to cultivate, proclaiming Christ as the way, truth and life of mankind, the one and only savior of the world."
I thought this guy doing a cover of one of my faves wouldn't be very good, but ONCE AGAIN, I was wrong as salt on cereal. This guy's fabulous! I have LOVED this song ever since I heard it years ago. It will be one played at my funeral..and now the "river" is the Tiber and she knows my name, because I've jumped in and swam to the bank and I've never been the same. She washes away my pain and is constantly cleansing me...with the water of LIFE that she inevitably took me to some 2.5 years ago now..JESUS the RIVER OF LIFE who knows my name and yours and will take us HOME one day.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Thought of the Week- found here
"Important to Recover the Capacity for Inner Silence"
Every time that the priest renews the Eucharistic sacrifice, in the prayer of consecration he repeats: "This is my body … this is my blood." He does this giving his voice, his hands, and his heart to Christ, who wanted to remain with us as the beating heart of the Church. But even after the celebration of the divine mysteries, the Lord Jesus remains living in the tabernacle; because of this he is praised, especially by Eucharistic adoration, as I wished to recall in the recent postsynodal apostolic exhortation, "Sacramentum Caritatis" (cf. Nos. 66-69).
Indeed, there is an intrinsic connection between celebration and adoration. The holy Mass, in fact, is in itself the Church's greatest act of adoration: "No one eats this food," St. Augustine writes, "if he has not first worshipped it" (Commentary on Psalm 98:9; CCL XXXIX, 1385). Adoration outside holy Mass prolongs and intensifies what happened in the liturgical celebration and renders a true and profound reception of Christ possible.
Today, then, in all Christian communities, there is the Eucharistic procession, a singular form of public adoration of the Eucharist, enriched by beautiful and traditional manifestations of popular devotion. I would like to take the opportunity that today's solemnity offers me to strongly recommend to pastors and all the faithful the practice of Eucharistic adoration. I express my appreciation to the institutes of consecrated life, as also to the associations and confraternities that dedicate themselves to this practice in a special way. They offer to all a reminder of the centrality of Christ in our personal and ecclesial life.
I am happy to testify that many young people are discovering the beauty of adoration, whether personal or in community. I invite priests to encourage youth groups in this, but also to accompany them to ensure that the forms of adoration are appropriate and dignified, with sufficient times for silence and listening to the word of God. In life today, which is often noisy and scattered, it is more important than ever to recover the capacity for interior silence and recollection: Eucharistic adoration permits one to do this not only within one's "I" but rather in the company of that "You" full of love who is Jesus Christ, "the God who is near us."
May the Virgin Mary, Eucharistic Woman, lead us into the secret of true adoration. Her heart, humble and silent, was always recollected around the mystery of Jesus, in whom she worshipped the presence of God and his redemptive love. By her intercession may there grow faith in the Eucharistic mystery, the joy of participating at holy Mass, especially on Sunday, and the desire to bear witness to the immense charity of Christ.
His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI
"On Eucharistic Adoration"
St. Joseph is the patron saint of father's and families. This prayer is over 1900 years old
O St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the Throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your Heavenly power I may offer my Thanksgiving and Homage to the most Loving of Fathers. O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen.
Interesting post. "Why do evangelicals convert to Catholicism?" I’m glad to see you’re respectful of us “reverts” and “converts” to Catholicism and the Catholic Church. Thank you!
Luis Palau is coming to Omaha July 14-15. Our Archbishop, Elden Curtiss, (The Catholic Voice) has given his blessing on the event and we will be worshiping the Lord with our separated brothers and sisters of other faith traditions. Please don’t misunderstand my use of the word “separated.” It is not derogatory in the least, but only true. We are. When people aren’t in full communion with each other, they are separated. That’s not always a bad thing, but it mostly is a sad thing.
Be that as it may, I’m glad to see that you’ve done some research and study and don’t badmouth the Catholic faith here. I’ve been around a few who do. In fact I used to myself when I was a ‘know it all’ 20-something and influenced against the Catholic Church by one fabulous and prolific Christian songwriter, musician of the Jesus Movement days. He was a favorite of mine, but he really led me astray and turned me against the CC with his anti-Catholic tracts. I’m sure he has a different opinion regarding Purgatory NOW, having passed from this life, well intentioned and sincere, but sincerely WRONG. God rest the soul of one Keith Green. Good guy, but ignorant as all get out about the CC. He should have done half the research you have before sending out countless tracts, full of misinformation all those years ago leading gullible twerps like me down a very wrong theological path.
Regarding the Immaculate Conception let me just say this. Why would God, who made his own Mother, make her sinful? Even the tabernacle in the OT was of PUREST gold and anyone who even TOUCHED it DIED! Oops. Now, here’s a young Jewish girl, Mary, visited by the Angel Gabriel who tells her the Holy Spirit will overshadow her and she is to bear a son and call him Emmanuel. She will be…the Mother of God. Jesus being God the Son, and Mary giving him birth and being his mom, can rightly be called the Mother of God without there being an uproar…although many can’t get their head wrapped around that for some reason. Too Catholic for some it would seem.
So, Mary prayed and “rejoiced in God, her Savior.” She did need a Savior, as did and do we. HOWEVER, one can be saved from drowning in a quicksand ooze, who’s already fallen in it, or one can be saved BEFORE ever falling in to the slime. Either way, they are thus ‘saved.’ So really the Immaculate Conception should not be so hard to comprehend or accept. She was simply saved BEFORE she ever could sin. Light and dark can never “meld.” Jesus could not have resided in a body “just like ours” and I sure as heck am not yet anywhere NEAR “FULL OF GRACE.” That was the greeting, the salutation of the Angel of the LORD to Mary, the teenage girl. HE called her FULL OF GRACE, long before Catholics did while praying the Rosary (which is praying Scripture but I digress.) Full of Grace means just that, FULL…of GRACE. FULL of grace can’t mean that there’s also “room for sin” or Full of Grace is moot and makes no sense whatever. Do you see what I mean?
I’m not here to argue or get in some heated debate. I will pray that you and your readers will consider going deeper, though, and ask God to show you the Truth about all the Catholic Church teaches..without error. Jesus left a Church, not 30,000 churches with diametrically opposed doctrines to “sort it all out” and ‘agree on the essentials” and be slap happy one day in Heaven having fought like cats and dogs on earth. For if the essentials can’t be agreed on, and there’s no final authority to trust, then Jesus did one heck of a bad job holding His Church together. But like he said, “the gates of hell will not prevail against her…” Either He had the power to hand down the authority to the Church, so she could teach complete Truth w/out error, or Jesus blew it and blew it BIG TIME!
I believe the Catholic Church has stood the test of time and puny, human minds thinking they know better than God, will never get it all right. So we need an Authority who DOES get it all right, don’t we? If the CC is right on ‘most things’ then she’d better be right on all things, for there’s no ‘sorta,kinda, sometimes’ with Truth. We are called to worship God in “spirit and Truth” not “spirit and sometimes this, sometimes that depending on how I feel or think about this or that.” Either he left a Church with THE TRUTH, or not. Mary was conceived without sin. Period. She was kept from sinning. Period. Her blood was pure because it nourished JESUS Christ, God incarnate… in her womb. How could tainted and impure blood nourish the Son of God? It’s impossible. So, the Catholic Church again is RIGHT on this dogma. Regardless of when it became dogma, the Magisterium of the Church either has the authority from God on all things she tells us are True or not. I don’t want to worship a God who “thinks like me” or live like a “Burger King Christian.”
If I don’t agree with the CC on some things, then I’d better be finding out the truth about those things and issues and wrestle with God about them, and then come to accept it, albeit with a “limp” or go join a ‘have it your way’ Burger King fellowship. GOD knows there are tons of them out there, some good and some horribly off the wall. The thousands of denominations can’t make our Lord or our Blessed Mother happy. Jesus gave Mary to us while hanging on the Cross, right be fore he died, the last thing he did was to give us his sinless, Immaculate Mother to be our Mother also, and believe me, I’m going to defend my Mother until I die, because for the longest time, I didn’t “get it” and I didn’t “get her.” I thought Catholics gave her too much attention and revered her way too much. Guess what…I was completely wrong. It’s like Rich Mullins said, “I don’t think Catholics revere Mary too much, I think we revere people too little.”
The Immaculate conception was ‘beyond’ me and for a while I thought it meant Jesus being conceived in Mary. DOH! Nada. Wrong again! Mary was immaculately conceived to bear Christ, to be the “ark of the New Convenant” PURE…holding the Bread of Heaven” as in the OT…to give Christ his flesh, so she could in no way have one minute particle of sin tainted flesh as part of her. Simple really. Don’t make it so hard. Trust and believe Jesus on this one, He’s right about his momma and he’s right about his Church, his Bride. She’s right about Him, too. How cool is that!