Monday, October 26, 2009

I'm still reading St. Alphonsus Liguori...

Thank God for the wisdom of the Saints! What a treasure trove of insight and help, to fight in this war on and for our souls! "The Way of Salvation and the Way of Perfection" is masterful, sheer brilliance and "food for the journey." "St. Al" has answered some questions I had for years, back when I was an Evangelical, those ones you wanted to know the answer to, but were afraid to ask, type questions. He really nails it in this book. He minces no words, and tells it like it is.

The whole idea of "once saved always saved" is without a doubt a VERY precarious belief. It's a real dangerous concept, and doctrine to preach. It causes a "presumptuous" spirit to form, and grow, for NONE of us can "KNOW" for certain if we or anyone else is "SAVED" once and for all while we walk this earth. Nowhere in scripture are we taught that. It's really sad, to think so many believe it. It's sad and dangerous.

I mean, look around at the countless souls who really believe in the "OSAS" doctrine. Many are good, well-meaning people, sincerely living it out, but they're sincerely wrong, and indeed 'not wso 'well-meaning.' Sola Scriptura, is the reason there are so many cults and sects that end up completely off the rails. Most OSAS folks start believing that heresy because of the "sola scriptura" mindset. God leads me to interpret the bible (alone) and I need not and "do not" answer to "anyone but God." It's the "me and my Jesus" thinking. That's how cults flourish i.e. Jim Jones, David Koresh, Heaven's Gate, the Baptist church in Topeka or Tulsa (don't remember where just now) that goes to funerals of Boy Scouts with their agenda, carrying posters that are mean-spirited, cruel and sick. NOT AT ALL CHRISTIAN. Yet, they think, believe and are told they're RIGHT at every 'church service.'

We are in a war for our souls. We have to ASK the LORD for grace, daily, participate in the Sacraments to live out and work out our salvation, with 'fear and trembling.' For me to rely on a 'decision for Christ' back in 1973, thinking that 'one choice' has kept me "saved" and will for the rest of my life is preposterous! I actually have sinned since Feb. 1, 1973. I don't know about you, but I still sin every day. I was in mortal sin (I had hate and unforgiveness in my heart. Look it up, it's not 'venial' to hate. Same as murder, so said our Lord.) in the 80's and 90's. I'd made some bad choices. I'm still committing venial sins and most likely will today, though I pray I will quickly amend and not give in to the wrong choices in "thought, word or deed." I need the grace of "final perseverance" and the best place to receive that is in the confessional, where the gift of the Sacrament of reconcilation is bestowed on every penitent, sorrowful, and contrite heart. And then celebrating, participating at Mass, absolved by God in the minister of his grace, the Priest.

When I was not a Catholic, I KNEW when I'd 'cut off the flow' of God's grace. I remember so many times, when I would "re-dedicate" my life to God at so many "altar calls" (altar calls with no 'altar' but that's another post for another day.) The "call" was the same, as to go to 'confession' though. What was needed was to "Repent!" I knew I had to 'turn around' and go the opposite way from where I'd been going. I 'confessed my sins' (to the best of my ability) to others, as commanded by God, but yet, how many 'sola scriptura' people say "just go to God. You don't have to go to a man?' They actually contradict themselves, and their doctrine in really very many ways. There again, what they advise is a 'work' but they don't see it as that. I know some evangelicals who believe in OSAS, and some who don't. That right there is cause for concern. Does it matter or does it not matter what one believes in Christendom? I say it does. Jesus does, too. He never said, "Believe at least in the "basics" and one day, it'll all be washed in the big "laundry room" in the sky." What are the basics? Do they matter or don't they?

That's true, in one sense, but blatantly false in another. Jesus said, "Confess your sins, ONE TO ANOTHER." Not, "Confess to God alone." So that's the "opinion/tradition of man" that "bible alone" believers cling to, (which many deny they do) and which confronts their misguided doctrine pretty profoundly. I would 'confess' to another what I'd done, where I'd been for so long, and then it was "ok" but I never did seem to feel "totally washed" as I do now, when I 'confess my sins, the way JESUS said to do so.' It's a whole new and wonderful thing to 'do His will' and obey Him, as He set it up, not just to form and live by my own opinon or that of some mere man/woman who can't absolve me. GLORIOUS is the CHURCH with all 7 Sacraments!! Nothin' better out there!

And that brings me to say: that's the BEAUTY and the GRACE of GOD...His gift of the MASS! It is where we are forgiven, if we receive the Eucharist IN FAITH. It's why I go daily. I NEED HIS GRACE and ASSISTANCE all of the time, for my sin-stained soul to be healed, cleansed, and to 'work out my salvation' as I'm told to do, IN THE WORD of God. That's real "Bible believing Christianity!!"

I pray for all my separated brothers and sisters to really ponder the OSAS teaching. It is FALSE. It is NOT SCRIPTURAL. Be a 'bible-Christian' and return to the Church Jesus built on Peter. Come back to the 7 Sacraments where the FULLNESS of TRUTH resides, to have Life to the FULL! To have all the graces Jesus longs to give you, to one day, hear him say... "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Now for the disclaimer: I am NOT saying Christians of other denoms and sects WON'T be saved if they aren't Catholic. I'm not God and cannot judge another's heart/soul and final destination. However, NEITHER are you. Don't say "I was saved in such & such a year" or that "so and so is saved now." You DO NOT know, because YOU, my friend, are NOT God either. You don't know the depth of you're own heart, let alone another's.

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