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Monday, December 19, 2011

A Lesson in Humility

Written by a follower of SDM

It has occurred to me within the last week, the very thing causing me to anguish over loss of previous church relationships of another denomination, abundant blessings from ministries in that denomination and recognition for those ministries, is the virtue of humility. This very virtue if not recognized, can cause prideful feelings to creep into the soul which in turn can keep one from intimacy with Christ.

I recently was privileged to attend Vespers with the Conferral of Pontifical Honors at the Cathedral of St. Patrick’s in downtown Ft. Worth, Texas. A new Catholic friend of mine and future spiritual advisor was receiving the Benemerenti Medal for her work within the diocese in forming the Permanent Deacon program. This medal was created by Pope Pius VI in the late 1700’s in recognition of those individuals who have exemplified service in the Church. Following this service all were invited to attend a reception in a very large and new parish hall adjacent to the Cathedral. It was an enormous hall with many faces, none of whom I knew. Fifteen individuals received the various medals and of course many families and friends from local parishes were in attendance.

As I made my way around the room with a friend from St. Andrew’s, which is now my parish, I came to the realization this was the first very large reception I was attending at a Catholic function in which I knew no one. Having lived in Ft. Worth for the past 30+ years, been active in the Methodist community and a part of the pastoral family of ministers, this was an eye opening experience and very humbling for me. Had it been at a Methodist gathering, I would have known many of the pastors and laity and felt very much at home. Here I was just another Catholic in a sea of faces unknown to them and likewise they were unknown to me.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Bible Alone

Does the student know better than the teacher?

Catholic or?
Like many other Catholics in recent times who selectively dismiss the teaching authority of the Church, I know first hand this mindset and its common root. Although now reconfirmed in my faith, for many years I was a Catholic with “Protestant” ideologies, distant from the authority of the Church. Not a Protestant in the communal sense as formally belonging to or attending an established congregation; I was baptized and raised Catholic and didn’t know much about Protestantism back then other than some fundamental disbelief's they possessed. I was Protestant in the sense that Protestantism was conceived. As scripture tells us; “For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.” (2 Timothy CH4; v3-4)

Each Catholic who selectively chooses what doctrines he or she will and will not abide by possesses that seed that sprouted into Protestantism four centuries ago and its subsequent thousands upon thousands of splintered systems of beliefs today.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Black Friday - Alleluia?

It's that time. There have been so many commercials on TV lately calling out "black Friday" promotions it boasts that the only thought this time of year brings is an opportunity for manufacturers and retail chains to go for the biggest dollars they can while they can, and the public falls right in line. Banks want you to use credit and take loans and the manufacturers want to push their products. That is business, right? But many today are out of work if not homeless most profoundly due to greed of banking and lending institutions and the bludgeoning of the public by the oil industry which has dramatically "fueled" the outrageous increase in the overall cost of living. Of course many larger retailers have come accustom to the over inflated profits they use to make when times were "good", now feeling they too are hurting financially. Perhaps their profit per item was too high compared to value to begin with and now they can't sell enough to compensate. But lets be realistic; anyone who claims in addition to their income they "need" a quarterly or annual bonus of hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars needs a reality check, not a bonus check. If major chain retailers can reduce prices as low as they do for black Friday, just how much of a profit is there or was there being made before on individual items in comparison to their cost and the value of what we purchase?  Most ironic of all, this retail season is specifically meant to target Christmas, yet many retailers do not allow their employees to openly say "Merry Christmas".

A recent attempt by a charity group to acquire blankets with defects from ten manufacturers for those who have no means to keep warm this upcoming winter brought one response of refusal to donate from the most prominent of the ten manufacturers and the remaining nine refused to respond at all. During another public charity drive which took place outside local major supermarkets to collect non-perishable food goods for over stressed food banks, it was overwhelmingly clear that the greatest number of people who donated were those who had the least to give or who have experienced poverty in their past. Many local business owners offered nothing as they passed by. A gentlemen who owned a local "upper end" restaurant charging the highest prices for his foods in the community passed twice without so much as donating a can of peas while another who was unemployed purchased and donated two bags of non-perishables specifically to donate for the hungry. If every person who passed those donation tables donated just one canned or boxed non-perishable food item, there would have been more food for the hungry in their own communities than could have been stored for a year in the food bank alone. This is reality, not fiction.

But as individuals, let us approach our shopping this year with the heart first. Suffering is all around us and for many it includes us or loved ones. The greatest gift is not the most expensive if our heart is open to those around us. Whether buying gifts for others or taking advantage of sales for yourself, let's think as we buy. Consider needs before the wants. 

Let's use this season to help others who need it as well as share with those in our personal lives. Let's not buy to impress those around us or to show how giving we are but to express our love without seeking recognition and help those in their needs. For those in our personal lives who may not need much, Let it express our happiness for their being in our lives. Let go of the judgments we may place on others because we do not understand things they may have said or done in the past, but see them for today and what's left of our tomorrows. Use the heart and forget the ego. Thanksgiving is now and begins what should be the preparation of the celebration of the birth of Christ who gave the ultimate gift for you and and for me, yet His gift was not purchased but of Himself. Give from the heart to those in need and then to those who have... but to each out of the love of Christ. 

Matthew CH;25:
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.'

Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'

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.'

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Blessed are the Meek - What will come of the abortion society?

Blessed are the Meek - for they shall inherit the Land.”
The second of the eight Beatitudes preached by Our Lord in His Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew CH5; v4)

In our current times we may find a much deeper message in this proclamation than has ever been considered before. “…for they (the meek) shall inherit the land.” Could it be that in the literal sense and without most of us realizing it, through the power of God’s justice and love for the meek and in answer to their cries, they are about to begin collecting their inheritance? Are those Christians who live the true sense of faith actually witnessing the beginning of the meek inheriting the land today?

In the most profound way, the unborn child is the quintessence of meekness of human life. Yet, torn from their mother’s womb, they have been violently and grossly victimized having life itself literally ripped from them before ever having had the chance to experience God’s light of day. Infanticide; not only supported by but promoted by a presidential advocate, legalized by the majority vote of government and in many ways financed with tax payer dollars including the salaries of those elected officials who vote in legal support of it. A government founded upon and once held accountable for the safety and security of man’s unalienable right to life. But then, the majority of the voting population of this country voted for these men before they held positions enabling them to enact such laws and pass such spending bills. Therefore, most of us can not stand innocent on our part. Can we claim a split personality that boasts to be Christian but can separate itself from moral Christian obligations to faith in matters of our social life or conveniences? We each know the answer to that.

In less than forty years (since 1973), the United States alone has increased its abortion rate to an average of 1.2 million recorded individual slayings performed per year. Millions upon millions of the meekest of human life have been terminated by choice. Recorded history has already begun to reflect the society we’ve become over the last few decades but now perhaps history may also reflect more than what many could have imagined; the power of the meek.

For those who believe in God and the teachings of Scripture, these meekest of human beings have been gifted before all others the power of God's justice by their innocence, never having had the exercise of free will or to become defiled by temptation, pride, ideology or any other moral corruption. Yet they fell the victim, subjected to horrid deaths at the hands of our society that in and of it self became defiled by temptation, pride, ideology and moral decay years ago. By their greatest numbers they were and are conceived and killed out of our own moral decay and lost self respect. Is this all that history will reflect of our society for future generations to remember us by, or will there be something else? Could it be that the power of God reserved for the meek has ignited a part of society that has not made it self heard loudly enough before?

Today we are witnessing a sudden growing number in society ignited in the recognition of evil, the repulsion of abortion and the grace filled motivation of moral conscience including many of our youngest adults who previously had not really been taught or devoutly practiced a particular faith but have found their own way in good conscience. The growing number of these militants of Christ is most impressive, whether aware or not that they stand for the taking back of the land from the powerful; the influential; the egotistical; the greedy and the self indulgent. Such is the innate  power of God the meekest of all possess. Those in defense of life now growing to take back from the powers in this world the control and influence they perverted for so long. 

One can believe this may be the beginning of the current authorities relinquishing their power back to the meek through those who by the power and grace of God will stand on their behalf as our government should have done had it kept to the values this land was established upon. God bless and empower those who seek to regain what has been lost... and thank God for allowing the faithful to see this begin and to be a part of it... Praise Almighty God, we are seeing just a part of the good Christian fight.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Spiritual but not Religious - commentary

Note: In the previous posting we offered statistical information provided by an independent source. This is a followup commentary to the subject of "Spiritual But Not Religious".

If one is to be truthful, “spiritual but not religious” (SNR as it may be referred to here for brevity) is a status a person adopts based on a personal view in opposition to the participation in an organized Christian faith or system of beliefs, but firmly absent of credible consideration to both the essence of true spirituality and theology. Sadly, the adoption of SNR is most commonly determined by and reflects one’s own significant lack of true knowledge in the theology of their faith if they had previously been a practicing Christian in their past. Others who have adopted this status may have been raised in the practice of their faith but have since determined the responsibility of that practice inconvenient or too much of an interference with what they perceive as enticing “self gratifications” available in today’s liberal society. Some just refuse to acknowledge the responsibility of what is good and evil claiming "God loves us all and does not judge" and "there's no such thing as sin or hell". In all cases the significant lack of knowledge and understanding of the presence of God, Scripture and the Christological teachings of His Church remain the factors most notorious in the adoption of SNR as a standard ideology. It is this lack of awareness that permits one to adopt SNR with minimal conflict in the quieting of conscience.

Man was created with the ability to rationalize and make determinations of feasibility yet in today’s society in matters of theology it is not uncommon for one to abandon rational thought for self contrived notions. The adoption of such a notion as SNR serves well as an example of such a condition in that it can have no credibility at all when compared to the devout practice of one’s Christian faith if properly founded upon an accurate theological understanding grounded in the fullness of Scripture and the teaching body that provided The Holy Bible to the world, the Catholic Church.

A mature person will acknowledge that in order to enter into a truly intimate relationship with someone, he or she must seek to learn about the other person in order to come to know them. In matters of a lasting, loving relationship this becomes a life long commitment with faith as a necessary investment. It is our degree of interest that determines the level of attention we invest in pursuing a relationship. The same is true when seeking a relationship with God. Our initial interest in God comes from our likeness to Him as He created us but it is subtle and must be pursued in order to flourish. Through Jesus Christ we have been provided the direct means to come to know Him to the level of intimacy we pursue.

Some who hold the position of SNR claim their spirituality to be grounded in one of many philosophies offered by various men throughout history. Other adopters of SNR claim to derive their spirituality through nature, some the universe, and so on, rather than in God Himself. Some claim to believe in a higher “spirit”, “being”, “source”, “entity”, “force” “intelligence” or other non-authoritative designation adopted to avoid the use of the designation of “God” as though we are so intellectually advanced today it would be embarrassing to acknowledge we could claim to be intelligent and believe in the existence of God at the same time. Then again to acknowledge the existence of God we must also acknowledge the importance of a relationship with Him. To develop a relationship with God we must come to know Him and that leads to learning Him from the recorded historic relationship between God and man in Scripture, hence back to organized religion.

Finally we would have to acknowledge there is good and evil, sin and repentance. Could SNR be as simple as a denial in accepting responsibility; a denial in the existence of good and evil and an accountability for how we live and relate to others? The fact remains that spirituality has no valid foundation when removed from God. Spirituality has no history separate of a relationship with God other than what is contrived because it has no direction or source. Nothing would exist had God not created it and man can not create but only derive from God’s creation. We can utilize and manipulate what we have available to us and nothing more. Man would not have the capacity to philosophize had he not been created in the likeness of God. We know that all elements have a source and must trace back to an origin but many of us refuse to accept that sooner or later that trail leads to one source, a Creator, God.

Today we find more scientists in advanced fields of study such as astrophysics and cosmology adopting such theories as the “Final Anthropic principle” contending the universe must have been intentionally brought into existence to support mankind and that there is no way we came to exist by chance occurrences. In trying to determine the source of origin, we come closer to recognizing that only a “higher being”, God, could have set forth from nothing the process and design of the universe and all physical elements. Nature and the life of the universe reflect God in their very creation inspiring a thoughtful man to seek truth. Truth can only be recognized when pride and bias are eliminated and truth can not be changed to anything else.

(Wisdom CH13; v1, v7-9) “Foolish by nature were all who were in ignorance of God And who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing the one who is, and from studying the works did not discern the artisan...
...For they search busily among his works (the universe and all of creation), but are distracted by what they see, because the things seen are fair. But again, not even these (distractions) are pardonable. For if they (man) so far succeeded in knowledge that they could speculate about the world, how did they not more quickly find its Lord."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Spiritual but not Religious?

In our previous article titled "Modern Society vs. Morality" we discussed the serious state of today’s society in its all but total abandonment of morality and its close parallels with that of the Caligula society of the 1st century AD. Recently, several books have been published disclosing the results of numerous surveys based on public opinion expressing today’s views of morality and our denial of the necessity of formal (Church) teachings in such regard. It is painfully clear that many of our younger adults today are suffering the consequences of little to no religious teaching or moral guidance by their parents during their youth.
The following is an article published by Zenit, Oct. 14th, 2011

Where Is Religious Belief Headed?
Young People Evaluate Morals: OK vs 'Dumb'
By Father John Flynn, LC

ROME, OCT. 14, 2011 - A couple of recent books provide interesting insights into the current state of religion in the United States and what we can expect from those coming into adulthood.

The first, "FutureCast: What Today's Trends Mean for Tomorrow's World," (Barna Books) is by George Barna, a prolific author who founded the Barna Research Group. Based on numerous surveys of public opinion, the book looks at where society is today on a range of social issues.

Three of the book's chapters look at religious beliefs and practices. Religious self-identification has remained very stable, with 84% calling themselves Christians in 1991, compared to 85% in 2010. Nevertheless, Barna observed that many embrace the title without backing it up in practice.

For example, only 45% strongly believe the the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches. This declines to only 30% for those born from 1984 onwards. Only 34% of the adult public believe that there is any absolute moral truth, with barely 3% holding this among those born in 1984 and later. Barna also noted that among adults associated with a Christian church only half affirm that they are absolutely committed to the Christian faith.

Spiritual
One of the recent changes in religious identity is the growth in those who describe themselves as spiritual but not religious.




Thursday, October 13, 2011

Meaning of Life - Why did God create us?

Out of God’s Love Comes Life
Perhaps we may find it easier to comprehend God’s intention for our existence, the meaning of life as it were, by considering in our limited capacity how He may explain it to us as we may explain to our own children. In many ways and limitless circumstances, Scripture tells us of our relationship with God; our varied levels of devotion and with some of us our departure from Him. It expresses to us His never ending love, forgiveness and acceptance of us should we seek to return to Him. This essay does not claim to be a transcript recorded directly from the mouth of God. It is a mere human perspective of the unimaginable, the flawless, incorruptible love only Our Heavenly Father could have for us. It has however, been written fervently attentive to the relationship between God and man as expressed throughout Scripture. Perhaps Our Father may say to us:
So many times my children, I have heard you question, why would God bother to create man; why would He love man? In a way that you may better comprehend the depth of love I have for you, I will express Myself according to your words. First, I ask the question of you: why do a man and woman so sincerely devoted in life and love to one another, long to bring forth children? Is it not the procreation of life in the sharing of that love that expresses the deepest respect, trust and surrender, devotion and freely given commitment between a man and a woman? As a man and woman become of one flesh in their sacramental union, is not their child the perfect expression of that unification into one flesh born of that love? Yet this testament to creation is less than a passing thought compared to that which rests within Me. For this reason I have bestowed upon you the gift of bringing forth children, directly sharing in My creation of life so that you may experience that most Blessed expression of love and the creation of human life made in my own image and likeness.

The foolish man of little faith may say it is a natural animal instinct to reproduce, degrading man to the level of a thoughtless beast. How foolish can intelligence render a man? For animals have no conception of love nor emotions, no pleasures derived from their day to day witness of their children as they grow and interact in their parent-child relationship; they cherish no memories and they know no guilt for wrongful acts a husband or wife may commit in offense to their loved one. They have no thought or desire in the willing commitment of a relationship with their beloved. Is it not true that man well knows his being is above all creation? Although many of My children have abused this precious gift I have bestowed upon them, there has never been a child conceived that was not My child. There has never been a soul brought into the world that I did not love, and never a child I did not wish to share in eternal life. Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. It is because of these I have so long ago proclaimed, for every human life I will demand an accounting; even from animals I will demand an accounting of human life and from man I will demand it, for each and every one is My child whom I love. Yes, I love you.

So deeply I desired you, to love you and be loved as your true Father; to give you life and bestow upon you the heritage of eternal joy in My Kingdom, My Heavenly Universe. A magnificent Kingdom existing beyond all realms and limitations of beauty, purity, time and distance and the longing that you may share in this never ending paradise with Me if only that you may freely choose to return my love. Of this Kingdom no mortal can conceive, for this is the ultimate gift of life in its fullness and majesty.

Before you, My child, I created the angels, but then they had no lacking in their knowledge of Me or in their immediate relationship with Me. Although they also have been gifted with free will, theirs is an existence that left them no real need for choice of one path over another because they were created into Heaven and received fulfillment in their creation. They never experienced a life of choices. For My beloved angels to choose anything otherwise would be to choose wantonness; to reject all for part; satisfaction for dissatisfaction; contentment for discontent and absolute for uncertainty. Their love is true for Me as is Mine for them founded upon that which they knew of Me upon their creation and there was never the need for any other consideration on their part simply because they could only choose less. Yes, they choose Me lovingly and devoutly in the most sincere angelic way but in a sense their free will was hampered by the instance of their most intimate relationship with Me without alternatives to choose in their existence.

But what, I pondered, of a being that would be born in My image and likeness yet possess no true pre-knowledge of Me to interfere with his or her free will?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fellowship vs. Faith


Fellowship among congregants of any Christian faith is certainly beneficial and is extremely influential in many Protestant born faiths but to what degree of importance should fellowship play on a personal level in one’s relationship with Jesus Christ? Loyalty and devotion belong to Our Lord and fellowship must grow from it; Loyalty to the congregation equal to or stronger than the devotion to God is misplaced. When fellowship becomes the influential factor equal to or greater than one's relationship and devotion to Our Lord or it is the foundation or key enticement to one’s faith, it becomes a detriment to true devotion to God and instills a resistance against seeking the fullness of knowledge and truth over what one may have believed in the past. It is at this level one either intentionally or unintentionally abandons the very devotion he or she claims to live by, most commonly for the sake of pride.

The unrealized negative influence of fellowship as it pertains to conversion from many Protestant systems of beliefs to Catholicism is the difficulty one finds in separating from the communal aspect of their congregation as oppose to the devotion toward seeking truth and fullness in Christ. Such instills an opposition to the personal desire to return to that path of true growth and fulfillment in the most intimate of relationships possible with Jesus Christ. The reliance upon such a fellowship tends to serve more as a means to pacify the longing for answers to unresolved questions and inner conflicts our soul knows must exist but our system of beliefs does not provide.

Each heart knows when there is something lacking even if not knowing what it is consciously. How many of our Christian brothers and sisters from various Protestant faiths have questions but find no answers and just accept it that way because they don't know where the answers may be found or fear where the truth will lead them? Yet seeking and acknowledging the truth is crucial to our level of intimacy with Jesus Christ.

We are of a physical nature and more easily relate to what and who we sense around us and it is most difficult to completely relate to God until we have developed the strength, trust and confidence in our personal faith to center our devotion and desire to learn upon Him rather than the support of “personal” relationships built upon the congregants around us. If the foundation of our faith is formed on those around us we hinder the growth in that most intimate of relationships with Christ and center it on the congregation first; the warmth of others instead of the warmth of Jesus. However, the discovered beauty of separation from this level of fellowship is answered questions and the fulfillment of that intimacy with Jesus Christ. Rationally speaking, when we know intimacy and devotion with one person, everyone else comes after that person. This is where fellowship should grow from and where its place should be; never the fellowship foremost, then Jesus.

It is only right that we recognize the sincere difficulties others have faced in their own personal separation anxieties from the fellowship state of mind during conversion. It is after all, this "personification" of faith that is the alluring force of attraction exercised by many Protestant denominations. Physical signs of affection; live forms of entertainment, refreshments provided in what should be respected as a house of God, the new media fad of mega churches and alike are often the means of allurement and expressing fellowship yet such should never be the influential means to base one’s faith. On the other hand, those who have entered a truly intimate relationship in its fullness with Jesus Christ express true devotion as they relate to their Christian brothers and sisters because of that union with Jesus Himself; not vies versa. Although misguided devotion is unintentional on the personal level, it has been the intentional means of attraction on the denominational level.

In many locations the Catholic Church is lacking in the appropriate support new entrants to Catholicism should have available to them to adjust in this realignment of priorities. But because of the Church's growing recognition of this and the return and conversion of so many, we are growing in our ability to provide such support; further growth is ahead of us. In reality this support should be from the faithful parishioners with the guidance of the Church, not "the Church" itself. It must always be recognized that it is our devotion in our relationship with Christ, not fellowship, that is to come first and foremost and again, that Godly relationship must be the source of a properly placed fellowship. Today it is more commonly the Protestant converts to Catholicism who know through their past experiences how to maintain a proper perspective and instill fellowship from a relationship with Jesus Christ rather than fellowship being the primary devotion. With the growing number of those returning “home”, scripture most certainly will be fulfilled through the reunification of that one earthly Body of Christ and source of the Holy Bible all Christians refer to, His Church.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Conversion of Faith


Struggles in Returning “Home”
written by a follower of SDM
The intent of this article will be to hopefully help those who may be struggling with their return to the Catholic Church due to either conflict within family members or friends who are not supportive of a denominational change or personal conflicts in making a decision to leave belief systems that one has been a part of for many years. I was a part of both of these conflicts and I hope to offer some hope to those desiring to return to a Church, 2,000 years old; rich in both history and beliefs that I had discovered to be full of wonderful grace and solace to a very weary traveler.

As I traveled across West Texas recently on a trip to the New Mexico Mountains, I noted with certain sadness how dry, hot and parched the land was. As far as the eye could see, the land, which normally is rich with a mix of dark and light greens of the mesquite and cedar trees and farmland the color of red soil growing cotton and various other crops needed for a thriving economy, was sadly dying from lack of rain. Farm equipment lay to the side of the road and in some cases had “for sale” signs on them. Tractors were abandoned in the fields. Many ranches have had to sell their cattle and the small deer that roam the plains have left their fawns due to lack of water. I saw some of those on the side of road, fed on by those roaming scavengers looking for a meal.

Observing all this while driving down the long stretch of highway, I was reminded of how I felt a year ago when I began searching for fulfillment in a faith that had become for me, unsatisfying. I was parched, dry and thirsty. I was unable to grow spiritually much like the crops of Texas. I began searching for the flowing waters that would soothe me and bring me to that green, grassy pasture of my soul where I could lay down by those streams and cool my parched lips bringing me closer to the One I needed so desperately. As the psalmist sings in Psalm 23:2 “In green pastures you let me graze; to safe waters you lead me; you restore my strength.”

When I began contemplation of returning to the Church of my childhood, I knew it would conflict with those closest to me. Having been married 41 years and part of the Methodist Church during that time, I realized this would take me on a journey requiring much prayer, knowledge of the Catholic faith and most importantly spiritual guidance. For one contemplating this return, these three essential elements are needed in order to complete the journey, remaining somewhat intact and able to weather those developing storm clouds on the horizon that may occur.

The most important beginning of any journey is prayer. One must develop a deep relationship with the Holy Spirit in order to be able to recognize the call to return to the Church. It is a “spark” that may lie dormant for many years but once rekindled will burn out of control requiring immediate attention and the realization that God is at work in you. I actually “wrestled” with the call and found myself in a state of some deep depression for a while because I resisted the “call”. I fought it with every fiber of my being even though I knew this was what I had been searching for over a period of many years...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Conscience – Good or bad?

Our conscience alone is not justification for our choices but rather the voice of reason calling out in recognition of something within us that conflicts with what we know to be righteous in our heart. When there is no question as to right or wrong and no desire to choose what we know to be wrong it remains silent and without conflict. Its voice is louder or softer as it has been nourished or deprived offering guidance prior to our final decision. It is an urging to abide by what we know is right according to human dignity providing us recognition of conflict that we may further seek to determine what moral or faithful choices we should make; but we are not forced to follow it. Our conscience is not the final determination. If our conscience is not properly nourished and well formed, it is weak and easier to convince our self to push it aside.

A simple fictional example; “Susan” has a good friend “Betty” who is married and has two children. Both women consider themselves to be Christian in faith. “Betty” has chosen to have an extramarital affair against her better judgment and in doing so she desperately attempts to ignore her conscience. Susan does not wish to upset or interfere with her friend’s choice so Susan avoids offering any guidance in opposition to Betty’s plan even though knowing Betty to be making a serious mistake in judgment that could critically alter the lives of many of those around her. Susan, although knowing in conscience she should make an effort to offer her friend guidance, eases her own conscience by convincing herself her silence is justified because “it is not her business” or “Betty is not happy with her current husband”, or some other self-determined “reason” (excuse). Perhaps Susan even finds Betty’s affair somewhat suspenseful. Yet, if Susan were to learn of Betty abusing drugs or about to drive while intoxicated with the children in the car she may be more inclined to intercede even though each instance is Betty’s “business” in relation to Susan. In each case, each choice would have a substantially harmful affect on Betty’s life and the lives of those around her. In each case, each instance is self destructive, one potentially no less detrimental than the other, and each are highly personal in nature. Our conscience knows this to be wrong but rather than follow it one may seek to convince one’s self otherwise in order to push it aside. We must rely on our conscience if well formed in matters of moral judgment. It is every person’s right and obligation to discern choices based on their urging of conscience but we must not forget that our choices may be righteous in dignity and trust in God our Creator or wrong unintentionally or deliberately, but in all cases leading to an outcome both here and in our eternal life.

The voice of conscience comes from that inherent moral code which we have naturally received in our hearts in the likeness of God. The development of a well formed conscience must continually be nourished by the teachings of our faith strengthening our morality in order that we may be righteous in our choices. We have the free will to choose but our choices are not free from consequences.

We have as individuals and as a society proven without doubt that the further we get away from practicing our faith and a relationship with God, the more decrepit our self respect and our respect for others becomes until society as a whole has turned perverse lacking true dignity at its foundation. This is reflected in the parallels between our society today and that of the society of Caligula during its brief existence. There is no denying every person has a conscience no matter how efficient or poorly formed, tainted or dormant it may become during life. Where there is no conscience there can be no soul and where there is no soul there is no life, hence each living person has a soul and a conscience...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sacred Tradition - Understanding its importance

Sacred Tradition or Apostolic Trasition
Although many do not understand the importance of Sacred Tradition, we should come to recognize what this term truly refers to as in its relationship to Scripture and the Catholic Faith. As has been explained many times throughout these articles, Sacred Tradition is the correct understanding of the teachings of Jesus Christ passed on by the Apostles, but not from any written text, rather as they were taught through verbal instruction and direct discussion with their students (disciples), several of whom later became successors to the Apostles and are referred to as our Apostolic Fathers. From those teachings, the Apostolic Fathers provided further explanation in their own ancient writings. But what then is meant by understanding, one may ask.

In every era throughout history there have been new challenges in morality that confront society. More directly it is each individual on a personal level who faces these challenges and in turn, by popular choices form social morality overall. Many of us may find ourselves inwardly questioning what is the right choice we should follow morally? In so doing we may in good conscience come to the correct determination, but only if our conscience is well formed. When there is uncertainty, do we rely on our own personal opinion based on society's views or do we turn to the Church for further guidance? If we choose to be guided by the teachings of the Church, then we have based our moral decision on the very teachings of Jesus Christ and the properly understood meaning behind them. If we choose to base our moral decisions according to society's standards, we fail to see that morality is not determined by society, but often repressed by it. One path is good conscience and the other becomes a deceived conscience overcome by what we prefer to believe.

It is the commission of the Church as commanded by Jesus Himself to teach, guide and confirm the church body in their faith. The Magisterium in unison with the pope is that body within the Church that must confront new moral issues throughout each era and provide us direction, always referring to Scripture and the understanding of the teachings of the Apostles guided by the Holy Spirit. Sacred Tradition brings forth the answers to these new moral challenges and it is not based on popular opinion or societal convenience, but the true and full teachings of Christ. In all cases, moral and theological, this process of determination through the understanding of Christ's teachings is the essence of Sacred Tradition.

If a moral teaching conflicts with Scripture, it is invalid and should be rejected. Likewise, if a decision of moral virtue must be made by an individual and one choice defies the teachings of the Church, it also should be rejected as opposing the teachings of Jesus Christ. At no time  has the Catholic Church misguided its faithful in the instruction of proper moral virtues. Each resolution of moral responsibility resulting from some new challenge over the ages has in fact been founded upon Scripture through Sacred Tradition. In making personal choices that oppose Church moral teaching we are doing nothing less than choosing social liberties adopted by the majority in opposition to the teachings of Jesus Christ through the authority He bestowed upon His Church. All we need do is look at the popular choices that have formed today's society to see how morality can be silenced by the adoption of liberalism.

We offer this brief explanation to further emphasize the equal importance of Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium, and the guidance that is so critical in understanding the true and complete teachings of Jesus Christ that we may make morally responsible decisions in our daily life. In the next article we will delve more deeply into decisions made from "conscience" and our God given freedom to choose by our conscience accordingly.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church
77 "In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority." Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time."

78 This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, "the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes." "The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer."

79 The Father's self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church: "God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son [the Church]. And the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church - and through her in the world - leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness."

80 "Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal." Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own "always, to the close of the age".

. . . two distinct modes of transmission

81 Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit."

Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Second Coming of Christ - A Commentary

Predicting the second coming of Christ (Parousia)

(Matthew Ch24; v36) "But of that day and hour (Parousia - second coming of Christ) no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.”

For those who persistently claim they can predict and know when the second coming of Christ will occur, and those who go even further by misleading others into believing they as self proclaimed prophets have the true word and teachings of eternal life, consider the defiance such predictions truly are against the testimony of Jesus Christ. Is anyone more righteous than the Son of God or the Angels in Heaven that he or she may know what the Messiah would not?

Pride is the driving factor that consumes such people into believing they can reach above the limits God declares are beyond us. Like the main root of the mature tree feeds its countless branches, pride feeds countless ways to fashion sin. Such self proclaimed entitlement to this knowledge is just one more branch on that tree. It is using fear to minipulate and control fellowship of those less knowledgable of the written word of God. The fact is, for one who lives a truly Christian life it makes no difference beyond that desire to be with God, when the second coming may occur because for that person the result will always be the same and those who live awaiting the return of the loved one most dear to them will rejoice.
For those who must predict the second coming against the Words of Jesus Christ, know that it will occur during a time when no man or women’s pompous predictions hold any claim and each person’s true nature will be uninhibited.

May the Holy Spirit Guide us.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Holy Bible - where did the Bible come from?

One of the most basic questions that every Christian should want to know the answer to is “where did the Holy Bible come from”? Although we realize it is the Inspired Word of God, obviously it didn’t drop from the sky. Yet, most Christians have no idea as to its origin or lineage and have never pursued the subject to learn the answer to that question.

As mentioned before, many protestant institutions of higher theological learning do not wish to delve too deeply into the subject because of where the answers will lead and what may result once one has truly learned its origin and lineage. In recognizing that the Gospels of the New Testament were written by the apostles or early disciples of the apostles on their behalf during the infancy of Christianity, and that these texts have been unquestionably Inspired by the Holy Spirit, learning how the Bible came to exist would further lead to interests of the ancient texts written by the Early Church Fathers and you will soon understand why. From there, the lineage of the Catholic Church as the true body of Christianity would be obvious reflecting the consistency and fullness of the teachings of Jesus Christ. Here we will give a simplified but verifiable and indisputable account of the origin of the Holy Bible, how it came to be and why there are so many “versions” of interpretation available today; that is, verifiable and indisputable for those who wish to learn.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Separated Catholics - Ex-Catholics: Part Three

“Ex-Catholic” Conversion to Denominational Christianity

The term “Ex-Catholic” as one may refer to them self after separating from Catholicism and entering into a protestant faith, is no more valid than to be ex-Irish or ex-blood type ‘o’. None of what is written here is intended to be demeaning to any protestant congregant who has never been a part of or educated in the true and full teachings of Jesus Christ in the Catholic Faith. Protestant faithful are more often than not, very devoted to Scripture and their own system of beliefs regardless of their individual interpretation of Scripture. In fact, it is the lack of familiarity of one’s faith and Scripture on the part of the non-practicing Catholic that leads them to be persuaded by a person of a Protestant congregation when they (Protestants) can more readily refer to Scripture, which is very sad to acknowledge. This is also why some Catholic-to-protestant converts believe they are “reborn” when in fact they only finally become somewhat knowledgeable of Scripture which they should have been in the first place.

Every valid Baptism brings a rebirth into the soul of the Baptized but it is what he or she does through their life with that rebirth that determines their depth of relationship with the Holy Spirit. The knowledge one pursues in Scripture and faith is what determines the level of intimacy one enters into with God. It is therefore misguided to suggest a Catholic or other previously and validly baptized individual is later “reborn” when in fact they are most accurately awakening to that which was already previously provided them, whether it is from the time of their rebirth through Baptism or the time they seriously open their mind and heart to the Word of God in Scripture.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

RU486 - increase in serious side affects released quietly

New FDA Report: Abortion Drug Kills 14 Women, Injures 2,200
by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 7/12/11 3:02 PM

The Food and Drug Administration has quietly released a new report about the deaths of and injuries to women from the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug and the Obama administration has done nothing to make the information available to women.

Following its approval during the Clinton administration, the FDA released a report in 2006 that received widespread attention for showing more than 1,100 women had been subjected to “adverse effects” resulting from their taking the abortion drug mifepristone, commonly known a RU 486. Pro-life advocates have waited five years for the FDA to come out with a new report of problems associated with the drug — despite mounting evidence that the abortion drug continues to kill and injure women across the globe.

The FDA, with no fanfare, has released a new report, dated April 30, 2011. The report indicates 14 women in the United States alone have died from using the mifepristone abortion drug and 2,207 women have been injured by it.

Of the women experiencing medical and physical problems resulting from the abortion drug, 612 women required hospitalizations, 339 experienced blood loss significant enough to require a transfusion, 256 experienced infections and 48 women experienced what the FDA labeled as “severe infections.” Given that the RU 486 abortion drug caused sepsis, a potentially lethal infection that resulted in the deaths of women from around the world, the “serious infections” were very likely life-threatening situations.

“Severe infections generally involve death or hospitalization for at least 2-3 days, intravenous antibiotics for at least 24 hours, total antibiotic usage for at least 3 days, and any other physical or clinical findings, laboratory data or surgery that suggest a severe infection,” the FDA report states. Read full article

Monday, July 11, 2011

Interdenominational communion - Can Catholics receive protestant offered communion?

Co-authored by participants of SDM

This is a subject often misunderstood by those of non-Catholic faiths and even by Catholics at times. Catholics on occasion will attend Protestant worship services such as weddings and funerals as well as attendance at times with family members who are of a particular denomination. This is permitted by the Catholic Church with the understanding it is not a substitute for the required Sunday Mass. In addition, one can not partake of the communion presented in a protestant congregation if offered. For an in depth understanding of the reason behind this, one must first understand the unwavering beliefs the Catholic Faith teaches and maintains both through various passages of scripture as well as Canon Law. For it is through these beliefs and unquestionable trust in the Word of Jesus Christ that reflect our Catholic devotion. Founded in this recognition, there is only one Eucharist instituted by Our Lord, which is recognized to be a sacrament by the Catholic Church and only one teaching that even the distance of time can never change, that being the real presence of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ in the communion elements. Here are but a few of the passages relating to this devotion rendering the Catholic faithful incapable of receiving communion under the offering of other pretenses as exemplified in other denominations.

Jesus said to them, “….Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. 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." The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?" 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. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever." These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.” (John CH6; 47-59)

[Also refer to additional verses: (Matthew CH26; v26+), (Mark CH14; v22+), (Luke CH22; v14+), (Luke CH24; 30+), (1 Corinthians CH10; v16+), (1 Corinthians CH11; v22+) and Here for more information on the Eucharist.]

The proclamation of the consistancy of Church teachings throughout Christian History:

Ephesians CH4; 3 “striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: 4 one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all”.

1 Corinthians CH1; 10 "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms among you; but that you be perfect in the same mind, and in the same judgment."

The Catholic faith has maintained throughout its lineage of almost 2000 years the consecrated Eucharist consisting of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ can not be received by those in a state of sin or received “unworthily. As Scripture declares in 1 Corinthians CH11; 27-29 “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. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself."

Because Catholics believe the changing of the consecrated Eucharist to be what is called "transubstantiation", they are likewise not able to receive communion in another denomination because this implies they accept the belief of that particular faith, which as we know is considered to only be representative of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.

If the Apostles were to believe and teach that the bread and wine are merely symbols representing the Body and Blood of Christ, it would then be completely inappropriate and inaccurate regardless of ancient language, to say we “participate in the Body and Blood of Christ”. Symbolic means to be a symbol of or representing something or someone that is not present. Therefore it is only rational and with common sense in making reference to such participation would then be in the commemoration or tribute to, not the participation directly in the Body and Blood of Christ. To say one participates in the Body and Blood of Christ as Scripture confirms, the true elements must be present. In the Protestant belief system, the elemental graces are considered present but the changing of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ do not occur as communion is not a sacrament, is not presided over by those individuals capable of changing the bread and wine through the sacrament of Holy Orders(Catholic priest) and therefore again only regarded as representative or symbolic.

It would be irrelative for condemnation to be imposed against one for receiving only bread and wine unworthily. As warned in 1 Corinthians Chapter 11, "whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord."
So why has Scripture declared such harsh warnings of condemnation against those knowledgeable of the true teachings of Christ regarding taking the Eucharist unworthily? Because Jesus’ proclamation was specific, intentional and unwavering that the Bread and Wine after His consecration was His Body and Blood of the New Covenant and as such the warning becomes extremely relative that consuming the Eucharist in a state of serious sin is the desecration of His Body and Blood. Such can not occur if only bread and wine were consumed.

Canon Law of the Catholic Church regarding the transmission of communion under all circumstances;

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Separated Catholics - Part two

Separation From Faith - Part two
Our Children today
The lack of knowledge and separation from faith of our children now matured is most distressing for those who have realized the results of their parental disregard. Many young adults attempt to practice their faith to the best of their understanding which is commendable, but do not seek answers to those issues they question. They seem to believe it is OK to accept certain aspects and disregard what they believe is not acceptable to them. This belief is based on the liberalism of current society and lack of true knowledge in their faith. It is affirmed that “cafeteria Catholics” as some have been labeled (referring to those who attend mass when convenient or a few “special” times during the year), “non-practicing Catholics”, or by self proclaimed “ex-Catholics” who at some point “converted” to a protestant faith, do not properly understand the basis of which the Church’s teachings are founded. Many were not given the guidance to know deeply and properly to truly make an informed choice on their own in the first place.

In regard to most, when questioned in regard to the Bible, they can not answer. They have no idea what the Didache is, the Vitus Itala, or the Latin Vulgate. They know little of the Catechism of the Catholic Church nor have much of an idea on why the Church teaches some of it's doctrines. Critically, they have no true knowledge of who the Apostolic Fathers or Early Church Fathers are nor do they know the depth of their ancient writings from the 1st century forward. They believe the Catholic education they received in grade and/or high School was sufficient but never or very rarely have they referred to reading Scripture and questioned what they may not understand. But all of these things have been available to them had they asked questions.

No Catholic properly educated within their faith would ever separate or consider conversion away from it. There is no such status as being “ex-Catholic”. Let me repeat that as to stress the point; there is no such status as being “ex-Catholic”. One cannot unlearn what has been learned any more than one can disassociate their family lineage. One can not deny what He or she has already received in order to abide by something more easily acceptable on a personal level, as though never having been provided the more. Whether one knows their family lineage or not, whether one knows their faith properly or not, it changes nothing of either. As an adult, the responsibility to seek the truth in God becomes that of the individual.

Years of research into the origin of Christianity and numerous discussions with separated Catholics made it overwhelmingly obvious that in addition to the influence of social peer pressure and the promoting of liberalism in society there are two major underlying reasons many choose to separate from or avoid growth in their faith. First and foremost it can not be stressed enough they never truly knew their faith although many thought and still think otherwise. From personal experience with many others and the discovery in recent years of my own past ignorance, they would never allow themselves to be separated from the Catholic Church and the fullness of Jesus Christ. Yes, I was one of these separated Catholics for 25 years. Properly aware of their Faith, the intimacy of their relationship with our Lord would run far too deeply to allow anything to interfere. They would have a true understanding of the love and devotion of the early Christian martyrs. Their sense of fulfillment in life would be too precious to loose and would be the foundation of their lives rather than an inconvenience or interference. They would also realize life is a gift actually meant to be enjoyed and just how beautiful it is when lived in union with God who created and intended life as His gift.

Secondly, many express the opinion the Church presents too many moral requirements (as though fabricated by the Church) in the practice of faith that they do not agree with. Requirements that they believe will directly interfere with the “liberties” granted by this younger society. This is the motivation for avoiding questions they prefer not learning the answers to. It’s not that they don’t have legitimate questions regarding certain aspects of Church teachings, they do. But they avoid asking those questions in fear the answers will lead to “restrictions” of self gratifications, or a deeper awareness of moral responsibilities that once learned can not be so easily disregarded. They do not realize the difference between falling victim to crises and then desperately praying for God’s intervention, and living in God’s guidance never experiencing many of today’s crises in the first place. They assume committing to the practice of their faith and truly living in a relationship with Christ will create an infringement on their pursuit of “happiness” and although they certainly would hope for salvation and eternal life, they want it by their terms.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Home Is Where The Heart Is

There are two very simple yet profound principles some understand and live by in life realizing the importance of these principles in establishing their personal priorities and subsequent goals. As the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 6 expresses; “…for where your treasure is, there also will your heart be”, which reflects what should be the first priority over all, seeking and keeping a relationship with Jesus Christ. And the second being “Home is where the heart is”, which reflects the true fulfillment in personal human relationships in this earthly life.

Some have always known the one true fulfillment this human existence can offer. Some who are deeply blessed know the fulfillment of life in its completeness which is God and loved ones, the family. Priorities determine the level of achievement leading to fulfillment. Pride is misleading and the pursuit of fulfillment of pride leads to a future awakening of a lost opportunity to live life at its true intent and meaning.

God gave us the means to fulfill our lives. It is up to each of us to appreciate and pursue our goals based on properly ordered principles, our priorities. The test of priorities first comes in our relationship with God. If that relationship is maintained and lived accordingly, one can not deny that the many crises individuals fall into today would never have occurred in their personal lives. The second priority is that of a truly loving and devoted relationship as reflected in its expression of love and the significance of retaining family interaction and relationships between children and parents. This will also be well reflected in the same level of priority between husband and wife.

If a husband and wife do not possess the yearning as loving companions to be with each other more strongly than the pursuit of wealth, they will never achieve satisfaction or fulfillment. If one does not understand there is a difference between satisfaction and fulfillment, they have already lost a great deal in the pursuit of life’s treasures.

Monetary and materialistic gains will never be enough and will never provide fulfillment. The more one earns, the more one desires. The more the desires grow, the more one has to earn monetarily. In a truly loving relationship, marriage is a joyful confirmation of the sincere commitment between both people entered into voluntarily. In this relationship two people would find prolonged and frequent separation disheartening and would more often choose to be in one another’s accompaniment rather than frequently be apart from each other for prolonged periods to pursue monetary or materialistic gains beyond what is considered reasonable by social economic standards. It should be the loving companionship the relationship is based upon and the pursuit of goals then supportive of the relationship.

Goals are most certainly a necessity but should never be THE priority or come at the expense of familial relationships. If the marriage is based on what one can obtain financially or materialistically, there will never be enough to satisfy monetarily, materialistically or personally. Home will not be were the heart is because the heart has no true home, but rather an ever growing price. The master becomes money and the acquisition of property. And there is always something better than what one possesses. The esteem sought by owning an appealing car, the elegance of a yacht, the extravagance of an “impressive” home, the quality and magnificence of the jewelry or the popularity of the designer who’s name label’s their clothes, – there will always be a car more appealing; there will always be a yacht more elegant; there will always be a home more extravagant; there will always be jewelry more magnificent; there will always be a newer and more popular designer.

There will never be satisfaction or fulfillment if monetary and materialistic gains are placed equal to or greater than familial relationships. And if those relationships are sacrificed for those gains, one has already made a bad investment at the expense of their own life. The family relationship provides the friendship, love, support and companionship of a spouse. The love, sincerity, compassion and guidance of the elder more experienced parents, and for the youngest of the family, the children and grandchildren, the opportunity for them to benefit from the love and sharing and interaction of all their family through active participation with parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and so on. The influences offered in these traits can not be bought or recovered if squandered away.

See part two of Separated Catholics this week.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Separated Catholics

Part one

 Unbridling of Liberalism
During the 1960s and 1970s, those of us brought up in Catholic families who were then in our adolescent years should be very familiar with the variety of social influences being introduced at that time. As early teens and those barely considered of “legal age”, based on our interests and lack of true maturity we had many directions to choose from in the infancy of our soon approaching independent lives. What with the shallow concept most of us possessed from our growing years of Catholic teachings, we were still at a very impressionable age, although no one could tell us that. At the same time, we were presented socially with the choice to continue with God and the practice, learning and continued growth of our faith or follow the undeniably enticing if not infectious liberal attributes of the “sexual revolution” and the “peace, drugs, and rock and roll” philosophy.

So how did our generation turn out? The statistical averages for these last 50+ years show 50% to 70% of all baptized Catholics in the United States do not practice their faith because they claim they did not “agree” with all the “Church teachings”. A small percentage converted to another more liberal protestant faith that better corresponded to what they would accept. Ironically, they themselves in their rejection of some teachings and acceptance of others have basically done the same thing the “protestant reformers” chose to do in leaving the Catholic Church for predominantly the same reasons. The most significant difference being the separated Catholics of this last 50 years did not establish their own faith, but joined others who founded a belief system based on their individual opinions starting around 1517 CE with thousands of new denominations established throughout the last 500 years to today.

Now, can we be honest with ourselves? follow link to continue reading...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Barack Obama - reflection of life record

Whether one wants to hear it or not, the attached article is fact and provides its own correlating support.
Click on the above title or Barack Obama's official pro-abortion record for the full article.

You Decide

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mass - What and Why?

Many non-Catholics question the validity of the Catholic Celebration of the Mass believing it to be nothing more than an elaborate tradition. Without realizing it they also follow their own traditions including bible study, routine fellowship gatherings and periods of gospel discussion to name a few. However, if they learned the truth regarding the Catholic Mass they could hardly disagree with its validity as it has been the worship of the Eucharistic celebration throughout history and its structure is that of Biblical content. For anyone to suggest the celebration of the Mass is invalid would be to suggest worship of our Lord and the Inspired word of God invalid, as this is exactly what the Mass is. Only Minor changes have been made throughout the centuries but only in form, not Scriptural validity.

Structurally, the Catholic mass IS scriptural and here we hope to clarify to those who have no knowledge of the contents of the Mass, exactly what the Catholic celebration of the mass consists of with references. Click here to learn more.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Replacement Theology

Recently I had the occasion to read another blogger's post regarding "replacement theology" which is categorized by that blogger as follows:


"Replacement Theology also known as Supersessionism is any theology that calls the church the New Israel. There are many forms of it, but here are the two most popular:


1. Israel’s role as the people of God was completed (economic supersessionism). This is the kinder and gentler way of stating the basic thesis of Replacement Theology. It says that once the Messiah came 2,000 years ago, Israel’s mission was completed. A transition occurred at that point, and the Church took over as the people of God and became the focal point for the outworking of God’s plan and purpose in redemption. God is no longer working administratively through ethnic Israel.

2. Israel’s place as the people of God was forfeited (punitive supersessionism). Other Replacement theologians are more straightforward and actually say that the supposed replacement of Israel was a divine judgment on the nation for its rejection of the Messiah in the first century. This is what some writers have called “punitive secessionism."


“Furthermore, if they believe that God replaced Israel with the Church, on what consistent basis can they say that God did not replace the Church with someone else? I propose to you, there is none.”


I wish to correct this blogger's misconception and dispel such a misconception held by anyone of any faith including Catholics who may be of such a mistaken mindset.
Please remember throughout this response that I offer this in all due respect, not to be considered demeaning. The Catholic Church teaches Israel to be God’s chosen people, the very foundation of Christianity never taking that away from them.  The above interpretation is invalid for this reason. That it was in fact Jews who become followers of the teachings of Christ and established the Christian faith. Mary was a Jew; Jesus was a Jew; the Apostles were Jews, and so on.

In the very beginning of the apostolic mission the faith was referred to as “the way”. As time went on it was ancient society who labeled the followers of Christ as “Christians”. As the Faith of the Christians grew ancient society referred to them as “Universal” which is how it became known as “Catholic”. The Catholic Church teaches Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament, the Messiah, through the prophecies we all should know of by this point and If I may put it in very simple terms, the final completed work of the Inspired Word of God, in the sense of both Old and New Testament in unison. It does not teach it “replaced” Israel, but was born of it and accepted the gentiles who believed in the Messiah, Jesus Christ, as one.

“Before we begin, let's define what teaching magisterium is, at least how I define it for the purposes of this video.”

“Teaching Magisterium is the ability to authoritatively, and perhaps infallibly, interpret the Scriptures. Yes, the New Testament teaches that the disciples were to read and interpret the Scriptures to others.”

As far as “the New Testament teaches that the disciples were to read and interpret the Scriptures to others”, there are no such references to written verses in the Gospels one may refer to that claim the “disciples were to read” then interpret Christ’s teachings to others. Preaching the Gospel was the teaching method of Christianity before anything was written and continued beyond the writings. All subject matter of learning generated from experienced teachers before there were any text books available in there respective subject, regardless of subject. That is the normal progression of the advancement of education.

the Catholic Church being referred to as the "new Israel" would then not discount the Jewish faith but simply refer to the completion of the Old Testament with the New Testament united as the Inspired Word of God and include ALL believers, regardless of Jew or Gentile. It is not a disposing of the Jewish faith but growth of it. As far as Judaism in opposition to the belief that Christ is the Messiah, we pray for their recognition and conversion to Christianity. If one is stuck in the sand on a beach, it does not suggest they no longer exist or they are less important than those who have progressed.

I hope this better enlightens those who believe any differently.
Peace

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Holy Spirit - A daily prayer

Holy Spirit, thank you for guiding me through the day; please help me to grow stronger in faith and spirit that I may grow closer to God. Help me to overcome my weaknesses for I am weak; to learn patience and understanding and not hold ill feelings toward those who I may come into conflict. I pray that you will help the children who are in distress; guide and keep my family safe.

I thank you Father, for all that you have given me in my life, including the earth, nature and wildlife in its beauty as you created it. I thank you for my spouse (name) who I love dearly, and for our children. I thank you for all of my family, my friends, and for the time I shared with my departed loved ones; and I thank you for your Son, my Lord, Jesus Christ; thank you my Lord for the sacrifices you made for us.

I beg your forgiveness and mercy Dear Lord, for the sins I have committed and I pray the guidance and grace of the Holy Spirit to help me overcome my weaknesses that I may be your good and faithful servant. Holy Spirit, guide your Church and the vicar of Our Lord. May it always be reconciled by and to Our Lord, Jesus Christ, who is our High Priest. We pray for the conversion of sinners; the reunification of your faithful; the purification from sin for the souls awaiting heaven and the safety of the faithful from unjust harm.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, Amen.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Law against circumcision? Fatally Apathetic

Another example of the perverted society we have developed and history will define us by;
Abortion is acceptable but circumcision, a religious rite as practiced (as an example) by the Jewish faith,"must be outlawed". It should be eyebrow raising why this is even on a congressional agenda during a time of such diverse human and financial crises?

It should also be noted how many in the federal government including the president are so interested in producing laws that would break down the rights of religions to practice and serve in their faith through public media and now target religious rites thousands of years in worship and practice.

Pardon this display of frustration, but many in our society have become so fatally apathetic toward our own rights we have refined apathy to its perfection. ...Social priorities. God help us all.

They promise them freedom, though they themselves are slaves of corruption, for a person is a slave of whatever overcomes him. (2 Peter CH2; v19)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

why Suffering and Death Lord?

With the suffering or loss of a loved one or our own suffering in this human existence, even those who are not in what would be considered a close relationship with Christ will find them self praying to God asking why these things occur. “Why oh Lord, did you bring this upon me?”; “why did you allow this suffering?”; “why do you ignore my prayers?”; why did you not intercede for me?"
It is most common for us to blame our Lord for these pains and sufferings, whether of our lost loved ones or illnesses, but most often we do this without realizing God’s will and our suffering are conflicts in themselves.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Devoted to Scripture?

The Gospels are like "cliff notes" of Christ's teachings through the lineage of the one Church He founded to present every man with the opportunity of salvation. Even Saint John tells us it is no where near all that Jesus had said or done. It is the encapsulated proof of the true Church testified to by the Inspired Word of God and provided to all through the life of the world that we may be able to recognize her until He returns. Scripture even tells us who wins this battle in the end. The Eucharist is the test of faith and the truth in teachings throughout the lineage of that Church. There always were only two sides, those who accepted His word without question and those who could not. It all comes down to who cares more about knowing the truth than they do about learning they may have been wrong in what they believed.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Christians supporting same sex relationships

In regard to those who refer to themselves as gay, lesbian or homosexual, male or female, it must be made very clear from the start that there is a drastic difference between a person who is or believes them self to be homosexual and a person who enters into or remains in a homosexual relationship. Such relationships are intrinsically disordered as the Catholic Church states. The Catholic Church does NOT judge sinful a person for tendencies toward same sex attraction or temptations in them self, but stands firm that such tendencies and temptations must not be acted upon. Such would require abstinence in devotion to faith and love of God and His Word.In commenting on this subject, we will put aside the issue of whether homosexuality is physiological or psychological, as many have their own opinions. Opinions in this matter do not sway the Word of God throughout the Old Testament nor the Teachings of Christ in the New Testament in any way to justify a homosexual relationship. Such relationships are referred to as perverted acts in opposition to man’s nature as created by God, and supporting such a relationship is no more acceptable. To be Christian, one must realize it is no man’s place to judge another man’s soul, but it is a responsibility of every Christian to determine the sinfulness of the actions of others to determine and avoid accompaniment into sin. This is true regardless of which commandment or proclamation of God one may come in conflict with. No one knows what lies within a man’s heart but God. So what is the difference between a “homosexual person” and those in a homosexual relationship? Very simply, it is the same with every temptation. It is the act that is the sin, not the temptation.

Let’s not fool ourselves any longer; anyone who believes in God and calls themselves Christians yet condones or supports same sex relationships and marriage, are promoting serious sin to those who suffer such tendencies causing them to fall deeper into those temptations with absolutely no justification other than to follow today's "its all good" liberalism. Such supporters can not justify support through God’s will, morality, self respect, nature, or science, and in fact oppose all of these elements of life while assuming grievous sin upon their own souls. Condoning such relationships and the legalization of same sex marriages may seem to be promoting freedom but in fact misleads many of those who would normally abstain from such degradation of morality to believe, because others publically find it acceptable, it must be acceptable. Those who attempt to justify same sex marriage by claiming marriage is only a contractual agreement not explicit to the union under God specifically to members of opposite gender are arrogant in their attempt to pervert the union of marriage as it has been declared for thousands of years and as it has been recognized as a covenant of unification under God. The commission of sin is not limited to only certain Christian faiths. No Christian, regardless of belief system, can support the legalization of same sex marriage while not committing grievous sin just as is true in supporting abortion. In itself, the family is the foundation of solidarity in every country. When we begin to recognize we have formed ourselves into a society that is completely destroying the fabric of “family” through habitual divorce, sexual relationships outside of marriage, abortion, and same sex marriage, and in turn the spiraling decent toward destruction of our society, there may be time left to pray for God’s Mercy, or not.
For more information, click above article title or here.

An added thought; it should be disturbing to realize we have fostered a society where many with natural sexual attraction who desire to live in a "marital relationship" have adopted the notion that the commitment of marriage itself is more of an unnecessary burden while those of homosexual tendencies seek so fervently the legal "right" to be "married". But is it?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Modern Society vs Morality

A description of which society?: a culture of immorality, all but totally abandoning the institutions of marriage and family values, principles of life in procreation along with the general acceptance of abortion and contraception, unwavering acceptance of divorce, social and legal acceptance of homosexuality, newly established fellowships in paganism, genocide against the unborn more commonly out of convenience preceded by uninhibited promiscuity and negligence, a consistent growth in the rate of multiple and mass murders both within families and among the general public, murder/suicides; the adoption of “legally” accepted devaluation of life of senior citizens within society reducing their access to medical procedures based on economic valuation under adopted standards established by politicians determining value of life proportionate to age and estimated longevity or “human monetary worth”, with the option to “assist suicide” for those refused medical treatment based on age while growing ever closer toward selective euthanasia.

Friday, April 15, 2011

What would you be fearful to learn?

Whether you are a “fallen away” or “non-practicing” Catholic, have converted to one of many protestant faiths, or have always been of a protestant faith and never knew the true Catholic faith, we encourage you to express and discuss your thoughts and faith beliefs in our blog.


There are many today that were raised in the Catholic faith but have separated for personal reasons or disbeliefs, but do they really know why or what they separated from? Did they really know their faith or Scripture in the first place? As one who has been there I can tell you with all confidence they did not, or the threat of death itself wouldn’t have separated them from the one Church Jesus founded with His Blood. Learn what you thought you knew but didn’t really know.

For those of another faith who were never of the Catholic Faith but have opinions based on what you have been led to believe, learn the truth.