(Obviously Facetious) Question of the day: Why do Christian men just adore looking at a near naked God nailed to a cross?


(Obviously Facetious) Question of the day: Why do Christian men just adore looking at a near naked God nailed to a cross?

Answer: We adore the man, not the image, because the man, Jesus,
is our Lord, God and Holy Redeemer, who laid down his life for us,
so that we might defeat the power of death and hell, through him.

Asked and answered today, on Yahoo! Answers.

When it comes to believing in God or following a religion, everyone wants to see the facts, but nobody wants to do the work.

As strange as it sounds I ended up finding my faith by being surrounded by people who thought devout Catholics were out of their minds. The beliefs of those in my family contested my Catholic education and sparked a relentless search for answers and for truth. I listened to the arguments against the Church and searched for answers until I was satisfied. To this day the Church has not failed me in providing rational answers to my many questions.

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The Mojave Desert Cross is back up

More than 100 people Sunday, Nov. 11, watched as the seven-foot-tall iron cross was hoisted onto and then bolted into Sunrise Rock, which is 12 miles off Interstate 15 about halfway between Barstow and Las Vegas. Then, the commander of the California Veterans of Foreign Wars, Earl Fulk, formally rededicated it.

Text and video

Good Friday

Jesus publicly suffered the most graphic, bloody death imaginable–so what’s wrong with graphic anti-abortion displays?

This extraordinary pro-life message appeared in my email box earlier today:

I understand that the Rockford diocese wants nothing to do with graphic signs, so you don’t have to worry about me involving Holy Cross. That said, I’ve given much contemplation to your thought on the Eucharist. This is what I’ve come up with:

God knows full well the effect of graphic, bloody display. It was not for nothing that His Son suffered the most graphic, bloody death imaginable–scourged and beaten beyond recognition and hung on a cross to die. Why? Wouldn’t it have been better that Jesus die by the sword in a remote location at the hands of conspirators, so that delicate sensibilities might be spared? His clean body could then have been brought out for proof to His followers before being entombed. He still would have died and conquered death through resurrection. So why the graphic death?

I believe it was because there is something to be learned through this graphic display. It underscores the ugliness of sin, the hefty price that needed to be paid, and the depth of God’s Love in a way that mere discussion could not. Ever.

In the aftermath of Jesus’ resurrection, it was the cross, the bloody cross, that became the symbol of Christianity. The early Christians knew what the cross meant. They saw it all the time. Crucifixion was a public affair. But Jesus was the only One to conquer the cross and conquer death. He was the Christ. So the instrument of torture and death became the symbol of Life Eternal.

Nowadays we don’t want to be reminded of the ugliness of sin. Protestants abandoned the crucifix for the plain wooden cross. Catholics have cleaned up their crucifixes to make them bloodless, except for the wounds in His precious hands, feet, and side. The marks of the scourging have been removed, as well as, in many cases, the Precious Blood drawn by the savage thorns. We have made His beaten body pretty.

And why? We don’t want to see the truth of what our sin–my sin, your sin–has done. It’s far easier to look upon the pretty Jesus, the best friend Jesus, the “I’m OK, you’re OK” Jesus. We’re not unsettled that way. We can remain complacent in our sin, thinking, “It’s not that bad. At least I didn’t kill somebody.” Well, it is “that bad”. Just look at a bloody crucifix, if you can find one. Look at the images from the movie, “The Passion of the Christ”. That’s what MY sin, YOUR sin, has done.

Yes, we have the unbloody bread and wine which become the Body and Blood of Christ through transubstantiation. But Jesus’ disciples didn’t know that’s what He intended the day He told them, “Unless you eat my flesh…for my flesh is real food…”. The Bible says many left Him that day. Notice that Jesus had let them go.

So what if we today were presented with a bloody piece of Jesus’ flesh to eat at Mass, and He told us, “Unless you eat my flesh, you will not have life within you”? Many would undoubtedly leave Him. Why? It would still be the same Body that we now receive in unbloody form. I myself would eat it, because I want Life. I want Jesus. A piece of Jesus’ bloody flesh would only remind me more sorely of His great sacrifice.

But how many others approach the table now unworthily, in the state of mortal sin? Would Nancy Pelosi still receive Communion if she were offered Him in the form of a bloody piece of flesh? Or would she leave Him, physically carrying out what she has already done spiritually? If we were offered a bloody piece of flesh, would only 30% of Catholics believe in the True Presence as they do now? Or would 100% of Catholics believe, though there might be 70% fewer of them? How many might leave?

One thing is certain, as Jesus let his disciples go, we are not to compromise the tenets of our faith to placate those who would leave the Church because the teachings are too hard. And in actuality, God has given us that bloody flesh from time to time, in Eucharistic miracles, to strengthen our faith. God understands the effect of graphic displays. If some are revolted, so be it.

Like Jesus’ death on the cross, graphic displays of the child killed by abortion remind us of the ugliness of sin. We don’t want to see it, because it makes us uncomfortable. We don’t want to acknowledge that our selfishness can lead to death. So we take Jesus off the cross, we turn our eyes from the aborted baby. We show pictures of smiling babies and ultrasound images–good things, for sure, but we sweep the reality of abortion under the rug. We let people hide behind pretty words like “choice” and “rights”. Humanity is stripped by “fetus”, “tissue”, “products of conception”. We are left with the empty brace of the wooden cross.

But when we come face to face with the aborted child, we cannot deny the horror of abortion; it is no longer abstract. The child’s humanity becomes real. The effects of sin are obvious. We see the blood and it sickens us, as sin should. We can’t hide any more. And we don’t like it.

We want the pretty. Pretty doesn’t demand anything from us. Pretty lets us think everything is OK. But it’s not OK; it won’t be OK as long as babies are dying out of the sight of those who might take pity on them and put an end to the barbarity, were those people to know the reality of what goes on behind clinic doors.

When I look at the picture of the aborted baby, I don’t see something disgusting. I see something intricate and beautiful that has been profaned, tortured, torn apart. I see the face of Christ. If some are revolted, so be it. —Sylvia K.

Editor’s note: Amen!

Much like today’s “garbled” Catholic faith, recently discovered 104 year-old letters to God prove to be nearly undecipherable.

They bent over their school desks, 104 years ago, putting pencils to paper.

Writing letters to God.

Onto paper the students poured thoughts and prayers they hoped would ascend, like so many curling wisps of smoke, into the skies above turn-of-the-century Buffalo.

Their writings would remain hidden from view for more than a century.

Now — long after the schoolchildren who wrote them grew old and went to their graves — the letters written by students at Corpus Christi School on Clark Street have been rediscovered.

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The Seven Last Words of Jesus, On the Cross


Jesus died on the Cross to redeem mankind, to save us from our sins, because he loves us.
He was mocked, scorned, and tortured in the praetorium; carried his cross up the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem to Calvary, nailed to the Cross, hung between two common criminals, and suffered an indescribable end.

One may meditate on the Passion of Christ by contemplating his last Seven Words or through the Way of the Cross.

When religious pilgrimages to the Holy Land were prevented by military occupation of Jerusalem, a popular devotion known as the Way of the Cross arose during Lent, fourteen stations retracing the Passion, Crucifixion, Death, and Burial of Jesus.

The Seven Words are the last seven expressions of Jesus on the Cross as recorded in Scripture.

God Works Wonders With Wood – A Meditation on the Cross and How God Prefigured It In the Old Testament

As we draw near to Holy Week, and on this Friday when many of us pray the Stations of the Cross, we do well to meditate on the wood of the cross. For it is a fascinating fact that, when saving His people, God often had recourse to wood. Indeed, one of the great themes of the Old Testament and into the New Testament is that “God Works Wonders With Wood.”

Consider with me a number of places in the Scriptures where God uses wood to save:

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Catholic Scriptures on Suffering

By Lisa Graas

One of the most useful sites on the internet is Scripture Catholic which offers Scripture references for Catholic teaching in a handy indexed format. The site was put together by Catholic apologist and author John Salza. I strongly recommend that you bookmark it.

Below are the references Mr. Salza put together for Catholic teaching on suffering.  Unless we know what actually happened on the Cross, we cannot know the fullness of what God has done for us, so I’m offering these references here for those who suffer and who are having trouble understanding the meaning and value of their sufferings. Also recommended: “Love Beyond All Telling” at the website of the Passionist Nuns of St. Joseph Monastery.

SUFFERING

Matt. 10:38 – Jesus said, “he who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” Jesus defines discipleship as one’s willingness to suffer with Him. Being a disciple of Jesus not only means having faith in Him, but offering our sufferings to the Father as He did.

Matt. 16:24; Mark 8:34 – Jesus said, “if any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Jesus wants us to empty ourselves so that God can fill us. When we suffer, we can choose to seek consolation in God and become closer to Jesus.

Luke 9:23 – Jesus says we must take up this cross daily. He requires us to join our daily temporal sacrifices (pain, inconvenience, worry) with His eternal sacrifice.

Luke 14:27 – Jesus said, “whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” If we reject God because we suffer, we fail to apply the graces that Jesus won for us by His suffering.

John 7:39 – Jesus was first glorified on the cross, not just the resurrection. This text refers to John 19:34, when Jesus was pierced on the cross by the soldier’s lance.

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Editor’s note: Jesus calls on us to voluntarily take up our own individual crosses and follow him. I doubt he ever intended for the institutional church to involuntarily impose the heavy crosses of scandal and corruption on the faithful, but he certainly knew such things would occur.

Evidently, any cross suffered for the cause of Jesus Christ is worth carrying.

19 story high, 1250 ton, steel cross is hard to miss


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Submitted by Bob Stanley

Gospels, four icons, crosses and a relic of the True Cross are onboard the International Space Station

Moscow, Russia, Jan 20, 2010 / 12:11 am (CNA).- The Gospels, four icons, crosses and a relic of the True Cross have been taken aboard the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS), a Russian cosmonaut has reported. A photo taken by the station crew shows an icon and a crucifix floating in zero gravity in the ISS.

Writing on his blog at the website of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), Cosmonaut Maksim Suraev responded to readers’ questions about religious symbols on the space station.

“We have four holy icons on the Russia segment. We also have the Gospels and a big cross,” he said, according to a blog entry translated by Russia Today in November 2009.

Russia Today reported that the Lord’s Divine Cross was given to A.N. Merminov, the head of Roscosmos, by the late Patriarch of Moscow Aleksy II. The cross was delivered to the station in 2006 by the crew of Soyuz TMA-8.

Suraev added that he has a reliquary cross in his cabin.

“A priest gave it to me at Baikanur before the launch. Father Job told me a piece of the original cross on which Jesus was crucified is contained in mine.”

He added that his cross was blessed in the major monastery of Sergiev Posad.

“It will be with me the whole expedition and will return with me to Earth,” the cosmonaut wrote.

Holy relics and other objects have been on previous spaceflights. U.S. astronaut Ronald Garan brought a relic of St. Therese of Lisieux with him on the space shuttle Discovery in 2008. He plans to bring another relic of the saint with him on a mission to the ISS in 2011.

By works a man is justified and not by faith only?

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Q: By works a man is justified and not by faith only?

A:  I say … cut through all the rhetoric and admit that it’s God who saves … because he loves us … and he does it by means of the grace that Jesus obtained for all men on the cross … typically and freely dispensed through his universal church.

The Significance of Making “the Sign of the Cross”

Catholics do it all the time … most without even thinking about it.

Click here to read more. You might be pleasantly surprised. 

“Laminin” and Colossians 1:15-17

Laminin and Colossians 1:15-17

“My uncle just passed this on to me from a friend of his:

A couple of days ago I was watching a DVD sermon by Louie Giglio…and I was BLOWN AWAY! I want to share what I learned….but I fear not being able to convey it as well as I want. I will share anyway.He (Louie) was talking about how inconceivably BIG our God is…how He spoke the universe into being…how He breathes stars out of His mouth that are huge raging balls of fire…etc. etc. Then He went on to speak of how this star-breathing, universe creating God ALSO knitted our human bodies together with amazing detail and wonder. At this point I am LOVING it (fascinating from a medical standpoint, you know.) …..and I was remembering how I was constantly amazed during medical school as I learned more and more about God’s handiwork. I remember so many times thinking….’How can ANYONE deny that a Creator did all of this???’Louie went on to talk about how we can trust that the God who created all this, also has the power to hold it all together when things seem to be falling apart…how our loving Creator is also our sustainer.

And then I lost my breath.
        
Click here to go to Spirit Daily and read more

Submitted by Bob Stanley

 

Here you go Doug – I’m very interested to hear by what means are you saved.

This is a follow up to the earlier post on Catholics and the Eucharist:

Q: Here you go Doug – I’m very interested to hear by what means are you saved.
is it your association with the Catholic Church …
is it the completion of the sacraments …
is it the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross …
or some other means?

A: I’m “saved” by God’s total self-giving for my salvation, and by my personal decision to cooperate with him, his grace, and his plan.

God’s plan for our salvation obviously includes the following:

First and most essentially,  Jesus the Messiah, and all his great works …

Next, the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church which Jesus personally founded, authorized, empowered, and eternally guaranteed, for the purpose of our salvation …

Next, the sacraments of the Church, which were instituted by Jesus Christ to give grace …

And finally, the faith and the works of all the People of God, who remain part of the mystical body of Christ, of which Jesus remains the head.

There typically is no other way. (And please note that Jesus is first and foremost in each of the above.)

Click here for a study of salvation, searching the Catholic Catechism

If it is impossible for God to allow sin into heaven, how will we get there?

Q: If it is impossible for God to allow sin into heaven, how will we get there?

A: By the transforming power of the grace that Jesus obtained for us on the cross, at Calvary.

Pope Benedict XVI – On Our Lady’s coredemptive role with Jesus at Calvary

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Pope Benedict XVI – On Our Lady’s coredemptive role with Jesus at Calvary 

On January 11, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI released his 2008 World Day of the Sick Address for February 11, in which he presented his strongest teaching to date on Our Lady’s coredemptive role with Jesus at Calvary. The Holy Father states:

For this reason, Mary is a model of total self-abandonment to God’s will: she received in her heart the eternal Word and she conceived it in her virginal womb; she trusted in God and, with her soul pierced by a sword (cf. Lk 2:35), she did not hesitate to share the Passion of her Son, renewing on Calvary at the foot of the Cross her “yes” of the Annunciation. … Associated with the Sacrifice of Christ, Mary, Mater Dolorosa, who at the foot of the Cross suffers with her divine Son, is felt to be especially near by the Christian community, which gathers around its suffering members who bear the signs of the passion of the Lord. Mary suffers with those who are in affliction, with them she hopes, and she is their comfort, supporting them with her maternal help. And is it not perhaps true that the spiritual experience of very many sick people leads us to understand increasingly that “the Divine Redeemer wishes to penetrate the soul of every sufferer through the heart of his holy Mother, the first and the most exalted of all the redeemed”? (John Paul II, Salvifici Doloris, n. 26)

From an article at Catholic Exchange

Catholics: Why did Jesus forgive the criminal instantly, but not us??

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Q: Catholics: Why did Jesus forgive the criminal instantly, but not us??
When Jesus was dying, one of the criminals Jesus was being crucified with him said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”

Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
(luke 23.40)

Jesus never mentioned that the criminal hadn’t done enough in his life to be saved. In fact, he was a criminal!! So clearly he wasn’t saved by his works. Jesus says “today”, so the criminal isn’t going to Purgatory first.

Why would Jesus forgive this criminal but make us work to be saved??
 

A: You should first, seriously consider WHY Jesus didn’t choose to forgive BOTH thieves!

Next, consider that the word “Paradise” does not necessarily mean “Heaven”. If Jesus had intended to say Heaven, he likely would have. So your argument against at least the possibility of Purgatory is very, very weak. 

Consider this, as well:

Infant baptism, as typically practiced in the Catholic Church, is the most definitive example of salvation, freely given, and freely received, with absolutely no works at all, since the infant cannot “do” anything for himself, yet in every case, original sin is swept from the soul, the baptized truly becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit, an adopted child of God, a citizen of heaven, co-heir with Jesus Christ, and a member of the Church, simply because God desires all to be saved … and because the authentic Church does what it correctly understands to be God’s will.  

So far as St. Dismas, “the good thief” is concerned, it’s obvious that God provided the necessary grace of conversion that led him to make his very timely profession of faith … and I have no doubt that due to that same grace, Dismas also became truly sorry for all the sins he had committed during his lifetime … and that he would have truly repented, if he had somehow survived the cross.

Grace-inspired faith in God, contrition for sins, and authentic repentance have always been essential for forgiveness, so why shouldn’t Jesus have mercifully extended his divine favor at that time … especially since the Church … the Universal Sacrament of Salvation … did not yet exist?

Besides, God is sovereign, all powerful, not bound by ANY of  the rules he makes for us, and he has the power to “save” anyone he chooses, for any reason, or for no reason at all.

Similarly, because God is all poweful, no one, by ANY MEANS WHATSOEVER can force God to “save” them. This means that salvation will ALWAYS remain a free gift.

In light of the totality of the Gospels, Christ’s Great Commission, the teachings of the apostles, and the constant testimony and actual practice of the authentic, universal Church, the sacrament of Baptism is typically (but as in this case, not always) necessary for salvation, and once baptized, WORKS do indeed matter.

Jesus gives us the definitive word on the subject here:

Mat 25:31 And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty.
Mat 25:32 And all nations shall be gathered together before him: and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats:
Mat 25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.
Mat 25:34 Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Mat 25:35 For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in:
Mat 25:36 Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.
Mat 25:37 Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry and fed thee: thirsty and gave thee drink?
Mat 25:38 Or when did we see thee a stranger and took thee in? Or naked and covered thee?
Mat 25:39 Or when did we see thee sick or in prison and came to thee?
Mat 25:40 And the king answering shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.
Mat 25:41 Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels.
Mat 25:42 For I was hungry and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty and you gave me not to drink.
Mat 25:43 I was a stranger and you took me not in: naked and you covered me not: sick and in prison and you did not visit me.
Mat 25:44 Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to thee?
Mat 25:45 Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen: I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.
Mat 25:46 And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.

In the Book of Revelation, St. John also speaks of Judgment, and of works: 

 Rev 20:11 And I saw a great white throne and one sitting upon it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away: and there was no place found for them
Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing in the presence of the throne. And the books were opened: and another book was opened, which was the book of life. And the dead were judged by those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

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Why Is There A Crucifix, Rather Than A Plain Cross, In Catholic Churches?

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Q: Why Is There A Crucifix, Rather Than A Plain Cross, In Catholic Churches?

Isn’t Christ’s work on the cross finished?

A: If all of Christ’s work was truly finished, we would all be either in heaven or hell right now, there would be no more death, no more sickness, no more sin, likely no more need for the Church, and eternity would be an earthly reality.

That’s obviously NOT the case.

There’s a crucifix in every Catholic Church, because as the priest “lifts up” the body and blood of Jesus Christ to God, in Heaven, the crucifix reminds us that we are participating in the very same one time, once for all sacrifice, in which Jesus was “lifted up” on the cross.

For this reason … a cross, complete with the likeness of the crucified body of Jesus (crucifix with corpus) must be prominently displayed above the altar, or in the sanctuary. 

Photo Courtesy of Bob & Fran B.