Jesus Christ, a blood red moon, darkness at mid-day … and much, much more.

And you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: and I am the Lord your God, and there is none besides: and my people shall not be confounded forever.

And it shall come to pass after this, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy: your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Moreover, upon my servants and handmaids in those days I will pour forth my spirit.

And I will shew wonders in heaven; and in earth, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood: before the great and dreadful day of the Lord doth come.

And it shall come to pass, that every one that shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved: for in Mount Sion, and in Jerusalem shall be salvation, as the Lord hath said, and in the residue whom the Lord shall call.  (Joel 2:27-32)

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Unto the end, for the morning protection, a psalm for David. O God my God, look upon me: why hast thou forsaken me? Far from my salvation are the words of my sins.

O my God, I shall cry by day, and thou wilt not hear: and by night, and it shall not be reputed as folly in me. But thou dwellest in the holy place, the praise of Israel. In thee have our fathers hoped: they have hoped, and thou hast delivered them. They cried to thee, and they were saved: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.

But I am a worm, and no man: the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people. All they that saw me have laughed me to scorn: they have spoken with the lips, and wagged the head. He hoped in the Lord, let him deliver him: let him save him, seeing he delighteth in him. (Psalms 22:1-8)

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I set the Lord always in my sight: for he is at my right hand, that I be not moved. Therefore my heart hath been glad, and my tongue hath rejoiced: moreover, my flesh also shall rest in hope. Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; nor wilt thou give thy holy one to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life, thou shalt fill me with joy with thy countenance: at thy right hand are delights even to the end. (Psalms 16:8-11)

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And going out, he went, according to his custom, to the Mount of Olives. And his disciples also followed him. And when he was come to the place, he said to them: Pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

And he was withdrawn away from them a stone’s cast. And kneeling down, he prayed. Saying: Father, if thou wilt, remove this chalice from me: but yet not my will, but thine be done.

And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony, he prayed the longer. And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.  (Luke 22:39-44)

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And the people stood beholding. And the rulers with them derided him, saying: He saved others: let him save himself, if he be Christ, the elect of God. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him and offering him vinegar, And saying: If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.  (Luke 23:35-37)

Now from the sixth hour, there was darkness over the whole earth, until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying: Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani? That is, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:45-46)

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And on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled back from the sepulchre. And going in, they found not the body of the Lord Jesus.

And it came to pass, as they were astonished in their mind at this, behold, two men stood by them, in shining apparel. And as they were afraid and bowed down their countenance towards the ground, they said unto them: Why seek you the living with the dead?

He is not here, but is risen.

Remember how he spoke unto you, when he was yet in Galilee, Saying: The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words. (Luke 24:1-8)

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And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming: and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

And there appeared to them parted tongues, as it were of fire: and it sat upon every one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost: and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak.

Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. And when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded in mind, because that every man heard them speak in his own tongue. And they were all amazed, and wondered, saying: Behold, are not all these that speak Galilean? And how have we heard, every man our own tongue wherein we were born?

Parthians and Medes and Elamites and inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews also, and proselytes, Cretes, and Arabians: we have heard them speak in our own tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all astonished, and wondered, saying one to another: What meaneth this?

But others mocking, said: These men are full of new wine. But Peter standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spoke to them: Ye men of Judea, and all you that dwell in Jerusalem, be this known to you and with your ears receive my words.

For these are not drunk, as you suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day: But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass, in the last days, (saith the Lord), I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy: and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.

And upon my servants indeed and upon my handmaids will I pour out in those days of my spirit: and they shall prophesy. And I will shew wonders in the heaven above, and signs on the earth beneath: blood and fire, and vapor of smoke.

The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and manifest day of the Lord to come. And it shalt come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:1-21)

More Lenten Catechesis from Andy P/Doria2: Only One Church!

As a continuation of Lenten reflections, first I had to show the history of the Church. Now there are many who may feel – which Church? Well there is only one that goes back to Jesus the Christ, Himself. That Church is THEE Church. The Catholic Church.

Now, I’m going to show how He built ONE Church – not the thousands of denominations we have today.

Warts and all, there is only one Church. The Catholic Church. Pass this on to your friends for discussion or just plain ol’ education. Catholic are woefully under catechized. Learn the truth. It really is all that matters –

The Church must be one

Mt 16:18-19 – upon this rock I will build my Church (singular) – 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Mt 18:17 – tell it to THE Church; if he refuses to listen even to THE Church… (must be visible) –

17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Jn 10:16 – there will be one fold and one shepherd. – 16 And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.

Jn 17:17-23 – I pray that they may be one, as we are one – 17 Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth. 18 As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth. 20 “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.

Jn 17:23 – that they may be brought to perfection as one – 23 I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.

Rom 12:5 – we, though many, are one body in Christ – 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Rom 15:5 – God grant you to think in harmony with one another – 5 May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God & Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Rom 16:17 – I urge that there be no divisions among you – 17 I appeal to you, brethren, to take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them.

Col 3:15 – the peace into which you were called in one body – 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.

Eph 4:3-6 – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father – 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.

Eph 4:4 – one body, one Spirit, called to be one hope – 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call,

1Cor 1:10 – I urge that there be no divisions among you – 10 I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

1Cor 12:13 – in one spirit we are baptized into one body – 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

Phil 2:2 – be of same mind, united in heart thinking one thing – 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

Editor’s note: For the record … in addition to being One … the Catholic Church is also Holy (of God), Apostolic (established by the men (and their duly ordained successors) who were hand-picked, trained, and empowered by Jesus Christ) … and Universal (for all).

These four “marks” help us to properly identify the Catholic Church, always and everywhere.

One more applicable Bible verse: “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15)

More Lenten Catechism from Andy P/Doria2

Just more proof that Jesus Christ came to establish His Church. One Church. He calls it the body and He makes it authoritative. I use Bible verses because when you are questioned by non Catholics they will want to know chapter and verse of anything you say. Well we have that information. In the Bible that the Church designed and put together through the power of the Holy Spirit. Do not be afraid to offer these quotes when asked. Send them on and teach them to family and friends. Teach them especially to your children and grandchildren.

The Church is the body of Christ

Col 1:18* He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent.

1 Cor 6:15 – Don’t you know your bodies are members of Christ?

1 Cor 12:20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and those parts of the body which we think less honorable we invest with the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior part, 25 that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 27* Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

Eph 5:30 – we are members of His body.

Rom 12:4* For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function, 5* so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Authoritative Church

Mt 28:18* And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19* Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20* teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

Jn 20:21* power to forgive sin – Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22* And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23* If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Lk 10:16* power to speak with Christ’s voice – “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

Mt 18:17 – power to discipline 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Mt 18:18 – power to legislate – 18* Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Infallible Church

Jn 16:13 – guided by Holy Spirit into all truth – 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14* He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Jn 14:26 – Holy Spirit to teach & remind them of everything – 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Lk 10:16 – speak with Christ’s own voice – 16* “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

1Tim 3:15 – Church called “pillar and foundation of truth” – 15 if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.

1Jn 2:26-27 – anointing of Holy Spirit remains in you – 26 I write this to you about those who would deceive you; 27* but the anointing which you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that any one should teach you; as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in him.

Acts 15:28 – Apostles speak with voice of Holy Spirit – 28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things:

Mt 28:20 – I am with you – 18* And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19* Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20* teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

For more visit Bob Stanley’s: The Catholic Treasure Chest

Anthony Esolen: The readings we hear at Mass may vary substantially from the inerrant, Holy Spirit inspired, written Word of God.

Here is an example. Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a landowner who left tenants in charge of his farm. Then he sent servants to collect – what? The Greek reads tous karpous, literally, the fruits, what you pluck from the tree. By that simple word “fruit,” a vast field of Scriptural imagery is brought before our eyes. Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit.  Abel sacrificed to God the first fruits of his labor. Jesus tells us that a good tree is known by its good fruit. Saint Paul says that Christ is the first fruit of the resurrection.

So what do the lectionary translators do? They build the Bauhaus. They forget the echoes. They muffle the poetry. They disdain the body. Therefore they disdain also the soul. The landowner sends his servants to gather “the produce.”

Read more

Editor’s note: You would probably be surprised to see how often and by how much the various readings at Mass differ from the Bible itself. Worse than this are the often inane “prayers of the faithful”. Next time, listen carefully to what you are hearing, at Mass. Then later, do a bit of personal Bible research, to check it out. Also, think long and hard about some of the “strange” intentions for which we Catholics are being asked to pray.

This Week’s Ask Alice: Who should Christians pray to…the Father, or Jesus?



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Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Aldy asks:  Who should Christians pray to…the Father, or Jesus? Why?

Alice Answers: Catholics and all Christians pray to God the Father, Jesus … God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Christians (followers of Christ) are Trinitarians, i.e., believers in the Blessed Trinity. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three divine, rational “persons” who together constitute the One God of the Bible, known to Christians as the Holy Trinity.

This remains a mystery of our faith, since absolutely no human being … not the pope, cardinals, or any theologian … is capable of comprehending completely (or satisfactorily explaining) the mystery of our One, Triune God.

Scripture, tradition and personal experience teaches us to pray to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When Catholics make the traditional sign of the cross, we address our prayers precisely that way.

During His life on earth Jesus, taught us to pray to His and our Heavenly Father. When we pray to God, our Father we, God’s children, are talking to our Dad in Heaven. God is our almighty fortress and our strength as he protects us from Satan and all earthly evils. Our loving Father provides our daily bread and all of our earthly needs. God is the giver of all gifts. He has given each of us the gift of life.

“This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:9-10)

We pray to Jesus, God the Son, as our Divine Brother, who is also our Heavenly High Priest, and the primary mediator between us and God the Father. Because he became man and lived here on earth for some 33 years, Jesus perfectly understands all that we are feeling and suffering. The visible marks on the hands, feet, head and side of his crucified, resurrected and glorified human body remind us of this. (See John 20:27-28)

We pray to Jesus the way we talk to our brother or best friend. Most importantly, praying along with Jesus himself, the Holy Spirit, and the whole church … Catholics offer Jesus and his one time, once for all, perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world, to God the Father, every time we celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass … which is being solemnly offered up, somewhere in the world (and for the world) …
every hour of every day, every day of every week,
365 days a year.

Jesus told His disciples that he always is ready and eager to listen and help us.” “If you ask Me anything in My Name, I will do it.” (John 14:14)

We pray to the Holy Spirit for enlightenment and inspiration. When sending a get well card or letter of encouragement, we pray that the Holy Spirit will give us perfect words to write. When we are unjustly accused of wrongdoing or persecuted for practicing our faith, we pray to the Holy Spirit to give us words to speak in our defense.

“….the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.” (Romans 8:26-27)

The Holy Spirit is also the official “facilitator” of every prayer … while Baptism serves to assure us of our right to a reliable and secure “connection” … so we might be absolutely certain that our prayers have truly been heard.

How blessed we are to have the Father, Son and Holy Spirit ever ready and waiting to love, assist, support and encourage us every moment of our day and night! In the Blessed Trinity, we have everything we need to live each day of our earthly journey. I can’t imagine getting through one day, or even one hour, without My awesome Father God, my loving Brother Jesus, and the inspiration and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

In Christ’s love,

Alice

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Doug Lawrence adds: The apparent confusion over precisely to whom we should address our prayers is the unfortunate result of the spread of limited and faulty Protestant theology, which fails to appreciate the critical reality and importance of the Sacraments … in this case, Baptism … which (among other things) serves to officially enroll us in the Church … and also makes us part of the Royal Priesthood of Believers … who, by virtue of our Baptism, have a divine right to approach God, in prayer … the Father, the Son, and/or the Holy Spirit … or approach him with and/or through other, church approved mediators … any time we like … according to the grace of Jesus Christ.

Click here to see all of Alice’s other columns

This Week’s Ask Alice: More questions about the Blessed Virgin Mary



Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer your Catholic questions
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Denise writes: We are doing the study of Rediscover Catholicism, by Mathew Kelly. We are discussing evangelizing. My question is, how do you explain praying to Mary, based on the Bible? My sister says we pray to her as an inter mediator to Jesus, as we would pray with a friend. My question to her was, I would not sit you down put candles in front of you, get on my knees, and pray to you. That is a sin. I can not get an answer as to who appeared to whom and on what date in history did this happen to tell us it was OK to pray to any one or thing other than the Trinity. Most of the people we mentor to are former Catholics who can not get an answer to these questions from any one. I can not seem to get an answer. Please answer this for me. (Question edited for length and editorial content.)

Alice answers: Our son, Matthew, owns an auto shop. He is an excellent, honest mechanic. My kind-hearted son often fixes cars for people in need and accepts whatever they can pay. Always, he’ll stop along the highway to assist a stranger with car trouble. With his charitable attitude, Matt is not a rich man. However, Matthew never has spent money advertising his services in the newspaper. His business has spread entirely by word of mouth.

Matthew began carrying screw drivers and wrenches to Our Lady of Peace to repair classroom desks for Mrs. Didio, his 3rd grade teacher. By age 12, strangers were knocking at our front door asking for the boy who repairs lawnmowers. As Matthew’s mom, people often approach me seeking car care from my beloved son. Frequently our phone rings as strangers request the number to Matt’s auto shop. Last week a lady ran up to me at church and exclaimed, “You have the most wonderful son! He fixes our cars all the time.” She told me that Marge, a parishioner, sent her to Matthew.

When the wine ran out during the wedding feast at Cana, waiters approached Mother Mary, who led them to her beloved Son, Jesus. If people come to me seeking Matthew, what better way is there to contact Jesus then through His and our own Dearest Mother Mary?

Have you ever brought your mother roses to honor her on YOUR birthday for giving you the gift of life? Did you ever light a scented candle when she came to visit you? Mary is our mother in faith. Like our earthly mothers, we love and honor our Heavenly Mother as well. As Catholics we believe that Mary intercedes (prays, implores, and pleads) to Jesus for us.

Our Scriptural basis for praying to Mary is found in (Luke 1:46-49):

“My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For He has looked upon His handmaid’s lowliness; behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.”

Mary magnifies, i.e., enlarges, increases, and clarifies the greatness of the Lord. When we pray to Mary, she points upward and leads us to her son, Jesus.

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

*****

Doug Lawrence adds: For a short but detailed overview of the how’s and why’s of Catholic Marian beliefs and practices, I suggest you read pages 107 to 117 of my on-line book, The Passion Behind the Passion. Click here to go there

If you click here you will also find a short, illustrated slide show that further explains these things.

The “bottom line” about the Blessed Virgin Mary is her “divine election” as the sinless Mother of God, the holy “Ark” who bore Jesus in her womb … the “New Eve” … who voluntarily gave her entire body and soul to God, with absolutely no reservations … for the purpose of our salvation, in Jesus Christ.

Because Mary was uniquely conceived “full of grace” according to God’s own plan, only Mary was suitable to be the Mother of God.

If that single fact is not enough to merit our respect and reverence for her, than we look further into Jewish tradition and find that the mother of the king of Israel was always tasked with being a special advocate for the people.

Unlike most other cultures, in Israel, the mother of the king is the queen. And since the traditions of the nation of Israel, under kings David and Solomon were intended to be precursors of future things, we find the angel Gabriel (in Luke 1:28) explaining all of this to Mary.

According to the Bible, Mary is/will be:

Hailed by an angel:

Has an angel …ever … before or since … ever “hailed” (greeted with praise and honor) anyone other than God himself?

Full of grace:

No one since Adam was created or conceived in a state of perfect grace.

Adam foolishly squandered his grace, falling into sin and death, through Satan’s whiles.

Mary never failed. Never sinned. She always remained holy and acceptable to God, dedicated solely and eternally to him. Her perpetual virginity is one sign of that dedication.

Mary’s awesome, God given combination of perfect humility and perfect holiness made Satan absolutely powerless against her.

Blessed among women:

Mary was singled out by God to be the Mother of Jesus Christ, to be the Queen of Heaven, and to be superior to all of God’s other creation … according to God’s supernatural grace and plan.

Because of her “election” (by God himself) and her voluntary cooperation, Mary has already been supernaturally perfected in all things. (Since she carried God in her womb for nine months and lived in the same house with him for thirty years, why should that be a surprise to anyone?)

As the mother of Jesus, who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Mary was destined to be seated at the right hand of her divine Son, interceding for us … not as a normal human being … but as the triumphant, sinless, supernaturally perfected, awesomely powerful advocate that she now is … courtesy of her divine son, who loves us.

Because of this, Mary already presently enjoys all that we Christians can possibly hope for in Christ. Hence, she is the ONLY non-divine, supernaturally perfect human role model for every faithful Christian, according to God’s grace.

And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end:

All of these things are permanent, eternal, and preordained by God from before the foundations of the world.

Mary is firmly in the “middle” of God’s plan for our salvation … providing her own flesh and blood in order to make Jesus’ human body … from whom our salvation comes.

Mary is at once, Jesus’ first, best, and most constant disciple. One who closely cooperates with God in all these ways truly merits the term “co-redemptrix”.

The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee:

The Spirit of God hovered above the holy Ark of old, and no one dared touch it, upon pain of death. Inside the Ark were the tablets of the Law, which unfortunately, were never able to save a single soul! Mary uniquely cooperated with God’s plan in order to bring Christ into the world. Doing so, she became the Ark of the New Covenant.

Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, true God and true man, dwelled within the Blessed Virgin Mary’s holy womb, sanctifying her by his awesome presence and his grace. Those who touched her received him. And those who received Jesus received eternal life.

Which Ark then, is holier? Which is more critical to God’s plan for our salvation? Which Ark held within it the promise of divine redemption, the forgiveness of sins, and eternal life?

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word:

Mary’s “fiat” (yes) still resounds throughout human history. Never before or since did God ever wait for someone to say “yes” so he could save the world from their sins.

“Everything” was “riding” on the personal decision of that young Jewish maiden, who always did precisely what God had created her to do, without fail.

Luke 2:6-11  And it came to pass that when they were there, her days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  And she brought forth her first born son and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger: because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds watching and keeping the night watches over their flock.  And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them and the brightness of God shone round about them: and they feared with a great fear. And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy that shall be to all the people: For, this day is born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David.

Can anyone else, from any generation … past, present, or future … honestly claim to have done the same?

The scriptures also provide other insights into the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

Faithful disciple of Jesus Christ:

John 2:5  His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he (Jesus) shall say to you, do ye.

John 19:25  Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen.

Acts 2:1-3  And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming: and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues, as it were of fire: and it sat upon every one of them.

Mary Assumed into Heaven by the power of God:

(Revelation 11:19)  And the Temple of God was opened in Heaven: and the Ark of his Testament was seen in his Temple. And there were lightnings and voices and an earthquake and great hail.

Crowned as Queen of Heaven:

(Revelation 12:1)  And a great sign appeared in Heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

Mother of God. Mother of the Church:

(Revelation 12:2-5)  And being with child, she cried travailing in birth: and was in pain to be delivered.  And there was seen another sign in heaven. And behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns and on his heads seven diadems. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered: that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her son. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her son was taken up to God and to his throne.

Of all these things, Saint Luke explains:

Luke 1:1-4 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a narration of the things that have been accomplished among us, According as they have delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word:

It seemed good to me also, having diligently attained to all things from the beginning, to write to thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mayest know the verity of those words in which thou hast been instructed.

In short, St. Luke gives personal testimony to the truth of all that he recorded in his Gospel. And while the Holy Spirit is rightly credited with inspiring all of the sacred scriptures, we can be sure that the Blessed Virgin Mary described the blessed events of the Annunciation, Christmas, and all the others … to him … for the Blessed Virgin Mary was most certainly the primary eye-witness to every major New Testament event … even more so than the apostles. The Bible confirms this.

The more a person studies these things (and prays on them) the more a person comes to understand the mind of the church, the mind of God, and the unique and awesome role that God envisioned for the Blessed Virgin Mary (and for us all).

And since Jesus Christ, who is God, rightly honors his mother in ways that mere mortals can only imagine… who are we to do any less? (Always remembering that worship is reserved to God, alone.)

For much more on this, I suggest you study the extensive material to be found at this site. (click here)

I hope this helps. Please write again.

God bless you,

Doug

  Click here to see all of Alice’s other columns

Was the Holy Spirit’s guidance at Vatican II infallible … or not?

Father Z entertains the notion. Readers comment.

Visit the site

Kreeft: How to successfully discern God’s will for your life … and act accordingly.

Does God have one right choice for me in each decision I make?

When we pray for wisdom to discern God’s will when it comes to choosing a mate, a career, a job change, a move, a home, a school, a friend, a vacation, how to spend money, or any other choice, big or little, whenever there are two or more different paths opening up before us and we have to choose, does God always will one of those paths for us? If so, how do we discern it?

Many Christians who struggle with this question today are unaware that Christians of the past can help them from their own experience. Christian wisdom embodied in the lives and teachings of the saints tells us two things that are relevant to this question.

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This Week’s Ask Alice: What happened between the Old Testament and the New that changed God’s behavior?



Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer your Catholic questions
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

D.T. Asks: What happened between the Old Testament and the New that changed God’s behavior?

Alice Answers: In a word, “Jesus” happened!

It was the sacrificial death of His only Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ that resulted in the apparent change of God’s behavior towards mankind, from the Old Testament to the New.

God spent the entire Old Testament dealing with the originally sinful behavior of our first parents, Adam and Eve, and the inherited concupiscence, i.e., tendency to sin, of their descendents.

The result was many centuries of disobedient, sinful behavior, committed by human beings who were under the evil domination of Satan the devil … who was, in those days … the undisputed “Prince of This World”.

Refusing to obey God and lacking grace, they brought upon themselves certain divine chastisements (most notably death, which is the universal penalty for sin) as duly recorded in all 46 books of the Old Testament.

Fortunately: “In the fullness of time God sent his Son, made of a woman, made under the law: That he might redeem them who were under the law: that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5)

Thus, the New Testament began. The foundation of these 27 books is love personified, in the fully divine and fully human Jesus Christ … the Prince of Peace and the Holy Redeemer of all mankind.

Jesus came, not to abolish the Old Testament,
but to save mankind and fulfill all the sacred Scriptures.

Throughout his earthly life, Jesus taught us how to live and love. By his saving death, Jesus destroyed Satan’s evil dominion and satisfied the debt (owed to God alone) that we could never pay, making possible the forgiveness of sins and reopening the gates of heaven.

Most importantly, Jesus obtained the sanctifying grace that we all need, in order to obtain heaven.


At the Sermon On the Mount Jesus preached the true path to righteousness (Matthew 5:3-10). He also taught us how to pray (Matthew 6: 5-14).

When Jesus, our brother, walked on earth with His disciples, it was no longer necessary for God to appear to His people in a mysterious burning bush or a column of cloud.

The risen Jesus … the Logos … the Eternal Word … the holy, perfect and authentic image of God, who is truly God himself … finally made the primeval foolishness of “idol worship” distinctly apparent to all.

“Philip saith to him: Lord, show us the Father; and it is enough for us. Jesus saith to him: Have I been so long a time with you and have you not known me? Philip, he that seeth me seeth the Father also. How sayest thou: Show us the Father?” (John 14:8-9)

Jesus was not a military leader fighting battles for control and power. His Kingdom is not of this world (this present system of things) but of the world to come. Jesus taught His followers, by word and deed, precisely how the power of love would save souls and forever change our world, for good.

Shortly after Jesus ascended into Heaven, the Holy Spirit appeared (Acts 2: 1-13) and set the apostles’ hearts on fire with love.

With Satan’s evil dominion destroyed, heaven reopened, man’s redemption obtained, and Jesus suitably installed as the new and sinless head of all mankind … grace … not wrath … was the new order of the day … and it was typically no longer necessary to smote and smite the rebellious Israelites (or anyone else.)

In these grace-empowered New Testament times,
the final battle already won by Jesus Christ,
the Holy Spirit prefers to lovingly inspire, teach,
correct, and sanctify by indwelling human hearts and souls.

Instead of fighting wars, and thanks to the inspired evangelism of disciples like Saint Peter, Saint Paul and others, the Church of Jesus Christ sprouted up all around the world, soon to be “watered” by the blood of the martyrs.

Saint Stephen, “full of grace and fortitude” was the first of many holy men and women who would be faithful witnesses for their Christian faith, even in the face of imminent (and often gruesome) death. (Acts 6:8 and 7: 54-60)

“This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13)

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

*****

Related links:

The “Fine Points” of Our Redemption In Jesus Christ

Sacred Art, Statuary, and Catholics

Old Testament God = Wrath. New Testament God = Love?

Click here to see all of Alice’s other columns

This Week’s Ask Alice: The Bible – Word of God?



Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer your Catholic questions
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Rational Asks: Why do you Christians believe the Bible is the Word of God?

Alice Answers: We Catholics and our Christian brothers and sisters believe God is the ultimate author of the Bible.

We believe that God inspired the human authors of the Bible, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to accurately write His words.

Many verses in the Bible proclaim God as the Divine Author of both the Old and New Testaments.

“All Scripture is inspired of God and is useful for teaching — for reproof, correction and training in holiness so that the man of God may be fully competent and equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

All Scripture is fulfilled in Christ. Jesus’ own words and deeds are recorded in Sacred Scripture.

The Bible contains a myriad of quotations and teachings from our Lord. In addition, Jesus himself quoted passages from the Old Testament. When He was hungry and being tempted in the desert, Jesus responded to Satan,

“Scripture has it: ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.’ ” (Matthew 4:4)

While theologians contend that the Bible is the compilation of 40 men who were unknown to one another, ranging from kings to a tent maker, each wrote with a single purpose: to unite people with God, for eternity. Throughout its pages the Bible provides eye-and-ear-witness testimonies to the empowering word of God.

“For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” (2 Peter 1:16)

To believe, as Catholics do, that the Bible is the word of God is an act of faith. Faith is believing what we cannot see or hear, that which cannot be scientifically proven.

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

Doug Lawrence adds: In addition to faith, we Christians also have tradition and fulfilled prophecy to back up our beliefs.

TRADITION

To put it very simply, tradition is the means by which the Holy Spirit guides and inspires the People of God, from age to age.

Before the Old Testament of the Bible was written, it was faithfully preserved by means of tradition. Before the New Testament was written, the truths contained therein were preserved and disseminated, via tradition.

The entire Canon of Scripture has in a very real sense, been inspired, preserved, set down in writing, defined, confirmed, proclaimed, translated and distributed, by means of Catholic Church tradition.

Why do we say this? Simply because nowhere can we find any specific written or even verbal instructions from God, ordering anyone to write down and/or otherwise record his collective words and/or commands.

About the closest we come to this is Moses’ receipt of the Ten Commandments, in stone, and his subsequent written codification (on paper) of several hundred related statutes and ordinances, known collectively as the Mosaic Law, which was first used to help govern the Israelites throughout their desert wanderings.

We know from scripture that, for some 40 years, Moses often spoke to God, “face to face”. If Moses decided to begin writing things down … and God permitted it to be done … then it must have been OK. (Moses wrote the first 5 books of the what we Christians refer to as the Old Testament.)

Later Hebrew prophets and scribes would choose to do likewise … as would the Holy Spirit inspired leadership of the early Christian church.

This is tradition, in action!

Until the complete Bible was set to writing and finally confirmed by the Catholic Church, it was constantly preserved via oral and written tradition, with the aid of some very distinctive, practical and effective cultural accoutrements, which were part and parcel of both the Hebrew and Christian ways of life.

We know and refer to this as the Judeo-Christian Tradition.

PROPHECY

Another reason people of the Christian faith believe the Bible is the Word of God is the fact that about one third of the Bible is prophetic … accurately predicting very specific persons and events to come, often hundreds or even thousands of years in advance.

People living in our times have the unique ability to identify and correlate specific Bible prophecies with their subsequent fulfillment in what is now past human history.

Some 300 ancient yet very specific Bible prophecies (relating to the divine person-hood, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ) were perfectly fulfilled in the 4 days between Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday, alone.

Many, many more biblical prophecies have already been fulfilled, and still more are thought to apply to the future … many of those centered around the “end times” and the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.

See:

Proof from the Bible that Jesus Christ is God

What Everybody (especially Christians) Should Know About the Bible

Catholic Prophecies for the End Times

  Click here to see all of Alice’s other columns

The Holy Spirit is a vital part of your faith journey

I was a newly hatched teacher and at loose ends in my life journey.  Through no fault of my own I went to my first prayer meeting just to satisfy an insistent friend who had been inviting me for weeks.  In an experience that defied logic I walked into that meeting and felt more “at home” than any location I had ever been in before.  I was hooked and here it is thirty-five years later.  Talk about an invitation that stuck.  That community and the wonderful priest who established it became my primary teachers/examples for whom and what a catholic Christian is.  Needless to say, my introduction to the faith included many “close encounters” with the Spirit.  Sometimes our teaching and learning happens without the aid of words ala St. Francis of Assisi.

In the beginning, the Charismatic experience is pretty mind boggling.  The things you see and hear are engaging in a way that your spirit has never been stirred before.  The elegant sound of hundreds of people praying in tongues, rising and falling together without the aid of a “conductor” is oddly calming, boldly spoken prophecy, words of knowledge, deep prayer, resting in the spirit and silence that is literally palpable.  In a prayer meeting of long standing, none of these things are out of place and no one in the meeting is “flapped” by any of it.  The Spirit also moves in “the ordinary” and uses other “manifestations” of our incarnation as part of this experience.

The Spirit moves as he will!

Read more

An excellent explanation of what Catholics believe about the Holy Trinity (and why)

In history, God prepared the human family for this revelation of Himself. The pinnacle of the preparation was the Jewish religion. It seems that a lot of Old Testament history is made up of God drumming into the heads of the Israelites that the various idol gods of the nations were unrealities, or as St. Paul would later have it, demons (1 Cor 10: 20), and that He is the only true God. Although, even so, Jewish scripture contained many “hints” of the unity-in-diversity of God (Gen. 1: 26; 11: 7, 19: 18-24; Ps. 110: 1; Is. 6: 1-3; Zech. 3: 1,2).

God also prepared the human family for revelation of Himself through the Hellenization of the Jews. The Diaspora was no accident (Duet 32: 8). The Church would need the language of Greek philosophy to express herself about Christ. Regarding St. John’s use of the Greek term “Logos” in John 1:1, Romano Guardini wrote: “In order that this conception of the Logos, idea and source of all ideas, stand ready to serve sacred Christology, Greek thought labored for six centuries” (The Lord, p. 538).

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Bishop explains Sacrament of Confirmation

This is the time of year when Bishops celebrate Confirmation. It is certainly a wonderful moment for the recipients of the sacrament, as they receive the same Holy Spirit bestowed upon the Church at Pentecost…

Link

One of our readers (name withheld by request) has a topical comment:

Most of the parishes in my area let young people get confirmed even though they do not go to church every Sunday.

The Confirmandi promise the Bishop they would abide by the precepts of the Church, but are not even required by their parishes to go to church on Sundays during confirmation class years. So after confirmation the confirmed just move on [been their and done that].They forget about their commitments to God and the Bishop.

The policy is “everyone gets Confirmed” regardless, whether they obey the precepts of the church or not.

This is the same mind set as the public schools to lower the standards so everyone moves up and out. We owe our Catholic youth MORE… tough love; so they do not go out

This policy of the youth directors is leading to the mass exodus of college students and 20 somethings from Sunday Mass.

Fr. Scott Hurd: Jesus will do what we ask him to do – when we ask what he wants us to ask.

Is Jesus a genie in a bottle? We might think so, given his words in today’s gospel: “If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” Given this, instead of asking, “Show us the Father,” like Phillip did, we might be tempted to demand: “Show me the money!”

Read more

Related reading:

“Ask and You Shall Receive.” – But there’s a catch …

This Week’s Ask Alice: A Question About Sunday – the Lord’s Day – and the Sabbath.



Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer as many questions as possible,
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Charles C. asks: Why is the Sabbath mentioned many times in the N.T. and Sunday only mentioned TWICE in over 30 years after Pentecost strengthened the disciples to evangelize? Paul: One time—commands work (gathering an offering to be collected at a later date) to the Corinthian church with a high commandment-keeping Jewish contingency (1 Cor. 16:1-3), See that church’s formation in Acts 18. Luke: One time (Acts 20:4-14)–talks of communion service on Saturday evening (all the disciples used Jewish reckoning, sunset being the new day), then tells of SEVEN commandment-keeping Jews boating all day Sunday with Luke, and Paul hiking throughout the daylight hours of Sunday to Assos.

Alice answers: The Bible does not furnish a complete account of every event that ever happened, throughout the long history of the Judeo-Christian faith tradition. Nor is the Bible a complete catechism, detailing every recommended belief and practice of the Christian faith.

The Bible is the Holy Spirit inspired, infallible Word of God … as faithfully compiled, written (in part), preserved, certified and translated, by the Catholic Church. It’s also important to remember that the Church was already 400 years old, and firmly established, by the time all of this was actually accomplished.

Attempting to determine specific historical details from the scant accounts appearing in the Bible alone … some 2000 years after the fact, without reliance on authentic Catholic tradition … is generally an exercise in futility, leading nowhere … or worse, into serious error.

The simple fact is, there was never a need to put into writing that which the church had always and everywhere, from the earliest days, publicly proclaimed and put into actual practice, since (before the Protestant Reformation) every Christian, in every place (even the illiterate) would certainly know such things by memory and through force of habit. Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and even most Protestants, still do.

Now, for the specifics:

The Catholic Church permits Saturday evening “Sunday” worship. Saturday evening worship generally and customarily fulfills the existing Sunday worship obligation.

There are eight New Testament references to “Sunday” … which officially replaces the Old Testament Saturday sabbath, as the Lord’s Day.

First and foremost, Sunday is the day of Jesus’ resurrection … and ever since, Sunday has been celebrated as the primary Feast Day of (virtually) all Christianity.

1: Jesus rose from the dead early on the first day of the week…

2: He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast out seven demons. (Mark 16:9)

3: That same day Jesus appeared to two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus. (Luke 24:33-35)

4: On the evening of that first day of the week, even though the disciples had locked the doors of the place where they were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood before them. (John 20:19)

5: A week later (Sunday) Jesus appeared to Thomas to dispel his doubts about His resurrection. (John 20:26)

6: Pentecost, the birthday of our Church, occurred on a Sunday.

7: While in Corinth, Paul takes up a collection for the relief of needy believers on a Sunday. (Acts 11:27-30)

8: During a Sunday meeting in Troas, Paul preached so long that a youth named Eutychus, who was sitting on a window sill went to sleep, then fell from the third story and died. Paul restored him to life and continued preaching. (Acts 20:3-14)

In two other New Testament sabbath passages we have St. Paul explaining that Christians are NOT required to observe the Jewish sabbath. One key example:

No one is free, therefore, to pass judgmenton you in terms of what you eat or drink or what you do on yearly or monthly feasts, or on the sabbath. (Colossians 2:16)

Paul often preaches in Jewish synagogues on the Sabbath. However, he does not preach in synagogues as a religious obligation, but rather because that is the place where he can reach the largest number of his Jewish brothers and sisters.

Under the Old Covenant, the Hebrews/Israelites/Jews were obligated under the Mosaic Law to keep the sabbath. Non-Jews were never required to do so.

Under the New Covenant, the awesome and virtually unrestricted power of binding and loosing … on earth and in heaven … was given only to the one, holy, apostolic and universal (Catholic) Church. In the words of Jesus Christ:

And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. (Matthew 16:19)

Now, there would be “The People of God” – the members of the Catholic Church … and universal, Sunday, Eucharistic worship … according to the express command of our savior:

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks, broke and said: Take ye and eat: This is my body, which shall be delivered for you. This do for the commemoration of me. In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood. This do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me. For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the chalice, you shall proclaim the death of the Lord, until he come. Therefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord.
(1st Corinthians 11:23-27)

Jesus Christ gave us an all new, Christian covenant, based on his grace … not on the old law … and on the work, worship, sacraments and devotions of his universal (Catholic) Church … not the old Jewish Temple Worship System, which itself would soon pass away.

After the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, neither Jews nor Gentiles were required to keep the old Saturday sabbath, since the purpose of the old law had been served, and the Old Covenant (in its entirety) had been fulfilled and respectfully set aside by Christ, in favor of the New, grace empowered and saving Covenant, which he instituted for us at the Last Supper, paid for on the cross with his own blood, and confirmed through his glorious resurrection:

For there is no distinction of the Jew and the Greek: for the same is Lord over all, rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:12-13)

The Catholic Church … the only living “eye-witness” for Jesus Christ, and for all the events of the New Testament … explains in its official Catechism, the important differences between the sabbath of old, and Sunday, the Lord’s Day:

Sunday – fulfillment of the sabbath

2175 Sunday is expressly distinguished from the sabbath which it follows chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that of the sabbath. In Christ’s Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish sabbath and announces man’s eternal rest in God. For worship under the Law prepared for the mystery of Christ, and what was done there prefigured some aspects of Christ:

Those who lived according to the old order of things have come to a new hope, no longer keeping the sabbath, but the Lord’s Day, in which our life is blessed by him and by his death.

2176 The celebration of Sunday observes the moral commandment inscribed by nature in the human heart to render to God an outward, visible, public, and regular worship “as a sign of his universal beneficence to all.” Sunday worship fulfills the moral command of the Old Covenant, taking up its rhythm and spirit in the weekly celebration of the Creator and Redeemer of his people.

In Christ’s love,

Alice

Click here to see all of Alice’s other columns

What Constitutes Authentic Catholic Tradition?

by Doug Lawrence

People often have a hard time defining precisely what constitutes authentic Catholic Tradition.

To put it simply, authentic Tradition is the means by which the Holy Spirit infallibly guides the Catholic Church, from age to age.

Catholic Tradition is the collective result of all the grace, love, wisdom, discipline and self-sacrifice of Jesus, Mary, St. Joseph, the Apostles, and every other truly faithful Catholic who ever lived … or ever will live … not forgetting to include the contributions of the Old Testament Prophets, Priests, Patriarchs and Matriarchs, as well.

Through that collective, God inspired Tradition, the Catholic Church has been successfully preserved … in spite of constant scandal and strife … for the purpose of the salvation of every person, of every generation.

With Pentecost Sunday coming up, it’s good to reflect on such things … especially in light of certain “novel” teachings by the post-Vatican II popes and bishops … teachings which often had no basis at all in Catholic Tradition … or were actually contrary to that which the Catholic Church had always and everywhere, believed and practiced … and which (now) seem to be on the way to being (at least partially) corrected.

It’s also important to note that, due to the “Spirit of Vatican II”, “Change Came to the Vatican” some 45 years before “Change Came To America”.

We Catholics benefit immensely from almost 2000 years of authentic Church Tradition, and now we know (from painful experience) that liberal policies and politics can be just as damaging and destructive to a church as they can be to a nation.

That should be a lesson for all of us … whether we call ourselves liberal or conservative.

Inescapable fact: For the First 1500 Years, the Entire (Global) Church Held Exclusively Catholic Beliefs.

To see what I mean above, take four common Protestant doctrines:

1. Baptism is just symbolic (that is, it’s not regenerative, and the Holy Spirit doesn’t actually cleanse us through it);

2. The Eucharist is just symbolic (it’s not actually the Body and Blood of Christ);

3. Justification is just forensic (we’re declared righteous by God, but we’re not actually made righteous through the Holy Spirit);

4. and The Bible is composed of the 66-Book Protestant canon.

To my knowledge, every Protestant denomination holds to at least one of these four doctrines, and many denominations hold to all four. Now contrast these views with history.

Forget whatever you happen to think about Baptism, the Eucharist, justification, and the canon of Scripture. At this point, we’re just determining what the whole of Christianity used to teach, rather than whether these teachings were right or wrong (we’ll turn to that, next). To my knowledge, even Protestants will concede that the visible Church was Catholic during a long period prior to the Reformation. And although it’s true that there were eventually Coptics and Orthodox as well, on all four of the above doctrines, none of them take the Protestant view, either.

So at a bare minimum, we can say that the historic visible Church universally denied all four of the Protestant doctrines above. In fact, the evidence suggests much more than that — it suggests that there are centuries of Christianity in which a Protestant would be hard-pressed to find to find a single orthodox Christian who held to any or all four of the above doctrines. Let’s look at each, very briefly:

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Mary’s fiat: A moment in time which defines all history.

There is a moment in time which defines all history; a moment to which all that came before, all that has come after and all that is yet to come, points as supremely significant.  On March 25th of each Liturgical Year, we remember the event that took place then – the moment when the Blessed Virgin Mary gave her fiat to God’s request that was communicated to her by the Archangel Gabriel – the Solemnity of the Annunciation of Our Lord. The significance of this day derives from what Mary’s yes allowed to occur – the moment when our God entered into His own creation and became man. It is the moment when the love of God for us was made manifest like never before since man was created and called into communion with the Creator Who is revealed as Father.

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Accused Father John Corapi: Open, public scandal … or a simple employee/employer dispute?

By Doug Lawrence

As the dust begins to settle from the recent Father Corapi allegations, I can’t help thinking that his suspension from priestly ministry was not only hasty, but also unwarranted.

What we have here appears to be more like a typical employee/employer dispute.

In such cases, it would be very, very rare for the affected “business” to be shut down, while necessary inquiries are made. But this is essentially what happened to Father Corapi, when his superior arbitrarily decided to suspend him from ministry.

Of course, Father Corapi’s ministry … and his business … are rather unusual … since few, if any Catholic priests operate as he does.

One would not normally expect the superior of a religious order to have to consider “business consequences” in his deliberations, but the simple fact is … “Father Corapi Inc.” … constitutes a major business enterprise that regularly serves the spiritual needs of thousands and thousands of good, faithful people, all around the world. And right now, many of those souls (especially the ones holding tickets for the long anticipated … now canceled … De Kalb, Illinois speaking engagement) are very, very hurt and upset.

I can’t help thinking that this could have been handled differently … and in a much better way.

It also makes me wonder if the apostle’s first response to the descent of the Holy Spirit, at Pentecost … was to cover their asses! (Please excuse the unavoidable crudeness.)

Complete summary of all Father Corapi articles to-date

The Catholic Church is the only “real” Bible Church.

To be truly a “bible church” (notice no one ever says “food restaurant”, “book library”, “exercise gymnasium”, or “car highway”!), the church would have to adhere to everything that is in the New Testament. Accordingly, here is a checklist of things that are in the New Testament that all bible churches should answer yes to:

1. Does the church have ministers who can forgive sins in the name of Jesus (John 20:21-23)?

2. Does the church have a healing rite for the dying that forgives the sins of the person who is dying (James 5:14-15)?

3. Does the church meet daily for the breaking of the bread ( Matthew 6:11, Acts 2:42-46)?

4. Does the church teach that you must physically eat the flesh of Jesus and drink His blood to have life in you (John 6:53)?

5. Does the church history date back to the time of the Apostles (Acts 1:20-26)?

6. Does the church teach that individuals can suffer for the sake of the church, because Christ’s sufferings were lacking (Colossians 1:24)?

7. Does the church teach that salvation isn’t a sure thing (Matthew 10:22, 2 Peter 2:20)?

8. Does the church teach that prayers in heaven go through heavenly intercessors before reaching God (Revelation 5:8, Revelation 8:3)?

9. Does the church teach that saints in heaven are alive and can appear to humans? (Mark 9:4-5, Matthew 27:52-53)

10. Does the church teach that one must physically suffer to keep from losing one’s salvation (1 Corinthians 9:27, 1 Peter 2:19-21)?

11. Does the Church preach Christian unity, or division (1 Corinthians 1:10-13)?

12. Are the church’s decisions ratified in heaven as well as on earth (Matthew 18:18)?

13. Is the Mother of Jesus considered to be the most blessed Woman, and do they call her blessed (Luke 1:42-48)?

14. Does the church teach that the church itself (rather than the Bible) is the pillar and bulwark of truth? (1 Timothy 3:15)

15. Does the church teach that the whore of Babylon is a “great city” where Jesus Christ was crucified? (Revelation 11:8 and Revelation 17:18).

16. Does the Church teach that celibacy is a good thing? (Matthew 9:12, Luke 18:29-30, 1 Corinthians 7: 25-27, 1 Corinthians 7:32-38, Revelation 14:3-5).

17. Does the Church teach that life begins at conception? (Deuteronomy 30:19, Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:13, Luke 1:43-44,Luke 23: 2).

18. Does the Church teach that contraception is intrinsically evil? (Genesis 1:28, Psalm 127:3-5, Genesis 38:8-10).

19. Does the Church teach that divorce and remarriage is adulterous? (Matthew 5:3, Mark 10:11-12, Luke 16:18)

If the answer to any of these questions is no, then it must be assumed that the so-called “bible church” is really a tradition of man, and is not in accord with EVERYTHING in the New Testament. The Church can’t just preach John 3:16 (although that is a great verse) and ignore the rest of the divinely inspired Word of God. God gave us the whole bible for a reason. To ignore the hard parts because they are difficult to follow is totally wrong.

Read more at Catholic Bible 101