In Search of Authentic Universal Christianity

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Although the Bible tells us that Jesus established a Church (Matt. 16:18) and reminds us of our Savior’s desire for Christian unity (John 17:20-21, Eph. 4:16, 4:12-13), we’ve seen a recent explosion of new churches. They claim to be “Bible-based” churches; often they have broken off from some larger church or denomination. With as many as 28,000 different Christian churches today, the mystery to many is <which one is Jesus’ true Church?>

In this article you will learn how to solve that mystery. You’ll be the “gumshoe” (detective) in an interactive scriptural investigation.

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Seeking the Lost Ark: The place shall be unknown, till God gather together the congregation of the people, and receive(s) them to mercy.

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by Doug Lawrence

My good friend Bob Stanley of the Catholic Treasure Chest website writes:

This post builds on the info recently received from my Israeli friend. Here is something that I think is of great importance, as the Bible appears to tell us where the Ark of the Covenant is.

2Ma 2:3 And with other such like speeches, he exhorted them that they would not remove the law from their heart.
2Ma 2:4 It was also contained in the same writing, how the prophet, being warned by God, commanded that the tabernacle and the ark should accompany him, till he came forth to the mountain where Moses went upand saw the inheritance of God. (see Deut 34:1 below for the name of the mountain, and the other verses which insure that they refer to the inheritance).
2Ma 2:5 And when Jeremias came thither he found a hollow cave: and he carried in thither the tabernacle, and the ark , and the altar of incense, and so stopped the door.
2Ma 2:6 Then some of them that followed him, came up to mark the place: but they could not find it.
2Ma 2:7 And when Jeremias perceived it, he blamed them, saying: The place shall be unknown, till God gather together the congregation of the people, and receive them to mercy.
2Ma 2:8 And then the Lord will shew these things, and the majesty of the Lord shall appear, and there shall be a cloud as it was also shewed to Moses, and he shewed it when Solomon prayed that the place might be sanctified to the great God.

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Deu 34:1  Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab upon mount Nebo, to the top of Phasga over against Jericho: and the Lord shewed him all the land of Galaad as far as Dan.
Deu 34:2  And all Nephtali, and the land of Ephraim and Manasses, and all the land of Juda unto the furthermost sea,
Deu 34:3  And the south part, and the breadth of the plain of Jericho the city of palm trees as far as Segor.
Deu 34:4  And the Lordtsaid to him: This is the land, for which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying: I will give it to thy seed. Thou hast seen it with thy eyes, and shalt not pass over to it.
Deu 34:5  And Moses the servant of the Lord died there, in the land of Moab, by the commandment of the Lord:

Source: Douay-Rheims Bible

The Jews, the Arabs and the non-Catholics don’t have the books of Maccabees and they refuse to read them in Catholic Bibles. After all, they say the Catholic Bible is corrupted and Maccabees is not inspired…right? This reminds me of the Indiana Jones movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark” where Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) looked over about half mile away, saw the Nazi’s digging for the ark and rejoiced by saying “They are digging in the wrong place”.

Months ago I asked my Jewish friend where Mt. Nebo was, without mentioning why I would like to know. He said it is in Jordan. That is another reason why the Jews never tried digging there. It makes a lot of sense to me that since the temple mount is a relatively small area and has been explored, dug and tunneled for many centuries and yet never was even a sign or clue that something as large as the Ark was found within it. Even the crusaders made exhaustive but essentially fruitless searches there.

Go back and read again the 2nd sentence of 2Ma 2:7.  Maybe it is happening right now???

Doug replies:

There’s a lot of intriguing possibilities there. I find it interesting, looking at the map, that Moses did indeed have a clear view of precisely what is described in the scriptures. God really did let him see the Promised Land – pretty much in its’ entirety.

It’s been my experience that people expect the site of the lost Ark to be either somewhere on or around the temple mount, or even as far away as Mt. Sinai – assuming that anyone today actually knows the true location of that holy mountain.

Even with the sold description provided in Maccabees, there’s a lot of potential hiding places for the Ark, on and around Mount Nebo.

Maybe Moses will retrieve it and he and (either) Enoch or Elijah will come back to witness in Jerusalem, near the end of the tribulation period? The Ark may even be the energy source for the Heavenly “fire” and the drought. (Rev 11:3-6)

Another interesting note about Moses: Even the devil was unable to find his dead body, so Moses is a very good candidate for having being assumed into Heaven, by God – as was Elijah, in his fiery chariot. The fact that both later appeared with Jesus during the Transfiguration seems to add credence to that possibility.

So we have Enoch, Elijah, Moses, the Blessed Virgin Mary – and maybe even Lazarus – his second time around – all being assumed into Heaven, by the awesome power of God.

That’s almost a bigger deal than finding the lost Ark!

Strange cases of lacrimating Madonnas and supernatural “glitter”

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At a far edge of alleged Catholic supernatural phenomena are cases in which it is claimed that a colorful glittery material has materialized in some places on particular people or at poignant times like some sort of manna.

Is it a hoax? Is it demonic? Is it a strikingly unusual move of the Holy Spirit?

You discern.

We report.

Your consideration is as valid as ours.

And challenging this is.

There are precedents. At Fatima, Portugal, glitter-like lights fell, on one occasion, at the site of apparitions, and the same has been true of the Church-approved site of Betania near Caracas, Venezuela — which in fact was designated by the bishop as “sacred ground.”

Glitter was reported on the face of Maria Esperanza, the mystic associated with that site.

It has been reported in connection with a good number of statues, especially those alleged to “weep.”

The substance accompanies or follows lacrimation (weeping)  — or so it is claimed.

At Fatima, however, the “glitter” was immaterial and dissolved into thin air — more a luminosity.

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The Mass is a sacrifice because Jesus, the one time, once for all, holy sacrifice for the sins of the world becomes truly present for us there, on the altar.

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Why have sacrifices pretty much died out everywhere, yet it remains within Catholicism? Because the cross of Christ is the “one, full, final sacrifice”. On the cross the sacrificial systems of the world were fulfilled. All was completed. The Mass is the daily remembrance of that one, full, final sacrifice. Through the mystery of the Mass we bring that completed sacrifice into the present moment and apply it’s graces to our needs today.

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Who is she who comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in battle array? (Song 6:10)

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The popes of the past century have recognized this assault and spoken of it in prophetic terms encouraging the Church to read the signs of the times in the light of its eschatological journey towards the new heaven and new earth.

A decisive moment in the spiritual combat was when the Blessed Virgin entered into the battle fray in the nineteenth century with her apparitions at Rue du Bac in Paris, and thereafter at La Salette and Lourdes in France, and in many other places all around the world, some of which still await the approval of the Holy See.

These supernatural events could, in a sense, open the pages of the Book of Revelation with more clarity, as in chapter twelve, narrating the confrontation between the “Woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (12:1), and a “great red dragon” (12:1-17). It is the same Woman mentioned in Genesis when God cursed the serpent saying: “I shall put enmities between you and the Woman, between your seed and her seed: she shall crush your head” (3:15). Mary is, indeed, the Woman of Genesis and the Woman of the Apocalypse. The Marian era that is reaching its climax now is shrouded in the mystery of Divine providence.

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Been there. Done that. I completely agree.

Thinking back, the night after the crash was something altogether. Knowing I had dodged a large bullet, I sat alone in my quarters, a bottle of whiskey in my hand; the booze seemed like the manly thing to do. I hadn’t changed out of my bloody flight suit and was draped in an easy chair. The Doobie Brothers were concert loud on my cheap stereo and I kept reliving all my thoughts during and after my 160-foot joyride. Then I picked up the phone and called my mother.

The urge to call my mother was primordial. I was seeking comfort where I first learned of it. From her. Listening to the sound of her voice was heaven. Absorbing her love launched a gusher of emotions. I was so spectacularly happy to be alive that nothing could have dampened my spirit. I was able to find peace that night, nourished by the love of my mother and the realization that I was given the gift of tomorrow.

Back then, I was not a spiritual man. Not for a moment would I have considered dropping to my knees or going to church to give thanks to God. Never would I have presumed God saved my life either. You see, God didn’t exist in my universe.

However, today, as a Catholic who has been on an incredible journey of discovery, I don’t think I was lucky. I don’t believe in luck. No, something else was at work. Divine, mysterious providence. I know it.

Better men than I suffered untimely and tragic deaths. My own life hasn’t been an exemplary one. Yet God spared me. But why? And what for?

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Puffed up atheist hopes to “educate” ignorant Christian fundamentalists.

by Doug Lawrence

Atheist Susan Jacoby scours the world for religious extremists, carefully noting their obvious errors, and then dutifully attributes those erroneous beliefs to all people of faith, everywhere. Then, using her “magic education bullet” she offers secular atheism as the only obvious solution for all the ills of the world.

What a crock!

Jacoby’s own, limited, secular education has failed to equip her with the ability to understand people of faith, let alone authentic Catholicism, which is grounded not only in faith and reason, through the world’s oldest, most inclusive, and most successful tradition of genuine academic and theological scholarship … but also in the literal, historical person of Jesus Christ, who claimed to be God, and then went on to prove it, by raising himself up from the dead.

Jacoby uses statistics to support her position, which essentially describes an inverse relationship between education/intelligence and religious faith.

Then, she attempts to conveniently redefine the term, “mystery” in order to strip it of any true meaning. In this, the woman definitively proves that she doesn’t know what she doesn’t know!

Ms. Jacoby, Catholics are taught to know the difference between things that are merely not yet understood, and things that will forever remain beyond human comprehension. For us, there is no real conflict, because our faith informs us that knowing God, we will also one day, know the heretofore unknowable. In the mean time, we Catholics take great joy in such things, and even put them to a very practical purpose.

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

  • Taking the word “sacrament” in its broadest sense, as the sign of something sacred and hidden (the Greek word is “mystery”), we can say that the whole world is a vast sacramental system, in that material things are unto men the signs of things spiritual and sacred, even of the Divinity. “The heavens show forth the glory of God, and the firmament declareth the work of his hands” (Psalm 18:2). The invisible things of him [i.e. God], from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity” (Romans 1:20).
  • The redemption of man was not accomplished in an invisible manner. God renewed, through the Patriarchs and the Prophets, the promise of salvation made to the first man; external symbols were used to express faith in the promised Redeemer: “all these things happened to them [the Israelites] in figure” (1 Corinthians 10:11; Hebrews 10:1). “So we also, when we were children, were serving under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of time was come, God sent his Son, made of a woman” (Galatians 4:3-4). The Incarnation took place because God dealt with men in the manner that was best suited to their nature.
  • The Church established by the Savior was to be a visible organization (see CHURCH: The Visibility of the Church): consequently it should have external ceremonies and symbols of things sacred.
  • The principal reason for a sacramental system is found in man. It is the nature of man, writes St. Thomas (III:61:1), to be led by things corporeal and sense-perceptible to things spiritual and intelligible; now Divine Providence provides for everything in accordance with its nature (secundum modum suae conditionis); therefore it is fitting that Divine Wisdom should provide means of salvation for men in the form of certain corporeal and sensible signs which are called sacraments. (For other reasons see Catech. Conc. Trid., II, n.14.)

“Signum sacro sanctum efficax gratiae”

Link to Washington Post article