Great Salvation Mysteries: A small group of well trained but otherwise corrupt men receive power from Heaven to save souls.


Pentecost

Acts 2:38-43  But Peter said to them: Do penance: and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins. And you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, whomsoever the Lord our God shall call.  And with very many other words did he testify and exhort them, saying: Save yourselves from this perverse generation. They therefore that received his word were baptized: and there were added in that day about three thousand souls. And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles and in the communication of the breaking of bread and in prayers.  And fear came upon every soul. Many wonders also and signs were done by the apostles in Jerusalem: and there was great fervor in all.

Editor’s note: The Blessed Virgin Mary is featured, front and center, in the painting above, primarily because: 1) By special privilege of God, she was never touched by corruption or sin, in any way; 2) Mary is the Mother of God and hence, the Mother of the Church, according to the grace of her divine Son, Jesus Christ; 3) Mary is Christ’s first, best, and most constant disciple; 4) Who better to greet the Holy Spirit than the one whom the Spirit of the Most High God had earlier overshadowed, when Jesus (Yahweh’s Savior) was conceived in her blessed womb?

Pentecost: The Holy Spirit’s Anti-Babel


Genesis 11:4-9
And they said: Come, let us make a city and a tower, the top whereof may reach to heaven; and let us make our name famous before we be scattered abroad into all lands.  And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of Adam were building.  And he said: Behold, it is one people, and all have one tongue: and they have begun to do this, neither will they leave off from their designs, till they accomplish them in deed.  Come ye, therefore, let us go down, and there confound their tongue, that they may not understand one another’s speech. And so the Lord scattered them from that place into all lands, and they ceased to build the city.  And therefore the name thereof was called Babel, because there the language of the whole earth was confounded: and from thence the Lord scattered them abroad upon the face of all countries.


Acts of the Apostles 2:1-11 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.

***

At Babel, the people were divinely confounded and then dispersed, in an effort to frustrate their efforts, which were obviously at odds with the will of God.

At Pentecost, the people were first divinely confounded (notice the similar term used  in both passages) but then divinely inspired and dispersed … this time, in a most energetic effort to “jump start” the infant church, planting the seeds necessary for miraculous growth in “every nation under heaven”.

The “moral” of this story:


Psalms 127:1 A gradual canticle of Solomon. Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. Unless the Lord keep the city, he watcheth in vain that keepeth it.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Pentecost Homily

Click here for more (PDF file format)

Clarifying the Confusion on Confirmation

The Biblical roots of the Sacrament – Jesus had promised to send the Holy Spirit. For example He said,

Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you….I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 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. (John 16:7ff).

He also told them, But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8) And yet again, Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high. (Lk 24:49)

Within days, while they were gathered in prayer, the Holy Spirit descended on them like tongues of fire (See Acts 2:1-4 recounted earlier). The Apostles began to boldly proclaim the gospel from that day on.

Those who believed in the apostolic preaching were baptized. But in addition to baptism these apostles also laid hands on the faithful that they might receive the Holy Spirit. Sometimes this was done at the time of baptism and sometimes it was done later. Consider for example these two texts.

When the Apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. The two went down to these people and prayed that they might receive the Holy Spirit. It had not as yet come down upon them any of them since they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. The pair, upon arriving imposed hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 8:15-19)

This text shows some separation between the time of baptism and the time of confirmation (the “receiving of the Spirit). The text also explains our Catholic tradition of generally reserving the sacrament for the bishop to celebrate since, in the early Church, the Apostles made it part of their mission to impose hands for the outpouring of the Spirit. Phillip the Deacon had performed the baptisms in Samaria but he waited for the apostles to confirm them in the Spirit.

This next text shows the Apostle Paul baptizing. Because he, an apostle is present, there is no delay in confirming the newly baptized in the Spirit

“When they heard this, [Paul’s preaching] they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. As Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came down upon them and they began to speak in tongues and utter prophecies.” (Acts 19:5-6)


Thus we see the Biblical roots of the Sacrament of Confirmation. Jesus promised the Spirit and did in fact send Him on the day of Pentecost. The Apostles understood that they were not to keep this experience to themselves. So, as the catechism teaches, From that time on the apostles, in fulfillment of Christ’s will, imparted to the newly baptized by the laying on of hands the gift of the Spirit that completes the grace of Baptism….The imposition of hands is rightly recognized by the Catholic tradition as the origin of the sacrament of Confirmation, which in a certain way perpetuates the grace of Pentecost in the Church. (CCC # 1288)

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Tiller’s church served as “enabler” of his ghastly work

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Isaiah 3:11 Woe to the wicked unto evil: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.

Probably the most deliberately misused, misunderstood, and misapplied passage in scripture is “Judge not, lest ye  be judged.”

While much of modern society self-servingly presumes that Jesus was telling us NOT to JUDGE at all … what Jesus was actually saying is that every believer is obligated to make prudential judgments about a whole array of choices … 24/7 and 365 … but ONLY after having properly formed their consciences in the light of Christ, and with the help of the authentic teachings of his Church.

After spending a lifetime attempting to live up to that awesome responsibility we will one day, be ultimately and finally judged (to Heaven or to Hell) by Jesus Christ alone. It is ONLY in THIS judgment that we are to have no part, at all.

Except for the most radical and liberal sects of Christianity … which might falsely attempt to teach almost anything in Jesus’ name … authentic Christianity has always maintained that the killing of innocents (in this case, by abortion) is intrinsically evil, and something that God would NEVER sanction, under ANY circumstances.

Tiller’s congregation might have saved his life … and the lives of countless innocents … if someone in charge had decided to have a “face to face” with Tiller, explained the absolute need for his authentic contrition and genuine repentance … and after a reasonable trial period … if Tiller remained unable or unwilling to stop the killing … shown him the door.

Some might say that since abortion is legal, that it cannot be sinful … but they would be wrong … since NO government (or ANYONE, for that matter) has the legal right to take an innocent life. 

The scripture verse that all of us should actually keep in mind at all times is, “Go, and sin no more.” since absent authentic contrition (sorrow for sin) and genuine repentance (turning away from sin) God is (typically) not willing to forgive.

Tiller’s ministers should have explained this to him … over and over again, if necessary … in order to help save both his life and his soul.

The fact that Tiller was a long time member of that church, and was an usher there … tells us that Tiller and his entire congregation had instead made a deal with the devil … becoming complicit in the ongoing deaths of thousands of innocent babies, the abuse of as many women, and eventually in Tiller’s own death, as well.

The “judgment” that took place in that church on Pentecost Sunday may not have been of God, but there’s no doubt that God permitted it … just as he had earlier (on Pentecost, 586 B.C.) permitted the Babylonians to destroy Jerusalem and the first Temple … and as he also permitted the Romans to encircle, invade, and shortly, destroy apostate Israel, along with the second Temple, on Pentecost, 70 A.D. 

The congregation that silently condoned and empowered Tiller’s bloody, scandalous, and murderous work has now also been stained with Tiller’s blood. It will always be so.

In the interest of justice, it’s now time for Tiller’s congregation to take a long look at what they stand for, what they’ve done (and failed to do) and what they now ought to do now, to help make things right with God. There’s also plenty of innocent blood that still needs to be mopped up.     

The real question we need to ask is:  “How does ANY Christian group manage to tolerate within their congregation, the constant presence of a totally unrepentant, long-time, notorious slayer of innocent babies? Why didn’t anyone in authority take the necessary steps that might have put an end to the scandal, or (at least) act to somehow mitigate the killing?

The following statement is signed by The Rev. Lowell Michelson and The Rev. Kristin Neitzel of Wichita’s Reformation Lutheran Church — the church to which abortion provider George Tiller belonged, and where he was killed, last Sunday:

The Reformation Lutheran Church family is shocked and deeply saddened by the violent murder of Dr. George Tiller, a longtime member of our congregation, that occurred in our church home May 31.

Editor’s note: (You ought to be sad. Shame on the lot of you!)

Our congregation strives to be a safe place for all people. We deplore the violence that took place within the walls of our church. Further, we reject any notion that violence against another human being is an acceptable way to resolve differences over any issue. We must always strive to engage in peaceful discussion. Our faith calls us to this. Our humanity demands it.

Editor’s note:(It would have been much nicer if your congregation had helped to make Wichita safe for the infants and women upon whose misery Tiller profited so handsomely. When were you planning to tell Tiller that what he was doing was wrong, and that his actions constituted a grievous sin against God and man? What kind of faith do you call that? Blind faith?)

In the wake of this tragic event, our deepest concern is for the family of George Tiller. We ask the community to join us in prayer for them as they face the difficult days ahead. Our hearts ache with them. We also ask that the family’s privacy be respected.

Editor’s note: (Tiller’s family certainly knew what he did for a living. They all profited handsomely from it, and enjoyed a nice standard of living, as a result. They deserve their privacy … and also a big share of the guilt.) 

Members of Reformation Lutheran Church have been deeply affected by this tragedy. To address their needs, we are assembling a team of crisis intervention specialists.

Editor’s note: (You guys are obviously going to need a lot more help than that. Why not try crying out to God for forgiveness, with prayer and fasting, combined with new leadership, all around?)

In this time of uncertainty, we stand firm in the promises of Jesus Christ: forgiveness, hope, love, and new life, even from death. We pray for healing and peace to be restored. We offer our thanks for the many prayers of support from across the country. Your words of encouragement are a blessing to the people of Reformation Lutheran Church and Wichita.

Editor’s note: (Not uncertainty … apostasy! Jesus promised to separate the sheep from the goats, and to send divine judgment and wrath on the fakes and the evil doers. Quit kidding yourselves, before it’s too late. Tiller the Killer is already dead. No telling who might be next. The time for repentance is NOW!)

Psalm 50:16-22 But to the sinner God hath said: Why dost thou declare my justices, and take my covenant in thy mouth? Seeing thou hast hated discipline: and hast cast my words behind thee. If thou didst see a thief thou didst run with him: and with adulterers thou hast been a partaker. Thy mouth hath abounded with evil, and thy tongue framed deceits. Sitting thou didst speak against thy brother, and didst lay a scandal against thy mother’s son: These things hast thou done, and I was silent. Thou thoughtest unjustly that I should be like to thee: but I will reprove thee, and set before thy face. Understand these things, you that forget God; lest he snatch you away, and there be none to deliver you.

Here’s the Official Lutheran ELCA “Position” on Abortion (from their website):

Abortion (Lutheran view)

 The ELCA Social Statement on Abortion , adopted by the 1991 Churchwide Assembly, acknowledges the issue’s complexity, noting that it “evokes strong and varied convictions about … human life and responsibility, freedom and limits.” The statement also offers useful guidance: “A developing life in the womb does not have an absolute right to be born, nor does a pregnant woman have an absolute right to terminate a pregnancy. The concern for both the life of the woman and the developing life in her womb expresses a common commitment to life.”

A last resort

“The strong Christian presumption is to preserve and protect life,” the statement says. “Abortion ought to be an option only of last resort. Therefore, as a church we seek to reduce the need to turn to abortion. …We also deplore the circumstances that lead a woman to consider abortion as the best option available to her.”

The statement adds: “The church recognizes that there can be sound reasons for ending a pregnancy through induced abortion.” These are the threat to a woman’s physical life; when pregnancy has resulted from rape, incest or sexual violence; and fetal abnormalities incompatible with life.

Basic faith convictions undergird the ELCA statement. Created in God’s image, we see all of life as a mysterious, awesome gift. As a community of forgiven sinners, Christians are free to make just and caring choices. In fact, the statement says, “we have both the freedom and the obligation to engage in serious deliberation on moral matters.” A compassionate community, praying and standing with those in struggle, is called neither to judge nor justify but to support people making difficult moral decisions.

Editors note: (With the “wishy-washy” and “luke-warm” spiritual guidance illustrated here, one can understand how these folks could easily tolerate and quickly rationalize even rampant and notorious evil in their congregation, in their community, in their government, and just about anywhere else. Barack Obama, the ABORTION President, must love these guys! I wonder how long they “deliberated” with Tiller the Killer, before just “giving in”? This is the height of moral apostasy!

The spiritual works of mercy are:

To instruct the ignorant;

To counsel the doubtful;

To admonish sinners;

To bear wrongs patiently;

To forgive offences willingly;

To comfort the afflicted;

To pray for the living and the dead.

So be it. May God have mercy on us all.)

How Well Do You Know the Holy Spirit Spirit – the Spirit of Truth?

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The Holy Spirit is one of three distinct Persons that make up the one eternal God. Each person of the three is God, yet they exist together in a form we describe as the Holy Trinity. (CCC 685 i.e. Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Regardless of which divine person (or persons) may appear to be working at any given time or during any given event, the three persons of the Trinity always act together, eternally united in a mysterious and very special way. (CCC 266)

It may help to think of God the Father as the sovereign architect of all that is seen and unseen; of God the Son as the literal and personal, eternally begotten expression of God’s infinite love and justice. You might think of God the Holy Spirit as the expression of the infinite love which the Father has for the Son, and the Son for the Father … full of divine power, wisdom and glory.

There’s a great mystery here and much we can’t understand. Study the Bible and Catechism for the next 50 years or so and you might begin to appreciate the awesome nature and workings of the Holy Trinity. For now, I suggest you accept it on faith.

Saint Thomas Aquinas explained that each person of the Trinity is of one and the same eternal, uncreated, godly “essence” … so each is indeed the one, true God. If you’re comfortable with third grade mathematics, the Holy Trinity can also be handily described by the following equation: 1 x 1 x 1 = 1.

More of What We Know About The Spirit of Truth

We know the Holy Spirit as the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. (CCC 246)

He is the “Mighty Wind” who swept across the waters of the young earth and the “Breath of Life” who introduced Adam to his soul. (Genesis 1:2 and Genesis 2:7)

He guided pairs of every creature into Noah’s Ark and later, He personally opened the fountains of the great deep and the loosed the floodgates of heaven. (Genesis 7: 9 – 11)

He is the fiery Destroyer of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 19:24)

He is the One who quickened the infertile womb of Sarah, granting faithful Abraham a beloved son. (Genesis 18:14)

It is the Holy Spirit who hardened the heart of Pharaoh and who led the Israelites out of Egypt. He is the “Pillar of Cloud” and “Pillar of Fire” who protected His people in the desert and showed them the way. (Exodus 10:1 and Exodus 13:22)

The Holy Spirit is the strong “Burning Wind” who parted the Red Sea. (Exodus 14:21) He is the “Finger of God” who rendered the Ten Commandments in stone. (Exodus 31:18)

It was He who stopped up the River Jordan so His people could pass over on dry ground (Joshua 3:17) and it was He who caused the walls of Jericho to crumble. (Joshua 6:20)

The Holy Spirit guided the smooth, solitary stone that was launched by David’s sling, defeating Goliath, the hulking beast and mortal enemy of Israel. (1st Samuel 17:49)

He has spoken through the Prophets (and inspired all the writers of the Bible). The Holy Spirit is also the source of all authentic Old Covenant and New Covenant sacred Tradition.

To save His prophet Daniel, he sent an angel to shut the mouths of hungry lions. (Daniel 6:22)

With the consent of the Virgin Mary, He conceived the baby Jesus in her womb. (Luke 1:26)

He is the power behind every miracle. (Exodus 9:16, 2nd Kings 17:36, Psalms 77:14, Psalms 105:27, Isaiah 22:21, Jeremiah 16:21, Daniel 4:3, Matthew 9:2, Mark 1:27, Luke 1:35, Luke 4:14, Luke 4:36, Luke 5:17, Luke 9:44, Luke 10:19, Luke 24:49, John 1:12, John 17:2, Acts 1:8, Acts 4:33, Acts 10:38, Romans 1:3, Romans 9:17, Romans 13:1, Romans 15:13, Romans 15:19, 1st Corinthians 6:14, 2nd Corinthians 3:14, 1st Thessalonians 1:5, 1st Peter 4:14, 2nd Peter 1:3)

He dwelled within the Tabernacle in the desert (Exodus 33:9) and in the Holy of Holies on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. (1st Kings 8:10) Today, He sanctifies our Church (John 14:16) and dwells within every baptized, faithful and repentant Christian. (2nd Corinthians 6:16)

The Holy Spirit descended like a dove on the baptized Jesus (Matthew 3:16) and it was through the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus, fully man and fully God, perfectly accomplished His divine mission.

Acts 10:38 Jesus of Nazareth: how God anointed him with the Holy Ghost and with power, who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.

It is the Holy Spirit who darkened the sky and shook the earth on Good Friday (Matthew 27:45-51) rending the veil in the Temple from top to bottom, leaving it desolate, and 3 days hence, along with the Father and the Son, restored and glorified Jesus’ broken and crucified mortal body, raising him up, never to die again. (Romans 8:11)

On Pentecost, visible as tongues of fire and audible as wind and thunder, He anointed Mary and the Apostles (and on all those gathered together with them), and presided at the birth of the Holy Catholic Church. (Acts 2:1)

He remains the Paraclete (advocate) and Spirit of Truth who guides the Church throughout history, protecting it from doctrinal error. (John 14:16)

At Baptism, the Holy Spirit sweeps sin from our soul and takes up residence there, indelibly marking us as adopted children of God, members of the Church, citizens of Heaven, and co-heirs with Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 4:30, Galatians 4:7)

At Mass, it is the Holy Spirit who transforms ordinary bread and wine into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. (CCC 1375)

Through the other Sacraments, particularly Confirmation and Holy Orders, that same Spirit scribes additional marks, imparts special graces, and bestows unique spiritual gifts. (CCC 1317, CCC 1121, CCC 800)

Just before our Savior returns, the Holy Spirit will speak through God’s elect, revealing the “Man of Sin” (Antichrist, false-christ, the Beast) to all those with “eyes to see” and “ears to hear”. (2nd Thessalonians 2:3)

It is the Holy Spirit, who will, at the end of the age, transform our mortal bodies into glory and renovate the earth with holy fire, making all things new again. (2nd Peter 3:7 -12, Revelation 21:1)

We know all this and more about the Holy Spirit because it was revealed; first, by Jesus Christ, and later by the Spirit himself, working through the Apostles and their ordained successors; the Bishops of the Holy Catholic Church.

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Pentecost is the day the Catholic Church officially replaced the old Law in the “economy” of salvation

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Our understanding of the Holy Spirit is limited by our finite human minds and by the revelation of God, but our faith teaches clearly that the Holy Spirit is God, the third person of the Holy Trinity, that He proceeds from the Father and the Son, and that He accomplishes His (God’s) will anywhere and at any time, with power and authority that is so awesome, no one and no thing can withstand it.

The early Hebrews understood that God “spoke” all things into existence, as if the Holy Spirit proceeded from the “mouth” of God, accomplishing whatever His supernatural intellect would conceive.  It should be no surprise then, that our first earthly biblical encounter with the Spirit’s power speaks of a mighty wind, “The Breath of God” which formed the young Earth and, among other things, gave life to Adam’s human form.

In the Old Testament Book of Exodus we are treated to a magnificent display of God’s power in the form of a “Pillar of Cloud” by day and a “Pillar of Fire” by night, which was said to “never fail” leading the Israelites out of Egypt, protecting and nurturing the Holy Nation all the way to the Promised Land.

While this “Glory Cloud” figures most prominently and is most clearly and explicitly described during the forty-year period the Israelites spent “Moseying around” (my characterization) in the desert, it is by no means the only time God made use of this extraordinary, supernatural phenomenon to manifest His power and glory in our temporal existence.

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Why do people blaspheme the Roman Catholic Church, when it is the only path to salvation?

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Q: Why do people blaspheme the Roman Catholic Church, when it is the only path to salvation?
                                          
A: You’re certainly right about the blasphemy. The Catholic Church was born of the Holy Spirit on the first Christian Pentecost. Of that there is no doubt.

Anyone who knowingly and intentionally ascribes the work of the Holy Spirit to the devil is truly blasphemous. And that may well be blasphemy of the worst kind … the unforgivable sin.

The Catholic Church is the only Church that Jesus ever founded, authorized, constituted, empowered, and eternally guaranteed. Jesus did all that personally, while he still walked the earth, and he never did anything even remotely similar for any other person or group.

Anyone whom God might choose to “save” will be saved by the application of the grace that Jesus Christ obtained for us on the cross … grace that he has already entrusted to the Catholic Church, for the purpose of our salvation.

God is sovereign, and he can save anyone for any reason, with no qualifications at all, if he cares to. But anyone who gets invited into heaven, no matter what their religion, will first be purified and transformed by the grace of Christ, and somehow, the Catholic Church, the universal sacrament of salvation, will remain an absolutely essential part of that mysterious process.

So … you are absolutely right in all that you say.