Today’s question: What biblical thoughts or Scriptures bring you great peace?

Today’s question: What biblical thoughts or Scriptures bring you great peace?

Answer: Knowing and loving God is what leads to peace and joy, beyond all understanding, which is eternal salvation, in Jesus Christ. That is the ongoing mission of the holy Church and the Lord’s enduring promise to its’ members.

Philippians 4:4-9 Rejoice in the Lord always: again, I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men.

The Lord is nigh.

Be nothing solicitous: but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline: think on these things. The things which you have both learned and received and heard and seen in me, these do ye: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Asked and answered today on Yahoo! Answers. Edited for clarity and content.

An interesting piece about the Nephilim, Noah’s flood and evil spirits who still wander the world, seeking the ruin of souls

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The belief in the Nephilim is rooted in the Hebrew Scripture, in the Book of Genesis. Genesis 6:4: There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

St. Clement of Rome was a disciple of the Apostle St. Peter. He also succeeded Peter as Bishop of Rome (Pope). Clement first century writings record a teaching of the Apostle Peter about these creatures in context of the Fallen Angels. Fr. Jack Ashcraft in his booklet: “Fallen Angels And Nephilim” includes this:

So what is a “mystery”? It is something that can be experienced even if it cannot be explained.

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This is one of the first steps of faith–to trace in your life and in the ways of the world the mysterious way God works. He does not work according to our plans and our sensible ways of organizing everything. He is always busy under the radar and behind the scenes doing his work. Faith is being able to see what is going on and how he works in his strange and mysterious way.

Read more

Understanding the how’s and why’s of the need for our salvation in Christ is essential to our understanding of the truths of the Catholic faith

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by Doug Lawrence

For why did Christ, when as yet we were weak, according to the time, die for the ungodly? For scarce for a just man will one die: yet perhaps for a good man some one would dare to die. But God commendeth his charity (love) towards us: because when as yet we were sinners according to the time. Christ died for us.

Much more therefore, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son: much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. (Romans 5:6-10)

Life is a winner-take-all contest,
with one of only two possible outcomes:
Heaven or Hell.

Thanks to the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary, we get to freely choose sides. But it is also one of those “negative default” situations. Do nothing and you lose big –
and you may lose, forever!

That’s because – very early in man’s history – due to the deliberate, grave sin of our first parents, who pridefully teamed up with Satan the Devil, against God – the first man traded away his birthright and freedom for a lie – and all of mankind (even children and little babies) became hopelessly and permanently enslaved to Satan, sin and death.

Adam and Eve in the Garden by Michelangelo

How can that be? Children of slaves are born into slavery and so are themselves slaves, with only their slavery and Adam’s Original Sin for their inheritance. The Evil One had long ago, successfully usurped virtually everything else!

Hence, every child born of Adam, the first man – and all the children of his descendants – are born tainted by sin, and already, in a very real way, “pledged” to Satan the Devil and subject to his evil dominion of sin, death and Hell.

Without God’s powerful, awesomely creative, loving, merciful, and very timely intervention, things would have remained that way forever – dooming every human being – body and soul – to a decrepit, temporal earthly existence, followed by death – and then an eternity of supernatural bondage and unimaginable suffering, in Hell.

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In the fullness of time, God sent his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, into the world, to redeem us. Incarnate of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus is a perfect and sinless man, in no way subject
to Satan, sin or death.

Having taken on human flesh, as well as a human soul,
Jesus Christ is true man. Yet Jesus never ceased to be God. 

Satan has power only over sinners.
so he had no power or authority at all
over Our Holy Lord, Jesus Christ.
(John 14:27-30)

Even though he had been warned (see Genesis 3:15) Satan plotted to do his worst, enlisting his minions to put Jesus on trial and wrongfully convict him of blasphemy and sedition, leading shortly to Jesus’ crucifixion and death, which was followed three days hence by his glorious and totally unprecedented resurrection from the dead – proving that Jesus is God, just as he claimed – and that he does indeed have power over Satan, death and Hell.

God permitted all of this, as part of his plan for our salvation:

Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him, in the midst of you, as you also know: This same being delivered up, by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you by the hands of wicked men have crucified and slain. Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the sorrows of hell, as it was impossible that he should be holden by it. (Acts 2:22-24)

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As Satan had absolutely no right to disturb so much as a hair on Jesus’ head, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ became Satan’s ultimate undoing. Satan’s earthly power and dominion was destroyed and virtually all that Satan had earlier gained by Adam’s Fall was forfeit.

Today, Satan is still permitted to wander the earth, but is allowed to recruit “fresh” minions only by default (Original Sin and concupiscence, along with the deliberate and willful rejection of the Gospel) and through the vain deceits of the world and the flesh (this should be self-explanatory). But thanks to the saving work of Jesus Christ, Satan’s time of virtually unrestrained power and near total dominion has long been officially over!

For our part, Jesus’ flawless obedience to his Father’s will – as a man – even unto death on the cross – served as the perfect atoning sacrifice for the disobedience, pride and sins of all mankind.

Through Jesus Christ, God the Father supplied what fallen mankind could not (Genesis 22:8) in order to reconcile Heaven and Earth and declare the Divine Peace.

The risen Christ also became the official new and sinless head of all mankind – offering grace, peace, reconciliation and eternal life to all who would reject Satan and his works – and swear faithful allegiance to the Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

This would typically be accomplished through the Sacrament of Baptism, which would also entail, among many other good things, full and faithful membership in the universal (Catholic) Church, which Jesus personally founded, for the purpose of our salvation –  and for the salvation of future generations, yet to come.

A word about sacraments:

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Sacraments are defined as Christ-instituted, outward signs of a certain spiritual reality: divine grace being infused directly into a human soul. Since each of the sacraments was personally instituted by Jesus Christ, each sacrament constitutes nothing less than an intimate, personal encounter with Almighty God.

For those seeking a “relationship” with God – this is the ultimate and absolute best way to do it – personally recommended by none other than our Holy Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

There are seven sacraments – each intended to provide whatever is spiritually necessary for every faithful Catholic, at various stages of human existence. In no particular order, they are: (1) Baptism, (2) Reconciliation, (3) Holy Eucharist, (4) Confirmation, (5) Holy Orders, (6) Matrimony and (7) Anointing of the Sick.

These grace-giving sacraments are administered by the Catholic Church, which is the God-designated, primary earthly ministry of his divine grace – primarily through the work of duly ordained bishops and priests – the men who constitute the ranks of the Catholic Ministerial Priesthood.

The only exception to this is the sacrament of baptism, which can be administered by just about anyone, with due concern for proper form, matter and intention, of course.

A word about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:

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The Holy Mass makes present for us, in this time and this age, the one time, once for all, perfect and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, at Calvary.

When Jesus Christ – body, blood, soul and divinity – under the appearance of ordinary bread and wine – becomes truly present for us on the altar – we are wonderfully empowered to collectively and personally offer Jesus up to God the Father – for our sins and the sins of the whole world.

Presented with this totally acceptable, holy and spotless sacrifice, Our Father in Heaven is always pleased, so he responds in love, and all graces flow.

Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of all Catholic worship – and the Holy Mass – centered on Jesus Christ – acts to constantly replenish the “well” of supernatural grace – obtained for us by the sufferings of Christ –  which is regularly poured out on behalf of sinners – much as Jesus’ precious blood was poured out for many, some twenty centuries ago, so that sins could be forgiven and the world might be redeemed and reconciled.

The next time you’re at Mass, pay particular attention the words leading up to the “Great Amen”. That’s the “sweet spot”. Of course, personally receiving Jesus Christ, in the Holy Eucharist, is also pretty sweet!

Fulfilling an ancient Bible prophecy:

For most of the last two thousand years, a Holy Mass has been celebrated for the glory of God and for the salvation of souls, in many nations, all around the world – every hour of every day – every day of every year – 24/7 & 365.

For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a perfect offering: for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 1:11)

Jesus IS the perfect and eternal sacrifice for the sins of the world. Wherever Jesus is, his atoning sacrifice is also truly present. That’s why we can truly say that the Holy Mass IS a genuine sacrifice – with Jesus Christ presiding as  perfect victim, High Priest, Savior, God and King.

If we Catholics attempted to worship God in any other way, offering a sacrifice other than Jesus Christ, our Holy Redeemer – we would probably be wasting our time – and his!  That’s why Catholics remain obligated to attend Holy Mass every Sunday – and on designated Holy Days. 

Saint Paul reminds us, in the words of Jesus Christ, that God’s grace is sufficient:

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.  (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

Saint Paul also reminds us:

Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:18-21)

Forty Days after his glorious resurrection from the dead, Jesus ascended back to Heaven, where he was enthroned – body and spirit – at the right hand of God the Father – as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (1 Tim 6:15, Rev 17:14, Rev 19:16)

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Doing so, Jesus made permanent and eternal all that he had accomplished for us during his earthly existence. There was no going back, nor could there ever be any chance of another human Fall From Grace! The battle between good and evil had been definitively won by Jesus Christ – and it was all over, except for the fighting!

O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory? The sting of death [is] sin; and the strength of sin [is] the law. But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:55-58)

By divine mandate and through his supernatural protection, Jesus empowered his Holy Church to remain behind on earth – supernaturally preserved from destruction – serving as his primary channel of divine grace – for us – and for all the souls yet to be born.

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  (Matthew 16:18-19)

Grace is a totally gratuitous (absolutely free) gift from Almighty God – a share in his own divine life – obtained for us by Jesus Christ, on the cross at Calvary, at great personal cost – yet offered to us freely, in the spirit of love and eternal friendship, so that we might choose to cast off the shackles of eternal death and claim our rightful inheritance with God in Heaven, as adopted sons and daughters.

As a result of all this, Christians are justified before God (credited with righteousness – see Genesis 15:3-6) through faith in Jesus Christ.

Faith itself is a positive response to God’s grace and his call. (John 6:44)

Sanctification (becoming holy) is also a critical function of God’s grace – since God is holy and no one/nothing less than holy can live up to Heavenly standards. (Leviticus 11:45)

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The primary manifestation of our willing acceptance of God’s grace and our voluntary cooperation with his will is the Cardinal Virtue known as Faith, which is typically accompanied by two other Cardinal Virtues: Hope And Charity (Love).

Once a Christian is initially justified and sanctified before God through grace and Faith, the order of priority typically reverses – with Charity moving to the front – leaving  Hope solidly in the middle, and Faith acting as a  bulwark, keeping everything rightly ordered, balanced and in its’ proper place.

For baptized, faithful Christians, it works pretty much like this:

Love God. Love your neighbor. This is Practical Charity.

Love works no ill to his neighbor:
therefore love [is] the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:10)

Responding to God’s grace, through Love
we keep all God’s Commandments.

Giving freely of ourselves in Faith,
while constantly striving to cooperate with his grace,
we Hope to merit eternal life. 

All should take note

… without faith [it is] impossible to please God: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.  (Hebrews 11:6)

Hebrews 11:1-40 is probably the greatest litany of faith ever written. Look it up and read it for yourself.

A constant teaching of the Catholic Church, from the earliest days, is: Outside the Church There Is No Salvation. That’s because full, faithful and active membership in the Catholic Church is the divinely-designated, Christ-instituted, “ordinary” means of obtaining  the necessary measure of God’s saving grace, for all those alive here on earth.

When God gives us a gift, he expects us to use it, in the spirit in which it was given. Jesus Christ instituted the Catholic Church for the purpose of our salvation – for the care of souls – for the common good of all mankind – for teaching, sanctifying and rightly governing –
with power and authority – in his holy name.

Jesus never founded or authorized any other church! To the contrary:

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gave to me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
(John 17:21-23)

A synthesis of all damnable heresies:

According to the personal opinions of many of today’s highly placed religious leaders and politicians, as well as a fair number of “regular” Catholics and even some Catholic clerics  – God is love and love conquers all – so there’s no need to worry about Jesus, church, grace, truth, commandments, life, death, Heaven or Hell, one’s personal religious beliefs/affiliation – or much of anything else.

“Just BE nice,” they say!

To the contrary,
in accordance with settled Catholic dogma (and common sense)
salvation by any other means,
other than a lifetime of full, faithful, active membership
in the Catholic Church – the only Church that Jesus Christ
ever personally founded, authorized,
supernaturally empowered and eternally guaranteed –
is likely to require a great miracle.

And miracles continue to be very, very rare!

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The sacred scriptures rightly remind us:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  (John 3:16-18)

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)

But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.  (Hebrews 11:6)

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, [even] by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.  (Acts 4:10-12)

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Of course, God is sovereign, merciful,
loving, all-knowing  and all-powerful,
so he might decide to save anyone – of any faith – or no faith at all –
for any reason – or for no reason at all!

In such an event, salvation would still be obtained
only by the divine application of that saving grace
which was obtained for us by Jesus Christ,
on the cross, at Calvary.

So it is possible that non-Catholics, non-Christians, and virtually anyone might be saved – but is that likely?

  Let’s focus on the definition of the word “might”:

might 2  (mt)

aux.v. Past tense of may

1.

a. Used to indicate a condition or state contrary to fact: She might help if she knew the truth.
b. Used to indicate a possibility or probability that is weaker than may: We might discover a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
2. Used to express possibility or probability or permission in the past: She told him yesterday he might not go on the trip.
3. Used to express a higher degree of deference or politeness than may, ought, or should: Might I express my opinion?

The Bottom Line

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There is no substitute for a lifetime
of fervent prayer and practical religious study
combined with full, faithful and regular participation
in all of the work, worship, sacraments and devotions
of the Catholic Church. 

Please share this Thanksgiving message of grace and salvation
with your friends and family.

A short but comprehensive review of the Catholic Faith (PDF)

Further study

One of the recurring misconceptions that other Christian sects have about Catholicism is that the Catholic Mass is not biblical and Catholics do not read the Bible.

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Let’s take the Mass, for instance. Scott Hahn, a world-renowned Catholic theologian converted from evangelical Calvinism, surreptitiously attended a Catholic Mass in Wisconsin in the early 1980s before his conversion. Bible in hand, he began to follow this “strange” liturgy in an attempt to take notes and return to his students to show how the Catholic Mass was the ultimate sacrilege.

Long story short, Hahn states that “something hit me.” He realized that the words on the liturgy of the Mass were coming from the open Bible beside him. A line from Isaiah, another from Paul, another from a psalm.

Hahn learned later that during the Liturgy of the Word, Catholics, over a three-year period, hear the Scriptures proclaimed from the Old and New Testaments and the four Gospels. Furthermore, Hahn points out, during the Eucharistic Liturgy part of the Mass, the believer is drawn not only into the Last Supper but also into the glorious New Heavenly Jerusalem of the Book of Revelation with all its hymns and praises.

Read more

People continue to attempt to privately interpret the scriptures, in spite of the biblical warning to the contrary

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2 Peter 1:16-21 For we have not by following artificial fables made known to you the power and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ: but we were eyewitnesses of his greatness. (17) For he received from God the Father honor and glory, this voice coming down to him from the excellent glory: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye him.

(18) And this voice, we heard brought from heaven, when we were with him in the holy mount. (19) And we have the more firm prophetical word: whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts.

(20) Understanding this first: That no prophecy of scripture is made by private interpretation. (21) For prophecy came not by the will of man at any time: but the holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy Ghost.

Topic: What Was St. Paul Actually Calling “Doctrines of Demons?”

In A Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture, the 1953 classic for Scripture study, Fr. R.J. Foster gives us crucial insight into what St. Paul was writing about in I Timothy 4:

[B]ehind these prohibitions there may lie the dualistic principles which were already apparent in Asia Minor when this epistle was written and which were part of the Gnostic heresy.

Evidently, St. Paul was writing against what might be termed the founding fathers of the Gnostic movement that split away from the Church in the first century and would last over 1,000 years, forming many different sects and taking many different forms.

Read more from Tim Staples at Catholic Answers

Following the User’s Manual: The Catechism of the Catholic Church

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Seen on Bishop Robert Vasa’s blog

The global Church is the primary instrument for the promotion of the message and teachings of Christ.  As such, Catholics are called to believe that the message of Jesus is truly “good news” in every sense – good for humankind, both spiritually and temporally.   As bishop, I can speak from confidence and strength in ensuring that those Catholic teachings are taught and consistently presented throughout the entire diocese.

To that end, I seek to employ a strong catechetical model — one that starts with getting to know the faith.  One of my favorite books is the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Through the years I have gone through it several times, and each time I highlight different aspects,  different quotes.   Sometimes I scribble in the margins, as different things strike me at different times.  In my view, it is critical for our Catholic faith to remain in tune and in touch with this particular book which is fully consistent with the Scriptures, fully consistent with the Church traditions, fully consistent with Church practice with respect to the liturgy.

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Resurrecting an old heresy: Does Pope Francis know what the word “pelagian” actually means?

The doing of “charitable deeds” for the Pope remain the only path to God, even if “in the history of the Church there have been many mistakes along the way” on the one hand the error of those who have relied on meditation to “go higher” – “How many lose themselves along the way and never arrive”, said Francesco; on the other hand there are those who believe that to arrive to God one must be “humble, austere”, choosing the path of “penitence” and  “fasting” only.  They are the pelagians, who believe that with their strength they will get there”.  – Pope Francis

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Editor’s note from the Catholic Enclopedia:

Pursuant to the papal command, there was held on 1 May, 418, in the presence of 200 bishops, the famous Council of Carthage, which again branded Pelagianism as a heresy in eight (or nine) canons (Denzinger, “Enchir.”, 10th ed., 1908, 101-8). Owing to their importance they may be summarized:

Death did not come to Adam from a physical necessity, but through sin.

New-born children must be baptized on account of original sin.

Justifying grace not only avails for the forgiveness of past sins, but also gives assistance for the avoidance of future sins.

The grace of Christ not only discloses the knowledge of God’s commandments, but also imparts strength to will and execute them.

Without God’s grace it is not merely more difficult, but absolutely impossible to perform good works.

Not out of humility, but in truth must we confess ourselves to be sinners.

The saints refer the petition of the Our Father, “Forgive us our trespasses”, not only to others, but also to themselves.

The saints pronounce the same supplication not from mere humility, but from truthfulness.

Some codices containing a ninth canon (Denzinger, loc. cit., note 3): Children dying without baptism do not go to a “middle place” (medius locus), since the non reception of baptism excludes both from the “kingdom of heaven” and from “eternal life”.

These clearly worded canons, which (except the last-named) afterwards came to be articles of faith binding on the universal Church, gave the death blow to Pelagianism; sooner or later it would bleed to death.

Saint Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:4-12: Now there are diversities of graces, but the same Spirit. (5) And there are diversities of ministries. but the same Lord. (6) And there are diversities of operations, but the same God, who worketh all in all. (7) And the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man unto profit. (8) To one indeed, by the Spirit, is given the word of wisdom: and to another, the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit: (9) To another, faith in the same spirit: to another, the grace of healing in one Spirit: (10) To another the working of miracles: to another, prophecy: to another, the discerning of spirits: to another, diverse kinds of tongues: to another, interpretation of speeches. (11) But all these things, one and the same Spirit worketh, dividing to every one according as he will. (12) For as the body is one and hath many members; and all the members of the body, whereas they are many, yet are one body: So also is Christ.

Pope Francis: “The sacred Scriptures are a written testimony to (Jesus Christ) the divine Word, which came before the Bible and exceeds it.”

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“The texts inspired by God were entrusted to the community of believers, the church of Christ, to increase the faith and guide the life of charity,” he said. It is only with the assistance of the Holy Spirit and with full respect for the tradition and teaching of the church that the Scriptures’ true meaning can be understood.

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The writings of ecumenical theologians often suffer from “significant silence” on key points of Catholic doctrine that interfere with their ecumenical designs.

• Outside the Church there is no salvation: The Council of Florence teaches infallibly “The Most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews, heretics, and schismatic can ever be partakers of eternal life, but that they are to go into the eternal fire ‘which was prepared for the devil and his angels,’ (Mt. 25:41) unless before death they are joined with Her…” [29];

This doctrine has been infallibly defined three times and taught continually throughout the centuries by the ordinary magisterium, such as the repeated papal condemnations of religious indifferentism in the 19th Century, and by Pius XII’s Humani Generis. There is nothing cruel or “anti-semitic” about this dogma, as it has been taught by the Church since the time of Christ and flows from the words of Our Lord Himself: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.” (Mark 16:16).

• Catholic Doctrine Cannot Change: It is the very nature of reality itself that objective truth cannot change. Thus what the Council of Florence defined is infallibly true for all time. Even a Pope cannot alter it. [30] And Vatican II, which is only a pastoral Council that formally defined nothing, cannot change doctrine at all. [31] Further, Vatican I formally stamped out any idea of an “evolution of doctrine” when it taught that we are bound to believe Catholic doctrine “in the same meaning and in the same explanation” of what the Church always taught without change. Vatican I further taught infallibly, “The meaning of Sacred Dogmas, which must always be preserved, is that which our Holy Mother the Church has determined. Never is it permissible to depart from this in the name of a deeper understanding.” [32]

• The Old Covenant is Superseded by the New: Thus one can no longer speak of Jews as having their own covenant with God, or exercising some sort of fidelity in light of the fact of their once-held status as the Chosen People. [33]

The eminent theologian Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton explains the perennial Catholic teaching on this matter that the word “Church” has one meaning. It is the Kingdom of God on earth; the people of the Divine Covenant, the true Israel of God, the one social unit outside of which salvation cannot be found. Prior to the coming of Christ, this ecclesia, this people of the Divine Covenant had been the people of Israel. But when they rejected Our Lord Jesus Christ, they lost their status as the true Israel of God. Modern-day Jews cannot truly be considered sons of Abraham, since they have forsaken the Faith of Abraham in regard to Jesus Christ our Redeemer. [34]

Thus, to speak as if today’s Jews have no need to convert is contrary to Scripture, contrary to the infallible Catholic doctrine of the centuries, and a supreme lack of charity. Jews, as well as all non-Catholics, need to be told in Christ-like charity, and with no bitterness, that it is crucial for them to accept Christ and His Catholic Church as the one and only means established by God for salvation.

In doing this, one can readily adopt the gentle wording of the moral theologian Father Francis Connell who said in 1944 that Catholics need to be instructed to tell non-Catholics when asked that “we consider them deprived of the ordinary means of salvation, no matter how excellent their intentions.” [35]

• The Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms: Our Catholic Faith has always taught that all of mankind is divided into two Kingdoms. As Leo XIII teaches in Humanum Genus, from the time of Adam, mankind “separated into two diverse and opposite parts,” the one that holds steadfastly for truth, and the other of those that are contrary to virtue and to truth. “The one is the kingdom of God on earth, namely, the true Church of Jesus Christ; and those who desire from their heart to be united with it, so as to gain salvation … The other is the kingdom of Satan, in whose possession and control are all whosoever follow the fatal example of their leader and of our first parents, those who refuse to obey the divine and eternal law…” [36]

Every man on earth is part of one of these two kingdoms.
There is no third alternative.

Unfortunately – speaking in the objective order — all who are separated from the Church are part of the Kingdom of Satan, whether they recognize it or not. They are outside the reality of sanctifying grace, and membership in our Lord’s ecclesia.

Msgr. Fenton explains, “In rejecting the Redeemer Himself, the social unit [the old Jewish religious commonwealth] had automatically rejected the teaching God had given about Him. The rejection of this message constituted an abandonment of the Divine Faith itself. By manifesting this rejecting of the faith, the Jewish religious unit fell from its position as the company of the chosen people. It was no longer God’s ecclesia, His supernatural kingdom on earth. It became part of the kingdom of Satan.” [37]

Fenton continues, “At the moment of Our Lord’s death on Calvary, the moment when the old dispensation was ended and the Jewish religious association ceased to be the supernatural kingdom of God on earth, this recently organized society of Our Lord’s disciples began to be the supernatural Kingdom of God on earth, this recently organized society of Our Lord’s disciples began to exist as the ecclesia, or the kingdom.” [38]

Pretending modern-day Jews enjoy some of third alternative of fidelity to God is a rupture with the teaching of the Sacred Scripture and with Catholic doctrine of all time. The true doctrine of the Catholic Church throughout the centuries cannot be denounced as being somehow cruel or “anti-Semitic”, for to accuse God and His beautiful Divine Revelation as cruel is a manifestation of blasphemy.

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Book provides good insights into the true role of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

ladyrosary

Below are excerpts from the first chapter of the book Meet Mary: Getting to Know the Mother of God, by Dr. Mark Miravalle, professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Thanks to Sophia Institute Press for permitting me to reprint the excerpts in this column. Click here to order a copy of the book in paperback or in electronic format.

Mary in the New Testament

In the pages of the New Testament, we have the oldest historical record of Mary’s life. Almost all that we know of her earthly existence we know from the four Gospels, which were written sometime between 50 and 100 AD, along with the oral tradition passed on by the first Christians.

We know she was raised in Galilee, one of the most remote corners of one of the most remote provinces of the ancient Roman Empire. We know that when she came along in approximately 14 BC, Israel was governed by Herod, a sadistic and power-hungry king who ruled at the pleasure of the emperor in Rome. A representative of that emperor, the governor, also sat in Jerusalem, supervising the soldiers, keeping an eye on Herod, and putting down the periodic rebellions that sprang up among the Jewish people.

We also know that Mary was Jewish, a member of a people that had been persecuted, enslaved, exiled, and oppressed for thousands of years, yet who continued to worship the God of its ancestors and to reject the polytheism of its oppressors. We know that she married a carpenter named Joseph, gave birth to a son named Jesus, watched her son become a man, and later watched him die on a cross.

The most detailed written information we have on Mary’s early life and relationship with her son comes from the Gospel of Luke.

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The Bible – effectively summarized in a single page of text – by Monsignor Charles Pope

BibleInspired

What then is the plot of sacred scripture? Simply this:

Exposition – God created Man as an act of love and made him to live in union with his God. In the beginning Adam and Eve accepted this love and experienced a garden paradise. The heart of their happiness was to know the Lord and walk with Him in a loving and trusting relationship.

Conflict – But man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his creator die in his heart and he willfully rejected the God who given him everything by listening to an evil tempter who had given him nothing. Adam rebelled against God and refused to be under his loving authority and care. This led to a complete unraveling of everything. Paradise vanished, Adam and Eve experienced a deep and personal disintegration of their inmost being.

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Time to properly inform your conscience – The Catholic Church and Homosexuality.

A summary of Catholic teaching on this very timely matter – with citations – from the earliest days of the church – right up until today.

Read it 

Thanks to Ann Barnhardt for the tip – and an excellent, related article on her own site.

The seven traditional qualities of a resurrected body

Here we will allow our source to be the Summa of St. Thomas. You can click on each quality (in blue) to read more a the NewAdvent Summa online.

1. Identity – What this means essentially is that the very same body that falls in death will rise to be glorified. We cannot claim that we will get a different body, but rather, that our current body will rise and be glorified. St. Thomas says, For we cannot call it resurrection unless the soul return to the same body, since resurrection is a second rising, and the same thing rises that falls: wherefore resurrection regards the body which after death falls rather than the soul which after death lives. And consequently if it be not the same body which the soul resumes, it will not be a resurrection, but rather the assuming of a new body (Supl, Q 79.1).

This does not mean that the body will necessarily be identical in every way. As St. Paul says above, are current bodies are like the seed. And just as a seed does not have all the qualities of the mature plant, but does have all these qualities in seed form. So too our body is linked to our resurrected body causally and essentially though not all the qualities of the resurrected body are currently operative. Again, the Summa states: A comparison does not apply to every particular, but to some. For in the sowing of grain, the grain sown and the grain that is born thereof are neither identical, nor of the same condition, since it was first sown without a husk, yet is born with one: and the body will rise againidentically the same, but of a different condition, since it was mortal and will risein immortality. (Ibid).

Scripture attests that the same body that dies will also rise. Job said, And after my flesh has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another (Job 19:26-27). And to the Apostles, shocked at his resurrection Jesus said, Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have (Luke 24:39).

Hence the same body rises and so there is continuity. But there is also development and a shining forth of a new glory and capabilities that our bodies do not currently enjoy.

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Book Review: The Privilege of Being a Woman by Alice von Hildebrand

In the arguments for the privilege of being a woman Dr. von Hildebrand claims that “in order to understand the greatness of a women’s mission, we must open our minds and hearts to the message of the supernatural.” In other words, we must understand the role of Mary’s humility and the Incarnation. With Mary’s humble assent to be the Mother of God, she rose above all. Clearly, this flies in the face of today’s culture and its infatuation with feminism. And while she emphasizes a variety of evidence supporting all of women’s privileges, she is careful to point out that in a woman’s weaknesses there is risk of using her “sensitivity, receptiveness and beauty” to fall into sins of “emotionalism, illusions and self-centeredness.”

Dr. von Hildebrand’s thesis? Women must be wrapped in the humility of the Incarnation to be effectively female. Women cannot be men – no matter how hard they try! The understanding of woman’s place in creation and God’s work is crucial in disproving the credo of feminism. St. Teresa of Avila writes that “more women than men receive extraordinary graces, that they are more receptive to God’s voice and particularly capable of heroic donation when their heart is purified.” Is virginity important? Indeed it is. And maternity raises women above men in their ability to nourish and maintain a soul and body within herself. Our Blessed Mother nourished the body of Christ with great humility and followed him to the cross – her gift given freely.

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As a number which indicates completeness, the number three always identifies some important event in Salvation History.

In the symbolic language of the Bible, a three day period points to an act of divine intervention which impacts Salvation History.

Genesis 22:4 records that Abraham’s journey to Mt. Moriah to offer his son in sacrifice, as commanded by Yahweh, was a three day journey.

In the Matthew passage Jesus refers to three days, applying the significance of the three day period to His resurrection and man’s redemption.

In the Gospels Jesus often spoke of a three day period prophesying His sacrifice and resurrection.

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Late summer and early fall sequence of Jewish high holy days may serve as supernatural “markers” for coming end time events

Destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem

by Doug Lawrence

CNS reports: Pope Benedict offered his “heartfelt best wishes” for Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, in the telegram released to reporters by the Vatican Sept. 20.

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I’m not trying to stoke “end of the world” fever here, and I’m not attempting to predict the day or the year Jesus will return. All I’m doing is correlating the ancient Hebrew feast days with the old and new testament scriptures, in order to calculate what time of the year we’re most likely to see Jesus, again.

See if you can follow the logic:

Near as I can figure, John the Baptist … Jesus’ cousin … was born at or around Passover … sometime in April.

Jesus was six months junior to John, which would put the actual date of his birth (Christmas) around late September/early October.

That coincides with the end of the high holy days … the feast of Sukkot … which is typically celebrating by living outside, in tents and other types of temporary shelters. (The shepherds may not have been alone, when they were out there in the fields, tending their sheep.)

It’s quite common for God to mark out the time for future events, through past events. So … if  God chose to sanctify a particular day in late September/early October for Jesus’ first coming … why couldn’t he do pretty much the same thing for his second?

Then we have what Jesus correctly predicted as the “end” of the ancient Jewish world … the Roman siege of Jerusalem and the subsequent destruction of the Temple … which began in the spring, on Pentecost, in the year 70 AD, followed some six months later by the fiery destruction of the Temple, in the fall … right around the end of the high holy days … punctuated by a trumpet blast (St. Paul’s “last” trump … St. John’s 7th?)

Those familiar with the scriptures will note many corrollaries between these events and still to come end time events, as detailed by Jesus, St. Peter, St. Paul, and St. John, and many of the old testament writers.

If you’re “into” this type of thing, here’s a few comprehensive links for you:

“Deep” background

16 End Times

17 Scriptures for the End

18 What Do We Do Now?

19 A Catholic Look At the AntiChrist

* * * NEWS FLASH – swallowing small amounts of saliva, over extended periods of time, is ALWAYS FATAL * * *

Momento mori: Latin phrase meaning, “Remember, you will die”.

This is the truest reality there is. This is what makes us all the same. It doesn’t matter how rich we are, or how popular we are, or how powerful we are: we are all going to “kick the bucket” one day. Isn’t that a nice thought?

Okay, you may say, so what? After we come to accept this basic reality, we have to make sure we do everything with our end in mind. God tells us in the Book of Sirach, “Call no man happy before his death, for by how he ends, a man is known” (11:28 [RNAB]). The world is filled with examples of men who began well and ended badly! We need to make sure that we are not one of them!

If we keep our end in mind then we can begin to reflect on what is most important: What will I accomplish with my short time on earth? What do I want people to say about me once I’ve taken my last breath? Was my life worth living? Will I be a person who changed the world? Will I be a person who gave more than I took? Or will I be a person who took more than I gave? Will people say of me, “I loved to be around that man because he was a true man and he gave his life away for others”? Or will they say, “That person was one of the most miserable human beings you would ever want to meet”? What will others say about you?

Read more from Father Larry Richards

“How can you join a church that tells you how to think?”

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. (Acts 2:38-42)

Question: “How can you join a church that tells you how to think?”

Answer: “With extreme gratitude and humility,
while constantly praising and giving thanks to God!”

Read one author’s “take” on it

Editor’s note: This is like asking someone who wants to learn how to safely pilot airplanes, “Why would you go to a flight school that tells you how to fly?”

The short answer is of course, “Because my life (or in the case of the Catholic Church, my eternal salvation) depends upon it … dummy!”

Doug responds to those who believe certain features of the Old Law “automatically” made their way into the New Covenant Catholic Church

by Doug Lawrence

In a recent post, Professor Howard Kainz offered his opinion that the Old (Mosaic) Law was somehow automatically stripped of its dietary and other obsolete features, and that its great moral precepts somehow, automatically made their way into the New Covenant Catholic Church.

Not to try to “muddy the waters” … but the New Covenant was all-new … not reliant at all upon anything in the Old Covenant … except for the perfect fulfillment of all that was written in the books of the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms … by the promised Messiah … Jesus Christ.

The risen Jesus said as much, himself. And earlier, he had used the example of old and new wine skins to explain why the new would be essentially incompatible with the old.

Jesus Christ released us from the curse of the Old Law … every jot and tittle of it … and replaced that now obsolete concept with the grace and peace available only through him and the Catholic Church he personally founded, authorized, empowered, and eternally guaranteed … for that express purpose.

Jesus gave St. Peter and the apostles the awesome and virtually unrestricted power of binding and loosing … and with the help of the Holy Spirit … they and their successors shortly decided to reaffirm certain basic tenets that had been contained in the old law … and totally do away with others.

Martin Luther and his ideological descendants gravely err when they deny the power of the Catholic Church to govern and to make rules for the benefit of the Christian faithful.

Other than that, there’s absolutely no basis in scripture or tradition for the automatic, selective movement of portions of the Old Covenant laws over to the New Covenant Catholic Church. The hierarchy of the Catholic Church deliberately made those critical judgments and decisions, much as they are still being made today … usually by means of papal decrees and duly called synods and councils.

None of this happened by accident … by autopilot … or by osmosis. All was accomplished by the Catholic Church, according to the foreknowledge and plan of Almighty God.

Thank God we Catholics have the grace and peace of Jesus Christ, the head of the Catholic Church, and the source and summit of our Christian life, as our first, best, and final resort … instead of the totality of the Old Law, which though it was certainly of God, never saved a soul … because that job was always rightly reserved for Jesus, himself.

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