“Collateral Blessings”

Question: So, I like church, as it is relaxing.

However, I don’t even believe Christ is the son of god.  And I’m agnostic (not the same thing as an atheist).

Also, there are lots of hypocrites in the church (that’s what I heard and am starting to notice). I dislike hypocrites (probably my top enemy).

So, I dislike hypocrites a lot, I don’t believe Christ is the son of god, and I can’t even decide if there is or isn’t a god.  But, I do celebrate Christmas and Easter (like Christians) and church does help me relax.

Should I go to church?

Answer: Certainly, you should keep going to church.

One of the best reasons to attend worship services is “collateral blessings” – where “innocent bystanders” often receive the same, rich and powerful blessings as faithful believers do – just because they happen to be nearby.

Asked and answered today on Yahoo! Answers.

 

Today’s question: How do you know that God is real?

saints

Question: How do you know that God is real?

Answer: Many years ago, I decided to take some time off and devote two full years to the study of all world religions, after which I chose to be Catholic.

Then, I spent another ten years studying the faith while working in Catholic parishes; teaching, doing social work and heading up various offices and initiatives, just to see how things actually worked.

Today, I answer questions on-line and operate a Catholic website: http://www.askmeaboutgod.org.

I know God is real because he reveals himself to me in many different ways; particularly through study, worship and sacraments, through fellowship with other Christians and through occasional miracles of various kinds.

Once you come to know God it’s a fairly simple matter to pray without ceasing; staying in constant touch with the Almighty, in a very intimate, complete and powerful way.

The power of that relationship extends also to my friends and family; some of whom are not yet believers. I trust that, by the grace of God, all soon will be.

To sum it all up:

God answers my prayers.

God provides for all my needs.

God speaks to me when I need to hear from him.

God blesses me beyond measure.

God gives me hope.

For my part, I do my best to know, love and serve God,

every way I can, and to give him the thanks,

praise and worship that he is due.

Behold the image of the beast

Revelation 13:15  And it was given him to give life to the image of the beast: and that the image of the beast should speak: and should cause that whosoever will not adore the image of the beast should be slain.

In local news:

…The bishops have been working with our state government as to what needs to be done in order to worship, while still maintaining safety. What needs to be done is very detailed and extensive.The plan which was sent out to the parishes is 46 pages long.

In order to open, each parish must be certified by the Diocese. Some of the things that must done are: submitting floor plans of the church for limited seating and where each person will sit, floor plans showing how parishioners will enter and exit the church and how they will receive Communion, have a reservation system in place to insure that only the maximum number of allowed people come to Mass, use of temperature guns and have proper cleaning and sanitizing equipment, just to name a few. Every volunteer must be trained and watch a webinar(s).

All of this must be in place for Phase 1 which includes Baptisms, Reconciliation, Weddings, and Funerals. Phase 1A adds private prayer and adoration. Please note: ALL OF THE ABOVE MUST BE DONE FOR 10 PEOPLE MAX IN ATTENDANCE. Public Masses are still NOT allowed.

All of this is working towards Phase 2 which will allow for Masses with larger groups, DEPENDING on the guidelines set forth by the State of XXXXX and the seating capacity of each church.

A good, related article on Mundabor’s Catholic Site

Question of the day: If god loves us so much why does he go through all these games and shenanigans? Why did he send his son to jump through hoops and die?


Question:
If god loves us so much why does he go through all these games and shenanigans? Why did he send his son to jump through hoops and die?

Answer: The Fall of Man unwittingly transferred dominion over the whole earth from Adam to Satan, with mankind ending up hopelessly and perpetually enslaved to Satan, sin and death.

So, mere forgiveness would have changed nothing.
The only hope for mankind
was divine intervention of a very particular type,
something only God was capable of accomplishing, for us.

Once redeemed from perpetual slavery to Satan, sin and death by Jesus Christ, it would be supremely foolish and wasteful for man to be voluntarily compromised by sin, once again. That’s why God holds us to high standards, yet mercifully forgives, so long as we remain faithful (to him) and are truly repentant.

God typically accomplishes this for us by means of his grace and through our full, faithful and consistent participation in all the work, worship, sacraments and devotions of his Holy Catholic Church.

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

Question of the day: Do you have to attend Christian meetings to be a Christian?


Question:
Do you have to attend Christian meetings to be a Christian?

Answer: Christians have an obligation to publicly worship God, together; something which is typically done on Sundays.

Catholic Christians take that to a much higher level, worshiping God in spirit and in truth, body, blood, soul and divinity, every hour of every day, every day of every year, in virtually every nation on earth.

So, yes.

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

Today’s question: Why do I deserve to burn in hell for eternity? If God is love, how can such a thing even be possible?


Question:
Why do I deserve to burn in hell for eternity? Please explain how I deserve to burn in hell, from a human perspective and how can I possibly follow a religion that doesn’t make sense?

Answer: The problems related to “The Human Condition” are probably due as much to “circumstance” as to the personal “guilt” of we who are alive on earth, today. That said, the problem of sin is and always has been, deadly serious!

Due to the Fall of Man (in the beginning, in the Garden of Eden) the default state of all humanity is to be born estranged from God, totally lacking the divine grace that is necessary to enter Heaven, perpetually enslaved to Satan, sin and death, having a natural attraction to sin, as well as an all too human propensity to commit sin.

The only known antidote to perpetual slavery and eternal damnation, is faith in Jesus Christ, the divine man who has demonstrated (as one of us and on our behalf) his total mastery over Satan, sin and death.

The fact that Jesus voluntarily took on flesh, became man, willingly sacrificed himself and then, rose again from the dead, in order to destroy Satan’s power over us (the power of death and hell) while asking nothing in return, except for our faithful allegiance, should be more than sufficient proof of God’s abiding love and tender mercies.

Christians typically swear faithful allegiance to Jesus Christ by being Baptized into his Holy Catholic (Universal) Church.

The Holy Sacrament of Baptism, followed by a regular program of personal prayer and study, along with a lifetime of full, faithful participation in all the work, worship, sacraments and devotions of the Holy Catholic Church, is the time-tested, “Jesus Approved” method of first, being justified by the grace of God and then, proceeding to live a holy life that will serve to glorify God, while preparing us to (hopefully) spend an eternity with him, in Heaven.

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

A moment of grace: A universal affirmation of faith.

Responding to a rather complicated, multi-point,
on-line question about my Catholic faith,
a rather simple, all encompassing answer came to mind.
I share it with you, here:

God answers my prayers. God provides for all my needs.
God speaks to me when I need to hear from him.
God blesses me beyond measure.
God gives me hope.
For my part, I do my best to know, love and serve God,
every way I can, and to give him the thanks,
praise and worship that he is due.

A nation always gets the kind of politicians it deserves.

FULTONSHEEN

Submitted by Bob Stanley

Making the mistake of confusing Jesus with the people inside of the Church

sacred-heart-of-jesus

And that brings us to the point. Like the guy in the “I hate religion but love Jesus” video, I was making the mistake of confusing Jesus with the people inside of the Church. And this is, in a nutshell, the main problem with post-Vatican II Catholicism AND Protestantism in all its forms. BOTH – because the Novus Ordo milieu and so-called “spirit of the Council” is simply the Protestantization of the Church and the Liturgy.  And since Protestantism is a heresy, and leads inevitably to atheism (Look around, kids.  What exactly do you think is happening?  You have a front-row seat to the five-centuries coming culmination of Luther’s heresy.), the Novus Ordo WILL die, if not by the Arm of Justice, then by its own built-in suicide mechanism.

What is going on in these liturgies and services is NOT the worship of God. What is going on is the WORSHIP OF THE GROUP. Christ is merely the meme, or excuse, that these people are using in order to get together and WORSHIP THEMSELVES. The focus is ENTIRELY on the people.

Read more from Ann Barnhardt

The Second Vatican Council taught that Muslims worship the one true God

The Church regards with esteem also the Muslims. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even his inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. (Nostra Aetate 3)

The Catechism uses slightly different wording:

841 The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”

And then, there’s the Jews:

839 “Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways.”325

The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People. When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People,326 “the first to hear the Word of God.”327 The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God’s revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews “belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ”,328 “for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.”329

840 And when one considers the future, God’s People of the Old Covenant and the new People of God tend towards similar goals: expectation of the coming (or the return) of the Messiah. But one awaits the return of the Messiah who died and rose from the dead and is recognized as Lord and Son of God; the other awaits the coming of a Messiah, whose features remain hidden till the end of time; and the latter waiting is accompanied by the drama of not knowing or of misunderstanding Christ Jesus.

If we do not put our total and complete trust in God, can we be truly faithful?

moses_water_rock_strike

Moses taking one extra “whack” at the rock

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you are saved through faith:
and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God.

Few persons are aware of the extent of their own deficiency in this respect. Most persons take the matter so completely for granted that they do not suspect themselves, and therefore do not examine themselves on the subject.

There is something so monstrous in not trusting God, that we should have thought it must be a rare thing among good people. But experience teaches very differently.   Many aim at perfection, and few attain it. In almost every case the reason of the failure is the want of confidence in God.

Many persons live for years always intending to begin to form habits of prayer, or habits of particular examination of conscience, and never really begin either the one or the other. The real cause of this procrastination is want of confidence in God.

Men try to give up habits of sin, and either intermit their efforts, or abandon them entirely, through want of confidence in God. When a man is scrupulous, it is mostly from want of confidence in God.

Our knowledge of our own misery, which makes us brave when we have confidence in God, makes us cowardly and mean-spirited when we are destitute of that confidence. Many persons take up supernatural views of things as intellectual convictions; and yet, when they are thrown into circumstances which, as it were, compel the acting on these principles, we behold not a vestige of them in their conduct. This also is a result of want of confidence in God.

We really, far more than we believe, look at religion, at prayer, and at grace as if the whole was a lottery, or something like it. A real believing prayer is by no means common. This is probably the reason why such an immensity of prayer seems unanswered. Many men content themselves with a mere indeterminable hope, which can never carry heaven by storm as confidence does. Let us look into ourselves and see if we really have true and solid confidence in God. Many remain beginners all their lives, because they have not confidence in God.

Read more

The moral obligation to participate in the eucharistic sacrifice on Sundays dates from the very beginning of Christianity.

MASSsummit

The obligation to attend Sunday Mass exists. It is a commandment of the Church which binds under the penalty of grave sin. It exists for a specific reason and should be known and loved, so that the soul feels a need to fulfill it. The fact that it is a law helps to create a religious consciousness of this need, which, in turn, makes it easier to fulfill the obligation.

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Pope Francis’ homily reflects on the importance of three words for Catholics: Proclamation, witness, worship.

“I would like all of us to ask ourselves this question: [ask yourself, ask myself] Do we worship the Lord? Do we turn to God only to ask him for things, to thank him, or do we also turn to him to worship him? What does it mean, then, to worship God? … All of us, in our own lives, consciously and perhaps sometimes unconsciously, have a very clear order of priority concerning the things we consider important. Worshiping the Lord means giving him the place that He must have; worshiping the Lord means stating, believing—not only by our words—that He alone truly guides our lives; worshiping the Lord means that we are convinced before him that He is the only God, the God of our lives, the God of our history.”
“This has a consequence in our lives,” the pontiff noted.
Read more

The Importance Of Sunday In The Lives Of Christians

godworld

The pastoral statement on the importance of Sunday calls for Orthodox and Catholic Christians to recover the theological significance of a day that for many “has become less a day of worship and family and more like an ordinary work day.” It ends with a call to clergy and laity “to work cooperatively within their communities to stress the importance of Sunday for worship and family.”

The full text of the statement is available online here.

Recovering the theological significance of Sunday is fundamental to rebalancing our lives.

For Christians, Sunday, the Lord’s Day, is a special day consecrated to the service and worship of God.  It is a unique Christian festival.  It is “the day the Lord has made” (Ps. 117 (118):24). Its nature is holy and joyful. Sunday is the day on which we believe God acted decisively to liberate the world from the tyranny of sin, death, and corruption through the Holy Resurrection of Jesus.

The primacy of Sunday is affirmed by the liturgical practice of the early church. St. Justin the Martyr writing around 150 AD notes that “it is on Sunday that we assemble because Sunday is the first day, the day on which God transformed darkness and matter and created the world and the day that Jesus Christ rose from the dead (First Apology, 67).” Sunday has always had a privileged position in the life of the church as a day of worship and celebration. On Sunday the Church assembles to realize her eschatological fullness in the Eucharist by which the Kingdom and the endless Day of the Lord are revealed in time.  It is the perpetual first day of the new creation, a day of rejoicing.  It is a day for community, feasting and family gatherings.

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Fifteen elements of modern Catholic worship that Jews of Jesus’ time would be sure to recognize.

The view of Jesus as the simple country preacher does have some connection with the real Jesus, but we also have to remember that Jesus was a first century Jew. He would have been familiar with, and shared in the rituals and traditions of synagogue worship as well as the worship of the temple. What was this worship like? First of all, the synagogue worship was formal and liturgical. They used set prayers and established readings as Catholics do with their liturgy and tables of readings. Furthermore, the worship of the ‘domestic church’ for Jews was structured around seasons and feasts. Throughout the year, as Catholics do, they celebrated certain feast days and fast days. For the feasts they had structured, ceremonial meals that they shared together. These ceremonial meals consisted of set, written prayers and psalms and Scripture readings.

In addition to the worship of the domestic church and the synagogue the Jews in the time of Jesus all worshipped at the temple in Jerusalem. The worship in this splendid and ornate structure was predicated by the temple of Solomon which was in turn established according to the instructions given by God in Exodus for the construction of the tabernacle. The tabernacle, and both the Herodian and Solomonic temples in Jerusalem were splendid, ornate and rich buildings where the worship was ceremonial and ritualistic. The priests wore ornate vestments, there were ritualistic processions into and around the temple, ornate images of angels surround the worship space and incense was burned before God to symbolize the prayers of the faithful rising to heaven.

Read the list

Christopher Columbus emphatically demonstrated that his devotion to the Christian faith and to Mary was vital and vigorous.

Remember that 1492 was still the Middles Ages.  The Protestant Revolt did not erupt until 15 years later.  And later, unlike Hernán Cortés, Columbus didn’t see Native Americans as slaves or enemies, but as children of God, and as potential converts, and allies of Spain.

The Admiral’s dedication to Mary

Columbus was a staunch champion of the doctrine of Mary’s Immaculate Conception.  His veneration of the Mother of the Redeemer was clearly a symbol of his faith and a mainspring of his life’s work of discovery.

At the very outset of his grand adventure, he recorded his devotedness to Mary by giving her name to his flagship.

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The only proper way for faithful Catholics to disagree with authentic church teachings.

Jesus is an expert healer of the blind – spiritual and otherwise

by Doug Lawrence

The only proper way for a faithful Catholic to disagree with authentic church teachings is to go to confession, apologize to God, receive absolution, and humbly leave the confessional spiritually renewed, with a firm purpose of amendment.

Next, in order to successfully mend our ways and reform our errant conscience, we undertake a thorough study of the relevant portions of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, coupled with a careful review of all related church documents.

This … along with full, faithful and regular participation in all the other work, worship, sacraments and devotions of the Catholic Church, will serve to properly identify and clarify all of the pertinent issues involved.

From that point forward, faith and reason, along with a bit of help from other good, faithful, and well-educated Catholics (educated in authentic, traditional Catholicism … not the new, phony versions) will serve to order the struggle so as to (eventually) properly form the conscience, in the light of all God’s revealed truth.

The process may well take years, but what do we have to do that is more important?

The writings of the Saints confirm that spiritual struggle (always in good faith and always for the right reasons) is probably the very best way of eventually achieving Heaven.

Those who have managed to overcome serious personal shortcomings with the help of God’s grace, know that this is absolutely true … while those who prefer to disagree need only remember that denial is not just a river in Egypt!

Visit the blogroll (links) section of this website for all the necessary Catholic educational resources. Seek out Jesus Christ, the source and summit of our Christian existence, and encounter him regularly and personally, in and through the sacraments of the Catholic Church. Then … expect Jesus to begin to more fully reveal himself … his inestimable love … and his truth … to you … in many wonderful ways.

Do you know how you can tell if a church is beautiful?

Click here to find out

Why should Sunday be devoted exclusively to God?

Why should Sunday be devoted exclusively to God?

Because it is but proper that man, who is created for the service of God only, should reserve at least one out of the seven days of the week for that service, and for the salvation of his own soul; again, in the beginning, God ordered that on the seventh day or Saturday, on which He rested after finishing the work of creation (Ex. 20:11), man should also rest (Ex. 20:8‑10), abstain from all worldly employment, and attend only to the worship of God. This was the Sabbath, or day of rest, of the Jews which they were required to keep holy (Lev. 23:3).

But the Catholic Church, authorized 6y Christ, inspired by the Holy Ghost, and directed by the Apostles, has made Sunday, the first day of the week, the day of rest for Christians. The holy martyr Justin (+ 167 A.D.) makes mention of this fact. Sunday was designated as the day of rest for the Christians partly to distinguish them from the Jews, as well as for the following reasons: On this day God commenced the creation of the world, so too on this day He crowned the glorious work of our Redemption by Christ’s Resurrection; on this day, as Bellarmine says, Christ was born, was circumcised, and was baptized; and on this day the Holy Ghost descended upon the Apostles.

Excerpted from the English translation of the “Explanation of the Epistles and Gospels” by the Rev. Leonard Goffine (1874).

Submitted by Bob Stanley