Historical evidence proves the existence of 23 figures in the New Testament….. RE-BLOGGED

Historical evidence proves the existence of 23 figures in the New Testament

Zelda Caldwell |

Roman historians’ writing and archaeological evidence confirms the identities of political figures during Jesus’ time.

What if it were possible to prove that the historical characters mentioned in the Bible actually existed?

One scholar is trying to do just that, and he believes that by establishing the Bible’s historical credibility, he will make it more accessible to believers and nonbelievers alike.

First, Purdue University professor Lawrence Myktiuk used the archaeological record to verify the existence of 53 individuals mentioned in the Old Testament. He subjected each figure to a rigorous test, using inscriptions to confirm that each person mentioned actually lived. His findings, published by the Bible Archaeology Review, include Israelite kings and Mesopotamian monarchs among other notable figures.

Read more: Purdue professor proves 53 people in the Bible lived

Now, he is moving on to the New Testament. Using the works of Roman historians and archaeological evidence, Myktiuk, has compiled a list of New Testament political figures whose existence has been confirmed outside of the Bible.
Myktiuk’s list, published at the Bible Archaeology Review website, includes the names of 23 political figures including Roman emperors, members of the Herodian family, Roman legates and governors and other rulers mentioned in the New Testament, and the evidence he found to prove they actually existed.

In his “Evidence Chart,” Myktiuk notes that Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect who ordered Jesus’ crucifixion, for example, ruled between the years 26 and 36, and was mentioned in Josephus’ Antiquities and Wars, Tacitus’ Annals, and Philo’s De Legatione ad Gaium. Further evidence of his existence, he notes, was found on the Pilate Stone discovered at Caesarea Maritima and on Roman coins.
After the publication of his findings on characters in the Old Testament, Myktiuk said that his work had done much to establish the credibility, from a historical point of view, of the Bible.

“This evidence shows that it is not essential to have religious faith in order to and accept much of what the Bible presents. It demonstrates that even on the basis of writings outside of the Bible alone, Scripture does have a considerable degree of historical credibility.” END QUOTES

Is Jesus Re-Sacrificed At EVERY Mass … re-blogged

Is Jesus “Re-Sacrificed” at Every Mass?

If Jesus is our high priest forever, He is still offering Himself, out of time, because that’s what priests do.

by: Dave Armstrong

The Bible plainly rules out the notion of Jesus being “re-sacrificed”:
Hebrews 7:27 (RSV) He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself. (cf. 9:12)

Hebrews 9:24-26 For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. [25] Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own; [26] for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (cf. 9:27-28)

The crucifixion was a one-time historical event. We must keep in mind, however, that Jesus is God. He was subject to time in His human nature, but in His Divine Nature, He is outside of time. Jesus is called “a priest for ever”: not for six hours on the cross only:

Hebrews 5:6 as he says also in another place, “Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchiz’edek.” (cf. 6:20; 7:24)

Thus, the Apostle John referred to Jesus in heaven (after His resurrection and ascension) as “a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain”:

Revelation 5:6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth; (cf. Heb 8:1; 9:24 above)

In this sense, the one crucifixion is “eternally present” and supernaturally “brought to us” in the Sacrifice of the Mass. The texts refer to the definitive, end-all nature of the crucifixion, but not to some solely natural, timebound analysis of it. The Council of Trent (Session 22, Chapter II), stated:
And forasmuch as, in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the mass, that same Christ is contained and immolated in an unbloody manner, who once offered Himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross; the holy Synod teaches, that this sacrifice is truly propitiatory and that by means thereof this is effected, that we obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid, . . . For the victim is one and the same, the same now offering by the ministry of priests, who then offered Himself on the cross, the manner alone of offering being different. The fruits indeed of which oblation, of that bloody one to wit, are received most plentifully through this unbloody one; so far is this (latter) from derogating in any way from that (former oblation).

First of all, there is the differentiation (first sentence) between “unbloody manner” and “once offered Himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross” – thus showing that the former is not regarded as the latter, repeated over and over again (as the contra-Catholic reasoning would claim), but rather, a different means of bringing the one sacrifice to us.

Secondly, there is the phrase, “the manner alone of offering being different,” thus showing that it is one sacrifice being re-presented (different “manner”).
Moreover, the phrase, “The fruits indeed of . . . that bloody one to wit, are received most plentifully through this unbloody one” shows that the reference was back to Calvary, whose benefit accrues to those partaking of Holy Communion, not to some imagined “repeated bloody sacrifice.”

To drive home the point in a different way, the council reiterates, “so far is this (latter) from derogating in any way from that (former oblation).” The plain language of Chapter I reiterates this:

He, therefore, our God and Lord, though He was about to offer Himself once on the altar of the cross unto God the Father, by means of his death, there to operate an eternal redemption; nevertheless, because that His priesthood was not to be extinguished by His death, in the last supper, on the night in which He was betrayed, – that He might leave, to His own beloved Spouse the Church, a visible sacrifice, such as the nature of man requires, whereby that bloody sacrifice, once to be accomplished on the cross, might be represented, . . . declaring Himself constituted a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisedech, . . .

Perhaps the language of Trent was not as careful and precise as it should be (one can always argue about style and content of words), but I think a reasonable reading of it arrives at the conclusions that Catholics hold, and have always held.

Another important factor in all this is the lack of understanding of the patristic background. The notion of eucharistic sacrifice (in the Catholic sense) was common in the Church fathers’ writings. Thus, one might misinterpret what Trent expressed, and come up with the notion of “sacrificed again and again”. But if the patristic background is known, then it is seen as merely further development of what had been believed long since.

As a man, Jesus’ sacrifice was in time and history. As God, outside of time (from thatperspective), it is not. His being God brings in a “supra-historical” aspect in which time is transcended. This is what Protestants often seem to neglect. If Jesus is our high priest forever, He is still offering Himself, out of time, because that’s what priests do. Otherwise, what is the “pure offering” of Malachi 1:11?

If His Body and Blood are truly present in the Eucharist, then the sacrifice on the cross alsomust be present in some sense, since that is where the sacrifice took place, and why we talk about Body and Blood at all. One can’t be separated from the other. END QUOTES

How to Respond to God’s No by Tom Hoopes

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How to Respond to God’s ‘No’


Sunday, Aug. 20, is the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A). Mass Readings: Isaiah 56:1, 6-7; Psalm 67:2-3, 5-6, 8; Romans 11:13-15, 29-32; Matthew 15:21-28

Everyone has experienced it: the terrible moment when God says, “No.”

No, you may not have that job you have been praying for. No, that temptation will not go away. No, your family member will not convert. Sometimes the No is final; sometimes God is saying it will take a while for our petitions to be resolved.

It is easy to simply give up and give in — to stop asking and live like it will never happen.

That is where persistence comes in.

Today’s Gospel tells us: Don’t take “No” for an answer.

“Have pity on me!” the Canaanite woman cries out to Jesus. “My daughter is tormented by a demon.”

First, Jesus ignores her — “Jesus did not say a word in answer to her,” says the Gospel. Then his disciples tell him: “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”

So he does. He tells her: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Being ignored didn’t make her give up. Hearing this “No” didn’t either.

“The woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’”

Then he made his “No” harsher: “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”

She still won’t take “No” for an answer: “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.”

Only then does Jesus say, “O woman, great is your faith!”

We often get exactly these answers from God.

“Why is Jesus ignoring me?” we often wonder, maybe even thinking, “Apparently those granted jobs are more worthy. Why do others get the gift of a family full of faith, but not my family? Why are others not struggling as I am? Is the grace of the basics of a Godly life — work, faith and moral fortitude — not something God will extend to me?”

If the Canaanite woman feels offended, she doesn’t show it. She won’t stop asking. Instead, she adds an act of humility to her petition. She grants the premise that she is less worthy — and would like something small all the same, a “scrap that falls from the table” of those who are more favored.

We can do the same thing — because we are not worthy either.

God is infinitely greater than us and sees that better people than us are enduring far worse suffering and staying way more faithful.

We have not been perfect like the foreigners God answers in the first reading. We Catholics, the “People of God,” have disobeyed him as surely as the “Chosen People” did, as St. Paul points out in the second reading.

Tell God you know all that — and you would like a scrap anyway. Jesus responds to that kind of humility.

Take a tip from salesmen: You never get what you don’t ask for, and you can’t close the deal if you take “No” for an answer too soon.

“Persevere in prayer. Persevere, even when your efforts seem barren. Prayer is always fruitful.” So St. Josémaria Escriva reminds us. END QUOTES

Tom Hoopes is writer

in residence at

Benedictine College

and author of The Fatima Family Handbook

4 Arguments for the Evidence of God: re-blogged

Artus Wolffort (1581–1641), “The Holy Trinity”
4 Arguments for the Existence of God
“The Church teaches that the one true God, our Creator and Lord, can be known with certainty from his works, by the natural light of human reason.” (CCC 47)
Kevin Di Camillo

I make absolutely no claims on originality here: during these parlous times when our nation’s Judeo-Christian roots are being not only challenged and questioned, but attacked and debased and erased, it’s always good to have a ready argument for the existence of God—especially since this weird atheistic vogue shows no sign of slowing down. So without further delay:

1. Paschal’s Wager
In this day and age, when the State not only supports but actively encourages almost every form of gambling, but actively and actually encourages it—and at the same time purveys the myth that the proceeds from state-sponsored gambling “goes to public education” (it’s hard to even type this canard without laughing aloud)—why not bet on the existence of God?

This concept, which dates back to the tortured French philosopher Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), famous for his tome simply entitled Pensées, seems simple enough on the surface: either God exists or He doesn’t. However, since we are already in this crazy mixed up “game” of life, we have everything to gain by living our lives by “betting” that God doesexist — and living a life in accord with that belief. And, if at the end of this life we find that God doesn’t exist after all, we will still have “won”, since we would have led a virtuous Christian life.

Paschal took a lot of grief for leaving the door open for the concept of God “not existing” but (a) this was part of the ploy of his wager, in which the player never loses, and (b) Paschal had slipped, at least in part, to the heresy of Jansenism, which ravaged most of France throughout the 17th century—and wouldn’t finally be stamped out until the time of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
Still, Pascal’s wager makes a lot of sense, no pun intended—and it pre-empts the “I-don’t-want-to-play-this-game” argument by pointing out that it’s too late not too: one HAS to decide to bet either for or against the existence of God, as one is already alive—and hopefully preparing for a grace-filled death.

2. The Ontological Argument (or the Argument from Being)
Unlike Paschal’s wager, which had as its origin a man many considered a heretic, the Ontological Argument for the Existence of God dates back to Saint Anselm (1033-1109), who was both Archbishop of Canterbury and Abbot of Bec, and is known as “Doctor Magificus”.

Like Paschal, however, Anselm’s argument is deceptively simple: we can conceive of perfection (since we live in a world of imperfection where things break down and go wrong every day we often wonder what a perfect world would be like), and since we are imperfect beings we can conceive of a Perfect Being, which we call God. The clincher for this argument: if God weren’t perfect, He couldn’t exist, and if He didn’t exist, He wouldn’t be God (or, for that matter, perfect).
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, this rather loose argument took hold and held on for so long not so much because The Church promulgated it as dogma (in the meantime, St. Thomas Aquinas would come along with his “Prime Mover” argument, see below), but because a group of 17th-century European philosophers—none of whom we’d call “practicing Catholics” (one was a Jew who was banished from his Synagogue)—rediscovered it and gave it their own twist: Leibniz, Spinoza, and Descartes all teethed on and wrote about The Ontological Argument. Still, despite its chicken-and-the-egg feel to it, the Ontological Argument still beats its detractors to the punch: namely, if one is so sure a perfect being does not exist, why are you still able to conceive it?

3. The Teleological Argument (The Argument From Design)
Though he doesn’t get direct credit for this one, St. Augustine’s poem “The Beauty of Creation Bears Witness To God” is about as accurate a summation of this theory behind God’s existence as one could hope for. In St. Augustine’s own immortal words:

Question the beauty of the earth,
The beauty of the sea,
The beauty of the wide air around you,
The beauty of the sky;
Question the order of the stars,
The sun whose brightness lights the day,
The moon whose splendor softens the gloom of night.
Question the living creatures that move through the water,
That roam upon the earth,
That fly through the air;
The spirit that is manifest;
The visible things that are ruled,
The invisible that rule them;
Question all these,
They will answer you:
‘Behold and see, we are beautiful.’
Their beauty is their confession of God.
Who made these beautiful changing things,
If not one who is beautiful and changeth not?

This philosophical/theological argument actually pre-dates Christianity and goes all the way back to Plato and Aristotle—and pretty much lasted uncontested until the time of David Hume (the philosopher who proclaimed that there’s no guarantee that the sun will rise tomorrow, even though it has for millions of years). Part of the immediate appeal of this argument is that the earth in particular and the universe in general are indeed pretty amazing places—and ironically advances in science have actually helped this argument by showing how incredibly complex nature—make that “Nature”— truly is. (One need only turn on the National Geographic channel or NOVA for examples of this).

And the more one looks at cells, leaves, waves and their relation to the phase of the Moon; the rotation of the seasons, symbiotic relationships within the natural sciences, along with discoveries as deep as the ocean and as far as Mars, literally—it’s hard NOT to imagine that a “Divine Architect” (namely God) is behind such beauty.

Still, the Argument from Design suffers from the complaint that while the world is phenomenal, it is fraught with inexplicable natural catastrophes, from typhoons to tornadoes, sink-holes to tsunamis, which an atheist will use to point out that the world is not perfect.

It is worth noting here that the teleological argument doesn’t posit that the world is perfect, but that its creator is (here, refer to St. Augustine’s poem, supra). That He allows for such vagaries of nature and natural disaster is part of His inscrutable plan—and the fact that nature has not destroyed itself, but perdured (despite man’s attempt to destroy other man, and the earth in the process), is attributed to God’s perfection vis-à-vis man’s imperfection.

4. The “Prime Mover” or Cosmological Argument
Up until the middle of the 20th century (when Thomism enjoyed a new vogue thanks to Jacques Maritan and G.K. Chesterton), the concept of a Prime Mover was the classic Catholic philosopher’s case for the existence of God. St. Thomas Aquinas took Aristotle’s concept of an “unmoved mover” and gave it a Christian bent: the unmoved mover, the first cause, the being that sets all others in motion we call God. This argument took hold since Aristotle and Aquinas held such stature (even during their lifetimes) that it seemed like only simple common sense that one could not have an infinite series of causes—that there HAD to be ONE, and only one, prime cause, Q.E.D. God exists.

Atheists, hiding behind a cloud of computer screens and mathematical theorems, seemed to do damage to the Cosmological Argument by showing that there can be all kinds of “infinite” mathematical series. But this is a lot like saying you are going to build a “perpetual motion” machine: the minute you start building it, you’re acknowledging that such a machine does not exist, much less is in motion (let alone perpetually). While this might not be the most air-tight of all the arguments for the existence of God, I’d certainly throw my lot in with Aquinas and Aristotle instead of some Ph.D. in computer science in Palo Alto. END QUOTES END QUOTES

THEE PILL ….. {No, not “the pill”} A reflection by Patrick Miron

THEE PILL ….. {No, not “the pill”} 
A reflection by Patrick Miron

If Doctor God were to prescribe a pill, a medicine that would all but absolutely-guarantee you heaven, would YOU take it, even if it was bitter and came at great expense?

Such a “pill” does exist and is prescribed by Jesus: …. It’s not magic, because while it always works, it only works with our cooperation.

James 4:10
Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

Ephesians 4:2
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,

Micah 6:8
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?

1 Peter 3:8
To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;

My dear friends, the 1st book Of Genesis tells us that God made each of us {a humanity exclusive}, in “His Own Image.”

Nothing: not one thing gives greater evidence of this than the virtue of humility, which always, in every case encompasses LOVE.

A critical reason Jesus {GOD} chose to become a mortal being like me and you, was so that he could {would and did} actually model for us, how we too could attain heaven. ….

Jesus authored “the Book of Life”; more accurately, Jesus wrote the first chapter {His Birth} and last chapter, {His Death} leaving & expecting each of us to complete our own personal version of the book, so no two books are identical.
First He taught us, then He showed us ….

Matt.6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
Matt.26:42 “Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, thy will be done.”
The two greatest evidences of humility were modeled by Jesus {GOD} for our benefit and emulation.

Luke.2: 7 “And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”

Jesus the Christ, King of kings, Lord of Lords, Almighty GOD, choose to be born in a cave and laid in a manager; a feeding trough, and thus demonstrating from the instant of His Birth the importance He places on Humility.

Mark.15:46 “And he bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud, and laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.

Then to insure that we “got His message”; in the final chapter of His human life on earth; once again we see the evidence of incomprehensible humility. God; ALIGHTY GOD suffering His Passion and Death so He could also demonstrate the Resurrection that the future also holds for each of us unto our own final judgment.

If we ever need a reminder; if we ever need a script to follow, all we have to do is recall the Stations of the Cross. ….
The First station:: Jesus the perfect and innocent Lamb of God permits Himself to public humiliations beyond our comprehension. Jesus is condemned to die.
The Second Station:: Jesus willingly, perhaps even eagerly, accepts His Cross

The Third Station: Jesus takes the first fall; ; A painful humiliation in front of his Mother and many who had become to believe that He, that He Jesus was the long awaited Messiah. GOD BECAME MAN. It was our sins that caused this!

The Forth Station: Jesus meets His Mother. Never have two hearts been more identically tuned; never were two hearts more identical in desire; never have two hearts been more willing to suffer, more willing to accept: “Not my will, BUT THY will be done” to both of us. Their Two heats beating as One.
The Fifth Station: Simon is conscripted to assist Jesus carrying the Cross. Just as Jesus choose Simon, so too He has chosen each of us to assist Him in His Mission. The Salvation of Souls beginning with our own.

The Sixth Station: Veronica comforts Her God, demonstrating humility, courage and love by putting herself at GREAT risk in helping the innocent Jesus

The Seventh Station: Jesus, laden down with our sins, takes a second, even more painful fall.

The Eighth Station: Jesus, amidst His own Suffering, pauses and makes the time to console the women who are grieving for Him. This station s the modeling of humility par-excellence!. …. Jesus EXPECTS me and you, even when we too are suffering; to lay aside our own problems {give them to Jesus} and with charity assist all others in need.

The Ninth Station: Jesus loaded Down with our Sins Falls a final time
The Tenth Station: Jesus is stripped of all His clothing

Naked he came into the world and naked he “left” the world. Jesus literally gave up ALL.

The Eleventh Station: Jesus is nailed to His Cross

The Twelfth Station: After 3 hours of indescribable suffering Jesus Dies

The Thirteenth Station: The battered and butchered Body of Jesus is taken down and place in His Mother’s arms.

The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Laid in His Tomb

Here dear friends I’m going to interject something I seldom do: a request…..
Every Catholic Adult ought to know the Stations of the Cross so that in times of trial, we can recall one or more of the Stations, and thereby recognize that what we are presently facing is just part of life’s trials.

Towards that end each of us should memorize the 14 Stations:
1. Jesus is Condemned
2. Jesus accepts His Cross
3. Jesus falls the first time
4. Jesus and Mary Meet
5. Simon is conscripted to help Jesus carry His Cross
6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus with her veil
7. Jesus falls harder a second time
8. Jesus Consoles the women who are grieving Him
9. Jesus falls for the third and final time
10. Jesus is striped naked
11. Jesus is nailed to the Cross
12. Jesus dies for us
13. Jesus is taken down from the Cross
14. Jesus is buried

Each of these events are evidence of the greatest possible degree of humility for OUR benefit. Humility is a Virtue we each in an absolute sense, must exercise, and do so with regularity.

SAINTS on Humility

He who wants to learn true humility should reflect upon the Passion of Jesus. (
— St Faustina, Divine Mercy in my Soul

To be taken with love for a soul, God does not look on its greatness, but the greatness of its humility.
–St John of the Cross, OCD

“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.”
–Saint Augustine

‘If humble souls are contradicted, they remain calm; if they are calumniated, they suffer with patience; if they are little esteemed, neglected, or forgotten, they consider that their due; if they are weighed down with occupations, they perform them cheerfully.’
–St. Vincent de Paul

The first degree of humility is the fear of God, which we should constantly have before our eyes.'{MEANING AWE”}
–St. Louis de Blois

The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it.
–Saint Vincent de Paul

Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.
–Saint Augustine

There is more value in a little study of humility and in a single act of it than in all the knowledge in the world.
–Saint Teresa of Avila

Humility is the mother of many virtues because from it obedience, fear, reverence, patience, modesty, meekness and peace are born. He who is humble easily obeys everyone, fears to offend anyone, is at peace with everyone, is kind with all.
–St Thomas of Villanova

“No one reaches the kingdom of Heaven except by humility”
–St Augustine


James 4:10
Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
Ephesians 4:2

with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,

Micah 6:8
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?

Colossians 3:12
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;

Philippians 2:7
but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

Zephaniah 2:3
Seek the LORD, All you humble of the earth Who have carried out His ordinances; Seek righteousness, seek humility Perhaps you will be hidden In the day of the LORD’S anger.

Luke 14:9-11
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Colossians 3:12
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
1 Peter 5:6

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time

So dear friends, “Thee Pill” is Humility!

Humility is an acquired {& required} Virtue that we pray for, and though God’s accepted grace are able to model. Should you ever wonder if you’re on the right track; if you’re really listening to what God wants from you; then objectively grade your personal degree of humility. If you are regularly humble, if you with a degree of consistency recall one of more Stations of the Cross and give it even momentary grateful-thought; and thank Jesus for His Suffering; you can be assured you are heading in the right direction.

The greater your inner-peace is when tested; the greater is the evidence that you are, or have acquired humility.

“No one reaches the kingdom of Heaven except by humility”
–St Augustine

To seek humility is to seek heaven: AMEN!
God Bless you and yours,

What If We All Were Cradle Catholics? re-bogged from “1 Peter 5” blog

What if We Were All Cradle Catholics, Mr. Ivereigh?
Maike Hickson

For some time now, the comment has been coming from the direction of Pope Francis’s supporters and defenders that papal critics often are converts. For some reason, that seems for them to be a defect. Austen Ivereigh, among others, has now put this argument in the form of an article for Crux: “Pope Francis and the Convert Problem.”

Although Ivereigh first insists that he “loves” converts, he comes out with a sweeping comment about many of the prominent papal critics:

Now it is quite possible that elegant commentators such as Ross Douthat and Matthew [Schmitz]’s boss Rusty Reno (both former Episcopalians), or, at the rougher end, writers such as Carl Orlson (ex-Protestant fundamentalist) and John Henry Westen (ex-atheist), or indeed ex-Anglicans in my own patch such as Daniel Hitchens of the Catholic Herald and Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register in Rome, are all correct in their readings. But it is a lot more likely that their baggage has distorted their hermeneutic, and they are suffering from convert neurosis.

As Ivereigh explains, “[a] neurosis is a pathological or extreme reaction to something that simply doesn’t correspond to reality.” In following this line of argument, the author claims that many converts tend to lack humility in not accepting changes within the Church and in clinging to the Church from before the Second Vatican Council. He also quotes one of his sources as saying many converts “have converted mainly because the Church teaches things that match their ideological outlook.” To sum up his depiction of those “troublesome converts”: they converted in order to have the Church adapt to their own “fixed” views and in order to make sure the Church acts according to their own ideas.
Since I myself am a convert, and since I happen to know some of the journalists here named, I would like to make a short response to this sort of argument.
Notably, one could turn it the other way around. Since converts (and it is not right to call John-Henry Westen that, since he is a cradle Catholic who strayed for a while as a youth) have lived outside the Mystical Body of Christ for much of their lifetime, they soon come to know or at least to glimpse how dark it is outside God’s Grace. They do not take the Catholic Faith for granted, but are deeply grateful for the gift they have received. Most probably, some of them have lived a life not in accordance with the Ten Commandments and have now turned their lives around and have come to see how good God’s laws are for us – even seeing that the Laws of God are acts of love – how conforming to such laws make us truly free. These converts have seen (and experienced) the moral disorder in the world and have recognized the beauty and goodness of a life in accordance with God’s laws – His “manufacturer’s instructions,” as it were.
That is part of the strength shown by these converts now. In this regard, we could include those cradle Catholics who have strayed from the Faith for parts of their lives and have returned. I know that John-Henry Westen, as well as Steve Jalsevac, his colleague and co-founder of LifeSiteNews, both have spoken publicly and gratefully about their reversion. They, too, know how it is to be, by their own choice, outside the Mystical Body of Christ – outside of which, as Hilaire Belloc said, there is only darkness.

We who have seen the difference between such light and dark might be now prone to fight fully with our lives for Christ’s Truth because we are, in a sense, good witnesses for it. It is out of our deep gratitude that we wish to give back to Christ for His forgiveness and love and grace.

Thus, in my eyes, it is those who have sinned and converted who are now sometimes the strongest witnesses for the Faith, especially since Pope Francis likes to be so attentive to the sinner and to those at the margins or “at the outskirts.” I myself lived two thirds of my life “at the outskirts.”
Let us now consider what would happen if we all were not converts to the Catholic Faith, but cradle Catholics. Would this save us from Ivereigh’s (and others’) rebuke for our criticism of Pope Francis?

Would we then not fall into the category – often used by the pope himself – of those “self-righteous” and “pharisaical” Catholics who always “went to Church on Sunday” and who “always kept the Commandments” and thus look down upon the sinner with that “judgmental eye”? Would we thus be more convincing or more trustworthy if we were cradle Catholics?

As we now talk about cradle Catholics, we realize that even this argument about hypocrisy does not hold. Since Steve Skojec himself is “one of those” (cradle Catholics), let me remind our readers that he is one of the most forthright and outspoken authors when it comes to acknowledging (modestly) his own defects and sins. I once said to him that, due to his own humility and openness about his own weaknesses, he certainly does not fall under the category of those “priggish” and “haughty” Catholics who, with contemptuous condescension, look down upon a sinner.

But then, who does that at all?

The cradle Catholics I work with in the defense of Christ’s teaching – here and abroad – are filled with the love of Christ and are apt always to keep the spirit of charity. One of the greatest traditional minds of France, Arnaud de Lassus – a father of seven children and one of the great supporters of the Pilgrimage of Chartres, who was friends with my own husband for decades – was known for his intellectual clarity and human charity toward his opponents. I myself can testify to that attitude and disposition of heart, because when I first met him, I was a “practicing agnostic.” He treated me most kindly and then gave me a Green Scapular. I might someday find out just how many graces I received through his deeds of kindness and truthfulness.

Others of those cradle Catholic colleagues of mine have undergone tragedies in life. They have suffered losses, endured injustices, and also sometimes fell.
That is what makes us all human. We are but weak beings who need God’s abundant help, His truth and His supernatural grace. He helps each of us to work his individual salvation, and He asks us to help others work out their own salvation.

As Father John Hardon, S. J., used to say to my husband, “we will be finally judged by our acts of practical charity, by how many people we helped get to heaven.” It is this spirit that guides us. And in this sense, the injustices thrown at us disproportionately, seemingly in a desperate attempt to find some argument to undermine our sincere work, will only help us further on our path. Let us then offer up these humiliations for the conversion of sinners, for the good of the Church – and for the greater glory of God. END QUOTES

Saint Joseph the Patron of the Afflicted by Fr. Maurice Meschler

Saint Joseph, the Patron of the Afflicted

Everything in the world is fraught with sorrow, and no mortal here below can escape suffering. It clings to human nature and dogs its footsteps. Indeed the whole history of the human race is but one great tragedy of a thousand difficulties and contradictions. Suffering began with the fall of our first parents and ends only with death. All this must be quite reasonable, for a wise and merciful God has so ordained it. Through suffering we were redeemed, and only through suffering do we share in the Redemption. Many are the souls that will be taught and saved only by suffering. And so the Cross is the portion of all men, even of the saints, and hence, of Saint Joseph also.

Indeed, his share of suffering was exceedingly great because of his close relationship to the divine Savior. All the mysteries of our Lord’s life are more or less mysteries of suffering. Even Bethlehem and Nazareth have their Cross. Wherever the Savior pillowed His head, traces of the crown of thorns were to be found. How long the divine Child dwelled with Joseph, and how often He rested in his arms and on his breast! Surely the cross could not be wanting to the saint. The cross of labor followed him everywhere; poverty pressed upon him, less on his own account than on that of his divine Son and his holy spouse, Mary, whom he saw so poorly and unbecomingly provided for in this world. Even the lack of necessary shelter afflicted him more than once. Hard-hearted people refused to open the door to him; bloodthirsty persecutors and men full of deadly hate, sought both his life and that of his child.

Nor was he spared even domestic crosses, owing to misunderstandings in regard to the holiest and most cherished of beings, Jesus and Mary, who were all to him. Again and again they were the occasion of bitter crosses to him. Keen indeed must have been the suffering caused by the uncertainty regarding Mary’s virginity, by the circumcision of Jesus and the bestowal of His name, which pointed to future misfortunes. Profoundly painful, too, must have been the prophecy of Simeon, the flight into Egypt, and the disappearance of Jesus at the Paschal feast, which occurrence itself strikingly foreshadowed the Passion. These mysteries were like a bloody summit of Calvary in the life of Saint Joseph.

This article is from “The Truth about Saint Joseph.” Click image to preview or order.

To these sufferings was surely added that interior, gnawing sorrow of the saint at the sight of the sins of his people and of the calamities that threatened them. Truly, suffering and contradiction as well as blessings were the lot of the Joseph of the New Testament. If his afflictions are not great and extraordinary when compared with the terrible sufferings experienced by the Mother of God at the foot of the Cross, they nevertheless wounded his heart most bitterly because these sufferings had as their object and source his highest good, his divine Son, and because his love for Him was inexpressibly great.
The sufferings of Saint Joseph are therefore noble, admirable, and sublime on account of their cause, which was none other than the sufferings of the Savior Himself, and on account of the manner in which he bore and endured these contradictions. The greatest triumph of art, it is said, is to represent suffering in a sublime and attractive manner. But it is infinitely more difficult to bear suffering properly and in a Christian manner. Here the saint gives us a splendid example. No sound of complaint or impatience escapes him; in general, he must have been a man of silence, since Holy Writ has not handed down to us a single word of his. He submitted to all in the spirit of faith, humility, confidence, and infinite love, and cheerfully bore all in union with the Savior and His Mother, glad to be able to suffer something with them and for them.

God, in His turn, never forsook the saint in his trials. Everywhere God was with him, and everything went well. The trials, too, vanished and were converted at last into consolation and joy. After the misunderstanding concerning Mary came the message of the angel, which made Joseph the happiest of men. After the rebuff at Bethlehem came the joy and happiness of the birth of Christ and the adoration of shepherds and kings. The trial of the flight into Egypt was rewarded by the joyful return to Galilee; the cruel loss of the Child and the three days of heartrending search for Him were amply repaid by the happy finding of Him in the Temple and the blissful years of the hidden life.

It seems that God purposely so constituted and intended the life of Saint Joseph to keep very vividly before our eyes the truth that our life on earth is but a succession of good and bad days, and that we must make up our minds to accept both and to preserve toward them a proper attitude of soul. After all, the days of peace and joy ordinarily predominate, just as oil floats upon the water. We must not forget this and must gratefully accept whatever God sends us. We must courageously carry the burdens of the harder days in thanksgiving for the joyful ones and, during the time of consolation, must prepare for suffering.

To use both joy and sorrow in the proper manner is a great art. The cross tries to cast us down through impatience, distrust, and despair, while joy and gladness, on the other hand, would undo us by means of self-elation, frivolity, and the awful danger of forgetfulness of God. Like Saint Joseph, let us ever remain the same in time of suffering and of joy. The fact that we rejoice in happy circumstances, while we keenly feel the bitterness of the cross, is not counted against us by our benign Maker. Such is our nature. Let us bear all in the spirit of faith, of confidence, and of a grateful attitude toward God. In a happy eternity we shall not thank God for anything as much and as fervently as for the sufferings that He deigned to send us during our sojourn on earth and that, after the example of Saint Joseph, we endured with patience and heartfelt love for Jesus and Mary. END QUOTES

Editor’s note: This article is from a chapter in The Truth about Saint Joseph: Encountering the Most Hidden of Saints, which is available from Sophia Institute Press.
image: Toros Roslin [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Tagged as: Best of Week, Patron Saints, saints, Sophia Excerpts, St. Joseph,suffering

Why We Need Sacred Things (Plural)

By: David Carlin {for FIRST THINGS}

David Carlin

The best definition of religion I have ever come across is that given by the great French sociologist Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) in his book The Elementary Forms of Religious Life: “A religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and surrounded by prohibitions – beliefs and practices that unite its adherents in a single moral community called a church.”

“Sacred things” (or “holy things”) is the key here. In the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church, there were lots and lots of sacred things. There was a great pyramid of sacred things. Way up at the top of the pyramid, of course, was God, the most holy of all holy things and the source of the sacredness that trickled down to all lesser sacred things. Of these lesser sacred things, the most holy was the Virgin Mary, the mother of God. Below her were angels and saints, some of them more sacred than others. There were nine orders of angels. Dante has many ranks of saints in his Paradiso.

On Earth there were sacred persons, they too in descending ranks of sacredness. The pope was very holy indeed; thus he was spoken of as “His Holiness.” Cardinals were somewhat less sacred; ordinary bishops less sacred still; parish priests were at the bottom rank of clerical holiness, but they too should be treated with a reverence due to sacred persons. Religious sisters were sacred, both the kind and gentle nuns and the mean nuns who hit your hand with a ruler. The habits nuns wore were also sacred.

Buildings were sacred. St. Peter’s in Rome was the most sacred of all, even though to some Catholics (me among them) it resembled a magnificent train station more than a great church. Medieval Gothic cathedrals were also sacred, especially those of Paris and Chartres. Ordinary parish churches were also sacred, even the hideous churches built in the 1950s in a “modern” style.
Inside, the church overflowed with sacred things: statues and pictures of saints, Stations of the Cross, candles, baptismal fonts, holy water. The altar was holy, made even more holy by the altar rail that set it apart from the rest of the church. The Eucharist was the holiest of all things on Earth, so holy that it mustn’t be touched by the hands of laypersons.

There were sacred ceremonies, the Mass above all. But also lesser ceremonies: Confession, burial of the dead, fasting in Lent, meatless Fridays, fasting from midnight before receiving Communion, reciting the rosary (whether with a group or alone), genuflecting when entering a church pew, making the sign of the cross prior to batting in a baseball game.
Latin was a sacred language. Holy water was sacred, and so were rosary beads, and so was a copy of the Bible (though not many Catholics took the trouble to read the Bible in the pre-Vatican II days, Bible-reading being a Protestant trait and therefore suspect).
Mass by José Gallegos Y Arnosa, c. 1900 [private collection]From a religious point of view, the great advantage of having all these many kinds and degrees of holy things is that Catholics were at all times surrounded with sacred persons, places, and things. We could easily “feel” the sacred. We experienced it every day of the week, especially on Sunday.

But there were disadvantages too. All of this could degenerate into superstition, and often did. Instead of seeing these lesser sacred persons, places, and things as dim reflections of the infinite holiness of God, we might see them and treat them as if they were sacred in and of themselves. We could slip into idolatry. Instead of believing in a God who has countless reflections, we might feel that there are countless lesser “gods,” some big (the Virgin Mary), some medium-size (bishops and priests and nuns), and some little (candles and holy water).

A fear of this kind of superstition is what, centuries ago, inspired the fierce anti-Catholicism of the Puritans. They had little or no use for the Virgin Mary or the saints or popes or crucifixes or religious statues or stained-glass windows. They felt that there are only two holy things: God and the Bible, the latter being holy not in itself but because it shows us how to be in touch with the former.

Many of the Catholic reforms, both formal and informal, made in the post-Vatican II period were, I submit, motivated by a kind of Catholic Puritanism. Reformers felt that much of popular Catholicism had degenerated into superstition. By getting rid of, or at least by downplaying, the myriad of other-than-God sacred things, it would be easier for Catholics to focus on the one and only essentially holy thing, God.

This reform may have worked for some people, but, by and large, it has been a failure. God alone is not easily known, not easily sensed, not easily experienced. He is incomprehensible, as Thomas Aquinas reminds us; He is a hidden God as Pascal reminds us; He is “entirely other” as Karl Barth reminds us.

Except for a small number of mystics and semi-mystics, most of us will not be able to experience God directly. We will experience him, if we experience him at all, through his myriad of sacred reflections. Get rid of those reflections and you run the risk of getting rid of God.

The danger of Catholicism is that it can degenerate into superstition and idolatry. The danger of Puritanism is that it can degenerate into agnosticism and atheism. We do better, I suggest, to run the risk of superstition than to run the even worse risk of atheism.
It is time to reform the reform. We need altar rails, nuns wearing habits, rosary beads, holy water, Latin, etc.

We need to read – or re-read – Durkheim and notice that he says religion is about sacred things (plural), not about a single sacred thing.
© 2017 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.orgThe Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Truly Living as the Mystical Body BY: CONSTANCE T. HULL

Truly Living as the Mystical Body

Many of us live in cultures in which seeking help from others is frowned upon and viewed as weakness. We are told we should be able to go it alone and we define strength as one’s ability to do everything themselves. It should become readily apparent that this type of thinking is diametrically opposed to Catholic thought. First, we are created to be completely dependent on God. Second, He gave us the Church, His Mystical Body, as a guide on the journey. Third, within the Mystical Body are our fellow sojourners on the path to holiness. We are meant to walk together. We are united by the power of the Holy Spirit to our Head, Jesus Christ. This unity means that when one member of the Body suffers, we all suffer at an ontological level.

As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. Now the body is not a single part, but many. If a foot should say, “Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body,” it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. Or if an ear should say, “Because I am not an eye I do not belong to the body,” it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. If they were all one part, where would the body be? But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I do not need you.” Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary, and those parts of the body that we consider less honorable we surround with greater honor, and our less presentable parts are treated with greater propriety, whereas our more presentable parts do not need this. But God has so constructed the body as to give greater honor to a part that is without it, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another. If [one] part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.
1 Corinthians 12:12-26

To echo St. Paul, we are not meant to go it alone nor are we meant to appeal to some disordered understanding of individualism as we go through the battles, trials, and sufferings of this life. We are meant to come together and to walk the path to Calvary together.

The reasons many of us do not seek help during trials may vary. I think many of us are infected with the idea that we are supposed to be able to do it ourselves, as our culture tells us. I also think it comes down to pride. We use the excuse that we are a burden to others, but really it boils down to our own pride. We don’t want to have to ask other people to help us. We want to be able to do it ourselves. In reality, many aspects of our lives require help from our fellow members of the Mystical Body. This is especially true in periods of immense suffering and trial. Here are some things we need to think about in realizing our need to turn to the Mystical Body for help.

Humility is an indispensable part of the spiritual journey

Suffering is a great equalizer. It comes to every person who has ever lived, is alive today, or will live. Death is inevitable and it is the climax of our suffering here on earth. Suffering also teaches us humility. It teaches us that we must turn to God in all things. We must depend on Him entirely. Without Him our journey turns into a form of nihilism or existential dread as we await oblivion. In giving everything over to Him, we are able to bear our burdens through Him and with hope.

In learning to become dependent on God, we also become dependent on our neighbor. He shows us our need for other people. When we are sick, homeless, jobless, or suffering in a whole host of other ways, God reveals to us how much we rely on the help of the Mystical Body. We are not islands. We are human beings connected to one another at the deepest level of being. We are also social creatures by nature. We depend on one another and this dependence goes beyond the walls of our family homes. This is always true, but it comes quickly into focus when tragedy strikes. We need people to walk with us, guide us, and help with material, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs. It is in learning humility that we are able to rely on others, rather than focus on our perceived loss of freedom. Humility allows us to say “yes” to God and to our neighbor.

Charity binds the Mystical Body together

We are united to one another in charity. This love guides us in the service of our neighbors and also in reception of love from others. There can be a tendency to view others as a burden. This proclivity must be fought against. Our culture has a bad habit of treating the suffering among us as an expendable burden, hence the rise in euthanasia and abortion. We ourselves can give into similar thinking when we view our suffering neighbor as burdensome. That man, woman, or child sitting next to us in the pews is not a burden. They are our brother or sister in Christ. Love requires sacrifice. This means helping someone we don’t necessarily want to help. Charity demands that we freely give to others and that we not make people who are suffering trials feel even worse. We are not meant to increase the burden of our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called to lighten the load, not matter how small.

Pray for fortitude

In understanding our duty as members of the Mystical Body, we will learn quickly that we must enter into the Crosses of our neighbor. This may mean visiting the sick, helping the homeless, feeding the hungry, aiding when natural disaster or violence strikes, babysitting for the family in need, doing jobs around an elderly person’s home, or even just sitting beside someone who is hurting. We are called tobe present to our fellow members of the Mystical Body. We must give freely of our time, materials, and spiritual wisdom. This requires great courage. It is not easy to watch other people suffer. It reminds us of our own frailty. It reminds us of our own weakness and powerlessness, but it teaches us to turn completely over to God. We can’t fix the suffering of our neighbor, but we can love them. Nobody is asking us to fix it. Stop trying, just be. God is “to be” itself (St. Thomas Aquinas) and we are made in His image and likeness. We must learn to be present to others. We must frequently pray for the fortitude to walk the path to Calvary with our neighbor. It will be deeply difficult, but it will transform us and them in the process. It will help us to move further along on the path to holiness.

Christ has united us to one another through His Church. We are called to walk together through the valleys and the peaks of this life. We must learn humility so that we can seek aid when needed. We must learn to love our neighbor as ourselves and to avoid treating others as a burden. When we choose to walk with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we must pray for fortitude so that we can bear their suffering alongside them through the grace of Christ. We are truly one body, let’s start living this reality every single day. END QUOTES
image: By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Monique K. Hilley [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Tagged as: Best of Week, Body of Christ, charity, fortitude, individualism, suffering

By Constance T. Hull
Constance T. Hull is a wife, mother, homeschooler, and a graduate student theologian with an emphasis in philosophy. Her desire is to live the wonder so passionately preached in the works of G.K. Chesterton and to share that with her daughter and others. While you can frequently find her head inside of a great work of theology or philosophy, she considers her husband and daughter to be her greatest teachers. She is passionate about beauty, working towards holiness, the Sacraments, and all things Catholic. She is also published at The Federalist, Public Discourse, and blogs frequently at Swimming the Depths (www.swimmingthedepths.com).

Why We Worship On Sunday…. RE-BLOGGED

Why We Worship On Sunday

Answering Seventh-Day Adventists and Other Sabbatarians

Have you been asked yet — either by a Seventh-Day Adventist or a member of other Seventh-Day Sabbatarian groups (and there are many) — why Christians changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday? Quick answer — the Sabbath is still on Saturday. But most (not all) Christians including Catholics, Orthodox and many Protestants observe Sunday as the Lord’s Day. Sabbath Day…Lord’s Day. There’s a difference. Let’s look at this.

Keep It Holy…
When God had completed his creation of the world, he rested on the seventh day. The Hebrew word for “rest” is “Sabbath” or “Shabbat”. But since God is Almighty and has no need to actually rest, we can properly say that God simply ceased all of his work.

Was the World Created in Six Literal Days?

Some fundamentalist communities will make the argument that God created the world in six literal 24-hour days and thus the seventh day is Saturday. However, a closer look at the creation narrative in Genesis finds something very interesting. In Ch. 1:11 we see God command, “Let the earth bring forth vegetation,” (italics mine) and in v. 24, “Let the earth bring forth every kind of living creature”. This means that God allowed the earth to bring forth her great gifts at its own natural pace over time rather than everything coming forth all at once, instantly. We must remember that God created natural law as well as supernatural law.

If the world was not created in six 24-hour days, how then, is it determined that the seventh day was on a Saturday? The Jews (even to this day) have no names for their days of the week. Rather they are simply enumerated and go by First Day, Second Day, Third Day, etc. until they get to Shabbat, the only day with a name. It is thought that when the Jews were exile in Babylon in roughly 597/6 until 538 B.C. they had adopted the calendar of the Babylonians for that is what they had used throughout their exile. Likewise, the Jewish months of the year were also enumerated and not actually named until during the Babylonian captivity. In fact, the months of Nisan, Sivan, Elul, Kislev, Tevet, Shevat, and Adar on the Jewish calendar are Babylonian in origin: “The Jews adopted not only Babylonian month names but also the entire Babylonian calendar.” At the end of the Babylonian exile, King Cyrus of Persia (who had conquered the Babylonians) allowed and even encouraged the Jews to return to Jerusalem and to rebuild their temple. However, a good number of them opted to stay. It was also in Babylonia where the Jews wrote down and codified the Talmud (known as the Talmud Bavli).
Moses and The Law

Centuries after the creation of the world, God raised up Moses (a type of savior) to go (return) to Egypt to “set my people free”. As they journeyed through the desert toward the Promised Land, God gave to Moses two tablets containing what Christians call the Ten Commandments (and what Jews simply call The Ten Words). Among these is the commandment, “Remember to keep holy the Lord’s day” (Ex. 20:8). With this commandment God gives instruction as to how this shall be done: “You shall not do any work, either you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your work animal, or the resident alien within your gates” (v. 10). It was the only way that slaves and their owners and beasts of burden could also have rest. In Cecil B. DeMille’s great epic movie The Ten Commandments, Moses is accused of giving the slaves one day’s rest per week from building Pharaoh’s glorious city. Moses says to Pharaoh in response to his brother Rameses’ accusation: “A city is made of brick. The strong make many. The weak make few. The dead make none”. Thus the Sabbath prohibits work.

Going a step further, God gives two reasons for resting on the Sabbath:
1. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD has blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy (v. 11; Ex. 31:15-17).
2. Remember that you too were once slaves in the land of Egypt, and the LORD, your God, brought you out from there with a strong hand and outstretched arm. That is why the LORD, your God, has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day (Deut. 5:15)

No Mandate to Worship on the Sabbath
There is not a mandate to worship on the Sabbath because there was as of yet no place to worship; they were still in the desert and, according to the Jewish Encyclopedia, “…Communal prayer—that is, liturgy—is hardly found prior to the separation of Israel and Judah”. Further, “there is no mention of the Synagogue in the “Written Torah” (i.e., the Five Books of Moses). The institution of the synagogue is of later, Rabbinic origin”.

Sabbath Worship Optional for Gentiles
The Lord God makes it clear that keeping the Sabbath is optional for gentiles as he himself says through the great prophet Isaiah: For thus says the LORD: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose (italics mine) what pleases me, and who hold fast to my covenant…” (56:4).

One resource I found about non-Jews and the covenant says this: “God did not require the Gentiles to obey laws they did not have. They were required to obey the law written on their hearts, but they were not required to obey the ritual laws, for such laws have to be specially revealed, and God revealed them only to Israel, and they applied only to Israel”. In fact the rabbis of the various the Jewish sites I reviewed on the internet pertaining to the commandment of the Sabbath insist that the Ten Commandments do not apply to Christians or any other non-Jews.

Jesus and the Sabbath

But didn’t Jesus tell the rich young man to “keep the commandments” (Mt 19:17; Mk 10:19)? Yes, he did…but Jesus was speaking to him as a fellow Jew.
Another objection that Seventh Day Sabbatarians raise is the fact that Jesus worshiped on the Sabbath “as was his custom” (Lk 4:16) and so they insist that Saturday Sabbath is the day for worship. But Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day (Lk 2:21); he was “presented to the Lord, according to the law of Moses” (italics mine) (Lk 2:22); he wore the prescribed prayer shawl/tallit with its fringes (Deut. 22:12, Mt. 9:20); he followed the custom of praying three times per day; he observed Hanukkah and he offered animals for sacrifice. None of these have been retained in the Christian faith. The requirement for circumcision is direct from the law of Moses, but it finds its fulfillment in baptism. “For if there was no need of circumcision before Abraham, or of the observance of Sabbaths, of feasts and sacrifices, before Moses; no more need is there of them now…” (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho).

The Council of Jerusalem

Chapter 15 of the Acts of the Apostles speaks of a group of Judaizers who were insisting that Greeks/gentiles who wished to come into the Church must first be circumcised and live as a Jew for awhile: “Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice, you cannot be saved” (v. 1). A council was held in Jerusalem (around A.D. 51) with all of the Church leaders including Peter, James and Paul (to name a few) to discuss the issue. The outcome of the council that was reached is this: ‘It is the decision of the Holy Spirit (italics mine) and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities, namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, from meats of strangled animals, and from unlawful marriage. If you keep free of these, you will be doing what is right” (v. 28-29). Nothing at all about mandating them to “keep holy the Sabbath”.

The Sabbath Was Made For Man Not Man For the Sabbath
In performing miracles on the Sabbath, Jesus made it clear that the well-being of people and even animals always took precedence. While the Jews saw them as unlawful works, Jesus took pity upon those who were suffering and refused that they should remain in their suffering even for one more day. As important as the Sabbath was in that no work should be done, Jews allowed for circumcisions to be performed on the Sabbath. Not only was temple sacrifice to be done even on the Sabbath but three sacrifices rather than the two that were required on a daily basis were to be offered on that day — one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. The twelve loaves of the bread of (perpetual) Presence (Lev. 24:8) in the temple sanctuary was to be replaced on the Sabbath. It was bread that was hot and so baking was done on the Sabbath. Even carrying on the Sabbath is considered a prohibition…but the bread of Presence was indeed carried into the temple every Sabbath.

The Sabbath is Not a Moral Law

The Jews maintain that the command to remember the Sabbath day and to keep it holy does not make it a moral law but a ceremonial one for “the Sabbath is to be ‘ot berit’ (a Hebrew term) — “a sign (italics mine) between me and you throughout your generations” (Ex. 31:13).
Jesus as The Fulfillment of All
Catholics, Orthodox and most Protestants observe Sunday as the Lord’s Day and therefore worship on that day. It was — and is — fitting that they (we) should do so.

The Passover is always celebrated on the 14th of Nisan according to the Jewish calendar. It was the day on which Jesus was put to death…slaughtered like the sacrificial lamb. He became our sacrifice…the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (Jn 1:29) — a term every Jew at that time would have recognized).

We know that Jesus was in the tomb the entire next day…Saturday, the day of rest. What most people are unaware of is that the 15th of Nisan is the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It was the day that Jesus “our bread” “rested” in the tomb on that Sabbath.

On the third day, the 16th of Nisan is known as the Feast of the First Fruits — the day when Jews went to the temple to offer the barley harvest as a wave offering. Barley was the first of the many crops grown in the area and thus it was brought in sheaves to the temple as the first grain offering to God. St. Paul calls Jesus the “first fruits” from the ground (tomb) and offered back to God. He then calls us the first fruits of the dead (1 Cor. 15:23)…”we who belong to Christ”.

Jesus’ resurrection took place on Sunday, the first day of the week which is also known as the Eighth Day. It is from this that we get the Greek term Kairos. It is God’s time. Even with the creation of the world, there is no mention of “evening came” for the Sabbath…leaving one to think perhaps of the rest “in” God. It is the day of new creation because Jesus is the new creation…all is fulfilled in him.

New Testament and the Resurrection

After Jesus rose from the dead he appeared to the twelve on “the first day of the week”. Jesus breathed on the twelve on that day and gave them power to forgive sins (see Jn 20:22); the apostle John was “in the spirit on the Lord’s day (Rev. 1:10).

Luke speaks of gathering on the first day of the week to break bread (Acts 1:6). St. Paul — in his First Letter to the Corinthians (16:2) — speaks of taking up collections on the first day of the week. Hence, worship on Sundays was already a happening thing.

Some people “accuse” Rome of making the change but Rome was not yet the center of the Church back then…it was still Jerusalem. Most of the change was done because of the Resurrection on Sunday and due to the various sightings of Jesus on the first day of the week — mentioned in a previous paragraph. At first Christians kept both the seventh-day Sabbath worship and the first day of the week was for the breaking of the bread — the Eucharist. But as more God-fearing gentiles were admitted into the Christian community, they were not allowed into the temple for prayers and sacrifices because of their un-circumcision. In fact, this is why St. Paul was arrested…he was accused of bringing uncircumcised men into the temple and thus causing it to become defiled. Then in A.D. 90 Christianity was declared illegal and the Jews added a malediction into one of the daily prayers (the Amidah) of which no Christian would be comfortable praying against himself as a heretic. Thus they gave up temple worship and sacrifice and kept to just Sunday.

The Church Fathers on the Lord’s Day

Here are three quotes from a few of the Church fathers on worshipping on the first day of the week:

St. Ignatius of Antioch:

“Let us therefore no longer keep the Sabbath after the Jewish manner…. But let every one of you keep the Sabbath after a spiritual manner, and rejoicing after the observance of the Sabbath, let every friend of Christ keep the Lord’s Day as a festival, the resurrection-day, the queen and chief of all the days.”
Barnabas (2nd Century A.D. 120):

“We keep the eighth day with joyfulness, the day on which Jesus rose again from the dead.”

Justin Martyr (2nd Century A.D. 140):
“But Sunday is the day which we all hold our common assembly, because Jesus Christ, our Saviour, on the same day rose from the dead,” (Justin, I Apol. 67:PG 6,429 and 432).

From the Catechism of
the Catholic Church (CCC):

#2174 — Jesus rose from the dead “on the first day of the week.” Because it is the “first day,” the day of Christ’s Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the “eighth day” following the Sabbath, it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ’s Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord’s Day (he kuriake hemera, dies dominica) Sunday.

Interlinear note for 2174 — “We all gather on the day of the sun, for it is the first day [after the Jewish Sabbath, but also the first day] when God, separating matter from darkness, made the world; and on this same day Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead”9.

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

#2178 — This practice of the Christian assembly dates from the beginnings of the apostolic age…

Therefore the First Day of the week…Sunday…the Eighth Day…is indeed the queen and chief of all the days. It is truly first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord’s Day. END QUOTES