Thee Portal of Salvation by Patrick Miron

 

According to Strong’s Greek Lexicon Search Results for the word “church” [1577]

It means: A compound of 1537 and a derivative of 2564; A CALLING OUT, i.e. [concretely a popular meeting}, especially a religious congregation {Jewish Synagogue, or a Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven, or both… [an] assembly, church”

This perspective comes too, from my friend Marianne. Pagans had their Temples; Jews their Synagogues and Catholics [the first Christians], their “Church.” In Greek: { ekklesia ek-klay-see’-ah}  That Christ deemed it important , even necessary, to use a different word to describe what He was founding through Peter; is highly indicative of the fact that this was something New and Different. It was Christ intent that this fact not be overlooked.

The Catholic ChurchPortal of all salvation

This document was prompted by a discussion on the CAF Forum about salvation through the Catholic Church. As ought to be expected the root of the problem leading to this discussion is both a lack of clarity within the bible [God caused this by specific intent], further aggravated by what some wish to belief, and self- enabled to do so only by culling passages that seem to support their position; while ignoring or not knowing that contradictory teachings exist in the same book.

 Yet in the strictest sense of the word; we are truly “Brethren”. We share a common belief in One True God; The Blessed Trinity and a common Baptism, by water and in the name of the Trinity. And we ought to take seriously their love of God. While some branches of Christianity do not adhere to these essential elements and are further endangering their salvation. There is no substitute for charity. There would be no Christian faiths, were Catholicism not preexistent.

 This discussion seemed to me to elicit two important questions: 1. Why & 2. How?

So let us begin our own discussion by once again repeating the “Infallible Rule” for right understanding of the bible.

 Never-Ever, can, may or Does one passage, verse, or teaching

  Have the power or authority to invalidate, override, or make void   

  another,

  passage, verse or teaching.”

 If this were even a possibility [it’s not] it would render the entire bible as worthless for teaching or learning ones faith.

  So if one seems to encounter such a teaching, be assured that it stems from Not using the entirety of God’s WORDS. … Jesus answered: “ It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God” Which in turn leads to 2nd. Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work”

 My dear friend Marianne has shared a bit of insight, as she herself is a convert from Christianity. She explains that a core cause is a complete, or near complete ,lack of understanding of God’s grace. What it is; what it can do, and how it is received.

 . I trace their blindness about the Church to that core issue. Because they don’t know what grace is, they don’t recognize that humans are born without it due to Original Sin. And because they don’t know what it is, they don’t understand that the Christian life is created and sustained by God pouring grace into us. And because they don’t understand THAT, they don’t see the point of the sacraments, whose point is to allow God to pour grace into us. I trace their inability to understand the sacraments, their purpose, and value to this foundational blindness about what grace is and how we get it.”

 Because one can find and cull passages that seem to indicate salvation for “all”; and because even the passages that seemingly contradict it with “many” are assumed to include them, with little evident effort to seek truth beyond what seems to them as “the obvious”, and because non-Catholic Christians tend to lump the bibles teachings on the topic of salvation as including both “Redemption” and “Salvation” being synonymous terms, which they are not; …the Devil IS hiding in the details.

Matt.22: 14For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matt.26: 28 “for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” Mark.10: 45 “For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Luke.13: 24 “Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able

John.1: 7 “He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him.”  Heb.9: 12 he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.”  1Pet.3: 18 “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit” Eph.1: 7 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace”

REDEMPTION

1 Timothy 2: 6 “Who gave himself [as] redemption for all, a testimony in due times” Mark 10:45 “For the Son of man also is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a redemption for many”

SALVATION

Titus 11:2 is rendered thus in the Douay Bible: “For the grace of God our Saviour hath appeared to all men”; In the Catholic RSV one reads the following:“ For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men,” & The King James reads: “ For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men” …Hebrews 5:9 reads “And being consummated, he became, to all that obey him, the cause of eternal salvation” and The King James: “And being made perfect , he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him Romans 1:16 teaches “For I am not ashamed of the gospel. For it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth: to the Jew first and to the Greek”. The King James reads the same here”. So salvation seems to be clearly conditional; seemingly not a problem for our non-Catholic Brethren who often lump themselves into both the “all” and the “many” categories.

 The lack of a single clear message here is evidence of the Wisdom of God, and proof of a Divinely Inspired bible. 2 Timothy 3:16-17.  … Christ was not inventing something “as new” in setting up His Catholic church, Matthew 16:15-19, He was in fact following His Own, Old Testament model for rightful and faithful practice of religion, where Yahweh freely selected only One chosen people, gave them only One set of faith beliefs and declared that He Alone would be their God.

 Lev. 26: 12  “I will walk among you, and will be your God, and you shall be my people.” Exodus 15:26 “Saying: If thou wilt hear the voice of the Lord thy God, and do what is right before him, and obey his commandments, and keep all his precepts, none of the evils that I laid upon Egypt, will I bring upon thee” Lev. 18: 4 “You shall do my judgments, and shall observe my precepts, and shall walk in them. I am the Lord your God.”

 God obligates himself to be merciful and fair

Luke.12: 51 “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division” John.5: 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receiveJohn.3: 36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him”,  Matt. 19:17 …”If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”

Christ chose to manifest His Divine Mercy and charity by sticking to the Old Testament model of just, and only …”One”.  After all when there is only “one” there are no room for debates, or envy, and only one boss, with clear direction. That is precisely why God has always chosen “just one”. Then it’s His One way or it’s the wrong way.

One God: 1Tim.2: 5 “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”

 One Faith: Eph. 4: 5 “one Lord, one faith, one baptism”

One Church: Matt 16:18-19 “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, [SINGULAR]  and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you [SINGULAR]  the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 28: 16-19 “And the eleven disciples [Apostles] went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them.  And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.  Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have [taught &] commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.”

Hopefully, I have now answered the “WHY?” question.  Because God’s infinite and perfect wisdom choose only one, God; Faith and Church, so man could [& would] know where to find Christ truth. It then follows logically that because Redemption is offered to “All” and Salvation to the Many who hear and obey fully His teachings, precepts, Commandments and Mandates, that it HAS to flow through the Only Church and Faith that He founded under the New Covenant,  which supersede but do not replace OT Covenants. It is completely logical that because Salvation is from Christ; that it must FLOW through the only Church and Faith of Christ. READ: John 17:14-20.

Heb. 9: 15  “Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant” Therefore ALL salvation must necessarily flow through the Catholic church; which is not proclaiming that all, necessarily, be actual members of Her. Still The Catholic Church has an essential role to fulfill in everyone’s salvation. That is WHY the CC is the Portal to ALL Salvation, and why this teaching has always been and continues to be a Doctrine of our Catholic Church.

So now I will attempt to clarify the “How“-  Question?

 From our Catholic catechism:

 CCC 780 “The Church in this world is the sacrament of salvation, the sign and the instrument of the communion of God and men.”

 CCC 846 “How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

 Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it”.

 CCC 847 “This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

 Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.”

 CCC 1260 “Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.” Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity

From this we ought to be able to understand the complexity of the TASK of Fair and Just Judgment God has created for Himself. Only God is able to judge our thoughts, motives and hearts. And because God MUST BE both fair and just; he alone is able to make a just and fair judgment on all; but especially those outside of the Catholic Church. … That “particular”- Judgment has to factor in not only our personal chosen beliefs and practices; but of critical importance, the OPPORTUNITY God has and must give to each of us to actually know his singular truth, His one- Faith in His one -Church. This is especially relevant to all those outside of His Catholic Church who choose not to be members of Her for a variety of reasons that THEY determined as important and relevant to themselves. Will God agree with them and their motives, seems to be the unanswered question?

James 3: 13- 18Who is a wise man, and endued with knowledge among you? Let him shew, by a good conversation, his work in the meekness of wisdomBut if you have bitter zeal, and there be contentions in your hearts; glory not, and be not liars against the truth. For this is not wisdom, descending from above: but earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and contention is, there is inconstancy, and every evil work. But the wisdom, that is from above, first indeed is chaste, then peaceable, modest, easy to be persuaded, consenting to the good, full of mercy and good fruits, without judging, without dissimulation. And the fruit of justice is sown in peace, to them that make peace.”

Psalm 94: 11And these men have not known my ways: so I swore in my wrath that they shall not enter into my rest.  Psalm 118: 5 “O! that my ways may be directed to keep thy justifications” Ezek.  18:25 “And you have said: The way of the Lord is not right. Hear ye, therefore, O house of Israel [people]: Is it my way that is not right, and are not rather your ways perverse?”

Isaiah 55:9 “For as the heavens are exalted above the earth, so are my ways exalted above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts.”

A final word of advice to my fellow Catholics. Because we are given so much more than our Brethren; especially Sacramental graces, & Jesus Himself in Person in the Most Holy Eucharist, very much more is to be expected from us. Matt. 13:11-12Who answered and said to them: Because to you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven: but to them it is not given. For he that hath, to him shall be given, [very much more] and he shall abound: but he that hath not, from him shall be taken away that also which he hath.”

the “Ones” add up to a highER probability of salvation.

One God- One Faith- One Church- One set of keys to heaven and only one

Portal; Christ Catholic Church. Amen

May Jesus Guide OUR Life Paths,

Patrick

Never even a DOUBT…. By Patrick Miron

 

Never even a DOUBT….

By Patrick Miron

This is not a time for the faint hearted. Life is “thee God Test”, and we, all of us are being tested. We either pass or we fail; there are no other options {going first to purgatory is passing the HARD way.}

Matthew 7:  [13] Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. [14] How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it! [15] Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

[16] By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? [17] Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. [18] A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. [19] Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. [20] Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.

[21] Not everyone that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. [22] Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name? [23] And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity[24] Every one therefore that heareth these my words, and doth them, shall be likened to a wise man that built his house upon a rock, [25] And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded on a rock.

[26] And every one that heareth these my words, and doth them not, shall be like a foolish man that built his house upon the sand, [27] And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall thereof.”

I have been following the Vigano Saga closely. …Personally, I’m inclined to believe this Holy man who may have actually placed himself in grave danger???? {much evidence of his claims has already been verified}, and it is doubtful that the documents needing Rome’s approval to be released will ever see the light of day. They may have even been destroyed already?

That God is in charge is evident and that Mary is even now stepping on Satan’s head is encouraging. {Genesis 3:15}

This is a test for Christ Church; for our Catholic Faith; and even for Christianity, whose foundations stem from the Roman Catholic Church.

We are to understand that what has so recently come to light is the fruit of a great many years of duplicitous-sabotage. This is yet another attempt to sink the Bark of Peter from within.  …. It is impossible that that the wideness and depth of this depravity {yes; homosexuality is depraved}, just “sort of happened”… this was {IS} a cleverly conceived, masterfully executed attack of the One True Church and Faith of Jesus Christ.

Despite its short term disastrous effects, which objectively we must admit were and are perversely highly successful; it was from the start, nevertheless doomed to failure.

Matt.28 Verses 18 to 20
[18] And Jesus came and said to THEM “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. [19] {YOU}Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, [20] teaching them to observe all that I have commanded YOU; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

The Captain perhaps has abandoned the ship {???}; BUT the Admiral {Jesus} is on board. This attack is to be seen for what it is, for what it was intended to do to Christ Catholic Church. This is not an excuse {nor an imagined reason} to abandon the One True Faith and Church of Jesus Christ. It is the time to pray very much; and like Peter, to cling to Jesus and His Truths.

John 6: [56] For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. [57] He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. [58] As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. [59] This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever.[60] These things he said, teaching in the synagogue, in Capharnaum.

[61] Many therefore of his disciples, hearing it, said: This saying is hard, and who can hear it? [62] But Jesus, knowing in himself, that his disciples murmured at this, said to them: Doth this scandalize you? [63] If then you shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? [64] It is the spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I have spoken to you, are spirit and life[65] But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning, who they were that did not believe, and who he was, that would betray him.

DOUAY BIBLE EXPLANATION} [63] “If then you shall see”: Christ by mentioning his ascension, by this instance of his power and divinity, would confirm the truth of what he had before asserted; and at the same time correct their gross apprehension of eating his flesh, and drinking his blood, in a vulgar and carnal manner, by letting them know he should take his whole body living with him to heaven; and consequently not suffer it to be as they supposed, divided, mangled, and consumed upon earth.

[64] “The flesh profiteth nothing”: Dead flesh separated from the spirit, in the gross manner they supposed they were to eat his flesh, would profit nothing. Neither doth man’s flesh, that is to say, man’s natural and carnal apprehension, (which refuses to be subject to the spirit, and words of Christ,) profit any thing. But it would be the height of blasphemy, to say the living flesh of Christ (which we receive in the blessed sacrament, with his spirit, that is, with his soul and divinity) profiteth nothing. For if Christ’s flesh had profited us nothing, he would never have taken flesh for us, nor died in the flesh for us.

[64] “Are spirit and life”: By proposing to you a heavenly sacrament, in which you shall receive, in a wonderful manner, spirit, grace, and life, in its very fountain.

  • [66]And he said: Therefore did I say to you, that no man can come to me, unless it be given him by my Father. [67] After this many of his disciples went back; and walked no more with him. [68] Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away? [69] And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. [70] And we have believed and have known, that thou art the Christ, the Son of God.

[71] Jesus answered them: Have not I chosen you twelve; and one of you is a devil?[72] Now he meant Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon: for this same was about to betray him, whereas he was one of the twelve.”

So Jesus expected {anticipated} Wolfs in sheep’s clothing to attack His Church from within…. Be calm; this storm to will pass, and if we persevere we will see Jesus walking on the water to save and gather Us up; to calm once again the STORM we are in, and continue to lead us home safely.

Pray very much the wolfs ARE still VERY much on the attack and hope to locate Archbishop Vigano, so they can put him on trial and deflect their guilt to him; and then change the focus of the cleansing which MUST proceed at all cost. Stay focused on what has been exposed; don’t permit distractions.

To Jesus THROUGH Mary,

Patrick

How to Be Catholic When Your Bishops Are Not by Jennifer Fitz

 

How to Be Catholic When Your Bishops Are Not

Now is not the time for simpering fecklessly. Now is the time to follow Jesus Christ and be more Catholic than ever.

Jennifer Fitz

The McCarrick scandals are proving to be a breaking point for many Catholics. Here we have not a man engaged in a struggle against temptation – who of us isn’t? – but a man whose shamelessly predatory behavior was tacitly condoned by countless church leaders at the highest levels, and whose depraved behavior was normal in many clerical circles. How many loving Catholic parents have sent their sons off to seminary never imagining the ordeal of sexual harassment, molestation and lifelong moral compromise that awaited?

It is no wonder that many who were lately warming up to the Church are now disgusted at the thought of conversion. It is no wonder that many lifelong Catholics are considering whether their faith can withstand such hypocrisy and corruption. Trite admonishments that “no one’s perfect” or “there is no perfect church” ring hollow when you consider that the man laying hands on your teens at Confirmation would not scruple to let a brother bishop go to bed with those same teens.

How does an honest Catholic hold on to the faith in such putrid circumstances?

Catholicism Not Clericalism

In a conversation recently, several friends shared childhood stories of molestation and sexual harassment openly tolerated in their parishes. I remarked what a blessing it was to be raised in a home where groping someone was never for an instant considered acceptable behavior.

When we set aside basic standards of moral decency out of so-called “respect for authority,” we are worshipping a false god. We are making the person in leadership higher than God’s law. We put God on a lower rung, and raise our parish priest, bishop, or cardinal to something higher than God. Is it any wonder in God’s providence the rotten fruits of that idolatry are being revealed as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae?

The first step in holding onto your Catholic faith is making the decision that you will worship God alone. Our readings over the past few weeks have made it clear what God thinks of bad pastors.

 Why Stay Catholic?

There are many reasons people are attracted to the Catholic faith. It could be the family heritage; it could be the beauty of Catholic traditions; it could be the exact right convergence of time and place and spiritual experiences. People become Catholic a billion different ways for a billion different reasons.

We stay Catholic for a single reason: Because it is true.

If you have never tested the evidence for the truth of your Catholic faith, may I suggest now is the opportune moment? Your logical reasoning won’t be swayed by any sentimental attachments, you can be sure of that.

There are historical and rational proofs for the truth of Catholicism. If you make the effort, you can know that Catholicism consists of a reasonable, evidence-based set of beliefs. You deserve this gift. Don’t settle for anything less.

 Evangelizing not Enabling

But here’s a challenge for you: Do you actually live as if the Catholic faith is true?

We now know that many of our bishops do not. We can look around the pews and see that many ordinary Catholics do not either. We go through the motions, but our lives are basically the same as everyone else’s. Jesus Christ is the one most important thing to every man, woman and child alive today, and yet we content ourselves with a vague hope that everyone will be fine, and that we ourselves have no particular responsibility in the grand scheme of things.

That’s not what Jesus Christ said. Jesus Christ gave every Christian a mission to go and make disciples. Are you doing that? Are you actively praying, sacrificing, and working to bring others into a deeper, fuller relationship with God?

We have seen that our Church is infected with nasty, self-serving, slothful men who would rather protect their neat little lives than take the courageous steps needed to carry out the mission God has given them. Are you one of them?

 God Gave You a Brain

When my dad was aggravated at us kids for some stupid foible, he’d mutter, “Use your head for something other than a decoration!”

It’s good advice. What are some ways you can use your head to confront the crisis in the Church today?

  1. If you find yourself wanting to protect abusers, learn about boundary-setting and healthy relationships. Chances are if you grew up thinking “discretion” and “respect” meant covering up for Father Groper, then other relationships in your life aren’t that healthy either. Now’s a good time to start changing that.
  2. Support good ministries. Not everyone in the Church is corrupt. Put your money and time into the good work being done by people you know. This might be official parish or diocesan programs, it might be formally-organized apostolates, or it might be just you and some friends carrying out the works of mercy on your own.
  3. Demand accountability. What is the state of the Church’s leadership today? It is like a group of teenagers caught in the act and then crying, “Why don’t you trust me?” Is your parish or diocese transparent with the management of your money? Great. Be involved in maintaining that transparency. If not, when Father or Bishop comes to you asking for funds to cover a genuinely-needed expense, let him know the contractor can send you a bill directly and you’ll pay it. Men who behave childishly get treated like children.
  4. Be more Catholic than ever. Now is not the time for simpering fecklessly. Now is the time to put on your grown-up clothes. God is Truth, God is Love, God is Justice, God is Mercy. There is no love without truth. There is no mercy without justice. Give yourself completely to God and you will not be able to help but carry out your part in reforming the Church. END QUOTES

Catholicism in a Rancorous Age: By Bevil Bramwell, OMI

Catholicism in a Rancorous Age

Periodically America, like all other nations, goes through a convulsion of public rancor. That word, too little heard in our public discourse, means bitterness or resentment (and, interestingly, comes from the Latin for smelly).

There was rancor in the country at the time of George Washington, during the Civil War and Reconstruction, and so on. There has never been a fully quiet period since, though some times are more obviously rancorous than others. The media have always played a role in magnifying this phenomenon, and it has become singularly sharp in our own day.

But the larger problem is that many people, including many Catholics, are so caught up in the current frenzy of rancor that it consumes almost all their time and energy.

Social and political matters are not the be-all and end-all of life. The be-all and end-all is that we share in the “mind of Christ.” (I Corinthians 2:16) That is what is worth the bulk of our attention. In the New Testament, Saint Paul spoke of the “mind” frequently. To the Philippians he wrote: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mind as Christ Jesus.” (2:5)

So for a baptized person’s mind, social and political thinking are secondary to using one’s mind to plumb the mind of Christ, something that takes great humility and often takes us far away from the social hullabaloo.

This focus opens up the stupendous spiritual world that Christ came to bring us. There is real serenity in reflecting on what Christ teaches, a welcome alternative to the angry hostility of the national conversation. Moreover, plunging into the mind of Christ gives us the proper tools to enter into that national conversation – if and when we actually have to.

This is not a flight into mere passivity. It is taking up the true Christian task. By Baptism, the thinking Christian is presented with various urgent and immediate projects.

*

First of all, (s)he has to continue the process of his own conversion. It does not just happen without our efforts. Paul explained to the Romans: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2) Who does not need to spend more time carefully and deliberately going through conversion, regardless of age?

God starts the process: In the language of the Letter to the Hebrews, God says: “I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.” (8:10) The laws of family, friendship, politics, and every other area of human endeavor come to be written in our hearts, through the work of the Spirit and our own efforts to cooperate with the working of the Spirit in the Church.

The reference to minds and hearts means you have to know what God’s law is before you can apply it reliably. Plunging into the mind of Christ does not mean only praying. It also means reading the Scriptures and what the Church has written – not merely in order to get an advanced degree – but to taste how we should understand family, or friendship, or – God help us – politics.  Reading in the tradition brings us face to face with the full promise towards all such matters as they are illuminated by Christ. Which also helps us to pray better so that we are not just having a private conversation with ourselves or being “spiritual” freelancers, but rather genuinely listening to God.

There is a fly in the ointment, however, something that St. Paul lamented: “I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.” (Romans 7:23) The distraction of participating in rancorous conversation diverts us from the far more urgent work of escaping from the law of sin, particularly when the conversation may be sinful in itself. This is no small task and will take a lot of authentic effort –and shrewdness.

Paul understood that we have to live with love in the world and to communicate with one another lovingly: “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”(I Corinthians 13: 4-7)

This is perhaps the greatest hymn on love in the whole of Scripture. It is noteworthy that every one of these behaviors has to be learned. Again and again, we have to review how we are doing—hence the daily examen of conscience that so many Christians practice.

When we are constantly working on our conversion, we become Christian islands of calm in the firestorm of rancor around us, rather than pouring additional gasoline on the world’s fire. A lesson much worth learning these days.

 

*Image: Christ in the House of Martha and Mary by Johannes Vermeer, 1655 [Scottish National Museum, Edinburgh]. This is the largest of the extant painting of Vermeer.

 

The the importance of Christians voting in fall election: by Dr. James Dobson.. Focus on the Family

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James Risdon

The the importance of Christians voting in fall election

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, Aug. 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — An American evangelical powerhouse is urging Christians in the United States to make their voices heard at the ballot box or possibly face the same kind of losses to freedom as in Canada.

“We must vote, vote, vote to elect leaders who will defend what has been purchased with the blood of patriots who died to protect our liberty,” writes Dr. James Dobson, founder and president of Family Talk, in his August newsletter.

The highly-influential evangelical’s exhortation to vote comes as America gets ready to head to the polls for the Nov. 6 midterm election that will see all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 Senate seats up for grabs.

Two years ago, Republican candidate Donald Trump took the White House in an election that saw only 55.7 percent of Americans of voting age cast their ballots. That was down from 62.3 percent of Americans of voting age who took part in the 2008 U.S. presidential election and far below the level of voter turnout in many other industrialized nations.

In Denmark, Belgium and Sweden, more than 80 percent of citizens of voting age cast their ballots in their last elections. New Zealand and Australia both had voter turnouts of more than 75 percent.

At just a tad above 62 percent, Canada’s voter turnout is close to that of its neighbor to the south.

And the political happenings in the Great White North should serve as a warning to American Christians, noted Dobson.

“Let me illustrate what can happen in a country that doesn’t respect basic human rights as they have been understood historically,” he writes in his newsletter. “The Parliament of Canada, our neighbor to the north, passed an act into law on June 19, 2017. It is called the [transgender rights bill], and it imposes jail time and fines on anyone who uses inappropriate pronouns with regard to gender identity, gender expression, race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, genetic characteristics, disability or conviction of an offense for which a pardon has been granted.

“Forget laws protecting freedom of speech,” wrote Dobson. “Violations of this act are considered to be hate crimes in Canada’s Criminal Code. Its passage has been lauded by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as ‘another step toward equality.’ No! It is a step toward tyranny for our Canadian friends.”

Although Americans and citizens of other western nations are not yet facing similar tyranny, a growing political correctness in the mainstream media influences elections and can lead to the loss of much-cherished freedoms in West, warned Dobson.

“America and other western nations have for decades been losing their God-given rights that define us as a free people,” he wrote. “We are not experiencing Nazi-like tyranny yet, but we are steadily being expected to think, speak, write, and act in a prescribed manner in conformity with what is now called ‘political correctness.’ The mainstream media has become a tool to influence elections and spread this belief system.

“Sadly, the rights handed down to us by our forefathers more than 200 years ago are gradually being overridden, ignored, contradicted, or disregarded by the courts and legislature. Alas, we are less free now than we were even five years ago.”

Chiding the desperation of the political left in America for going so far as to mock Supreme Court of the United States nominee Brett Kavanaugh for such trivial matters as putting ketchup on his food, Dobson makes it clear that Christians must beef up their political clout.

“So far, President Donald Trump has nominated 44 judges who have been confirmed to the bench, and there are many others (88) in the pipeline,” wrote Dobson. “There is hope for additional conservative and common-sense decisions to be handed down in the future. This is a matter for sincere prayer among those of us who have longed for relief from judicial tyranny.” END QUOTES

I have for a very long time been a fan of Dr. Dobson and Focus on the Family; Patrick

 

Why did Jesus invent the Eucharist?  by: Tom Hoopes

Why did Jesus invent the Eucharist?

 Tom Hoopes |

The soul-body unity that is the human being requires treatment that acknowledges both elements. And our Creator knows that …

It is as if we are two creatures in one, we human beings.

We could say that we are part animal and part “angel.” One part of us is hungry, like a bird, for what will satisfy our body — the other is starved for what will satisfy our soul.

Jesus points to our two hungers in Sunday’s Gospel  (the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B). Last week, he showed his preference for giving us more than enough for our body. This Sunday, he wants to give us more than enough for our soul.

Bread is not enough.

Feeding the body is a central aspect of Christianity — from Jesus’ miracle at Cana to the loaves we heard about last weekend, to the Last Judgment when his test for each of us will be, “Who did you feed?”

As one 12th-century Church text put it: “Feed the man dying of hunger, because if you have not fed him, you have killed him.”

But Jesus has also always warned about stopping there.

When the devil tempted him to turn stones to loaves of bread, he refused, saying, “Man does not live on bread alone.”

Today, he hides from the people who want to celebrate him merely because they ate. “Do not work for food that perishes,” he tells them, “but for the food that endures for eternal life.”

Mother Teresa knew what this greater hunger looks like.

“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat,” St. Teresa of Calcutta said.

Recent headlines about wealthy suicides would seem to make her point. But our hunger for meaning causes many behaviors that plague us, well short of suicide. There is the hookup culture on campuses, alcohol and drug abuse, even social media.

Clearly we have a gaping hole in our hearts that pains us terribly if we find no way to fill it.

As the Second Vatican Council put it, a human being “plunges into the depths of reality whenever he enters into his own heart; God, Who probes the heart, awaits him there; there he discerns his proper destiny beneath the eyes of God.”

The only way to satisfy our second hunger is to plunge in.

Jesus Christ in this Sunday’s Gospel refuses to settle for satisfying anything less than the deepest hunger he knows the people have.

This is why he invented the Eucharist — to show as clearly as possible that he wants to enter into our lives and fill us with his life.

As the the Catechism puts it, “What material food produces in our bodily life, Holy Communion wonderfully achieves in our spiritual life.” In particular, “As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens our charity.”

In other words, it immerses us in love, making it possible to “put away the old self of your former way of life” and “put on a new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth” as the Second Reading specifies.

The Eucharist can do wonders for us, if we receive the Bread of Heaven not just with our mouths but with our hearts and our lives.

After all, when we are hungry, we can’t think of anything else.

For me, at least, the longest 10 minutes of the day are the 10 minutes before dinner. And when the milk, eggs or bread run out, restocking them is a priority that trumps all other considerations — even if it means going to the store looking like you just woke up.

That is how hunger works: It demands food, now.

Our spiritual hunger has to work that way, too. But often it doesn’t. We are like hungry beggars invited to a feast who stand outside, too self-conscious to go in — too afraid of confession, too afraid of Christ, too afraid of ourselves.

“I am the bread of life,” Jesus tells us. “Whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

We know we are hungry. We know where the food is. We have been invited to the table. What are we waiting for?

 

I Am Not One of the Greatest Catholics of All Time by Steve Skojec: reblogged

 

I Am Not One of the Greatest Catholics of All Time

by Steve Skojec

 

A friend passed along to me one of the more recent frenzied Facebook posts of a former Catholic apologist who will not be named. (His signature writing style will make it clear enough for those who are aware.) He’s not someone I believe deserves any attention aside from our prayers, but just in case anyone is still listening to him, I want to address something he comes back to time and again: the notion that Catholics who care about the integrity of their faith and the quality of their worship — particularly “traditionalist” Catholics or those who are critical of the pope — deem themselves the “Greatest Catholics of All Time.”

I’ll say it right here in front of anyone who cares to listen, since I am included in those to whom this label has been applied: I do not consider myself a great Catholic. I am, if I’m being honest, not even a particularly good Catholic. Here’s why…

 

I do not prefer the old Mass because this is somehow demonstrative of my superior taste; I prefer the old Mass because through my study of the differences between the old and new rites and my understanding of theology I have come to believe it to be a more perfect and pleasing way of worshiping God – a way which benefits both the Worshiped and the worshiper. It has stood the test of time by nourishing countless saints, and is not tarnished in any way by those who disparage it or those who have come to love it. In the same vein, it derives no additional merit from my presence and no added value from my preference. It is a testament to the love of God of Catholics over 1500 years, and it was taken from us by those who feared its power. We are so blessed to have found it, not the other way around.

I do not believe the pope presents a problem to the faith because I don’t like the way he looks or where he’s from or the manner in which he expresses himself; I believe he presents a problem to the faith because he appears to believe he has the power even to supersede the divine law, re-shaping the teachings of Our Divine Lord according to his own conceptions. These beliefs are not the fruit of arrogance, but of the demonstrative incompatibilities between certain papal actions, words, and writings that have been examined by not a small number of competent theologians, philosophers, pastors, and prelates. No Catholic feels greater for having an adversarial relationship with the man who is supposed to be the guardian of the faith, and has so often chosen otherwise.

I do not believe that following the laws and precepts of the Church automatically bestows goodness or sanctity on a person, but I do believe that they are necessary to attain goodness and sanctity. I do not believe that these things are important because observe and follow them (I often fail), or because I have some obsession with the law or some infatuation with rigidity. Instead, I believe they are important because God said that they are, and He seemed very concerned that we observe them carefully, and His ministers and Vicars and countless saints over the years impressed upon us that these things matter a great deal to our eternal salvation. It is not out of a sense of self-importance that I seek to do these things, but out of a sense of obligation to our Divine Creator, which, I hope, given enough graces, might even be transformed into a desire to do them purely out of love for Him.

 

On the same token, I am not interested in displaying harshness and judgmentalism towards sinners. I am very much one of them. Like so many of us, I often wish the rules were easier to follow, that the laws weren’t so easy to break, that we could do more of what we want and less of what we are required to do. I have often, perhaps more often that not, chosen the easy path, broken the laws, and failed in the voluntary efforts — like prayer and penance — that would aid me in observing them.

I have committed the sin of presumption, time and again, giving in to what I want and knowing that when I decided I should try harder the confessional would be there waiting for me. I have taken God’s mercy for granted.

But I do not want excuses made for me, because I know I will take advantage of them. I do not want someone to tell me that my sin is not my fault, or not a sin at all. I do not want to be accompanied as I continue in my selfishness, but rather, encouraged gently but firmly that I must stop what I’m doing and return to God’s graces if I want to enjoy eternal life.

And I do not want excuses made for others who have perhaps not had the benefit of learning their faith as well as some, because I fear they will be left to remain in their sin, and lose their hope of eternal life. My opposition to this coddling of sin is not because I believe I am better than they, or because I want them to suffer. It’s because I want them to have the fullness of life in Christ.

To be clear: there is nothing about me that makes Catholicism great, but I am made better by the greatness of Catholicism, and I seek to serve it by preserving that greatness.

As for the matter of traditionalism in particular, I observed something today that I wanted to share with you.

As I’ve no doubt written countless times, I absolutely believe the Novus Ordo is defective and damaging to the life of faith. But as I left the local parish after confession this morning, I saw a woman who looked to be in her 80s, stooped over and shuffling with a cane so slowly towards the church that her forward progress was almost imperceptible. I made it the better part of 100 yards towards my car, turned around, and saw that she was still making her way up the same 20 feet or so of sidewalk so she could get to daily Mass.

That’s devotion. I don’t know how else to describe it. If I was in that physical condition there’s not a chance I’d make that much effort to do anything that wasn’t incredibly important to me. And maybe not even some of those things.

We needn’t give up our certainties on the importance of right worship to recognize that God still provides grace to those who seek Him even in impoverished circumstances. And this is why I urge caution to my fellow traditionalists when I see them casting aspersions on those who attend the NO, or using derogatory terms like “neo-caths,” indiscriminately to describe not just those who lead the revolution in the Church, but those who have been victimized by it by no fault of their own. Some of the people in the pews at the NO could put us to shame with their faithfulness. Well, they can put ME to shame at least. You’ll have to do your own reflection. But I bet we all know some pious person – perhaps even a family member – who remains an example to us all, even though they’ve been immersed in half a century of liturgical destruction.

So who are the real Greatest Catholics of All Time? They are the people we know as the saints. By any measure, they were men and women who cared quite a great deal about the particulars of the faith, fought rhetorically and often died physically to defend its truths, worshiped devoutly, lived lives of charity and example, and did not spend lives consumed by rage aimed at those who didn’t see the world the way they did. None of us have attained what they have yet, and that is where our focus should be.

 

So no, I am not one of the Greatest Catholics of All Time, but I aspire to be — and you should too. END QUOTES

I sooooooo identified with this; may God guide OUR life paths,

Pray very much,

Patrick