Reposted by Catholic Working mom: A Lenten message

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Post : Lord Jesus, Stay With Us
Posted : February 27, 2015 at 2:56 pm
Author : danardoyle
Categories : Prayer Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over. Luke 24: 29

“Jesus is a very interesting person. His words are full of wisdom. His presence is heart warming. His gentleness and kindness are deeply moving. His message is very challenging. But do we invite him into our home? Do we want him to come to know us behind the walls of our most intimate life? Do we want to introduce him to all of the people we live with? Do we want him to see us in our everyday lives? Do we want him to touch us where we are most vulnerable? Do we want him to enter into the back rooms of our homes, rooms that we ourselves prefer to keep safely locked? Do we truly want him to stay with us when it is nearly evening and the day is almost over?”

Henri J.M. Nouwen

Enter into my home, dear Lord Jesus. I give myself to you.

I read this Lenten reflection this morning and it gave me cause to ponder, so I wanted to share it with you. If you have not done so already, consider making Jesus the King of your heart and of your home this lent. Nothing can make as profound a change in your life as this. Invite Him in, and don’t be afraid to let go! Trust in the Lord with all your heart!! Proverbs 3:5

I know that many of you are experiencing extreme cold and blizzard-like conditions. If you can’t make it out to church to participate in the stations of the cross, I came across this neat idea: Light 14 tealights. As you pray the stations, extinguish a candle representing the station. By the time you get to “burying Jesus in the tomb,” the last candle will have been extinguished and you will be in darkness. This is a great visual for children.

Also, a neat, easy thing to add to your Lenten observances is stopping what you are doing at 3 p.m. everyday for one 60 seconds of stillness and silence. This is easy to do almost anywhere, and serves as a daily reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made for our sins. You can add a simple prayer to say in that moment of silence like, “Lord Jesus crucified, have mercy on me!”

Have a blessed day. Try to stay warm!

A History of the Sinners Pray for those who need to know

I’m Catholic
History of the “Sinners Prayer”

Brief History of the Sinner’s Prayer
(Prayer of Faith) FROM
Note: This ENTIRE Document if from Protestant , non-Catholic Sources [PJM]

Bible study on salvation and the sinner’s prayer.
The sinner’s prayer, as we know it today, was invented by twentieth century preachers as a quick and easy way to save people. Unfortunately, it is a false doctrine.

Second Century
Around the second century, Gnostics taught that baptism was not essential to salvation. Christians, on the other hand, vehemently refuted the Gnostic doctrine and taught that baptism was absolutely necessary to be saved.

16th – 17th Centuries
Later, during the Reformation (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries), Protestant Theology, in opposition to Catholicism, led to the invention of Protestant denominations. Reformation theologians opposed some Catholic doctrines of salvation (e.g., indulgences) while embracing others (e.g., infant baptism). Trying to “reform” the Catholic church, Reformation theologians formulated their own doctrines of salvation from which denominations were created in breaking away from Catholicism. In the process, Gnostic doctrines of salvation (e.g., salvation before baptism, and salvation without baptism) were again popularized in Reformation doctrine. But, the doctrines of Reformed Theology did not develop into the “sinner’s prayer” for hundreds of years after the Reformation.

Luther, Anabaptists
As the Protestant Reformation developed, some churches (under the guidance of doctrines from such men as Martin Luther) taught that salvation was a gift from God and that baptism was not necessary for salvation. Later, Anabaptists broke away from churches adhering to the doctrine of infant baptism under the leadership of such men as Menno Simons and John Smyth, only baptizing adults.

Praying to be Saved
As these Protestant issues were hashed out, man-made religious doctrines increasingly rejected God’s word which requires men to be baptized to be saved (Matt. 18:18-19; Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21). Since the Anabaptists rejected God’s word concerning baptism while also rejecting the Catholic and Reformed doctrine of infant baptism, they were forced to invent a human doctrine prescribing the point of one’s salvation. Praying to be saved became their substitute for God’s command to be baptized. In the end, baptism was relegated to merely being a symbolic act, not having anything to do with salvation. And in time, the phrase “baptism is an outward sign of an inward grace” was invented and adopted into Protestant doctrine.

Mourner’s Bench Salvation
As man-made doctrines of praying for salvation developed, “mourner’s bench salvation” was invented by men in the eighteenth century, becoming popular in the nineteenth century and dying out in the early twentieth century. This doctrine of salvation asserts that a sinner might be saved if he prays long and hard, at the mourner’s bench. Stories of people spending many long, arduous hours at the mourner’s bench were common. During this time, such phrases as “alter call” and “pray through” were popularized. But today, the mourner’s bench is practically nonexistent, although some churches have preserved the benches as mementoes of bygone revivalist days referred to as “old time religion.”

Pray a Prayer Salvation
In the early twentieth century, revivalist preachers began simplifying their doctrines of salvation. Mourner’s bench salvation was too time consuming and arduous a process making it unappealing. Also, large crusades became popular resulting in denominational preachers desiring a simple way for hundreds of people to be simultaneously saved within just a few minutes. So, preachers began asking people to come to the front and pray a prayer to be saved. By praying the prayer, people were led to believe they were forgiven of their sins and saved. This prayer soon developed into what is called the sinner’s prayer today.

Radio and Television Evangelism

As radio and television evangelism became popular in the twentieth century, preachers again simplified their doctrines of salvation. It was not possible for people listening to the radio or watching television to come to the front of an assembly, have contact with a preacher, and pray with him. Sometimes, people listening to the radio were asked to touch the radio and pray. Other times, people watching television were asked to touch the television and pray. And sometimes, they were not asked to do anything but pray. Since then, many preachers in churches do not ask people to come to the front and pray a sinner’s prayer but simply to pray while sitting in the audience.

Today, Sinner’s Prayer
Today, people are led to believe they can pray a sinner’s pray anywhere and under any condition to be saved. Many preachers and teachers “suggest” prayers for sinners to pray — some are several sentences long and some are only one or two sentences. But more and more, these preachers let people “receive Jesus” any way they want. Unfortunately, people who believe they have been saved by praying a sinner’s prayer have believed a false doctrine originating from men (Eph. 4:14).

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A sinner’s prayer is an evangelical term referring to any prayer of repentance, spoken or read by individuals who feel convicted of the presence of sin in their life and desire to form or renew a personal relationship with God through his son Jesus Christ. It is not intended as liturgical like a creed or a confiteor. It is intended to be an act of initial conversion to Christianity, and also may be prayed as an act of recommitment for those who are already believers in the faith. Often, at the end of a worship service, an evangelist will invite those desiring to “receive Christ” (become converted) to “repeat after me” the words of some form of a sinner’s prayer. It also is frequently found on printed “gospel” tracts, urging folks to “repeat these words from the bottom of your heart”.[1]

The prayer can take on different forms. There is no formula of specific words considered essential, although it usually contains an admission of sin and a petition asking that the Divine (Jesus) enter into the person’s life.

The use of the sinner’s prayer is common within many Protestant churches such as Baptists, evangelicals, fundamentalists, Pentecostals, and charismatics. It is sometimes uttered by Christians seeking redemption or reaffirming their faith in Christ during a crisis or disaster, when death may be imminent. It is generally not used by Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Orthodox, Lutherans, and other ancient traditionally liturgical Christian Churches. Some have noted, however, that its content (though not its intended use) is typically quite similar to the Jesus Prayer of the Eastern Orthodox traditions.

The Sinner’s Prayer as popularly known today has roots in Christian Protestantism and can be found as early as the eighteenth century in revival movement. A biblical example of this may be seen in the contrast related by Jesus between the prayer of a self-righteous Pharisee and that of a repentant tax collector humbling himself before the Lord.

An early proponent of the sinner’s prayer was the well-known American evangelist D.L. Moody.[2] Evangelists such as Billy Graham and evangelistic organizations such as Campus Crusade for Christ brought the concept to prominence in the 20th century

. Televangelists often ask viewers to pray a Sinner’s Prayer with them, one phrase at a time, to become a Christian. Quite commonly, such a prayer appears at the conclusion of a tract and is recited in a religious service or other public service as an invitation for congregants to affirm their faith, sometimes as part of an altar call. The prayer is nowhere found in the Bible, but proponents often point to Romans 10:9-10, Luke 18:13-14, and Matthew 7:7 as their sources.

An early version of the Sinners’ Prayer is found in Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, published in 1678. … Ninth Stage. (Chapter 18)

Doctrine of “baptismal regeneration”

One criticism comes from traditional Christians who believe that baptism is generally necessary for salvation, such as the Churches of Christ and Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ. This doctrine is called baptismal regeneration because of adherents’ belief that the moment of salvation is experienced as the candidate emerges from immersion in water at the time of baptism.

One such critic has labeled the sinner’s prayer an “apostasy” since the presumption is that salvation can instantly be received (prior to baptism) upon confessing one’s sins and accepting Christ as Savior and Lord without water baptism.

Others see it as an example of apparently instantaneous salvation coming through repentance without water baptism or any kind of work but saying and believing the Sinner’s Prayer, citing the assurance Jesus gave to the penitent thief on a cross next to him during the crucifixion.[Lk 23:39-43]

An opposing position is that the penitent thief was dying under the older Mosaical law which did not require baptism and that before Christ’s death He had authority and did forgive many without any of the salvation requirements found after His Death, Burial and Resurrection found in the rest of the New Testament.[Heb 9:15-17] Additionally, it is unknown whether the thief had been baptized at a stage in life before being crucified. John the Baptizer and Jesus’ disciples already had baptized many individuals. See “What about the thief on the cross?

Evidence for baptism being necessary for salvation includes the conversion of Saul of Tarsus (the Apostle Paul). After Christ had told Saul to enter Damascus where Saul would be told what he “must” do,[Acts 9:6] Saul was blind for three days and was praying during this time.[Acts 9:9-11] Ananias arrived and baptised Saul to wash away his sins. [Acts 22:16] Baptism is also called “washing of regeneration” and is part of the “born again” conversion experience in the Bible.

Absence of biblical example
The absence of any specific example of conversion in the Bible through the Sinner’s Prayer is also used by some to argue against it. Some say it creates within the sinner a false sense of security. Often cited as an example of salvation through repentance without baptism by water is found in the example of the penitent thief on a cross[Luke 23:39-43] Others suggest that the penitent thief on the cross was dying under the Mosaical law (which did not require Baptism), not during the time of the church (established on Pentecost over 7 weeks later), into which baptism signifies entrance. John the Baptizer and Jesus’ disciples already had baptized numerous individuals in that part of the world, so it is theoretically possible that the thief could have been baptized before Jesus promised him eternal life

Possible shallow or insincere commitment
A third major criticism is that many fail to mature as Christians after their supposed conversion using the Sinner’s Prayer. An article in Christianity Today claims that “mediocrity and hypocrisy characterize the lives of many avowed Christians.”

The writer encourages believers to go beyond a sinner’s prayer and “embark on a life fully devoted to the love of God, the love of neighbor, the moral practice of God’s will, and radical, costly discipleship.”

Does the reciter truly understand what the commitment to Christ really means? Praying a sinner’s prayer with someone who isn’t genuinely repentant may create a false sense of security in the one reciting it. According to John 6:44, if a sinner is ready to accept Jesus as Savior, a biblical prerequisite is that the sinner (Christian prospect) has been drawn by the Holy Spirit.

The Sinner’s Prayer:
“Modern apostasy and false teaching that prevents men from being saved.”
The earliest notion of sinners prayer is less than 500 years old. It wasn’t formalized as a theology until around the time of Billy Graham.

No one in the Bible ever prayed for their initial salvation. They did however believe, repent, confess Jesus and be immersed in water for the forgiveness of their sins. The sinners prayer is a an innovation that thwarts God’s plan of salvation. First they replaced believers baptism by immersion with infant baptism by sprinkling. Second they later replaced baptism altogether with the “sinners prayer” so that baptism is no longer even part of the plan of salvation. If you prayed the “sinners prayer” for your salvation, you are still lost in your sins, because it is not what God said to do.

The Sinner’s Prayer

C.S. Lewis used the term “a great cataract of nonsense” to describe how people use a modern idea to construe Bible theology. One such example, perhaps the best example, is a conversion method called the Sinner’s Prayer. It is more popularly known as the Four Spiritual Laws.

Lewis used this term to describe what happens when someone looks backward at the Bible based only on what he or she has known. Instead, an evangelical should first discern conversion practices from Scriptures and then consider the topic in light of two thousand years of other thinkers. As it is, a novel technique popularized through recent revivals has replaced the biblically sound practice.

Today, hundreds of millions hold to a belief system and salvation practice that no one had ever held until relatively recently. The notion that one can pray Jesus into his or her heart and that baptism is merely an outward sign are actually late developments. The prayer itself dates to the Billy Sunday era; however, the basis for talking in prayer for salvation goes back a few hundred years.
Consider the following appeal:

“Just accept Christ into your heart through prayer and he’ll receive you. It doesn’t matter what church you belong to or if you ever do good works. You’ll be born again at the moment you receive Christ. He’s at the door knocking. You don’t even have to change bad habits, just trust Christ as Savior. God loves you and forgives you unconditionally. Anyone out there can be saved if they … Accept Christ, now! Let us pray for Christ to now come into your heart.”

Sound familiar? This method of conversion has had far-reaching effects worldwide as many have claimed this as the basis for their salvation. Yet, what is the historical significance of this conversion? How did the process of rebirth, which Jesus spoke of in John 3, evolve into praying him into one’s heart? I believe it was an error germinating shortly after the Reformation, which eventually caused great ruin and dismay in Christendom. By supplying a brief documentation of its short, historical development, I hope to show how this error has served as “a great cataract of nonsense”.

The Reformation
Although things weren’t ideal after the Reformation, for the first time in over a thousand years the general populace was reading the Scriptures. By the early 1600s, one hundred years after the Reformation was initiated, there were various branches of European Christendom that followed national lines. For instance, Germans followed Martin Luther. There were also Calvinists (Presbyterian), the Church of England (Episcopalian), various branches of Anabaptists and, of course, the Roman church (Catholics). Most of these groups were trying to revive the waning faith of their already traditionalized denominations. However, a consensus had not been reached on issues like rebirth, baptism or salvation–even between Protestants.

The majority still held to the validity of infant baptism even though they disagreed on its significance. Preachers tended to minimize baptism because people hid their lack of commitment behind sayings like “I am a baptized Lutheran and that’s that.” The influence of the preachers eventually led to the popular notion that one was forgiven at infant baptism but not yet reborn. Most Protestants were confused or ambivalent about the connection between rebirth and forgiveness.

The Great Awakening
The Great Awakening was the result of fantastic preaching occurring in Europe and the eastern colonies during the early to mid 1700s. Though ambivalent on the practice of baptism, Great Awakening preachers created an environment that made man aware of his need for an adult confession experience. The experiences that people sought were varied. Jonathan Edwards, George Whitfield and John Wesley furthered ideas of radical repentance and revival. Although there is much to be learned from their messages, they did not solve the problems of the practices associated with baptism and conversion.

Eventually, the following biblical passage written to and inspired for lukewarm Christians became a popular tool for the conversion of non-Christians:
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. ….Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:14-20)

This passage was written explicitly for lukewarm Christians. Now consider how a lecturer named John Webb misused this passage in the mid 1700s as a basis of evangelizing non-Christians:

“Here is a promise of Union to Christ; in these words, I will come in to him. i.e. If any Sinner will but hear my Voice and open the Door, and receive me by Faith, I will come into his Soul, and unite him to me, and make him a living member of that my mystical body of which I am the Head.” (Christ’s Suit to the Sinner, 14)

Preachers heavily relied on Revelation 3:20. By using the first-person tense while looking into the sinner’s eyes, preachers began to speak for Jesus as they exhorted, “If you would just let me come in and dine with you, I would accept you.” Even heathens who had never been baptized responded with the same or even greater sorrow than churchgoers. As a result, more and more preachers of Christendom concluded that baptism was merely an external matter–only an outward sign of an inward grace. In fact, Huldreich Zwingli put this idea forth for the very first time. Nowhere in church history was such a belief recorded. It only appears in Scripture when one begins with a great cataract of nonsense. In other words, it only appears in the New Testament through the imagination of readers influenced by this phenomenon.

Mourner’s Seat
A method originated during the 1730s or ’40s, which was practically forgotten for about a hundred years. It is documented that in 1741 a minister named Eleazar Wheelock had utilized a technique called the Mourner’s Seat. As far as one can tell, he would target sinners by having them sit in the front bench (pew). During the course of his sermon “salvation was looming over their heads.” Afterwards, the sinners were typically quite open to counsel and exhortation. In fact, as it turns out they were susceptible to whatever prescription the preaching doctor gave to them. According to eyewitnesses, false conversions were multiplied. Charles Wesley had some experience with this practice, but it took nearly a hundred years for this tactic to take hold.

Cane Ridge
In 1801 there was a sensational revival in Cane Ridge, Kentucky that lasted for weeks. Allegedly, people barked, rolled over in the aisles and became delirious because there were long periods without food in the intense heat. It resulted in the extreme use and abuse of emotions as thousands left Kentucky with wild notions about rebirth. Today it is generally viewed as a mockery to Christianity.

The excesses in Cane Ridge produced expectations for preachers and those seeking religious experience. A Second Great Awakening, inferior to the first, was beginning in America. Preachers were enamored with the idea that they could cause (manipulate) people into conversion. One who witnessed such nineteenth century hysteria was J. V. Coombs who complained of the technique

“The appeals, songs, prayers and the suggestion from the preacher drive many into the trance state. I can remember in my boyhood days seeing ten or twenty people laying unconscious upon the floor in the old country church. People called that conversion. Science knows it is mesmeric influence, self-hypnotism … It is sad that Christianity is compelled to bear the folly of such movements.” (J.V. Coombs, Religious Delusions, 92ff).

The Cane Ridge Meeting became the paradigm for revivalists for decades. A lawyer named Charles Finney came along a generation later to systemize the Cane Ridge experience through the use of Wheelock’s Mourner’s Seat and Scripture.

It wasn’t until about 1835 that Charles Grandison Finney (1792-1875) emerged to champion the system utilized by Eleazar Wheelock. Shortly after his own conversion he left his law practice and would become a minister, a lecturer, a professor, and a traveling revivalist. He took the Mourner’s Seat practice, which he called the Anxious Seat, and developed a theological system around it. Finney was straightforward about his purpose for this technique and wrote the following comment near the end of his life:

“The church has always felt it necessary to have something of this kind to answer this very purpose. In the days of the apostles, baptism answered this purpose. The gospel was preached to the people, and then all those who were willing to be on the side of Christ, were called out to be baptized. It held the place that the anxious seat does now as a public manifestation of their determination to be Christians”

Finney made many enemies because of this innovation. The Anxious Seat practice was considered to be a psychological technique that manipulated people to make a premature profession of faith. It was considered to be an emotional conversion influenced by some of the preachers’ animal magnetism. Certainly it was a precursor to the techniques used by many twentieth century televangelists.

In opposition to Finney’s movement, John Nevin, a Protestant minister, wrote a book called The Anxious Bench. He intended to protect the denominations from this novel deviation. He called Finney’s New Measures “heresy”, a “Babel of extravagance”, “fanaticism”, and “quackery”. He also said, “With a whirlwind in full view, we may be exhorted reasonably to consider and stand back from its destructive path.” It turns out that Nevin was somewhat prophetic. The system that Finney admitted had replaced biblical baptism, is the vertebrae for the popular plan of salvation that was made normative in the twentieth century by the three Bills — Billy Sunday, Billy Graham and Bill Bright.

However, it wasn’t until the end of Finney’s life that it became evident to everyone and himself that the Anxious Bench approach led to a high fallout rate. By the 1860s Dwight Moody (1837-1899) was the new apostle in American evangelicalism. He took Finney’s system and modified it. Instead of calling for a public decision, which tended to be a response under pressure, he asked people to join him and his trained counselors in a room called the Inquiry Room. Though Moody’s approach avoided some of the errors encountered in Finneyism, it was still a derivative or stepchild of the Anxious Bench system.

In the Inquiry Room the counselors asked the possible convert some questions, taught him from Scripture and then prayed with him. The idea that prayer was at the end of the process had been loosely associated with conversion in the 1700s. By the late 1800s it was standard technique for ‘receiving Christ’ as Moody’s influence spread across both the United States and the United Kingdom. This was where a systematic Sinner’s Prayer began, but was not called as such until the time of Billy Sunday.

R. A. Torrey succeeded Moody’s Chicago-based ministry after his death in 1899. He modified Moody’s approach to include “on the spot” street conversions. Torrey popularized the idea of instant salvation with no strings attached, even though he never intended as much. Nonetheless, “Receive Christ, now, right here” became part of the norm. From that time on it became more common to think of salvation outside of church or a life of Lordship.

Billy Sunday and the Pacific Garden Mission

Meanwhile in Chicago, Billy Sunday, a well-known baseball player from Iowa, had been converted in the Pacific Garden Mission. The Mission was Chicago’s most successful implementation of Moody’s scheme. Eventually, Sunday left baseball to preach. He had great public charm and was one of the first to mix ideas of entertainment with ministry. By the early 1900s he had become a great well-known crusade leader. In his crusades he popularized the Finney-Moody method and included a bit of a circus touch. After fire and brimstone sermons, heavy moralistic messages with political overtones, and humorous if not outlandish behavior, salvation was offered. Often it was associated with a prayer, and at other times a person was told they were saved because they simply walked down his tabernacle’s “sawdust trail” to the front where he was standing. In time people were told they were saved because they publicly shook Sunday’s hand, acknowledging that they would follow Christ.

Billy Sunday died in 1935 leaving behind hundreds of his imitators. More than anything else, Billy Sunday helped crusades become acceptable to all denominations, which eventually led to a change in their theology. Large religious bodies sold out on their reservations toward these new conversion practices to reap the benefits of potential converts from the crusades because of the allure of success.

Both Dwight Moody and Billy Sunday admitted they were somewhat ignorant of church history by the time they had already latched on to their perspectives. This is highly significant because the Anxious Seat phenomenon and offshoot practices were not rooted in Scripture nor in the early church.

Billy Graham, Bill Bright
Billy Graham and his crusades were the next step in the evolution of things. Billy Graham was converted in 1936 at a Sunday-styled crusade. By the late 1940s it was evident to many that Graham would be the champion of evangelicalism. His crusades summed up everything that had been done from the times of Charles Finney through Billy Sunday except that he added respectability that some of the others lacked. In the 1950s Graham’s crusade counselors were using a prayer that had been sporadically used for some time. It began with a prayer from his Four Steps to Peace with God. The original four-step formula came during Billy Sunday’s era called in a tract called Four Things God Wants you to Know. The altar call system of Graham had been refined by a precise protocol of music, trained counselors and a speaking technique all geared to help people ‘accept Christ as Savior.’

In the late 1950s Bill Bright came up with the exact form of the currently popular Four Spiritual Laws so that the average believer could take the crusade experience into the living room of their neighbor. Of course, this method ended with the Sinner’s Prayer. Those who responded to crusades and sermons could have the crusade experience at home when they prayed,

“Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.”

Later, in 1977 Billy Graham published a now famous work entitled, How to Be Born Again. For all the Scripture he used, he never once uses the hallmark rebirth event in the second chapter of the book of Acts. The cataract (blind spot) kept him away from the most powerful conversion event in all Scripture. It is my guess that it’s emphasis on baptism and repentance for the forgiveness of sins was incompatible with his approach.

The Living Bible and Beyond
By the late 1960s it seemed that nearly every evangelical was printing some form of the Four Spiritual Laws in the last chapter of their books. Even a Bible was printed with this theology inserted into God’s Word. Thus, in the 1960s, the Living Bible’s translation became the translation of choice for the crusades as follows:

“Even in his own land and among his own people, the Jews, he was not accepted. Only a few welcome and received him. But to all who received him, he gave the right to become children of God. All they needed to do was to trust him to save them. All those who believe this are reborn! –not a physical rebirth resulting from human passion or plan–but from the will of God.”(John 1:11-13, Living Bible, bolds mine)

The bolded words have no support at all in the original Greek. They are a blatant insertion placed by presuppositions of the translator, Kenneth Taylor. I’m not sure that even the Jehovah’s Witnesses have authored such a barefaced insertion in their corrupt Scriptures. In defense of Taylor’s original motives, the Living Bible was created primarily with children in mind. However, the publishers should have corrected the misleading verse in the 1960s. They somewhat cleared it up in the newer LB in the 1990s, only after the damage has been done. For decades mainstream evangelicals were using the LB and circular reasoning to justify such a strong ‘trusting moment’ as salvation, never knowing their Bible was corrupted.

A whole international enterprise of publishers, universities and evangelistic associations were captivated by this method. The phrases, “Receive Christ,” and “Trust Jesus as your personal savior,” filled airwaves, sermons, and books. James Kennedy’s Evangelism Explosion counselor-training program helped make this concept of conversion an international success. Missionaries everywhere were trained with Sinner’s Prayer theology. Evangelicalism had the numbers, the money, the television personas of Graham and Kennedy and any attempt to purport a different plan of salvation would be decried as cultic and “heresy.”

Most evangelicals are ignorant of where their practice came from or how Christians from other periods viewed biblical conversion. C.S. Lewis regarded it as chronological snobbery when we don’t review our beliefs against the conclusions of others:

“Most of all, perhaps, we need intimate knowledge of the past. Not that the past has any magic about it, but because we cannot study the future, and yet need something to set against the present, to remind us that the basic assumptions have been quite different in different periods and that much which seems certain to the uneducated is merely temporary fashion. A man who has lived in many places is not likely to be deceived by the local errors of his native village; the scholar has lived in many times and is therefore in some degree immune from the great cataract of nonsense that pours from the press and the microphone of his own age.” (Learning in Wartime, 1939)

The bolded words have no support at all in the original Greek. They are a blatant insertion placed by presuppositions of the translator, Kenneth Taylor. I’m not sure that even the Jehovah’s Witnesses have authored such a barefaced insertion in their corrupt Scriptures. In defense of Taylor’s original motives, the Living Bible was created primarily with children in mind. However, the publishers should have corrected the misleading verse in the 1960s. They somewhat cleared it up in the newer LB in the 1990s, only after the damage has been done. For decades mainstream evangelicals were using the LB and circular reasoning to justify such a strong ‘trusting moment’ as salvation, never knowing their Bible was corrupted.

A whole international enterprise of publishers, universities and evangelistic associations were captivated by this method. The phrases, “Receive Christ,” and “Trust Jesus as your personal savior,” filled airwaves, sermons, and books. James Kennedy’s Evangelism Explosion counselor-training program helped make this concept of conversion an international success. Missionaries everywhere were trained with Sinner’s Prayer theology. Evangelicalism had the numbers, the money, the television personas of Graham and Kennedy and any attempt to purport a different plan of salvation would be decried as cultic and “heresy.”

Most evangelicals are ignorant of where their practice came from or how Christians from other periods viewed biblical conversion. C.S. Lewis regarded it as chronological snobbery when we don’t review our beliefs against the conclusions of others:

“Most of all, perhaps, we need intimate knowledge of the past. Not that the past has any magic about it, but because we cannot study the future, and yet need something to set against the present, to remind us that the basic assumptions have been quite different in different periods and that much which seems certain to the uneducated is merely temporary fashion. A man who has lived in many places is not likely to be deceived by the local errors of his native village; the scholar has lived in many times and is therefore in some degree immune from the great cataract of nonsense that pours from the press and the microphone of his own age.” (Learning in Wartime, 1939)

While most do this unknowingly, evangelicals are skewing church auditoriums all over the world from a clear picture of conversion with a nonsensical practice.

Written and copyright by Steven Francis Staten. This article is an overview of a book being written on the origins of the Sinner’s Prayer.

A reflection on the Commandments by Pat Miron

I am Catholic

Another Lesson by Patrick Miron

Booklet Nine The Commandments

“What God commands He makes possible by His grace.” CCC 2082

Long before Jesus was conceived in the virgin womb of his Blessed Mother Mary by the power of God, and the direct intervention of the Holy Spirit, the great “I AM,” presented his chosen people, our Jewish ancestors, ten rules for life.” Moses said to God, ‘if I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO AM.’” Known originally as the Decalogue (which means “ten words”), and presented to Moses in stone they were expanded to over six hundred rules by the time of the birth of Jesus. Our Savior clarified their intent and explained their current application to our life in His Sermon on the Mount. (Matt: chapter five). We know them today as the Ten Commandments. The Church Council of Trent formally pronounced their always-binding obligation on mankind. cf. CCC 2068

Each Commandment is far more expansive in its intended application to our life than might be evident from a fast and simple reading of them. Our God is all knowing and all wise. Our knowledge and wisdom are limited. Therefore it is incumbent upon us to ask through prayer, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, The Holy Spirit, to enlighten our understanding, and give us the needed courage to do all that God asks and expects of us.

“The Ten Commandments state what is required in the love of God and love of neighbor. The first three concern the love of God, and the other seven love of neighbor.” CCC 2067
The First Commandment:

I am the Lord thy God, you shall have no strange god’s before me. “‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? ’And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.’ “ Matt: 22: 37-38 “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Say to all the congregation of the people of Israel, You shall be holy; for I the Lord your God am holy. I am the Lord your God. Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves molten gods: I am the Lord your God.‘ ” Liv: 19: 1-4

A basic understanding of this first rule for eternal life includes knowing that our God is a jealous God. “The Lord is a jealous God and avenging; the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies.” Nahum: 1: 1-2

“Other gods” means more than the molten images of Aaron, and are to include anyone, and anything that we place in preference to God, or permit to hinder our adoration or love of God. Family members, work, lust, greed, envy, jealously, hatred and sloth are but some of today’s custom made idols that interfere with us always placing God first.

The first commandment embraces the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity: “The first commandment and the virtue of Faith, requires us to nourish our faith with prudence and vigilance, and to reject everything that is opposed to it.” CCC 2088 We are directed by Christ Himself to “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are Gods.” Matt: 22: 21 This obligates us to prayer, sacrifice, learning the truth and accepting it, avoiding all superstitious practices, avoiding Divination (the art of knowing and declaring future events) and magic. It also obligates us to the Church’s (God’s) rules for fast and abstinence, which by the way apply all year long; and are not limited to the Lenten season. The Church does however permit, giving up something else in place of red meat. Fridays continue as a day of sacrifice, fifty-two weeks a year. This is a grave obligation.

*In faith this Commandment demands that we recognize God as our Supreme Creator. We cannot explicitly deny His reality and presence (atheism), including His Sacred presence in the Holy Eucharist. It obligates us to praise, honor, worship and glorify Him in all that we do.

*The first commandment and the virtue of Hope are concerned with sins of despair and presumption. CCC 2090 – 2092 “By despair, man ceases to hope for his personal salvation from God.” Presumption takes two forms. Either man presumes upon his own capabilities ,without assistance from God, or presumes upon God’s mercy hoping to gain forgiveness without conversion, repentance or merit.

*The first commandment and the virtue of Charity “enjoins us to love God above everything and all creatures for Him and because of Him.” CCC 2093 Not only are we to love God, (always the first and primary love of our hearts), but we are to love our neighbor (everyone, without regard to race, creed or color), as ourselves. cf. Matt: 6: 44 The virtuous practice of Charity also prohibits sins of indifference, ingratitude, negligence, acedia (spiritual sloth), and sins of pride.
The Second Commandment:

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” Say what you mean, and mean what you say. cf. Matt: 5: 33-34

The second commandment prescribes respect for the name of our Lord, and forbids all abuse of Gods name. Promises and oaths must be kept. We are not to blaspheme God, His saints or His only things. We are prohibited to use God’s good name to cover up a crime, or to reduce people to servitude. The second commandment prohibits perjury and all lying. “Blasphemy is contrary to the respect due God and His holy name. It is (usually) a grave (Mortal) sin. CCC 2148

“In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explains: “Again you have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘you shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” Matt: 5:33-37

Every Christian is baptized with a Christian name (The name of a saint); therefore our names too are holy and are to be treated respectfully. We are to be mindful when we make the sign of the cross that we are calling on our Triune Godhead for grace. Do so with respect.

The Third Commandment:

Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.

In Old Testament times, “the Sabbath day” was Saturday, the seventh day of the week. It was always a day of rest. Today’s Jews continue the Old Testament tradition of Saturday as a holy day of praise and rest. Christians use Sunday as our Sabbath day, because it was on Easter Sunday that Christ rose form the dead. Thus it was on a Sunday that our life under grace began. “ For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but (now) under grace. What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? (No!)” Rom: 6: 14-15

“’You shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you; every one who profanes it shall be put to death. Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. “ Ex: 31: 14-17

“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath; so the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Mk: 2: 27-28

The concise message and directive of the Commandments is love obediently applied through an obligatory informed conscience.

“The Sunday celebration of the Lord’s Day and His Eucharist is the heart of the Church’s life. “ CCC 2177 Participation in this most holy and awesome gift from God, is the single most important and significant source of grace available to us. It is grace from God in a most direct, unique and special manner; as it is Jesus Himself we receive in Holy Communion. We invite Jesus Himself into our souls and our bodies. The Real Jesus, not simply a symbol. Therefore this privilege of Sunday and Holy Day Holy Mass imposes on all Catholics, a solemn, grave obligation for weekly attendance and full, active participation as minimal worship, praise and thanksgiving to our Triune Godhead. Only serious matter like illness, childcare, or dispensation from ones pastor, can excuse our not fulfilling this obligation without committing Mortal sin.

“You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matt: 5: 48
Obedience and copying are perfect ways to flatter someone. We should not be surprised that our God desires that we do both of these things for Him. God loves us perfectly, and desires that we love Him perfectly in return. In order to do this we must hear and obey. “ So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God; for whoever enters God’s rest also ceases from his labors as God did from his.” Heb: 4: 1-3 Sundays are a day of rest from unnecessary work. This is God’s plan and law. As our Creator he knows well that we too need a regular time of rest. It should be a family day, a day of good works, leisure, piety and relaxation. cf. CCC 2184, 2185

The Holy Days of Obligation are:

“In accord with CIC 1246, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops decrees that the holydays of obligation to be observed in the United States are the solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God; the solemnity of the Ascension; the solemnity of the Assumption; the solemnity of All Saints; the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception; the solemnity of Christmas. The solemnity of the Epiphany shall be transferred to the first Sunday following January 1st; the solemnity of Corpus Christi shall be observed on the second Sunday following Pentecost. When the solemnities of Mary, Mother of God, the Assumption, and All Saints fall on a Saturday or a Monday they will not be observed as holy days of obligation.” Note: The Feast of The Ascension has in many areas has been moved to the following Sunday.

The Fourth Commandment:

Honor your father and your mother. ” Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), ‘that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.’ ‘ Pay all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.’ “ Rom: 12: 7 This commandment enjoins not only children, but also binds parents with specific responsibilities toward their offspring and each other.

Christ never failed to demonstrate in His own life’s example on earth, all that He commanded us. “All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.’ He said to them, ‘How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’ They did not understand the saying, which he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.” Lk: 2: 48-51

The fourth commandment introduces the all-encompassing, binding law of love. “You have heard it said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Mt: 5: 43-46 Love begins at home with patience, forgiveness and charity. Then like the sun, it is to shine fourth for all to see, feel, share and experience. The Catholic family is the very foundation on which the Church exists and grows. It is from the family that the children of God are formed in His likeness. The family is the fountain of vocations, so necessary for the growth of the Church, and our salvation. “Marriage and the family are ordered to the good of the spouses and to the procreation (that is creation with Divine intent and intervention) and education of children. The love of spouses and the begetting of children create among members of the same family personal relationships and primordial responsibilities. “ CCC 2201
“The family is the original cell of social life. It is the natural society in which husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life. Authority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security, and fraternity within society. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can (and should) learn moral values, begin to honor God, and make good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society.” CCC 2207

“Children are to always show respect for their parents. This is especially true while they remain at home, regardless of age. If a child resides under the roof of his parents, he is to be obedient unto them. “But if a child is convinced in conscience that it would be morally wrong to obey a particular order, he must not do so. “ As they grow up, children should continue to respect their parents. They should anticipate their wishes, willingly seek their advice, and accept their just admonitions. Obedience toward parents ceases with the emancipation of the children; not so respect, which is always owed to them. This respect has its roots in the fear of God, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.” CCC 2217

“The fourth commandment reminds grown children of their responsibilities toward their parents. As much as they can, they must give them material and moral support in old age and in times of illness, loneliness, or distress. Jesus recalls this duty of gratitude.” CCC 2218

“The fecundity of conjugal love cannot be reduced solely to the procreation of children, but must extend to their moral education and their spiritual formation. “The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute. The right and the duty of parents to educate their children are primordial and inalienable.” CCC 2221

“Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years. This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God. The parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place for the catechesis of children and parents.” CCC 2226

“Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country.” CCC 2240 “The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community. “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” “We must obey God rather than men.” CCC 2242

“It is a part of the Church’s mission “to pass moral judgments even in matters related to politics, whenever the fundamental rights of man or the salvation of souls requires it. The only means to be used are those which are in accord with the Gospel and the welfare of all men according to the diversity of times and circumstances.” CCC 2246 While this does not limit itself to matters of life, the requirement for Catholics to vote Pro-Life, exceeds ones right to choose a candidate, regardless of party who openly and actively supports abortion. We are obligated to always vote our moral conscience in preference to party affiliation and consideration.

The Fifth Commandment:

You shall not kill. “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire. “ Mt: 5: 21-22

Human life is a sacred gift from God. It is to be respected, protected, cherished and nourished from inception to death. Both inception and death are reserved to a time and place of God’s choosing. This commandment prohibits much beyond the recognized murder of the innocent. It clearly includes the protection of all unborn babies. Do not doubt that abortion, avocation of abortion, “blind” support of abortion or any known association with abortion is likely a grievous sin. cf. CCC 2270-2274
We are permitted to defend ourselves our families, and our Country with reasonable means that could include lethal force. cf. CCC 2264 The State too, in order to protect its citizens can use reasonable, even lethal force, in order to accomplish its proper role. The State does have recourse to the “death penalty,” if non-lethal means are insufficient to protect the peoples safely from the aggressor. All life is sacred, and death is to be an exceptional, rarely applied remedy, and never used as a deterrent, but only to preserve other lives. cf. CCC 2267

Life is a gift without a return policy. Illness, old age, dissatisfaction with life’s crosses which come from God with a purpose that often only He understands at the time. Our lack of understanding does not give cause or justification for murder, euthanasia or suicide. Only God can determine the intent of the actions, and justly judge the consequences. All forms of murder are intrinsically ordered, and carry the high risk of grievous sin. “We should not despair if a loved one takes their life, as our God is a merciful judge, and extenuating circumstances are always factored in. We are stewards, not owners of life.” CCC 2280

“Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of “over-zealous” treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one’s inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected.” CCC 2278
“Autopsies can be morally permitted for legal inquests or scientific research. The free gift of organs after death is legitimate and can be meritorious. The Church permits cremation, provided that it does not demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body.” CCC 2301

Less obvious is our obligation to take reasonable measures to protect our health by eating correctly, exercising, getting the necessary rest and relaxation, and avoiding non-medical drugs, and excessive alcohol. We need be mindful that our bodies are (should always be) temples of the Holy Spirit, and at the time of Holy Communion, the abode of Jesus Christ Himself.

This commandment also binds us not to gossip, cause slander, or endanger another’ good name. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Rom: 13: 9 -10 We must also work and strive for peace in our hearts, families, local community, Church and our world.

The Sixth Commandment:

You shall not commit adultery: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’ “

“Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others. ” CCC 2332

The good news is that sex is good! cf. CCC 2362

The bad news is that it is a gift from God to be used only as He as our Creator intended. Because most of the folks who will read this book will likely be married, or considering marriage, I shall cover this topic in a bit more depth. There exist today a prevailing mindset that we can decide for ourselves what is right for us. Our bodies “are our own,” and as long as we don’t hurt anyone, we are “free” to do with them, pretty much as we see fit. That certainly is the message broadcast media flaunts daily, and its acceptance and application is a sure path to hell. Sex outside of marriage is more than simply “O.K.,” its almost expected behavior in today’s New Age, anything does, don’t judge me, and I won’t judge you society, which is a serious moral wrong.
God creates everything. To create means to make out of nothing. Our bodies, minds and souls are created by God, and belong to God. They are simply on loan to us for the express purpose of giving Him greater honor and glory and working out His plan for our salvation. Unlike Grace, which is a gift, the basic elements of our existence are ours to use, not to keep. We therefore have only limited rights, as designed by God. All use of our minds, bodies and souls that do not give glory and honor to God, are to some degree, disordered and to varying degrees, sinful.

“Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept their own sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out. ” CCC 2333 “In creating men ‘male and female,’ God gives man and woman an equal personal dignity.’ CCC 2334 “Sexuality is a source of joy and pleasure.” Married women have the same right to sexual satisfaction as do their husband. cf. CCC 2362

Every human person is to practice chastity to the degree and in the manner required by his station in life. cf. CCC 2348

*All forms of premarital sex are forbidden, as the express purpose of conjugal love is the unimpeded possibility of procreation. cf. CCC 2360-2361 This includes those who are engaged, but not yet married.

*Masturbation, which is the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure outside of conjugal love making (usually, but not always by oneself), has no possibility of procreation, is ordered only for personal gratification, and therefore is gravely disordered.
*”Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. ” CCC 2359
*Pornography is dangerous, habit forming, and disordered as it debases the sacred and beautiful act of love, wrongly stresses personal satisfaction, introduces in some manner a third “person” into the relationship, and profits those who sell their souls for illicit and immoral gain. It is especially dangerous to our youth who learn to see their opposite gender as mere “sex -objects,” acquisitions and in a sad unrealistic, morally distorted sense, sex toys.

*Married couples may not employ any unnatural means (contraception) to limit the possibility of a pregnancy. To do so is gravely disordered, as it seeks to usurp from God our Creator, His option and control of birth issues. “Fecundity is a gift, an end of marriage, for conjugal love naturally tends to be fruitful. A child does not come from outside as something added on to the mutual love of the spouses, but springs from the very heart of that mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfillment.” CCC 2366
*”A particular aspect of this responsibility concerns the regulation of procreation. For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood. Moreover, they should conform their behavior to the objective criteria of morality: When it is a question of harmonizing married love with the responsible transmission of life, the morality of the behavior does not depend on sincere intention and evaluation of motives alone; but it must be determined by objective criteria, criteria drawn from the nature of the person and his acts criteria that respect the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love; this is possible only if the virtue of married chastity is practiced with sincerity of heart” CCC 2368

*”Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self- observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality. These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, ‘every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible’ is intrinsically evil. CCC 2370

*Divorce: A proper Sacramental, consummated marriage cannot, may not be dissolved or terminated.
*Every station in life brings with it joys, sufferings, sacrifices and crosses. Each has its own path to heaven and to personal happiness; marriage is but one-way to eternal salvation. The noble and natural purpose of marriage is procreation and the growth of God’s Church. However not every married union is blessed with children. This to is God’s plan, and charitable, self- giving sex is both permitted and encouraged, as chaste conjugal love is the cement of a happy marriage. God insists on being the “author of life.” “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. “ Gal: 5: 4 –5
The Seventh Commandment:

You shall not steal: “ A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight. “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” Prov: 11: 1, 21: 3 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust * consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Mt:6: 19 – 21

I forget at times to gives thanks for being born in America. No other country offers its citizens, and its guest so much freedom and opportunity for wealth. Yet we have proven time and again, that these two can be a source of sin. Materialism as a religion is commonly practiced, and we are told continuously, that it is all right to do what ever we desire. Is it even remotely conceivable that Jesus, for a time became a mere man, gave up His heavenly throne, and suffered the most humiliating and excruciating death known to mankind, and not expect that we too endure the crosses He sends us? Each tailored specifically to lead us to heaven. No, it is not.
God’s rules for obedience of the seventh commandment are common sense, practiced with charity and applied with love.

* We can only serve one God so the virtue of temperance is to be practiced. Do not allow yourself to become overly attached or attracted to worldly goods “In economic matters, respect for human dignity requires the practice of the virtue of temperance, so as to moderate attachment to this world’s goods; the practice of the virtue of justice, to preserve our neighbor’s rights and render him what is his due; and the practice of solidarity, in accordance with the golden rule and in keeping with the generosity of the Lord, who “though he was rich, yet for your sake . . . became poor so that by his poverty, you might become rich.” CCC 2407

*The basis for economic justice is that we should not take or desire to take anything that is not ours. This includes damaging the good name or reputation of someone, even an organization. It also obligates employers to provide living wages and treat employees fairly and justly, including reasonable opportunity for advancement. Employees must give a full day’s work with good effort. All are obligated to pay social security and assist those in greater need. cf. CCC 2429, 2434, 2436, 2443
*”The seventh commandment forbids theft, that is, usurping another’s property against the reasonable will of the owner. There is no theft if consent can be presumed or if refusal is contrary to reason and the destination of goods. This is the case in obvious and urgent necessity when the only way to provide for immediate, essential needs (food, shelter, clothing . . .) is to put at one’s disposal and use the property of others.” CCC 2408

*”Promises must be kept and contracts strictly observed to the extent that the commitments made in them are morally just. A significant part of economic and social life depends on the honoring of contracts between physical or moral persons – commercial contracts of purchase or sale, rental or labor contracts. All contracts must be agreed to and executed in good faith.” CCC 2410
*”The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity.” CCC 2415 “It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons.” CCC 2418
The Golden Rule: “So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.” Mt: 7: 12 “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”Mt:19:19

The Eighth Commandment:

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor: “Do not devise a lie against your brother, nor do the like to a friend. Refuse to utter any lie, for the habit of lying serves no good.” Sir: 7: 12-13

“The one you have chosen as Master is not a merchant of illusions, not one of the powerful of this world, nor an astute and clever thinker,” the Pope said during his homily. “You know whom you have decided to follow: He is the Risen Crucified One! Christ who died for you, Christ who rose for you.” “And I assure you that you will not be disappointed,” the Pontiff added. “Man’s real strength,” he continued, “is seen in the fidelity with which he is capable to render witness to truth, resisting blandishments and threats, incomprehension and blackmail, including harsh and merciless persecution.” “Only if you are willing to do this, will you become what Jesus expects of you, namely salt of the earth and light of the world; ” “Dear young people, do not lose your flavor of Christians, the flavor of the Gospel!” the Pope concluded, raising his voice. “Keep it alive by constantly meditating on the paschal mystery: May the cross be your school of wisdom!” Pope John Paul’s Palm Sunday homily to European youth, The Vatican, 2002: Zenit: ZE02032404

The source of all truth is God Himself and we are to live this truth as taught by the life example of His Son Jesus. “Men could not live with one another if there were not mutual confidence that they were being truthful with each other.” CCC 2469 “Man tends by nature toward the truth. He is obliged to honor and bear witness to it: “It is in accordance with their dignity that all men, because they are persons . . . are both impelled by their nature and bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are also bound to adhere to the truth once they come to know it and direct their whole lives in accordance with the demands of truth.” CCC 2467
What does the Eighth Commandment compel?

* It prohibits giving false witness and perjury.

* We are obligated to go out of our way to protect another reputation. We must avoid making rash, unsubstantiated judgments; we are to avoid detraction, which without valid reason, discloses another faults or failings; we must avoid the sin of calumny, by not making remarks contrary to the truth, and giving the occasion for making false judgments against them. cf. CCC 2477
* We are to avoid flattery or adulation, which confirms or encourages another in malicious acts or perverse conduct. cf. CCC 2480

*We are to avoid bragging. “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 1:Pet: 5: 5

A lie is the most direct offense against the truth. “A lie consists in speaking a falsehood with the intention of deceiving.” CCC 2482 . The sinful seriousness of a lie depends of the intention to do harm, and on the amount of harm done. All lies are sinful, some lies can be grievous. All lies should be confessed in the sacrament of Penance.

“Every offense committed against justice and truth entails the duty of reparation, even if its author has been forgiven. When it is impossible publicly to make reparation for a wrong, it must be made secretly. If someone who has suffered harm cannot be directly compensated, he must be given moral satisfaction in the name of charity. This duty of reparation also concerns offenses against another’s reputation. This reparation, moral and sometimes material, must be evaluated in terms of the extent of the damage inflicted. It obliges in conscience.” CCC2487

* “The right to the communication of the truth is not unconditional. Everyone must conform his life to the Gospel precept of fraternal love. This requires us in concrete situations to judge whether or not it is appropriate to reveal the truth to someone who asks for it. “CCC 2488 The command to “love our neighbor as ourselves” always has merit and application in living our lives as Christians. “The secret of the sacrament of reconciliation is sacred, and cannot be violated under any pretext. “The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore, it is a crime for a confessor in any way to betray a penitent by word or in any other manner or for any reason.” CCC 2490 Professional secrets, from political office, soldiers, physicians and lawyers, are confidential information, given under seals of secrecy and must be kept, except in where keeping it will cause very grave harm to the one confided. cf. CCC 2491

I was somewhat surprised to discover that ones artistic gifts and talents are also covered under this Commandment. CCC 2501,2502 As all our abilities are gifts from God, they are to be developed and put to proper use in giving glory, honor and praise to the Almighty Triune God-head. Certainly this applies to Domus Dei, Gods house. Every Christian, not only Catholic Churchs should give physical evidence of whose house it really is, and who is the center of our worship. One can attend a simple school room to learn ones faith, but if a church is to be a place of Divine worship, the center of that worship had better be the Great I AM, or it is grievously misdirected. Catholics are able, and therefore obligated to manifest this truth in a most spectacular and special manner by having the reserved tabernacle wherein resides the Real Person of Jesus Christ, visible to all, and available to all. As we have previously shown, the only, exception to this, is when this tabernacle location would regularly be exposed to desecration from unbelievers.

“A church, “a house of prayer in which the Eucharist is celebrated and reserved, where the faithful assemble, and where is worshipped the presence of the Son of God our Savior, offered for us on the sacrificial altar for the help and consolation of the faithful – this house ought to be in good taste and a worthy place for prayer and sacred ceremonial. In this ‘house of God’ the truth and the harmony of the signs that make it up should show Christ to be present and active in this place.” CCC 1181 A Church is always, first and foremost a place for Divine worship. Of extreme importance, but secondarily, it is a place where God’s people gather and are united as the people of God, in a real sense as His church, His holy people. Ask yourself if the interior of the church in which you worship gives clear physical evidence of being a sacred and holy place, not merely reflective of a “gathering space.” Yes you can lift your mind and heart to God in a meeting hall, with God, all things are possible, but are we giving to God all the glory and respect He demands, and except for ego and personal opinion are able to give God?

“For this reason bishops, personally or through delegates, should see to the promotion of sacred art, old and new, in all its forms and, with the same religious care, remove from the liturgy and from places of worship everything which is not in conformity with the truth of faith and the authentic beauty of sacred art.” CCC 2503 This directive neither implies nor mandates that all signs of piety are to be removed, as at times happens.

* “Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death. The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine. He endures death through an act of fortitude. “Let me become the food of the beasts, through whom it will be given me to reach God.” CCC 2473

The Ninth Commandment:

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife / husband: A thief of hearts you cannot be. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world.” 1: Jn: 2: 15 – 16

The ninth commandment is an extension and further articulation of the sixth commandment, which prohibits all sinful sexual acts; but you have heard Jesus tell us; “‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.” Mt: 5: 27 -30 Jesus is not telling us to maim ourselves, He is telling us that this is a serious, potentially grievous matter, so listen up.

Both men and women above the age of reason possessing certitude of understanding are bound by this commandment which specifically prohibits sexual covetousness. “To covet,” means to desire something, or in this case someone whom we are not morally entitled to have sexual union with. It applies equally to the single and married state of life, and to both males and females. It prohibits all intentional, uncontrolled sexual desire for anyone except our spouse, and even then our desires are to be controlled, and chastely directed. (We have already explained that sex in marriage can and should be a mutually enjoyable and satisfying experience). We are not to dream, fantasize, or even willingly think impure thoughts about having sex outside of marriage, or with anyone except our spouse. Is this possible? YES, but only with Divine intervention. It cannot be accomplished by our own volition and will.

“If, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous. Law came in, to increase the trespass; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. “Rom: 5: 17 – 21 God, by His justice and mercy is obligated to provide, and offer sufficient grace to permit our salvation. In the same way, we are similarly obligated to cooperate, accept, apply and use the grace as God intends.

“The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry.” But he (Jesus) said to them, “Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it (sufficient grace) is (will be) given.” Mt: 19: 11″ Even when it is sought by a priest or religious, it is a gift from God to those He extends to provide the extraordinary graces to live this life for Him.

There is much debate, most of it senseless and improperly motivated, regarding the “absurdity of virginity,” and Catholic priest being married. “Virginity: This word is used in more than one sense. Integrity of the hymen in women is called physical virginity. Perfect chastity or continence, which is the intention in men or women to avoid all sexual pleasure, is also called virginity. As a moral virtue, virginity is properly defined as the firm intention of abstaining from all sexual pleasure in one who has never enjoyed it licitly (in marriage) or illicitly. It is in the teaching of Christ (Matt. 19:11) and the Church (Council of Trent). Paul recommended virginity to both men and women on the grounds that unmarried people can give more time to God than married people (1 Cor. 7:25-35; 1 Tim. 5:22). Although marriage was the common state in the Old Testament, virginity was not unknown. Moses’ sister, Miriam, does not seem to have had a husband nor does the prophet Jeremiah seem to have had a wife. In the New Testament, Martha does not seem to have had a husband; and John the Evangelist and Paul did not have wives. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the chief example of perfect virginity, even though she was also a mother.” Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible

Directed by God, we choose our vocation. If we have chosen wisely, God provides all the necessary grace and help we need to fulfill His call. Virginity is but one way to serve our Lord. It is as Saint Paul tells us, a more difficult, but a more perfect way. While we are all priest in the order of Melchizedek (Heb: 5: 6), those men called by God to Holy Orders, serve a special need and purpose, and are (supposed to be) willingly and knowingly committed to celibacy. This is both a chosen sacrifice and a most worthy gift. With thirty – five years of marriage, many of them in management, it is evident to me that a married minister (or as proposed by some, a priest) is pushing the limits of prudence and justice by supposing that he can adequately fulfill both full-time positions. It is rare (but not impossible), that an ordained man of God can be both a good minister / priest, and a proper father. Celibacy while not specifically demanded by God, has been the long and prudent Tradition of the Catholic Church, and has been successfully lived by many thousands of priests, religious and Saints through the years. It may be more difficult in this time of sexual permissiveness, flaunted immorality, and New Age, godless religion. But thousands of committed holy men and women are waging the battle, and with God’s grace, staying the course. Are there no married pedophiles? How does a married priesthood solve this problem? We either accept and apply God’s grace, or we refuse it to our detriment. All of God’s people are called to live chaste lives, each according to his state in life. Grace ABOUNDS where sin is present.

All of us in our actions, dress, and words are to constantly exhibit modesty. We are to avoid the near occasion of sin by avoiding pornography, suggestive movies, novels, and TV shows, lewd friendships and dirty jokes. When you look for trouble, guess what? You find it! We must train ourselves to discipline our eyes (the window to our souls), minds, hearts and wills. This is not an option; it is one necessary path to heaven. Its not supposed to be easy; it’s a cross!
The Tenth Commandment:

You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods. “Nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1: Cor: 6: 9

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust * consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is their will your heart be also. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Mt: 6: 19- 21, 24
This is an easy Commandment to understand, but difficult to live. If it isn’t yours, don’t be consumed with desire for it. If God wishes you to acquire more, He shall guide you to it. We can serve only one master, and it had better be God. This is less a prohibition on improving one’s state in life, than a serious warning that God’s, and therefore our priorities must be: God, family then, and only then, career. A desire to gain more, simply to “keep up with or surpass the Jones,” is an excuse, not a valid reason. If you adhere to these rules and still acquire wealth, count it as a blessing from God, and give Him thanks.

“Envy is a capital sin. It refers to sadness at the sight of another’ sin. When it wishes grave harm to a neighbor, it is a mortal sin.” CCC 2539 “Vices can be classified according to the virtues they oppose, or also be linked to the capital sins which Christian experience has distinguished, following St. John Cassian and St. Gregory the Great. They are called “capital” because they engender other sins, other vices. They are pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth or acedia. CCC 1866

One of the great risks of wealth is endangering one’s humility. Humility, coupled with an active prayer life, and a life of charity, are key’s to holiness and piety. Jesus asks: “For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” Mk: 8: 36

10 Thing everyone should know about St. Peter by Fr. Longnecker

Ten Things Every Catholic Should Know About St Peter
February 17, 2015 by Fr. Dwight Longenecker
If you are involved in a discussion with an Evangelical Christian you can bet they will have John 3:16 memorized. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son so that whoever believes in his will not perish but have everlasting life.”

Sometimes Catholics are embarrassed that Evangelicals have that verse memorized, but I’ve found that almost all Catholics have our foundational verse memorized too. They just don’t know they do. So ask your typical Catholic to finish this verse: “You are Peter…” You bet they will say, “…and on this Rock I will build my church.” Most of them will go on to recite, “and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”
These two foundational verses reveal the two different foundations of faith. For the Evangelical it is all about personal belief and trust in Jesus Christ. For Catholics it is through the dynamic life of the church that Jesus is experienced most fully.
Consequently, non-Catholic Christians will have a low view of Peter. They see him as a courageous disciple and faithful missionary, but that’s about where it ends.
It is important, therefore for Catholics to have at their fingertips some basic facts about Peter from the New Testament to explain to Evangelical Christians why he is so important.

So here are ten things every Catholic should know about St Peter.

1. He was given a new name – In the Bible when someone gets a new name they get a new identity and a new role. In the Old Testament Abram was re-named Abraham. When Jesus gives Simon the name “Peter” he is giving him a divinely appointed role and identity.
2.The name Peter links back to Abraham – “Peter” means “Rock” and the Jews in Jesus’ time interpreted the words of Isaiah 51:1 “consider the rock from which you were hewn” to refer to Abraham. So “Peter the Rock” is the new Abraham. As Abraham was the Father of Faith for the Jews, Peter will become the foundation stone of the new covenant.

3. Peter means “Boulder” not “pebble” – Some Evangelicals will try to interpret the words “this rock” to mean a little pebble. This is because the Greek word is “petros” which means “little stone”. However, in the form of Greek used in the gospel “petros” can mean either. To prove that “Peter” means a huge foundation stone you have to consider the context. The story took place at Caesarea Phillipi where Jesus would have been looking at a huge rocky outcrop with a pagan temple on top. That visual aid gives the real meaning to the word.

4. Peter and his confession are the Rock on which the church was built – Non Catholics will say the rock on which the church was built was Peter’s confession that Jesus was the Son of God and not Peter himself. Catholics believe the foundation is both Peter and his confession.

5. Peter was inspired by God – Jesus says it was not flesh and blood, but the Spirit that revealed the truth to Peter

6. Peter was the chief apostle – In every list in the gospels Peter comes first. Judas comes last. In the Acts of the Apostles Peter takes the lead and preaches at the foundation of the church at Pentecost. He takes the lead in admitting the Gentiles to the Church and it is his authority that even Paul defers to when there is a question or disagreement.

7. Peter was the steward in the kingdom of God – “The keys to the kingdom” refer to Isaiah 22:22 where the king places the keys of the kingdom on a sash over the steward’s shoulder. This was a sign of authority. The steward held the kings authority in trust if the king was absent. Jesus is therefore making Peter his vicar on earth–the steward of his kingdom in his absence.

8. Peter was the Chief Shepherd appointed by the Good Shepherd – At the end of John’s gospel Jesus says to Peter, “If you love me feed my sheep.” He says this three times solemnly. He is therefore appointing Peter as the Chief Shepherd of the flock in his absence. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He appoints Peter to take that responsibility.
9. Peter’s role was successive – Some non Catholics will admit that Peter had great responsibility, but deny that the authority continued to his successors. His role as steward sets that straight. The steward’s role in the Jewish kingdom was a successive office. When one steward was at the end of his term he handed the keys to his successor. The passage in Isaiah 22 shows this taking place.

10. Peter ended his days in Rome – When we say he founded the church at Rome we mean he was there as a founding father along with St Paul. We know he was in Rome because at the end of the first epistle of Peter he says he is in “babylon” which was an early Christian code word for Rome.

Read more:

Hell is is REAL & how [best] to avoid it re-blogged from Fr Z’s Blog

ASK FATHER: Hope for heaven for non-Catholic relatives
Posted on 16 February 2015 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

From a reader…

When I converted at Easter 2001 from an Baptist background it seemed that the Catechism of the Catholic Church implied that there was hope for Protestant salvation. Now that I have been drawn to the Traditional Latin Mass it seems that older documents did not teach that.

Obviously I am concerned for my family, but also explaining a funeral for a family friend to my daughter. It is sure to be an upbeat affair that brushes off that she was a non-practicing Baptist, divorced from a non-practicing Catholic and remarried within a week of her death from breast cancer. I guess I am wondering if Catholic teaching provides any hope to this situation.

We live in a time where the reality of hell is often either ignored or flatly denied. Our society – and our pulpits (both Catholic and Protestant) have become places where Universalism (the teaching that everyone goes to heaven) reigns. It is seen as “pastoral” to comfort the grieving by telling them that their deceased loved one is in paradise, and only a cruel or heartless preacher would dare to remind people that the dead need our prayers. And God forbid that you might raise the specter of Hell as a possible outcome of a life lived in defiance of God’s commandments.

Hell, friends, is real. It is possible to wind up there.

Church teaching has not changed. The Church still teaches, and has consistently taught, that the sure path to salvation is found in the Church that Christ Himself founded. One stays on that path by being humbly obedient to the authority of that same Church.

Those who place themselves outside of the authority of the Church do not have that surety of being on the right path.

Want to avoid Hell? Stick close to the Catholic Church, frequent the sacraments, believe her teachings, practice works of mercy, and reform your life.

I’m just trying to do my job here, people: Keep as many people out of Hell as possible.

The Church also teaches that God is both just and merciful. God has revealed this about Himself. If God were simply just, then all talk of heaven would be futile because not a single one of us deserves heaven. Nothing we can do can earn ourselves a place in heaven. No matter how good we are, or how many good works we do, or how well-intentioned we are, we can’t get to heaven on our own.
But God is not only just. He is also merciful. In His mercy, He sent His Son to die for us and through His death and resurrection, to open to us the pathway to heaven.

His Son has done this through the Church He established.

Men have, unfortunately, clouded that clear and straightforward message and have made it seem as though the path that Jesus Christ Himself laid down is some sort of option.

God’s mercy is unfathomable. We cannot impose our human limits on His mercy. We can only repeat what He revealed and do our best to cleave as tightly as possible to the path He laid out.

Remember: God’s justice we are going to get whether we want it or not. His mercy we have to ask for. And … He will give it, lavishly.

Is it possible for God to save those who live and die outside of what we see as the Catholic Church? Of course it is possible. God is not limited by our expectations and understanding.
When we see so many of our friends and family living and dying outside of the embrace of the Church, and even see loved ones within the Church living contrary to the demands of the Gospel, we are faced with two temptations.

One temptation is simply to close our eyes and hope for the best.

The other temptation is to despair.

Both these are temptations and should be avoided.

Betwixt these two temptations, we see a course of action. We do everything we can to encourage our loved ones to follow Christ, sometimes by our words, sometimes by our actions, always with our prayers. Those prayers help us to avoid the temptation to despair.

Perhaps this is why at this point in history the Church has placed before us a devotion to the Divine Mercy in addition to our other many good devotions. We can place our loved one’s in the hands of the Merciful Savior. We can beg and plead that, even though we do not see how it can be accomplished, those dear souls may somehow be welcomed into the heavenly homeland that He has prepared. END QUOTES

FROM THE Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church

“”Outside the Church there is no salvation”

846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 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.

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.
848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”

Where can salvation be found? a re-blogged post

“Outside the Church there is no salvation”

846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 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.

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.337
848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”

Salvation through the church; YES, but any church? by Patrick Miron

A Brief dialog on Salvation, the RCC, then and Now

[QUOTE] I appreciate all that you wrote; but most of my questions remain unanswered:

Question #1: Is Unam Sanctam, which declares, proclaims, and defines that “it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff,” an infallible teaching?[/QUOTE]

The answer to the last part is YES but only because it states what the Church has taught nearly forever; It is a Defined Dogma of the RCC and it is this that make it infallible.
BUT it is the Church, NOT the Pontiff [Infallibility MUST be specifically declared] that makes this teaching binding on everyone.

[QUOTE]Question #2: If Unam Sanctam is infallible, did Pope Boniface VIII infallibly define any of the exceptions that are taught today in the CC? [/QUOTE]

Good Question: But not really relevant. While ALL Defined Dogma are unchangeable this means that the BASIC Truth can never change. It DOES NOT mean that the understanding cannot get better and aligned with current needs. Today’s Teaching HOLDS to the Basis Truth while ADDING the POSSIBILITY of other Christians who too have the sacrament of Baptism AND Belief in the Blessed Trinity; and WHO HAVE NEVER been exposed to the truths of the CC; MIGHT, through this sacramental unity and common belief under Precise conditions, also be included THROUGH the CC, in the POSSIBILITY of Salvation.

[QUOTE]Question #3: If Pope Boniface VIII did not define exceptions; at what point in history were “exceptions” infallibly defined? [/QUOTE]

[QUOTE]Partial reply:
Since, Pope Eugene IV seems to be saying the same thing, only more sternly; I think it is fair to ask the same questions about the Bull Cantate Domino of 1441.

Pope Eugene IV:
“The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; [/QUOTE]

Friend, I’m unsure you if you have a right understating of the POWER of the Church to NOT CHANGE; BUT EXPAND understanding as it becomes both Inspired by the HS and made necessary by a changing world? There was and IS NO NEED for “today’s exceptions” because they frankly were not a factor of possible consideration when either of these documents were propagated.

From the catechism of the RCC

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

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.”

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”.

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.”

Question #5: If it is infallible, did Pope Eugene IV infallibly define any of the exceptions that are taught today in the CC? I can’t imagine that he did. Who is left after “pagans, Jews, heretics, and schismatic” are professed to be headed into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with the CC.

[QUOTE]Question #6: If Pope Eugene IV did not define exceptions; at what point in history were “exceptions” infallibly defined?[/QUOTE]

SAME as Q #1

[QUOTE]Through these 6 questions, I’m basically asking the same thing Catholic forum members CHESTERTONRULES and ron77nyc asked–I quoted them in post #329.

How did the Catholic Church go from “No salvation outside the Catholic Church” to the exceptions given in the Catechism and other places? No one has answered this; and I’ve given up hope that anyone will.[/QUOTE]

These ARE NOT EXCEPTIONS! They are the result of Historical World-wide changes that NEEDED to be addressed. The Base Teaching of. the CC DID NOT AND CANNOT be changed. NOTICE PLEASE these two passages: Mt. 16:19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, [DONE DEAL] and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” These terms MEAN unlimited power of Governance by Gods chose Popes. And in Jn. 20: 21-22 which is the Institution of THEE CC “Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” This is an actual transfer of POWER From Christ to His Church: WITH THE SAME POWERS AND AUTHORITY THAT JESUS HAD ON EARTH.

John 17:17-20 “Sanctify them in truth. Thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for them do I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. And not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in me”

John 20:21-22 “He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost”

Anyone seeking more information on The KEYS to heaven, please PM me.

God Bless you,

Patrick Miron

“Real Love for valentines Day” reblogged by blmauso

[New post] Real Love and Valentine’s Day
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Real Love and Valentine’s Day

by blmaluso
Valentine’s Day is a sweet reminder in our daily lives of the love that we are blessed with. For me personally, the day touches my heart in a special way with gratitude for all the people that have touched my life… my family and friends, and especially my husband, Joe.

The special love I speak of is not the kind that requires red roses, diamonds, or chocolates. Those things are nice and always appreciated, however, this is much deeper than any of those types of gifts can convey.

So Joe…this is my early Valentine thank you for the real love you show me each and every day; the way that you help me to see the beauty in myself. That true love can only be inspired and sourced in the Holy Spirit…thank you for your faith and openness to be a vessel of His love.

Some of the ways you show me that I am loved:

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

You have a quiet confidence that allows you to be happy and supportive toward others. Even when I am off track or floundering…you are my “even keel”.

5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Your deep, thoughtful desire to help, honor and respect all the ones God places in your daily life amazes and inspires me.

6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

When I get overwhelmed with the negative of an event or situation, you always help me to see past it and focus on the good. Many times you help me see past my own flaws and weaknesses, and help me to see the goodness within myself.

7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

You are my safe haven in this life, and we are united in hope and perseverance to become the people the Lord intends us to be for his divine plan.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

The Lord has blessed us with Himself, and through his love, mercy and grace, the love we share will never fail. You will always be in my heart… in this life and the next.

I love you, Joe! And by the way, Happy Valentine’s Day!

“For Valentines Day” by Dana Doyle reblogged

For Valentines Day… For your marriage!
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By Dana Doyle

ringsThis week is National Marriage Week! As you are probably well aware, Valentine’s Day, February 14th, is swiftly approaching. It is one saint feast day that most know by heart! 🙂 It is a day that we show our love and affection for all of the important people in our lives – especially our boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife.

In a world where marriage is portrayed as being all about the perfect dress, venue and honeymoon, Catholics know that it is ever so much more! We are taught to pray for our future spouses as teenagers, when we are just beginning to dream of “Mr. or Mrs. Right.” We are taught that one of the most important jobs a husband or wife will ever have is that of helping his/her spouse get to heaven. We are taught that marriage is a vocation – a special calling from God.

Some may think that marriage is not as noble or “holy” a vocation as the religious life. In fact, we are all called to holiness – religious, consecrated and married alike. Marriage is unique in that it is the vocation through which all other vocations are born. Husbands and wives have the crucial role of fostering vocations within the family. Creating fertile ground – environments of prayer and support – cannot be minimized or underestimated.

Not only is marriage a vocation, but it is a sacrament as well. Sacraments impart special graces to those who receive them. It is important that a husband and wife remember that there are not “two” in a Christian marriage, but “three” – God, husband and wife. Marriage can be difficult at times, but we are never alone. God is always with us to help us through the tough times. The key is in putting Him first in our marriages.

These Valentines are sweet, but consider a spiritual gift for your Valentine this year, too!
These Valentines are sweet, but consider a spiritual gift for your Valentine this year, too!

With that in mind, consider giving your spouse/loved ones spiritual gifts this Valentine’s Day– in addition to the flowers or chocolates! Praying with your spouse, attending mass or adoration together can strengthen your marriage.

Our archdiocese offers other wonderful opportunities for marriage enrichment that couples may enjoy! Marriage retreats are offered periodically through the Family Life Apostolate. Some offer alone time and inspiration for couples, and others offer help for marriages that are troubled. Willwoods Community holds married couple retreats, Supper and Substance dinners, and provides inspirational marriage presentations for events. In the past couple of years, our Archdiocese has also instituted a low cost counseling program for couples that need assistance. That information can be found on the Family Life Apostolate page of the Archdiocese of New Orleans website. Find some great articles and resources at For Your Marriage, too!

Saint John Paul II said, “As the family goes, so goes the nation and the whole world in which we live.” We owe it to ourselves, and more importantly, to God to cherish the sacrament and vocation of marriage.

Dana Doyle is a teacher and religion coordinator at Lady of the Lake School in Mandeville, a wife, a mother of three, an author and an avid blogger. Visit her blog, “Catholic Working Mom” at Read more about this blogger here.

Learning about the Seven Sacraments by Patrick Miron

i Catholic
Booklet Five…
by Patrick Miron

“Seven Sacred Gifts”

The Seven Sacraments Instituted by Christ.

“All Saints have a past, all sinners a future.”

A “sacrament” as defined by the Catholic Church, is an outward sign, instituted by Christ, to give the grace that it signifies. There are seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, Anointing the sick (Extreme Unction), Holy Orders and Matrimony.

Why is there a need for sacraments?

Souls and bodies have similar needs. When a body is born it requires nourishment, guidance and love. When we become ill, we require medical attention. Our souls have similar needs. They are brought into spiritual life by Baptism, made strong by Confirmation, nourished by Christ Himself in Holy Eucharist, healed by Penance, loved in death by Extreme Unction; and guided in life by our holy priests in Holy Orders. Cf. Catholic Encyclopedia

Why seven sacraments?

The number of sacraments was determined as necessary, and instituted by Christ Himself. This is a dogma of our faith and was defined at the Church Council of Trent. The Bible is replete with numbers, and they are of specific significance and understanding to the Jewish community, God’s chosen people. The number ”seven” connotes complete, even perfect. That is why so many today, when asked what is their lucky number, reply seven. Christ selected seven as to include the special spiritual needs all of His children, by offering extra opportunities for the grace necessary to reach our final goal which is heaven. Strictly speaking, all of the sacraments are not absolutely necessary for our salvation, as “God, grace and the soul are all spiritual beings.” (Catholic Encyclopedia) Two sacraments however are absolutely necessary for adult salvation: Baptism and Holy Eucharist, and Baptism is necessary even for infants. cf. Jn: 3: 5, 6: 47-53

If all of the sacraments are not, strictly speaking, necessary, why did Christ institute them?

Grace itself is a free gift from God who Himself is the very origin of all grace. Life is more a spiritual than a physical battle, and grace is an essential weapon of this war for or souls. Christ desires us to win and gives sufficient assistance to each of us to respond to His call.

Free gifts are usually a sign of affection, even of love. Such is the case in the institution of the seven sacraments. Christ loves us so He wished to offer and make available to us signs of His love and His hope for us. The sacraments require a desire to be loved, and willingness and desire to participate in them, in order for them to have their designed effects.

Just what is a sacrament?

The word sacrament in Greek means mystery. In it’s broadest sense, a sacrament is something hidden and sacred. Sacraments are God’s response to man’s desire to be led by things corporeal and perceptible, spiritual and intelligible. (St. Thomas Aquinas) Sacraments are an outward sign of God’s love and desire to save us, by offering special additional graces, through their proper administration and acceptance.

There are three essential signs of a sacrament:

*A sensible sign (able to be perceived by and through the senses.)
*Instituted by Christ, as the origin and source of all grace.
*Have the power to produce grace, which is to say that the form and ceremony of each sacrament properly administered and received, has the God given power itself to produce and give the grace that it signifies. The sacraments act ex opere operato, literally by the fact of the actions being performed, confer the grace they signify.” CCC 1128

Baptism, the Sacrament of entry into unity with God, sacrament of initiation

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.” Eph: 4: 4-5 “ Baptism is true entry into the holiness of God through incorporation into Christ and the indwelling of His Spirit.” Pope John Paul II: Novo Millennio Ineute, January 2001

Some general facts:

Christian baptism may only be validly administered and received one time, as this sacrament leaves an indelible mark on the soul. We are permanently sealed and identified as chosen heirs of the kingdom, and have been called by name. Faith is a gift from God; that can be accepted or rejected by our free will. Baptism is essential for salvation, at least by intent. CCC 1129.

Like a newborn babe, we come into Christ Church spotless and free of the stain of all sin. Even the stain of “Original” sin is removed. Baptism should be received as soon after birth as convenient, certainly within one month. The normal form for this sacrament is “holy (blessed) water,” and the usual words by the delegated minister, (usually a ordained priest – pastor, bishop or deacon, but could even be a Protestant minister) are, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” while pouring the water over the head of the person being baptized three times. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” Mk. 16: 16

The symbolism:

“In the liturgy of the Easter Vigil, during the blessing of the baptismal water, the Church solemnly commemorates the great events in salvation history that already prefigured the mystery of Baptism: Father, you give us grace through sacramental signs, which tell us of the wonders of your unseen power. In Baptism we use your gift of water, which you have made a rich symbol of the grace you give us in this sacrament.” CCC 1217 “Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’ “ Jn: 3: 5

The Three forms of (ONE) baptism:

Baptism with Holy water
Is the normal, most common and required form of baptism. It is a grave obligation for each of us to in charity, to baptize an adult that is in danger of death, if we are not sure that they have been baptized. This presumes their desire to be baptized. In danger of death we may also baptize an infant that normally, but not necessarily, presumes that this would be the desire of their parents. Water, even if not blessed is to be used, saying the words; I Baptize you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, pouring a small amount of water on the head with each pronouncement.

Baptism of desire

This is valid if a soul desires to come to The Lord but has not the opportunity to be formally baptized. Such might be the case in countries where Christ faithful are persecuted, or if one should die while receiving instruction before coming into the Church.

The third form of baptism is Baptism of Blood

When a child of The Christ sheds their blood in defense of the Church and faith that Christ founded, they are baptized in their own blood. Similar to the blood Christ shed on the cross, their blood becomes the blood of salvation. CCC 1258

Confirmation, the Sacrament of anointing

Jesus returned to the synagogues of His home territory in Galilee, “In the power of the Holy Spirit” and He read to them from the sacred scrolls where it is written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed. “Jesus went on to inform them: “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” cf. Lk: 4: 14- 21

The Anointing:

The symbolism of anointing with chrism, the same pure oil of olives mixed with balsam, and specially blessed by the Bishop, used in Baptism signifies the Holy Spirit, to the point of becoming a synonym for the Holy Spirit. In Christian initiation, anointing is the sacramental sign of Confirmation, called “chrismation” in the Churches of the East. CCC 695

We are created to know, love and serve God in this world, in order to be happy with Him in the next. In the service of the Lord, we are termed “the Church militant” for good cause. We are soldiers for Christ in the very real and ongoing battle for souls, ours and those of all who are placed in our life path, it is certain that no one is placed in our path without cause. They are there to assist us, to divert us to hell, or to be influenced by us to also join the cause of Christ and his Church, the way to salvation. Like Baptism, Confirmation too is a sacrament of initiation into the Catholic Church, and it too leaves an indelible mark on the soul and may only be received once in a lifetime.

Because Confirmation, as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a duplication of the Gift of Himself to the Apostles, our first bishops at the first Pentecost, and its purpose is to strengthen and enlighten. This sacrament is commonly bestowed by the local Bishop with a special holy oil (pure oil of olives), called chrism or myron, which is specially formulated, blessed by the bishop in a dedicated ceremony, and is set apart for “the sanctification of men (all in Christian initiation).” All baptized Christians need to be confirmed as this sacrament of anointing completes the graces offered at baptism.

Since Vatican II, there have been three changes in the ceremony for Confirmation. The sacrament is preceded by the formal renewal of baptismal promises, during baptism these promises are often spoken for the candidate, by the sponsor due to the age of the baptized. Confirmation is now conferred during the Sacrifice of holy Mass, and Holy Communion is received. This requires that the candidate for Confirmation be in the state of grace. The sacrament is still validly received in mortal sin, and the sacramental character is imprinted on the soul if properly motivated by desire, and with valid form and matter and purpose, but the grace conferred by the sacrament is not received until that person is again in the state of grace. cf. Basic Catholic Catechism CCC 1351

The effects of Confirmation

Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace:
*It roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, “Abba! Father!”
*It unites us more firmly to Christ.
*It increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us.
*It renders our bond with the Church more perfect. It gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit.

Holy Eucharist: The sacrament of Christ Himself

“God is the only source of happiness; happiness is in Him alone, and He has reserved the right to bestow it through Himself. And well it is that we have to go to God Himself to find happiness.” Saint Peter Julian Eymard: Holy Communion, pg. 80 The Eucharist is the Sacrament of love par excellence. Certainly the other sacraments are proofs of Gods love for us; they are gifts of God. But in the Eucharist we receive the Author of every gift, God Himself. “ Pg. 81
All sacraments, all Catholic doctrine and dogma both lead to, and emanate from the Blessed Sacrament which is Christ Himself.

Complete perfection and perfect love are embodied in this, the goal of all sacraments, and the most perfect gift of God of Himself to us for our nourishment, enlightenment, happiness and our peace. Nothing, absolutely nothing can replace the Splendor, the Majesty, and the power to heal and to save as can Jesus Himself in the Blessed Sacrament of Holy Communion. Therefore we must, imperatively speaking, we must, unite ourselves with Jesus in the Eucharist as often as we are able, even at great sacrifice, daily if possible, if we are to grow spiritually, and know, live, and share our faith. There is no greater source of the supernatural grace we need to get to heaven.

Jesus, in His glorified body and blood, total humanity, and total divinity in the gift of Himself, can only be had in the only Church that Jesus Himself founded; the Catholic church. Other Christian denominations celebrate only a remembrance of Christ, while we actually share in the Real Christ. There exist no better reason to be an informed, practicing, Roman Catholic! Nowhere else can one find the Real Presence of Jesus here on earth.

The fourteenth century author of The Imitation oF Christ, Thomas A’ Kempis, reminds us of the great honor that Christ bestows on His holy (Catholic) priest. An honor bestowed the very same evening that He created the perpetual gift of Himself, the gift of perpetual earthly residence, the Holy Eucharist, brought to earth countless times each day, by their hands and their prayers.

“For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also the chalice, after supper, saying, ‘This chalice is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ 1 Cor: 11:24-25

“The priesthood is a great mystery; how great a dignity is that of a priest! He has been given powers not granted to the angels; for no one but a priest duly ordained in the (Catholic) church has the power to say Mass. to consecrate the body of Christ.” Only a man, properly ordained, has this powerful privilege. As Christ Himself ordained the form and format of this Most Blessed Sacrament, its structure cannot be changed by anyone other than the Supreme Pontiff. The elements of unleavened bread and real wine may not be either altered or substituted. The words of Consecration not only may not, absolutely cannot be changed.

So not to embarrass us, and to not frighten us by His Glory and Splendor, Jesus Christ chose to become the Bread of Life, our most basic of food, for He desires to nourish both our bodies and our souls. In fact, he desires it so very much that He chooses to Himself be that very nourishment, in the appearance (form) of bread and wine, which becomes His Body and Blood, in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. The same Jesus who died for us, would abase Himself even more than He did in His Holy Passion and Death in order to remain with us and available to us. Jesus loves us so much that He desires to remain concealed in our mist, visible to all and available to all in the holy tabernacles of His Bride, His Church.

Recent changes allow for, even strongly recommend, daily, if possible, reception of the Jesus in Holy Communion. This has become necessary, because of the grip and influence Satan has on so many souls today. Conquered by pride, greed, and lust, only the Redeemer, Jesus Himself, can save us. In our working toward sainthood, the Eucharist, which is Christ Himself, must be our closest friend, and is certainly, our strongest allay. The graces offered and received through proper reception of Christ in Holy Eucharist are quite special. They can enlighten the mind to God’s plans and will for us today, this hour and even this minute. Our will is strengthened to fight off temptations, discouragement, even depression. Frequent Holy Communion places the soul in total abandonment to God’s will, which allows Him to use us as He desires, and when and how He desires. Through Holy Communion, Christ is directly and personally invited to work miracles in our lives. “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”

The Sacrament of Penance, / Reconciliation, / Confession the sacrament of reconciliation with your God, your Church and yourself

“As the Father has sent me, even so I send you, “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’ Jn: 20:19-23

With privilege and honor come responsibility and duty. This sacrament attacks our pride by not only asking, but also demanding, that we both seek forgiveness and in turn forgive others. Asking for forgiveness and forgiving are as closely joined as newlyweds are on their honeymoon night. And similarly there is a certain trepidation, release and joy in the process. Both require love. “The sacrament of Penance restores the life of grace in us, heals us. But is a violent remedy, a victory dearly bought, which leaves us weary with battle.” Saint Peter Julian Eymard: Holy Communion pg. 91

At the root of fear and refusal to go to Confession to a priest are the prideful thoughts that either we are not sinners, which is of course absurd. Or that this sacrament of Penance is simply for those “wanna-be” pious – type Catholics. The simple truth is that it is not God who benefits from the sacrament of Penance; it is we who gain the benefit. God gains nothing but performance of His Holy Will, while we stand to gain grace, even grace and entrance unto salvation.

There are elements of logic and even genius in the form and format of the Sacrament of Penance. Pride is the inhibiting instigator of refusal, and humility is the balm of relief. Satan tells you “no,” you don’t need it, Jesus who is love, says, “yes you do.” Who do you listen to, who should you listen to?

The sacrament is absolutely required when we are not in the state of grace due to Mortal sin, and strongly suggested for what is termed, a Catholic’s “Easter duty.”

This involves as a sign of unity with Christ Church, receiving Holy Communion worthily at least once each year. Though not strictly required for those in the state of grace, a minimal annual utilization of the sacrament of Penance is strongly recommended. This is normally completed between Ash Wednesday and Trinity Sunday.

Three elements are required on the part of the penitent: contrition, confession and satisfaction. Confession is only valid when these three elements are present, and confession is made to a duly ordained and authorized priest, granted the faculty to hear confessions. In danger of death, any priests may validly hear one’s confession. Do not be afraid to ask a priest for a special time, or to make an appointment for Confession. It is after all, his job, and your salvation. Don’t be thwarted by posted confession times. Don’t abuse the good service of your priest, but do get to confession regularly!


Is true and sincere sorrow for having sinned. Sinning is a desire, at least implicit, to be separated from the grace of God. All mortal sins must be confessed, and all, or at least some venial sins should be confessed. Confessing ones sins to a priest is a needed manifestation of this contrition. It is not sufficient to simply tell God that you are sorry, even if you are sincere. Yet true sorrow is a necessary element of a personal confession. God has determined and designed His forgiveness, to come through Him, by your actions and the actions of the priest in and through the sacrament of Penance. You must be sufficiently sorry, willing to accuse yourself, willing to properly confess at least all of your Mortal sins.


The forms authorized by the Church include person-to-person (called auricular confession), penitent to confessor, recitation of all serious mortal sins, and most, if not all lesser venial sins. Confession can be “face-to-face,” or in the more traditional, veiled format. The priest must say: “I absolve you from your sins”, and you then must make “satisfaction.”

General absolutions are for emergency situations only, such as war or natural disasters. Even then, they are valid only on the condition that you will make a personal confession as soon as practical reality permits. Some errant clerics, including a few bishops abuse the privilege of General Absolution regularly. These confessions are neither valid nor licit. All serious sins must be, need be, and should be confessed in a personal confession to have the desired effect of forgiveness by Almighty God of your sins.


Is a “cause and effect” situation. When I was teaching religious education to junior high and high school students, I would bring in sections of 2”x 6” lumber on which I had written, “your soul.” I would then without discussion pass out hammers and nails and allow them to hammer as many nails into the boards as they desired, with a caution to be careful and a reminder that we would have to pull out all of the nails. Once the nails were removed, we would began our discussion of the need for the sacrament of confession by explaining what sin is, the two categories of sin and their effects on the soul, and end up by explaining that confession remove both sin and the guilt of sin. The “soul –boards” before sin were without blemish, the nails (sins) changed that, and confession removed the sins (nails). Now look at the boards and see the difference. Nail holes, the effect of sin remain. Retribution must be made for damaging your soul,. Not for the benefit of God, but for the benefit of our salvation. Mortal sin kills the soul! It is completely shut off from God, and if a soul dies in this state, it will be damned to hell for all eternity. One might think of the soul as an electric master switch that is very badly corroded. The electricity can’t get through. Similarly, a soul in mortal sin prohibits grace from getting through.

The normal form of confession:

*The priest greets the penitent, who responds making the sign of the cross, and proclaims: “Bless me father for I have sinned.” He then tells the priest how long it has been since the last confession.

*A Scriptural passage is read (usually, but not always)
*The penitent confesses all mortal sins and most, if not all venial sins. If only venial sins are present, and confessed, true sorrow must be present for at least one of them in order for the sacrament to be received validly. (In absence of Mortal sin(s), one can also confess a prior serious sin.)

*The priest offers encouragement and advice, and imposes a penance. You will be welcomed back like the story of the son who squandered away his inheritance, but was welcomed back with a joyful celebration by his father. Jesus Himself told us there is more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner, than a hundred with no need of repentance. Cf. Lk.11: 7 Satan imposes a fear, not born in either charity or fact. “Be not afraid.”

*The penitent expresses sorrow by making an act of contritution.

*Absolution is given. This is the key: The priest, acting on behalf of Christ must pronounce the words of absolution: “ I absolve you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” The confessor will prescribe certain prayers or pious acts for penance. These prescribed acts must be fulfilled.

Like all sacraments, reconciliation requires sacrifice, but the rewards far exceed them. “Go in peace.” What an incredible message, and what complete joy!

Anointing of the sick: Sacrament of special graces for the needy

“Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” Jas: 5: 14-15
“The sacrament of Anointing is a sacrament of the New Law instituted by Christ to give the sick spiritual assistance, strengthen their supernatural life and, if need be forgive their sins. Moreover, if God wills it, anointing restores physical health to the body of the Christian who is seriously ill.” Basic Catholic Catechism pg.123

Who may receive the sacrament of Anointing of the sick?

The sacrament of Anointing is available to all baptized persons who have reached the age of reason, (CIC 891, usually around the age of seven), is seriously ill, or is of advanced age. It may also be received before surgery, if a dangerous illness is the cause of the surgery. This special gift from God may be received as often as warranted. It may be applied even if the sick person has lost their senses, or even if they are unconscious. The sacrament may be applied conditionally, if the priest has a reasonable doubt about the death of the victim.

The Form for the sacrament of Anointing.

The priest uses special olive oil that has been previously blessed by the bishop or an authorized priest. The priest begins by stating: “Through this holy anointing, may the Lord in His love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit.” The sick person responds, “Amen.” The priest continues, “May the Lord who frees you from your sins save you and raise you up.” The sick person again responds “Amen.” The forehead and hands are anointed. In case of necessity, one anointing is sufficient, and it may be a different part of the body. However the entire formula is to be recited each time.

The spiritual effects of the anointing

“For persons who are unable to confess their sins or even give some sign of sorrow, anointing may be the only way that they can be saved. This assumes that they have unconfessed grave sins on their souls which the sacrament of Anointing certainly removes that the person has at some time been sorry for their sins, at least out of fear of God’s punishment.” Basic Catholic catechism, page 125
*Forgiveness of the guilt of unremitted sin, even grave sin for which the person has at least imperfect sorrow.
*Remission of the temporal punishment still due for remitted sin to such a degree that the expiation can be complete if judged by God.
*Supernatural patience to bear with ones suffering.
*Extraordinary confidence in God’s mercy.
*Special infusion of moral courage to resist temptation of the devil (who NEVER gives up).

The bodily effects can be restoration of heath if God sees it will be for His greater good and the salvation of the sick person.

Holy Orders: The power of Christ perpetuated

“Do this in memory of me.” Lk. 22:19

It is through Holy Orders, instituted by Christ on Holy Thursday, at the Last Supper, when he said and “Ordered” His Apostles to, “do this in memory of Me,” that the hiearchal priesthood was instituted.

We are reminded by Thomas A’Kempis, “the priesthood is a great mystery; how great a dignity is that of a priest! He has been granted powers not even given to the angels; for no one but a priest duly ordained in church (The Catholic Church) to say Holy Mass, to consecrate the Body of Christ.” (To transform what was merrily unleven bread and ordinary wine into the Real Body, Blood Soul and Divinity of our Savior, Jesus Christ.)

Christ instituted only one church and one hierarchical priesthood.

The Sacrament of Holy Orders was so immense that it was actually instituted by three separate actions, at three separate times by our Lord. This is especially significant as it demonstrates in the clearest possible manner, the intention of our Blessed Lord.

Holy Thursday: The Last Supper

“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. “And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” Lk: 22: 19-22

Easter Sunday Night:

“And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” Jn: 20: 22-23

Before Christ Ascension back to the Father:

“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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and I am with you always, to the close of the age.” Mt” 28: 19-20

Only men, always a priest
By God’s personal choice, and unchangeable design, the hierarchical priesthood has always been, and must always remain male gender only. God could have chosen differently, but did not. Holy Orders is a Sacrament whose form was selected by Christ and cannot be changed. Indisputably male gender and female gender physiology differs and is yet another valid reason, why the Catholic priest, who is commanded to “do this in remembrance of ME (literally ME), and therefore MUST BE male gender in order to act “persona Christi.” CCC 1548

There exists no greater truth, no greater blessing in the theology of our beliefs than the doctrine of Christ Real Presence, body, blood, soul and complete Divinity, really, truly, and substantially present in our midst, and only available to us through the mystery and power of God’s love and providence, through the hands of His validly Ordained Catholic priest.

There exist no reason of greater value or important, for being an informed, practicing Catholic, than to be able to really receive worthily, the Sacred Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior, the Son of Mary, and the crucified Son of God into our bodies, in an intercourse more intimate, more noble, more complete than any other. Our Lord and our God, our King and our Savior loves us this much, desires to be with and in us this much, abases Himself this much in the manifestation of perfect love. It is Catholic priest who make Jesus available to us in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. There is no greater privilege, and no greater honor among men.

Always a priest

Because of the indelible mark of Ordination on the priesthood, a priest always remains a priest, and can never become a layman in the identical sense that we are. There is a formal release process entitled Laicization, which if granted allows for cessation of formal duties, and may permit marriage. This has been granted to a very large number of priests in the post Vatican II era because many men who took vows really did not accept the Churches teachings on priestly celibacy, and chastity which has long and prudent roots in tradition.

Priestly duties

The main duty of a priest is to live a life of holiness. Example is always the best teacher. Priest receive special graces in order to lead others to Christ. The Ordained ministerial priesthood differs in essence from the common priesthood of the faithful because it confers a sacred power for the service of the faithful. The ordained ministers exercise their service for the people of God by teaching divine worship, and pastoral governance. CCC 1592

Marriage: the sacrament of life-long commitment and procreation

“And God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.’ ‘To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.’ ” Gen: 1: 28, 3: 16

In this chapter we will deal primarily with marriage as a Sacrament instituted and raised to a level of a lifelong supernatural Covenant Contract, by Jesus Himself. “He said to them, ‘For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries a divorced woman, commits adultery.’” Matt.19: 8-9

Catholic sacramental marriages, between two baptized persons (one male and one female) are in a very real sense brought to fruition by the bride and groom whom by their choice, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, commit to the married life. They really “marry” each other, by the exchange of their vows of commitment. That is to say that their will and desire to marry, so long as it is unimpeded, is that act which brings the sacrament of Marriage into being. “In the Latin rite, the spouses as ministers of Christ grace mutually confer on each other the Sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church.” CCC 1623

Matrimonial Consent

*The parties to a marriage covenant are a baptized man and women, free to contract marriage.

*Mutual consent is essential to the marriage. Without free consent, a valid marriage does not exist. Free will of both spouses is absolutely necessary for a valid marriage to take place.

*The words’ “I take you as my husband/wife”, is consent that binds for life. No authority on earth, not even the Catholic Church has the power or right to set aside a valid, licit consummated marriage.

*A sacramental marriage is liturgical act and therefore is appropriately celebrated in the public liturgy of Holy Mass, where the Body and Blood of Christ are made present and received.

Therefore the sacrament of Penance is foundational to the sacrament of Matrimony.

*The priest (or assisting deacon) receives the consent of the spouses in the name of the Church, and with the blessings of the Church. (In special limited and authorized cases, it may even be a lay person).

Mixed marriages

“As you saw the iron mixed with clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay.” Dan.2: 42

Mixed marriages, that of a Catholic and none-Catholic requires a dispensation from the local bishop. This is most often granted.

Our Church prudently recommends marriage between practicing Catholics because experience and Tradition show and prove this to be the best possible union. Mixed marriages may “work,” but the union is unnecessarily made difficult because of the inherent difference, priorities, and often, different values. Try to have your children associate with other Catholic youth. You and they will likely be happier in unions of both Spirit and heart.

There is evidence that by the third generation of a mixed marriage, that most offspring of those marriages will not be practicing Catholics. Why? Being an informed, practicing Roman Catholic is difficult, and requires commitment, sacrifice and obedience to Church and God’s laws and rules. If one parent didn’t have to do it, why should I?

The purpose of marriage is procreation, not simply recreation.

“The ordering to the natural ends of marriage—the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring—is intrinsically present in masculinity and femininity. This theological characteristic is crucial for understanding the natural dimension of the union. In this sense, the natural character of marriage is better understood when it is not separated from the family. Marriage and the family are inseparable, because the masculinity and femininity of the married couple are constitutively open to the gift of children. Without this openness there could not even be a good of the spouses worthy of the name.” Pope John Paul II, “God Himself Is The Author Of Marriage”

Pope John Paul II repeats what Pope Paul VI, in his Encyclical letter, Humanae Vitae, telling us in truth and Tradition that married Catholics, for that matter, no one are to use unnatural methods of birth-control. Similarly masturbation is too prohibited, and both are grievously sinful. Why you might ask? Because the gift of procreation in divinely created by Almighty God for His good, the creation of His children. Neither man nor women have the right to impede God’s design and will. God’s divine will must always supersede our own, usually selfish will. (Pjm)

I struggled with this issue for along time. In my own Pre-Cana marriage instruction, in the late 1960’s (Detroit) we were advised that the use of artificial birth control was a matter of “personal choice,” which we exercised until many years later when I read Humanae Vitae and discovered that this was a lie. God as the Creator of all life, justly demands the right to decide who will be born, and when. Sex is to be mutually enjoyable, and is a reward for the pains and difficulties of married and family life. When we impose physical constraints on the will of God, we do so selfishly, and become, without due regard to the needs, (physical, emotional and spiritual), of our marriage partners, selfishly focused primarily our own physical “needs”. We are really operating at a base nature, unfitting for those Created in the image and likeness of God. This is and is intended to be a sacrifice, a sign of our love for each other and for God, our Creator. We are to give ourselves to our mates as often as requested, willingly, joyfully and completely unless there is illness or a physical reason not to. Otherwise we might contribute to our partner seeking to fulfill his or her sexual desires in a sinful manner. Sex should never be a tool of argument, or used to attain ones way in marriage. Marriage is for lovers.

“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for God will judge the immoral and adulterous.” Heb: 13: 4

A good marriage is a full partnership, BUT…

In every organization, in every business, in every society, someone is in charge. Marriage is a partnership, with the man always as the head partner. That is the way God intends it to be, and that is why we have complementary, but importantly different physical, emotional, and intuitive attributes. The planned feminization of man has had a disastrous effect on marriages and on society, and the Catholic Church. God made us different for His purposes, and a man leading the family is paramount among them. Still marriage is not a dictatorship; it is a partnership, with as many as possible joint decisions, and shared responsibilities. But the man is to take, absolutely must take, (and be permitted, even encouraged to take) the leadership position.“ Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects (and supports) her husband. cf Eph. 5:21-31