10 Things everyone should know about Sola Scriptura by Father Longdecker

Ten Things Every Catholic Should Know About Sola Scriptura
February 10, 2015 by Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Do you know how to answer a non-Catholic Christian who challenges you about the Bible?

Knowing how everybody loves lists, here are ten things every Catholic should know about Sola Scriptura:

1. Sola Scriptura means “only Scripture”. It is the Protestant belief that the Bible is the only source for teaching on doctrine and morality.

2. Sola Scriptura was one of three “solos” the other two being Sola Fide (Faith Alone) and Sola Gratia (Grace Alone)

3. Sola Scriptura which means “Scripture Alone” cannot be found in the Bible. The closest proof text is 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” While this verse says Scripture is useful for these things it doesn’t say Scripture is the only source for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”

4. While Protestants claim to follow Sola Scriptura, in practice they interpret the Bible according to their own denominational traditions. Presbyterians have the Bible plus Calvinism. Baptists have the Bible plus their theological opinions. Lutherans have the Bible plus the teaching of Luther etc.

5. Jesus commanded and prophesied that he would establish a church, but he nowhere commanded or prophesied that a book would be written recording his words and works. This is why Catholics say the Church came first. The Bible came second. Jesus passed his authority on through the apostles–not through a book.

6. How could sola Scriptura be the only way for people to know God when, for most of history, the majority of people could neither read nor have access to books?

7. Protestants blame Catholics for believing late, manmade doctrines that the early church had never heard of, but Sola Scriptura had never been heard of before the sixteenth century. Not only can it not be proved from the Bible, but there is no trace of the doctrine of sola Scriptura anywhere in the writings of the early church. The entire edifice of Protestantism, however, is based on the foundation of sola Scriptura.

8. If the only source for teaching and moral instruction comes from the Bible how are we supposed to answer the questions that arise about things that were never heard of in Bible times? How can the Bible instruct us about important current problems like nuclear war, artificial contraception, in vitro fertilization, euthanasia, gender re-assignment or genetic modification, cloning or a whole range of other modern issues. Only a living and dynamic, Spirit filled authority can sift the facts and come up with the right teaching.

9. Sola Scriptura is linked with the idea of that the Bible is easy enough for any simple person to understand. While the basic teachings seem easy to understand it is clear that the Bible is an extremely complex document which requires the insights of theologians, Bible scholars and linguists to understand clearly. Why else would Protestant pastors be required to go to seminary before being qualified to be pastors?

10. Sola Scriptura has led to the thousands of divisions within Protestantism. Because they couldn’t agree, even from the beginning, the Protestant leaders began to split and form their own sects. How could sola Scriptura be the foundation for the church when it leads to such division? How could this division be part of Jesus command and prayer for that there be “one flock and one shepherd”?

A Special Easter Message by Patrick Miron

Easter -”Things” and their Catholic Church Meaning
Another “I AM a Catholic” Lesson

by Pat Miron

1. Ash Wednesday & Lent
2. The Four Last things
3. The meaning and Religious Significance of “Easter-Time”

Have you ever considered why we Catholics have a pre-Easter period that we call “Lent” [Could also be called: ”On the road to Calvary”] while many other [of the thousands] of Christian faiths do not? Many competing faiths hold this as a “nice” but totally unnecessary Catholic practice. … After-All “don’t we KNOW that “Christ did it all” so there is just no need for a period of penance and reflection on our lives; especially one that calls for; even mandates a level of “personal sacrifice?”

The reason for this disparity is that many [speaking again of non-Catholic Christian faiths] hold too some version of Cf. … “Christ did it all so we don’t have too” philosophy, either not knowing or not recognizing that their man-made-faith was designed to be both simpler and easier to faithfully practice than Catholicism could rightly ever be. I don’t wish to digress here, but this Protestant position is solidly NOT a biblical teaching; even though many of the churches holding to this errant line of man-made- religion, yet lacking Godly inspiration, have chosen to call themselves “Bible Churches.”

Please know that in stating this position I mean no lack of Christian charity. I’m merely pointing out a significant difference in our Faith beliefs and Practice, and explaining briefly why it exist. Nor am I making fun of these differing belief systems. But they do exist [beginning in the 17th. Century] and we ought to try to understand why they do exist.

“Ash Wednesday” is the introduction to three important things. 1. Our looming death; & 2. What the Church refers to as “The Last Four Things.” Death, Immediate Judgment, Heaven or Hell [our choice not God’s.] And 3. It is a time for careful refection on Christ road to Calvary and what our response to this Gift, ought to be; and in reality, needs to be. In preparation for the Holiest and most Important Religious day of the year. Namely Easter, we once again prepare our minds, hearts and Souls, to greet Christ in our midst, now in His Risen & Glorified Body that we too seek to someday have.

Genesis 3:19 “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the earth, out of which thou wast taken: for dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return”

1Cor.15: 47-49 “The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall [Highly Conditionally] also bear the image of the man of heaven”

Even atheist and agnostics understand that when “man” dies his body returns to “dust.” Many don’t understand why, beyond the natural physics of the process. Secular science affirms the process and the results, as doe’s cremation. This begs the question: “Is that ALL there is?” NO!
At-least “No” for all Christians that do have eyes that “can see” … Ezek. 12:2, and ears that can and DO “hear.” … Mark 4:9.

The History of Ash Wednesday dates In Sacred Tradition from the very early Church. Going back at least a thousand years or more.

“”Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return.”

“Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental [something that is blessed and able to lead one to a closer relationship with Christ such as Holy Water or our Rosaries] by the blessing of the Church, and they help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice.

The distribution of ashes comes from a ceremony of ages past. Christians who had committed grave faults performed public penance. On Ash Wednesday, the Bishop blessed the hair shirts which they were to wear during the forty days of penance, and sprinkled over them ashes made from the palms from the previous year. Then, while the faithful recited the Seven Penitential Psalms, the penitents were turned out of the church because of their sins — just as Adam, the first man, was turned out of Paradise because of his disobedience. The penitents did not enter the church again until Maundy Thursday after having won reconciliation by the toil of forty days’ penance and sacramental absolution. Later, all Christians, whether public or secret penitents, came to receive ashes out of devotion. In earlier times, the distribution of ashes was followed by a penitential procession” END QUOTE

Ash Wednesday
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting, is the first day of Lent in Western Christianity. It occurs 46 days (40 weekdays plus 6 Sundays) before Easter and can fall as early as 4 February or as late as 10 March. Ash Wednesday is observed by many Western Christians, including Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Anglicans, and Presbyterians.

According to the canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus Christ spent 40 days fasting in the desert, where he endured temptation by Satan. Lent originated as a mirroring of this, fasting 40 days as preparation for Easter. Every Sunday was seen as a commemoration of the Sunday of Christ’s resurrection and so as a feast day on which fasting was inappropriate. Accordingly, Christians fasted from Monday to Saturday (6 days) during 6 weeks and from Wednesday to Saturday (4 days) in the preceding week, thus making up the number of 40 days.

Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of blessing ashes made from palm branches blessed on the previous year Palm Sunday, and placing them on the heads of participants to the accompaniment of the words “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”.

In the 1969 revision of the Roman Rite, an alternative formula was introduced and given first place:

Repent, and believe in the Gospel. (Mark 1:15).

The old formula, based on the words spoken to Adam and Eve after their sin, reminds worshippers of their sinfulness and mortality and thus, implicitly, of their need to repent in time. The newer formula makes explicit what was only implicit in the old.” END QUOTE

The History of using ASHES on Ash Wednesday …

http://www.popnj.org/excerpts/tr_25.htm

With whom did the custom of using Ashes during mourning or repentance begin?

There is a tendency to associate the use of ashes as a symbol of repentance only with today’s Catholic church. But in fact, the use of ashes (along with sackcloth) to indicate mourning, deep repentance or humility — goes back over three thousand years and involved many cultures. As early as 800 BC, Homer wrote about it in The Iliad, and records show that it was practiced by Greeks, by Hebrews and by many other cultures of the western Mediterranean.

Ashes were regarded as a symbol of personal remorse and sadness. Often an uncomfortable “sackcloth” garment made of coarse black goat’s hair, was worn as well.

There are many Old Testament references to the practice. Here are a few:

• Job 42:6 “Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job (whose story was written between seventh and fifth centuries B.C.) repented in sackcloth and ashes while prophesying the Babylonian captivity of Jerusalem.
• Dan 9:3 (c. 550 B.C.) “And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes.”
• Jonah 3:5-6 In the fifth century B.C., after Jonah’s preaching of conversion and repentance, the town of Nineveh proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, and the king covered himself with sackcloth and sat in the ashes.
• Esther 4:1 “When Mordecai perceived all that was done [the decree of King Xerxes, 485-464 B.C., of Persia to kill all of the Jewish people in the Persian Empire], Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry.”

The very early Christian church encouraged the use of sackcloth and ashes for the same symbolic reasons. Tertullian (c. 160-220 AD) wrote that the penitent must “live without joy in the roughness of sackcloth and the squalor of ashes.” Eusebius (260-340 AD), the famous early church historian, recounted in his “The History of the church” how an apostate named Natalis came to Pope Zephyrinus clothed in sackcloth and ashes begging forgiveness. Also during this time, for those who were required to do public penance, the priest sprinkled ashes on the head of the person leaving confession.

How did Lent, as a season of the church, begin?

Lent was first begun as a time of preparation for the joy of Easter. At first only catechumens and their sponsors fasted for a few days prior to Easter in final preparation for baptism. But over time the duration of preparation varied. For example in Rome, Easter was preceded by a full week of fasting and prayer. By the end of the fourth century the symbolism of a forty day penitential period, paralleling Christ’s forty days in the desert, captivated the imagination and a longer Lenten Season appeared. Forty days were chosen as a memorial of the forty days Jesus fasted in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-4), which in turn recalled the forty years Israel wandered in the desert (Num 32:13) … END QUOTE

The significance of Ashes is a visible reminder of both our Creation by God, who brought forth man out of the dust of the earth, and our looming death where we return again “to dust”, and our Hope, filled with Faith and Love that we too may merit the eternal rewards for which we were and are created. … In order to do this we must Know, Love, serve and Obey the Mandates, Precepts, Commandments and Commands of Jesus Christ, taught to us fully and perfectly by His Catholic Church. The application of The Cross made in ashes on our foreheads is way to remind us; to make us cognizant of Christ Road to Calvary, by the little sacrifices and increased prayers and Spiritual works of mercy as a reminder that all that we do has a connection, and imposes a moral obligation to in a sense; join Christ “ON Calvary.” We are asked to contribute to our own sanctification, our own personal piety and holy practices, some increased level of personal-sacrifice which aims to keep us connected to the forty days of Lent as a path to our own Spiritual Enrichment. One step closer to our goal of Eternal Union with Jesus in Heaven.

1Tim.2: 4 “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”

John.3: 1 “For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him”

Matt.10: 22 “and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved”

It is precisely this last teaching that gives Easter Tide its meaning, merit and value to Souls wise enough to advantage this time of Lenten penance and preparation. To take advantage of the Sacraments Christ Himself instituted to give us an Graced-advantage never before granted to our forefathers. Christian Baptism, Sacramental known forgiveness of our sins, through the Sacrament of Confession; Sacramental Confirmation where we are marked Indelibly as “soldiers” for Christ [Now a member of His “Church Militant”] in and through the Only Church He Jesus Founded, desired, guides, guards and protects. [Mt. 16:15-19; Mt. 28:16-20 & John 17:11-26] And the very Gift of HIMSELF to us in Catholic Holy Communion. Each of these gifts which only the Catholic Church has both validly and licitly, with the potential to maximize the Graces they make available to us when rightly administered and received.

Jesus Rose from the Dead to demonstrate that this is what we too are being called to, and can merit IF we are willing to forsake the world and allow and permit Christ to be “KING of our lives.”
To assume that Christ became Incarnate man, Suffered, Died, was buried BUT Rose again on the Third day in GLORY, but expects nothing more from us than a simple acknowledgment that HE IS OUR GOD, is blatantly foolhardy, not biblical and puts many Souls at risk.

Take Up your Cross and Follow Me

Phil.2: 8 “And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross Luke.9 :23 And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Mark.8: 34 And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Luke.9: 23 And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke.14: 7 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” Matt.5: 19 “Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. “ Matt.19: 17 “And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”

Sin is glorified, denied, misunderstood, rejected, and interpreted “favorably”; but all these attempts at denial cannot hide their abhorrence to Jesus Christ, whom we offend, at times even gravely, by our life choices. Lent, leading into and up to Easter Day invites us to carry OUR crosses daily, without complaint, and offer up our sacrifices back to Christ and BEG forgiveness for all the times we have allowed our prideful choices to take precedence over our God, our Creator and the One who WILL [Soon?] pass Judgment on our lives.

Mark.1: 15 “and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.” … And despite the many screaming to the effect that truth is not singular; claiming that my truth is as important [and as valid] as is yours; I am reminded of the words of Pope Benedict at the time of his acceptance as the Successor of Peter: ”THERE CANNOT BE YOUR TRUTH AND MY TRUTH OR THERE WOULD BE NO TRUTH.”… To which I add AMEN!

To assume that all of are not in urgent need of this time of recommitment, or for some a first time commitment is to pass up an opportunity to return to Christ just a small portion of what He has given to us. HOW DARE WE NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT.

1John.1 Verses 8 to 10 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

1John.5 Verses 16 to 17 “If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal.

John.20 Verses 20 to 23” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 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. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained”

Lenten Fast Rules:

What is the Church’s official position concerning penance and abstinence from meat during Lent?

In 1966 Pope Paul VI reorganized the Church’s practice of public penance in his “Apostolic Constitution on Penance” (Poenitemini). The 1983 revision of the Code of Canon Law incorporated the changes made by Pope Paul. Not long after that, the U.S. bishops applied the canonical requirements to the practice of public penance in our country.

To sum up those requirements, Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In addition, all Catholics 14 years old and older must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Fridays of Lent.

Fasting as explained by the U.S. bishops means partaking of only one full meal. Some food (not equaling another full meal) is permitted at breakfast and around midday or in the evening—depending on when a person chooses to eat the main or full meal.

Abstinence forbids the use of meat, but not of eggs, milk products or condiments made of animal fat.

Abstinence does not include meat juices and liquid foods made from meat. Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consomme, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are not forbidden. So it is permissible to use margarine and lard. Even bacon drippings which contain little bits of meat may be poured over lettuce as seasoning.

Each year in publishing the Lenten penance requirements, the U.S. bishops quote the teaching of the Holy Father concerning the seriousness of observing these days of penance. The obligation to do penance is a serious one; the obligation to observe, as a whole or “substantially,” the days of penance is also serious.

But no one should be scrupulous in this regard; failure to observe individual days of penance is not considered serious. Moral theologians remind us that some people are excused from fasting and/or abstinence because of sickness or other reasons.

In his “Apostolic Constitution on Penance,” Pope Paul VI did more than simply reorganize Church law concerning fast and abstinence. He reminded us of the divine law that each of us in our own way do penance. We must all turn from sin and make reparation to God for our sins. We must forgive and show love for one another just as we ask for God’s love and forgiveness.

The Code of Canon Law and our bishops remind us of other works and means of doing penance: prayer, acts of self-denial, almsgiving and works of personal charity. Attending Mass daily or several times a week, praying the rosary, making the way of the cross, attending the parish evening prayer service, teaching the illiterate to read, reading to the blind, helping at a soup kitchen, visiting the sick and shut-ins and giving an overworked mother a break by baby-sitting—all of these can be even more meaningful and demanding than simply abstaining from meat on Friday.

from Ask A Franciscan, St.Anthony Messenger magazine

If Suffering was necessary for Christ, how friends can it not ALSO be good; even necessary for us? Do NOT buy into the recent man-made religions skewed and favorable to THEM, not to God and certainly not to our spiritual wellbeing philosophy that God Did it ALL. God COULD have but choose NOT to which is why we hold our Martyrs in such high esteem.

Never has a Soul made it to Sainthood without suffering. STRIVE to be a saint!

Mark 1: 15-18
[15] and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.” [16] And passing along by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. [17] And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.” [18] And immediately they left their nets and followed him.” To “believe in Christ Gospel” we must 1. Listen to what His Church [singular] Teaches and 2. And then OBEY it.

Don’t presume that Christ is going to give you tomorrow. The “Four Last things: Death, Judgment, Hell or Heaven are much closer than we would like to think they are.

Pray much dear friends,
Patrick

What Should I Do For Lent? Pope Francis’ 10 Tips
by Kevin Cotter | FEBRUARY 9, 2015

Every year Catholics try to answer the age old question: What should I do for Lent? Well, who better to pick for as your Lenten spiritual director than Pope Francis? He has some great ideas for you!

Here we selected 10 of his best tips:

1. Get rid of the lazy addiction to evil

“[Lent] is a ‘powerful’ season, a turning point that can foster change and conversion in each of us. We all need to improve, to change for the better. Lent helps us and thus we leave behind old habits and the lazy addiction to the evil that deceives and ensnares us.” – General Audience, March 5, 2014

2. Do something that hurts

“Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty. Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt.” – Lenten Message, 2014

3. Don’t remain indifferent

“Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience. God is not indifferent to our world; he so loves it that he gave his Son for our salvation.” –Lenten Message, 2015

4. Pray: Make our hearts like yours!

“During this Lent, then, brothers and sisters, let us all ask the Lord: ‘Fac cor nostrum secundum cor tuum’: Make our hearts like yours (Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus). In this way we will receive a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference.” – Lenten Message, 2015

5. Take part in the sacraments

“Lent is a favorable time for letting Christ serve us so that we in turn may become more like him. This happens whenever we hear the word of God and receive the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. There we become what we receive: the Body of Christ.” – Lenten Message, 2015

6. Prayer

“In the face of so many wounds that hurt us and could harden our hearts, we are called to dive into the sea of prayer, which is the sea of God’s boundless love, to taste his tenderness. Lent is a time of prayer, of more intense prayer, more prolonged, more assiduous, more able to take on the needs of the brethren; intercessory prayer, to intercede before God for the many situations of poverty and suffering.” – Homily, March 5, 2014

7. Fasting

“We must be careful not to practice a formal fast, or one which in truth ‘satisfies’ us because it makes us feel good about ourselves. Fasting makes sense if it questions our security, and if it also leads to some benefit for others, if it helps us to cultivate the style of the Good Samaritan, who bends down to his brother in need and takes care of him.” – Homily, March 5, 2014

8. Almsgiving

“Today gratuitousness is often not part of daily life where everything is bought and sold. Everything is calculated and measured. Almsgiving helps us to experience giving freely, which leads to freedom from the obsession of possessing, from the fear of losing what we have, from the sadness of one who does not wish to share his wealth with others.” – Homily, March 5, 2014

9. Help the Poor

“In the poor and outcast we see Christ’s face; by loving and helping the poor, we love and serve Christ. Our efforts are also directed to ending violations of human dignity, discrimination and abuse in the world, for these are so often the cause of destitution. When power, luxury and money become idols, they take priority over the need for a fair distribution of wealth. Our consciences thus need to be converted to justice, equality, simplicity and sharing.” – Lenten Message, 2014

10. Evangelize

“The Lord asks us to be joyous heralds of this message of mercy and hope! It is thrilling to experience the joy of spreading this good news, sharing the treasure entrusted to us, consoling broken hearts and offering hope to our brothers and sisters experiencing darkness.” – Lenten Message, 2014

Easter Time, Lent and the Catholic Church by Patrick Miron

Easter -”Things” and their Catholic Church Meaning

Another “I AM a Catholic” Lesson

by Pat Miron

1. Ash Wednesday & Lent
2. The Four Last things
3. The meaning and Religious Significance of “Easter-Time”

Have you ever considered why we Catholics have a pre-Easter period that we call “Lent” while many other [of the thousands] of Christian faiths do not? Many hold this as a “nice” but totally unnecessary Catholic practice. … After-All don’t we KNOW that “Christ did it all” so there is just no need for a period of penance and reflection on our lives; especially one that calls for; even mandates “personal sacrifice?”

The reason for this disparity is that many [again non-Catholic Christian faiths hold too some version of Cf. … “Christ did it all so we don’t have too” philosophy, either not knowing or not recognizing that their man-made-faith was designed to be both simpler and easier to faithfully practice than Catholicism could rightly ever be. I don’t wish to digress here, but this Protestant position is solidly NOT a biblical teaching; even though many of the churches holding to this errant line of man-made- religion, but lacking Godly inspiration, and have chosen to call themselves “Bible Churches.”

Please know that in stating this position I mean no lack of Christian charity. I’m merely pointing out a significant difference in our Faith beliefs and Practice, and explaining briefly why it exist. Nor am I making fun of these differing belief systems. But they do exist [beginning in the 17th. Century] and we ought to try to understand why they do exist.

“Ash Wednesday” is the introduction to two important things. 1. Our looming death; & 2. What the Church refers to as “The Last Four Things.” Death, Immediate Judgment, Heaven or Hell [our choice not God’s.] In preparation for the Holiest and most Important Religious day of the year. Namely Easter, we once again prepare our minds, hearts and Souls, to greet Christ in our midst, now in His Risen & Glorified Body that we too seek to someday have.

Genesis 3:19 “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the earth, out of which thou wast taken: for dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return”

1Cor.15: 47-49 “The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall [Highly Conditionally] also bear the image of the man of heaven”

Even atheist and agnostics understand that when “man” dies his body returns to “dust.” Many don’t understand why, beyond the natural physics of the process. Secular science affirms the process and the results, as doe’s cremation. This begs the question: “Is that ALL there is?” NO!
At-least “No” for all Christians that do have eyes that “can see” … Ezek. 12:2, and ears that can and DO “hear.” … Mark 4:9.

The History of Ash Wednesday dates from tradition in the very early Church. Going back at least a thousand years or more.

“”Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return.”

“Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental [something that is blessed and able to lead one to a closer relationship with Christ such as Holy Water or our Rosaries] by the blessing of the Church, and they help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice.

The distribution of ashes comes from a ceremony of ages past. Christians who had committed grave faults performed public penance. On Ash Wednesday, the Bishop blessed the hair shirts which they were to wear during the forty days of penance, and sprinkled over them ashes made from the palms from the previous year. Then, while the faithful recited the Seven Penitential Psalms, the penitents were turned out of the church because of their sins — just as Adam, the first man, was turned out of Paradise because of his disobedience. The penitents did not enter the church again until Maundy Thursday after having won reconciliation by the toil of forty days’ penance and sacramental absolution. Later, all Christians, whether public or secret penitents, came to receive ashes out of devotion. In earlier times, the distribution of ashes was followed by a penitential procession” END QUOTE

Ash Wednesday

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting, is the first day of Lent in Western Christianity. It occurs 46 days (40 weekdays plus 6 Sundays) before Easter and can fall as early as 4 February or as late as 10 March. Ash Wednesday is observed by many Western Christians, including Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Anglicans, and Presbyterians.

According to the canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus Christ spent 40 days fasting in the desert, where he endured temptation by Satan. Lent originated as a mirroring of this, fasting 40 days as preparation for Easter. Every Sunday was seen as a commemoration of the Sunday of Christ’s resurrection and so as a feast day on which fasting was inappropriate. Accordingly, Christians fasted from Monday to Saturday (6 days) during 6 weeks and from Wednesday to Saturday (4 days) in the preceding week, thus making up the number of 40 days.

Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of blessing ashes made from palm branches blessed on the previous year Palm Sunday, and placing them on the heads of participants to the accompaniment of the words “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”.
In the 1969 revision of the Roman Rite, an alternative formula was introduced and given first place:

Repent, and believe in the Gospel. (Mark 1:15).

The old formula, based on the words spoken to Adam and Eve after their sin, reminds worshippers of their sinfulness and mortality and thus, implicitly, of their need to repent in time. The newer formula makes explicit what was only implicit in the old.” END QUOTE

The History of using ASHES on Ash Wednesday …

http://www.popnj.org/excerpts/tr_25.htm

With whom did the custom of using Ashes during mourning or repentance begin?

There is a tendency to associate the use of ashes as a symbol of repentance only with today’s Catholic church. But in fact, the use of ashes (along with sackcloth) to indicate mourning, deep repentance or humility — goes back over three thousand years and involved many cultures. As early as 800 BC, Homer wrote about it in The Iliad, and records show that it was practiced by Greeks, by Hebrews and by many other cultures of the western Mediterranean.

Ashes were regarded as a symbol of personal remorse and sadness. Often an uncomfortable “sackcloth” garment made of coarse black goat’s hair, was worn as well.

There are many Old Testament references to the practice. Here are a few:
• Job 42:6 “Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job (whose story was written between seventh and fifth centuries B.C.) repented in sackcloth and ashes while prophesying the Babylonian captivity of Jerusalem.
• Dan 9:3 (c. 550 B.C.) “And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes.”

• Jonah 3:5-6 In the fifth century B.C., after Jonah’s preaching of conversion and repentance, the town of Nineveh proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, and the king covered himself with sackcloth and sat in the ashes.

• Esther 4:1 “When Mordecai perceived all that was done [the decree of King Xerxes, 485-464 B.C., of Persia to kill all of the Jewish people in the Persian Empire], Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry.”

The very early Christian church encouraged the use of sackcloth and ashes for the same symbolic reasons. Tertullian (c. 160-220 AD) wrote that the penitent must “live without joy in the roughness of sackcloth and the squalor of ashes.” Eusebius (260-340 AD), the famous early church historian, recounted in his “The History of the church” how an apostate named Natalis came to Pope Zephyrinus clothed in sackcloth and ashes begging forgiveness. Also during this time, for those who were required to do public penance, the priest sprinkled ashes on the head of the person leaving confession.

How did Lent, as a season of the church, begin?

Lent was first begun as a time of preparation for the joy of Easter. At first only catechumens and their sponsors fasted for a few days prior to Easter in final preparation for baptism. But over time the duration of preparation varied. For example in Rome, Easter was preceded by a full week of fasting and prayer. By the end of the fourth century the symbolism of a forty day penitential period, paralleling Christ’s forty days in the desert, captivated the imagination and a longer Lenten Season appeared. Forty days were chosen as a memorial of the forty days Jesus fasted in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-4), which in turn recalled the forty years Israel wandered in the desert (Num 32:13) END QUOTE

The significance of Ashes is a visible reminder of both our Creation by God, and our looming death, and Hope, filled with Faith and Love that we too may merit the eternal rewards for which we were and are created. I order to do this we must Know, Love, serve and Obey the Mandates, Precepts, Commandments and Commands of Jesus Christ, taught to us fully and perfectly by His Catholic Church.
1Tim.2: 4 “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”
John.3: 1 “For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him”

Matt.10: 22 “and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved”

It is precisely this last teaching that gives Easter Tide its meaning, merit and value to Souls wise enough to advantage this time of Lenten penance and preparation. To take advantage of the Sacraments Christ Himself instituted to give us an advantage never before granted to our forefathers. Christian Baptism, Sacramental known forgiveness of our sins, through the Sacrament of Confession; Sacramental Confirmation where we are marked Indelibly as “soldiers” for Christ [Now a member of His “Church Militant”] in and through the Only Church He Jesus Founded, desired, guides, guards and protects. [Mt. 16:15-19; Mt. 28:16-20 & John 17:11-26] And the very Gift of HIMSELF to us in Catholic Holy Communion. Each of these gifts which only the Catholic Church has both validly and licitly, with the potential to maximize the Graces they make available to us when rightly administered and received.

Jesus Rose from the Dead to demonstrate that this is what we too are being called to, and can merit IF we are willing to forsake the world and allow and permit Christ to be “KING of our lives.”
To assume that Christ became Incarnate man, Suffered, Died, was buried BUT Rose again on the Third day in GLORY, but expects nothing more from us than a simple acknowledgment that HE IS OUR GOD, is blatantly foolhardy.

Take Up your Cross and Follow Me

Phil.2: 8 “And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross Luke.9 :23 And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Mark.8: 34 And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Luke.9: 23 And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke.14: 7 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” Matt.5: 19 “Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. “ Matt.19: 17 “And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”

Sin is glorified, denied, misunderstood, rejected, and interpreted “favorably”; but all these attempts at denial cannot hide their abhorrence to Jesus Christ, whom we offend, at times even gravely, by our life choices. Lent, leading into and up to Easter Day is crosses daily, without complaint, and offer up our sacrifices back to Christ and BEG forgiveness for all the times we have allowed our prideful choices to take precedence over our God, our Creator and the One who WILL pass Judgment on our lives.

Mark.1: 15 “and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.” … And despite the many screaming to the effect that truth is not singular; claiming that my truth is as important [and as valid] as is yours; I am reminded of the words of Pope Benedict at the time of his acceptance as the Successor of Peter: ”THERE CANNOT BE YOUR TRUTH AND MY TRUTH OR THERE WOULD BE NO TRUTH.”… To which I add AMEN!

To assume that all of are not in urgent need of this time of recommitment, or for some a first time commitment is to pass up an opportunity to return to Christ just a small portion of what He has given to us. HOW DARE WE NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT.

1John.1 Verses 8 to 10 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

1John.5 Verses 16 to 17 “If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal.

John.20 Verses 20 to 23” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 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. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained”
Lenten Fast Rules:
What is the Church’s official position concerning penance and abstinence from meat during Lent?

In 1966 Pope Paul VI reorganized the Church’s practice of public penance in his “Apostolic Constitution on Penance” (Poenitemini). The 1983 revision of the Code of Canon Law incorporated the changes made by Pope Paul. Not long after that, the U.S. bishops applied the canonical requirements to the practice of public penance in our country.

To sum up those requirements, Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In addition, all Catholics 14 years old and older must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Fridays of Lent.

Fasting as explained by the U.S. bishops means partaking of only one full meal. Some food (not equaling another full meal) is permitted at breakfast and around midday or in the evening—depending on when a person chooses to eat the main or full meal.

Abstinence forbids the use of meat, but not of eggs, milk products or condiments made of animal fat.

Abstinence does not include meat juices and liquid foods made from meat. Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consomme, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are not forbidden. So it is permissible to use margarine and lard. Even bacon drippings which contain little bits of meat may be poured over lettuce as seasoning.

Each year in publishing the Lenten penance requirements, the U.S. bishops quote the teaching of the Holy Father concerning the seriousness of observing these days of penance. The obligation to do penance is a serious one; the obligation to observe, as a whole or “substantially,” the days of penance is also serious.

But no one should be scrupulous in this regard; failure to observe individual days of penance is not considered serious. Moral theologians remind us that some people are excused from fasting and/or abstinence because of sickness or other reasons.

In his “Apostolic Constitution on Penance,” Pope Paul VI did more than simply reorganize Church law concerning fast and abstinence. He reminded us of the divine law that each of us in our own way do penance. We must all turn from sin and make reparation to God for our sins. We must forgive and show love for one another just as we ask for God’s love and forgiveness.

The Code of Canon Law and our bishops remind us of other works and means of doing penance: prayer, acts of self-denial, almsgiving and works of personal charity. Attending Mass daily or several times a week, praying the rosary, making the way of the cross, attending the parish evening prayer service, teaching the illiterate to read, reading to the blind, helping at a soup kitchen, visiting the sick and shut-ins and giving an overworked mother a break by baby-sitting—all of these can be even more meaningful and demanding than simply abstaining from meat on Friday.

from Ask A Franciscan, St.Anthony Messenger magazine

If Suffering was necessary for Christ, how friends can it not ALSO be good; even necessary for us? Do NOT buy into the recent man-made religions skewed and favorable to THEM, not to God and certainly not to our spiritual wellbeing philosophy that God Did it ALL. God COULD have but choose NOT to which is why we hold our Martyrs in such high esteem.

Never has a Soul made it to Sainthood without suffering. STRIVE to be a saint!
Mark 1: 15-18

[15] and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.” [16] And passing along by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen.

[17] And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.” [18] And immediately they left their nets and followed him.”

To “believe in Christ Gospel” we must 1. Listen to what His Church [singular] Teaches and 2. And then OBEY it.
Don’t presume that Christ is going to give you tomorrow. The “Four Last things: Death, Judgment, Hell or Heaven are much closer than we would like to think they are.
Pray much dear friends,
Patrick

Catholics, the Seven Sacraments & the Bible

[QUOTE]=SJacob7;12592991]I realize that at some point the sacraments and real presence was taught. But the statement was made that the apostles taught them and I was wondering where that information came from?[/QUOTE]

REPLY:

My friend, Christ Himself instituted ALL Seven of the Sacraments.

Baptism: John 3: 5 “Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee,[COLOR=”red”][B] unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost[/B][/COLOR], he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”

Penance: John 20::19-23 “Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you. [And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and his side.. He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. A[B][U]s the Father hath sent me, I also send you[/U][/B]. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: [B][U]Receive ye the Holy Ghost[/U][/B] [[B][I][U][COLOR=”Red”]Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained [/COLOR][/U][/I][/B]

Confirmation: John 20:22 “When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost.”

Eucharist:All of John 6: Here are vrs 51-56 ” I am the living bread which came down from heaven.[B][U] If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world. 53 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day

For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed.[57] He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me”

Marriage: [implied as a Sacrament] Mt. 5: 31-32 “And it hath been said, whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a bill of divorce. But I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, excepting for the cause of fornication, maketh her to commit adultery: and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery.”

Holy Orders:[implied] Acts 6: 3-6 “And the saying was liked by all the multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith, and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles; and they praying, imposed hands upon them.”

Acts 13: 2-3 “And as they were ministering to the Lord, and fasting, the Holy Ghost said to them: Separate me Saul and Barnabas, for the work whereunto I have taken them. Then they, fasting and praying, and imposing their hands upon them, sent them away.”

The Last Rites / the Final Anointing of the sick [implied] James 5: 14-15 “Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man: and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him“

Reblogged a teaching on when God seems not to be in your life

New post on A Safe Harbor is Jesus

The Times When God is Silent….

by Jesus is a safe harbor
alone

Sometimes God is silent. He is silent in our prayers. He is silent in our circumstances. He is silent in our relationships, and He is silent in His Word. His silence can be deafening because it seems that His silence is ill timed. In most cases, His silence revolves around a real need you are experiencing. You may feel that God is disinterested or that He does not care. The silence of God can be an overwhelming place to occupy and still trust Him. I hope and pray this passage and message will minister to you in your time of need.

When God is Silent!

“O God, whom I praise, do not remain silent” (Psalm 109:1).

Your predicament could be like a heavy bar bell on your chest with no spotter available to assist you. You feel all alone and unable to fix the problem or correct the issue. You do not even know where to start. You are in despair, at the tipping point of depression. Anger has clouded your reason, and heaven seems indifferent to your hurt. Or, on the other hand, you are “suffering” from success and prosperity; yet God feels distant and disconnected. You have honored Him in the process, but He has seemingly not honored you with His warm and affirming presence. What is going on? What is God up to? What does He want you to do next for the good of His kingdom?

Indeed, God’s silence is your opportunity to remain faithful, even when you are unsure of His intentions for your life. He is God and we are not; therefore, we do not have to pressure ourselves to figure out everything that is going on. Managing the big picture is in His job description, not yours; so rest in His silence. Refuse to become restless, resentful, or rebellious. But still you ask, “Why the silence?”

There may be two possible reasons for God’s silence—sin or sanctification; or it may be a combination of both. When God withholds His blessing and direction for your life, it may be the direct consequence of the sin in your life. This is why regular confession and repentance of sin are critical for the follower of Christ. This is like breathing for your soul. Sin is like cotton in the ears of our heart; thus, God’s voice becomes muffled, unclear, and eventually silent. Your removal of sin clears the wax from the ears of your heart.

God’s silence may be used for your sanctification. He is in the process of making you more and more like His Son Jesus Christ. This is not always fun, though it is needed to learn God’s ways and His purpose for your life. Even if He is silent, do what you know is right today, and trust Him with the next step for tomorrow. Do not let silence overwhelm you; rather, use it as a springboard to trust God’s faithfulness.

answers are hard to find

Jesus is a safe harbor | February 2, 2015 at 12:13 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/p3mVVp-GD

from the mouth of babes

Store-Bought vs Homemade

Six-year-old Annie returns home from school and says that today she had her first family planning lesson at school.

Her mother, very interested, asks, “Oh… How did it go?”

“I nearly died of shame!” she answers. “Sam from down the street says the stork brings babies. Sally next door said you can buy babies at the orphanage. Pete in my class says you can buy babies at the hospital.”

Her mother answers laughingly, “But that’s no reason to be ashamed.”

“No… but I can’t tell them that we were so poor that you and daddy had to make me
yourselves!”

Bet you thought it was gonna be about food, huh?