HOW TO READ THE BIBLE  By Patrick Miron & friends

 

HOW TO READ THE BIBLE

 By Patrick Miron & friends

Please do not assume that you already know how to do this. You may be surprised at some of the information shared here.

The “Good News’, which is what the term “Gospel” means is a collection of 73 books, divided into two very broad categories. Before the Birth of Jesus Christ [“B.C.”] and after the Death and Resurrection of that same Jesus Christ [“A.D. …”after death.] And yes I am aware that Luther’s King James Bible originally had only 66 books; but that friends is another Lesson.

These two divides have come to be known as the “Old Testament” and the “New Testament.” The Old Testament, covering about 2,000 years of Jewish history, which is now about 4,000 years old, most of it relayed and taught by word of mouth, through narratives and poetry. The earliest being transmitted from the approximate 2,000 year old [at that time], history of the nomadic people known as the “Jewish/Hebrew nation,” from which Christ Himself would later be born through the line of King David. Some of this history dates even further back, as it covers in story-form, God’s Creation of the Universe. The earliest written record of the history of the Jewish Nation, in rather crude written forms date from about 1,400 BC.

Illiteracy was common to these nomadic people, due in part to the scarcity of supplies and the demands of being a nomadic –people. Animal skins were frequently used to record written records on, and “quills” [feathers from birds] were their common pens. This “Old Testament” record, chosen for inclusion in the bible consist of some 46 separate, both in time and topics, chronicles of what we now call “books.” While the “New testament”, being far advanced in written forms, consist of 27 books, centering on the Life, and the three year Ministry, and the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ; and the history of the New One God, with One Faith through One Church teachings which He established in the brief time span of His Earthly Ministry.

Unifying these two ”books” together is Jesus Christ who is sought throughout the Old Testament text sporadically, amidst the history of “Yahweh God’s”- “Chosen people in training,” to know, to love, to OBEY and to serve God”, in a not always apparent telling; which points repeatedly to Jesus Christ, the long awaited mysterious Messiah, who is much more clearly identified and explored in the New Testament text. Here are a few examples of this: [Genesis 12: 3, 17, 19; Dan 9: 24-25; Isaiah 9: 6-7; Deuteronomy 18:15; & Hosea 11:1] One might even say that the Old Testament “points to Jesus Christ” while the New Testament, completes, fulfills and even perfects the “Old Testament.”

The Old Testament begins with the “story” of Creation and concludes with the final Prophet sent by God; Malachi; who introduces through prophesy; the forerunner to Jesus; John the Baptist. Who is both the “last Old Testament Prophet” and the one chosen by God “the Father” to introduce His Son to the world as the long awaited Messiah; Jesus Christ Himself. “Behold the Lamb of God!” [John 1: 29, 1:36]

How are these 73 “books” structured?

 The biblical inter-faith conformity of organization that we now take for granted, only dates back to Stephen Langton, an Archbishop of Canterbury. Langton put the modern chapter divisions into place in around A.D. 1227. While the first application of that chapter divisions is credited to an agnostic Catholic Priest, John Wycliffe, who published an “edited textual” English bible in 1382, which would later give Martin Luther many of the religious philosophies that he would embrace in his new faith, which was and is designed to compete with very-long established Catholic Doctrines.

It was a Jewish Rabbi by the name of Nathan, in A.D. 1448 who would add the numbered verses; making one’s task of locating and reading a bible a much more simplified task.

So here is what one can expect to “find between the covers” of the book called “a Bible”. Which by the way is truly our own “family history”, as Abram [later Abraham] is the “Father of the Jewish nation”, as well as the Father of Christianity.

  1. The Name of the Book: such as “Genesis” Which is the first book of the bible.
  2. Chapters with a descriptive heading
  3. Numbered “verses” for easy reference and look-up.
  4. And in the New Testament: the name of the Author credited for that particular book. There is at times an ongoing debate for some of the books who “might” actually have been written by someone other than the credited author; which in no-way effects the legitimacy or veracity of the books in question. All were inspired by the Holy Spirit. All teach God’s revealed truth.
  5. Again in the New Testament: we find a division for the Four Gospels; [the “Good News”] and the Rock-solid foundation for all of our Faith teachings, separated from the Epistles [“letters”] of the remaining 23 “books,” which build upon and “flesh-out” the Gospel’s shared lessons.
  6. Also common to most, if not all bibles are “footnotes” briefly explaining some of the text. NOTE: While the Catholic bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit; the footnotes must align with established Catholic Church teaching in order to attain that level of assured instruction.

 

I have long recommended that for initial reading of the Bible, that one start with the New Testament first. I have several reasons for making this suggestion.

  1. Because the purpose of the New Testament is to complete, fulfill and even perfect the Old Testament; it will make reading the Old Testament much easier to understand.
  2. The New Testament is much shorter in length, and thus easier and quicker to read. And most of us have some degree exposure to the New Testament, making it easier to comprehend.
  3. Considered a minor point until you actually get into the Old Testament; are the strange, and difficult to pronounce names so often found there.
  4. Having read the New Testament; one gain’s an understanding that our God is a God of great Mercy and Love. When reading the Old Testament first; one can easily get the impression that “Yahweh God” of the Old Testament, is a mean and vengeful God. The TRUTH [always singular per defined issue] lies in the balance of these two perceptions. There is but One True God [the First Commandment]; so the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are the identically same God. What can be seen, and is very often misunderstood about God’s “vengeance,” is that the reality is not “vengeance” but rather “Divine Justice” that is metered out, a point often under-emphasized and easily overlooked, and therefore can easily lead to wrong conclusions about our God.

 Aids to “right understanding”

 Are you aware friend of the “One Infallible Rule for right understanding of the Bible” Allow me to share it with you. [Caps are used for emphasis, NOT shouting here]

“Never-Ever

Can, May or DOES

One Verse, passage or teaching

Have the Power or Authority

To Make Void; invalidate or override

Another Verse, passage or teaching

 Were this even the slightest possibility [ITS NOT], it would render the bible as worthless to teach or learn ones faith.”

 Now: … How to Read the Bible [and get what it says’]

 I learned something today listening to Father Mitch Pacqa [EWTN] during this morning’s Mass Homily. Actually, if one were to think about it in the terms he suggested, one could easily grasp the reality and Wisdom behind the teaching.

There is a hierarchy of “Authority of Biblical Teaching” that I never gave thought too. [Shame on me]. The Four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are what everything else in the Bible must affirm and conform too. WHY? Because they ARE the “New Covenant Teachings of Jesus Christ” who is either quoted directly or who PROMISES [God can’t break His promise] to guide, protect and personally warrant these teachings. And this is why the Gospel is given place of honor and special emphasis in our Mass readings.

John.14: 26 “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 20:21-22 “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”.  … John 17:15-19 I [Jesus] do not pray that thou should take them out of the world, but that thou should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth. As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. ** And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth”

 [**] These words seem innocuous; harmless and innocent as we read them. So much so that we likely don’t even pay close attention to them. Cf. What Jesus is saying here is SHOCKING! Quite literally He is sending His Apostles, and by necessity their successors… [Compare Mt. 10: 1-8 to Mt. 28: 16-20 for verification of Jesus instituting Apostolic-succession] with the same types of Power and Authority, that “The Father sent Jesus!” Certainly not to the same degree or extent; but nevertheless; unheard of Godly Powers and Authority were transmitted to His Church through the Apostles. Today’s RCC is the ONLY Church, the ONLY Faith that can prove that we have Jesus Christ, as the warranty of our teaching HIS Truths on all matters of Faith and Morals.

 Secondly: and just as SHOCKING, Jesus here , in His human nature, offers up Himself to His Heavenly Father as the warranty of His Church’s absolute inability to teach on His Faith, or on all Moral issues in Error. This then is the foundation for the Dogma of Papal / Church Infallibility on only these two broad categories; AND ONLY these two categories are covered by this inability to teach in error. God cannot deny Himself. Keep in Mind that Jesus was and is: “True man”, and also, always at the same time, our True God.

Another truth:

Jesus Choose, commanded and protects ONLY His Catholic church[s]; who ALONE are enabled, assured and guided to be able “to teach the fullness” of the truths that Jesus desires us to know, accept, live and demonstrate for others.

Mark 16: 14-15 “At length he appeared to the eleven [remaining Apostles, after Judas had hung himself] as they were at table: and he upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they did not believe them who had seen him after he was risen again. And he said TO THEM: Go YOU into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Matthew 28: 16, 18-20 “And the eleven disciples [Apostles went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them.  And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach YOU all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded [means both commanded & taught] YOU: and behold I AM WITH YOU all days, even to the consummation of the world.”

 The above instruction is one of the more common teachings ignored or denied, or redefined by our Protestant Brethren; because clearly, they were not directly included in this mandate by Jesus; which is not to say that God cannot use their ministries to good advantage; rather that what they share is various manners, and ways, naturally reflect a secular influence; not being fully guided and protected by the Holy Spirit.

The Gospels are followed in authority by the balance of the New Testament because it testifies to the New. Current and Eternal Covenant. Then the Old Testament which points to the New Testament.

John 14: 6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. Every New Testament “book”, especially the four Gospels, teachings that quotes Christ Himself are to be taken literally!  … One makes a GRAVE ERROR in not doing so; in trying to circumvent and apply mere human understanding to Devine Pronouncements, one puts their own salvation at Grave Risk. … John 1: 1 -2, 9-10 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; the true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not.”  … FRIEND YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE IN THIS GROUP OF doubters and UNBELIEVERS!

Judge NOT the Word of God by how it reckons with your own understanding; NO! Judge human thought, and its merely human understanding BY God’s ACTUAL WORDS!” This is part and parcel of the Gospels, which mean “Good News”. BUT it cannot be “good-news” for those who choose not to believe it or accept it. … It brings to mind this sage advice of the Old Testament that is as relevant today as it was many thousands of years ago:

Duet. 30: 19 “I call heaven and earth to witness this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose therefore life that both thou and thy seed may live” & Eccl. 15: 18 “Before man is life and death, good and evil that which he shall choose shall be given him

Isaiah 55:3, 6-11 “Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; … “Seek the LORD while [AND WHERE] he may be found, call upon him while he is near; [In the manner Ordained by God Himself] … let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. [Thus I have provided for you certain MEN Guided and Protected by Me to Translate My Words] For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. [Which Means; NOT just anyone can understand what the Bible actually teachers] “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and return not thither but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed [Knowledge /and Understanding] to the sower [TEACHER] and bread to the eater, [RIGHT Knowledge and Understanding to those who HEAR the Word of God] so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not [Meaning it BETTER NOT] return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, [IF IT IS ACCEPTED, Understood and APPLIED] and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

Earlier I shared the One “Infallible Rule for RIGHT understanding of the Bible: Now I would like to share the One UNFORGETABLE Rule for RIGHT understanding of the Bible:

Here’s another tip for “right Understanding of God’s Holy Word

“Right Understanding” must always fully align with established Catholic Church Teachings on every Faith and Morals issue contained in the entirety of the Bible, and or Sacred Tradition [2 Thess. 2:18; 1Cor 11: 2, or it is not, and cannot be the right understanding.  … WHY?

Because Jesus Christ our Perfect God say’s so. He say’s so in giving all of the Key’s to His heavenly Kingdom in Matthew 16:18-19; Jesus say’s so again in John 17: in verses 15, 17, 18, 19, 20 [that’s FIVE separate times]. And again in Matthew 28: 19-20 where He commands THEM to Cf. “God YOU and teach the World what I taught toy YOU.”

What we need to know to better understand the Bible:

  1. Listen to the experts!

 Can. 785 §1. “Catechists are to be used in carrying out missionary work; catechists are lay members of the Christian faithful, duly instructed and outstanding in Christian life, who devote themselves to setting forth the teaching of the gospel and to organizing liturgies and works of charity under the direction of a missionary.”

Catechist, even well informed ones rarely match the training that our Bishops, priest; and perhaps even deacon formation imparts; still Catechist fill an important role in the “New Evangelization” in augmenting and assisting the Ordained which has to reach areas previously missed or in some way slighted by older, less-effective methods of faith instruction. And as missionaries we Catechist are focused on the “re-evangelization” of Catholics who too may have missed out on proper catechesis over the past 50 years or so; as well as instructions for new and younger people right here at home, as well as dialoging and explaining what we actually believe and WHY we believe it to the many inquiring about our Faith beliefs and practices from other faith-backgrounds, inspired by the Holy Spirit to investigate Catholicism.

  1. Missed opportunities to be rightly instructed

One of the elements of Catholicism in practice that I fear is not consistently taken with the importance and significance that it deserves, is the fact that we Catholics, should we be inclined and able to attend daily Mass; will hear the bible expounded in its entirety, every three-years. Not only that, but we also hear teaching and instructions on the entire bible every three years , as our Church has a three-year-cycle of Bible Readings intended to expose us to the contents of the  “entire bible.”

For the many who are unable to participate in daily Mass; just fulfilling our weekly “Sunday Obligation” [“Keep Holy the Sabbath Day”, the third Commandment] will impart in our Faiths three year cycle of Bible reading; a potentially highly significant amount of “Bible-Literacy” if we are tuned in to what is being shared from the pulpit. And yes some priest and deacons are better speakers than others; BUT if we ask prayerfully beforehand for the Holy Spirit to aid us; great things will happen.

Canon. 748 §1.All persons are bound to seek the truth in those things which regard to God and His Church by virtue of the divine law are bound by the obligation and possess the right of embracing and observing the truth which they have come to know

Can. 750 §1 A person must believe with divine and catholic faith all things contained in the word of God, written or handed on, that is, in the one deposit of faith entrusted to the church, at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by solemn  magisterium of the Church or by its ordinary and universal magisterium which is manifested by the common adherence of the Catholic faithful under the leadership of the sacred magisterium; therefore all are bound to avoid any doctrines whatsoever contrary to them

THE PREACHING OF THE WORD OF GOD [from the Code of Canon Law]

Can. 762 Sacred ministers, among whose principal duties is the proclamation of the gospel of God to all, are to hold the function of preaching in esteem since the people of God are first brought together by the word of the living God, which it is certainly right to require from the mouth of priests

Can. 767 §1. Among the forms of preaching, the homily, which is part of the liturgy itself and is reserved to a priest or deacon, is preeminent; in the homily the mysteries of faith and the norms of Christian life are to be explained from the sacred text during the course of the liturgical year

Can. 761 §2. A homily must be given at all Masses on Sundays and holy days of obligation which are celebrated with a congregation, and it cannot be omitted except for a grave cause.

Can. 768 §1. Those who proclaim the divine word are to propose first of all to the Christian faithful those things which one must believe and do for the glory of God and the salvation of humanity.

Can. 793 §1. Parents and those who take their place are bound by the obligation and possess the right of educating their offspring. Catholic parents also have the duty and right of choosing those means and institutions through which they can provide more suitably for the Catholic education of their children, according to local circumstances.

  1. The Bible’s nearly irreplaceable role

 One would be hard-pressed to find a single source of faith-formation that is of greater significance and import, than is the bible. WHY?

 Saint Jerome’s statement that “ignorance of the bible is ignorance of Christ” encapsulates this important and inescapable truth. … 2nd. Timothy 3:16-17 affirms that the bible’s worth cannot be overstated: “16] All scripture, [is] inspired of God, [and] is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, [17] That the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.” … This teaching is further evidenced by in Luke 4:4, which takes place as Jesus is being tempted by Satan in the desert: “And Jesus answered him: It is written, that Man liveth not by bread alone, but by every word of God.”

“BY every word of God.” So If we are inattentive, unfocused, or permit ourselves to be distracted at Mass, [some distractions being unavoidable] during the Readings and Homily; we may never know what we have missed that God wanted us to learn in those very moments of our personal Faith-instruction and formation. When God “knocks” on our hearts; it is foolish to ignore Him. Amen! [Which means “I BELIEVE!”

Important principles for reading Scripture

While there are many forms of writing in the bible; the first reading of any text ought to assume a literal translation, as this is the most common intent of the authors. If however, the text obviously is not to be taken literally; such as:

Matthew 5: 29-30 “And if thy right eye scandalize thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee. For it is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than that thy whole body be cast into hell. And if thy right hand scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than that thy whole body be cast into hell.”

 Obviously Jesus does not mean for us to maim ourselves as we are “made in the image of God” [Genesis 1:26-27]. It cases similar to this; where it is apparent that the author has a different meaning; we then ought to seek “the Moral” of the account. What is the lesson being taught here?

 Bible “numbers” have their own “lives”

 So what is this section about? Having just shared the “literacy principle”; I’m now going to tell you that when it comes to numbers in the bible; seldom do they actually mean what we today [or for that matter; the people for who the record is recorded would take them for]. Biblical numbers have sort of a language of their own.

Before going any further I would like to put a plug in here for an amazing [it’s even free of cost] site that aims to teach us Bible Literacy: www.agapebilestudy.com. I encourage all to check it out. It is an amazing tool that we all can learn from.

I’m quoting this site in an abridged form, and providing you only the “tip of this ice-berg.”

http://www.agapebiblestudy.com/documents/the%20significance%20of%20numbers%20in%20scripture.htm

ONE:  In sacred Scripture “one,” ehad, in Hebrew, represents unity and is the quintessential number of monotheism, the worship of one God.

TWO:  This number can mean difference, division or double portion.

THREE:  In sacred Scripture the number three represents that which is solid, real, substantial, and something in its completeness.  This number usually indicates something of importance or significance in God’s plan of salvation by identifying an important event in Salvation History.  This number operates as a “sign-post” in Scripture study for the reader to “pay attention” to the significance of the next event

FOUR:  The number four represents God’s creative works, especially works associated with the earth

FIVE:  This is the number of power and Divine grace

SIX:  Both man and the serpent were created on the sixth day, therefore, the number six represents both man and rebellion.  In the Greek alphabet the number six is not represented by an alphabetic letter but is instead represented by a symbol called the “stigma.” In Revelation 13:18 the number of the Beast is written not as 666 but is instead is written with the Greek symbols for 600 and 60 and 6.  In his book Numbers in Scripture, E.W. Bullinger observes that these three symbols correspond to first and last letters of the Greek word for Christ = CHRISTOS, with the symbol of the serpent in between the two other numbers of 666 [seeNumbers in Scripture page 49].  Perhaps this arrangement can be seen to be Christ the Messiah crushing the serpent as God told the serpent in Genesis 3:15: I shall put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he will crush your head and you will strike its heel

 SEVEN:   Spiritual perfection and fullness or completion.  It is the number of Covenant and of the Holy Spirit

EIGHT:  sh’moneh in Hebrew, from the root shah’meyn “to make fat” or “to cover with fat” which means to super-abound.  The first of a new series: there are seven days in a week; the 8th day is the beginning of a new series of days.  It is the number of salvation, resurrection, and new birth/regeneration

SEVEN AND EIGHT: together these numbers form a remarkable connection.  As we have noted seven, according to its etymology, means that which is spiritually complete, while eight denotes that which is superabundant.  God’s holy covenant name is expressed in Hebrew by the four consonants YHWH which have a value of 10, 5, 6, and 5.  Added together their total is 20 + 6 but multiplied by 3 (the Triune God) their value is 70 (7×10) + 8 or spiritual perfection times perfection of order plus superabundant salvation

NINE:   This number is related to the number six, being the sum of its factors (3×3=9, and 3+3=6).  It is significant of the end of man and the sum of all man’s works.  Nine is therefore the number of finality or judgment.

TEN: Perfection of divine order

ELEVEN:  disorder: 10 + 1 or 12 – 1; also disorganization, lack of fulfillment, imperfection.

TWELVE:  Perfection of government.  Twelve is the number of the Church, both the Old Covenant Church of Israel founded by twelve physical fathers (the twelve sons of Jacob-Israel) and the New Covenant Church founded by twelve spiritual fathers (the twelve Apostles).  This number also has a relationship with multiples of twelve.

THIRTEEN:  Often seen as an ill omen representing hostility, rebellion, apostasy, defection, corruption

FOURTEEN:  7 x 2 = double measure of spiritual perfection. Seven is the number of covenant and divine perfection and two is the number of the Incarnation

FIFTEEN:  3 x 5;   5 = grace and 3= Divine perfection of the Godhead.  This number symbolizes acts wrought by the energy of Divine grace.

SEVENTEEN:  Perfection of spiritual order

TWENTY: This number is the double of ten, and may in some cases signify its concentrated meaning.  But its significance seems to be connected with the fact that it is one short of twenty-one.  That is to say, if twenty-one is the three-fold seven, and signifies divine (3) completion as regards spiritual perfection (7), then twenty, being one short of twenty-one would signify expectancy.  There are numerous illustrations in Scripture to support this explanation

THIRTY:  Being 3 x 10 this number denotes in a higher degree the perfection of divine order, as in marking the right moment in God’s Divine plan.

FORTY:  This number is recognized as an important number both on account of the frequency of its occurrence and with the uniformity of its association as a time of consecration and as a period of trial.

FIFTY: is the number of jubilee or deliverance.  It is the issue of 7 x 7 +1 or 7 squared + 1, and it points to deliverance and rest following on as the result of the perfect consummation of time

SEVENTY: is another combination of two of the perfect numbers 7 and 10, and it signifies perfect spiritual order carried out with all spiritual power and significance.

ONE HUNDRED-TWENTY: is made up of 3 forties (3×40 = 120).  Applied to time therefore it signifies a divinely appointed period of probation.  Applied to persons it points to a divinely appointed number during a period of waiting.

And I will add to that that all large numbers are to be held specifically suspect of their actual meaning. Numbers like the “5,000 men” in the account of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes; actually meany a “large group.” So the 144,000 saved account in the Book of revelations; means only a VERY large group.

Again, I strongly encourage you to check out this great Catholic agapebiblestudy.com site.

  1. God is the principal author of Scripture

 If you only recall one thing in this lesson; let it be this one. God Himself is the “author of the Bible”; which is why we say it’s “God’s Words.” But what exactly does this mean?

First what it does not mean: It does not mean that God actually “wrote” the bible; no, rather it means the God “Inspired” the men He choose to author the bible to, in their own words, share and teach all that He desired to be included in it; and to exclude everything He desired NOT be included in it. Especially in the period of the New Testament and the early Church’s formation. Which explains why there exist other text, such as “the book of Thomas”, which were found not to be truly God’s Inspired Scared Words, and thus were excluded by the Fathers who were again chosen by God the Holy Spirit to accomplish this monumental task, exactly as God desired it to be accomplished.

JOHN 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

  1. God’s nearly incomprehensible selection of obviously unqualified men chosen to herculean task.  

 Prior to my retirement, I was often thrust into the position of interviewing people for various employment opportunities. I quickly learned to evaluate and appreciate a good Resume. I suspect it is this factor, that how God; both Yahweh in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament, seemed to consistently choose men that you and I, given the task of filling these same positions, would never have given a second thought to hiring. I’ve given the matter considerable thought; knowing that God has to have a plan, and have concluded that it is precisely because these men chosen were either under-qualified or flat out not qualified for what God had chosen for them to do on his behalf that made them not only desirable to God; but from God’s perspective; ideally suited for the task He had in mind for them. By choosing men not qualified for the task, at which they were nearly always successful in completing; it became [or should be] evident; that the credit goes to God and not to the machinations of the men involved. Thereby God is Glorified both for giving them the opportunity; and again for assisting, even directing their efforts. This demonstrates that God is always in charge, even when we might not desire Him to be; or perhaps, even those times that wish that He wasn’t.

 

I point this out because it means that God is willing to assist all those willing to be assisted. Don’t fret that you don’t think you can do what God is expecting of you. Pray, Hope and believe!

  1. Does God using mere humans to author His Bible in anyway impede what God desires for us to know, live and model?

 It’s a good question, to which the short answer is “No!”

 Just as the Bible belongs to the Church; not “the Church to the Bible.” It is a primary tool for learning our Faith belief, to Cf. “GO YOU!” and teach the world ALL that I taught and commanded YOU!.” [Mt. 16:19-20]. Therefore; the “fullness” of God’s Truths are available only through Her [Mother Church]. Therefore we can be assured that what the authors God choose to write in His Book, were Inspirited and Guided by the Holy Spirit to in their own words, relate for us all that God wanted us to know from and through the Bible. That said; we must not forget the “tripod-foundation” of our Catholic Faith: The Bible; Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium; lead by our Holy Father, all have essential roles to “play” in our full and right Catholic Faith formation. … [The Catechism is though the Magisterium].

 Struggling to grasp the original meaning

 Nothing is more important than praying to the Holy Spirit to aid and guide you. All right understanding is influenced by this great practice.

As indicated earlier; one’s first reading of a verse, passage or teaching ought to assume a literal translation. If that does not seem to be the first choice of the author, things get quickly more complicated.

The next rule for right understanding then is to attempt to put yourself in the time and place of the author; and to attempt to discern just what is meant to be the teaching or lesson to these people at that time? Who is the author speaking too? Do preceding or following passages add to the meaning the author intends to impart?

n situations like this a good Catholic Bible Commentary is extremely beneficial. There are many out “there,” so make sure what you are using is a good Catholic version. I use Haydock’s as much as possible. … http://haydock1859.tripod.com/ which is a free download; and here is one issued by the Vatican for our Clergy, and it too is free.

http://www.clerus.org/bibliaclerus/index_eng.html Commentaries are great tools so don’t hesitate to make use of them; especially when encountering a passage that has a meaning unclear to you; or your checking to see that your understanding is in line with Catholic Teachings.

Read again a few passages both above and below the confusing segemts, so see if they add understanding to them.

Adding to the complexity of grasping the right understanding is a myriad of authorship-styles options that one then has to sort through.

Major Genres [**] within the Old Testament:

[**]”Genre a class or category of artistic endeavor having a particular forcontent, technique, or the like:

Foundational Myths & Legends – These take a story form. Examples would be the story of Creation and Adam and Eve. [Note: just because they take a story form does not mean that the message; the Lessons are not to be accepted]

Genealogies – lists of inter-relationships between peoples. The Book entitles “Numbers” is an example of this

Annals –A sort of historical account usually dealing with politics and military exploits. The 1st and 2nd books of Kings are examples. There are many others.

Prophetic Books – collections of the words of God spoken to the people through men He has chosen as prophets like Isaiah and Jerimiah

Psalms/Odes/Songs – poetic lyrics of songs/hymns intended for communal worship and/or individual prayer. Any of the Book of Psalms.

Prayers/Laments – words addressed by people to God, like the Book of Lamentations.

Proverbs – The wit and wisdom of the Teachers. The entire Book of Proverbs applies here.

Wisdom Literature – Books of inspirational stories; such the Book of Job.

Apocalypses –Lessons imparted through God’s perspective; very symbolic. Like the book of Dan

Major Genres within the New Testament:

Gospels – proclamations of the “good news” about Jesus intended to establish and/or strengthen people’s faith in him; quasi-biographical, semi-historical portraits of the life, teachings, and actions of Jesus (Mark, Matt, Luke, John)

Acts – a partial narrative account about the beginnings and the growth of early Christianity; not a complete history of the early Church, since it focuses only on the actions of a few missionary leaders (Acts)

Letters – real letters addressing practical and theological issues relevant to particular communities, notably Saint Paul’s, like the Letter to the Ephesians

Church Instructions – collections of instructions for the practical organization of religious communities such as 1 Tim, Titus

Testament – a document that gives a dying person’s last wishes and instructions for his successors; like 2 Tim & 2 Peter

Homily/Sermon – an bible experts sermon that cites and interprets older biblical texts in reference to Jesus. The book of Hebrews

Wisdom Collection – a collection of general instructions on how to live an ethical Christian life well. The Book of James

Epistles/Encyclicals – more stylized works in letter format; “circular letters” intended for broader audiences. Such as 1 & 2 Peter

Revelations- a vividly symbolic narrative that “reveals” God’s views about a historical crisis, in order to provide encouragement for a difficult present and hope for a better future. The Book of Revelations

  1. Summation:

Here is a short list of the tips imparted for “Right understanding” of God’s Holy Words.

  1. Pray before reading the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to His Understanding.
  2. Always assume a literal meaning with the first reading. This by far, is the most common intent and application by the author.
  3. The number of times that a particular Lesson is shared; the greater is its significance; and most assuredly is its literal translation.
  4. Put yourself into the time and place of the author. Who is the author speaking too; why did he choose them and what is the message that he is trying to impart?
  5. Read “numbers” as the Jewish Tradition did; often giving them added meaning.
  6. Have a good Catholic Bible Commentary available and use it freely.
  7. Read a few passages both above and below the verses in question. Often they will shed light on its meaning.
  8. Join a parish Bible study if you have the time and opportunity to do so.

God provided the Bible so that we could, and would use it. It is for our benefit, not God’s. Sloth is one of the seven Capitol sins; don’t allow it to nab you. Once you commit to reading the Bible; be disciplined in committing a time period that you’re comfortable with and stick with it. You will be glad that you did.

God Bless you,

Patrick

A Sure Way to Save the Church Developing the Doctrine on the Eucharist BY FR. REGIS SCANLON, OFMCAP 

A Sure Way to Save the Church

Developing the Doctrine on the Eucharist

BY FR. REGIS SCANLON, OFMCAP 

Part I – Jesus Christ Seems to Be Just a Memory

 It’s been centuries since there has been such open opposition between cardinals and bishops as there is today over Pope Francis’s perplexing Amoris Laetitia, which has spawned so much discord in the Church, even among highly ranked Church leaders.

Even before Amoris Laetitia, many recognized the Church was in a state of growing disunity. Faithful Catholics are perplexed and concerned and offering solutions. Peter Kwasniewski, in his book Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness, argues that the only way out of the spiritual crisis in the Church today is to “return to the ancient, slowly and organically developed liturgy of the Latin Church.”1 Others suggest solutions which are more simple, like a de fide proclamation declaring Our Lady as Co-redemptrix or explicitly consecrating Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.2

 

Of course there is a precedent for such thinking. The proclamation of the dogma of the Assumption on Nov. 1, 1950, generated a powerful spiritual decade during the Marian Years. Pope John XXIII called it the “Marian Age.” In America, that age produced many fruits, centered around strong families and loyalty to the Church. The age was notable for promoting chastity among the young, and for a surge in religious vocations.3

 

Today, however, the times are very different. Worldwide, Catholics are confused about the fundamental teachings of the Catholic faith. Many Catholics feel abandoned by God, and many others have abandoned Him. We live in times that require a special solution, and any de fide statement from a pope or bishops would have to be so powerful and so dramatic that it would turn people enthusiastically toward belief in Christianity itself.

 

In fact, there is only one solution. That is, to turn people’s attention to the living heart of Christianity, which is Jesus Christ Himself. The only way to do this is to reaffirm, in a dramatic way, that Jesus Christ is truly present to us to this day.

 

In other words, the Church must proclaim, clearly and openly, the truth of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. But this must involve something new.

 

It is no longer possible to assume that the teachings in John chapter 6 and the de fidedogmas of the Church are sufficient. This is tragic, because it should be enough. When Jesus said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world,” He meant this literally, not figuratively. Even at the time He said it, many people misunderstood Him, that He was talking about something miraculous, not “cannibalistic” (Jn 6:51).

In the past, the Church has done a wonderful job explaining this. There was a time when even lay Catholics could explain in rough outline the doctrine of “transubstantiation,” which means that “the wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the entire substance of the wine into the Blood,” has occurred.4Consequently, we already have very clear de fide statements on the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, involving words like “transubstantiation” and the “Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ,” solemnly declared by Church Councils, speaking infallibly.5

 

Why is this no longer enough? Do we need new words or formulas to help us understand the Real Presence better?

We must always make room for the development of the dogma of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. New phrases and explanations can make clearer what the Church already teaches. Certain phrases appearing in new cultures can better explain concepts used by the Church for centuries. We must not be afraid to use them.

 

For example, in the twentieth century the doctrine of the Real Presence was reinforced by two statements of Paul VI which define the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist more clearly than ever: one in no. 46 of the encyclical The Mystery of Faith (Mysterium Fidei) and the other in no. 25 of Credo of the People of God (Solemni Hac Liturgia). These statements make use of the phrases that, after the consecration of the Mass, the “‘physical’ reality of Christ is bodily present” and the bread and wine “cease to exist.” This is so very important to understanding the true teaching of the Catholic Church on the Real Presence of Christ in the Mass. This understanding must come to the forefront of the consciousness of the Church.

 

But don’t Catholics already understand and believe this?

Apparently not. We know that there is a great division among those who are called Catholics. But, significantly, along with this there is a serious division about what Catholics believe about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Statistics show a serious loss of knowledge or faith among today’s Catholics. The Georgetown Pew Research Center’s CARA 2008 study of Catholics in the United States found that 43 percent of Catholics questioned about the meaning of the Real Presence of Christ after the consecration of the Mass said that the “bread and wine are symbols of Jesus, but Jesus is not really present.” And 57 percent said that “Jesus Christ is really present in the bread and wine of the Eucharist.”6

 

But the fact that the majority of Catholics believe that Jesus is “in” the bread and wine is of little comfort to us. For neither of these two explanations of the Real Presence are correct. The consecrated bread and wine are certainly not mere “symbols” of Jesus, but neither is Jesus “in” the bread and wine.

According to the teaching of the Catholic Church, which was passed on by Christ Himself in the Gospel of John, after the consecration of the Eucharist, there is no bread and wine for Jesus to be “in.” Under the appearance of bread and wine, Jesus “is.” He “is” what we touch and handle. One can say that Jesus is “in” the Mass or “in” the Eucharist or “in” the Sacrament because each of these refers to more than the bread and wine. But one cannot say that Jesus is “in” the bread and wine. To believe that He is “in” the bread and wine is to believe the heresy that bread and wine continue to exist after the consecration at the Eucharist.

 

But it should not surprise us that today we find confusion, trouble, and division over the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, since it was this way from the very beginning. Remember that Jesus gave us a direct lifeline to Himself. He made his presence clear at the Last Supper, but in case people missed His meaning, He was crystal clear in John 6:66, where He stirred up the first big controversy in the Church. It was the first recorded serious division among followers of Jesus, and it was over the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. John 6:66 says that, after Jesus explained His teaching that His disciples would really eat His Body and drink His Blood, “many of His disciples said that ‘this saying is hard; Who can accept it?’” and turned back and “no longer accompanied Him.” Others, like Peter, remained believing the words of Jesus, and one, Judas, stayed even though he did not believe — just to have Satan enter him and deliver him up to his own destruction (Jn 6:60–71; 13:27; Mt 27:3–10).

 

So, we can see from the very beginning of the Church, belief in the Eucharist was a core belief that separated true followers from the hangers-on and those who would fall away. In fact, from the very beginning of Christianity, every time a major crisis appears in the Church, we find that a disagreement over the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is present. Some famous examples are the Eucharistic heresies surrounding Berengarius of Tours in the eleventh century, the Waldensian and Albigensian heresy in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and the Reformation in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.7

 

However, to begin to correct this, all Catholics must first have a clearer grasp of the Church’s teaching on the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

The Church’s teaching on the Real Presence is not precise enough

The Church teaching on “transubstantiation,” that at the consecration the “whole substance of the bread” is changed into Christ’s Body and the “entire substance of the wine” is changed into Christ’s Blood, always implied a physical change of the bread and wine into the physical Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, although this was never explicitly defined. The physical reality is part of the substance of every “thing,” including you and I. We are physical and that is part of our substance. It is part of the makeup of any “body.” It enables us to have “bodily” contact with one another instead of being invisible spirits floating in the air, unable to touch one another.

So, the Church has always implied that the word physical and the word material belonged to the definition of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. These words spelled out in no uncertain terms that Jesus Christ is with us today in “bodily” form. Thus, we actually come into bodily contact with the Divine Person of Jesus Christ in Holy Communion. So, a belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist which denies the bodily presence of Christ’s physical reality would leave the members of the Church with just a memory of Jesus. This is scary.

We seem to have forgotten how important the word physical really is. Let me explain this with an obvious example.

If you were a young man looking to get married, would you rather have an idea of a beautiful girlfriend or a symbol of a beautiful girlfriend (say, with a class ring or picture), or to spiritually communicate with a beautiful girl friend by e-mail? Or would you rather be with your beautiful physical girlfriend on a date?

Obviously, you would rather be with your physical girlfriend because this is the real thing, or the real girlfriend! Well, this is the mystery and the reality of Christ truly present in the Eucharist. It is a mystery too deep for us to fully understand; it is a matter of faith. But for centuries this belief in the Real Presence of Christ has been the constant teaching of the Catholic Church.

So, the big question to consider is this: Is the confusion and strife among Catholics today, including cardinals and bishops wrangling over Amoris Laetitia, caused by a division and difference in their understanding and faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist?

I believe the answer is yes.

Isn’t it a fact that, if we examine Amoris Laetitia closely, we will see that the wrangling among cardinals and bishops hubs around the Eucharist? Cardinal Mueller admitted as much when he noted that a negative aspect of the “debate” over Amoris Laetetia was that for many the “debate boils down to only one issue . . . ‘What do you think about Holy Communion for divorcees who are living in non-sacramental unions?’”8

This difference over the belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is the true wound at the heart of the Church. As it is now, there is an unbridgeable abyss which exists between the two factions in the Church over the key question: After the consecration of the Mass, is Christ’s total Person, including His physical body, really present? If He is, then one must be very careful not to bring the Lord into contact with publicly known intransient evil. One must avoid sacrilege. But, if He is not present in this way, then one does not have to be so cautious. One can then open up the Eucharist to all people, even those intent on doing evil. Maybe it will help them.

So, when did today’s division over the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist begin?

Part II – The Problem and Solution

A mortal wound in the side of the Church: Doubt spreads like wildfire

Up until the end of the Second Vatican Council (1965), Catholics were very much sure that they had bodily contact with Jesus Christ whenever they received the Eucharist. You could tell this by the enthusiasm at the Sunday eucharistic liturgies and the kneeling in adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and Forty Hours Devotions. The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist was explicitly taught in Catholic schools and in seminaries.

The decline in the belief in the Real Presence matched the decline in vocations. The population in American convents of nuns, for example, reached a maximum of about 200,000 in 1965. But the enthusiasm for these religious vocations, along with religious devotions and activity like kneeling in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, gradually slowed to a trickle as the population of religious women in the United States fell to about 50,000 in 2014.9

By 1965 it was already clear that a so-called new theology of the Real Presence was developing among theologians. The philosophical thrust for this so-called new Eucharistic theology most likely came from the late German Idealist Karl Rahner (1904–84), who denied that the physical is real or part of a thing’s substance. Rahner stated: “The mental event as such is the individually occurring real and actual event. The fact that besides this there is physical being with activities, but not present to itself in its own awareness, does not make such being a paradigm case of what being ‘real’ means.”10

This philosophical conviction of Karl Rahner’s affected his belief in all “real” things, including his belief in the “Real” Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. So, in his Encyclopedia of Theology, Karl Rahner accepted the Swiss Jesuit Engelbert Gutwenger’s description of “transubstantiation” which did not include a change in the “physical” or “material” bread and wine. With Rahner’s approval, Gutwenger stated: “As regards ‘transubstantiation,’ it may then be said that substance, essence, meaning and purpose of the bread are identical. But the meaning of a thing can be changed without detriment to its matter.”11 “Without detriment to its matter” is a sly way of saying that there need not be a “material” or “physical” change to the bread. Therefore, for Gutwenger and Rahner, the consecration of the bread and wine at Mass involves a change in “meaning and purpose” of the bread and wine, but not a change in the physical bread and wine. According to this Eucharistic theology, when the priest consecrates the bread and wine, it is a change in mind but not a change outsidethe mind.

This new theology of the “Real Presence” spread throughout the Church like a wildfire. Practically every Catholic University and new adult catechism of the Catholic Church made it a point to insist that the change in the bread and wine at the consecration of the Mass did not involve a “physical” change. The bread and wine were merely a “sign” or “symbol” of Jesus Christ effecting a presence of Jesus in one’s mind.

Theologians in the United States, like Tad W. Guzie, SJ, of Marquette University, for example, stated that “The ‘change’ in the bread and wine can be understood as a change at the second level of looking at reality (Symbol): as a very real change, but not one that has to do with the physical order. . . .” Continuing, Guzie says: “In recent years theologians have brought into play concepts like ‘transignification’ (change of meaning) which strive to emphasize that the change is not a physical one.”12

The theories of these theologians deeply influenced the writing of the catechisms of the Catholic Church in the United States. For example, Anthony J. Wilhelm’s Christ Among Us (which boasted of “2 million copies sold” in 1990) seemed to show up on the shelves of every religious-education department. Here Wilhelm brazenly rejects the traditional Catholic doctrine on the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist by saying:

When we say that the bread and wine “become Christ,” we are not saying that bread and wine are Christ, nor are we practicing some form of cannibalism when we take this in communion. What we mean is that the bread and wine are a sign of Christ present, here and now, in a special way — not in a mere physical way, as if condensed into a wafer. Somehow his presence has “taken over” the bread and wine, so that, for us who believe, it is no longer merely bread that is present, but Christ himself.13

The effect of these theological acrobatics was devastating to Catholic belief. They infected popular catechisms and Catholics schoolrooms, even seminaries. It was easier to believe the Protestant explanation because it fits so much better with human experience, that nothing miraculous happens to the bread and wine at all. Some Protestants, for example, used the old heresy of Martin Luther to explain the presence of Christ in the Eucharist as “consubstantiation,” which meant that, after the consecration, the body and blood of Christ “coexisted” with the bread and wine.14 This error quickly spread among Catholics. For example, one would hear a Catholic say, “Jesus was in the bread and wine.” As already pointed out, this is an error, a heresy. It is a dagger thrust into the side of the Church, producing a mortal wound. If the wound is not healed, the Church will vanish.

However, God has not abandoned His Church. To prevent this error from destroying the Church, God sent us a powerful formula which began under the pontificate of St. Paul VI.

Binding the mortal wound

Back in 1965, Paul VI realized the danger in this new Eucharistic theology coming from these modern theologians. He warned in his encyclical Mysterium Fidei: “For We can see that some of those who are dealing with this Most Holy Mystery in speech and writing are disseminating opinions . . . on the dogma of transubstantiation that are disturbing the minds of the faithful and causing them no small measure of confusion about matters of faith.” Furthermore, the pope said, they try “to discuss the mystery of transubstantiation without mentioning what the Council of Trent had to say about the marvelous conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body and the whole substance of the wine into the Blood of Christ.” Continuing, he says that they speak as if these mysteries involve nothing more than “‘transignification,’ or ‘transfinalization,’ as they call it.”15

So, Paul VI tried to head off the potential harm done to the central doctrine of the Holy Eucharist with his magnificent encyclical Mysterium Fidei by clearly stating in the encyclical what remains after the consecration of the bread and wine. He states that, after the consecration of the Mass, “Christ is present whole and entire in His physical ‘reality,’ corporeally present, although not in the manner in which bodies are in a place.”16

By saying “not in a manner in which bodies are present in place,” the pope is saying that this involves a miracle. All bodies, because they are physical, are circumscribed or confined to a place or space. This, however, is not the case with the consecrated Host. The same Host (the same physical or “corporeal” Body of Christ) can exist on one person’s tongue and on another person’s hand at the same time during Communion because Our Lord’s Body transcends space and place, or is not confined to space or place, even though it is perfectly “physical” and perfectly “corporeal.”

To make it absolutely clear that the consecration of the Mass effects a “physical” change of the entire substance of the bread and wine into the entire substance of Jesus Christ, Paul VI stated in Credo of the People of God:

Any theological explanation intent on arriving at some understanding of this Mystery, if it is to be in accordance with Catholic faith, must maintain, without ambiguity, that in the order of reality which exists independently of the human mind, the bread and wine cease to exist after the consecration.17

There is obviously something physical and corporeal existing outside of the mind (“independently of the human mind”) after the consecration, or the priest and people would not be able to eat and drink it. Paul VI is saying that this is absolutely not physical bread and wine, but rather exclusively the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

This is the “real” Good News. This means that, what St. John said about Jesus as the Word of Life, we can also say today about our relationship to the Word of Life because of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. When we say today that the consecrated bread and wine are really Jesus Christ we are speaking about that “which we looked upon and have touched with our hands” — “the Word of Life” Himself — Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Jn 1:1; my emphasis).

So, the reason why Catholics have lost their trust and enthusiasm for Jesus Christ and His Church today is because they do not realize that He has not abandoned them. In fact, He is still with them “whole and entire” — in His total and complete Person, in the flesh. He is “really” here with us today in the Mass and in the tabernacle of churches.

The solution, therefore, is clear. The Church must proclaim more convincingly what she has always held to be true, that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Eucharist, and therefore is actively present and directing the Church. (In other words, Catholics must understand that Jesus is not to be treated as just the revered Deity of history, whose teachings must be adapted to modern times.) Once this proclamation takes place, we will not only see in the Church a superabundance of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, we will also see a return to unity and peace.

Here is how to get this done: The Pope, preferably with all the bishops in the Church, should declare ex cathedra — in a solemn proclamation with his highest authority, as de fide — Pope Paul VI’s formula of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist from no. 46 of Mystereium Fidei and its companion clarification from no. 25 of Credo of the People of God. I am speaking about the phrase of Paul VI which says that “Christ is present whole and entire in His physical ‘reality,’ corporeally present, although not in the manner in which bodies are in a place,” and its companion clarification that “in the order of reality which exists independently of the human mind, the bread and wine cease to exist after the consecration.”

We know what will happen. Many will not accept this and will walk away from the Church — just as many disciples no longer walked with Jesus after He first taught this powerful teaching when He was visibly on earth. But the unity of those who remain and the consolation given to them will be beyond human imagination. The Church will become an agent of peace and unity for the whole world.

Yes, when this is done, we can expect the Church will be smaller because the “tree has been pruned” (Jn 15:2). But, then, the tree will grow!

  1. Dorothy Cummings McLean, “New book offers powerful solution to today’s crisis in the Catholic Church,” LifeSiteNews,July 18, 2017, com/blogs/book-review-author-makes-strong-case-for-traditional-latin-mass.
  2. Mark Miravalle, “How is Mary the ‘Spiritual Mother of Humanity?’” Fifth Marian DogmaVox Populi: Mariae Miediatrici, June 4, 2012, com/; John-Henry Westen, “Cardinal Burke calls for Consecration of Russia to Immaculate Heart of Mary,” LifeSiteNews, May 19, 2017, lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-cardinal-burke-calls-for-consecration-of-russia-to-immaculate-hear; Peter Baklinski, “Catholic Historian: We need consecration of Russia to save the Church,” Life Site News,April 12, 2017, lifesitenews.com/news/catholic-historian-we-need-consecration-of-russia-to-save-the-church.
  3. James J. McQuade, John XXIII, et al., “Second Congress of Sodalities — World Federation,” Marian Reprints, no. 75 (Dayton: Marian Library Publications, 1960), 5, available at udayton.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1073&context=marian_reprints; Marion A. Habig, The Marian Era, Vol. I (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1960), 6.
  4. Council of Trent, “Canons of the Council of Trent,” Catholic Liturgical Library, com/index.cfm/FuseAction/DocumentContents/Index/2/SubIndex/37/DocumentIndex/502; Council of Trent, Denzinger, no. 884.
  5. Council of Trent, Session XIII, cann. I and II; Denzinger, 30th edition, no. 883–84.
  6. Center for Applied Research on the Apostolate (CARA), “The Mass and Eucharist,” Sacraments Today: Belief and Practice among U.S. Catholics(Georgetown University, 2008), 54, available at georgetown.edu/masseucharist.pdf.
  7. George Sauvage, “Berengarius of Tours,” Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 2 (New York: Robert Appleton Co., 1907), org/cathen/02487a.htm; C.E. Sheedy, “Berengarius of Tours,” New Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 2 (Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 2002), 321; James T. O’Connor, The Hidden Manna(San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1988), 97; Lateran Council IV, Denzinger, 30th edition, no. 430; Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, “Protestantism,” Catholic Encyclopedia for School and Home, vol. 9, 26–34, available at therealpresence.org/archives/Protestantism/Protestantism_052.htm.
  8. Kanrad Sawicki, “Exclusive interview: Cardinal Müller on Medjugorje, Amoris Laetitia and radical Islam,” Aleteia, April 21, 2017, org/2017/04/21/exclusive-interview-cardinal-muller-on-medjugorje-amoris-laetitia-and-radical-islam/2/.
  9. Michael Lipka, “U.S. nuns face shrinking numbers and tensions with Vatican,” Fact-tank: News in the Numbers(Pew Research Center), Aug. 8, 2014, org/fact-tank/2014/08/08/u-s-nuns-face-shrinking-numbers-and-tensions-with-the-vatican/.
  10. Karl Rahner, Hominization(New York: Herder & Herder, 1965), 81–82. My emphasis.
  11. Engelbert Gutwenger, “Transubstantiation,” Encyclopedia of Theology: The Concise Sacramentum Mundi, ed. Karl Rahner, (New York: Seabury Press, 1975), 1754. My emphasis.
  12. Tad W. Guzie, SJ, Jesus and the Eucharist(New York: Paulist Press, 1974), 67–68. My parentheses.
  13. Anthony Wilhelm, Christ Among Us, 5th rev. ed. (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1990), cover and 216. My emphasis.
  14. Martin Luther, Confession concerning Christ’s Supperin Luther’s Works, vol. 37, ed. Robert Fischer (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1961), 303; “Consubstantiation,” The Free Dictionarycom/consubstantiation.
  15. Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei(Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1965), nos. 10–15. Available at vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_03091965_mysterium.html.
  16. Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei Partially my emphasis.
  17. Paul VI, “Solemni hac liturgia (The Credo of the People of God),” June 30, 1968, no. 25, found in Vatican Council II: More Post Conciliar Documents, vol. 2, ed. Austin Flannery, OP
  18. (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1982), 393. Also available at  About Fr. Regis Scanlon, OFMCap

Fr. Regis Scanlon, OFMCap, was ordained in Aug. 26, 1972. He is currently in the process of developing the Julia Greeley shelter for homeless, unaccompanied women in metro Denver. He is spiritual director and chaplain for Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s Missionaries of Charity in Denver, as well as being one of the spiritual directors for the Missionaries of Charity in the western United States. He was director of prison ministry for the Archdiocese of Denver, from 1999 to 2010; a chaplain for Missionaries of Charity at their now-closed AIDS hospice, Seton House, and at Gift of Mary homeless shelter for women in Denver from 1989 to 2008; and in 1997, he was sent by Mother Teresa to instruct Missionaries of Charity in Madagascar and South Africa on the subject of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist . His articles have been published in Homiletic & Pastoral ReviewThe Catholic FaithSoul MagazinePastoral Life, and The Priest. He has also made two series for Mother Angelica’s EWTN: “Crucial Questions,” “Catholic Answers,” and “What Did Vatican II Really Teach?”

End Quoted

A “Rule of Life” for Prophets – A Homily for the 4th Sunday of the Year Msgr. Charles Pope 


A “Rule of Life” for Prophets – A Homily for the 4th Sunday of the Year

Msgr. Charles Pope 

Prophets are those who speak for God. They love Him and His people. They speak the often-painful truth to God’s people not to win an argument but because of their love and their conviction that only His undiluted truth can save us in the end.

People-pleasing and other forms of human respect cannot supplant reverence for God and His truth. Prophets are willing to endure pain, suffering, and even death in order to proclaim God’s truth to an often-unappreciative audience.

Today’s readings set forth a kind of “rule for life” for prophets. We who are baptized into the order of the prophet do well to listen to these teachings. Let us examine them in three stages.

  1. The Call that is Declared– In the first reading God says to Jeremiah (and to us):The word of the LORD came to me, saying: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you. But do you gird your loins; stand up and tell them all that I command you.

The Prevenient nature of our Call – The word “prevenient” is an adjective describing something that comes before, something that is anticipatory. God has not chosen us on a whim, as if to say, “I suppose you’ll do.” Before He made us, He considered our call and then equipped, empowered, and enabled us for our work.

God tells Jeremiah (and us) that He knew, loved, and cherished us long before He made us. He made us in a way that prepared and equipped us for the work of being prophets.

How? The answer to that different for each person. There is no one who can proclaim God or announce the kingdom the way you can. Perhaps He has especially equipped you to evangelize certain individuals whom no one else can reach. Just know this: God thought a long time about you and prepared you in very specific and thoughtful ways. Whatever you need has “come before,” is “prevenient.”

The Purview of our Call – God tells Jeremiah (and us) that we are appointed unto the nations. Jeremiah himself did not journey beyond Israel, but since that time the Word of the Lord uttered through him has reached every nation.

Never doubt the influence you can have by the grace of God. Even in and through reaching one person you can change the destiny of many. Stay in your lane and do your work, but remember that through you God can accomplish more than you can imagine. By His grace, your influence can reach the nations.

The Preparation of our Call – The Lord tells Jeremiah (and us) to “gird our loins.” This is an ancient way of saying, “roll up your sleeves.” In other words, prepare to work by assembling what you need and getting ready to expend effort.

For us this surely means daily prayer, weekly Eucharist, and frequent confession. It means prayerfully reading God’s Word and the teachings of the Church. It means keeping fellowship with the Church and with fellow believers. All of this equips, empowers, and enables us for the work God has called us to do: being prophets.

Beyond this there may be other specific gifts God calls each of us to develop: music, a second language, healing, preaching, or administration. God will show you what those gifts are and help you to grow the talents you have received.

In all this you “roll up your sleeves” for the work God has given you and prepared you for so that you will be an effective prophet.

The Prescription of our Call – The text says, “[T]ell them all that I command you.” In other words, leave nothing out; proclaim the whole counsel of God. Don’t just proclaim what appeals to you or agrees with your politics and worldview. Don’t just say what is popular or agrees with worldly thinking. Tell them the whole message, in season or out of season.

  1. The Courage that is Demanded – The text says: Be not crushed on their account, as though I would leave you crushed before them; for it is I this day who have made you a fortified city, a pillar of iron, a wall of brass, against the whole land: against Judah’s kings and princes, against its priests and people.

Strong – A prophet needs to be strong, for people are stubborn and hesitant to change. Indeed, we are collectively a stiff-necked people; we have necks of iron and foreheads of brass. We are thick-headed, willful, and obdurate. A prophet must be willing to endure a lot to move the ball even a few inches. If you don’t think we’re a hard case, look at the cross and see what it took to save us. Prophets need strength and persistence.

Supporting – A prophet is called “a pillar of iron.” That is, he is to lend support to a crumbling nation and culture. Whether our culture likes to admit it or not, it iscrumbling and collapsing. If it is to stand any chance at all, we must be willing to be pillars of iron, calling this culture back to modesty, decency, chastity, self-control, maturity, obedience to God, and generosity to the poor. Otherwise, everything is destined for ruin.

Sadly, the Church has often had to pick up the shattered pieces of fallen cultures, nations, and eras that refused to repent. But this is what prophets must do: they must be pillars of iron when cultures go weak and soft, or when they crumble under the weight of pride, sin, and unrepentance.

Failing that, we must become, by God’s grace, the new foundation and pillar of what rises from the ashes. All of this takes great courage.

Sanctifying – Jeremiah is told that the priests, kings, and princes have all been corrupted and that he must speak the truth to them and summon them to repentance.

The hardest work of the prophet is calling those who benefit from the status quoto change and repentance. This is hard not only because they are at the “top” of the current system but also because they are owed some degree of respect and obedience as lawful superiors.

Finding the balance between respecting authority figures and summoning them to repentance is not easy and only God can really pull it off. Nevertheless, speaking the truth to powerful people is the unenviable lot of the prophet.

Well, fellow prophets, all of this refers to you and me. Bishop-bashing and ridiculing political leaders is not the solution, but neither is quiet acquiescence when those in authority need to hear a call from the Lord. A lot of prayer and a general tone of respect will surely lead the way. Practice clarity with charity and light with love.

III. The Conclusion that is Determined – The text says, They will fight against you but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.

In the end, the truth will out. God always wins. Every night gives way to day, when the light scatters the darkness. Darkness has its hour, but truth has eternity. Good Friday only points to Easter Sunday, when death is cast off like a garment. In the end, every true prophet is on the winning team. While he may face laughter, ridicule, persecution, setbacks, and trials, what every true prophet announces will come to pass. History bears this out and it will be made manifest on the Last Day. Darkness cannot prevail; it always gives way to the light.

The conclusion for the prophet, the Church, the gospel, and the Lord is total victory. It cannot be any other way. God has spoken it and He will do it.

The Lord Jesus shows us this in today’s Gospel, even if only in a small way. The text says,

They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away.

This is a preview of Easter: just when Satan is running his victory lap, the Lord casts off death and stands as light in the shadow of the cross. Satan loses; Jesus wins.

So, get on the winning team. Pay little heed to the current struggle; it cannot last. Jesus has already won.

End Quotes

What Is Worship? Sacrifice, Participation, and Beauty STEPHEN BEALE

Worship, as the Baltimore Catechism states, is the giving of honor to God by various acts.

But what exactly does worship consist of? The catechism, without elaborating, gives prayer and sacrifice as two examples. Both Scripture and the Church’s liturgical tradition example allow us to elaborate on this definition. Reviewing what has been revealed to us points to three particularly salient aspects of worship: sacrificial communion, transformative participation in mystery, and contemplation of beauty.

The Mass: Sacrificial Communion

The Church teaches that the Mass is the highest form of worship it has. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it,

The Eucharistic celebration always includes: the proclamation of the Word of God; thanksgiving to God the Father for all his benefits, above all the gift of his Son; the consecration of bread and wine; and participation in the liturgical banquet by receiving the Lord’s body and blood. These elements constitute one single act of worship.

  • The Mass is the foundation for our understanding of what worship is. It is what forms and informs our devotions outside of the Mass and it is the end to which we are constantly journeying in all our prayers and works.

At the center of the Mass is Christ’s sacrifice and ours which is joined to His. In our society, this notion of worship as sacrifice is a foreign concept, perhaps even in some Catholic circles. Instead we tend to think of worship in terms of praise, as this writer points out.

Why is sacrifice at the core of worship?

Let’s go back to the definition of worship offered by the Baltimore Catechism as giving honor to God. One way of defining honor is giving someone what is due to Him. In the case of God, what is due to Him, as our Creator, is nothing less than our whole selves, as

On the cross, Christ showed how to render perfect worship to God. In imitating Christ, we too must offer our whole selves to God. This acknowledgement of the debt that we owe to God establishes a relationship between man and his Creator. Sacrifice to God thus leads to communion, as St. Paul said,

The chalice of benediction, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread, which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord? For we, being many, are one bread, one body, all that partake of one bread. Behold Israel according to the flesh: are not they that eat of the sacrifices, partakers of the altar? (1 Corinthians 10:16-18; Douay-Rheims translation)

Transformative Participation in Mystery

The Mass, of course, is not simply sacrifice, but our participation in Christ’s sacrifice, as St. Paul indicates above. This aspect of worship is well illustrated in one Old Testament passage that foreshadows the Eucharist, where Isaiah glimpses the worship of angels in heaven:

In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, with the train of his garment filling the temple. Seraphim were stationed above; each of them had six wings: with two they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they hovered. One cried out to the other:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts!
All the earth is filled with his glory!”

At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook and the house was filled with smoke. Then I said, “Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember which he had taken with tongs from the altar. He touched my mouth with it. “See,” he said, “now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged” (Isaiah 6:1-7).

Imagine how out of place Isaiah must have felt. He is a creature of the earth who has been caught up to the heavenly heights and witnesses something he realizes no mortal can see and still live. And yet, far from being cast out, the sacrifice of the altar is extended to Isaiah. The hot coals that burned the sacrifice on the altar now singe his lips.

Participation is thus also transformative. We are changed by the way we worship. Sacrifice necessarily requires a change in the one making the offering. And, our own offering is purified and elevated through our encounter with Christ’s own sacrifice.

What we participate in must always in some sense remain a mystery—if we understand mystery in the sense of the original Greek word as something that is hidden. In the Eucharist the mystery that is God is veiled in the Eucharistic bread and wine. So also in Isaiah 6, God is never seen—only the “train of His garment filling the temple.” In much the same way that God only permitted Moses to observe Him from behind, so also Isaiah can only gaze upon God indirectly. And for much of the scene we can only see God through the eyes of the angels who look upon Him.

Contemplation of Beauty

Worship necessarily is also contemplation of the beauty of God. Such is the beauty of God that biblical writers who describe the worship of the heavenly court cannot describe Him directly in His essence. Instead He is depicted by way of analogy and by His surroundings. This tendency is evident in Isaiah above it is also on display in Revelation:

At once I was caught up in spirit. A throne was there in heaven, and on the throne sat one whose appearance sparkled like jasper and carnelian. Around the throne was a halo as brilliant as an emerald. Surrounding the throne I saw twenty-four other thrones on which twenty-four elders sat, dressed in white garments and with gold crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder. Seven flaming torches burned in front of the throne, which are the seven spirits of God.

In front of the throne was something that resembled a sea of glass like crystal (Revelation 4:2-6).

At the forefront of those worshipping are the four living creatures, whose six wings are covered in eyes inside and out. It’s a strange physical attribute indeed, but does it not make some sense in context? God has given the angels a multiplicity of eyes so that they might be able to gaze upon His beauty all the more.

We too are invited to worship God by adoring His beauty. Only in the next chapter do we get a description of Christ as the lamp who was slain. All of creation is involved in worshipping the lamb,  Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, everything in the universe, cry out:

“To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor, glory and might, forever and ever,” (Revelation 5:13).

This lamb is the same one about whom John the Baptist spoke when Christ appeared to him—

“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). In Revelation, worship once again culminates in communion—what the book calls the ‘wedding supper of the lamb,’ which is the eternal celebration of the Eucharistic feast. To this final supper are invited not just the four living creatures and the angels but all those who are saints (see Revelation 19:9).

That wedding is between the lamb and the bride—which is the Church. In this mystical encounter, the bride has been transformed by her encounter with the lamb. She too is now beautiful:

Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory.
For the wedding day of the Lamb has come,
his bride has made herself ready.
She was allowed to wear
a bright, clean linen garment.”
(The linen represents the righteous
deeds of the holy ones)
(Revelation 19:7-8).

To our secularized society, worship may seem like such a chore. We prefer to be spectators who are entertained. Or information buckets waited to be filled with facts. Or, all too often, in certain contexts, worship can become a therapeutic exercise in self-expression.

Scripture and tradition show us that worship is so much more than this. It is a sacrificial act that establishes communion with God. It is a participation in His mystery and a contemplation of His beauty that utterly transform us.

End Quotes

A Babe & a baby Sharing Faith and Family by Pat Miron {Great Grandpa} …

A Babe & a baby

Sharing Faith and Family by Pat Miron {Great Grandpa} …

                                                  A mystery?

 In my role as a catechist, I seldom include personal things about me and my family. But in participating this morning in EWTN”s daily Mass, one of my personal favorite Homeliest; Father Wade Mendez touched a “soft spot” of mine.   The BABE Jesus and why God, the creator of every living thing and the entire Universe choose to come as a tiny helpless baby. After all, He is God,  … He is King of Kings, Lord of Lord’s, He is all MIGHTY & All Powerful. So why did he choose to come as a tiny helpless Babe?

On December 3td, Karen {my bride of 47 /51 years and counting] and I became Great grand -parents for a second time. I was completely awed by the fragility of our new great-grand-daughter, who we nick named “Scooter.”  … [How soon we forget]  … honestly, her tinny round face looks just like a Cherub; a tiny Angel. {9lbs 6ozs.} It was love at first sight!

As I held her the day she was born [great-grandma was the delivery coach], and being so close to Christmas, I could not help but reflect on Jesus, My, and OUR God, being this small, this helpless, this dependent upon mere mortals for his very life and sustenance.

It occurred to me that not only was this an act of incalculable love, but also an immeasurable , and deeply profound act of humility, and something I had thought too little of; a freely chosen act of enormous faith. He could do absolutely nothing for himself, and made himself totally dependent on his mother Mary, and “father” Joseph. My next thought was if Jesus has this much faith in His Created humanity [Genesis 1:26-27 & Isaiah 43: verse 7 & 21]; what must He expect from us, in faith returned?

Jesus didn’t say “follow me”; he said “take up your Cross and follow me.”  [Mt. 5:19] ….

Father Wade asked; “what if the only image of Christ we had, was Christ hanging on the Cross?” Or what if the only image we had was Christ Resurrected?”  … Both, near polar opposite differences would have been at best intimidating, and frightening.  Certainly people in large numbers would have at least been reluctant to approach Christ in either case. 

But who is intimidated or afraid of a new-born Babe?  Especially one wrapped is swaddling clothes, born in a barn, and laying in a major? No one.  And only the hard headed, hard hearted does not have tender [even loving] feeling towards a new born, tiny and innocent baby.

Luke 2:11-16For, this day, is born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying: Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will.  And it came to pass, after the angels departed from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see this word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath shewed to us.”

Certainly part of the reason for the Incarnation, was our Creators desire to experience firsthand what His Created experienced. But just as clearly; Almighty God choose this form to manifest many key lessons for us.  …  Divine Providence desired to be loved, and to be lovable and accessible to all. He desired not to intimidate, not to threaten, not to force; rather to give us every opportunity to love him as he loves us.

What an amazing and Mysterious God we have.  Because God is [Agape} love; and a new infant reflects and elicits that very emotion from us; even as a tiny newborn Babe, Jesus was teaching us what we must know, and what he expects from us. … John 13:34-35A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.” Amen!

The Task & the Cross of Perseverance A reflection by Patrick Miron

 

   The Task & the Cross of Perseverance

A reflection by Patrick Miron

 Rom.2: 13 “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.”

I suspect that all who receive this Lesson has been a true “saint” at least once. Perhaps for many, very much more. But is that sufficient to get me and you into heaven? No!

Matt.19:21 “Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

Mark.10: 2]” And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

Luke.18: 22 “And when Jesus heard it, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

So the questions seems to be: What does “Come and follow Me” mandate and command?  …

Have you ever reflected on what this teaching means to us in the times and world in which GOD places us?

At the time, place and circumstances of that teaching, Christ was being quite literal. He was speaking to a rich by inheritance, one presumes, young SINGLE man, All though it is possible that he may have been married? In effect God was offering this guy an opportunity to become another apostle

To the best of my personal knowledge, only Peter was actually known biblically evidenced to have been married, and there is no mention of him having children. Though it is thought that because of Jewish Tradition that many; perhaps all but John, were also married and may even have had children. It was not Jewish Tradition of the time for men to remain single and celebrant. But that was a different time, place and conditions when the community would normally have stepped in to fill the needs of their families.

That so many would give up so very much to Answer God’s call is telling just how compelling, how urgent, that Godly call was. And it is not to be overlooked that Jesus, through Divine Providence would certainly have assured the Apostles that their families would be taken care of, if for no other reason than it permitted the Apostles to focus on the task at hand. … Just as compelling though is that Jesus came to share a lesson of love and servitude, and Divine Justice would have demanded such a response from our Just and Loving God.  Below is a brief EWTN article you can read if interested.

 http://www.ewtn.com/v/experts/showresult.asp?RecNum=306119&Forums=0&Experts=0&Days=2002&Author=&Keyword=&pgnu=4&groupnum=294&record_bookmark=73700

… I don’t think in its application to our lives that Christ is asking, and certainly not commanding us to leave our spouses, kids and break up our families to serve Him; nor is that even necessary in our personal efforts to persevere until the end, and thus merit our reward.

Each of us will Judged in the end based on what GOD has made possible for us individually to know, to in humility accept and with enthusiasm to live and share. So Gods grading of our own degree “fellowship” and perseverance will be on a sort of sliding scale, depending on the Crosses that he has built for each of us, and then to the degree that we accept those crosses without [excessive] complaint. No complaint being the ideal goal.

What we all can know, and all of should do is pray daily for the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. … These Holy Spirit granted Gifts, are the unfailing prescription for what ails us.

They grow our humility, and meekness, and prevent us from falling spiritually ill from despair. … Further they actually strengthen us, and aid our perseverance       in times of trouble.

Our God ask and expects many things from each of us, and what He ask varies greatly dependent upon our gifts, talents, abilities, and of course, our personal situations. But the girding; the very foundation of all of God’s Just Expectations is perseverance.

Sir.2: 10Consider the ancient generations and see: who ever trusted in the Lord and was put to shame? Or whoever persevered in the fear of the Lord and was forsaken?
Or whoever called upon him and was overlooked”

Jas.1: 25 “But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing”

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

Matt.19: 17   …. “If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”

Matt.24: 13 “But he who endures to the end will be saved.”

Heb.12: 7 “It is for discipline that you have to persevere. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

John.14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

John.14: 23 “Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him”

Dear friends, Jesus became a “man” like us for a number of reasons; among them enabling humanity too actually [without undue fear; in Awe] know God, who choose not to reveal himself except in hidden ways in the Old Testament. … Devout Jews to this day would not even say or write the name of G__d.  … Jesus came to, in Love, to demonstrate, the other face of GOD; a God of Love, kindness and Mercy, a God of concern and goodwill; Jesus came as a guide, but even more as a role-model. Not only does Jesus teach us how we can conditionally attain heaven; he actually demonstrated it for us by his lives example. And as our role-model, He Personally tells us, commands us and directs each of us to “COME FOLLOW ME.”

I began this reflection with Jesus advising the young, man to sell everything and to come and “follow me if you would be perfect” …. What is the relevance of this for us in our time, condition and place?

In a WORD; what Christ expected then and now is SACRIFICE. … We live in an age of MEISM, and few of us [myself notably include], are excluded from this experience. We have become so attuned to “THE ME”, that it very often is the first [and often defining issue for our personal decision making] that the “HOW” will such and such effect ME, is often the primary concern; even a “natural” response. And such a reality is a 100% different and opposite reflection of what Jesus modeled for each of us.

Christ always, ALWAYS, placed others needs and wants before His Own. To the degree that we are able to do likewise is the measurement of our Love and Loyalty to Christ message of our personal salvation.

I suspect that each of us have met at least one or more priest who Do model and emulate Christ in His self-giving. A GREAT many Pastors are such role models for us. So that we CAN know, that such a life is attainable. .

Isa.43: 7Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.” & [21] “the people whom I formed for myself
that THEY MIGHT declare my praise

To attain heaven we are to LOVE. We are to forgive everyone for everything. We are to share our time, talents and resources with others in greater need. We are to spread HOPE and teach, even if it’s [dare I say] “only” by our lives public-example, our Catholic Faith. Not only are we expected to carry our own Christ designer-crosses; we ARE expected to help others in their efforts to carry theirs.

In effect, we are to take Christ WORDS: “I AM the way, the Truth and the Life” as a instruction of how we are to live our lives. By our examples of SELF-GIVING for others we can give evidence and are expected to share “The Good News.”

The question before us, and not too many years ago expressed in a popular slogan is relevant today: WWJD” ….”WHAT WOULD JESUS DO/” … come FOLLOW Me.

We need to get used to asking ourselves this question so often that it effects the way we liv e and the way we LOVE.

So dear friends, what is IT that Jesus would have YOU do?

 Pray very much! Life is SHORT; Eternity is FOREVER. … So PERSEVERE!

God’s continued Blessings,

Patrick

Great Men and Women: You Can’t Have One Without the Other: reblogged

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Husbands, fathers, brothers, friends… we need to strive to be strong men and help cultivate the next generation of men. We are surrounded by too many males who do not understand their natural roles or just choose to abdicate their responsibilities because society has told them that the truth about being a man has somehow changed. We are being asked to accept, after countless generations proved the veracity of a man’s role in society and family, that current “experts” have been enlightened to know better about what a man should be. The absurdity of this false, new reality troubles me greatly. Our society has many problems, but I believe that the deterioration of true manliness is one of the biggest and that it exasperates many of our other cultural challenges.

I’m baffled by the fact that the word “manly” has a negative connotation for many, but I’m not going to attempt to address that issue or even make a case for what I believe a real man is. I simply want to suggest that as we repair manhood we should be working to rebuild womanhood as well. For I believe that the dismantling of masculinity and men’s critical roles in family and society is closely linked to the erosion of women’s roles and the dismissal of their uniqueness. Our society is stuck on a pernicious course that is attempting to make everyone the same under the guises of equality and fairness.

Since God didn’t just make a human, rather He uniquely created a man and a woman, it’s pretty obvious to me that there are real and meaningful differences between the two. If we believe that to be true then it is reasonable to assume that we should strive to recognize what a man is and what a woman is so that we can honor them accordingly. If we decide to ignore the differences then we do so at our own peril, just the same as if we treat salt water as if it were fresh water.

The fallacy that continues to grow in our society is that differences are somehow deficits. Equality and fairness are buzzwords often misused when it is really sameness that too many are after. Men and women are not the same and thus should never be treated in the same way. Both should most definitely be respected, but when we ignore their uniqueness we disrespect their God-given and differentiated traits and lose out on the purpose and benefits of the gifts (physical, emotional, psychological, physiological, etc.) that God has designed each to have. Women are not men, and men are not women.

As we work to embrace and spread true manhood, let’s make sure we are encouraging our wives, sisters, and daughters to embrace womanhood. They need us to be men and we need them to be women because one does not really exist without the other. It’s folly to believe that we know better than God’s design so let’s truly honor women and men by not dismissing their differences and embracing the gifts that each provide to our families and society