Catholic Faith: Blog
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Lord through your merciful love, grant us (your Church) the grace of detachment from the vanities of the world so that we may see clearly and devote ourselves to your Church and your heavenly kingdom.
Luke’s gospel ends with the Ascension of Jesus Christ, and his second book, The Acts of The Apostles, begins with the Ascension of Jesus Christ. It is explained here, in the book of Acts, that Jesus spent forty days with His very own apostles. As Jesus appeared to this chosen few, he proved to them that He is the same Jesus that was crucified, buried and raised from the dead (Acts 1:1-5). Jesus did not have to prove Himself to anyone; however, He did it out of love and empathy, for he understands our human weaknesses.
As you can imagine, the apostles had many questions about what would or should happen next. The apostles’ main concern was with the restoration of the Israeli kingdom; however, Jesus turned their attention towards the true concern. Their new mission was to become witnesses to the truth that Jesus Christ was and always will be the one true messiah. This is a seemingly impossible task for such a small group of common-folk. The kingdom that was to be restored was not that of the Israeli kingdom, but the spiritual kingdom of heaven here on earth.
The Catholic Church is that earthly kingdom in which the Holy Spirit guides with the grace of The Father. This special ‘grace’ of authority and leadership has been handed down, through history, to the ‘new’ apostles via The Sacrament of Holy Orders. This sacrament anoints these new apostles with the wisdom, courage and authority to, as Jesus said, “Go into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” This is not to say that only priests are charged with the mission of preaching the Gospel; no, we are all called to share the good news, however, priests are given special graces to lead Jesus’s Church in this effort of evangelism.
Our prayer in this mystery is as follows:
Lord through your merciful love, grant us the grace of detachment from the vanities of the world so that we may see clearly and devote ourselves to your church and your heavenly kingdom.
God bless you all,
The Catholic Rebuttal's Team
Catholics and the Eucharist: Do Catholics Really Believe That They Are Eating Jesus's Flesh and Drinking His Blood?Read Now
Scriptural References Reinforcing Catholic's Beliefs in the True Presence of the Eucharist:
Nicaea Council in 325; A Meeting of Early Christians:
The ecumenical council of Nicaea in 325, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, which defined this for us, he was true God and true man - which is in the creed of the Catholic Church. Mark 14:24, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” This gift of his humanity in the Sacrament is inseparable from his self-offering on the cross since together they constitute a single sacrifice in which Jesus is both priest and sacrificial victim of the New Covenant. Again, Mk 6:35-44 “This is my body;” Jesus identifies the unleavened bread of the Passover feast with his own flesh (Jn 6:51).
In Other Words
In 1 Cor 11:20 Paul explains, that he does not praise (condone) the act of eating the Lord’s Supper as though it is any ordinary meal. Disunity is a direct contradiction to the purpose of the braking of the bread and the cup of blessing: which is to unite the Church (the body of Christ) with the head, Jesus, thus unifying the kingdom of God. Remember, Peter (the Sheppard of the flock) holds the keys of the kingdom Mt 16:19.
1 Cor 10:16-17 – Here, Paul ties together the third cup in the Seder meal of the Old Testament with the New Testament Covenant, which is the Eucharistic cup of wine as a participation (a unification) in the blood of Christ. Christ’s blood then unifies His Church to its members and then to Himself. As Christ was begotten from heaven, he became 100% flesh, and his flesh is now the true manna from heaven in which we partake in so that we enter true communion with him. Paul says, this in the context of how we ought to worship (1Cor 10:14). Worshiping God thus becomes more than spiritual; it becomes a physical participation! We the Church, become ONE with Christ in an intimate way. This action is hardly just a symbol; it truly His body, His blood - soul and divinity; Jesus said it. It’s truly Jesus’ body and blood made present by the priest. It is NOT another sacrifice but the one and only Sacrifice made present at the table of the Lamb, representative of the Passover meal.
Lk 24:13 – Recall the episode on the walk to Emmaus; they did not recognize Jesus until He broke the bread, recalling the Last Supper. So let’s take Jesus at his word; after all he is the “Word of God.” “It’s a heavenly thing, supernatural which requires faith in the one who is and who spoke the Word of God” (John 3: 11-12). God never said it would be easy for us to understand; this is why it is called 'the mystery of faith.'
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In the midst of Easter's approach, we felt that it was important that we issue a short statement thanking all of those who frequent this page. Also, we wanted to encourage all viewers to break the confines of this blog and comb through our other pages. Finally, we wanted to briefly explain why it is we take the time and energy to defend and promote the Catholic Church.
All Christians believe that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, begotten by the Father to save humanity from sin. The Crucifixion, The Resurrection, Christ's birth and many other moments are recognized as key moments in the Christian Faith. Protestants often forget to acknowledge all of these critical occurrences; one occurrence being the handing over of the keys to the kingdom.
Above is an image of Christ Jesus, the one whom we all adore, handing over the keys of His kingdom to Simon "Peter," the first leader of Jesus' Church. Upon the "rock" of Peter, Jesus' teachings (oral and written) were passed down to future generations; this is an undeniable fact. Here, Jesus anoints Peter with His very own authority telling him that he is able to "bind and loose" the sins of this world. He also tells Peter to go and anoint others in a similar fashion.
Regardless of what denomination you are, if you consider yourself Christian, I implore you to take a week or two and delve into the writings and teachings of the early Church Fathers. These were the men who knew Christ and His direct apostles. These "Fathers" of the Church were charged with the immense responsibility of spreading the Good News and persuading millions of people to follow the One True God - Jesus Christ. You owe it to these men to at least read what they had to say. Let us face it, if it were not for their vigor, fearlessness and courage - you and I may have never come to know Christ in all of his glory.
In summary, all shall rise from the dead in the resurrection, the same mortal earthly body will rise, except it will rise in the original state of immortality and reunite with their soul. The good shall resurrect to life everlasting while the wicked will resurrect to eternal damnation. This is the work of God, like in the beginning all things were made perfect, in the resurrection all things are restored to perfection by the same power from on high. This is the result by Jesus Christ who by his death, death was destroyed, so the wicked will live forever in suffering and the good shall live in the glory and love of the Father.
Resurrection; a word Wikipedia defines as “the concept of a living being coming back to life after death.” Well Wikipedia, we are here to tell you that this is not a ‘concept’ but a living truth! Jesus did resurrect!
Someday, all people will rise from the dead and when they do, they will be wearing the same body they had during their passing. Please understand that this means that both the good and the bad will rise again. In the earliest of Christianity, the creeds and Profession of Faith said that, “We (Catholics) believe in the resurrection of the body,” indicating that the body dies and resurrects again, but the soul never dies and thus is always resurrected. Glory be to God.
Belief in the raising of the body can be found throughout Jewish history. In the Old Testament, 2 Maccabees 7, brothers and their mother were tortured by a vicious king who forced them to eat swine and denounce their Judaist faith. Unimaginably, one by one, they died a martyr's death knowing that the Lord God would raise their bodies again on the last day (7:9). They believed it and so should we. Taking this point further, God delivered messages to Ezekiel explaining, “All the dead of Israel, there on the plains of dry bones, the Lord God sent the spirit to restore the bones of the dead to life, giving the bone sinew, flesh and skin, but no life until the spirit breathed on them the breath of life, and they were all alive again” (Ezekiel 37:5-6). Though this vision refers to Israel’s eventual restoration, one who has a belief in the resurrection can hardly miss the typology here – is foreshadows Christ’s resurrection and the resurrection we have yet to experience.
Finally we stumble upon Job, who suffered tremendously. Job, losing all that he had, took courage and remembered his belief in the resurrection. “This at least I know, that one lives on who will vindicate me, rising up from the dust when the last day comes. Once more my skin shall clothe me, and in my flesh I shall have sight of God. I myself, with my own eyes; it will not be something other than myself that sees him. Deep in my heart is this hope reposed” (Job 19; 25-27).
“Just as the Father bids the dead rise up and gives them life, so the Son gives life to whomsoever he will” (John 5;21). “Yes, this is the will of him who sent me, that all those who believe in the Son when they see him should enjoy eternal life; I am to raise them up at the last day” (John6:40). Do you see now the support validating the resurrection? Not only did Jesus resurrect; he promises to resurrect those who follow Him!
Jesus also taught the resurrection of the dead when he said, “And on that day he will separate the sheep from the goats.” The Apostles preached the resurrection of the dead, using scripture, to prove that the resurrection is one of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, (Acts 17:2,18, 31, 32).
In summary, all shall rise from the dead in the resurrection, the same mortal earthly body will rise, except it will rise in the original state of immortality and reunite with their soul. The good shall resurrect to life everlasting while the wicked will resurrect to eternal damnation. This is the work of God, like in the beginning all things were made perfect, in the resurrection all things are restored to perfection by the same power from on high. This is the result by Jesus Christ who by his death, was destroyed, so the wicked will live forever in suffering and the good shall live in the glory and love of the Father.
Quite frankly, I am amazed by how much money couples and parents, for that matter, are willing to spend on weddings nowadays. I understand some of the rationale; a wedding is one of the largest events of our lives, I get that! But, it doesn’t have to drain the pocketbook, does it? You can throw all the money in the world at a wedding, it still will not make a marriage successful. In today’s society, there is an attempt to pushed God farther and farther away. Matrimony is no exception to this trend.
The Sacrament of Matrimony has been hijacked, and made into another materialistic possession. We humans have done it again. Somehow we tend to take beautiful gifts of God and pervert and twist them beyond recognition. Don't get me wrong, I acknowledge the fact that weddings are both a celebration and a spiritual activity. It’s just that it seems to me the spiritual elements or being squeezed out, and most wedding have become a spectacle of comparison.
We read in Genesis 2;18-25, Marriage was instituted by God. It is the covenant bond between man and woman; they become one body, an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man (CCC 1604). In Matthew 19;6 Jesus is crystal clear when he explains that marriage is a Sacrament, an act of a visible physical sign and an inward spiritual sign of divine grace. This mark of Matrimonial grace, Jesus says, is permanent until death. It is said that no man can separate a “valid” marital covenant, not even a bishop.
When God is removed from a marriage it becomes an invalid union. Marriage was created by God in the image and likeness of the union between the Father the Son, the Holy Spirit and His Church (the bride of Christ - Rev. 19; 7-9). This desire, which is a grace, is placed in the heart of man. It is evident as he longs to satisfy this desire, all the days of his life. I believe when God is not invited to the wedding, this desire still persists, but man tries to satisfy it with materialism.
In my opinion, this explains why more and more money is being spent on weddings. The farther we push God out, the darker weddings become, the emptier marriages seem, and we use money and glamour as a way to fill those voids. This is also one reason divorce is an epidemic. Today, most weddings are not occurring for the ‘deepest reason’ - “The deepest reason is found in the fidelity of God to his covenant, in Christ to his Church”. “Through the sacrament of Matrimony the spouses are enabled to represent this fidelity and witness to it” (CCC 1647).
The Israelites, God’s chosen people, were demanded to worship on the Sabbath Day. This was a day to desist from any physical activity and give homage to the Creator. On the Sabbath, the religious leaders of the Israelites imposed many rules and regulations onto the people; these regulations forbade any activity, such as work on the farm or even cooking. God rested on the seventh day of Creation; therefore, the Israelites followed suit.
The Catholic Church, the one in which Jesus founded, has celebrated Easter Sunday from the very beginning. In the Book of Acts, Chapter 20, Verse 7 we read; “On the first day of the week we met for the breaking of bread.” This verse provides us with evidence that Christians assembled on Sundays to break bread, (Eucharist) and hear the instructions of God (The Liturgy of the Word). In the economy of salvation, the resurrection of the dead was imperative to reconcile ourselves to the Father. Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday opened the gate of heaven for the believer. Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection fulfilled all the prophecies discussed throughout the Old Testament; and thus, the New Covenant was formed.
The resurrection of Christ is vital to everyone’s salvation. Without it, Christianity would be vain. It became clear to believers that the Sabbath was made for man and that man was not made for the Sabbath. The believers began to worship on Sunday, the first day of the week, commemorating Christ’s resurrection; this was in an effort to put God first in their lives. Without getting into too much detail and history here, every Sunday is a celebration of Easter which signifies a new beginning. The festival of Easter is always celebrated in conjunction with the beginning of spring-time. Spring expresses a new beginning of seasons, bringing life to the world. Christ’s resurrection ultimately conveys everlasting life and a ‘newness’ for The Church; therefore the timing is perfected.
The Catholic Church’s dogmas, devotions and teachings regarding Easter are deeply rooted in Scripture; based on the life of Christ. Here are a few examples of the many ways Catholic’s deepen their relationship with Christ, during the Easter season:
The Bible and the Church teach that the spiritual battle we as humans fight are of principality and the world, the flesh, the devil. In Jesus’ spiritual preparation for His ministry, He is led by the spirit into the wilderness for 40 days and forty nights. There, Mathew 4;1-11 explains; “He fasted 40 days and nights, afterward he was hungry, and the devil came and tempted him in three ways.” Satan knowing Jesus was hungry tempted him with a desire of the flesh to turn stones into food which Jesus responded in his divinity; “Man does not live on bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”.
Then the devil tempts Jesus to commit suicide by throwing himself off of the temple, indicating that God would rescue him. Jesus says to him “You shall not tempt the Lord your God”.
Then the devil tempted Jesus by offering him the kingdoms of the world, and for Christ to bow and worship the devil. The devil is constantly offering the world to us in the acquisition of materials, power, and satisfaction of the flesh. Jesus’ reply to the devil about this final temptation is “You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve”.
Not sure how to pray? Don't worry - the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf, and perfects our prayers to the most high; akin to a lawyer preparing and presenting his / her client’s case to a judge.
The purpose of life is to love and to be loved. We must love the Creator first, our neighbor second and ourselves last. Also, we cannot love who we do not know; therefore, prayer becomes a vital channel in which we come to know the Lord, our neighbor and ourselves. Far too often, American culture focuses on the individual, putting the natural order of love in reverse, with one’s self in the Father’s place. In my humble opinion, we have become so secularized in the name of ‘freedom,’ that our collective purpose of life has turned inward and away from God.
We must get back to fidelity, the right order of priorities, if we are ever to live correctly as a society. The first step toward this goal is to get to know who the Creator really is. To begin, we must have a change of heart and begin to live according to the truth. This process is what the Church calls “prayer,” a truthful conversation with the Lord. This communication, which is inspired by grace, can be simplistic in form and even unnoticeable at times. Not sure how to pray? Don't worry - the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf, and perfects our prayers to the most high; akin to a lawyer preparing and presenting his / her client’s case to a judge.
Prayer is the voice of the soul, crying out to the one we have all been created for. Prayer is the divine union with God. It is like supernatural communication; its speed and accuracy is more powerful than any supercomputer. Prayer is a spiritual reality. If we fail to direct our prayers exclusively toward God, our requests become nothing more than wishes. Prayer is not a way to move God, but permission for God to move us - to draw us towards His grace. Prayer is our formation for the participation in heaven - the place in which we are to be in constant prayer, forever.
I do not like to picture God as though He is some sort of magician, waving a magic wand. I do not believe that light, darkness, the earth, wind, water and man simply appeared out of thin air. I believe that God used his scientific language and created nature in such a way that science can only prove His existence. Some of the greatest scientists to have ever lived, believed much the same thing.
The Big Bang Theory suggest that the universe came into existence with an resounding crash of sound and light - so massive that the radioactive waves can still be seen in our atmosphere to this day. Keep in mind, this happen 13.8 billion years ago. Thinking scientifically, how would you imagine the voice of God yelling "Let there be light!" being like? Would it not be a magnificent crash of sound; a beautiful explosion of light? Scientists are confident that the universe erupted from a mass around the size of a marble... yet they cannot explain it. How could you, other than the infinite complexity of God Himself?
Imagine, the seven 'days' of creation actually being 13.8 billion years to us. On the sixth day (roughly 2 million years ago) God started to form man from the dust. Over a period of thousands of years; God's 'dust' creation reached a point to which felt His 'image and likeness.' He breathed his divine life into it and it became man! Sounds like evolution to me. As Catholics, I believe that we need to view scientific discovery as the mechanism to which we come to understand how God created us. The beautiful part is that we already know why he created us - to love and to be loved. The 'why' is just as beautiful as the 'how.'
If you think that I am out of line - please take the time to read Pope Francis' view, here.
As is many traditions in the Catholic Church, this washing of the priest's hands is a symbol of the washing away of his own sin, making him worthy of consecrating the Body and Blood of our Lord.
Over the years my Protestant friends have accused me of following the traditions of man, via Catholic worship, doctrines and devotions. From the critic’s misinformed perspective, I can easily see why these false claims are made against my fellow Catholics and I. Once the critic is enlightened, it is evident that what often times is considered to be a ‘man-made tradition’ is truly a tradition built upon the words of Jesus Christ.
In yesterday’s Gospel Reading, Mark 7:1-13, Jesus condemns the Pharisees because they were only concerned with washing the outside of the body (external environment). If you have ever been to a Catholic Mass, this may shock you - the priest actually washes his hands before consecrating the Eucharist! Jesus emphasizes that it is the heart (internal environment) that must be cleansed and directed toward God, via worship. Merely going through the motions of piety and worship is of little or no value, for the Lord will judge our hearts (Proverbs 3:1-7). Once the heart is cleansed, piety becomes a holy exercises. As is many traditions in the Catholic Church, this washing of the priest's hands is a symbol of the washing away of his own sin, making him worthy of consecrating the Body and Blood of our Lord.
It has been said that every human being possess the Holy Spirit, whether one believes or does not believe; God never gives up on anyone. It is true that God calls all mankind to himself; however, not all will accept the call. We have the freedom to choose. This freedom is expressed in the intellect, the will and the heart of every man. At the moment of conception, God imprints on each of us a code of conduct to guide and counsel our hearts, giving us the ability to, “Discern by reason between the good and the evil” (CCC 1954). This code is the law of man's nature; it is who we are. This law separates man from animals and the rest of creation. This “code” is our wiring, so to speak, and is referred to as the moral or natural law. This law raises man up to the likeness and image of God.
“According to Christian tradition, the Law is holy, spiritual and good" (CCC 1963). It reveals the dignity of every man and directs the basis for his core rights and duties. The moral / natural law is permanent in man’s heart. Even complete rejection of its goodness cannot remove it; therefore, it is eternally sealed in every man’s soul. The moral law is the foundation from which man is created and drawn toward God. It is the first stage to the fulfillment of what God intends for his children, which is: life, knowledge, and love. These three were damaged through sin, and it is through the New Law (the law of the Gospel) that man is to be reconciled back to The Father. “The New Law is the grace of the Holy Spirit received by faith in Christ, operating through charity."
For further study refer to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, article 1, 1950, The Moral Law.