Catholic Faith: Blog
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"Women, get up, go out and speak the message God instructed you to share! You may never know what your words can lead to, but if they are spoken in faith, they can only lead to goodness."
I was sitting around the table, looking at all the beautiful women who have been given the honor of being someone’s mother. I was listening as they shared memories of their children’s younger years, as they discussed all the “mom fails” and learning moments and as they sat in awe of the blessing God gave them in being a mother. It was then that I tuned-in to the voice of a woman. It’s so gentle and sweet, but has the ability to grab the attention of so many and demand respect as it gives instruction. It’s loving in its deliverance and travels long after it has been spoken.
The voice of a woman carries a greater mission than I think anyone has ever tuned-in to notice. The soft sound that comes from a woman’s mouth is partnered with the purpose God gave it. A woman of faith has been crowned with a distinct, God-given voice. Who was the small, often unnoticed voice in the Bible? Women. Who has crumbled and sat speechless in the corner for far too long in the Church? Women. I think, as a woman, it’s time to recognize our voice and to lift it in order to follow the mission God placed in our hearts.
Elizabeth, the Virgin Mary’s cousin, was the first to proclaim the pregnancy which would bring forth our Savior. “Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, ‘Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.’” (Luke 1:41-42).
Mary, the mother of Jesus, is often noted to be, well, silent throughout the Bible. As Mary holds a small speaking role in the gospels, there is one story where her gentle voice meets the start of God’s mission. The Wedding at Cana is marked as the start of Jesus’ mission, and His mother, Mary, gives Him a firm push. “When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ [And] Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servers, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’” (John 2:3-5).
When Jesus had to pass through Samaria, He came across a woman at the well of Jacob. After talking to her for a short time, He spoke truth and told her the things she had done. The woman, recognized she was speaking with the Messiah and immediately got up, “went into the town and said to the people, ‘Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Messiah?’… Later, “Many of the Samaritans of the town began to believe in him because of the word of the woman” (John 4:28-29, 39).
After going to the tomb to find Jesus’ body missing, Mary Magdalene was alone when Christ appeared to her. “’Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?’… ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him, ‘Teacher.’ Jesus said to her… ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples. ‘I have seen the Lord.’” (John 20:15-18).
What an honor to be the first to tell of the coming of Christ and to share in Mary’s joy? How appropriate that Jesus’ mother be the first to command the start of His mission? Isn’t it beautiful that the often ignored Samaritan woman spoke directly to the hearts of non-believers? Wasn’t it wonderful that Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene and sent her to share His glory with the others? God is constantly using women, and their small voice. I think it’s time women of the Church look into their hearts to see what God is calling them to share. What an amazing world this would be if we heard the voice of a woman.
So women, get up, go out and speak the message God instructed you to share! You may never know what your words can lead to, but if they are spoken in faith, they can only lead to goodness.
“Jesus said, ‘I am the truth’, and it is your duty and mine to speak the truth.” –St. Teresa of Calcutta
Written by guest blogger and sister in Christ:
Erin Caldarera of The HeSeesWhite Blog
Christ established His Church through His apostles when he commissioned them to go out, do and teach all that He had done. Jesus handed over the keys of heaven to Simon who was then renamed Peter, meaning “Rock". Christ presented Peter as His head, here on earth. The Chair of Peter has been passed in a similar way into the hands of Pope Francis, in Rome.
Each week, Catholics recite the Apostle’s Creed, which describes Jesus’ Church as possessing the following characteristics: one, holy, Catholic, apostolic…
The Church is One…
In Ephesians chapter 4, verse 5 we read, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Furthering this point, in the gospel of Matthew we read the baptismal decree from Jesus, in which He says, “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:18-19).
The Church is Holy…
In Ephesians 5:27 we read, “That she might be holy without blemish.” Here, ‘she’ refers to the bride of Jesus, His church.
The Church is Catholic…
The word Catholic means “universal.” In Acts 2:5-10 we read “Every nation under heaven.” Jesus is the gatherer; calling all people to be a part of His church.
The Church is Apostolic…
In 1Corinthians 12:28 we see, “Some people God has designated in the church to be, first, apostles;* second, prophets; third, teachers; then, mighty deeds; then, gifts of healing, assistance, administration, and varieties of tongues.” Additionally, we read in Ephesians 2:19-20, “So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets,r with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.” and in the book of Acts 2:42, “They held steadfastly to the apostle’s teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread.”
The Church is also the body of Christ (1Cor 12:12-27, Colossians 1:24) in which nothing can separate the members from the body (Eph 4:25). In particular, nothing can separate heaven’s saints for they are the ones who see God face to face (Rev 22:4). We must remember that He is the head of which we are its members (Eph 5:23). The Catholic Church is also His bride while He is the bridegroom (1Cor 12; Romans 12).
So you might ask, “What is this church exactly and who might be its members?” Great question! The evidence is undeniable; Christ established His Church through His apostles when he commissioned them to go out, do and teach all that He had done (Matt. 28:16-20). Jesus handed over the keys of heaven to Simon who was then renamed Peter, meaning “Rock” (Matt. 16-17-20). Christ presented Peter as His head, here on earth. The Chair of Peter has been passed in a similar way into the hands of Pope Francis, in Rome.
Christ’s Church is a visible one, being seen through the people and all of their charisms, gifts and spiritual appointments (Rev 5:10). To become a member of the Christian Church one must be baptized. One must also repent from their sins, believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe that His Gospel message is truth. Once you are sealed by the spirit through baptism (Eph 4:30) you are forever part of the Christ’s body (His Church).
At the time of one’s death he or she must be in the state of sanctifying grace in order to benefit from rebirth. If this grace is not present; a second type of death is experienced. Let me back up, there are two deaths. The first is death of the mortal body. Thousands of people across the globe experience this type of death each and every day. The second is death of the immortal body (Rev 2:11), which is when the immortal body is casts into everlasting fire. The second death is separation from God and the Church, forever. We commonly call this state “hell.”
Those who die in grace, only die once because their spirit is reborn into everlasting life through Christ. These souls are more alive than us! They are in the midst of God’s throne, praising and worshiping Him with the whole economy of martyrs, angels and saints. These souls are not dormant; they are active members of the Church, both in heaven and on earth. Due to the fact that they are members of Jesus’s Body (The Church) they are in turn concerned for all other members of His Body (that’s us). If one part suffers the whole body suffers with it (1 Cor 12:26). Due to their concern, these active members intercede on our behalf, to the Father (Rev 6:9, Rev 5:8, Rev 8:4).
In Hebrews 12:1, we read that, here on Earth, we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses; the faithful of the Old Testament. These faithful are considered to be “The assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven” (Hebrews 12:23). Listen to the words without preconceptions for they cannot be denied. The book of 1John 1:3 describes the relationship between kingdoms as a “fellowship.” Merriam-Webster defines “fellowship” as a community of interest, activity, feeling, or experience. Wow! All of God’s children who have the Son living in them are heavenly and earthly saints. Together they make up His very own family. According to St. Paul, this family is the mystical Body of Jesus Christ – The Church.
“He too is that head whose body is the Church”, (Colossians 1:18).
The Feast of Divine Mercy, initiated by Pope John Paul, II, is celebrated each year on the first Sunday after Easter. This Sunday, April 23rd, God opens wider the gates of His Divine Grace and floods the world with His mercy and forgiveness.
If you haven’t already realized, the world is in chaos. Don’t agree? Have you turned on the news and noticed the corruption, violence and perversion of the world around you? All around us, there are catastrophes, famine and rumors of war; in spite of this madness, Jesus tells us to not to be afraid. You see, Jesus has already conquered the world. The evil cannot prevail. All that we need to do is put complete trust in Him.
Jesus also tells us that even in those places that sin seems to thrive the most, His mercy is greater poured out (Romans 5:20). Remember that in order to receive His mercy, we must ask for it. No matter what has been done, He will be merciful if we put our trust in Him. Trusting in Jesus is what Divine Mercy is all about. Go to Jesus as you are. Do not wait! Jesus does not expect you to be perfect before you approach Him; He wants to be your Savior as soon as possible! Let Jesus save you.
The Feast of Divine Mercy, initiated by Pope John Paul, II, is celebrated each year on the first Sunday after Easter. This Sunday, April 23rd, God opens wider the gates of His Divine Grace and floods the world with His mercy and forgiveness.
Want to learn more? Click here for more information on Divine Mercy Sunday; or email Robert Allard.
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.'
Catholic Rebuttals: An Online Resource for Catholics and Non-Catholics with Questions About the Catholic FaithRead Now
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.