End Times and Catholic Teachings


We interrupt the “TRENT In Depth study” this week to add support to our Church’s emphasis and Teachings on “The Four Last Things. ” This week, with last-Sunday’s celebration of Christ The King, we are in the final week of the Liturgical year. Sunday starts anew, and I believe were now on cycle “c.”   So this is a great time to reassess our own relationship with God, to determine what if any changes are called for.

The Four Last Things:

Death

Immediate Judgment by Christ [“The particular Judgment“]

Heaven [perhaps THROUGH Purgatory if warranted?]

Eternal Damnation: Hell

It’s important because God MUST be Just, and where we end up is our own personal choice. Eternity awaits us.

CCC 282 Catechesis on creation is of major importance. It concerns the very foundations of human and Christian life: for it makes explicit the response of the Christian faith to the basic question that men of all times have asked themselves: “Where do we come from?” “Where are we going?” “What is our origin?” “What is our end?” “Where does everything that exists come from and where is it going?” The two questions, the first about the origin and the second about the end, are inseparable. They are decisive for the meaning and orientation of our life and actions.

Here’s what we can know for SURE.

1. Only two comings; Christ Birth and the Final Judgment

2. No BODY other than God know when it will take place

3. It WILL happen in God’s own Time

Matthew 24:29-36 Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.

1Thes.5: 1-13 But as to the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When people say, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as travail comes upon a woman with child, and there will be no escape. But you are not in darkness, brethren, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all sons of light and sons of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But, since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we wake or sleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. But we beseech you, brethren, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.”

1Thes.4: 17then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord.”

1Cor.15: 42-44  So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body.”

2 Thes. 2: “9 -12 The coming of the lawless one by the activity of Satan will be with all power and with pretended signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. “

1 Thess. 4: 15-17 15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord.

Tim 2: 3 This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Heb. 1:13 “Sit at my right hand, till I make thy enemies a stool for thy feet”? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation? “

Rev, 20: 11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who sat upon it; from his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them, and all were judged by what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire;  and if any one’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Mt. 24: 29-31 Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory;  and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other”

1 John 4: 16-18 So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. In this is love perfected with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love.

 

Endtimes, Millennium, Rapture

The term “endtimes” applies both to the era of Christ’s first coming (Heb 1:2, 1 Cor 10:11, Heb 9:26) and to the events immediately before his return and the end of the ages (Mt 24:13, 2 Tim 2:1, 2 Peter 3:3). The definitive Catholic teaching on the endtimes is contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church under the discussion of the article of the Creed, “From thence He will come again to judge the living and the dead.” [CCC 668-682]

As the Creed infallibly teaches, the Second Coming is associated with the end of the world and the Last Judgment. Therefore, it is NOT associated with any earlier time – such as to establish a “Millennium.” The Catholic Church specifically condemns “millenarianism,” according to which Jesus will establish a throne in this world and reign here for a thousand years [CCC 676]. She teaches instead that Jesus already reigns in eternity (1 Cor. 15:24-27, Rev. 4 & 5) and that in this world His reign, established as a seed, is found already in the Church [CCC 668-669]. This is the 1000 years, which is the Hebrew way of indicating an indefinite long time – in this case, the time between the first and second comings, the era of the Church, in other words the last days in the broadest sense.The Book of Revelation situates this era between the persecutions of the Roman antichrists of the first century and the final unleashing of evil at the end.

Naturally, non-Catholics cannot accept that the Catholic Church represents Christ in this world, so they are forced to look for a personal earthly reign somewhere out in the future. The notion that Jesus will come, reign, and then depart, so that the devil can trick the world again, is incompatible with the incomprehensible dignity of the Lord and His love for His people. Jesus’ Coming will be definitive, triumphant and ever-lasting, NOT temporal and limited.

As for the Rapture, the meaning of 1 Thes 4:15-17 is that at the return of Christ (v.15) and the General Resurrection of the Dead (v.16), those who survive the persecution of the Antichrist will have no advantage in being resurrected over those who died before His Coming [CCC 1001]. All will go to meet Him and be with Him forever (v.17; cf. Rev 20:17-21:27).

The Catechism provides us with a general order of events at the End [CCC 673-677]. Chronologically they are,

1. the full number of the Gentiles come into the Church

2. the “full inclusion of the Jews in the Messiah’s salvation, in the wake of the full number of the Gentiles” (#2 will follow quickly on, in the wake of, #1)

3. a final trial of the Church “in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth.” The supreme deception is that of the Antichrist.

4. Christ’s victory over this final unleashing of evil through a cosmic upheaval of this passing world and the Last Judgment.

 

As [then] Cardinal Ratzinger [Now: Pope Benedict XVI]  recently pointed out (in the context of the message of Fátima), we are not at the end of the world. In fact, the Second Coming (understood as the physical return of Christ) cannot occur until the full number of the Gentiles are converted, followed by “all Israel.”

Approved Catholic mystics (Venerables, Blessed and Saints, approved apparitions) throw considerable light on this order, by prophesying a minor apostasy and tribulation toward the end of the world, after which will occur the reunion of Christians. Only later will the entire world fall away from Christ (the great apostasy) and the personal Antichrist arise and the Tribulation of the End occur.

Although this is not Catholic doctrine, arising as it does from private revelation, it conforms to what is occurring in our time, especially in light of Our Lady of Fátima’s promise of an “Era of Peace.” This “Triumph of the Immaculate Heart” (other saints have spoken of a social reign of Jesus Christ when Jesus will reign in the hearts of men) would seem to occur prior to the rise of the Antichrist. The optimism of the Pope for the “New Evangelization” and a “Civilization of Love” in the Third Millennium of Christianity fits here, as well. This would place us, therefore, in the period just before the events spoken of in the Catechism, that is, on the verge of the evangelization of the entire world. Other interpretations are possible, but none seem to fit the facts as well, especially when approved mystics are studied, instead of merely alleged ones.

Answered by Colin B. Donovan, STL

Apocalypse Not Now – The Church, The Millennium, and The Rapture

Issue:

Revelation 20 speaks of Satan being bound and Christ reigning with His saints for a thousand years (a millennium). Many Protestants understand this 1,000-year reign literally and believe that it will occur on earth in the future. They also cite 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and try to make an historical connection between something called “the rapture”—when Christians are “taken up”—and this millennium. What does the Church teach regarding millennialism and the rapture?

Response

: There are three basic interpretations regarding Revelation 20 and “the millennium.” The Church has traditionally taught one commonly known as “amillennialism,” which means that the reign of God began with Christ’s death and resurrection and the “thousand years” is a figurative number to describe the reign of His Church (2 Pt. 3:8-10; Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 664, 668-682).

In the past two centuries, two other interpretations have become popular among Protestants. One is called “postmillennialism,” which was big in the 19th century. It teaches that the world is being Christianized over time and that Christ’s return will follow a long period of peace on the earth called “the millennium.” The second is

“premillennialism,”

which is the most popular among Protestants of this century and is also called “millenarianism” and “chiliasm.” Premillennialists believe that Christ is going to establish a literal reign of 1,000 years on earth between the Second Coming and the Last Judgment. Properly understood, the “rapture” refers to Christ’s gathering His followers at the end of time. Catholics believe that this event will happen at the general resurrection and Last Judgment, but they do not refer to the event as “the rapture.”

Discussion:

Postmillennialists, as noted, believe that the world is being Christianized over time and that Christ’s return will follow a long period of righteousness and peace on the earth called “the millennium.” This was a very popular view in the 19th century when people had an optimistic view of world history, believing that everything was getting better and better. This view, however, lost favor among its proponents this century, after two world wars and many atrocities provided substantial evidence of a moral decline, not an advance. Though postmillennialists do not necessarily interpret the number 1,000 literally, they do interpret the “reign of Christ” to mean that the earth will have a “paradise-like” period before Christ’s Second Coming and the Last Judgment.

This position is problematic for many reasons. The chief reason is that Scripture does not depict a period of worldwide Christianization before the Second Coming and the Last Judgment. Many scriptural passages portray the time between the two comings of Christ, i.e., the age we live in, as a time of trial and tribulation for Christians. For example, the Gospel of Matthew portrays both wheat (righteous men) and weeds (evildoers) living together in a field (the world) until the final harvest of the Last Judgment (Mt. 13:24-30, 36-43).

It has clearly been more than a thousand years since Jesus’ reign through the Church began. The number “1,000” is often used figuratively in scriptural writings to show a vast number conveying completeness. For example, Psalm 50:10 tells us God owns “the cattle on a thousand hills,” but we know that in reality God owns all cattle everywhere, which would be a number much bigger than a thousand hills. Remember also the words of St. Peter: “[W]ith the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (cf. 2 Pt. 3:8-10). To God in eternity all time is present, and we must understand “1,000” figuratively, remembering the popular phrase “God works in His Own time.”

But what of Satan being “bound” during this period? Amillennialists believe that Satan is already “bound” in a sense because he cannot prevent the spread of the Gospel—which liberates people from his control—throughout the world. Although Satan can tempt us as individuals, he is unable to force anyone’s will away from God (Rom 8:38-39), which means he is already hindered in “deceiving the nations.” Jesus says that the “strong man” (Satan) must be bound before his house can be plundered, i.e., before Jesus can rescue souls from Satan’s grip. He further says, “If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you” (Mt. 12:28-29, Lk. 11:20). So the binding of Satan and the coming of God’s Kingdom must have already taken place in some sense. The Kingdom’s full inauguration came through Christ’s death and resurrection, and that reality became more manifest to the world on Pentecost through the Church (Catechism, no. 1076).

CCC 1076:

The Church was made manifest to the world on the day of Pentecost by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The gift of the Spirit ushers in a new era in the “dispensation of the mystery” the age of the Church, during which Christ manifests, makes present, and communicates his work of salvation through the liturgy of his Church, “until he comes.” In this age of the Church Christ now lives and acts in and with his Church, in a new way appropriate to this new age. He acts through the sacraments in what the common Tradition of the East and the West calls “the sacramental economy”; this is the communication (or “dispensation”) of the fruits of Christ’s Paschal mystery in the celebration of the Church’s “sacramental” liturgy.

It is therefore important first to explain this “sacramental dispensation” (chapter one). The nature and essential features of liturgical celebration will then appear more clearly (chapter two). [END QUOTE]

Although Catholics do not generally call their eschatological view “amillennialism,” which is somewhat of a misnomer, this is the Church’s teaching regarding Revelation 20, a teaching, as always, in harmony with the scriptural data (Catechism, nos. 668-682).

Additional Catechism support:

678 Following in the steps of the prophets and John the Baptist, Jesus announced the judgment of the Last Day in his preaching. Then will the conduct of each one and the secrets of hearts be brought to light. Then will the culpable unbelief that counted the offer of God’s grace as nothing be condemned. Our attitude to our neighbor will disclose acceptance or refusal of grace and divine love. On the Last Day Jesus will say: “Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.

686 The Holy Spirit is at work with the Father and the Son from the beginning to the completion of the plan for our salvation. But in these “end times,” ushered in by the Son’s redeeming Incarnation, the Spirit is revealed and given, recognized and welcomed as a person. Now can this divine plan, accomplished in Christ, the firstborn and head of the new creation, be embodied in mankind by the outpouring of the Spirit: as the Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

2742 Pray constantly . . . always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.” St. Paul adds, “Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance making supplication for all the saints.” For “we have not been commanded to work, to keep watch and to fast constantly, but it has been laid down that we are to pray without ceasing.” This tireless fervor can come only from love. Against our dullness and laziness, the battle of prayer is that of humble, trusting, and persevering love. This love opens our hearts to three enlightening and life-giving facts of faith about prayer.

Definitions according to the Catholic Church From Father Hardon’s Catholic Dictionary

DEATH.

The cessation of the bodily functions of a human being through the departure of the soul. It is part of revelation that, in the present order of divine providence, death is a punishment for sin. According to the teaching of the Church, death is a consequence of Adam’s sin, as declared by St. Paul: “Sin entered the world through one man, and through sin death” (Romans 5:12). In the case of those justified by grace, death loses its penal character and becomes a mere consequence of sin. All human beings, therefore, are subject to death, although in the case of Christ and his Mother, because of their freedom from sin, death was neither a punishment for sin nor a consequence of sin. Yet, as they were truly human, death was natural for them.

Death is also the end of human probation or testing of one’s loyalty to God. It ends all possibility of merit or demerit.

Properly speaking, only the body dies when separated from its principle of life, which is the soul. However, the Bible speaks of a second death (Revelation 20:6), referring to the souls in hell, who are separated from their principle of supernatural life, which is God

JUDGMENT, PARTICULAR.

The individual judgment of each human being immediately after death. It is a judgment in the sense that God irrevocably determines a person’s lot for eternity, depending on his or her co-operation with grace during the stay on earth

HEAVEN.

The place and condition of perfect supernatural happiness. This happiness consists essentially in the immediate vision and love of God, and secondarily in the knowledge, love, and enjoyment of creatures. Until the final resurrection, except for Christ and his Mother, only the souls of the just are in heaven. After the last day, the just will be in heaven in body and soul. Although the same God will be seen by all and enjoyed by all, not everyone will have the same degree of happiness. The depth of beatitude will depend on the measure of God’s grace with which a person dies, and this in turn will be greatly conditioned by the merits that one earns during life on earth. Heaven is eternal because it will never cease. It is continuous because its joys never stop. It is communal because the happiness is shared with the angels and saints and the company of those who were known and loved on earth.

HELL.

The place and state of eternal punishment for the fallen angels and human beings who die deliberately estranged from the love of God. There is a twofold punishment in hell: the pain of loss, which consists in the deprivation of the vision of God, and the pain of sense, which consists in the suffering caused by outside material things. The punishment of hell is eternal, as declared by Christ in his prediction of the last day (Matthew 25:46), and as defined by the Fourth Lateran Council, stating that the wicked will “receive a perpetual punishment with the devil” (Denzinger 801). The existence of hell is consistent with divine justice, since God respects human freedom and those who are lost actually condemn themselves by their resistance to the grace of God.

PURGATORY.

The place or condition in which the souls of the just are purified after death and before they can enter heaven. They may be purified of the guilt of their venial sins, as in this life, by an act of contrition deriving from charity and performed with the help of grace. This sorrow does not, however, affect the punishment for sins, because in the next world there is no longer any possibility of merit. The souls are certainly purified by atoning for the temporal punishments due to sin by their willing acceptance of suffering imposed by God. The sufferings in purgatory are not the same for all, but proportioned to each person’s degree of sinfulness. Moreover, these sufferings can be lessened in duration and intensity through the prayers and good works of the faithful on earth. Nor are the pains incompatible with great peace and joy, since the poor souls deeply love God and are sure they will reach heaven. As members of the Church Suffering, the souls in purgatory can intercede for the persons on earth, who are therefore encouraged to invoke their aid. Purgatory will not continue after the general judgment, but its duration for any particular soul continues until it is free from all guilt and punishment. Immediately on purification the soul is assumed into heaven. (Etym. Latin purgatio, cleansing, purifying.)

Dear friends, each of these is a manifestation  of God’s incomprehensible-LOVE for the only thing in Creation that emulates Himself: Humanity! And this is why we are not only “permitted” to choose for ourselves [but “commanded” to do so.]

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. 11:14

“Good things and evil, life and death, poverty and riches, are from God“.

Eccl. 15:18

“Before man is life and death, good and evil, that which he shall choose shall be given him”

Rom. 8:6

“For the wisdom of the flesh is death; but the wisdom of the spirit is life and peace.”

1 Peter 1:22

“Who is on the right hand of God, swallowing down death, that we might bemade heirs of life everlasting: being gone into heaven, the angels and powers and virtues being made subject to him.”

Rev. 2:10

“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer. Behold, the devil will cast some of you into prison that you may be tried: and you shall have tribulation ten days. Be thou faithful until death: and I will give thee the crown of life.”

 

Beyond our ability to fully understand; God’s Mercy and Love extends beyond His Cross and from His Cross to permit even the dead [without unforgiving Mortal sin John 20:19-*23; 1st. John 5:16-17] a second chance at salvation. Because God is Perfect; so to must we be, in order to enter into His Presence.

Hell too is evidence of God’s Charity and Justice. …  Because everyone IS given every opportunity to make an informed choice for themselves. God provides sufficient evidence of Himself in Creation, and OFFERS “sufficient grace” to every human soul, that they could; only IF they would, hear, accept and obey.

We can’t know “WHEN”; but we do know the

WHAT

WHERE

WHY

Choose wisely; it’s the final and most important decision we can make.

Eph. 5: 6-10, 15-17

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for it is because of these things that the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not associate with them, for once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),  and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Mt. 16:27 “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels: and then will he render to every man according to his works“.

GOD BLESS YOU,

Pat

 

God IS Real [or} To deny god one must deny THEMSELF


THE GREAT “I AM”

Or: {Atheist must deny themselves}

In order not to hold to some form of Deity belief in any “god”; Atheist must actually deny their own existence.

My dear friends who are wise and honest enough to acknowledge God.

I just finished reading a Blog Post from a now Atheist; and former Christian. I couldn’t figure out how to respond to this persons blog [technically speaking] so I’m , taking my frustrations out on you. Thank you for enduring my “Wonder and Awe” at what I see as “Meism” primarily motivated by carnal desires on moral issues, that somehow inhibit this person from being  “all that they can be“  or wish to be, or wish to be permitted to be; unjudged, and uninhibited, by anyone; ever!

This person claims that “religion hurt them deeply.” In my past experience this has consistently meant that a rule, regulation or Commandment was not to there personal liking. I COULD BE WRONG here, but that has been the leading consistent issue

in my life in being exposed to such claims.

Carnal Permissiveness seems to be the root cause for this, and IMO, many who choose to deny God, or even “a god”,  because acknowledging one, has to, or at least logically results in a change of life style. Yet it cannot be disputed that both “good and evil” do exist. Therefore there must be a reason for this.

What does God claim and WHY?

Rev. 1:8 “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, saith the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” Rev. 22:13 “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

This dear friend is the ONLY logical and possible reason that you, me and the entire universe exist. There absolutely had to be a “First Cause” for everything. We choose to call it; “Our God.”

Gen. 15:1 “Now when these things were done, the word of the Lord came to Abram by a vision, saying: Fear not, Abram, I am thy protector, and thy reward exceeding great.”

Exo. 3:6

“And he said: I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Moses hid his face: for he durst not look at God.” [3:14] “ And said to Moses: I AM WHO AM. He said: Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: HE WHO IS, hath sent me to you“.

And this SAME God is Jesus Christ.

Who but A God, could, or did have their birth and Death prophesied many hundreds of years before the historically provable event?

Only God; only Jesus Christ.

Not Buddha, not Mohammad, not the gods of Hinduism. Only Christ!

That alone ought to cause serious reflection.

Heb. 7:21-28 

Those who formerly became priests took their office without an oath, but this one was addressed with an oath, “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, `Thou art a priest for ever.'” This makes Jesus the surety of a better covenant. The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues for ever. Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself. Indeed, the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect for ever”

ABOUT 700 YEARS BEFORE IT TOOK PLACE: Isaiah 7:14:

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Matthew 1:22-23: All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’–which means, ‘God with us.’

ABOUT 800 YEARS BEFORE THE BIRTH OF CHRIST: Hosea 11:1

: When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.

Matthew 2:14-15 “So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.”

(Psalm 2:1-2, 1000 years Before Christ.). “

]Why have the Gentiles raged, and the people devised vain things? [2] The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together, against the Lord and against his Christ”

Luke 23:11 “And Herod with his army set him at nought, and mocked him, putting on him a white garment, and sent him back to Pilate.”

(Psalm 22:17-18 ,

1000 years B.C.). But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities (Psalm 22:18, 1000 B.C). Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get

Mt. 27: 33-35

“And after they had crucified him, they divided his garments, casting lots; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: They divided my garments among them; and upon my vesture they cast lots.

Not coincidence, luck or happenstance; BUT God being in charge; God being always present is both the “cause” and the “effect” of the entire Universe and everything within it.

FOR EVERY “EFFECT” THERE MUST ABSOUTELY BE A “CAUSE.”

The Universe with its BILLIONS of stars, planets, galaxies, Complex-Order, and Natural Laws exit for a reason. It is simply self denial of logic to not acknowledge it. No other explanation is plausible, feasible, or provable. There MUST be a “First Cause” in order for it [everything] to exist.

That “Cause” was prophesied by the Prophet Isaiah, about 700 [B.C.] And the REASON for the Universe; and most especially, man himself is given and explained.

Isa.43 Verses 7 and 21: “every one who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” AND the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.” It’s mans Freewill choice. God makes it possible; some choose to make it impossible.

In my heading I made the claim that any denial of “god / God” has to flow from a denial of ones own existence. That is quite a claim! Can it be proven? Yes, I believe that it can be with truthful logic. Here’s how.

It is my opinion [and that of the Magisterium of the CC] to be candid and logical that all of the Universe, with its Natural Laws, and enormity EXIST for one single reason. So that man can, if honest with themselves recognize and acknowledge that there absolutely HAD to be a “First Cause” and a sustaining reason for what cannot be simply accidental. For example; the existence of galaxies, and the sun and moon and there essential to life role in human, animal, and even plant existence. It nothing less than absurd to think “they just happened.”

Humanity cannot logically deny the existence of a FORCE FAR GREATER than themselves; because they themselves in an inexplicitable manner, emulate that very Force; God Himself.

Of the Billions of things in the Universe; only one planet; PLANET EARTH can be PROVEN to have the ability to sustain life [unproven speculations are merely that: unproven!]. WHY? One in many BILLIONS are odds defying coincidence.

Then we get to humanity. It is a Scientific FACT that only one Life-Species; humanity alone has the ability to rationalize, love and or hate. In order for this to exist requires a mind, intellect, and a FREEWILL which are attached to the human Soul. For this discussion, defined as the animator of all life or “Life Force.”

The denial of God becomes evident when we point out that each of these attributes that enable man to be the top of the species chain; are like God Himself: SPIRITUAL THINGS.  …. John 4:23-24 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father also seeketh such to adore him. God is a spirit; and they that adore him, must adore him in spirit and in truth”…

The evidence of this TRUTH can be demonstrated and proven. 1. Only man has the ability to by utilizing all of the “spiritual; gifts” to freely choose to love or hate and to rationalize, to compute, and to create. 2. Take for example ones “FREEWILL.” It’s presence is easily provable [and yes I am aware that some deny it. They MUST in order to attempt rationalizing their position.] …. So quantify “freewill”. What is its size, shape, color and weight? Can’t be done; yet they exist.

It’s reasonable, logical, and I think scientific to state [I’m no scientist] that “LIKE” objects MUST originate from “Like” objects. An apple tree does not bear bananas.

Therefore these provable Spiritual attributes, MUST come from a Spiritual reality. We call it Our God. They are free to call it whatever they choose. BUT truth remains a single THING, per precise discussion point.

And while they are free to believe or not; to accept logic or not does not alter the TRUTH. God is REAL, and so are heaven, hell and purgatory. IF they choose to not believe so; no doubt they will when they die. Let us pray!

God Bless,

Pat Miron

A History of the Catholic Mass


I am Catholic

by Pat Miron and friends

A …. History of our Catholic Mass

CCC # 1345

As early as the second century we have the witness of St. Justin Martyr for the basic lines of the order of the Eucharistic celebration. They have stayed the same until our own day for all the great liturgical families. St. Justin wrote to the pagan emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161) around the year 155, explaining what Christians did:

“On the day we call the day of the sun, all who dwell in the city or country gather in the same place.

The memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are read, as much as time permits.

When the reader has finished, he who presides over those gathered admonishes and challenges them to imitate these beautiful things.

Then we all rise together and offer prayers* for ourselves . . .and for all others, wherever they may be, so that we may be found righteous by our life and actions, and faithful to the commandments, so as to obtain eternal salvation.

When the prayers are concluded we exchange the kiss.

Then someone brings bread and a cup of water and wine mixed together to him who presides over the brethren. 

He takes them and offers praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and for a considerable time he gives thanks (in Greek: eucharistian) that we have been judged worthy of these gifts.

When he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all present give voice to an acclamation by saying: ‘Amen.’

When he who presides has given thanks and the people have responded, those whom we call deacons give to those present the “eucharisted” bread, wine and water and take them to those who are absent.”

Introduction

“Our Mass goes back, without essential change, to the age when it first developed out of the oldest liturgy of all. It is still redolent of that liturgy, of the

days when Caesar ruled the world and thought he could stamp out the faith of Christ, when our fathers met together before dawn and sang a hymn to Christ as to a God. The final result of our inquiry is that, in spite of unsolved problems, in spite of later changes, there is not in Christendom another rite so venerable as ours.” —–“From roughly the time of St. Gregory [d. 604] we have the text of the Mass, its order and arrangement, as a sacred tradition that no one has ventured to touch except in unimportant details.” 

The Early Catholic Liturgy 

The earliest and most detailed account of the Eucharist is found in St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians, which, of course, predates the Gospels, and was written in Ephesus between 52-55 A.D. Scholars agree that the Consecration formula used by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 11, quotes verbatim from a stylized formula already in use in the Apostolic liturgy. The passage is rich in doctrine. It identifies the Eucharist with the Passion. A new and permanent covenant or alliance is concluded between God and man in the Blood of Jesus. His sacrifice was mystically anticipated at the Last Supper. The Apostles, and implicitly their successors, are commanded to celebrate the Eucharist in His memory; and this remembrance is of such efficacy that it is an unceasing proclamation of His redemptive death, and renders it actually present until the day when He returns in the full glory of His Second coming. The Eucharist is the memorial of the Passion, anamnesis in Greek, and it commemorates the Passion by renewing it in an unbloody manner upon the altar. Finally, great purity of soul is required to take part in a rite as sacred as the offering and reception of the Body and Blood of Our Savior. 

By combining St. Paul’s account with those of the four synoptic Gospels, we have the essentials of the Eucharistic liturgy in every ancient rite. Our Lord took bread, gave thanks, blessed and broke it, and gave it to His Apostles to eat; then He took a cup of wine, again gave thanks [Luke and Paul do not add this second thanksgiving], said the words of Institution [or Consecration] over it, and gave it to them to drink. We thus have the five essential elements for the Christian Eucharist: 1) Bread and wine are brought to the altar; 2) The celebrant gives thanks; 3) He takes bread, blesses it and says the words of Consecration; 4) He does the same over the wine; 5) The consecrated Bread, now having become the Body of Christ, is broken and is given to the people in Communion together with the contents of the Chalice, that is, the Precious Blood. 

A Short History of the Roman Mass

by Michael Davies

Gradual Development of Ceremonies

Although there was considerable liturgical uniformity in the first two centuries there was not absolute uniformity. Liturgical books were certainly being used by the middle of the 4th century, and possibly before the end of the third, but the earliest surviving texts date from the seventh century, and musical notation was not used in the west until the ninth century when the melodies of Gregorian chant were codified. The only book known with certainty to have been used until the fourth century was the Bible from which the lessons were read. Psalms and the Lord’s Prayer were known by heart, otherwise the prayers were extempore. There was little that could be described as ceremonial in the sense that we use the term today. Things were done as they were done for some practical purpose. The lessons were read in a loud voice from a convenient place where they could be heard, and bread and wine were brought to the altar at the appropriate moment. Everything would evidently have been done with the greatest possible reverence, and gradually and naturally signs of respect emerged, and became established customs, in other words liturgical actions became ritualized.

In the first place there were many formulas that occur in the Old or New Testament, that were well known in Jewish services. These were used as liturgical formulas by Christians too. Examples of such forms are: “Amen,” “Alleluia”, “Lord have mercy”, “Thanks be to God “, “For ever and ever”, “Blessed are Thou O Lord our God.” Moreover it will be noticed that extempore prayer always tends to fall into stereotyped formulas A man who prays for the same object will soon begin to repeat the same words. This may be noticed in extempore preaching. The fact that since all early Christian language was saturated with Biblical forms means that it would hardly be possible for the bishop to use different words and forms each time he prayed, even if he tried to do so. And why should he try? So the same expressions recurred over and over again in the public prayers. A formula constantly heard would soon be considered the right one, especially as in some cases [the psalms and Lord’s prayer] the liturgy already contained examples of constant forms. A younger bishop when his turn came to celebrate, could do no better than continue to use the very words [as far as he remembered them] of the venerable predecessor whose prayers the people, and perhaps himself as deacon, had so often followed and answered with reverent devotion.

The Origins of the Roman Rite and its Liturgical Books

 

 

 

By about the middle of the 4th century there were certainly some liturgical books, How long before that anything was written one cannot say. The first part of the liturgy to have been written appears to have been the Diptychs. The word Diptych is derived from the Greek for twice­folded. A Diptych consisted of two tablets [covered with wax at the beginning] hinged and folded together like a book. On one the names of the living for whom prayers were to be said were written, on the other the names of the dead. These names were then read out by the deacon at the appointed place in the liturgy. Their use, in the East went on till far into the middle ages. Then the lessons were set down in a book. The old custom of reading from the Bible until the bishop made a sign to stop, soon gave way to a more orderly plan of reading a certain fixed amount at each liturgy. Marginal notes were added to the Bible showing this. Then an Index giving the first and last words of the amount to be read is drawn up. Other books were read besides the Bible [lives of Saints and homilies in the Divine Office]; a complete Index giving references for the readings is the “Companion to the books.” comes, liber comitis or comicus. Lastly, to save trouble, the whole texts are written out as they are wanted, so we come to the [liturgical] Gospel­book (evangelarium), Epistle­book [epistolarium], and finally the complete Lectionary [lectionarium]. St. Jerome [324-420] is widely believed to have been commissioned by the pope to select the Epistles and Gospels used for each Sunday of the liturgical year, which have been used since in the traditional Roman Missal.

 

5 Meanwhile the prayers said by the celebrant and deacon are written out too.

The Canon of the Mass Dates

 

 


from the 4th Century

Towards the end of the fourth century St. Ambrose of Milan, in a collection of instructions for the newly baptized entitled De Sacramentis, quotes the central part of the Canon which is substantially identical with, but somewhat shorter than, the respective prayers of the Roman Canon. This proves beyond doubt that the core of our Canon, from the Quam oblationem [the prayer before the Consecration], including the sacrificial prayer after the consecration, was in existence by the end of the fourth century.

The earliest Roman Sacramentaries are the first complete sources for the Roman Rite. These were written in the Latin language which had gradually replaced Greek as the language of the Roman liturgy. Scholars differ as to the precise time when the transition was complete, giving dates from the second half of the third century up to the end of the fourth. Both languages must have been used side by side during a fairly long period of transition.

7 The genius of the Latin language certainly affected the ethos of the Roman Rite. Latin is naturally terse and austere when compared with the rhetorical abundance of Greek. It was a natural tendency of Latin to curtail redundant phrases, and this terseness and austerity are a noticeable mark of the Roman Mass.

The Reform of St. Gregory the Great

St. Gregory the Great became Pope in 590 and reigned until 604. His achievements during those fourteen years almost defy credibility. Prominent among the many important reforms that he undertook was that of the liturgy. His pontificate marks an epoch in the history of the Roman Mass, which, in every important respect he left in the state that we still have it. He collected the Sacramentary of Gelasius into one book, leaving out much but changing little. What we now refer to as The Gregorian Sacramentary cannot be ascribed to the Pope himself as, apart from other evidence, it contains a Mass for his feast, but it is certainly based upon his reform of the liturgy and includes some material composed by him.

The keynote of the reform of St. Gregory was fidelity to the traditions that had been handed down [the root meaning of the Latin word traditio is to hand over or hand down]. His reform consisted principally of the simplification and more orderly arrangement of the existing rite—–the reduction of the variable prayers at each Mass to three [Collect, Secret, and Postcommunion], and a reduction of the variations occurring at that time within the Canon, prefaces and additional forms for the Communicantes and Hanc Igitur. These variations can still be found on a very few occasions such as Christmas and Easter. His principal work was certainly the definitive arrangement of the Roman Canon. The Lectionary was also given a definitive form, but was still to undergo considerable change subsequently. The Order of Mass as found in the 1570 Missal of St. Pius [1566-1572], apart from minor additions and amplifications, corresponds very closely with the order established by St. Gregory. It is also to this great Pope that we owe, to a large extent, the codification of the incomparable chant that bears his name

A Sacred Heritage Since the 6th Century

 

 

 

We have now arrived at the early middle ages. From this time forward there is little to chronicle of the nature of change in the order of the Mass itself which had become a sacred and inviolable inheritance, its origin forgotten. It was popularly believed to have been handed down unchanged from the Apostles, or to have been written by St. Peter himself. Dr. Fortescue considers that the reign of St. Gregory the Great marks an epoch in the history of the Mass, having left the liturgy in its essentials just as we have it today. He writes: There is, moreover, a constant tradition that St. Gregory was the last to touch the essential part of the Mass, namely the Canon. Benedict XIV [1740­ 1758] says: “No pope has added to or changed the Canon since St. Gregory.”

The Protestant Break with Liturgical Tradition

The sound and invariable practice of the Church in the West was breached for the first time by the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformers. They broke with the tradition of the Church by the very fact of initiating a drastic reform of liturgical rites, and this would still have been the case even had their reformed liturgies been orthodox. The nature of their heresy was made clear not so much by what their rites contained as by what they omitted from the traditional books. [Emphasis added] In 1898 the Catholic bishops of the Province of Westminster published a scathing denunciation of the liturgical revolution initiated by English Reformers, a revolution which was radically incompatible with the principle enunciated by Canon Smith. The Anglican claims that their services aimed at simplicity and a return to primitive usage were dealt with in very vigorous language. The Catholic Bishops denied the right of national or local churches to devise their own rites.

They must not omit or reform anything in those forms which immemorial tradition has bequeathed to us. For such an immemorial usage, whether or not it has in the course of ages incorporated superfluous accretions, must, in the estimation of those who believe in a Divinely guarded visible Church, at least have retained whatever is necessary, so that in adhering rigidly to the rite handed down to us we can always feel secure; whereas, if we omit or change anything, we may perhaps be abandoning just that element which is essential. And this sound method is that which the Catholic Church has always followed . . . That in earlier times local churches were permitted to add new prayers and ceremonies is acknowledged . . . But that they were also permitted to subtract prayers and ceremonies in previous use, and even to remodel the existing rites in the most drastic manner, is a proposition for which we know of no historical foundation, and which appears to us absolutely incredible. [Emphasis added] Hence Cranmer, in taking this unprecedented course, acted, in our opinion, with the most inconceivable rashness.

 

History of the Mass

Short History of the Development of the Mass in the past several years

Following the Council of Trent, Pope St Pius V, concerned with some innovations and improper accretions in the Order of the Mass in some areas, reviewed the Roman Missal. When he was finished, he declared that all priests of the Latin Church throughout the World must use the Roman Missal he prepared when they said Mass. They could not add a single word to it, or choose to leave a single word out, without his authority. Only those rites which had already been established for more than two centuries before the date he promulgated the new Missal were allowed to say Mass differently (eg, the Milanese Rite, the Dominican Rite).

And so the Mass changed very little for over 400 years. (Parts of it, such as the Kyrie and the Eucharistic Prayer have remained unchanged for well over 1,000 years!) A few Popes made minor changes to the Missal over time. The Holy Week liturgies were changed in the 1940s. And then, many thought it was sacrilege, Pope John XXIII added the name of St Joseph to the Canon of the Mass (the Eucharistic Prayer). For over 1,000 years, since it had been settled by Pope Gregory the Great, the Canon of the Mass had not been changed. It was considered the untouchable core of the Mass.

Over the last 100 years, there had been considerable momentum in the “Liturgical Movement” calling for reform of the Mass, the possibility, for example, of saying Mass in the local language of the people rather than Latin.

And, of course, the Mass was so very different from the way the Protestants worshipped God.

Then, Pope John XXIII (not content on adding the most chaste spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the Canon) convened the Second Vatican Council. The Fathers discussing the Sacred Liturgy decreed that Latin must remain the language of the Mass and the Church, that Gregorian Chant must retain pride of place in Sacred Music. They said that any reforms that were necessary and could grow organically from the existing form which would allow for greater participation of the laity was to be encouraged. They said that only where the local Bishop considered there were sufficient pastoral reasons could part of the mass be said in the vernacular. There was no permission for Mass to be said with the priest’s back to God rather than facing Him. There was no suggestion that communion could be given in the hand standing. There was no suggestion of almost all reference to the Sacrificial aspect of the Mass being downplayed or removed. There was no suggestion that most references to angels and saints and Heaven should be removed.

After the close of the Council, Pope Paul VI set up a Consilium to prepare a new Mass, to “implement the desires of the Council”. He called a number of Cardinals together to see the new Mass celebrated and to comment. Apparently, favourable comments did not abound. The focus of the Consilium was clearly to reform the Mass far beyond what the Council Fathers had intended or desired. Several Protestant theologians were observers at the Consilium, the intention being that they should be able to say of the new Mass that there was nothing offensive in it to them.

The Holy Father promulgated the New Missal and declared that within a matter of practically a few months, no other Missal could be used without the Latin Church, not even those rites which Pope St Pius V had deemed sufficiently established to be retained. All other ways of saying Mass were banned.

Within a couple of years, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster in England had obtained permission from the Holy Father for any priest in England and Wales to celebrate Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962

At the commencement of his pontificate, Pope John Paul II sought information from bishops throughout the world on the situation of those who were “resisting” the liturgical reforms. As a result of these reports, the Holy Father, seeking to accommodate the concerns of Archbishop Lefebvre’s followers and others who preferred the pre-conciliar Liturgy authorised an Indult in 1984 allowing a limited permission for the Tridentine Mass to be said. There were quite a few restrictions imposed, however (eg, the Masses could not be said in Parishes).

In 1988, the Vatican and Archbishop Lefebvre signed a Protocol that would see the Holy Father approving the appointment of a bishop of Lefebvre’s choosing in return for Lefebvre and his followers accepting the Church’s Magisterium and that Vatican II and the promulgation of the new Mass were part of it.

Archbishop Lefebvre signed it, but later reneged on the agreement and went ahead and consecrated three bishops illicitly. He, the bishops, any priests of the Society and any members of the faithful who formally adhered to their schism were swiftly excommunicated… and remain excommunicated. The Holy Father, however, issued a motu proprio Ecclesia Dei stating that the aspirations of those who were attached to former liturgical traditions were “legitimate” and that Bishops should be “generous” in allowing Tridentine Masses to be offered in their dioceses. He established a commission whose primary responsibility was to help the faithful to obtain Latin Masses in their dioceses and to facilitate the return to the Church of those who were now in schism.

And return some did… Several priests of the Society soon returned to the Church and at the urging and with the blessing of the Holy Father formed the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter, an order of priests with permission to administer the Sacraments solely according to the Missal of 1962.

My NOTE [PJM]: More recently still, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has removed ALL restrictions on saying the Mass in Latin. While it REMAINS the “Extraordinary Form”  [meaning the secondary form for Mass], it nevertheless can be requested and can be said by QUALIFIED and trained priest, without a Bishops authorization being required,

Further, many language changes shall shortly appear restoring the actual meanings of the Original Latin Text, which had been weakened to accommodate the English language.

God less you ALL,

Pat

Through the Liturgy the Lord Reorders our Lives. A Reflection on the Road to Emmaus..

By: Msgr. Charles Pope

The very familiar passage about Jesus’ encounter with the disciples on the road to Emmaus is rich with many themes and teachings. I have commented elsewhere that the whole passage is, essentially in the structure of a Mass. You can read that reflection here:

In this reflection it is worth considering how, in the context of what is essentially a liturgy, Jesus reorders and orients two disciples who have, in effect, lost their way. Through this liturgical encounter, Jesus gets these disciples moving in the right direction again.

As such, we are taught that the Liturgy, especially the Mass, has a way of reordering our disordered lives and restoring our lost orientation

. Let’s consider the problem for these two disciples (who are us) and also the solution employed by the Lord.

The Problem

Simply put, these disciples are walking in the wrong direction. They are headed away from Jerusalem, away from the resurrection, away from the gathered Church, away from the good news.

The text says

that these disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus (Lk 24:13). One of them is named Cleopas. The other is unnamed, but if you are willing to accept it, the other disciple might as well be you. The journey would take about three hours at a steady walking pace (no 45 minute Mass here). We are told they have heard rumors that Jesus had been raised, but they discount the testimony of the women, and and head off into discouragement with their backs to the good news.

Yes, simply stated, they are heading away

from the light of Christ and His resurrection glory, away from hope, and deeper and deeper into the darkness with each step they take. Sure enough, the text describes them as “downcast.” Jesus will later describe them as slow to believe, even foolish.

The Solution

– It is to these disoriented, discouraged and disordered disciples that Jesus comes. Rather than simply appear to them and order them back to Jerusalem, Jesus engages them in an encounter that is both liturgical and sacramental, an encounter that will restore to them a proper orientation, a proper order.

Mass –

He gathers with them and inquires of their struggle, a kind of penitential rite. Having heard their struggle he reminds them of God’s word and both applies and interprets for them, a kind of Liturgy of the Word. They then intercede with him in the prayerful petition “stay with us, for the day grows dark and is nearly over,” a kind of prayer of the faithful. What follows can be described as nothing other than the Liturgy of the Eucharist. For the Lord takes the bread, blesses it, breaks it and gives it to them. And suddenly their eyes were opened and they recognize him in the Breaking of the Bread. Now having their gaze turned toward the Lord, their lives are changed, reordered, and, in a kind of Ite Missa est they rush out to tell others what and who they have seen and heard.

So, note that their course is now reversed and they are heading full speed back to Jerusalem

, back to the resurrection, to the Church gathered, back to hope, back to the good news and back the to the light. These disciples whose minds were disordered and whose hearts were disoriented, have now been reoriented, and their disordered and darkened minds have come to see and understand. Yes, despair has given way to hope, and joy has replaced downcast dispositions.

The Lord has accomplished this for them through what is best described as a Liturgy, as a Mass.

And what then of us?

Can we who are faithful and attentive to the Mass and other Liturgies and Sacraments of the Church not also say that through them the Lord has ordered, reoriented and redirected our lives? I am surely a witness, and pray you are too, that through the Liturgy and Sacraments the Lord has given me a new mind and heart. He has reordered my disordered life, given me an increasingly proper focus and direction. His word has corrected error and lit up my darkened and disordered mind. His Sacraments have redirected my wayward heart, oriented me to the light, and back to the heavenly Jerusalem. This work must continue. Through the Liturgy the Lord must order our lives rightly and correct the course of our wayward hearts.

At the heart of this reordering is that in the Liturgy we are turned toward God

, we look outside ourselves and upward toward God. To turn toward God is to be properly oriented, and this orientation orders our lives rightly.

Yes, all this through the Liturgy, just like at Emmaus, still more so now.

 

Forgiveness of Sin as Christ Whi IS God accepts them


http://www.catholic.com/tracts/the-forgiveness-of-sins 

FORGIVENESS OF SINS

“All pardon for sins ultimately comes from Christ’s finished work on Calvary, but how is this pardon received by individuals? Did Christ leave us any means within the Church to take away sin? The Bible says he gave us two means.

Baptism was given to take away the sin inherited from Adam (original sin) and any sins we personally committed before baptism—sins we personally commit are called actual sins, because they come from our own acts. Thus on the day of Pentecost, Peter told the crowds, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38), and when Paul was baptized he was told, “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16). And so Peter later wrote, “Baptism . . . now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 3:21).

For sins committed after baptism, a different sacrament is needed. It has been called penance, confession, and reconciliation,

each word emphasizing one of its.aspects. During his life, Christ forgave sins, as in the case of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1–11) and the woman who anointed his feet (Luke 7:48). He exercised this power in his human capacity as the Messiah or Son of man, telling us, “the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” (Matt. 9:6), which is why the Gospel writer himself explains that God “had given such authority to men” (Matt. 9:8).

Since he would not always be with the Church visibly, Christ gave this power to other men so the Church, which is the continuation of his presence throughout time (Matt. 28:20), would be able to offer forgiveness to future generations. He gave his power to the apostles, and it was a power that could be passed on to their successors and agents, since the apostles wouldn’t always be on earth either, but people would still be sinning

.

 

God had sent Jesus to forgive sins, but after his resurrection Jesus told the apostles, “‘As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained’” (John 20:21–23). (This is one of only two times we are told that God breathed on man, the other being in Genesis 2:7, when he made man a living soul. It emphasizes how important the establishment of the sacrament of penance was.)

The Commission

Christ told the apostles to follow his example: “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you” (John 20:21). Just as the apostles were to carry Christ’s message to the whole world, so they were to carry his forgiveness: “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 18:18).

This power was understood as coming from God: “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18). Indeed, confirms Paul, “So we are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20).

Some say that any power given to the apostles died with them. Not so. Some powers must have, such as the ability to write Scripture. But the powers necessary to maintain the Church as a living, spiritual society had to be passed down from generation to generation. If they ceased, the Church would cease, except as a quaint abstraction. Christ ordered the apostles to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” It would take much time. And he promised them assistance: “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Matt. 28:19–20).

If the disciples believed that Christ instituted the power to sacramentally forgive sins in his stead, we would expect the apostles’ successors—the bishops—and Christians of later years to act as though such power was legitimately and habitually exercised. If, on the other hand, the sacramental forgiveness of sins was what Fundamentalists term it, an “invention,” and if it was something foisted upon the young Church by ecclesiastical or political leaders, we’d expect to find records of protest. In fact, in early Christian writings we find no sign of protests concerning sacramental forgiveness of sins. Quite the contrary. We find confessing to a priest was accepted as part of the original deposit of faith handed down from the apostles.

Lots of Gumption

Loraine Boettner, in his book Roman Catholicism, claims “auricular confession to a priest instead of to God” was instituted in 1215 at the Fourth Lateran Council. This is an extreme example, even for a committed anti-Catholic. Few people have the gumption to place the “invention” of confession so late, since there is so much early Christian writing—a good portion of it one thousand or more years before that council—that refers to the practice of confession as something already long-established.

Actually, the Fourth Lateran Council did discuss confession. To combat the lax morals of the time, the council regulated the already-existing duty to confess one’s sins by saying that Catholics should confess any mortal sins at least once a year. To issue an official decree about how frequently a sacrament must be celebrated is hardly the same as “inventing” that sacrament.

The earliest Christian writings, such as the first-century Didache, are indefinite on the procedure for confession to be used in the forgiveness of sins, but a verbal confession is listed as part of the Church’s requirement by the time of Irenaeus (A.D. 180). He wrote that the disciples of the Gnostic heretic Marcus “have deluded many women. . . . Their consciences have been branded as with a hot iron. Some of these women make a public confession, but others are ashamed to do this, and in silence, as if withdrawing themselves from the hope of the life of God, they either apostatize entirely or hesitate between the two courses” (Against Heresies 1:22).

The sacrament of penance is clearly in use, for Irenaeus speaks of making an outward confession (versus remaining silent) upon which the hope of eternal life hangs, but it is not yet clear from Irenaeus just how, or to whom, confession is to be made. Is it privately, to the priest, or before the whole congregation, with the priest presiding? The one thing we can say for sure is that the sacrament is understood by Irenaeus as having originated in the infant Church.

Later writers, such as Origen (241), Cyprian (251), and Aphraates (337), are clear in saying confession is to be made to a priest.

(In their writings the whole process of penance is termedexomologesis, which means confession—the confession was seen as the main part of the sacrament.) Cyprian writes that the forgiveness of sins can take place only “through the priests.” Ambrose says “this right is given to priests only.” Pope Leo I says absolution can be obtained only through the prayers of the priests. These utterances are not taken as novel, but as reminders of accepted belief. We have no record of anyone objecting, of anyone claiming these men were pushing an “invention.” (See the Catholic Answers tract Confession for full quotes from the early Church Fathers on the sacrament of penance.)

Confession Implied

Note that the power Christ gave the apostles was twofold: to forgive sins or to hold them bound, which means to retain them unforgiven. Several things follow from this. First, the apostles could not know what sins to forgive and what not to forgive unless they were first told the sins by the sinner. This implies confession. Second, their authority was not merely to proclaim that God had already forgiven sins or that he would forgive sins if there were proper repentance.

Such interpretations don’t account for the distinction between forgiving and retaining—nor do they account for the importance given to the utterance in John 20:21–23. If God has already forgiven all of a man’s sins, or will forgive them all (past and future) upon a single act of repentance, then it makes little sense to tell the apostles they have been given the power to “retain” sins, since forgiveness would be all-or-nothing and nothing could be “retained.”

Furthermore, if at conversion we were forgiven all sins, past, present, and future, it would make no sense for Christ to require us to pray, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors,” which he explained is required because “if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. 6:12–15).

If forgiveness really can be partial—not a once-for-all thing—how is one to tell which sins have been forgiven, which not, in the absence of a priestly decision? You can’t very well rely on your own gut feelings. No, the biblical passages make sense only if the apostles and their successors were given a real authority

Still, some people are not convinced. One is Paul Juris, a former priest, now a Fundamentalist, who has written a pamphlet on this subject. The pamphlet is widely distributed by organizations opposed to Catholicism. The cover describes the work as “a study of John 20:23, a much misunderstood and misused portion of Scripture pertaining to the forgiveness of sins.” Juris mentions “two main schools of thought,” the Catholic and the Fundamentalist positions.

He correctly notes that “among Christians, it is generally agreed that regular confession of one’s sins is obviously necessary to remain in good relationship with God. So the issue is not whether we should or should not confess our sins. Rather, the real issue is, How does God say that our sins are forgiven or retained?”

Verse Slinging

This sounds fine, on the surface, but this apparently reasonable approach masks what really happens next. Juris engages in verse slinging, listing as many verses as he can find that refer to God forgiving sins, in hopes that the sheer mass of verses will settle the question. But none of the verses he lists specifically interprets John 20:23, and none contradicts the Catholic interpretation.

For instance, he cites verses like these: “Let it be known to you therefore, brethren, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him every one that believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:38–39); “And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned’” (Mark 16:15–16).

Juris says that verses like these demonstrate that “all that was left for the disciples to do was to ‘go’ and ‘proclaim’ this wonderful good news (the gospel) to all men. As they proclaimed this good news of the gospel, those who believed the gospel, their sins would be forgiven. Those who rejected (did not believe) the gospel, their sins would be retained.” Juris does nothing more than show that the Bible says God will forgive sins and that it is through Jesus that our sins are forgiven—things no one doubts. He does not remotely prove that John 20:23 is equivalent to a command to “go” and to “preach,” merely that going and preaching are part of God’s plan for saving people. He also sidesteps the evident problems in the Fundamentalist interpretation.

The passage says nothing about preaching the good news. Instead, Jesus is telling the apostles that they have been empowered to do something. He does not say, “When God forgives men’s sins, they are forgiven.” He uses the second person plural: “you.” And he talks about the apostles forgiving, not preaching. When he refers to retaining sins, he uses the same form: “When you hold them bound, they are held bound.”

The best Juris can do is assert that John 20:23 means the apostles were given authority only to proclaim the forgiveness of sins—but asserting this is not proving it.

His is a technique that often works because many readers believe that the Fundamentalist interpretation has been proven true. After all, if you propose to interpret one verse and accomplish that by listing irrelevant verses that refer to something other than the specific point in controversy, lazy readers will conclude that you have marshalled an impressive array of evidence. All they have to do is count the citations. Here’s one for the Catholics, they say, looking at John 20:21–23, but ten or twenty for the Fundamentalists. The Fundamentalists must be right!

The Advantages

Is the Catholic who confesses his sins to a priest any better off than the non-Catholic who confesses directly to God? Yes. First, he seeks forgiveness the way Christ intended. Second, by confessing to a priest, the Catholic learns a lesson in humility, which is avoided when one confesses only through private prayer. Third, the Catholic receives sacramental graces the non-Catholic doesn’t get; through the sacrament of penance sins are forgiven and graces are obtained. Fourth, the Catholic is assured that his sins are forgiven; he does not have to rely on a subjective “feeling.” Lastly, the Catholic can also obtain sound advice on avoiding sin in the future.

During his lifetime Christ sent out his followers to do his work. Just before he left this world, he gave the apostles special authority, commissioning them to make God’s forgiveness present to all people, and the whole Christian world accepted this, until just a few centuries ago. If there is an “invention” here, it is not the sacrament of penance, but the notion that the sacramental forgiveness of sins is not to be found in the Bible or in early Christian history.

NIHIL OBSTAT

: I have concluded that the materials
presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors.
Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004

 

IMPRIMATUR

: In accord with 1983 CIC 827
permission to publish this work is hereby granted.
+Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004

FEAR of the Lord….WHY?


 

“Fear of the Lord”…. Why?

Romans 13: 2 “Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”

Acts.20: 28 “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you [My Apostles] overseers, to care for the church of God [SINGULAR] which he obtained with the blood of his own Son.”

Matt.7: 21-29

Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity. Every one therefore that heareth these my words, and doth them, shall be likened to a wise man that built his house upon a rock, And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded on a rock. And every one that heareth these my words, and doth them not, shall be like a foolish man that built his house upon the sand, And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall thereof.”

2 Tim. 4

: 1-4 ”I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.”

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit & The Manifestation of Sanctifying Grace

By Scott P. Richert,

http://catholicism.about.com/od/beliefsteachings/tp/Gifts_of_the_Holy_Spirit.htm

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are enumerated in Isaiah 11:2-3. They are present in their fullness in Jesus Christ but are found in all Christians who are in a state of grace. We receive them when we are infused with sanctifying grace, the life of God within us—as, for example, when we receive a sacrament worthily. As the current Catechism of the Catholic Church notes, “They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them.” Infused with His gifts, we respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as if by instinct, the way Christ Himself would.

1.

Wisdom

Wisdom is the first and highest gift of the Holy Spirit, because it is the perfection of faith. Through wisdom, we come to value properly those things which we believe through faith. The truths of Christian belief are more important than the things of this world, and wisdom helps us to order our relationship to the created world properly, loving Creation for the sake of God, rather than for its own sake.

2.

Understanding

Understanding is the second gift of the Holy Spirit, and people sometimes have a hard time understanding (no pun intended) how it differs from wisdom. While wisdom is the desire to contemplate the things of God, understanding allows us grasp, at least in a limited way, the very essence of the truths of the Catholic Faith. Through understanding, we gain a certitude about our beliefs that moves beyond faith.

3.

Counsel

Counsel, the third gift of the Holy Spirit, is the perfection of the cardinal virtue of prudence. Prudence can be practiced by anyone, but counsel is supernatural. Through this gift of the Holy Spirit, we are able to judge how best to act almost by intuition. Because of the gift of counsel, Christians need not fear to stand up for the truths of the Faith, because the Holy Spirit will guide us in defending those truths.

4.

Fortitude

While counsel is the perfection of a cardinal virtue, fortitude is both a gift of the Holy Spirit and a cardinal virtue. Fortitude is ranked as the fourth gift of the Holy Spirit because it gives us the strength to follow through on the actions suggested by the gift of counsel. While fortitude is sometimes called courage, it goes beyond what we normally think of as courage. Fortitude is the virtue of the martyrs that allows them to suffer death rather than to renounce the Christian Faith.

5.

Knowledge

The fifth gift of the Holy Spirit, knowledge, is often confused with both wisdom and understanding. Like wisdom, knowledge is the perfection of faith, but whereas wisdom gives us the desire to judge all things according to the truths of the Catholic Faith, knowledge is the actual ability to do so. Like counsel, it is aimed at our actions in this life. In a limited way, knowledge allows us to see the circumstances of our life the way that God sees them. Through this gift of the Holy Spirit, we can determine God’s purpose for our lives and live them accordingly.

6.

Piety

Piety, the sixth gift of the Holy Spirit, is the perfection of the virtue of religion. While we tend to think of religion today as the external elements of our faith, it really means the willingness to worship and to serve God. Piety takes that willingness beyond a sense of duty, so that we desire to worship God and to serve Him out of love, the way that we desire to honor our parents and do what they wish.

7.

Fear of the Lord

The seventh and final gift of the Holy Spirit is the fear of the Lord, and perhaps no other gift of the Holy Spirit is so misunderstood. We think of fear and hope as opposites, but the fear of the Lord confirms the

theological virtue of hope. This gift of the Holy Spirit gives us the desire not to offend God, as well as the certainty that God will supply us the grace that we need in order to keep from offending Him. Our desire not to offend God is more than simply a sense of duty; like piety, the fear of the Lord arises out of love. END OF QUOTE

This, the “final Gift” of the Holy Spirit, may appear a bit strange to some. Especially in that it is termed “a gift” which is correctly applied to it. The reason for our trepidation was made more clear to me today as I listened to the homily on EWTN’S daily Mass.

 

The topic of Catholism being “dominion” or “domination” was introduced as was this statement from Saint Gregory [540 AD to 604 AD]. “ The Practice of the Christian Faith ought to reflect the Nature of God.” The term “Christian “ rather than “Catholic” is used here as the Protestant revolution is still nearly one thousand years in the future. This  well articulated message leaves no room for self interpretation. And it’s correct application being put aside  applies not only to the myriad of competing “Christian” Faiths;  but even more disconcerting to me [and many others], is the fact that at- least half of the people who call themselves “Catholic”; live their lives as if God does not even exist and are by their life choice, in opposition to it. I am appalled that election after election; 50% or more self professed “Catholics” assume and usurp a right clearly, and logically not granted to them, and support agendas of abortion, marriage alterations, and Gay rights; assuming selfish choices, somehow can take precedence over the Church’s and therefore, God’s Moral teachings.

God DID NOT DIE and make “me” judge

. Still the fact that something is extremely wrong in the catechesis of BOTH Protestant Christians [whom I assume have a similar problem], and we Catholics is so evident that it cannot be denied, nor should it be ignored. Huge numbers of Abortions and Divorce alone support this position.

These two brief discussions brought to mind just how far Christianity and Catholism is Morally off track in America, and not accepting of God’s warning AND this gift of the Holy Spirit, for ones own spiritual benefit. Many lack awareness and a correct understanding [thus this document], while others deny, or simply ignore it as likely not having application to oneself. This seem to be high-risk position in the light of Christ absolutely necessary Divine Justice.

There was a time [many years ago] when, if asked I would have thought the problem to be primarily in the Protestant communions. Only in the past twelve years or so have I come to accept that it at least as big of a problem in the Catholic Church as anywhere else.

I personally find it difficult to ponder “Fear of the Lord” without tying it to “Awe and Wonder of God.” …  Here’s why.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_does_the_virtue_wonder_and_awe_mean

Virtue is the goodness and purity of a person: example: The virtuous man remained true to his word. Wonder is when something amazed you, or is too great to envision before it happens: example:. We could say that rain is a wonder, since we would not even imaging a cloud to collide with another, and release a flood of water sucked up from the world’s oceans, would we? Awe is when we are lost for words, dumbfounded by the power, and wonder, of an occurrence or thing: example: A lunar scientist might be struck with awe when he first sees an eclipse, since it would be like nothing he had ever seen before”

To me personally, “Fear of the Lord” can best be understood with it’s multiple meanings;  in the reflected light of “Awe” and “Wonder” of God. To not do seems to me to lead most directly to the idea of “A vengeful God,” which many hold as true, based on the Old Testament and Yahweh’s often swift retribution for false god’s, denial of Him, and His Covenants and decrees. This is a seriously wrong, and morally impossible definition of God, a God WHO MUST BE Good in order to “be God.” END QUOTE

The Divine and necessary Justice of God not rightly understood is based NOT only on what is known or accepted by us; but rather on all that God has made possible for one to know, which is a second indicator of a incorrect or at least incomplete understanding of Divine Justice, and its right relation to “Fear of the Lord.”

Were one to ask almost any “Christian or Catholic”: “IS GOD A GOOD GOD?” I have little doubt that nearly 100% would say that “indeed; “God IS Good.” This response is likely influenced by the “Jesus -Loves- Me-Factor,”  which is true, but it is Conditional

On US; and our life choices and decisions. Christ  New Testament message of forgiveness and Love must be tempered and mixed with what is “Fair and Just” in God’s own view. Some seem to assume that the Old Testament and the New Testament God are separate, and somehow different in there desired relationship with humanity.  Be assured that they are One and the SAME God. The difference is the relationship of the Chosen people with Yahweh / God; which was based on a “fear and reward” mentality, and a very common misunderstanding of the New Testament message of God’s necessary Divine Justice. Failing to grasp that interspersed among the plentitude of Mercy and Love messages, is a necessary message of God’s necessary Justice. Somehow its easier for man to recall love, mercy, and kindness lessons, than dire warnings of possible pending doom.

YET the bible is filled with such warnings:

Heb.6: 10 “For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.”

 

 

Rev.2: 23 “and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches shall know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.”

1 Peter 1: 17

“Now if you invoke as Father him who judges impartially according to each one’s works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning, “

Matt.19: 17 “And he said [Jesus] to him, “If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”

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 bejustified.”

John 3:36 

“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him. [and this is FROM THE SAME book and CHAPTER AS JOHN 3:16]

Piety is a very personal thing, and without piety; Awe and Wonder are easily overlooked, or forgotten. Part of the blame are the altered “Gathering-Spaces” of this modern, “more enlightened era“; [the term now given to the post Vatican II places for Devine Worship]; which as intended deemphasize Divine Worship, for the new “we ARE thee church” theology promulgated aggressively for many years. Along with removal of altar rails, and removal of many tabernacles to less significant positions and lessening amounts of sacred images; Catholic Church’s today at times reflect the same low levels of  “Divine space” evidence now only a “gathering space” as do many of our Protestant brethrens meeting places.

That is as it is

.

Salvation is a personal issue for each of us. Each of us is responsible for their own salvation; and only then, are we conditionally responsible for the possible salvation of others. Because “piety is a learned response,” the primary obligation to be a “pious Christian” belongs to us personally. And piety naturally leads to “Awe and Wonder” of OUR GOD, regardless of the level of sanctity found in“our Church building.”

We American’s tend to view laws, rules, and regulations as a lessening of our freedoms. Most often this is simply perception; not reality. Take for example “speed laws.” They are for our safety, not an unnecessary imposition on our “rights” This same issue of “Dominion” or “Domination” by the Magisterium is often heard as the excuse [reason] for not obeying Church Teachings.

I recall many years ago reading Pope Paul VI Encyclical “Humanae Vitae” [ON Human Life]. While in taught NOT ONE single new thing; it caused a fraction within the Vowed communities of bishops, priest and religious, that spread like a wild-fire among the laity. Led especially by “catholic-Theologians” that has in turn  evolved to all of the other “Spirit of Vatican II” [NOT the Teachings of] changes of the past sixty years and today’s crisis of Faith. At the end of his Teaching he made predictions of what would happen if society embraced “contraceptive sex” as a “right” of personal choice.

HAVE HUMANAE VITAE‘S BOLD PREDICTIONS COME TRUE?

Janet Smith University of Dallas

http://www.nd.edu/~afreddos/courses/264/popepaul.htm

“Humanae Vitae

50+ years ago “prophesied” that marriages and society would suffer if the use of contraception became widespread. Now the vast majority of spouses, as well as those who are unmarried, use some form of contraception.

To be sure, the encyclical was not written to be a prophetic document. Rather, it was written to be a clarifying document, intending to explain what the Church teaches about contraception. The encyclical does present this teaching clearly, but it has been little heeded during the last 50+ years. Statistics show that few Catholics live by these teachings, and it seems safe to suppose that few Catholics have read Humanae Vitae.

Christians understand marriage as an elevated calling, whereby God enlists spouses in the all-important enterprise of bringing forth new human life. The Church teaches that to use contraception is to reject God and his life-giving blessings. The Church teaches not merely that contraception is wrong, but that because contraception is wrong, it will have bad consequences.

Four Prophecies

Pope Paul VI made four rather general “prophecies” about what would happen if the Church’s teaching on contraception were ignored.

Infidelity and moral decline

The Pope first noted that the widespread use of contraception would “lead to conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality.” That there has been a widespread decline in morality, especially sexual morality, in the last 25 years, is very difficult to deny. The increase in the number of divorces, abortion, our-of-wedlock pregnancies, and venereal diseases should convince any skeptic that sexual morality is not the strong suit of our age.

There is no question that contraception is behind much of this trouble. Contraception has made sexual activity a much more popular option that it was when the fear of pregnancy deterred a great number of young men and women from engaging in premarital sexual intercourse. The availability of contraception has led them to believe that they can engage in premarital sexual activity “responsibly.” But teenagers are about as responsible in their use of contraception as they are in all other phases of their lives–such as making their beds, cleaning their rooms and getting their homework done on time.

 

Lost Respect for Women

Paul VI also argued that “the man” will lose respect for “the woman” and “no longer (care) for her physical and psychological equilibrium” and will come to “the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment and no longer as his respected and beloved companion.” This concern reflects what has come to be known as a “personalist” understanding of morality. The personalist understanding of wrongdoing is based upon respect for the dignity of the human person. The Pope realized that the Church’s teaching on contraception is designed to protect the good of conjugal love. When spouses violate this good, they do not act in accord with their innate dignity and thus they endanger their own happiness. Treating their bodies as mechanical instruments to be manipulated for their own purposes, they risk treating each other as objects of pleasure.

Abuse of Power

Paul VI also observed that the widespread acceptance of contraception would place a “dangerous weapon… in the hands of those public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies.” The history of the family-planning programs in the Third World is a sobering testimony to this reality. In Third World countries many people undergo sterilization unaware of what they are doing. The forced abortion program in China shows the stark extreme toward which governments will take population programs. Moreover, few people are willing to recognize the growing evidence that many parts of the world face not overpopulation, but underpopulation. It will take years to reverse the “anti-child” mentality now entrenched in many societies.

Unlimited Dominion

Pope Paul’s final warning was that contraception would lead man to think that he had unlimited dominion over his own body. Sterilization is now the most widely used form of contraception in the U.S.; individuals are so convinced of their rights to control their own bodies that they do not hesitate to alter even their own physical make-up.

The desire for unlimited dominion over one’s own body extends beyond contraception. The production of “test-tube babies” is another indication of the refusal to accept the body’s limitations; so too are euthanasia and the use of organs transplanted from those who are “nearly” dead. We seek to adjust the body to our desires and timetables, rather than adjusting ourselves to its needs.” END QUOTES

This is yet another example of how real freedom was not curtailed; but possible salvation was and is. It ought not be a surprise to many that “Freedom comes with a price tag.” Actions cause effects. Good actions = a good result; likewise evil postulates more evil.

Like this Encyclical was meant as a warning; so too, and in the same manner “Fear of the Lord’s” message has a continuity of unity and truth.

We need not fear that God will ever act unjustly towards us. BUT the Spiritual Gifts granted to us of a Mind, Intellect, Freewill and Soul; all Spiritual things, like God Himself are Eternal, and cannot die or be killed. We have them because it is God’s Will that we be able; and there become totally responsible for the consequences of our actions, to choose as we desire to choose. Isa.43 Verses 7 and 21: “every one who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” AND the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.

“Fear of the Lord”

deals with Wonder, Awe, and RESPECT due to God as our Creator. While recognizing our unworthiness for salvation; we are nevertheless Hopeful of God’s Mercy and Love, so evident in His Personal Testimony. And because of His GRACE we are justified in doing so. Yet, we must never make light of the fact that God is unchanging. The God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New Covenant.  …. Because God is “Good”, and “Fairness and Justice” are too “good things” we can be assured that God will Judge us based on our deeds, and life choices. So it seems prudent for us to have and to set for ourselves a benchmark for our Spiritual Lives: Saint Gregory’s admonition seems appropriate for this cause.

“The Practice of a Christian Faith OUGHT TO REFLECT THE VERY NATURE OF GOD

” The closer we are able to life in accordance to this truth; the less we have to be concerned about our own salvation. Amen …. Mark.11: 22 “And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God”

Say close to God AND God will stay close to you. KNOW that we can pray to receive ALL of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Continued Blessings,

Pat Miron, a Marian Catechist

Why ‘bread and wine” are used in Catholic holy Communion


Revelation 2: 1 – 5

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: `The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. “`I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear evil men but have tested those who call themselves apostles but are not, and found them to be false; I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen, repent and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent”

         Bishop Sheen’s : “Why Bread and Wine” 

QUOTED FROM  his book: “THE LIFE OF CHRIST “

Because of God’s incomprehensible LOVE for His Created humanity [in a manner of speaking: his “alter-self”]; humanity, Created in the very image of God is alone enabled to conditionally and in a way more intimate than married love; actually share “in-God.” To literally become “one WITH God. No greater grace, NO GREATER gift can be bestowed on humanity short of our salvation.

Quoted below is, in my opinion, an account of Catholic Holy Communion that ought to make the entire world desire to convert to Catholism. A gift of such esteemed value that it is given only conditionally.

Those who receive worthily MUST fully understand and  belief in the true Reality of Christ Devine presence; not to do so is to blaspheme and to sin Mortally

Those who receive worthily MUST be in the “state of grace.”  A sign of fellowship with Christ, and evidence of suffering for Christ.

Those who receive worthily MUST “Fast.” …. One is to HUNGER for God. To be filled with “Awe and Wonder” at Love manifested with such intimacy.

One ought be greatly humbled to be invited to “The Supper of the Lamb.”

Gratitude cannot be outdone, too excessive, or lavish. Yet it is to be shared only between you and Christ. It should NEVER be omitted

“Why did our Blessed Lord use bread and wine as elements of this memorial? ….

First of all because no two substances in nature better symbolize unity than bread and wine. As bread is made from a multiplicity of grains of wheat, and wine is made from a multiplicity of grapes, so to the many who believe are one in Christ. Second, no two substances had to suffer more to become what they are than bread and wine.

Wheat has to through the rigors of winter, be ground beneath the Calvary of a mill, then subjected to purging fire before it can become bread. Grapes in their turn must be subjected to the Gethsemane of a wine press, and have their life crushed from them to become wine. Thus do they symbolize the Passion and suffering of Christ, and the condition of Salvation [my emphasis], for our Lord said “unless we die to ourselves we cannot live in Him.” A third reason is that there are no two substances in nature which have traditionally nourished man more than bread and wine. In bringing these elements to the altar, men are equivalently bringing themselves. When bread and wine are taken and consumed, they are changed into man’s body and blood. BUT WHEN HE TOOK BREAD AND WINE HE CHANGED THEM into Himself. [my emphasis] ….

He gave the command to commemorate and announce His redemptive death until He came again! He asked His Apostles to do what was set forth as a Memorial of His Passion, Death and Resurrection. What He did looked forward to the Cross; what they did, and which continued ever sense in the Mass is to look back at His Redemptive Death.

…. That Holy Thursday Our Lord had given them not another sacrifice than His unique Redemptive Act on the cross; HE GAVE A NEW MANNER of Presence. [my emphasis] It would not be a new sacrifice as there is only one. He gave a new presence of THAT [same] sacrifice. ….

…. In obeying His mandate, His followers would be re-presenting in an unbloody manner that which He presented to His Father in the bloody sacrifice of Calvary.

“He …. Gave it to them“. Mark 14:22

By that communion they were made one with Christ. To be offered with Him, In Him and By Him. ALL love craves unity. As the highest peak of love in the human order is the unity of husband and wife in the flesh, so the highest unity in the Divine order is the unity of the soul [like God a “spiritual thing”] and Christ in communion.

When the Apostles, and the Church later on, would obey our Lords words to renew the Memorial and to eat and to drink of Him, the Body and Blood would not be that of the Physical Christ then before them, but that of the glorified Christ in heaven Who continually makes intercession for sinners.

When Our Lord, after He changed the bread and wine into His Body and Blood, told His Apostles to eat and drink, He was doing for the soul of man, what food and wine does for the body.

Unless plants sacrifice themselves to being plucked up from the roots, they cannot nourish or commune with man. The sacrifice of the lowest must precede communion with the higher. First His death was mystically represented; then communion followed. The lower is transformed into the higher; chemicals into plants, and animals into man; and man into Christ by Communion.

…. Our Lord never told anyone to write about His Redemption, BUT He did tell His Apostles to renew it, apply it and commemorate it, prolong it by His orders of the Last Supper. He wanted the great drama of Calvary to be played not once, but for every age of His choosing. He wanted men not to be readers about His redemption, but actors in it, offering up their body and blood with His in the re-enactment of Calvary, saying WITH HIM, “this is my body and this is my blood”; dying to their lower natures to live in grace; saying that they cared not for the appearance of the species of their lives as their family relationships, jobs, duties, physical appearances, or talents, but that their intellects, their wills, their substance___ ALL THAT THEY TRULY were ___ would be changed into Christ; that the Heavenly Father looking down on them would see in them His Son, see their sacrifices massed with His sacrifice, their mortifications incorporated with His death, so that eventually they might share in His glory.” END of QUOTE

My friends, it is my prayer for you and your’s that this touches your heart; your souls as it has done mine. I am eternally grateful God has given us this time together! AMEN!

Love and prayers,

Pat Miron

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen, repent and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent”