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Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Greatest Gift You Can Give For Christmas

Christmas is kind of funny because it is the only birthday where the person whose birthday we are celebrating doesn't get gifts. Are far as friends and relatives are concerned some people go into debt to get someone the ultimate gift.

But what is the greatest gift that you can give anyone ever? Consider that whatever you buy at the corner store, Walmart, or the BMW store will satisfy a person only for so long. That LEGO that you son NEEDS will only be pleasing for days or years. Is there anything that you can give someone that will help them forever. Yes.

WHAT MAKES SOMETHING THE ULTIMATE GIFT?

That which brings about the greatest happiness, even if it hurts. Let me give you an example: A person has a terrible disease and you pay for them to fly to a country where they can treat the problem and undergo multiple painful surgeries with the hope of being cured. YOU are the one who paid for the doctor to cut on them, and I bet they would thank you for the opportunity with the final result of being cured in mind. YET, you would hurt financially from the expenses, they would hurt physically and yet both would be rewarded; you with the satisfaction that helped your friend and they with the healing and the comfort of having such a good friend.

THE ULTIMATE GIFT!!!

That is you, being in a right relationship with God, and being a channel of grace for that person to help them get to heaven.

WHY IS THIS THE BEST GIFT?

Not only will you have a sure hope for heaven, but you will be a good example for whomever you meet and a place where people can come in contact with God. uncle Frank might have bought them a car, yes, but you with your prayers, good example, and counsel helped get them to see the face of God forever. I am not saying that Uncle Frank's car isn't important. It is important and thanks be to  God for that, but the car will probably need replacing someday. The blessing that you can be to someone can pave the road to eternity which will last forever.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO?

#1 Believe what God says. God went through the trouble of becoming man, dying for our sins, rising, and sending the Holy Spirit to start the Catholic Church to help you get to heaven. If you have trouble believing - beg God for the grace to believe. "God help me believe!"
#2 Get right with God. Go to Confession often (once a month at least, or every two weeks to be in line for any indulgence). Saying you are sorry is the first step in fixing any relationship.
#3 Do what God says - be concerned with pleasing God first. Your new girlfriend isn't the one who decides if you get into heaven or not. The world and world governments change laws all the time. Follow God's laws, those are the ones that matter first.
#4 Pray and talk to God. Don't have time? Prioritise. Put God before all else. Don't know what to say? Learn how to pray by praying the Psalms in the Bible or other good Catholic prayer books, or just talk to God like I am talking to you now. Just talk. But make sure you have some time for a little silence so you can listen as well.

HEY - My 4 points are like the 4 parts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Creed, Sacraments, Commandments, Prayer.

Then you will be a blessing to everyone, especially to those whom you love; through your prayers, works, and joys.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Gluttony Part 1

(A summary of Adolphe Tanquerey's section on gluttony in his book, The Spiritual Life) 

St. Gregory Said:
Unless we first tame the enemy dwelling within us (gluttony) we have not even stood up to engage in the spiritual combat. 

St. Paul said:
For many walk…that are enemies of the cross of Christ whose end is destruction and whose god is their belly. Philippians 3:18, 19

A simple definition of gluttony is - eating for its own sake

Delight to excess in 4 ways
Eating when there is no need
Seeking delicacies
Gorging oneself with food
Eating with eagerness or greed (like an animal)

Gluttony is malicious because it makes:

The soul a slave to the body
Man like a brute animal
His intellectual life weak
His moral life weak
A path to voluptuous pleasure

Gluttony is grievous when:
A) we can’t fulfill our duties
Injury to health
Cause of useless expenses
Can’t provide for the family
Violate laws of fast and abstinence
B) the cause other grievous faults
Lust of other senses
Intemperance of speech

Gluttony is venial when you:
Overeat but not gravely
Overeating to show a friend you enjoy their food.

It is an obstacle to perfection because it causes:
A spirit of immortification
Weakened will
A development for love for sensual pleasure
A source of being too talkative

Some Remedies to overcome Gluttony
Principle – the pleasure of eating is not an end in itself but a means to an end.

Reason alone tells us that we should only eat what is necessary for the body but Faith tells us – pleasure of eating and drinking must be sanctified by three things:
  1. Purity of intention
  2. Moderation
  3. Mortification

A) Intention
Gratitude - we should give thanks for what we have received
Humility – we don’t deserve it because of our sins
Love – we renew our strength at the service of God and our neighbor's soul.

Whether you eat or drink…do all to the glory of God. – St. Paul

B) Moderation
Acquire strength needed to fulfill our duties in life
Avoid excess that might compromise health
Leave the table with sprightliness and vigor

C) Mortification
Eating something we dislike
Taking no meal without the element of mortification
Forego certain foods we like

NOTE - These are just little notes that I have started carrying with me to help avoid this sin.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Root of Every Heresy

"History doesn't repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme." said Wittreich.

Reading Genesis 1-3, implied is the first heresy proposed by the devil, taught convincingly by Eve, and obeyed by Adam.

How did this come about and how does every heresy follow this pattern.

We begin with Adam who created first by God in Genesis 2 and given the commandment. 
Genesis 2:16 And he commanded him, saying: Of every tree of paradise thou shalt eat:17 But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat. For in what day soever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death.
Only after this does God make eve from Adam's side. 
When we hear this commandment spoken by Eve to the serpent she says Genesis 3:3 "But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die."

Now GOING BY THE TEXT ALONE (yet not sola scriptura), Adam was the only one who heard the commandment so it must have been he that spoke it to her. Adam is the first prophet. Yet, there is that added part "don't touch it even." Now here is not the place to get into the legitimacy of Adam adding to the rules that God set down. He very well may have had the authority to do that. Jesus told us to fast, but the Church says what days, how, and for how long and She can do that because Jesus gave her that authority. So let's say that Adam has that authority to put a type of (verbal) wall around the tree so as to ensure the safety. 

But look what happens, Eve begins listening to another voice (the devil's) and believes that the NEW message she is now receiving is true and the old one is false. She then becomes a prophet for the devil and begins preaching his message. We know this because Genesis 3:17 "And to Adam he[God] said: Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife," 
When was that? When did he listen to his wife? There is some conversation that is lost to us.
She does this because she thinks that the message is good. But by believing this message and rejecting the original one she is suggesting that Adam is in fact a false prophet who represents a false god. 

ALL OF THIS HAPPENS EVERY TIME SOMEONE LEAVES THE CHURCH.
The Church is the legitimate authority given to us by Jesus through the Apostles and passed on by apostolic succession until our day. The members believe the message that the Church proposes for belief. Yet one day an outside voice suggests to someone. "the church is holding you back with xyz, if you follow me I will really free you and teach you the truth." 
So they leave and we can see by the fruit that it produces that it only leads to ruin and division.
Ecclesiastes says as much when it says there is nothing new under the sun.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Cool NEW Product! Church History Timeline Banner!!!

I have produced a HUGE banner of Catholic Church History. It is 5ft X 17ft. That is HUGE! Why would I want such a thing? The only reason you ask that question is because you have yet to see it.

I have it officially advertised here: catholictimelinebanner

So here is my schpeal, my talk, so to speak

What happens when you requestion the high school students to
"go stand in front of it."

How can you visibly represent that the Catholic Church is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic? A Catholic History Timeline Banner - that is how.
  • It is neatly divided into 13 sections for easy memorization of major time periods. 
  • It has all the major characters from every age and is appropriate to follow along with any Church history text. 
  • One of the problems with studying History is that you get lost in the details and forget the big picture. This is your solution to that problem. 
  • Each century includes an inspirational quote from someone from that time period.
  • Big beautiful pictures attract the eye from afar beckoning you to come closer and immerse yourself in the story of the Body of Christ; the Church. 
    Students actually looking at it.
So check out the website, give me a call, if you are local or afar we will make arrangements to get a better look at it. Then consider getting one for your home, school, church, library, or seminary. It is guaranteed to attract attention.

God love you.


Monday, February 29, 2016

"Reading" the Bible from Cover to Cover

I have always been impressed whenever I had met two groups of people. 
The First Group - People who read the same books every year. They say, "O I read the Lord of the Rings every year," or, "Every year I reread Orthodoxy by Chesterton." They read them, I imagine because they get to visit an old friend(s) and get new things out of them.
The Second Group - People who have read the entire Bible. I have been challenged a few times read the Bible from cover to cover, and there is Leviticus. 'sigh'

Then I found Jeff Cavins and the Great Adventure Bible Timeline Program found HERE . Jeff only covers the 14 books that tell the story. He also shows how the other books fit into the context of these 14. For example, many of the Psalms were written by King David yet they are 4 books away from each other, or that you read Ruth in the context of the Judges. It is an excellent program and I can't recommend it enough.

But had I still read ALL the books? - well I was sure that I read most, or at least heard most. Had I? I thought why am I giving this any second thought at all - Dude just read it already! I hate reading. But I LOVE listening. so I forced myself and listened all the way through an audio Bible. Last year it took from the end of December through February. 

THE PAY OFF - Now while some of it I knew immediately I had NEVER listened to, e.g. all the names in Ezra, Nehemiah., other parts kind of surprised me, and other parts were very familiar. 
  • The pay off came when I went to church and heard the readings, I had just read all of them, so they were like, friends ( I would think - I just listened to this). 
  • When someone said - I was just reading Job, or Ezekiel, or whoever - I could say - I just read that too. 
  • I got to hear those Old Testament quotes in context that are quoted in the New Testament. 
  • The worst enemy of the Israelites were themselves, yes they were attacked by others, but if you were trying to live the law of Moses and be faithful. Good Luck, because most of your fellow Israelites are barely interested. 
  • God is not mean, or a jerk, or vengeful. God is a living Father who has to deal with barbarians. I know my ancestors were barbarians - but everyone's ancestors are barbarians, even the Israelites. And as we all know - barbarians are hard to work with, and they only understand a certain type of language. God was speaking to them on their level. Also, most of those "angry" prophetic letters are all written to the same group of people. We only hear them one after another and it feels like it takes forever to get through them.
So I am interested in what YOU have to say -
Do you have a book you reread every year?
Have you read the Bible cover to cover? What were the benefits / drawbacks?
Comment below:

Sunday, February 14, 2016

What Does the Word Lent Mean and Why Do We Give Up Stuff?



Lent is from the Anglo-Saxon word lengten,  which means - spring. This makes sense because of the season of the year it takes place.

Why 40 Days? The 40 days are in imitation of Jesus who was fasting in the desert for 40 days. But why was Jesus in the desert for 40 days? He did this to imitate the Israelites who were in the desert for 40 years. Why were the Israelites in the desert for 40 years?

Lots of questions huh.

The Israelites had been in bondage and just passed through Red Sea (Which St. Paul says is a type for Baptism 1 Corinthians 10:2) and were traveling through the desert, headed toward the promised land,

Now this signifies our own journey from the bondage of sin (Egypt) through this world (Desert) to heaven (Promised Land).

Their journey through the desert was originally planned to have only taken 1 year. But when it came time for the Israelites to enter, they no longer had faith in God and were afraid of the Cannanites that lived there. For this reason, God had them wander in the desert for 40 years as a punishment. During this time, the generation that didn't want to go in would be killed and a new generation would be raised up that wanted to enter into the Promised Land.

St. Paul talks about this when he says:

  • Romans 6:6  We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17  Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. 
  • Ephesians 4:22-24  Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts,  23 and be renewed in the spirit of your minds,  24 and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
  • Colossians 3:9-10  Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices  10 and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.  
We are to do the same thing, during our time here on earth we are to crucify our old selves and raise up a new - only by the grace of God.

Now Jesus was doing several things in the desert, but one of them was encountering the devil (as Israel did) and vanquish him with the word of God. Not with lasers out of his eyes, no super-powers, no miracles, just plain old faithfulness. Amazing how boring it sounds to defeat the devil. He was also showing us, in part, how to treat this world, this journey. During that time he fasted from the earthly comforts of food, shelter, and companionship to show us that our sole purpose for this world is transitory. We are just passing through. Our consolations should not be in this world, but in our Heavenly Father. THEREFORE Lent is a renewing of our efforts to prepare ourselves for Heaven.

Now Jesus didn't HAVE to die to some old way of living and sin, but he does it because that is what WE need to do, and he calls us to imitate Him.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Answering - Reasoning from the Scriptures with Catholics Chapter 4 (Pt 1)

Chapter 4 – Sola Scriptura Versus Tradition – Part 2

The Issue: Catholics offer some examples of tradition that is found in the New Testament and this chapter addresses those verses offered as proofs.
The Facts: Let’s see what he has to say.

1.   (65) Matthew 2:23 - He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, "He shall be called a Nazorean."
The issue – Catholics point to this verse which claims that Jesus is fulfilling an oracle of the prophets. But when the Old Testament writing are searched there is no prophecy given it writing, but there was an oral prophecy, which is what the verse suggests, that was in circulation at the time of Jesus and that is what is being fulfilled here.
He Asks – He suggests that the town of Nazareth in Biblical times was infamous for being associated with sinners. This makes some sense because Philip asks the question John 1:46 – can anything good come out of Nazareth? So in Jesus’ day being called a Nazorean would be associated with being despised and hated. The prophets in the Old Testament do tell us that the Messiah would be despised and hated and Jesus is partially fulfilling this by living in a despised and hated town.
I Respond – It is as simple as this – A prophetic statement has been made – It can’t be found written – therefore it must be in oral. It is authoritative because it comes from God so it must be believed. That is what we call Oral Tradition. We don’t have to do mental gymnastics over the character of the town of Nazareth, find that character in the Old Testament applied to the Messiah, and then apply it to Jesus. The Catholic apologist is simply trying to point out that there are authoritative statements made by God that might not be written down.
·       (67) He Asks – ‘Did you know that Nazarene was a term of scorn back in biblical times, indicating “one who is despised”?’
I would say  - I know that now.
·       (67) He Asks – Since numerous Old Testament passages indicate that the Messiah would be a despised character, can you see that possibility that Matthew’s use of Nazarene in reference to the Messiah was intended to give the substance of many Old Testament prophecies and not a direct quote from a single prophet?
I would say – I hear what your saying but I think here the Scriptures are clear. A prophetic statement has been made – It can’t be found written – therefore it must be in oral. It is authoritative because it comes from God so it must be believed. That is what we call Oral Tradition. To bring this into modern times let’s say Jesus He went and dwelt in a town called Gloucester, Massachusetts, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, "He shall be called a Gloucesterite? ( I might be butchering that one)." Hey, Gloucester is known for its fisherman, let’s see what the Old Testament says about fisherman. It says God would some day call many fisherman as fulfilled by Jesus. Therefore it doesn’t need to say explicitly by any one prophet in the Old Testament that He shall be called a Gloucesterite.
I just say stick with the word of God.

2.   (68) Matthew 23:2, 3   saying, "The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.   Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.
The issue – Catholics point out these verses to non-Catholics because of the term “the chair of Moses.” Just from the context we can tell that this is a place of authority. Historically it was a physical seat in a synagogue. The idea of the “chair of Moses” is not found in the Old Testament. Now I have never used this verse to prove Sacred Tradition, but I have used it to prove just plain old oral tradition. Not everything was written down.
·        (70) He Asks – “Since Jesus in this same Gospel of Matthew indicates that tradition can be wrong and lead people astray – and since He places God’s Word over tradition (Matthew 15:6) – is it not unwise to argue for the authority of tradition from Matthew 23:2, 3?”
I Respond – I don’t think so, for two reasons. The first is that Jesus condemns the traditions of man that nullify the Word of God. We agree and do that as well. The second is that Matthew himself is only writing down a portion of his experience with Jesus. Think of this, Matthew spent three years of his life with Jesus, and yet his Gospel can be read in about 2 hours. We know Jesus said more, because of the other Gospels. We know that there is more important information to be known because of the teachings of St. Paul and the other inspired writers. Dare we say that is all that there is, how can we be so sure?
I would follow up with – Would you be obedient to Jesus’ words here is they were in your hearing? Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you” Would you do that? If you say no, then we disobey Jesus. If you say yes, then you are subjecting yourself to an authority, namely the Pharisees, whose position has no Biblical basis. There are no Pharisees in the Old Testament mentioned. Yet Jesus recognizes them as those who are to be obeyed, yet not imitated.

·       (71) He Asks – “Did you know that synagogue worship first emerged in postexilic times, long after the time of Moses?” (Meaning synagogues weren’t probably invented until after the Jews returned from their exile in Babylon 500 years before Jesus.
I respond – Yes, I know that now.
·       (71) He Asks – “Since historically the “chair of Moses” in the synagogue came into use far after the actual time of Moses, is it not clear that the reference to this chair cannot be cited in support of an oral tradition that goes back to Moses?”
I Respond – It doesn’t matter if it goes back to the time of Moses or not, my point in bringing up the “chair of Moses” was that there was an idea of this in the first century that is not written about in the Old Testament, yet existed obviously in Old Testament times. What I am trying to show you is that there ideas that were lived out by the Jews that were not explicitly written down before Jesus yet they had a place in the lives of the Jewish people in Jesus’ day.

I Would Ask – If you agree to this then why couldn’t that be true about the apostles day? There were things they did and taught that were legitimate, but didn’t make it into the pages of Scripture, yet made it into the lives of the first Christians.

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