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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Will Only A Few Be Saved?


The Bible Tidbit below is based on a sermon by St. Leonard of Port Maurice. The sermon is long, but worth it.
Here is a link - CLICK HERE

In this Bible tidbit we are asking the question – will many people be saved?

It would seem as though Jesus himself is the source of the teaching that few would be saved. I don’t mean few out of the world, I mean few Catholics.

RSV Luke 13:23 And some one said to him, "Lord, will those who are saved be few?" And he said to them, 24 "Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the householder has risen up and shut the door, you will begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, `Lord, open to us.' He will answer you, `I do not know where you come from.' 26 Then you will begin to say, `We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.' 27 But he will say, `I tell you, I do not know where you come from; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity!'

Here is a similar verse that is more explicit.

RSV Matthew 7:13 "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Now it is not as though God wishes that more people be damned than saved. RSV 1 Timothy 2:3 … God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Right and Jesus says the same in:
RSV Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen."
             
This parable is a great example of this:

RSV Matthew 25:1 "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, `Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' 7 Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, `Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' 9 But the wise replied, `Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.' 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, `Lord, lord, open to us.' 12 But he replied, `Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.'
                    
Some from this parable we could say that 50% would be saved.

Another parable that enlightens this topic is the parable of the sower and the seeds.

This is from Mark 4 where the sower – who is Jesus – throws the seed of the good news into the world. Some of the seed falls on the road that is picked up by birds, meaning the devil – They reject God word outright. Some of the word falls on stony ground that sprouts up real fast but withers because the person is persecuted by the world because of what they believe. Some of the seed falls on thorny ground and grows but is choked by the thorns which represent the cares of this world. Finally some falls on good soil which bears fruit.

So here is the breakdown: 25% will reject God’s word outright. 50% will hear God’s word, believe it and for one reason or another fall away from the faith. The remaining 25% will be faithful and bear fruit.

Why then are people having a hard time getting into heaven?

I would suggest two reasons. The first is holiness. St. Paul says this:

RSV Hebrews 12:14 Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

I don’t often hear conversations about getting holy or the struggles of living and growing in holiness and maybe this is part of the reason why so many perish.

Another reason might be obedience:

RSV Luke 10:16 "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me."

To reject the apostles and those who come after them is to reject Christ. We can’t pick and choose for ourselves what is true and what is false. We can’t say, “Jesus that whole business about divorce offends me and my new lover, but I still love you and want to follow you.” We must be obedient to what the church, which is truly the body of Christ, teaches. We can’t say, “I love Jesus but can’t stand your bride.” This is offensive to God.

So Holiness and obedience are two keys to heaven. This information sounds like a lot of bad news – Why present this to you dear reader?

This is a call to get serious out your faith. We have so many blessings in the Church – The Bible – The Saints – The Sacraments – and it feels like there is an attitude, which I am guilty of as well, that to get to heaven you just have to be a nice guy.

We aren't called to be nice – we are called to holiness where Christ and the Saints are our guides and models. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit and how they help Develop the Virtues


The Gifts of the Holy Spirit are our topic today and how they help develop the Theological and Cardinal Virtues. First we had better define our terms in case people do not know what we are talking about. Name the Theological and Cardinal virtues and state their purpose.

The Theological Virtues are Faith, Hope, and Charity. They are called theological because they are gifts that come from God that are for the purpose of leading us back to God.
The Cardinal Virtues are Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance. The word Cardinal means, hinge, like a hinge in a door. These four virtues are a hinge to all of the other virtues.

What are the Gifts of the Holy Spirit?
I have made an acronym to help remember these, it is KFCPUFWings. Kentucky Fried Chicken Puf Wings.
It is kind of silly but it helps remember them. These are Knowledge, Fear of the Lord, Counsel, Piety, Understanding, Fortitude, and Wisdom.

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit are connected to the Virtues – How so?
CCC 1831 … They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations.

Let’s go through each one and see how these are connected exactly.
The Holy Spirit gives us the gift of Understanding to nourish the virtue of Faith. Understanding helps us to have insight into the truths of our faith and be confirmed in our belief. When you have that Ah-ha moment when you hear a good program on this radio station and say – so THAT’s how it all fits together. That is the gift of Understanding strengthening your faith. We can exercise this gift through studying the faith.
DRA Psalm 118:73 Thy hands have made me and formed me: give me understanding, and I will learn thy commandments.

Piety is the gift of the Holy Spirit to strengthen our Hope. Piety turns our feelings, or affections to God and Religion so that we can have a holy joy. This gift develops respect, love, and obedience toward God and things that belong to God like Mary, the Angels and Saints, the Bible, the Church and the Pope. We can develop this gift by meditating on the parts of the Bible that reveal his goodness and mercy toward men. Another way to develop this gift is to take your ordinary actions and then do them to show God that you love Him.
RSV Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, "Abba! Father!"

The next Gift of the Holy Spirit is Wisdom which perfects Charity. This gift of wisdom, like Charity perfects all of the others gifts. Wisdom shows us that all things come from God and that all things lead us to God. We can cultivate this gift by begging for it, pursuing it, and longing for it continually.
Wisdom 9:1 "O God of my fathers and Lord of mercy, who hast made all things by thy word, 2 and by thy wisdom hast formed man, to have dominion over the creatures thou hast made, 3 and rule the world in holiness and righteousness, and pronounce judgment in uprightness of soul, 4 give me the wisdom that sits by thy throne, and do not reject me from among thy servants.

What gifts help us develop the Cardinal Virtues.

Prudence is given to us to help us choose the good and avoid evil. The Holy Spirit gives us the gift of Counsel so that we can make these decisions promptly and correctly especially in hard situations. We can help this gift grown by humbling ourselves and recognizing our weaknesses. Then we must listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit who will send us little promptings and if we are docile to those then we will be accustomed to listening to him in larger matters as well.
RSV Psalm 25:4 Make me to know thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.

The cardinal virtue of Justice is strengthened by the gift of Knowledge. This kind of knowledge is very specific because it communicates to us how things are related to God. This gift helps us to see clearly what will help us and our neighbor get holy. We can help this gift grow by looking on creation and created things and creatures as God sees them.

The gift of Fear of the Lord helps us be temperate. This fear is not a fear where we are afraid of hell or something like that. This is a fear where we are afraid to hurt God’s feelings because we love Him. We can practice this in three ways. 1st Know that God is great and that he loves you more that you could ever imagine. 2nd Have a sorrow for your sins that offend him. 3rd Take care to avoid persons, places, and things that make you fall into sin.
We can help this gift by making a frequent examination of conscience – Most books that I read recommend every night. Also meditate on the Greatness of God.
Psalm 118:120   120 Pierce thou my flesh with thy fear: for I am afraid of thy judgments.

Finally the gift of Fortitude helps us practice fortitude.  The virtue of fortitude helps us to do hard things and stick with them. The Gift of Fortitude helps us do those same things joyfully and fearlessly. To help this gift grow we must keep our eyes fixed on Christ and know that the Holy Spirit has been poured out on us to helps us to do all things.


Understanding - - Faith
Piety - - - - - - - - - -Hope 
Wisdom - - - - - - - Charity
Counsel - - - - - - - Prudence
Knowledge - - - - - Justice
Fortitude - - - - - - Fortitude
Fear of the Lord - Temperance

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I could really use your help.


DEAR FANS OF BIBLE TIDBITS - The school where I teach - St. Edmund Campion Academy (to keep tuition low) - is having a raffle to raise funds. The prize is $1000 dollars. Tickets are 1 for $6 or 2 for $10. The drawing is this Saturday. If you are interested, please email me with the number of tickets you want (I will put your name on them from the drawing) and I will send you the school address where you can send the check. Thank you for your help. 

Here is a link to our school. 


Dan - Catholic4areason@gmail.com