Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sunday's Gospel

Lk 23:35-43

The rulers sneered at Jesus and said,
"He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God."
Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, "If you are King of the Jews, save yourself." Above him there was an inscription that read,
"This is the King of the Jews."

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us."

The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."

He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you,
today you will be with Me in Paradise."

This Sunday was "Our Lord Jesus Christ the King". Jesus came as our King, the King of the Universe. He just did not do it the way people expected. The King made us and the King came to redeem us. This is the last Sunday of Ordinary Time on the Church calendar. We celebrate His kingship and then we begin our time of preparation for His coming--Advent. We start the Church year by looking forward to and celebrating the King's 'birthday'. What a great time of the year.

Friday, November 23, 2007

I participate in a couple of Catholic-Protestant debate forums. Up until about 2 weeks ago, I had been a very active participant. However, somehow I have fallen out of favor or for some unknown reason am just being ignored. So, since my blog is probably also being ignored in general, I thought I'd publish my latest arguements/ comments here in my own forum. Maybe someone can read it or benefit from it.

Let me set this up. A new person came on the debate forum and asked non-Catholics how they defend believing in God and believing the Bible is a Holy Book from God. Normally this is not the purpose of the forum. The forum is to discuss and defend the Catholic Church's teachings. However, the moderator allowed him to ask the non-Catholics on the forum his questions. After some discussion, this is what transpired:
I have deleted names of the participants and used A=Agnostic, NC=Non-catholic, Me=Me.

A: How can this [the Bible] be the "axiom" if you beleive that it is the revealed word of god. Wouldn't it be the end point?

NC: I don't see why it would be? If a system is going to start it must start somewhere and that *somewhere* is that system's axiom. All that follows needs to be account for by the system's axiom, either that or it's an addition to the axiom (i.e., by objection to Romanism).

Me: [Commenting on her answer to A] What do you mean "addition to the axiom (i.e., by objection to Romanism)?
1) He is asking non-Catholics to LOGICALLY explain why they believe the Bible is the Word of God and not a work of fiction.
2) A somewhat back-handed falsehood/insult about the Church is NOT an arguement supporting YOUR position that the Bible is the Word of God.
3) We've already had this arguement. It can be proven logically and objectively that protestants REMOVED books from the Bible--the Church DID NOT ADD to the Bible.
4) The Catholic Church is so named because it comes from a Greek word that means universal or general. It means that it is for EVERYONE. There is not 'ROMANISM'. There is however, Catholicism, a Christian belief available to any and every one.
5) 'Romanism' would be a completely inaccurate term for the Church even if it were a true label. The Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, while being the largest of the Catholic Rites, is not the only one. There are Byzatine Rite Catholics, Armenian Rite Catholics, etc. for a total of 20 Rites altogether. And, while they acknowledge the pope in Rome as the head of the universal Church, they would not be called 'Romanists' since they are not, per se, 'Roman' Catholics.

NC: [Continuation of comments to A] The principle which became forcefully clarified during the Reformation and to the chagrin and anger of Romanists, is that of sola Scriptura and that Scripture alone is the Word of God.

Me: So, let me get this straight, your arguement that the Bible is the Word of God because the Catholic Church is WRONG. How does that prove anything about how protestants prove the truth of Scripture?

NC: [continuation of comments to A] Consequently, the Christian a [sic] system begins with Scripture alone. The Christian doesn't *arrive* at Scripture as a conclusion; he starts there.

ME: EXCEPT that Christians did NOT have the Scriptures as we know it until the late 3rd to early 4th centuries. So, what did they do before then according to you? We believe the words of Paul and the Gospel writers were passed on by word of mouth at first then LATER written down. That is where Tradition came from. "Stand firm, then, brothers, and keep the traditions that we taught you, whether by word of mouth or by letter." 2 Thessalonians 2:15 All Tradition (with the big T) [an example the doctrine of the Trinity] in the Church was passed down from the days of the Apostles. Not all traditions (small t) [an example the color of the walls inside the Church] were passed down.

NC: [Continuation of comments to A] [Good point. If fact, not only do Christians begin with Scripture, but the Roman Catholic Church does as well. The Scripture of Matthew 16:18 is the authority that birthed them.]

Me: Unfortunately, this is only PARTIALLY true. AND, you are not
answering [A]'s question. You are using his question as an excuse to scorn the Church.
1) Matthew 16:18 (and verse 19) does indeed quote Jesus words, "So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven: Whatever you bind on Earth shall be bound in Heaven; whatever you loose on Earth shall be considered loosed in Heaven." These were the words recorded in Matthew's Gospel by a WITNESS.
2) That day Jesus commissioned Peter. Jesus said this to Peter and it was believed and passed on LONG BEFORE it was written down in Matthew's Gospel about 4 decades later.
3) We believe the day of Pentecost is the 'birthday' as it were of Jesus' Church. The Apostles, up until that time, were waiting for Christ's return. They thought He would come back and take them with Him. However, at Pentecost, they received the Holy Spirit.

Act 2: "When Pentecost day came around, they [the Apostles and Mary] had all met in one room, when suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from Heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in shich they were sitting; and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the heads of each of them. They were filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech. Now there were devout men who living in Jerusalem from every nation under Heaven, and at this sound they all assembled, each one bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language. They were amazed and astonished. "Surely," they said,"all these men speaking are Galileans? How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Edamites; people from Mesopotamia, Jueaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya around Cyrene; as well as visitors from Rome--. Jews and proselytes alike--Cretans and Arabs; we hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God." Everyone was amazed and unable to explain it; they asked one another what it all meant. Some, however, laughed it off....Then Peter stood up with the Eleven and addressed them in a loud voice: 'Men of Judaea, and all you who live in Jerusalem, make no mistake about this, but listen carefully to what I say....In the days to come-it is the Lord who speaks-I will pour out my Spirit on all mankind....{Read the rest of Peter's speech in Acts 2}...Hearing this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the apostles, "What must we do, brothers?" "You must repent," Peter answered, "and every one of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus for forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise that was made is for you and your children, and for all those who are far away, for all those whom the Lord our God will call to Himself."..."Save yourselves from this perverse generation." They were convinced by his arguments, and they accepted what he [Peter] said and were baptized. That very day three thousand were added to their number."

This is the birth of our Church, [NC]. This is the day of the universality of the Church. This is when Peter preached to all in Jerusalem who would listen. Our Church started on the day of Pentecost--50 days after the Resurrection; 10 days after the ascension. It started long before Luke wrote down the testimony of witnesses [Luke was not there]. This IS the 'birth' of our Church not the WORDS written on paper. Jesus commissioned Peter, as witnessed in Matthew's gospel. The Holy Spirit was given to Peter and the Apostles, as witnessed to by the Book of Acts.

Afterwords: My comments to the NC on this forum were never acknowledged or answered. I am sure she is still going on her merry little ignorant way spreading lies about the Church and about Catholics. Bishop Sheen is credited with saying that most people do not object to what the Catholic Church teaches so much as to what they THINK the Catholic teaches. At least, this NC hasn't come right out and said Catholics are not Christians as many NCs on the forum have. Anti-Catholic sentiment is on the rise in the US and it is becoming more and more blatant and hate filled. I fear for my children's future on earth, at times. But, I do not fear for their souls. I do believe God is with our family and we are giving our children a Christian heritage and culture that cannot be equalled. Peace to all who actually read my blog.

The image above, right is wonderful image of St. Peter in prayer.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Psalm for Today

I wanted to contemplate God's goodness today.
Here is Claude Monet's 'Arm of the Seine near Giverny'. Monet is one of my all time favorite artists. What a beautiful recreation of the majesty of God's handiwork.

Something beautiful to look at while contemplating today's Psalm.
Today's Psalm is 145:1-5 and 10-11.

I sing your praises, God my King,
I bless Your Name for ever and ever,
blessing You day after day,
and praising Your Name for ever and ever.
Can anyone measure the magnificence of
Yahweh the great, and his inexpressible grandeur?

Celebrating your acts of power,
one age shall praise Your doings to another.
Oh, the spendor of Your glory, Your renown!
I tell myself the story of Your marvelous deeds.

Yahweh, all your creatures thank You,
and your faithful bless You.
Kingly and glorious they proclaim You,
they affirm Your might.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


This is a passage of scripture that has hit home lately.

"No one can hurt you if you are determined to do only what is right; if you do have to suffer for being good, you will count it a blessing. There is no need to be afraid or to worry about them.(1) Simply reverence the Lord(2) Christ in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have. But give it with courtesy and respect and with a clear conscience, so that those who slander you when you are living a good life in Christ may be proved wrong in the accusations that they bring. And if it is the will of God that you should suffer, it is better to suffer for doing right than for doing wrong." I Peter 3:13-17

(1) "Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, do not be afraid of them. It is Yahweh Sabaoth, whom you must hold in veneration, him you must fear, him you must dread." Isaiah 8: 12-13

(2) "Have no fear of sudden terror or of assault from wicked men, since Yahweh will by your guarantor, he will keep your steps from the snare." Proverbs 3:25-26

Not only does Peter teach that we can keep our heads up high knowing that what we believe is right, he teaches us that we should have no fear of those who slander us. In light of the Old Testament verses referenced in the Jerusalem Bible I quoted here, we are told what an awesome and powerful God we have. Why do we fear those who despise us?

I have been having a hard time lately on a Catholic debate group in which I have been participating. Many of the protestantants not only call Catholics on the forum names but most believe we don't 'deserve' to be called Christians. After all, they say, we don't follow the teachings of Christ. I and a couple of others have fallen into the pitfalls. Then they say "Ah ha, see how unChristian you are!!!" Of course their conduct is justified because we, Catholics, are not Christians therefore not on the same level with them.

I have been struggling with Peter. I need to listen to his words and remember I have nothing to fear. I have nothing to be angry about even when they call me names, call me stupid, call me crazy and evil. I have no real connection with these people. They cannot hurt me in my real world--with my Jesus, my family, my life. They are sad, strange people who call themselves Christians and then talk to people like they are not worthy wipe off their shoes.

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name..." These words from an old hymn just popped into my head. That is what I need to do.

I leave this message from the Book of Wisdom, attributed to King Solomon. A book newly discovered by me--boy is it full of WISDOM--pun intended.

"Love virtue, you who are judges on earth, let honesty prompt your thinking about the Lord, seek Him in simplicity of heart; since He is to be found by those who do not put Him to the test, He shows Himself to those who do not distrust Him. But selfish intentions divorce from God; and Omnipotence, put to the test, confounds the foolish....Wisdom is spirit, a friend to man,...The spirit of the Lord, indeed, fills the whole world, and that which holds all things together knows every word that is said." Wisdom 1:1-3,6a,7

(The image above, right is an image of Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) with her 'daughters,' Faith, Hope, and Charity. This is a beautiful image personifying those Godly virtues.)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A Long Week

This week has been a long one. BUT it went by fast. How does that happen? It seems like it was a month long but it all happened in one day.

Today I am very proud of my two altar boys participating in the Holy Day Mass for All Saints. There was not much of a crowd for a holy day of obligation. Most people probably went to the vigil Mass last night because they have to work. My oldest got to ring the bells during the consecration for the first time. He did very well and I am very proud of him. The 'baby' (he's 2) only fussed once when he hit the back of his head on the pew. He didn't even fuss when I went up to do the second reading. They were all great today. Some days just go well.

Of course, no school got done today. I just had to take a breather. The plan tomorrow is to do some study in the morning and then do our usual Friday art activities. Art is a joyous activity all the kids look forward to. They get to do little art activities during the week but they have a good long art lesson--drawing, coloring, cutting, painting, whatever--on Friday as a reward for a long week of work. I believe art is just as important as math and science for a growing child's mind. The creative thinking helps them in those areas, too. And, the walls get a boost from their boredom.

Right now, I need to get Spiderman to bed so the kids can go to bed.