Archive for December, 2010

Our Joint Musical Entitled ‘The Log Cabin’

Posted: December 31, 2010 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Memory Book

Held On 27th Dec 7:30pm

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Samson and Delilah (The Bible Collection) (1996)

Posted: December 30, 2010 by CatholicJules in DVD Review

Actors: Dennis Hopper, Elizabeth Hurley, Eric Thal, Michael Gambon, Diana Rigg
Directors: Nicolas Roeg
Writers: Allan Scott
Producers: Eleonora Andreatta, Gerald Rafshoon, Heinrich Krauss, Lorenzo Minoli, Luca Bernabei
Format: Closed-captioned, Color, DVD, Subtitled, NTSC
Language: English
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Number of discs: 1
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Turner Home Ent
DVD Release Date: September 6, 2005
Run Time: 180 minutes

Product Description

Samson is a simple shepherd with the strength of a titan and the destiny to fight the Philistines and General Tariq. Delilah is a Philistine beauty, torn between her love for the shepherd and loyalty to her people. As told in the Old Testament, Samson’s betrayal by Delilah left him in slavery. But Samson’s epic revenge vanquished his Philistine foes and made him one of the greatest heroes of the Bible. Samson and Delilah is the powerful tale of a deception that brought down an empire… and sealed their names in eternity.
Review :

Visually stunning with lots of liberties taken in the retelling of this famous bible tale.  However the essence of the story is intact.  Some may find certain scenes offensive in that they can be quite brutal while others may find the sex scene between Samson and Delilah distasteful. ( NO it did not border on porn in any way)  I on the other hand applaud them for trying to make this as accurate as possible how else would you be able to see just what a temptress Delilah really was!

I did however have problem with the casting of Dennis Hopper as the fictional Philistine General Tariq, I reckon they spent too much time developing his fictional character as a result and this indeed was not one of his better performances.  Diana Rigg was exceptional as Mara while Eric Thal did a very convincing portrayal of Samson.  Liz Hurley is as usual visually stunning on film.

 

 

Christian, Remember Your Dignity

Posted: December 28, 2010 by CatholicJules in Memory Book

From a sermon by Saint Leo the Great, pope

Dearly beloved, today our Savior is born; let us rejoice. Sadness should have no place on the birthday of life. The fear of death has been swallowed up; life brings us joy with the promise of eternal happiness.

No one is shut out from this joy; all share the same reason for rejoicing. Our Lord, victor over sin and death, finding no man free from sin, came to free us all. Let the saint rejoice as he sees the palm of victory at hand. Let the sinner be glad as he receives the offer of forgiveness. Let the pagan take courage as he is summoned to life.

In the fullness of time, chosen in the unfathomable depths of God’s wisdom, the Son of God took for himself our common humanity in order to reconcile it with its creator. He came to overthrow the devil, the origin of death, in that very nature by which he had overthrown mankind.

And so at the birth of our Lord the angels sing in joy: Glory to God in the highest, and they proclaim peace to his people on earth as they see the heavenly Jerusalem being built from all the nations of the world. When the angels on high are so exultant at this marvellous work of God’s goodness, what joy should it not bring to the lowly hearts of men?

Beloved, let us give thanks to God the Father, through his Son, in the Holy Spirit, because in his great love for us he took pity on us, and when we were dead in our sins he brought us to life with Christ, so that in him we might be a new creation. Let us throw off our old nature and all its ways and, as we have come to birth in Christ, let us renounce the works of the flesh.

Christian, remember your dignity, and now that you share in God’s own nature, do not return by sin to your former base condition. Bear in mind who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Do not forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of God’s kingdom.

Through the sacrament of baptism you have become a temple of the Holy Spirit. Do not drive away so great a guest by evil conduct and become again a slave to the devil, for your liberty was bought by the blood of Christ.

 

December 26, 2010 – Feast of the Holy Family

Posted: December 26, 2010 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

SUNDAY BIBLE REFLECTIONS BY DR. SCOTT HAHN

Saving Family

Readings:
Sirach 3:2-6,12-14
Psalm 128:1-2, 3, 4-5
Colossians 3:12-21
Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23
Underlying the wisdom offered in today’s Liturgy is the mystery of the family in God’s divine plan.

The Lord has set father in honor over his children and mother in authority over her sons, we hear in today’s First Reading. As we sing in today’s Psalm, the blessings of the family flow from Zion, the heavenly mother of the royal people of God (see Isaiah 66:7,10-13; Galatians 4:26).

And in the drama of today’s Gospel, we see the nucleus of the new people of God – the Holy Family – facing persecution from those who would seek to destroy the child and His Kingdom.
Moses, called to save God’s first born son, the people of Israel (see Exodus 4:22; Sirach 36:11), was also threatened at birth by a mad and jealous tyrant (see Exodus 1:15-16). And as Moses was saved by his mother and sister (see Exodus 2:1-10; 4:19), in God’s plan Jesus too is rescued by His family.

As once God took the family of Jacob down to Egypt to make them the great nation Israel (see Genesis 46:2-4), God leads the Holy Family to Egypt to prepare the coming of the new Israel of God – the Church (see Galatians 6:16).

At the beginning of the world, God established the family in the “marriage” of Adam and Eve, the two becoming one body (see Genesis 2:22-24). Now in the new creation, Christ is made “one body” with His bride, the Church, as today’s Epistle indicates (see Ephesians 5:21-32).

By this union we are made God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved. And our families are to radiate the perfect love that binds us to Christ in the Church.
As we approach the altar on this feast, let us renew our commitment to our God-given duties as spouses, children and parents. Mindful of the promises of today’s First Reading, let us offer our quiet performance of these duties for the atonement of our sins


From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop
Truth has arisen from the earth, and justice looked down from heaven

Awake, mankind! For your sake God has become man. Awake, you who sleep, rise up from the dead, and Christ will enlighten you. I tell you again: for your sake, God became man.

You would have suffered eternal death, had he not been born in time. Never would you have been freed from sinful flesh, had he not taken on himself the likeness of sinful flesh. You would have suffered everlasting unhappiness, had it not been for this mercy. You would never have returned to life, had he not shared your death. You would have been lost if he had not hastened to your aid. You would have perished, had he not come.

Let us then joyfully celebrate the coming of our salvation and redemption. Let us celebrate the festive day on which he who is the great and eternal day came from the great and endless day of eternity into our own short day of time.

He has become our justice, our sanctification, our redemption, so that, as it is written: Let him who glories glory in the Lord.

Truth, then, has arisen from the earth: Christ who said, I am the Truth, was born of a virgin. And justice looked down from heaven: because believing in this new-born child, man is justified not by himself but by God.

Truth has arisen from the earth: because the Word was made flesh. And justice looked down from heaven: because every good gift and every perfect gift and every perfect gift is from above.

Truth has arisen from the earth: flesh from Mary. And justice looked down from heaven: for man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.

Justified by faith, let us be at peace with God: for justice and peace have embraced one another. Through out Lord Jesus Christ: for Truth has arisen from the earth. Through whom we have access to that grace in which we stand, and our boast is in our hope of God’s glory. He does not say: “of our glory,” but of God’s glory: for justice has not proceeded form us but has looked down from heaven. Therefore he who glories, let him glory, not in himself, but in the Lord.

For this reason, when our Lord was born of the Virgin, the message of the angelic voices was: Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth.

For how could there be peace on earth unless Truth has arisen from the earth, that is, unless Christ, were born of our flesh? And he is our peace who made the two into one: that we might be men of good will, sweetly linked by the bond of unity.

Let us then rejoice in this grace, so that our glorying may bear witness to our good conscience by which we glory, not in ourselves, but in the Lord. That is why Scripture says: He is my glory, the one who lifts up my head. For what greater grace could God have made to dawn on us than to make his only Son become the son of man, so that a son of man might in his turn become the son of God?

Ask if this were merited; ask for its reason, for its justification, and see whether you will find any other answer but sheer grace.

Nazareth, A Model

Posted: December 24, 2010 by CatholicJules in Memory Book

From an address by Pope Paul VI
(Nazareth, January 5, 1964)
Nazareth, a model

Nazareth is a kind of school where we may begin to discover what Christ’s life was like and even to understand his Gospel. Here we can observe and ponder the simple appeal of the way God’s Son came to be known, profound yet full of hidden meaning. And gradually we may even learn to imitate him.

Here we can learn to realize who Christ really is. And here we can sense and take account of the conditions and circumstances that surrounded and affected his life on earth: the places, the tenor of the times, the culture, the language, religious customs, in brief everything which Jesus used to make himself known to the world. Here everything speaks to us, everything has meaning. Here we can
learn the importance of spiritual discipline for all who wish to follow Christ and to live by the teachings of his Gospel.

How I would like to return to my childhood and attend the simple yet profound school that is Nazareth! How wonderful to be close to Mary, learning again the lesson of the true meaning of life, learning again God’s truths. But here we are only on pilgrimage. Time presses and I must set aside my desire to stay and carry on my education in the Gospel, for that education is never finished. But I cannot leave without recalling, briefly and in passing, some thoughts I take with me from Nazareth.

First, we learn from its silence. If only we could once again appreciate its great value. We need this wonderful state of mind, beset as we are by the cacophony of strident protests and conflicting claims so characteristic of these turbulent times. The silence of Nazareth should teach us how to meditate in peace and quiet, to reflect on the deeply spiritual, and to be open to the voice of God’s inner wisdom and the counsel of his true teachers. Nazareth can teach us the value of study and preparation, of meditation, of a well- ordered personal spiritual life, and of silent prayer that is known only to God.

Second, we learn about family life. May Nazareth serve as a model of what the family should be. May it show us the family’s holy and enduring character and exemplifying its basic function in society: a community of love and sharing, beautiful for the problems it poses and the rewards it brings; in sum, the perfect setting for rearing children – and for this there is no substitute.

Finally, in Nazareth, the home of a craftsman’s son, we learn about work and the discipline it entails. I would especially like to recognize its value – demanding yet redeeming – and to give it proper respect. I would remind everyone that work has its own dignity. On the other hand, it is not an end in itself. Its value and free character, however, derive not only from its place in the economic system, as they say, but rather from the purpose it serves.

In closing, may I express my deep regard for people everywhere who work for a living. To them I would point out their great model,
Christ their brother, our Lord and God, who is their prophet in every cause that promotes their well being.

Some Q & A(s)

Posted: December 23, 2010 by CatholicJules in Questions & Answers

Answers By Fr. Hugh Barbour, O.Praem

Q. In a previous answer, you said it’s permissible to confess sins already confessed and absolved, as long as it’s not done out of scrupulosity. I admit that it might be good to recall past sins in order to grow in gratitude for God’s forgiveness, but how is it appropriate to confess them again?

A. In 1304, Pope Benedict XI, in the constitution Inter Cunctas Sollicitudines taught: “Even though it is not necessary to do so, we judge it spiritually helpful to confess the same sins over again on account of the contrition, which is a great part of this sacrament.” The “matter” of the sacrament of penance is contrition for sin, the sin is only the necessary motive for the sorrow. Thus any confession which increases contrition, as well as our purpose of amendment, is helpful to the fruitful reception of the sacrament. As we grow in the love of God, reflecting on our past sins, even though they are forgiven, strengthens our resolve to avoid sin, it deepens our sorrow for our sins, and it can make our reception of the sacrament more effective in rooting out the remaining sources of sin in us.

 

Q. When I hear that the devil can tempt us, I am frightened. Is he able to get inside of us and make us sin? Can he force us to give in to his temptations?

A. The only way that the devil can tempt us is, in principle, the way in which other human beings can tempt us. He can approach us only from the “outside,” through our senses and sense imagination and memory. The devil cannot force our spiritual will or our immaterial intellect. He can only work on the aspects of our soul which are completely dependent on physical sensation. The difference with the devil is that, being by nature an angel (although a fallen one) he is able to “see” into our imagination and memory, even though we may not be expressing their contents by words or actions. This gives him a slight advantage, more ammunition, to use against us. However, he never is able to be sure we have really given in, because he can only guess whether we have given full consent or completely understand, or have reflected sufficiently that what we have done or want to do is sinful. This is because he cannot see our intellect or will. This can only be seen by God. This is why the earliest teachers on Christian prayer and spiritual discipline, the Fathers of the Desert, emphasize how important control of our imagination is in fighting the devil. By constant prayer, by short aspirations prayed inwardly or out loud as we go about our daily work, short prayers like “My Jesus, Mercy” or “Mary, Help,” by thinking about the life of Our Lord, Our Lady, and the Saints, by avoiding useless words and images on TV and radio, we can clean up our imagination, and give the devil less to work on. We will recognize temptations more easily, and reject them more successfully, if we have a purer inner life. The best example of this is Our Lord and Our Lady. When the devil tempted Christ, he was not sure He was the Son of God and Messiah. This means that Our Lord had so complete a control of His imagination that nothing entered there which he did not want to, so the devil was perplexed at a man with an imagination and memory so pure and holy, so he was forced to come out into the open and ask. (What a humiliation for him, and a lesson for us!) In World War II, there were posters with sinking ships over the caption “somebody talked.” If we can quiet our imagination by prayer and silence, we can avoid many an attack of the evil one. Lets remember the words of St. Peter: “Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings. The God of all grace who called you to His eternal glory through Christ will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little” (1 Peter 5:8-10).

 

Q. A nun recently told me its possible that we have more than one life on earth, through reincarnation. I showed her paragraph 1013 in the Catechism, which says there is no such thing as reincarnation. She shrugged and said that teaching is “non-infallible” and were free to hold other opinions. Is reincarnation compatible with the Catholic Faith?

A. The problem with reincarnation isnt’ that a soul could be reunited with a body after death. After all, Christians believe in exactly that: the resurrection of the dead, in which our souls will be reunited with our bodies.
The problem is that reincarnation entails the notion that the body is not an essential aspect of the human person, but only a shell, or an instrument of the spiritual soul. The Church solemnly defined at the Council of Vienna in 1312 that the human soul is not only a spirit, but is per se and essentially the form of a body. The council taught that the contrary view was heretical. The Catechism (CCC #365) quotes this definition of the fifteenth ecumenical council. Our Catholic Faith presents death as a tragic consequence of sin, not as a natural passage from one state to another. Christ’s death triumphs over the death brought about by sin by rising from the dead in His own identical body. So too our future resurrection will be the same body which we now are, materially reconstituted by the ministry of angels and reunited with the soul by the miraculous power of Christ. Resurrection in the same body means the re-uniting of body and soul (CCC #997), not the taking on of a new body not previously our own. Reincarnation has a tantalizing attraction for many since it satisfies their curiosity about themselves without coming to grips with the permanent, everlasting nature of our bodily individuality. Christianity believes so strongly that the body is an essential part of our makeup and happiness, that even God, to redeem us had to take on flesh, die, and rise again, and feed us with His own Body. The Fathers say “Christ did not redeem what He did not assume.” The Incarnation and Resurrection are the Catholic responses to the error of reincarnation. Archbishop Christoph Scho‘nborn of Vienna (the main architect of the Catechism) has written a book on reincarnation, available from Ignatius Press of San Francisco.

..

Posted: December 21, 2010 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Lord Jesus I decrease myself and ask that you increase within me Oh Lord.

From a letter to Diognetus….

Posted: December 20, 2010 by CatholicJules in Memory Book

God has revealed his love through the Son

No man has ever seen God or known him, but God has revealed himself to us through faith, by which alone it is possible to see him. God, the Lord and maker of all things, who created the world and set it in order, not only loved man but was also patient with him. So he has always been, and is, and will be: kind, good, free from anger, truthful; indeed, he and he alone is good.

He devised a plan, a great and wonderful plan, and shared it only with his Son. As long as he preserved this secrecy and kept his own wise counsel he seemed to be neglecting us, to have no concern for us. But when through his beloved Son he revealed and made public what he had prepared from the very beginning, he gave us all at once gifts such as we could never have dreamt of, even sight and knowledge of himself.

When God had made all his plans in consultation with his Son, he waited until a later time, allowing us to follow our own whim, to be swept along by unruly passions, to be led astray by pleasure and desire. Not that he was pleased by our sins: he only tolerated them. Not that he approved of that time of sin: he was planning this era of holiness. When we had been shown to be undeserving of life, his goodness was to make us worthy of it. When we had made it clear that we could not enter God’s kingdom by our own power, we were to be enabled to do so by the power of God.

When our wickedness had reached its culmination, it became clear that retribution was at hand in the shape of suffering and death. The time came then for God to make known his kindness and power (how immeasurable is God’s generosity and love!). He did not show hatred for us or reject us or take vengeance; instead, he was patient with us, bore with us, and in compassion took our sins upon himself; he gave his own Son as the price of our redemption, the holy one to redeem the wicked, the sinless one to redeem sinners, the just one to redeem the unjust, the incorruptible one to redeem the corruptible, the immortal one to redeem mortals. For what else could have covered our sins but his sinlessness? Where else could we—wicked and sinful as we were—have found the means of holiness except in the Son of God alone?

How wonderful a transformation, how mysterious a design, how inconceivable a blessing! The wickedness of the many is covered up in the holy One, and the holiness of One sanctifies many sinners.

December 19, 2010 – Fourth Sunday of Advent

Posted: December 19, 2010 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

SUNDAY BIBLE REFLECTIONS BY DR. SCOTT HAHN

God Is With Us

Readings:Isaiah 7:10-14
Psalm 24:1-6
Romans 1:1-7
Matthew 1:18-24

 

The mystery kept secret for long ages, promised through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, is today revealed (see Romans 16:25-26).

This is the “Gospel of God” that Paul celebrates in today’s Epistle – the good news that “God is with us” in Jesus Christ. The sign promised to the House of David in today’s First Reading is given in today’s Gospel. In the virgin found with child, God himself has brought to Israel a savior from David’s royal line (see Acts 13:22-23).

Son of David according to the flesh, Jesus is the Son of God, born of the Spirit. He will be anointed with the Spirit (see Acts 10:38), and by the power of Spirit will be raised from the dead and established at God’s right hand in the heavens (see Acts 2:33-34; Ephesians 1:20-21).

He is the “King of Glory” we sing of in today’s Psalm. The earth in its fullness has been given to Him. And as God swore long ago to David, His Kingdom will have no end (see Psalm 89:4-5).

In Jesus Christ we have a new creation. Like the creation of the world, it is a work of the Spirit, a blessing from the Lord (see Genesis 1:2). In Him, we are saved from our sins, are called now “the beloved of God.”

All nations now are called to belong to Jesus Christ, to enter into the House of David and Kingdom of God, the Church. Together, through the obedience of faith, we have been made a new race – a royal people that seeks for the face of the God of Jacob.

He has made our hearts clean, made us worthy to enter His holy place, to stand in His presence and serve Him.

In the Eucharist, the everlasting covenant is renewed, the Advent promise of virgin with child – God with us – continues until the end of the age (see Matthew 28:20; Ezekiel 37:24-28).

 

Return To Rome…

Posted: December 17, 2010 by CatholicJules in Great Catholic Articles

All Information Highways lead to Rome


By Diane Kamer


A cradle Catholic, I’d spent my early years in an Irish-American ghetto in inner-city Boston. Here, during the pious ’50s, I’d developed an awed fascination with Catholic culture. I loved its mysterious milieu: the statues, votive candles and stained glass…the Latin hymns, May processions and novenas…the dimly-lit churches filled with incense during High Mass and Benediction. I eagerly read Lives of the Saints, borrowed from the public library’s bookmobile. And like many little girls of that era, I dreamed of becoming a nun.

But after we moved to the suburbs when I was eight, the Catholic influence faded. My mom, who’d always inclined toward skepticism, gradually withdrew from parish involvement. By my teens, I too had become a skeptic. I stopped attending Mass and drifted into unreflecting agnosticism. Then, in my late teens, something happened. After a disastrous semester at an “experimental” college, I was living at home, listlessly looking for a job. On weekend nights, my hippie friends and I hung out at a “coffeehouse” sponsored by the local Congregational church. Soon several friends invited me to a Bible study at the home of a local lady who’d helped organize the coffeehouse. I had nothing better to do, so I tagged along. In the weeks that followed, as we plowed through the Synoptic Gospels, I found myself powerfully attracted to Jesus. I argued, balked, objected; but I kept coming back for more. Finally, our hostess took us for an overnight trip to a Christian coffeehouse in western Massachusetts. There, when the youth ministers asked if I was ready to receive Jesus, I surprised myself by saying yes. The next morning, on the trip back home, I felt elated, freed. I knew little about the faith I’d just embraced, but I did know I’d passed a turning point. Everything seemed fresh and new. A few months later, when I returned to college, I discovered that some of my classmates had also “accepted Jesus.” But after flirting with Pentecostalism, these friends had hankered for a richer, more liturgical tradition. Now they were attending a local “high church” Episcopal parish. Under their influence, I too journeyed from Fundamentalism to Anglicanism — and eventually back to Catholicism.

Near the outset of my return to the Catholic Church, I received the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” at a Full Gospel Businessmen’s Meeting. I began praying in tongues, and soon I was involved heavily in the local Catholic charismatic renewal. Unfortunately, my grasp of Catholic spirituality was weak. Although I was studying medieval history, I knew and cared little about prayer traditions that predated Vatican II. Caught up in the post-conciliar spirit, I neglected the Rosary and other age-old devotions in favor of more spontaneous worship. And, hungry for a deeper experience of God, I often focused on “feelings” — what the mystics call “consolations” — rather than on Jesus Himself. After college, back in big, impersonal Boston, I hung onto my faith for a while. But gradually, under the pressure of the sexual revolution, I abandoned both my beliefs and my chastity. I remember once sitting in the passenger seat as a colleague with whom I was carpooling raced helter-skelter down Route 128. “We’re going to crash,” I thought, “and I’m going to die in mortal sin.” The thought scared me — but not enough to drive me back to Confession.

Ironically, I reached a low point during my mid-20s, while I was studying Church history at Harvard Divinity School. I suppose I must have still believed something — otherwise, why study Church history? — but I certainly didn’t live my faith. I spent only a year at Harvard before deciding to rejoin the real world. But the Lord was accomplishing His will in me even then, for at Harvard, I met the man who would eventually become my husband. Steve was working toward his doctorate in Byzantine history at Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. We took a class together, then lost touch. A year after I’d left school, we ran into each other outside the subway kiosk in the center of Harvard Square. We exchanged phone numbers, then launched a stormy dating relationship. Some months later, we moved in together and set up house. In fall 1980, while I was working at a well-known Boston publishing house, I became pregnant. At the time, Steve was earning scanty wages as a non-resident tutor at Harvard’s Leverett House. I was making nearly as little at my publishing job. Depressed and anxious about my career, I opted for abortion. Steve accompanied me to the feminist-run clinic and held my hand as I writhed in pain during the agonizing suction procedure. Afterward, I felt no remorse, only relief. It would be years before I would face the consequences of my “choice.”

Still, the Lord refused to give up on me. Even as I persisted in terrible sin, He kept drawing me gently to Himself. A year or so later, I formally joined the Episcopal Church. Here, I thought, I’d find Catholic ritual and richness, without Catholicism’s “rigid” moral strictures. Translation: I could be an Episcopalian in good standing and still live with my boyfriend. In 1982, Steve and I were married in an Episcopalian ceremony at Harvard’s Memorial Church. The following summer, we headed down to rural northwest Louisiana, where Steve had taken a teaching job. Over the next six or seven years, we moved up and down the East Coast: first to north-central Vermont, then to southern Vermont, then back south to North Carolina. Early on, we’d agreed to remain “childless by choice,” and through the years, we consistently practiced birth control — a barrier method, the diaphragm, since I was afraid of the Pill. Off and on, we kept attending Episcopal churches. Sometimes, fed up with politically-correct Anglican theology, we’d wander into the local Catholic church. Yet we always felt like interlopers. Usually I would shuffle down the aisle at Communion time. But I’d make sure to receive the Sacred Host from the lay Eucharistic minister, not from the priest. Superstitiously, I feared that the priest could look into my soul and see my mortal sin — my past abortion and my present contraceptive practices. Despite my outward bravado, I felt inner shame. Even when I curtly told a Catholic friend that her objections to birth control were “hogwash,” deep down inside, I knew I was sinning. By the time we settled down near Winston-Salem, N.C., I knew I couldn’t return to Anglicanism. Steve and I both felt turned off by our Episcopal Church experiences. We were tired of watered-down, left-wing teaching. But where could we go from there?

Steve started exploring Evangelicalism — an easy thing to do here in the Carolina Piedmont, a Southern Baptist stronghold. But while I too felt the lure of Baptist theology — get saved once, and you’re set — I couldn’t be comfortable in a stark, bare church, with no liturgy or tradition. During an illness, Steve experienced a profound conversion to Jesus. He began avidly reading the Bible and listening to Evangelical radio. One day he was struck by Christ’s words, “Whoever receives a little child for My sake, receives Me.” Soon afterward, on New Year’s Day, he announced that we could try to conceive. I was overjoyed. At age 40, I felt none of my earlier aversion to motherhood. Now I yearned for a baby. I was suffering from undiagnosed Graves’ Disease — overactive thyroid — so it took me awhile to get pregnant. But finally, that November, I noticed unmistakable symptoms. Then a home pregnancy test turned out positive. Memories of my abortion flooded my mind and heart. Deeply penitent, I felt unworthy of this precious new gift the Lord had graciously given me. I started longing to go back to Confession. At the time, we were attending a tiny Catholic mission church not too far from our backwoods home. Largely run by its lay members, it was extremely “laid back.” No stained glass, no kneelers. No rigorous moral demands. Just plenty of feel-good fellowship.

During the Advent penance service, I made my first Confession in at least 15 years. Father listened sympathetically as I confessed the abortion. Then I hesitantly brought up the issue of artificial birth control. I knew Steve planned to return to contraception once I’d delivered the baby. How could I honestly confess something I fully intended to keep doing? Father let me off the hook. Natural Family Planning, he said, was the Church’s “ideal,” but we can’t always live up to ideals. Besides, my relationship with Steve was of prime importance. The Lord didn’t want us bickering over birth control. If we honestly couldn’t abstain during fertile times, so be it. Artificial contraception, he implied, was the lesser of two evils, preferable to marital discord. I left Confession convinced I could keep using the diaphragm. Even in retrospect, however, I can’t fully blame Father for this. He had told me what I wanted to hear, but it was my fault for wanting to hear it. Now I was “officially” back in the Catholic Church, but I still didn’t feel at home. My prayer life was a mess. I couldn’t connect with God. My faith seemed to make little or no difference in my life. Why couldn’t I live like a “new creature,” in the joy, peace and freedom of the Lord? This question haunted me. Yet it never occurred to me that the answer was my disobedience. Like so many others, I’d become a cafeteria Catholic. Deep inside, I knew better, but I just couldn’t bring myself to submit wholeheartedly to Church teaching. Unfortunately, Steve felt even more strongly than I that it was okay to pick and choose among Catholic beliefs. He pooh-poohed my suggestion that perhaps we should play by the rules — all the rules — rather than decide for ourselves which ones to obey.

Again, though, I have only myself to blame. Steve’s views suited my own inclinations, so I took the path of least resistance. Our son John Michael was born in July 1992, on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. As soon as my fertility returned, I went back to the diaphragm. But now I was a mother, and what a difference that made. When I rocked my baby in my arms and lost myself in his gaze, I gained a whole new perspective on birth control. Who was I to roadblock the miracle of life? How dare I thwart the Creator? Gradually, I began to believe contraception was wrong. Torn between Steve and God, I started taking secret chances. Sometimes I “forgot” to apply spermicide to the diaphragm. Occasionally, I just plain “forgot” the diaphragm. I figured at my age, the risk of conception was low. Yet 19 months later, I was pregnant again. Our son Paul Stephen was born in October 1994. Once more, I returned to the diaphragm, but this time with strong reluctance. I began to pray that Steve would agree to Natural Family Planning (NFP). Yet I had little hope of this. Every time I broached the subject, he flatly refused. And I do mean flatly!

It was in this context that I began to explore cyberspace. At the time, I was still nursing Paul off and on, although I’d returned to my copywriting job at a local advertising agency. In the evenings, I’d sit at the computer, cradling Paul in one arm as he placidly nursed. With the other hand, I’d bang out e-mail notes and bulletin board messages. Still a Net novice, I started with the easy stuff: America Online’s message boards. Right away, I delved into the Religion and Culture forum, where I discovered Christianity Online. But after a few forays into cyber-Evangelicalism, I gravitated toward the Catholic boards. Even at the time, I felt the Holy Spirit’s powerful pull toward the true Faith. From the start, the Catholic message boards shocked me, for they were crowded with postings from Catholics half my age. Here were these hip Gen-Xers eagerly discussing theology and arguing doctrinal fine points. But that wasn’t the most startling part. No. What really shook me was their orthodoxy. At our little mission church, with its ’60s-redux atmosphere, orthodoxy was considered passe. Yet these youngsters took it for granted. For them, Catholicism was cool. They weren’t talking about cafeteria Catholicism, however, with its tendency to throw out the baby with the post-conciliar bathwater. They meant the genuine article, complete with total loyalty to the Magisterium and absolute submission to Church authority.

Sick of their parents’ compromises, these kids were busy recovering the heritage they’d lost: the ancient devotions and prayers, the Eucharistic and Marian piety. Browsing among their messages, I could feel the Catholic atmosphere of my childhood and sense the awesome mystery of our Faith. Whatever these youngsters had, I wanted it. I craved a strong, sinewy alternative to theological mush. I longed to adore God totally and obey Him unreservedly. With a sense of exultant freedom, I realized I didn’t have to buy into the tepid liberal Catholicism favored by my Baby Boom peers. In fact, the liberal boomers were behind the curve. Orthodoxy was back in style. I began to post messages agreeing with the more orthodox postings. I found myself defending positions I didn’t even know I held — the necessity of both faith and works for salvation; the crucial role of Mary. Yet while I did so, I had a nagging sense that I was an impostor. After all, I myself was not an orthodox Catholic in good standing. What would my cyber-chums say, I wondered, if they knew I still practiced birth control? That’s when I ran smack into Blessed Faustina.

I was browsing through AOL’s Catholic message boards one evening, when one subject line caught my eye: “Divine Mercy.” Well, I certainly needed that. I’d always had a hard time believing God truly loved me. I clicked on the subject line, and the message bloomed open. As I scanned it, I began to breathe faster. Here, allegedly, were the actual words of Jesus, spoken in private revelation to a little Polish nun more than 60 years ago. “I am Love and Mercy itself,” He had reportedly told Blessed Faustina. “Let the weak, sinful soul have no fear to approach Me, for even if it had more sins than there are grains of sand in the world, all would be drowned in the unmeasurable depths of My mercy.” Could it be true? Could Jesus love me so ardently? I knew the Gospel spoke of Our Lord’s endless mercy, but somehow I didn’t believe it. The words were so familiar, they hardly registered. Besides, it seemed different people could interpret them different ways. The local Evangelicals, for instance, often promoted the Calvinist view that God washes His hands of hardened sinners. After all, He has predestined the reprobates to wrath, right?

On the conscious level, I rejected Calvinism, yet this fearful view of God still haunted me. What if it was correct? What if God wasn’t willing to lavish His grace on a persistent sinner like me? Now, suddenly, this fear evaporated. As I re-read the electronic message, I realized God is Love. He yearns to save every soul on earth, and He does everything in His power to draw each one to Himself. It is only we — with our free will — who frustrate Him. We choose hell. As Faustina noted, “God condemns no one.” What a liberating message! Awed, I zinged back an e-mail reply to the young man who’d posted the “Divine Mercy” excerpts: “Wow! Please tell me more!”

Soon the young man and I were corresponding. At his suggestion, I purchased Divine Mercy in My Soul, Blessed Faustina’s diary, recording Our Lord’s words to her. I read it cover to cover and still hungered for more. So I began praying a novena consisting of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. (Recited on ordinary Rosary beads, the Chaplet is comprised of two basic prayers: “Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world,” and “For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”) One of my novena intentions concerned birth control. As always, I figured my husband would never agree to NFP, yet I prayed for it anyway, just on the off chance he would. At the end of the novena, I once again asked Steve if we could switch to NFP. I fully expected another “No.” To my shock, he said “Yes.” Thrilled, I reported this unexpected response to my cyber-acquaintance. In passing, I mentioned that Steve and I had been practicing contraception, with my confessor’s apparent okay. In my own defense, I stressed that I’d merely been “obeying my husband.” It didn’t occur to me that I was not obliged to obey Steve when his demands contravened faith and morals.

My cyber-acquaintance responded promptly. He was glad Steve and I were no longer contracepting. But he picked up on my stunning ignorance of Church teaching. Sin was sin, he said. We must honestly acknowledge our sin in order to receive Divine Mercy. God can’t forgive a sin we insist isn’t even there. Whew! Just a few months before, such a response would have offended and angered me. But now it convicted me. I realized that — despite my novena prayers — I still regarded NFP as an “option,” rather than something that was required. This was wrong. To experience the freedom I longed for, I must renounce mortal sin entirely. So I did. I even cut the diaphragm into ribbons. That was the beginning of my long spiritual journey back into the bosom of the Church — back to the Eucharist and frequent Confession, to the Rosary and Marian devotion. In the process, my prayer life has blossomed, and my relationship with Jesus has deepened. I feel closer than ever before to His Merciful Sacred Heart. And I feel closer to my neighbor, too, since I can finally see every person through the prism of Christ’s boundless love. I have also discovered the power of redemptive suffering — the joy of offering up hurts and annoyances for the salvation of souls. And I have only scratched the surface. Conversion is a continual process, involving frequent setbacks, spiritual warfare, daily repentance and renewal. But I cannot imagine life any other way. And I can never return to the cafeteria Catholicism that trapped me just a few years ago, before I encountered God’s marvelous mercy in cyberspace.


Under the ancient law prophets and priests sought from God revelations and visions which indeed they needed, for faith had as yet no firm foundation and the gospel law had not yet been established. Their seeking and God’s responses were necessary. He spoke to them at one time through words and visions and revelations, at another in signs and symbols. But however he responded and what he said and revealed were mysteries of our holy faith, either partial glimpses of the whole or sure movements toward it.

But now that faith is rooted in Christ, and the law of the gospel has been proclaimed in this time of grace, there is no need to seek him in the former manner, nor for him so to respond. By giving us, as he did, his Son, his only Word, he has in that one Word said everything. There is no need for any further revelation.

This is the true meaning of Paul’s words to the Hebrews when he urged them to abandon their earlier ways of conversing with God, as laid down in the law of Moses, and to set their eyes on Christ alone: In the past God spoke to our fathers through the prophets in various ways and manners; but now in our times, the last days, he has spoken to us in his Son. In effect, Paul is saying that God has spoken so completely through his own Word that he chooses to add nothing. Although he had spoken but partially through the prophets he has now said everything in Christ. He has given us everything, his own Son.

Therefore, anyone who wished to question God or to seek some new vision or revelation from him would commit an offense, for instead of focusing his eyes entirely on Christ he would be desiring something other than Christ, or beyond him.

God could then answer: This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; hear him. In my Word I have already said everything. Fix your eyes on him alone for in him I have revealed all and in him you will find more than you could ever ask for or desire.

I, with my Holy Spirit, came down upon him on Mount Tabor and declared:This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; hear him. You do not need new teachings or ways of learning from me, for when I spoke before it was of Christ who was to come, and when they sought anything of me they were but seeking and hoping for the Christ in whom is every good, as the whole teaching of the evangelists and apostles clearly testifies.

Noel – The Priests

Posted: December 12, 2010 by julesplife in Life's Journeys

This is now the third album from the Priests and still a must buy! What can I say….I’m a holy fan!… 🙂

  • Audio CD (November 2, 2010)
  • Original Release Date: 2010
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: RCA VICTOR
  • ASIN: B0041HSODI
  • Playlists

    1. Ding Dong Merrily On High
    2. The First Nowell
    3. Sussex Carol
    4. Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth
    5. The Holly And The Ivy
    6. Away In A Manger
    7. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
    8. In The Bleak Midwinter
    9. In Dulci Jubilo
    10. Joy To The World
    11. Silent Night
    12. Come All Ye Faithful
    13. What Child Is This
    14. Hark The Herald Angels Sing
    15. Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth

    December 12, 2010 – Third Sunday of Advent

    Posted: December 11, 2010 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

    Sunday Bible Reflections by Dr. Scott Hahn

    Here is Your God

    Readings:
    Isaiah 35:1-6,10
    Psalm 146:6-10
    James 5:7-10
    Matthew 11:2-11

    John questions Jesus from prison in today’s Gospel – for his disciples’ sake and for ours.

    He knows that Jesus is doing “the works of the Messiah,” foretold in today’s First Reading and Psalm. But John wants his disciples – and us – to know that the Judge is at the gate, that in Jesus our God has come to save us.

    The Liturgy of Advent takes us out into the desert to see and hear the marvelous works and words of God – the lame leaping like a stag, the dead raised, the good news preached to the poor (see Isaiah 29:18-20; 61:1-2).

    The Liturgy does this to give us courage, to strengthen our feeble hands and make firm our weak knees. Our hearts can easily become frightened and weighed down by the hardships we face. We can lose patience in our sufferings as we await the coming of the Lord.

    As James advises in today’s Epistle, we should take as our example the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

    Jesus also points us to a prophet – holding up John as a model. John knew that life was more than food, the body more than clothing. He sought the kingdom of God first, confident that God would provide (see Matthew 6:25-34). John did not complain. He did not lose faith. Even in chains in his prison cell, he was still sending his disciples – and us – to our Savior.

    We come to Him again now in the Eucharist. Already He has caused the desert to bloom, the burning sands to become springs of living water. He has opened our ears to hear the words of the sacred book, freed our tongue to fill the air with songs of thanksgiving (see Isaiah 30:18).

    Once bowed down, captives to sin and death, we have been ransomed and returned to His Kingdom, crowned with everlasting joy. Raised up we now stand before His altar to meet the One who is to come: “Here is your God.”

    On A Recent Visit To St Bernadette Church..

    Posted: December 10, 2010 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

    12 Zion Road Singapore

    I attended a talk by Michelle Moran on the 7th Dec, however before I went in to the main hall I decided to pay a visit to the adoration room which was located on a 2nd floor.

    The adoration room was simply breathtakingly beautiful! I wonder if there are others like it in Singapore?  This interesting and informative plaque was placed outside the entrance :-

    The Upper Room

    Blessed and opened on the 6th November 2002

    During the time of Jesus, it was an important custom for a jewish family to show hospitality to any guest who showed up.  It was a practice that an upper room be always kept ready for guests at all time while the family resided in the lower room.  It was in one such upper room that Jesus and his disciples used for their “Passover meal”, or what we Christians call, the “Last Supper”.  It was in this “Last Supper” that the Eucharist and the Priesthood was instituted.  It was also here that Jesus washed the feet of this disciples when he commanded them to serve as he did.

    In this “Upper Room” Jesus appeared to the disciples for the first time after his Resurrection.  And after the Ascension the disciples together with Mary, the mother of Jesus, continued to see refuge and praying together in the “Upper Room” till the Pentecost event, the descent of the Holy Spirit, when Peter and the rest of the Apostles stood up bravely for the first time to preach the Lord Jesus Christ, an event which three thousand believed the Lord Jesus and were baptized. This marked the birth of the Church.

    The “Upper Room” having been the venue of so many significant events of the Church now symbolizes the integral part of our Church life, the Eucharist, the Priesthood, the coming of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of preaching the Word of God, conversion and praying together.

    The name “Upper Room” is chosen for this prayer room since it too is situated in the upper level with the presence of the Eucharist and the Word of God.  Our hope is that all who come here to pray imbibe the same spirit of the Apostles who spent much time witnessing the Lord, praying together asking for God’s guidance and strength to do his will.  And may this room be a source of strength and comfort for you in God’s presence. God Bless.

    Matthew 26:17-35
    Mark 14:12-25
    Luke 22:7-38

    (Apologetics) John Vs Mike – 7

    Posted: December 7, 2010 by CatholicJules in Apologetics

    From http://www.pro-gospel.org, by Mike Gendron 

    The Motivation for Purgatory

    Over the centuries billions of dollars have been paid to Roman Catholic priests to obtain relief from imaginary sufferings in Purgatory’s fire. The Catholic clergy has always taught that the period of suffering in Purgatory can be shortened by purchasing indulgences and novenas, buying Mass cards and providing gifts of money. When a Catholic dies, money is extracted from mourning loved ones to shorten the deceased’s punishment in Purgatory. When my dear old dad passed away as a devout Catholic of 79 years, I was amazed at the hundreds of Mass cards purchased for him by well-meaning friends. We have heard of other Catholics who have willed their entire estates to their religion so that perpetual masses could be offered for them after they die. It is no wonder that the Catholic religion has become the richest institution in the world. The buying and selling of God’s grace has been a very lucrative business for the Vatican.

    Another motivation for Rome to fabricate the heretical doctrine of Purgatory is its powerful effect on controlling people. Ultimately, the enslavement and subjugation of people is the goal of every false religion, and Purgatory does exactly that. The concept of a terrifying prison with a purging fire, governed by religious leaders, is a most brilliant invention. It holds people captive, not only in this life but also in the next life. Catholic clergy will not say how many years people have to suffer for their sins or how many Masses must be purchased before they can be released from the flames. This dreadful fear and uncertainty is the most ruthless form of religious bondage and deception!

    —————————————————————————————————–
    Mike Gendron:
    The Motivation for PurgatoryOver the centuries billions of dollars have been paid to Roman Catholic priests to obtain relief from imaginary sufferings in Purgatory’s fire. The Catholic clergy has always taught that the period of suffering in Purgatory can be shortened by purchasing indulgences and novenas, buying Mass cards and providing gifts of money. When a Catholic dies, money is extracted from mourning loved ones to shorten the deceased’s punishment in Purgatory. When my dear old dad passed away as a devout Catholic of 79 years, I was amazed at the hundreds of Mass cards purchased for him by well-meaning friends. We have heard of other Catholics who have willed their entire estates to their religion so that perpetual masses could be offered for them after they die. It is no wonder that the Catholic religion has become the richest institution in the world. The buying and selling of God’s grace has been a very lucrative business for the Vatican. 

    John Martignoni:

    Let’s take this sentence by sentence: “Over the centuries billions of dollars have been paid to Roman Catholic priests to obtain relief from imaginary sufferings in Purgatory’s fire.” Let’s re-phrase this sentence to make it more accurate: Over the centuries, potentially billions of dollars have been paid to Roman Catholic priests for Mass stipends as priests offered literally millions of Masses for the sanctification of the dead.  Just as Job offered sacrifice for the sanctification of his sons (Job 1:5) and Judas Maccabeus took up a collection and sent it to Jerusalem to provide a sin offering for the atonement of the dead (2 Macc 12:43-45), so we ask our priests to offer sacrifice for our dead.  Mr. Gendron is upset over a practice of the Catholic Church that is fully supported by Scripture.

    Has a lot of money, in total, come into the pockets of the priests over the centuries as a result of them saying Masses for the dead?  Absolutely.  But what is Mr. Gendron ignoring with his accusation?  Well, first, he is ignoring the fact that these “billions of dollars” went to literally millions and millions of priests.  In other words, no priest is getting rich, which is the underlying contention of Mr. Gendron’s statement, from Mass stipends.   Plus, money earned from stipends often goes not into the priest’s private bank account, it often goes to help pay for the cost to the parish of having a funeral – paying the cantor, the organist, paying for electricity, and so on.  But, compare what a priest makes from a Mass stipend (usual stipend that I’m aware of is $5 or so) to what Mr. Gendron charges for preaching salvation to people – it pales in comparison.  Also, when the stipends go to a religious order, they go straight to providing for the good works these orders are doing – providing food, shelter, clothing, medicine, education, and more for the poor, and quite often for the poorest of the poor.

    What else is Mr. Gendron ignoring?  The fact that if a priest does keep money from a Mass stipend for his personal use, it goes to support the priest’s physical well-being – to provide food, shelter, clothes, etc. for the priest.  Is that contrary to Scripture, Mr. Gendron?  Don’t think so.  Does not Scripture say, “For the laborer is worthy of his wage,” (Luke 10:7; 1 Tim 5:18) and, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain,” (1 Cor 9:9; 1 Tim 5:18) and, “If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits,” (1 Cor 9:11)?

    So, let me offer a parallel to Mr. Gendron’s statement: Over the past 5 centuries, tens of billions of dollars have been paid to Protestant ministers (and lay people such as Mike Gendron) to preach a false doctrine of salvation (sola fide), and to hold non-scriptural altar calls, and many Protestant ministers have gotten materially rich from preaching this false doctrine of salvation, and by giving millions upon millions of people a false sense of security in regard to their salvation.

    Next sentence from Mr. Gendron:  “The Catholic clergy has always taught that the period of suffering in Purgatory can be shortened by purchasing indulgences and novenas, buying Mass cards and providing gifts of money.”  This is a patently false and absurd statement.  There may have been a short time where some members of the clergy, contrary to Catholic teaching, “sold” indulgences, but it has never been a teaching of the Catholic Church that indulgences could be sold.  If it happened, it was an abuse of Catholic teaching.  One does not “buy” an indulgence.  Furthermore, I, personally, have never heard of “purchasing” a novena.  Regarding the buying of Mass cards – providing a stipend to a priest for saying a Mass on behalf of the dead – that was dealt with above.  As far as, “providing gifts of money,” to shorten the period of suffering in Purgatory, I ask Mr. Gendron to provide evidence that this has “always” been taught by the “Catholic clergy.”  Mr. Gendron, please give the papal encyclical, Council documents, or paragraph in the Catechism where this claim of yours can be found?  Have you noticed, folks, that in the other paragraphs he at least quoted Catholic sources – out of context, but at least he mentioned them – yet in these two paragraphs he doesn’t even try to quote a single Catholic source – even out of context!  He is taking a biblical principle – that those who provide spiritual services to people deserve to be compensated for those services – and basically saying it does not apply to the Catholic clergy, and he is, quite simply, just making a lot of this garbage up.

    Next sentence from Mr. Gendron: “When a Catholic dies, money is extracted from mourning loved ones to shorten the deceased’s punishment in Purgatory.” Notice his use of the word, “extracted,” as if it is an act of extortion or some such thing.  Again, Mr. Gendron shows his bias and bigotry towards the Catholic Church.  His comments can in no way be described as being fair and objective, which is what a self-professed Christian should strive for.  First of all, as far as I know, no priest comes to the family of the deceased and says, “For a Mass stipend of $xxx, I will say a Mass to get your loved one out of Purgatory early.”  I have never, ever, heard of such a thing.  The stipend for a Mass is offered voluntarily by the family, out of gratitude for the priest’s service to them and according to the scriptural principle mentioned above, “The laborer is worthy of his wage.”  It is never “extracted” from the “mourning loved ones.”

    Next Gendron sentence: “When my dear old dad passed away as a devout Catholic of 79 years, I was amazed at the hundreds of Mass cards purchased for him by well-meaning friends. Mr. Gendron, when your “dear old dad” died (may God rest his soul), did the priest come to you and tell you that he would not say a funeral Mass for your dad until you paid a certain amount of money?  Please let the world know how much money the priest “extracted” from you before he would say a funeral Mass for your dad.  Surely this happened to you since you say it is the common practice of the Catholic clergy.  You must have experienced it personally, right?  Well, let us know how much money they “extracted” from you before they said your dad’s funeral Mass.

    More from Gendron: “We have heard of other Catholics who have willed their entire estates to their religion so that perpetual masses could be offered for them after they die. As if giving all of your money to the Church is a horrible thing?  I guess it’s okay if Protestants do it, but not if Catholics do it.  And, I wonder if Mr. Gendron would turn down the money if someone willed their entire estate to him?  I seriously doubt it.

    More from Gendron: “It is no wonder that the Catholic religion has become the richest institution in the world. The buying and selling of God’s grace has been a very lucrative business for the Vatican.”  Here, again, we run into the myth of the wealth of the Vatican.  The Vatican is getting rich from all of these Mass stipends.  Really?!  I don’t know of a single penny that goes to the Vatican from the average Mass stipend.  Mr. Gendron, could you please trace the path of the money for us?  Can you give us your sources for this statement?  No, you can’t, can you?  Sorry, but that money pretty much stays at the local parish or in the particular religious congregation.  For more on the myth of the “wealth” of the Vatican, I would ask the reader to check out Issue #49 on the “Newsletter” page of our website (www.biblechristiansociety.com), where that particular topic is covered in more detail.

    Mike Gendron:

    Another motivation for Rome to fabricate the heretical doctrine of Purgatory is its powerful effect on controlling people. Ultimately, the enslavement and subjugation of people is the goal of every false religion, and Purgatory does exactly that. The concept of a terrifying prison with a purging fire, governed by religious leaders, is a most brilliant invention. It holds people captive, not only in this life but also in the next life. Catholic clergy will not say how many years people have to suffer for their sins or how many Masses must be purchased before they can be released from the flames. This dreadful fear and uncertainty is the most ruthless form of religious bondage and deception!

    John Martignoni:

    This paragraph is about as ridiculous as something can get.  One billion plus Catholics being “controlled” by the doctrine of Purgatory.  I ask Mr. Gendron, as I did before, if he felt “controlled” by the doctrine of Purgatory when he was Catholic?  Was it Purgatory and Purgatory alone that kept him Catholic…that caused him to be “enslaved” by the Catholic Church? Gendron makes it seem that Purgatory is the one thing that keeps Catholics Catholic, and it does so by fomenting fear among Catholics.  Yet, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, with some 2865 paragraphs, the doctrine of Purgatory is contained in all of three (3) of those paragraphs.  I find it odd that the one doctrine which the Church uses to enslave its people gets such short shrift in the Catechism, don’t you?  I also find it odd that there is a complete lack of personal testimony from Mr. Gendron about how he felt “enslaved” by Purgatory and about how much money was extorted from him by the Catholic clergy in return for them saying a funeral Mass for his dad.  Come on, Mike, tell us your personal experiences in these regards.

    Finally, the statement: Catholic clergy will not say how many years people have to suffer for their sins or how many Masses must be purchased before they can be released from the flames. This dreadful fear and uncertainty is the most ruthless form of religious bondage and deception! My older brother died about 15 years ago.  My father died 8 years ago.  I do not have a “dreadful fear and uncertainty” regarding their ultimate fate that causes me to keep pouring money into the coffers of the Vatican, as Mr. Gendron claims.  I don’t know of any Catholics that do in regard to their deceased loved ones.  Oh, there is concern for the fate of the loved ones, especially when the loved ones did not appear to be living a very holy life, but “dreadful fear” that results in a ruthless “religious bondage?!”  Absolutely not.  The Church, on the contrary, teaches us that God is in control, and teaches us to turn any concern over the fate of our loved ones over to the mercy of God.  Besides, Mr. Gendron seems to be ignorant of the fact that the “Catholic clergy” cannot tell anyone the number of “years” someone has to suffer for their sins in Purgatory, because there is no time in Purgatory.  Purgatory is outside of time.  There are no “years” in Purgatory.  Furthermore, does Mr. Gendron not believe that it is God and God alone who can judge when someone is deserving of Heaven?  Why does he “blame” the Catholic clergy for not being able to judge what God alone can judge?

     

    Debate Between Robert Spencer And Peter Kreeft

    Posted: December 6, 2010 by CatholicJules in Videos/Audio

    This is a great debate and a must watch, however you’ll need to sit down totally focussed for over an hour.

    Good Muslim / Bad Muslim

     


    What are the Advent Stations?

    The Advent Stations take us on a tour of the Old Testament.  Like the traditional Lenten Stations of the Cross, these Advent “stations” or “stopping points” provide a way to ponder the mystery of how God prepared the world to receive his Son at the moment of Annunciation.  Each station contains an Old Testament foreshadowing of the incarnation, a meditation, the New Testament fulfillment in Christ, and then a prayer.  They can be prayed alone, or with you family, or even in the church with a group of the faithful.

    Join me as we prepare ourselves for the coming of our Lord, Jesus.

    The 7 Adventstations (Click Here)

    December 5th, 2010 – Second Sunday in Advent

    Posted: December 4, 2010 by julesplife in Sunday Reflections

    Sunday Bible Reflections by Dr. Scott Hahn

    Kingdom Come

    Readings:
    Isaiah 11:1-10
    Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
    Romans 15:4-9
    Matthew 3:1-12

    “The kingdom of heaven is at hand,” John proclaims. And the Liturgy today paints us a vivid portrait of our new king and the shape of the kingdom He has come to bring.

    The Lord whom John prepares the way for in today’s Gospel is the righteous king prophesied in today’s First Reading and Psalm. He is the king’s son, the son of David – a shoot from the root of Jesse, David’s father (see Ruth 4:17).

    He will be the Messiah, anointed with the Holy Spirit (see 2 Samuel 23:1; 1 Kings 1:39; Psalm 2:2), endowed with the seven gifts of the Spirit – wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.

    He will rule with justice, saving the poor from the ruthless and wicked. His rule will be not only over Israel – but will extend from sea to sea, to the ends of the earth. He will be a light, a signal to all nations. And they will seek Him and pay Him homage.

    In Him, all the tribes of the earth will find blessing. The covenant promise to Abraham (see Genesis 12:3), renewed in God’s oath to David (see Psalm 89:4,28), will be fulfilled in His dynasty. And His name will be blessed forever.

    In Christ, God confirms His oath to Israel’s patriarchs, Paul tells us in today’s Epistle. But no longer are God’s promises reserved solely for the children of Abraham. The Gentiles, too, will glorify God for His mercy. Once strangers, in Christ they will be included in “the covenants of promise” (see Ephesians 2:12).

    John delivers this same message in the Gospel. Once God’s chosen people were hewn from the rock of Abraham (see Isaiah 51:1-2). Now, God will raise up living stones (see 1 Peter 2:5) – children of Abraham born not of flesh and blood but of the Spirit.

    This is the meaning of the fiery baptism He brings – making us royal heirs of the kingdom of heaven, the Church.

    Witness To The Grace/s Of God

    Posted: December 4, 2010 by julesplife in Life's Journeys, Memory Book

    Just wanted to list some if not as many….of the times I encountered/witness His great love for us on a personal level. I sincerely doubt if I’ll ever forget them, but then again I am only human with a body and mind that was not built to last my whole human lifetime.

    I’ve listed a few already in some of my entries in the past…..here are the newer ones

    • Prayer for Cynthia’s mother
    • Prayer for Mae Ann’s Dad
    • Prayer for a couple I’ve never met who lost a young daughter to HMFD.
    • Call for a young man to our faith and another to comeback ‘Home’.
    • Reaching out to two daughters who strayed/stayed away from the faith.
    • Peace at Home from a very trying disagreement.
    • Intervention of a wayward act i.e. the overboard public display of affections by a young teenage couple on the train. 
    • Help with my missing crucifix link.
    • Help with a plumbing incident.
    • Personal healing
    • Seth’s healing from a stomach flu attack.
    • Help with understanding Scripture.

    Will share in detail with anyone who asks…..

    Thought Of The Day..

    Posted: December 2, 2010 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

    “It is only when we die unto ourselves that we can rise with Jesus, our Saviour.”

     

    On The Twofold Coming Of Christ

    Posted: December 1, 2010 by CatholicJules in Memory Book

    From a catechetical instruction by Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, bishop

    We do not preach only one coming of Christ, but a second as well, much more glorious than the first. The first coming was marked by patience; the second will bring the crown of a divine kingdom.

    In general, whatever relates to our Lord Jesus Christ has two aspects. There is a birth from God before the ages, and a birth from a virgin at the fullness of time. There is a hidden coming, like that of rain on fleece, and a coming before all eyes, still in the future. At the first coming he was wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. At his second coming he will be clothed in light as in a garment. In the first coming he endured the cross, despising the shame; in the second coming he will be in glory, escorted by an army of angels. We look then beyond the first coming and await the second. At the first coming we said: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. At the second we shall say it again; we shall go out with the angels to meet the Lord and cry out in adoration: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

    The Savior will not come to be judged again, but to judge those by whom he was judged. At his own judgment he was silent; then he will address those who committed the outrages against him when they crucified him and will remind them: You did these things, and I was silent.

    His first coming was to fulfill his plan of love, to teach men by gentle persuasion. This time, whether men like it or not, they will be subjects of his kingdom by necessity. The prophet Malachi speaks of the two comings. And the Lord whom you seek will come suddenly to his temple:that is one coming.

    Again he says of another coming: Look, the Lord almighty will come, and who will endure the day of his entry, or who will stand in his sight? Because he comes like a refiner’s fire, a fuller’s herb, and he will sit refining and cleansing.

    These two comings are also referred to by Paul in writing to Titus: The grace of God the Savior has appeared to all men, instructing us to put aside impiety and worldly desires and live temperately, uprightly, and religiously in this present age, waiting for the joyful hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Notice how he speaks of a first coming for which he gives thanks, and a second, the one we still await.

    That is why the faith we profess has been handed on to you in these words: He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

    Our Lord Jesus Christ will therefore come from heaven. He will come at the end of the world, in glory, at the last day. For there will be an end to this world, and the created world will be made new.