Archive for February, 2011

Emmanuel Praise/Worship Session With Talk

Posted: February 27, 2011 by CatholicJules in Upcoming Events

Emmanuel

Date : 02 Mar 2011

Time : 8:00 pm

Topic : “Fasting & Almsgiving.” By Joseph Fernandez Of Gloria Patri Ministry.

Join us for the session followed by a potluck session at the end

Venue

Church of St Anthony
25 Woodlands Avenue 1
Singapore 739064
Thomas Aquinas Room

For Directions Click Here

February 27, 2011 – 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: February 26, 2011 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

Do Not Be Anxious

Readings:
Isaiah 49:14–15
Psalm 62:2–3, 6–9
1 Corinthians 4:1–5
Matthew 6:24–24

We are by nature prone to be anxious and troubled about many things.
In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus confronts us with our most common fears. We are anxious mostly about how we will meet our material needs—for food and drink; for clothing; for security for tomorrow.
Yet in seeking security and comfort, we may unwittingly be handing ourselves over to servitude to “mammon,” Jesus warns. “Mammon” is an Aramaic word that refers to money or possessions.
Jesus is not condemning wealth. Nor is he saying that we shouldn’t work to earn our daily bread or to make provisions for our future.

It is a question of priorities and goals. What are we living for? Where is God in our lives?
Jesus insists that we need only to have faith in God and to trust in his Providence.
The readings this Sunday pose a challenge to us. Do we really believe that God cares for us, that he alone can provide for all our needs?

Do we believe that he loves us more than a mother loves the infant at her breast, as God himself promises in this week’s beautiful First Reading? Do we really trust that he is our rock and salvation, as we sing in the Psalm?
Jesus calls us to an intense realism about our lives. For all our worrying, none of us change the span of our days. None of us has anything that we have not received as a gift from God (see 1 Cor. 4:7).
St. Paul reminds us in the Epistle that when the Lord comes he will disclose the purposes of every heart.
We cannot serve both God and mammon. We must choose one or the other. Our faith cannot be partial. We must put our confidence in him and not be shaken by anxiety.

Let us resolve today to seek his Kingdom and his holiness before all else—confident that we are beloved sons and daughters, and that our Father in heaven will never forsake us.

The unfathomable depths of God

Posted: February 26, 2011 by CatholicJules in Memory Book

From an instruction by Saint Columban, abbot

God is everywhere in his immensity, and everywhere close at hand. As he says of himself: I am a God close at hand, not a God far off. The God we seek is not one who dwells at a distance from us, for we have him present with us, if only we are worthy. He dwells in us as the soul in the body, if only we are sound members of his, if we are dead to sin. Then in very truth he dwells in us, the one who said: I will dwell in them and walk among them. If we are worthy of his presence with us, then in truth we are made alive by him as his living members. As the Apostle says: In him we live and move and have our being.

Who, I ask, will search out the Most High in his own being, for he is beyond words or understanding? Who will penetrate the secrets of God? Who will boast that he knows the infinite God, who fills all things, yet encompasses all things, who pervades all things, yet reaches beyond all things, who holds all things in his hand, yet escapes the grasp of all things? No one has ever seen him as he is. No one must then presume to search for the unsearchable things of God: his nature, the manner of his existence, his selfhood. These are beyond telling, beyond scrutiny, beyond investigation. With simplicity, but also with fortitude, only believe that this is how God is and this is how he will be, for God is incapable of change.

Who then is God? He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God. Do not look for any further answers concerning God. Those who want to understand the unfathomable depths of God must first consider the world of nature. Knowledge of the Trinity is rightly compared with the depth of the sea. Wisdom asks: Who will find out what is so very deep? As the depths of the sea are invisible to human sight, so the Godhead of the Trinity is found to be beyond the grasp of human understanding. If any one, I say, wants to know what he should believe he must not imagine that he understands better through speech than through belief; the knowledge of God that he seeks will be all the further off than it was before.

Seek then the highest wisdom, not by arguments in words but by the perfection of your life, not by speech but by the faith that comes from simplicity of heart, not from the learned speculations of the unrighteous. If you search by means of discussions for the God who cannot be defined in words, He will depart further from you than he was before. If you search for him by faith, wisdom will stand where wisdom lives, at the gates.Where wisdom is, wisdom will be seen, at least in part. But wisdom is also to some extent truly attained when the invisible God is the object of faith, in a way beyond our understanding, for we must believe in God, invisible as he is, though he is partially seen by a heart that is pure.

 

Meditation – The Foundation of Mental Prayer

Posted: February 24, 2011 by CatholicJules in Great Catholic Articles

Fr Andrew Apostoli, C.F.R.

If your spiritual life is to develop properly, you must learn how to meditate — the foundation of mental prayer. A great deal can be said about meditation, but we’ll have to limit ourselves to some basic points. I’d like to approach it by sharing something of my own experience.

When I first entered the seminary, I was already used to saying formal prayers, such as my morning and night prayers and some devotional prayers out of a little prayer booklet. But somehow, the idea of meditation seemed complicated. There was talk of different methods and steps in the meditation process. Even the meditation book from which a reflection was read daily to the community in the chapel listed “meditation points” to consider. I felt a bit apprehensive!

Nevertheless, after going to a few organized meditation periods, I realized that this basic form of mental prayer came quite naturally. There was nothing to be afraid of! I began by simply thinking about Jesus in the Gospels, about His words and actions, or about some important part of my Catholic faith, such as the Mass or God’s mercy. Then I found I wanted to talk to the Lord about what I was reflecting on.

In this way I came to realize that my thinking or reflecting (that’s the actual meditation) was leading me to new awareness and insights about Jesus and the truths of my Catholic faith. These insights, in turn, were stirring up various feelings within me (such feelings are called sentiments or affections). The more I meditated and came to new insights, the more I was led to speak with the Lord in my own words, having a loving conversation heart-to-Heart (mine with His). And that, quite simply, was mental prayer.

The Rosary and Stations of the Cross
In fact, I came to realize that I’d actually known for a long time what it is to meditate. For example, I’d done it for years whenever I prayed the Rosary. When reciting each of the fifteen decades, we meditate on one of the joyful, sorrowful, or glorious mysteries or significant events in the life of Jesus and His Blessed Mother.

As I constantly meditated on these mysteries, they became more meaningful for me. I began to see Jesus’ and Mary’s love in each mystery, and gradually realized they have that same love for me, too. By meditating, I was growing to know and love them more personally.

A similar thing was happening when I made the Stations of the Cross. Meditating on fourteen scenes from the passion and death of Our Lord, I experienced feelings (those sentiments or affections) of deeper gratitude to Jesus for all He suffered for me. There were feelings of deeper sorrow for my sins as well, since they caused Jesus to suffer so much. This, in turn, moved me to be more resolved, with the help of His grace, not to commit these sins again in the future.

Judging, then, from my own experience, I would say that many of us Catholics first learn to meditate by simply reciting the Rosary or making the Stations. As we seek to deepen this part of our mental prayer life, a few practical points about meditation and mental prayer may be helpful.

Formal Prayer vs. Mental Prayer
First, mental prayer (also called the prayer of the mind) usually develops naturally from formal prayer (or the prayer of the lips), as my own experience shows. A comparison between these two types of prayer can be useful. Recall St. John Damascene’s famous definition of prayer as “the raising of the mind and the heart to God.” In formal prayer, when we focus on the words of the prayer with our minds, the heart is then moved to love God with the sentiments contained in those words.

For example, if we recite an “Act of Faith,” the words prayed would logically stir up feelings or sentiments of faith in our hearts as we say something such as this: “God, You are all-knowing, and You reveal to us what we need to know and do to get to heaven. I believe in all that You have revealed to us! Please grant me a strong faith so that I will always believe what You teach us through Your Church.”

In mental prayer, however, the focus is not restricted by the words of a prayer formula. Rather, the focus of meditation is usually on a story, such as an event from the life of Jesus; or a teaching He gave, such as a parable; or something from the life of a saint, such as St. Thérèse; or something contained in a good spiritual book. My mind isn’t limited to the words, but moves through various details of the story or ideas contained in the teaching.

The mind, by reflecting on these details, can produce a far wider range of insights, which then stir more sentiments in the heart. The mind is freer to roam through this spiritual landscape. Thus the difference between formal prayer and the meditation of mental prayer is like the difference between reciting a poem, where each specific word is already given, and telling a story freely in your own words.

The Benefits of Meditation
Meditation as form of mental prayer has many benefits. One is a greater understanding and clarity regarding the teachings of our Catholic faith. By meditating, we go deeper into these realities and discover many valuable new insights that weren’t obvious at first sight.

St. John of the Cross used the image of mining for precious metals to describe this spiritual activity. If “there’s gold in them thar hills,” then the more you mine, the more you’ll find! The treasures of the Sacred Scriptures and other truths of our faith aren’t always obvious on the surface, but they’re limitless for those who bother to search for them.

Another benefit, as we’ve seen, is that our reflections stir up the vital sentiments of the heart so needed for loving and serving the Lord faithfully. These sentiments are really the most important fruit of mental prayer. They lead us to talk to God!

In fact, without these sentiments, we’d end up with a purely intellectual exercise, a mere reasoning process. Prayer requires talking with God, and that requires the sentiments.

In this regard, we should mention that beginners practicing mental prayer typically do much more reasoning or reflecting in the mind than speaking from the heart. But as time goes on, less reflection is needed to produce more sentiments. It’s like the growth of a human friendship.

When friends first meet, they need to ask lots of questions and share lots of facts about themselves to get to know each other better. After the friendship has grown, however, there are fewer questions but a deeper knowledge and more intense love for each other. In fact, when the reasoning in prayer becomes significantly less and the sentiments in the heart begin to predominate, it’s usually a sign that we’ve come to the third state or kind or prayer, called affective prayer (or the prayer of the heart).

Finally, the meditation of mental prayer helps us form the resolutions we need to grow in the love of God and our neighbor by a more conscious and consistent practice of the Christian virtues. Our meditations, in the light of the Holy Spirit and with the assistance of His grace, give us insights into how to apply the values of the Gospel, Church teachings, and the wisdom of the saints to our own daily lives. For all these reasons, the meditation that provides a foundation for mental prayer is a must for growth in Christian holiness!

Fr. Andrew Apostoli, C.F.R., is a priest of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, St. Felix Friary, 15 Trinity Plaza, Yonkers, NY 10701; 914-476-7279

Emmanuel Praise/Worship Session With Talk

Posted: February 20, 2011 by CatholicJules in Upcoming Events

Emmanuel

Date : 23rd Feb 2011

Time : 8:00 pm

Topic : “Setting The Right Frequency- God is communicating with you.” By Christian Chua from Church Of Christ The King Charismatic Group.  Christian is noted speaker in the Commercial Sector, he has used his oratorical gift to serve God and has much to share.

Join us for the session followed by a potluck session at the end

Venue

Church of St Anthony
25 Woodlands Avenue 1
Singapore 739064
Thomas Aquinas Room

For Directions Click Here

February 20, 2011 – Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: February 18, 2011 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

SUNDAY BIBLE REFLECTIONS BY DR. SCOTT HAHN

February 20, 2011 – Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Holy as God

Readings:
Leviticus 19:1–2, 17–18
Psalm 103:1–4, 8, 10, 12–13
1 Corinthians 3:16–23
Matthew 5:38–48

We are called to the holiness of God. That is the extraordinary claim made in both the First Reading and Gospel this Sunday.

Yet how is possible that we can be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect?

Jesus explains that we must be imitators of God as his beloved children (Eph. 5:1–2).

As God does, we must love without limit—with a love that does not distinguish between friend and foe, overcoming evil with good (see Rom. 12:21).

Jesus himself, in his Passion and death, gave us the perfect example of the love that we are called to.

He offered no resistance to the evil—even though he could have commanded twelve legions of angels to fight alongside him. He offered his face to be struck and spit upon. He allowed his garments to be stripped from him. He marched as his enemies compelled him to the Place of the Skull. On the cross he prayed for those who persecuted him (see Matt. 26:53–54, 67; 27:28, 32; Luke 23:34).

In all this he showed himself to be the perfect Son of God. By his grace, and through our imitation of him, he promises that we too can become children of our heavenly Father.

God does not deal with us as we deserve, as we sing in this week’s Psalm. He loves us with a Father’s love. He saves us from ruin. He forgives our transgressions.

He loved us even when we had made ourselves his enemies through our sinfulness. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (see Rom. 5:8).

We have been bought with the price of the blood of God’s only Son (see 1 Cor. 6:20). We belong to Christ now, as St. Paul says in this week’s Epistle. By our baptism, we have been made temples of his Holy Spirit.

And we have been saved to share in his holiness and perfection. So let us glorify him by our lives lived in his service, loving as he loves.

 

A Catholic on National Talk Radio

Posted: February 16, 2011 by CatholicJules in Great Catholic Articles

A Catholic on National Talk Radio | Daily News | NCRegister.com.

A scan on the radio dial at just about any time of the day will surface a handful of radio talk shows with hosts clamoring to be the voice of reason and to have the answers to solving problems of all types.

One host, however, is very confident that he truly does have something to offer as he unabashedly gives his Catholic take on today’s headline issues. His name is Allen Hunt, and his show, the Allen Hunt Show can be heard each weeknight on 150 stations across the nation.

His viewpoint wasn’t always Catholic, however. He recently sat down to talk about his conversion to the Catholic faith and how it has shaped his radio platform.
Tell me about your journey from Methodist pastor for 20 years to entering the Catholic Church.

I grew up in a culture of Methodist pastors. My uncle, grandfather and great-grandfather were all Methodist pastors. I didn’t know much about the Catholic Church when I was growing up. After I finished seminary at Emory University in Atlanta, I went on to do some graduate-level work at Yale University on early Christian history and the New Testament.

My first exposure to the Catholic Church came while I was there in New England. Much of it came from my friendship with a Dominican friar who was also in the graduate program. That was in the 1990s, and many seeds were planted then. In the next decade or so, God used a number of experiences to bring me home to the Church. I became Catholic on Jan. 6, 2008, on the feast of the Epiphany.
What finally brought you home?

There were three big things that led to me entering the Church. First was a growing sense of Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist. Secondly is what I call doctrine by democracy. In general, in the Protestant church, everything is up to a vote every few years. For instance, in the Methodist church, every four years we would get together to vote whether or not homosexual behavior is acceptable or not and whether it was time to ordain openly gay pastors.

The third area of reflection was Jesus’ prayer in John 17. There, Jesus pleads for unity in the body of Christ. The Protestant church has split into 33,000 different strands. What message does that fractioning send to the world? As well, how much this division must grieve God’s heart.

I am only one person, but am trying to repair some of that damage by coming home to the mother Church.
At the time of your decision to pursue the Catholic Church you were leading a megachurch in Atlanta. How did your congregation react to your decision?

I had stepped down from my role as senior pastor July 1, 2007, to go into full-time radio ministry. Once I had left the role of pastor, it gave me the freedom to explore and discover the faith.

By and large, most people were supportive of my decision. As is typical of many megachurches, a lot of the members are ex-Catholics. I got a lot of e-mails and phone calls from people who were asking, “What do you see that I don’t see?” There were only a handful of people who were hostile towards me. But after years of being a pastor, I was used to people being hostile towards me.

Tell me about the Allen Hunt Show.

We started the show in 2006 with just a few hours on Sunday afternoon. We didn’t plan on being on Christian or Catholic radio. The show began as a way to engage the mainstream on all the issues of life through the lens of faith.

We want to come at things with a moral compass and engage people of all walks of life. I am unapologetic and non-defensive on who I am, what I stand for and where I’m coming from. It is mainstream radio done for you by a very Catholic guy.
Is there an evangelization element to your program?

I share my Catholic faith, but I don’t promote it — and I think that is at the heart of the show. I am who I am, and I am comfortable with who I am. I want to engage people who agree or disagree with me in a grace-filled way, as opposed to bomb throwing, which seems to be the standard these days. 

I think a lot of people find it very heartening that there is someone like them on mainstream radio. Then there is another group of people who find this fact strange to them. And then there is a small, vocal group who can’t stand my faith, but they keep listening. As long as they are listening, I’m content with that. Let’s talk and have a civil conversation.
What’s the future for you and the program?

We need to continue to do what God wants us to do. I think what that means is to continue to engage the culture with a reasonable voice of faith. Our long-term goal is to be on over 300 stations each week, Monday through Friday.
What is your take on the debate on whether or not conservative talk radio was to blame for the Tuscon shooting, the assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords?
Neither talk radio nor inflamed political rhetoric caused a mentally deranged young man to indiscriminately shoot people in Tucson any more than they caused the Virginia Tech massacre or even the silly Dunkin Donuts drive-through tirade last month regarding the lack of sprinkled donuts.
As you talk to America, day in and day out, what are two or three issues or themes that come up again and again? What is the temperament or the mood of the nation, so to speak?

In general, there is a self-confidence crisis in America. We have forgotten who we are. People are concerned and feel like we have lost something, even though they cannot always pinpoint what that is. Part of this is a natural response to a very long recession that has drained a lot of people’s passion and optimism. They worry we may never emerge from it. Part of this is a response to the lack of moral compass that we now routinely experience in our public life together, in our entertainment and even in our public schools.

Register correspondent Eddie O’Neill writes from Green Bay, Wisconsin.

February 13, 2011 – 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: February 12, 2011 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

Affair of the Heart

Readings:
Sirach 15:15–20
Psalm 119:1–2, 4–5, 17–18, 33–34
1 Corinthians 2:6–10
Matthew 5:17–37

Jesus tells us in the Gospel this week that he has come not to abolish but to “fulfill” the Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets.

His Gospel reveals the deeper meaning and purpose of the Ten Commandments and the moral Law of the Old Testament. But his Gospel also transcends the Law. He demands a morality far greater than that accomplished by the most pious of Jews, the scribes and Pharisees.

Outward observance of the Law is not enough. It is not enough that we do not murder, commit adultery, divorce, or lie.

The law of the new covenant is a law that God writes on the heart (see Jer. 31:31–34). The heart is the seat of our motivations, the place from which our words and actions proceed (see Matt. 6:21; 15:18–20).

Jesus this week calls us to train our hearts, to master our passions and emotions. And Jesus demands the full obedience of our hearts (see Rom. 6:17). He calls us to love God with all our hearts, and to do his will from the heart (see Matt. 22:37; Eph. 6:6)

God never asks more of us than we are capable. That is the message of this week’s First Reading. It is up to us to choose life over death, to choose the waters of eternal life over the fires of ungodliness and sin.

By his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus has shown us that it is possible to keep his commandments. In baptism, he has given us his Spirit that his Law might be fulfilled in us (Rom. 8:4).

The wisdom of the Gospel surpasses all the wisdom of this age that is passing away, St. Paul tells us in the Epistle. The revelation of this wisdom fulfills God’s plan from before all ages.

Let us trust in this wisdom, and live by his Kingdom law.

As we do in this week’s Psalm, let us pray that we grow in being better able to live his Gospel, and to seek the Father with all our heart.

FTFF

Posted: February 10, 2011 by CatholicJules in Memory Book, Personal Thoughts & Reflections

Freely, Totally, Faithfully, Fruitfully

 

Christ gives us all the above, when he gives of himself in the Eucharist he instituted.

Use this easy to remember gauge or rather ‘A Love Standard’ when we give of ourselves whether in marriage, or in servitude of others.

I think this is a simple but wonderful prayer…..

In Search Of…

Posted: February 6, 2011 by CatholicJules in Great Catholic Articles

In Search Of The Full Gospel

By Deborah Danielski

Like many converts to the Catholic Church, Deborah Danielski wandered through a variety of back roads and cul-de-sacs on her way home. Her search for the full gospel was a frustrating one, filled with wrong turns and complicated by a drinking problem and two abusive marriages. But Christ calls His sheep by name, and Deborah heard His voice and followed Him home to the Catholic Church. She recounts for you the details of her conversion story and how she found the fullness of the Christian Faith where she least expected it.

As my husband Ed and I drove down a quiet rural Illinois highway one day, we passed a large wooden sign at the side of the road. The hand-painted lettering on the sign proclaimed, “Full Gospel Church —1/2 mile.” “What is a ‘full gospel’ church?” Ed asked. As I attempted to explain, a light came on in my mind, and suddenly I knew. The “full gospel” was what I had been searching for all of my adult life, at times actively, at other times without even being aware of what it was I sought. ”

Almost immediately, I sensed a brilliant light that seemed to move toward me. I felt immersed in God’s presence and love. I simultaneously laughed and cried and when I opened my mouth to speak, I was singing praises to God in a language I had never learned.” 

Apart from a brief encounter with Jesus at age 6, I grew up pretty much without religion. When I got to my teens, I took the route all-too-common in the ’60s, “looking for love in all the wrong places.” Just before my 17th birthday, I found myself pregnant and standing before a minister, vowing to “love, honor and obey” my 17-year-old boyfriend, while thinking about the red-checkered tablecloth I’d buy for our tiny new kitchen. 

By the time I reached my mid-20s, I was into my second abusive marriage and was the mother of three. I’d messed up my life just about as much as I possibly could. Near despair, I determined it was time to make some effort to change my miserable life. I began by seeking counseling. That was when a series of incredible “coincidences” began to occur through which the Spirit of the Lord led me to the gospel.

“How much do you drink?” the counselor asked only a short way into the first session. “What does that have to do with anything?” I wondered to myself. “Oh, not too much,” I responded. “Maybe about a six-pack a day.” He raised his eyebrows. ” ‘Not too much?’ Six beers a day is ‘not too much?’ ” Had I been completely honest, I would have told him that I often drank more than that. Much to my surprise, he referred me to an alcohol abuse counselor. I was pretty sure drinking wasn’t my problem, but knowing I had exhausted my own resources, I made the appointment.

“The first thing you have to do is admit the problem is beyond your control and submit it to God,” said the counselor. “Oh great,” I thought. “This will never work.” Sure, I could admit the problem was beyond my control, otherwise I wouldn’t have been there, but submit it to God? No way.

“I don’t believe in God,” I countered. “It doesn’t have to be any particular god,” she said, “but some form of ‘supreme being,’ however you understand Him.” I shook my head. “I don’t believe in any supreme being.” The counselor smiled. “You consider yourself a pretty open-minded person, don’t you?” It was exactly the right question. I felt I was the most open-minded person I knew. “Definitely,” I shot back. “But you’ve closed your mind to God,” she suggested. She was right. I had closed my mind and heart to God. Perhaps I could give it a try, I thought. I had nothing to lose. My stress goes down but my curiosity goes up. 

Out of hand, I rejected Christianity as too “traditional.” So, in search of a more palatable option, I went to the local library and checked out a couple of books on yoga and Hinduism and began my search for “God.” Soon I was practicing transcendental meditation at least 20 minutes a day. I was more relaxed, less stressed out about my problems, but I hadn’t found God. And I knew it.

At the same time, my husband Melvin was commuting to work with a man who was a Jehovah’s Witness. Every day Melvin would come home from work telling me something new John had said about God, Jesus, and the Bible. I had never read the Bible and we didn’t even own one, but I was sure what John was telling Melvin couldn’t possibly be true. Nonetheless, I found myself getting more and more curious. Then one day I was reading a book about yoga and came across the following claim, “Truly spiritual people are always vegetarians. Even in the Hebrew Bible, God gave man the fruits of the trees to be their food, not the animals of the field.” I was puzzled. I’d known many Christians over the years, and not one of them had been a vegetarian.

My curiosity got the best of me. I went out to the store and bought a Bible. I just had to know if what that author and the Jehovah’s Witness were saying was true. That night, I began to read the Gospel of Matthew, and immediately fell in love with Jesus. I knew without a doubt that no mere man could have invented the stories I read. If man were even capable of imagining God would become human, he would at least have Him born in a castle, I thought, but never in a manger. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” Jesus told me in Scripture. “Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” 

These were definitely not the words of a mere man. In my experience, the meek never inherited anything but trouble. I lay there in bed, reading all night long, continuing into Mark, Luke and John. Just before daybreak, I rose, knelt by the side of my bed and began to pray. As I prayed, I experienced an overwhelming sense of Christ’s presence. It was as though He stood at my side with His hand resting on my shoulder, and I was nearly overcome with a feeling of love more powerful than any I had ever imagined. I knew without a doubt that Jesus loved me, and I knew my sinful past was forgiven as I surrendered my life to this incomprehensible God/Man Who captured my heart. St. Paul knew what he was talking about.

“Coincidentally,” my children were attending Bible school that week with our Baptist neighbors. That Sunday morning, I attended a worship service at their small, independent Baptist church and publicly professed my faith in Christ. The next week I was baptized by immersion. For the next year, I seldom missed a Sunday morning, Sunday evening or Wednesday night service. And I seldom allowed a day to pass without spending some time reading the Holy Scriptures and in prayer. I had tasted that the Lord was good, but I began to sense there was more to Christ than I had found. There was something missing. I sensed that I had not yet found the full gospel.

A friend and fellow Baptist, Marsha, began to tell me about the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” and the gifts of the Spirit. I searched the Scriptures and read every publication I could find on the subject. Marsha was involved in the “Women’s Aglow Fellowship,” an interdenominational women’s group associated with the “Full Gospel Businessmen’s Association.” I attended their next monthly meeting and was excited by the freedom with which this group praised God. 

Expecting to feel uneasy if any of the gifts of the Spirit were manifested, I was amazed when the group began to glorify God in a host of other languages and the only things I felt were joy, peace and fulfillment. “Yes, this is it,” I thought. This was what I had been missing. 

At the end of the service, I went forward for prayer. More than anything in the world I wanted this “full gospel.” As I knelt at the altar with my eyes closed in prayer, the leader laid her hands on my head. Almost immediately, I sensed a brilliant light in a far corner of the room that seemed to move toward me, and I soon felt immersed in God’s presence and love. I simultaneously laughed and cried and when I opened my mouth to speak, I was singing — singing praises to God in a language I had never learned.

Those were some of the best years of my life. I loved God, I loved my family, I loved everyone. Certainly there were trials, but I had the Spirit of God to uphold me through anything, or so I thought. Since my Baptist pastor did not believe in the gifts of the Spirit, I soon moved my membership to an Assembly of God. After a while, I came to believe that as a child of God, I had the “right” to walk always in divine health and material prosperity. With God as my Father, I believed nothing evil could touch me. I was satisfied that I had found the fullness of God and was convinced I was beyond reproach. I still avidly read Scripture, but I must have missed St. Paul’s warning: “Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). Did God betray me? There was a major fall in store for me and when it hit, the entire structure of my new life was shattered.

For six years Melvin and I had prayed for a child. I had my two children from my first marriage with me only on weekends. When Melvin’s brother had been tragically killed two years before, we adopted his 3-year-old son. But Melvin desperately wanted a child of his own. One Wednesday evening as I stood praising God at the end of a worship service, I felt a sudden pain in my lower abdomen. I “rebuked” it, as I had been taught. But nothing happened. In fact, the pain grew worse. I went forward to the altar and asked two friends to help pray for my healing. We prayed and prayed. Still the pain worsened. The pastor was closing the church, so seven friends and I went to one of their homes, where we continued to pray and rebuke the pain in my abdomen. Still it did not yield. Finally I asked someone to take me to the hospital. I was experiencing my second tubal pregnancy. The tube burst and immediate surgery was required to save my life. Nothing that was tried could save my baby. I was devastated. Not only had my faith failed to heal my body, but it was now evident that I would never have another child, and my husband would never have one of his own — at least not with me.

As soon as I was released from the hospital, I was back in church, just in time to hear a sermon I will never forget. “Anyone who claims to be a Christian,” the preacher roared, “and would willingly go into a hospital and let someone cut on them with a knife is deluded!” I sat through the remainder of that sermon about “true faith,” but when it ended, I left that church, never to return. I wasn’t sure whether their theology was skewed or I had just utterly failed, but it put me into a tailspin. What had it all meant?, I wondered. Was what happened to me really due to a lack of faith? Was it my own fault? What could I have done differently? Or could all I had previously experienced — all the joy in praying, the warm feelings, the power I felt in “rebuking” sickness and evil, and speaking in “tongues” — could all that have been nothing more than wishful thinking?

I never spoke to that pastor again and my friends just didn’t seem to have the answers I needed. I soon stopped reading Scripture and stopped praying. I felt God had betrayed me, and I had no idea where to turn. I still believed in Him. I still believed in the gospel, but I no longer knew what it meant for me, and frankly, I was no longer inclined to find out.

I left my husband and found my mother. Melvin soon returned to his excessive drinking and abuse. My faith was shattered, but a spark of self-esteem remained. For the first time in my life, I felt I could make it on my own. Though I made far too little money to support myself in the manner to which I had grown accustomed, that no longer mattered. All I wanted was a little peace. I knew I would rather live in a hole in a wall in peace, than to continue the nearly constant battles with my husband. It was not easy to admit to another failure, but after 13 years in my second marriage, I left Melvin and obtained a second divorce.

Three years later, God gave me one of the greatest gifts I would ever receive from Him, my current husband, Ed. Though I had turned my back on Him, Christ had not abandoned me. Not long after my marriage to Ed, a series of “coincidences” began to occur in my life that made it impossible for me to ignore Christ and His full gospel any longer. My friend Judy, a Catholic with whom I had never discussed God or religion, unexpectedly gave me a book for my 43rd birthday. One glance at the cover of the book made me question her sanity. The book was about apparitions of the Virgin Mary, and the cover bore her picture. Though I knew nothing about apparitions, I had strong convictions about the Virgin Mary. I knew she had existed and I knew she’d given birth to our Lord, but apart from that, I’d rarely given her a second thought, except to condemn Catholics for “worshipping” her.

“I don’t know if you’ll like it,” Judy said as I held the book in my hand, looking incredulously at its cover. “It’s . . . spiritual.” I was polite. “Oh, I like spiritual books,” I said, all the while wondering what could ever have possessed anyone to give me a book about Mary. My being polite was a big mistake. It opened the door for Judy to spend the next hour-and-a-half telling me all about her new and wonderful relationship with the Virgin Mary. She told me Mary had become her dearest friend and closest confidante. I thought she’d gone over the edge. “Lord, help her,” I prayed. But I reluctantly accepted the book and out of curiosity, went home and began to read it.

Almost immediately, I felt the Holy Spirit move in my heart for the first time in years. I continued to read, and soon sensed Christ asking me to open my heart to His mother. My life was not such a mess as it had been when I first began to seek the Lord. Considering my past mistakes, I was relatively happy and successful. I hadn’t consciously felt a need for anything more. But God in His infinite wisdom and mercy stirred again in me that lifelong yearning to know Him in His fullness. In my hands that day was the answer. How better to learn the “full gospel” than from the very Mother of God? Who could more effectively lead me to the fullness of Christ than the human being who carried our Lord in her womb, nourished Him at her breast and lived physically and intimately with Him every moment of His life — the one who not only bore witness to the Word, but actually bore the Word? “And immediately something like scales fell…” 

I finished the book Judy gave me and proceeded to read everything I could get my hands on about apparitions and visions of the Blessed Mother. I devoured anything I could find regarding Fatima. I came to believe there was a profound message behind these Marian apparitions. “There will never be peace for individuals or mankind until you turn your hearts back to your Creator,” Mary seemed to be saying. “God loves you. Repent and pray for your own conversion, and for the conversion of the world.” I began to do just that, and many of my misconceptions about Catholicism were soon unmasked. Catholics didn’t worship Mary, I realized. They were devoted to her as the Mother of Christ. They reverenced Mary as the first Christian. They embraced Christ’s precious gift from the Cross — the gift of His mother to His body, the Church (cf. John 19:25-27). Statues of Mary in Catholic churches were no more “false idols” than were the pictures of my beloved husband and children in my home. 

I fell in love with my spiritual mother. I studied the Roman Catholic Faith. I read books by Scott Hahn, Alan Schreck, Karl Keating, Mark Shea, Patrick Madrid and Thomas Howard. I reread chapter six of the Gospel of John. “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life in you,” Christ said to the skeptical Jews. I realized Holy Communion could be much more than symbolic of the Last Supper. By the power of the Holy Spirit in the Catholic Mass, Christ is truly present and imparts His life through the bread and wine. 

While wrestling with the Catholic meaning of the communion of saints, Christ’s words to the Sadducees in Matthew 22:31-32 came to life. “Have you not read what was said to you by God, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” It excited me to learn that the saints who lived before us had not been cut off from the Body of Christ just because they had died. I was as free to ask any of them to pray for me as I was to ask anyone here on earth. As I learned more about our covenant relationship with God, infant baptism took on a whole new meaning. Why wouldn’t our Father provide a means for our newborn children to enter that relationship, just as He had for the Jews in circumcision? In direct contrast to what I’d previously believed, I found Catholics had an objective faith totally absent from any other church I’d attended. I learned God always imparts His grace through the sacraments, regardless of the recipient’s faith. Sure, faith was necessary for the sacramental grace to flourish, but it was God Who acted first, not man.

“Catholics don’t believe in reading the Bible,” I’d been taught. But when I began to attend Mass, I heard far more Scripture read at every service than I had ever heard at any Protestant church.

“No priest can forgive sin,” I’d previously believed. But if Christ were present on earth, would I choose to sit in my own home and confess mentally to Him, hoping and praying I’d been forgiven? Or would I go to Him in person and hear the words of forgiveness directly from His mouth? That is exactly the reassurance the sacrament of reconciliation offers, I realized. Christ is indeed present and available to forgive sin, in His Body the Church, and in His representatives, the priests. It all began to make sense, and it was all found in the Catholic Church, the one Church on earth I had believed I would never enter. Much to my surprise, everything I learned about the Catholic Church expanded and enriched my faith, but I continued to have one major concern. Would I have to give up my belief in the baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit in order to become Catholic? One final obstacle to the fullness of truth and grace.

I was still struggling with that dilemma when Ed and I attended a Marriage Encounter weekend (I’m currently going through the process prescribed by the Church of having my marriage situation regularized). At the closing Mass, the couples formed a circle as Father Tom Griffith distributed Holy Communion. Having not yet committed to or been accepted into the Catholic Church, I gently shook my head when Father Tom came to me. Rather than passing on to the next person, he stopped, laid hands on Ed and me, and prayed. When Father Tom prayed, I felt so overwhelmed by the power of the Holy Spirit that my knees grew weak and I nearly fell over. I was astonished. I had never believed a Catholic priest could pray with such power. I was delighted to discover the Holy Spirit was indeed alive and well in at least some members of the Catholic Church.

Having come this far in my journey toward Catholicism, I had to know immediately what my own parish priest believed about the baptism and gifts of the Spirit. “Is it okay for a Catholic to believe in the baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit?” I nervously asked Father Tony Nugent. “Of course!” he responded. “Though we receive the Holy Spirit at baptism, we don’t always experience a full release of the power of the Spirit until much later,” he continued, relating his own experience of “the full release of the Spirit” as an adult priest. “Praise God,” I gasped. Relieved and encouraged by his incredible response, I poured out my soul. I told Father Tony all about my previous spiritual experiences, including the one that had led me to abandon my faith in God. “Do you believe it is always God’s will to heal?” I asked. “Yes,” he responded. “But He may not always heal in the way we want or expect. If God had granted you the physical healing you sought that day, you would not be here with me today,” he said, assuring me I was on the right path. “He healed you spiritually instead.”

In that moment, I recalled Romans 8:28: “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.” What had seemed to be the worst experience of my life, God had worked for my ultimate good. Another enormous burden was lifted from my soul. Finally, I knew I had it all. I had a loving Heavenly Father Who called me out of darkness and offered me life through the Body and Blood of His only begotten Son, nearly 2,000 years ago in the crucifixion, and today in the Holy Eucharist. I had the Son, Who humbled Himself, became man and was obedient unto death to give the power of the Holy Spirit to His Body, the Church. I had the Holy Spirit, Who enlightens, cleanses and empowers. I had His spouse, my spiritual mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, to show me the way. I had Christ’s Church, built upon the rock, led by the Holy Spirit into all truth and against which the gates of hell will never prevail. And within that Church, I had priests and the fellowship of a group of believers who embraced both the gifts of the Holy Spirit and devotion to our Blessed Mother. At last, the full gospel was mine.

February 6, 2011 – 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: February 5, 2011 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections by Dr. Scott Hahn

Light Breaking Forth

Readings:
Isaiah 58:7-10
Psalm 112:4-9
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
Matthew 5:13-16

Jesus came among us as light to scatter the darkness of a fallen world.

As his disciples, we too are called to be “the light of the world,” he tells us in the Gospel this Sunday (see John 1:4–4, 9; 8:12; 9:5).

All three images that Jesus uses to describe the Church are associated with the identity and vocation of Israel.

God forever aligned his Kingdom with the Kingdom of David and his sons by a “covenant of salt,” salt being a sign of permanence and purity (see 2 Chron. 13:5, 8; Lev. 2:13; Ezek. 43:24).

Jerusalem was to be a city set on a hill, high above all others, drawing all nations towards the glorious light streaming from her Temple (see Isa. 2:2; 60:1–3).

And Israel was given the mission of being a light to the nations, that God’s salvation would reach to the ends of the earth (see Isa. 42:6; 49:6).

The liturgy shows us this week that the Church, and every Christian, is called to fulfill Israel’s mission.

By our faith and good works we are to make the light of God’s life break forth in the darkness, as we sing in this week’s Psalm.

This week’s readings remind us that our faith can never be a private affair, something we can hide as if under a basket.

We are to pour ourselves out for the afflicted, as Isaiah tells us in the First Reading. Our light must shine as a ray of God’s mercy for all who are poor, hungry, naked, and enslaved.

There must be a transparent quality to our lives. Our friends and family, our neighbors and fellow citizens, should see reflected in us the light of Christ and through us be attracted to the saving truths of the Gospel.

So let us pray that we, like St. Paul in the Epistle, might proclaim with our whole lives, “Christ and him crucified.”

(Apologetics) John Vs Mike – 10

Posted: February 4, 2011 by CatholicJules in Apologetics

 

Mike Gendron 

John,

Your rebuke of God’s word is not backed up by any official references from the Catholic religion. In my article I state the source of my information but you appear to give your opinions instead of backing up your claims with the laughable “infallible” teachings of the magesterium.

You say Catholics are in purgatory because “they are not yet free from imperfections.” They ought to convert to Christ because born again Christians are made perfect forever at the moment of justification by the one offering of Jesus 2000 years ago (Heb. 10:14).

Where do you get the statement “grace earned for us by Jesus with His death on the Cross.” Did Jesus really have to earn grace?

Where do you get the idea that the fire of Purgatory is “the burning fire of God’s love for us.”
You said, “And how is it that we are able to be purified by God’s love?  By the merits and grace earned for us by Jesus with His death on the Cross.  In other words, the purging of imperfections that souls experience in Purgatory is as a result of the merits and grace earned for us by Jesus with His death on the Cross.  It is by the blood of Christ that souls in Purgatory are perfected.  There is no other means of perfection available to us.”
According to paragraph-1475 it has nothing to do with God’s love or Jesus but instead the merits of other Catholics. “In the communion of saints, “a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good things.” In this wonderful exchange, the holiness of one profits others, well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others. Thus recourse to the communion of saints lets the contrite sinner be more promptly and efficaciously purified of the punishments for sin.”

 

 
You say “Catholic teaching that the Mass is the re–presentation of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and that the Mass is all about the Body and Blood of Jesus.  Therefore, if Masses are being offered for those in Purgatory, then it means that any sins and inclination to sin and punishment due to sin that are purged  So, to represent the Catholic Faith as teaching that the purgations of Purgatory have absolutely nothing to do with the blood of Christ, after what he said earlier about Masses being said for those in Purgatory, seems to me to be a deliberate misrepresentation of Catholic teaching.”

It is you who appears not know what the Mass is?  It is, according to your Catechism 1367 The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: “The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different.” “And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner. Let me ask you this – how can say the purging in Purgatory is “by the blood of Christ” when the Mass is offered in an unbloody manner. Catholic teaching is not only false it is without logic or consistency.

 


John, I have compassion for you and all those who are being deceived in the name of Christ. Come out of your false religion and worship God in Spirit and truth before it is too late.

Mike Gendron

————————————————————————————

Mike Gendron

John,

Your rebuke of God’s word is not backed up by any official references from the Catholic religion. In my article I state the source of my information but you appear to give your opinions instead of backing up your claims with the laughable “infallible” teachings of the magesterium. You say Catholics are in purgatory because “they are not yet free from imperfections.” They ought to convert to Christ because born again Christians are made perfect forever at the moment of justification by the one offering of Jesus 2000 years ago (Heb. 10:14).

John Martignoni

Mike,

Gee, good thing you don’t like condescending emails, right?  Anyway, I am not rebuking God’s Word, I am rebuking man’s word and, in particular, I am rebuking your word.  Your fallible, man-made, non-authoritative, biased and bigoted word.

You speak of the “laughable infallible teachings of the [M]agisterium,” yet you tend to also speak as if you yourself are infallible.  Do you believe your private interpretations of Scripture to indeed be infallible?  And, if not, will you then admit that your private, fallible interpretations of Scripture, in regard to Purgatory and other such Catholic teachings, could be wrong?  You won’t admit that, though, will you?  You know why?  Pride, Mike…pride.  You are too proud to admit that you could be wrong.  That your interpretations are indeed fallible and, therefore, prone to error.

Heb 10:14, “For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”  Absolutely. But, you seem to be claiming to be perfect, Mike, is that right?  So, you are without sin?  You never commit any sin, whatsoever?  You never have a bad thought or do a bad deed?  Really?!

Well, Mike, Catholic teaching is in perfect unison with Heb 10:14, as it is with each and every passage of Scripture. But, contrary to your fallible private interpretation of this passage, it is not saying that those who are perfected are automatically perfected for all time and can never again sin, if so, then why does Paul so often remind the Christians he writes to about avoiding sin?  If you look at the context, this verse is comparing the sacrifice of Christ to the sacrifices of the Old Covenant.  Those had to be offered over and over again and did not take away sins.  The sacrifice of Christ, however, was once for all time.  This one sacrifice was indeed sufficient to sanctify and perfect all men for all of time, but this verse is not saying that a man cannot lose his sanctification if he later turns away from the Lord and sins.

Look at Heb 10:38, “…but my righteous one shall live by faith and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” Why would God talk about His righteous one shrinking back, if his righteous one has been perfected for all time?  And, in Heb 6:4-6, it talks about those who have repented, and who have “tasted the heavenly gift” and who have “become partakers of the Holy Spirit” and who have “tasted the goodness of the Word of God.”  Those are Christians, right?  I mean, non-believers can’t be said to have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, can they?  Of course not.  So, what does this passage then say about these Christians?  It says that they can commit apostasy.  What does that do to your fallible interpretation of Heb 10:14?  Kind of messes it up, doesn’t it?

Regarding giving you my opinion, I do no such thing.  All throughout my dissection of your article on Purgatory and your article on false teachers, I have cited Scripture and the teachings of the Church.  Now, you may not agree with what the Church teaches, but that is not justification to knowingly misrepresent what the Church teaches.  Which you have done throughout your articles.  By the way, what sources did you give?  You cited the Catechism, out of context, and you give your private, fallible interpretation of Scripture.  Is that what you consider your sources?

Mike Gendron

Where do you get the statement “grace earned for us by Jesus with His death on the Cross.” Did Jesus really have to earn grace?  Where do you get the idea that the fire of Purgatory is “the burning fire of God’s love for us.” You said, “And how is it that we are able to be purified by God’s love?  By the merits and grace earned for us by Jesus with His death on the Cross.  In other words, the purging of imperfections that souls experience in Purgatory is as a result of the merits and grace earned for us by Jesus with His death on the Cross.  It is by the blood of Christ that souls in Purgatory are perfected.  There is no other means of perfection available to us.” According to paragraph-1475 it has nothing to do with God’s love or Jesus but instead the merits of other Catholics. “In the communion of saints, “a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good things.” In this wonderful exchange, the holiness of one profits others, well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others. Thus recourse to the communion of saints lets the contrite sinner be more promptly and efficaciously purified of the punishments for sin.

John Martignoni

Jesus did not have to earn anything for himself – once again you twist someone’s words to suit your purposes.  Jesus’ death on the Cross opened up for us the floodgates of God’s mercy and grace.  He didn’t earn it for Himself, He did it for us.  Do you believe we could merit God’s grace all on our own without Jesus’ death on the Cross?  That’s what you seem to be implying here.

Where did I get the idea that the fire of Purgatory is “the burning fire of God’s love for us?”  Well, how about from the Bible?  Heb 12:29, “For our God is a consuming fire.”  1 Cor 3:14, “If the work which any man has built on the foundation (Jesus Christ) survives, he will receive a reward.  If any man’s work is burned up (consumed), he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”  Let’s see, our God is a consuming fire and anyone who is in Purgatory has their works of wood, hay, or stubble consumed by fire…hmmm.  What fire could that be?  By the way, Mike, you said that men have their “spurious works” burned up by fire.  Please be more specific as to what kind of “spurious works,” what is the nature of the fire that burns them up (is it related to God or not), and where exactly is it this burning up of a man’s spurious works takes place?

Regarding your assertion that the burning fires of Purgatory have nothing to do with God’s love, you once again quote the Catechism (#1475) out of context.  What does paragraph #1474 of the Catechism say?  “The life of each of God’s children is joined in Christ and through Christ in a wonderful way to the life of all the other Christian brethren in the supernatural unity of the Mystical Body of Christ, as in a single mystical person.”  And, Who is that single person to whom all Christians are joined?  Jesus Christ.  So, the merits shared in the Communion of Saints have nothing to do with Jesus and with God’s love?

#1476 of the Catechism, “On the contrary the ‘treasury of the church is the infinite value, which can never be exhausted, which Christ’s merits have before God.  They were offered so that the whole of mankind could be set free from sin and attain communion with the Father.  In Christ, the Redeemer Himself, the satisfactions and merits of His Redemption exist and find their efficacy.”  You still want to say that it has nothing to do with Jesus?

In other words, Mike, you failed to note that the link that binds together the Communion of Saints is Jesus Christ Himself.  It is only in Him, with Him, and through Him that the holiness of one is able to benefit another, because it is all ultimately the holiness of Christ Himself that the members of His Body share.  Does not what benefits one member of the Body benefit all members of the Body?  So for you to say that the burning fires of Purgatory have nothing at all to do with the love of God or with Jesus seems to be, quite simply, a lie.  And I say it is a lie because you have obviously read the Catechism, so what you’re saying is not out of ignorance but seems to be rather a deliberate misrepresentation of what the Catholic Faith teaches.

Mike Gendron

You say “Catholic teaching that the Mass is the re–presentation of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and that the Mass is all about the Body and Blood of Jesus.  Therefore, if Masses are being offered for those in Purgatory, then it means that any sins and inclination to sin and punishment due to sin that are purged  So, to represent the Catholic Faith as teaching that the purgations of Purgatory have absolutely nothing to do with the blood of Christ, after what he said earlier about Masses being said for those in Purgatory, seems to me to be a deliberate misrepresentation of Catholic teaching.”

It is you who appears not know what the Mass is?  It is, according to your Catechism 1367 The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: “The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different.” “And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner. Let me ask you this – how can say the purging in Purgatory is “by the blood of Christ” when the Mass is offered in an unbloody manner. Catholic teaching is not only false it is without logic or consistency.

John Martignoni

Regarding how I can say the “purging in Purgatory” is by the blood of Christ when the Mass is offered in an unbloody manner…is that really the best you can do?  Mike, do you not claim to have been saved by the blood of Christ?  Of course you do.  Yet, how can this be since Christ stopped bleeding two thousand years ago and you weren’t “saved” until what, the 1980’s?  Did Christ have to be crucified again in order for you to be saved and His blood literally poured on you or some such thing? Was not Christ’s blood applied to you in an unbloody manner?  If so, how can you say that you were saved by the blood of Jesus?  He isn’t bleeding anymore is He, Mike?!  Just as you can be perfected by the blood of Christ without having it literally poured over you, so, too, can the souls in Purgatory be perfected by the blood of Christ without having it literally poured over them.

The sacrifice of the Mass, as you well know, Mike, is the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross to the Father.  It is our participation in Christ’s spilling of blood on the Cross, in response to Jesus’ command to “do this” in remembrance of Him.  It is our participation in the cup of the “blood of the covenant.”  The cup in which we participate at Mass, the cup which is “poured out” for us, is the new covenant in Jesus’ blood.  No, Mike, we are not bled on at the Mass, just as you were not bled on when you were supposedly “saved” by the blood of Christ.  The Mass is the offering to God of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.  It is not a re-crucifixion, it is a re-presentation of that offering.  Is not Christ in Heaven as our High Priest and does He not continually intercede for us with the Father?  What does He do when He intercedes for us with the Father, Mike?  Does He say, “C’mon, Father, Mike’s a good guy, it’s okay to save him?”  No.  He points to the blood He spilled on the Cross, He re-presents His sacrifice to the Father, and says, “See, Father.  See what I did for Mike.”  And that is how you are able to be saved, Mike.  Not because Jesus was re-sacrificed for you, but because His sacrifice was put before the Father on your behalf.   Just so the souls in Purgatory are perfected, because of the grace and the merits which are available to them because of Christ shedding His blood on the Cross.  The grace and merits which Christ makes available to us through the Mass.  The blood of Christ, offered through the Mass, for the souls in Purgatory.  Is that really the best you can do?

Mike Gendron

John, I have compassion for you and all those who are being deceived in the name of Christ. Come out of your false religion and worship God in Spirit and truth before it is too late.

John Martignoni

Save your compassion for yourself, Mike.  I pray that the Holy Spirit will grant you the grace for you to see through the darkness which has enveloped you and that the scales will one day fall from your eyes.  Your soul is in serious jeopardy, Mike Gendron, and you need to be praying to God to send you the Spirit of Truth.