Thursday, October 18, 2012

Jesus is the pilot

My wife just shared a quote from the book that she is reading, and I found it so profound and it paints such a beautiful picture in my mind on how much we need to trust in God, that I had to share it.  I hope it touches you as much as it has touched me.

"He is the pilot.  The oarsman turn their backs to the goal while rowing;  the pilot sees.  He is the one who steers the boat.  Let us row with all of our strength and let Jesus guide us into port."

Fr. Jean C.J. d'Elbee - I Believe in Love

God bless

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fighting Abortion :- 40 Days for Life

Last night, myself and two of my Catholic brothers took a stand against Abortion.  From 1 to 2 am we stood outside of the Planned Parenthood clinic here in Downtown Grand Rapids and prayed.  It was cold, windy, and raining - yet this did not cause us to forget why we were there.  We prayed for an end to abortion in our city, in our state, in the world.  

This was all part of the 40 Days for Life campaign.  If you have never heard about this before, I encourage you to learn more about it at their site.  40 Days for Life will be continuing until November 6.  If you have a chance to join "the stand" please do.  Go onto their site, click the "Locations" menu item at the top, find your state and see if there is a vigil in your area.  If you can't, please take a moment to pray for those volunteers that are, but especially for the end to abortion.

God bless...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Insincere Protestant Apologists

I have listened to a number of Protestant/Catholic Dialogue Debates over the past few years, and I am starting to come to the conclusion that many of the Protestant Apologists that I have heard, are not being entirely sincere.  I don't think that they are being completely honest with themselves, at best, and with their followers / supporters at worst.

The Protestant Apologists that are truly ignorant of the Catholic faith, are not the ones that I am referring to.  I am talking about those who are very familiar with the faith, and are knowingly perpetuating the lies and misconceptions about the Catholic faith.

I do not want to call them out by name.  That is not the purpose of this blog.  Instead, I want to ask for prayers.  Please pray that they will be honest with themselves and their supporters.  Ask God that they will move past the completely explainable misconceptions about Catholicism, and move towards reconciling the Body of Christ, which is His Church.  We should all be striving for unity - not compromise, but unity.

God bless...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Are Holy Days of Obligation Man Made Religious Traditions?

Today is August 15th 2011.  For us Catholics, it is also the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - one of the many Holy Days of Obligation.  Granted, there are few Protestants these days who carry a high regard for Mary (unlike their "Fathers of the Faith" including Martin Luther and John Calvin) let alone believe that she was assumed into Heaven like Elijah, but that is not really the topic of this post.

During a conversation that my wife was having with her friends regarding the "abrogation" of this Holy Day of Obligation, a Non-Catholic friend of ours who was also part of the conversation made the following comment (paraphrasing):

"I don't follow any man-made religion.  Every day is a holy day for me".

Obviously, he makes a very good point.  We should treat every day as a gift from our Creator, and therefore should regard it as Holy.  However, the comment regarding a man-made religion made me question if, in fact, Holy Days of Obligation are a man-made tradition.  So....are they part of a man-made tradition?  Before I answer that question I think we have to first understand what a man-made traditions are.  

If you have been a Catholic for more than ten minutes and if you have engaged in any kind of religious conversation with Protestants, sooner or later, they are going to bring up this concept of a man-made tradition.  What are man-made traditions?  Or better known as traditions of men?  It is a direct reference to Scripture.  In Mark 7:1-13 we witness an exchange between the Pharisees and Jesus Christ where Jesus ultimately tells the Pharisees:

Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men (Mark 7:8).

Jesus is saying that instead of following God, they are following the teachings of men.  The Pharisees are holding their own practices and beliefs higher than God's.  This is ultimately the same accusation that Protestants make against the Catholic Church  They are basically saying that we are holding to the traditions of man instead of the Teachings of God.  While many Protestants may not realize it, this is a complete insult against the Catholic Faith.

Do you not think so?  Maybe you think I am taking this statement too much to heart.  If you think so, then I welcome you to try a little experiment.  Next time you are in a conversation with a Protestant friend, and they mention to you something along the lines of their church has asked every member to fast on a certain day, or devote themselves to prayer for a certain hour of the week, just respond to them in the same fashion.  Say something along the lines of, "I am not going to follow any man-made tradition.  Every day should be dedicated for prayer".  Do you think that they will be offended?  I am sure they would.

Are Holy Days of Obligation a man-made tradition?  Of course not.  How do I know this?  Because Jesus Christ told me Himself that he was going to create a Church, and of that Church, the Gates of Hell would never prevail.  Jesus also said that he was going to give that Church the Holy Spirit to lead into all areas of truth.  Since the Catholic Church is the only Church that I have been able to recognize that has existed since the Apostles, and I am utterly convinced that the Gates of Hell has attempted to prevail against it and yet it still has not succeeded (nor will it ever), I have to believe that the traditions / teachings of this Church are exactly what Jesus Christ said that they would be:

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. (Matt 16:18)

If the Church asks the faithful to gather together, celebrate, and pray during certain days of the year, Holy Days of Obligation (including Sunday, I might add), how can it be man-made traditions?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Catholic and Gay

Here is a blog post from a Homosexual Catholic that was forwarded to me recently.  It is a very brief post and in it the author shares his experience as a Homosexual Catholic as it relates to the Catholic Church and as it relates to society in general.

Gay Catholic and Doing Fine...

God bless...

Monday, May 23, 2011

5 Words That Confuse Catholic and Protestant Dialgoue

Ever since I started my interest in the Catholic Church, I have found one of the most confusing aspects to be terminology.  Catholics use some words that I have never even heard of before, and at times, we use words that mean one thing in Catholicism, and something different in Protestant churches.  I ran into this so much when I was learning about Catholicism, that I even came up with an acronym for it (B.C.W. - Big Catholic Words).  Now that I have been Catholic for a little over two years, I am finding that recently, I have been forgetting this fact when talking to my Protestant brothers and sisters.

Here are some terms that I can think of, off of the top of my head, that may cause confusion in conversations between Catholics and Protestants, as well as what I believe to be the Protestant equivalent.  If you can think of some other terms, please feel free to add them in the comments.

In the Catholic Church you will typically hear this word to describe what most Protestants would refer to as the sermon.  This is what the minister will preach on.

In the Catholic Church, this is the person who is authorized by the Church to administer all of the Sacraments.  While it is true, the Deacons in the Catholic Church can also effect some of the Sacrements, they are not authorized to do them all.  For Protestants, this is the minister.

Out of all of the terms, this is probably the most loaded one.  In the Catholic Church, when referring to the term Church, we typically mean the institution created by Jesus Christ founded on Peter mentioned in  Matt 16:18.  For Protestants, this typically means the place where they gather to worship.  It can also mean the invisible institution that all believers belong to.

Sacred Tradition
In Catholic theology, this refers to the teachings of God that is not written down as part of the Bible.  Examples of this would include the Trinity, Hypostatic Union (Jesus was both Man and God), as well as the actual Books of the Bible.  Typically, when most Protestants hear the term tradition they immediately think of Mark 7:1-30, and believe that all traditions are human traditions and elevated higher than God's commands.

Communion of Saints
When Catholics refer to the Communion of Saints, we are referring to the people on Earth, Purgatory, and Heaven that make up Christ's Church.  Through this communion, we believe that it is perfectly acceptable to pray to God, for one another - regardless if they are alive here on Earth, or perfected in Heaven.  Protestants typically shun the idea of asking anyone that is not physically alive here on Earth to pray for them.  Some of them may even consider this a form of idolatry.

When Catholics refer to prayer, we primarily mean making a request of.  For this reason, we can ask for the intercession of saints in Heaven.  Since Protestants reserve prayer to the Trinity, they typically consider prayer to be worship.  Because of this, things that Catholics say can sound idolatrous in Protestant ears, such as praying to Mary, praying to the Angels, and praying to saints.  Since Protestants consider prayer as worship, they think that we actually worship Mary, Angels and Saints.

I hope that this can serve as a help to Catholics and Protestants alike.  Some Catholic and Protestant friends of mine truly believe that many of the challenges in ecumenical dialogue is a difference in terminology.  Combine this with the fact that we use the same words but mean completely different things, makes it very difficult to have productive conversations.

God bless.