Thursday, August 27, 2009

Feast Day of St. Augustine

August 28th marks the Feast Day of St. Augustine of Hippo. This is the day that the faithful are called to remember this Saint and his contribution to the faith as well as to humanity.

St. Augustine was born in Africa around 354A.D.. His mother, St. Monica whose Feast Day is celebrated August 27th, was a very devout Catholic. She spent most of her life, chasing after her wayward son, praying constantly that he would change his sinful ways and become a devout Catholic.

Through her prayers, as well as the influence of St. Ambrose, this extremely intelligent man finally decided to abandon the Manichean Heresy that he found himself involved in, embrace the faith and submit his life to Christ and the work of the Church.

Sometimes, intelligence can hinder our ability to have a relationship with Christ and find true happiness. Instead of relying on God, we may rely on ourselves. Instead of relying on the Giver, we rely on the gift of knowledge. This was the case with St. Augustine. In The Confessions, St. Augustine remarks:

Unlearned people are taking Heaven by force, while we, with all our knowledge, are so cowardly that we keep rolling around in the mud of our sins!

St. Augustine has had a lot of impact on Christianity, whose effects can still be felt today. Perhaps this is the reason why Catholics and Protestants both want to claim him as one of theirs. In earlier conversations, I have had the chance to refute the idea that St. Augustine believed in Sola Scriptura. All of the research and reading of this man that I have done, has shown me that St. Augustine was definitely Catholic in his beliefs.

Praying with the Saints
There is an ecclesiastical discipline, as the faithful know, when the names of the martyrs are read aloud in that place at the altar of God, where prayer is not offered for them. Prayer, however, is offered for the dead who are remembered. For it is wrong to pray for a martyr, to whose prayers we ought ourselves be commended. - Sermons 159:1

For on these very grounds we do not commemorate them at that table [The Lord's Table, Communion] in the same way, as we do others who now rest in peace, as that we should also pray for them, but rather that they should do so for us, that we may cleave to their footsteps - Comment on John's Gospel, Tractate 84

Temporal punishments are suffered by some in this life only, by some after death, by 'some both here and hereafter, but all of them before that last and strictest judgment. But not all who suffer temporal punishments after death will come to eternal punishments, which are to follow after that judgment - City of God 21:13

Baptismal Regeneration
It is this one Spirit who makes it possible for an infant to be regenerated ... when that infant is brought to baptism; and it is through this one Spirit that the infant so presented is reborn. For it is not written, `Unless a man be born again by the will of his parents' or `by the faith of those presenting him or ministering to him,' but, `Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit.' The water, therefore, manifesting exteriorly the sacrament of grace, and the Spirit effecting interiorly the benefit of grace, both regenerate in one Christ that man who was generated in Adam. - Letters 98:2

And the list goes on...and on....and on....

Thank you God for giving us so great of an example of what it means to be a Christian and contend for the faith that has been passed down from Christ and the Apostles. Thank you St. Augustine for your living witness that is still with us today...

[1] Collection of St. Augustine's Work - as well as other Church Fathers
[2] Collection of St. Augustine Catholic Quotes

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Denominational Stand on Abortion

Just out of curiosity, I was very interested to know what the various denominations stands were on abortion. After doing a quick internet search, I happened upon the following article that goes into detail on the stance of various religious groups and their stance. What I found was quite surprising.

If you are interested in learning more details, please follow the link. For those of you, who just want the general breakdown, here it is:

Roman Catholic Church - Pro-Life
Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) - Pro-Life
United Church of Christ - Pro-Choice
Southern Baptist - Pro-Choice then later Pro-Life
American Baptist - Pro-Choice
Presbyterian Church of America (PCA) - Pro-Life
Presbyterian Church (USA) - Pro-Life then later, not entirely sure
United Methodist Church - Pro-Choice
Episcopal Church - Pro-Choice
Lutheran Church (ELCA) - Pro-Choice
Orthodox Churches - Pro-Life

We are living in very uncertain times. There is legislation that is being considered to allow for tax dollars to support abortion. While this is an atrocity, I find it equally offending, if not more, that many Pro-Life Christians are part of church institutions that support abortion.

If you are Pro-Life, and you happen to support, or be a member of one of these denominations, I would strongly encourage you to talk to your pastor and see if your tithes and offering is contributing to this atrocity.

God bless...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Asking the Saints to Intercede for us in prayer...

In my last post, My First Novenna - St. Joseph, I seemed to have possibly caused some concern for my Non-Catholic Brothers and Sisters. Being a Protestant for most of my life, I too shared this concern for my Catholic friends and family members - so I do understand where it is coming from, and I do not doubt that the concern is genuine.

Dave Armstrong, who I consider to be one of my favorite Catholic Apologists, has a blog called Biblical Evidence For Catholicism. He just recently posted a blog post titled, Asking Mary and the Saints to Pray for Us, Rather than Going Straight to God: An Introductory Explanation. For those of you interested in understanding why one would choose to ask for the prayers of the saints, or if you need some help in defending this practice, I would recommend reading this article.

Word of Caution: I have been known to spend a lot of time on Dave's site. It is full of great theological material on the Catholic Faith and Apologetics. Visiting his site can be habit forming. Enter at your own risk...

God bless...

Monday, August 10, 2009

My First Novena :- St. Joseph

What is a Novena? A Novena is a prayer / devotion that is made for nine consecutive days for some petition to God. The nine days of prayer biblical root can be found after the Ascension of Jesus when the disciples and Mary spent 9 days praying in the upper room. At the end of those nine days, was Pentecost, where the Holy Spirit descended upon them. There was something in particular that I wanted to pray for, and praying a Novena seemed like the most appropriate thing to do.

I decided to pray the Novena to St. Joseph. What a beautiful experience. How much I have overlooked this man and his great example of faith. Over the course of the nine days, you take the time to thank St. Joseph for his contribution to the faith and all of the roles that he played, many of which I can relate to, including:


This is a new type of prayer for me, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. I felt closer to St. Joseph and I have confidence that he is one of the Saints in heaven that presented my prayers before the throne of God, Rev 5:8.

Thank you St. Joseph....Ora pro nobis.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Participation Requested: Faith Alone vs. Faith and Works a Semantic Issue

Followup: Now that the poll is closed, I wanted to share with you the results.
There were 11 people who voted, and out of those 11, here is what was recorded:
6 Non Catholics Agree
2 Non Catholics Disagree
2 Catholics Agree
1 Catholic Disagrees

Thanks for participating

On a recent post, Non-Catholic Question: Faith Alone and Lukewarm Christians, I received a very interesting response that has caused me to pause and reflect. Could the Sola Fide vs. Faith and Works be an issue, not of faith, but of semantics?

Below is that response. If you are willing, I would appreciate if you would at least participate in the poll that you will find on the right hand side of this webpage, titled Faith Alone vs. Faith and Works Semantic Issue. If you are willing to invest more time, please comment on this post, indicate your faith tradition and share your thoughts on why you agree or disagree with the following.

Here is that response:

In my opinion, The terms "faith alone" and "works" should be removed from our vocabulary or at least defined every time we use them. Catholics believe "works" are necessary for salvation. Protestants claim this is wrong and that you cannot earn your salvation, which is by achieved by "faith alone". Some protestants claim that Catholics are not really Christians because they are trying to earn their salvation. And Catholics think that protestants believe they can say a 2 line prayer, live however they want, change nothing, and still get into heaven. I am going to make the claim that the difference is merely semantics. Let me explain...

The word "works" can refer to effort exerted for a reward (such as a paycheck, favor, or even entry into heaven). But it can also refer to God's work in the life of a believer. I don't believe either a Catholic or a protestant would argue that God is at work in the life of every believer. God does not sit idle. If he is present, he is at work. If someone claimed to have faith but that God is not at work in their life, I would ask them for their definition of the word faith. To me, faith and works (again works as defined as God's work not mine are one and the same. Our faith is not simply that God exists, but also that he is actively working to accomplish what he wills... and that he does it through us.

Others may see what God is doing in our life and say "I can see evidence of your faith" or "I can see God at work in life". Is there a difference?

God bless....

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman

"To be deep in history, is to cease to be a Protestant"

I cannot recall the first time that I have heard this quote from Cardinal John Henry Newman. I would imagine that it was some conference or it was a friend of mine who loves theology. No matter the source of where I first heard this, in my case, I found it to be absolutely true.

Cardinal John Henry Newman was a very wonderful man. He has volumes and volumes of theological work. I remember the first time I picked up one of his books, namely Development of Christian Doctrine. It didn't take long to realize that I was definitely out of my league.... It was the first but hopefully not the last time that I attempt to read such a deep theological mind.

Recently, Cardinal Newman has received the honor of being Beatified. Beatification is one of the final steps necessary before the Catholic Church officially recognizes an individual as a Saint. If you are interested in reading more about the process and what is required, please read this article.

Congratulations Blessed John Henry Newman....Ora pro nobis