Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Heresy or Not.... - God the Master Artist

Continuing the line of thinking from my original post of Heresy or Not....

God can be likened to a master artist. His greatest piece of work is Jesus Christ.

Heresy or not?

God bless...

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Response :- Scriptural Basis for Sacrifice of the Mass - Part 1

After a brief conversation on my friend's blog, where I decided to use the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) in order to further explain my belief, I was challenged with the idea that the CCC contradicts Scripture. Triednotfried said that she was going to give some factual evidence of how the CCC contradicts Scripture, in a later post. Curious, I decided to pay attention to her blog again, and waited for the post to arrive. She has decided to focus on the Sacrifice of the Mass / Holy Eucharist / Holy Communion....(God is good!!!)

Before I get started rebutting her statements, and showing how Catholics hold a very biblically (not to mention historically) rooted understanding of the Eucharist, I feel as though I should explain why I am not commenting on her blog. In the past, I have tried to have conversations with her on her blog. Unfortunately, it has not proven to be a very hospitable environment for civil discussion. There has been personal attacks made and many of my comments have been edited if not deleted there. As such, I have decided to not comment on her blog again. Instead, I will post my comments here, where I can be sure that my complete thoughts are heard and shared.

(Quotes from her blog will be in blue)

Catechism #1367, p381… Th sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: “The victim is one the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priest, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different.” 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.”

Problem: If it’s the sacrifice of Jesus, it cannot be done in an “unbloody manner.” According to the Bible: “and without the shedding of blood there is no remission.” Hebrews 9:22. The victim, is always Jesus Christ…and will never be the same as the “host” who offers it. What happened at Calvary was a ONE time historical event and accomplished its purpose:

Hebrews 10:14 ” For by One Offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.

With the above statements, there are many points of agreement. However, in an effort to be brief, I will only point out the points that we disagree or that should be explained more fully.

It would seem that her whole argument against the quote from the Catechism rests on this assumption.

...If it’s the sacrifice of Jesus, it cannot be done in an “unbloody manner.”...

Catholics believe that the bread and the wine truly do sacramentally become the Body and the Blood of Jesus. We believe that Christ is sacramentally present in the Eucharist. We do not believe that the Sacrifice of the Mass is identical to the Sacrifice at Calvary. We believe that it is the "unbloody" re-presentation of Christ's eternal sacrifice. Since we do not believe that it is identically the same, that is why it can be re-presented in an unbloody manner.

The victim, is always Jesus Christ…and will never be the same as the “host” who offers it.

Triednotfried is getting her BCW's mixed up again (BCW - Big Catholic Words). The "Host" is not the priest that is performing the ceremony. It is the bread that becomes the Body of Christ. Either way, she is right, the priest performing the ceremony will never be the same as Christ. Thank God (...literally, thank God) this is not what Catholicism teaches.

What happened at Calvary was a ONE time historical event and accomplished its purpose

Triednotfried, is absolutely correct here again. However, what many Protestants, like her, fail to realize is that while it is a one time event that has happened in the past and it has accomplished it's purpose, in heaven there is no time. In the Book of Revelation, we actually get a glimpse of Heaven.

And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain...Rev 5:6a

Who is the Lamb? Jesus Christ of course!!! Yet in Heaven He appears to be slain? But that happened in the past and is a ONE time historical event and accomplished it's purpose, so how can He appear to be slain in Heaven? Simply because there is no time in Heaven. Jesus'one time sacrifice, in time, is forever present before God in eternity.

The Book of Hebrews is a testimony to Christ's eternal Priesthood. Triednotfried made a good choice in using it. What is the function of a priest? Simply to offer sacrifices. In most cultures, that is what priests do. This is definitely the same in Biblical times, starting with the Old Testament and into the New.

For every hight priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. Hebrews 5:1

Priests offer gifts and sacrifices...now if you continue to read the Chapter you will find the following:

So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, "You are my Son today I have begotten you", as he says also in another place, "You are a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchizedek"

Christ is a priest of the order of Melchizedek? The order of who??? Who in the world is Melchizedek? Is that important to know? YES!!!! Before sharing with you who that is, you can see the Book of Hebrews over and over and over again proclaim that Christ if a priest of the Order of Melchizedek - Heb 5:10, 6:20, 7:1-28)

So who is this man Melchizedek? And, remember, this Book was written in a time and culture where there would not have been a question of who Melchizedek was. Every good Jew would recognize the one who was Priest and King. Priest and King....hmmm....doesn't that sound just like Jesus?

And Melchizedek, king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. Gen 14:18 

Melchizedek was the King and Priest of Salem.....Salem is JeruSalem.  Christ is the High Priest and King od the New Jerusalem.  Hmmm....the offering / sacrifice of Melchizedek was bread and wine? Doesn't that sound a lot like Holy Communion? Jesus is a High Priest from the order of Melchizedek who offers bread and wine. Combine this with the sacrificial overtones of the Last Supper...

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said "Take, eat,; this is my body". And he took a chalice and when he had given tanks he gave it to them saying, "Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins..." Matt 26:26-28

So what have we learned here? The Sacrifice at Calvary is not identical to the Sacrifice of the Mass or Holy Communion. However, we do believe that Christ is sacramentally present in the Eucharist, and as such, it is the only sacrifice that can fulfill the following prophecy from Malachi:

For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations and in every place incense is offered to my name and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts. Malachi 1:11

It is re-presented every hour of every day across the world (since Mass is always being celebrated somewhere on Earth). We also learned that Jesus ONE time historical sacrifice on Calvary is a forever present sacrifice before God. We learned why it is important that Jesus Christ is of the order of Melchizedek and the relationship between that priest and king to our Priest and King and the sacrifices that are offered....and this is just the rebuttal of triednotfried's first and second statements. Triednotfried's second statement alludes to the idea that Christ's sacrifice is once in time, which hopefully I showed, is perpetual present before God. It is going to take longer in order to address her third accusation.

Personal Note: Not everyone is going to agree with what the Catholic Church says. My hope is that people will take the time to understand what exactly the Catholic Church says and believes before making a decision about it. I would rather someone come to a fuller understanding of what Catholicism actually teaches and then disagree with it, as oppose to someone disagreeing with what the think the Catholic Church teaches.

God bless us all in our search for truth...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Defending the Catholic Faith, one prayer at a time...

Recently, while having a very civil conversation on a friend's blog regarding the faith, and digging deep into understanding predestination and free will, someone decided to post a very anti-Catholic comment in a response to a comment that I posted, where I admitted to use the Catechism of the Catholic Church as a reference.  Out of respect for my friend's blog, and the topic at hand, which had already taken a turn, I decided that it would be more appropriate to post my response here.

If you would like to get the full context of the discussion and comments, please feel free to visit his blog post, titled Seeker Friendly.  Now....onto the my response....

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.
Lord, there are many people in this world that are actively searching for you.  Many want to know you more and have the desire to share your good news with the rest of the world.  The have the religious zeal that is prayed for during the Fifth Joyful Mystery.  Help them to share your Love in a way that is not offensive, but instead peaceful.  Truly, How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!", Help them to fully live the instructions in Scripture for how to share your good news:

...Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander 1 Peter 3:15,16.

Help to bring them ever closer to the Truth.  Pour into their souls the grace that is necessary to find that Truth, and once they find it, to recognize it.  Thank you God for hearing my prayer.  We love you Lord.  Amen
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Today's Reading Reflection: Holy Orders / Apostolic Succession

Mass is celebrated every day at every hour all over the world. Somewhere on this Earth, while you are reading this blog post, there is a Catholic Mass going on. Every Catholic Mass, around the world, have the same readings from the Holy Scriptures. This way, if you were to attend Mass daily, you would make it through most of the Bible within the span of 2 years.

Today's readings can be found here.

The reading that I want to focus on is the New Testament Reading and the Gospel reading.

1 Tim 4:12-16
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Here we see that Paul is encouraging Timothy to teach the faith, and not let anyone intimidate him or think down on him because of his age. From the text, we can imagine that Timothy is not an older man. Instead, it is likely that his youth may have been seen as a stumbling block for others to take him seriously. As you can see, not much has changed from one culture that existed 2000 years ago to now. We have all, at one point or another, have not been taken seriously due to our age, or how long we have been a Christian (wink).

As you can see in this passage, Paul encourages Timothy due to the special gift that Timothy has. What is the special gift? How did he receive it? Did he receive a vision of God that called him to the ministry? Even if he did, would that be enough? Using context clues, one can definitely see that this gift was not something that he earned. He did not go to school in order to receive this special gift. He received it...

...when the body of elders laid their hands on you [Timothy]

What is this talking about? This is talking about the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Timothy was an ordained priest. He received this ordination from the elders of the church - who were also ordained priests. If you watched the video from my last post, then you can see how this ordination process still exists in the Catholic Church today. What you may not realize, and what is not completely obvious is that the same gift that Timothy received in the Early Church is the same gift that those priests received in the video and resides in every Catholic religious person in the Catholic Church today.

It is a gift not of man, but from God Himself. Jesus Christ ordained 12 men, those 12 men ordained others, with the imposition of hands, and those other ordained others in an unbroken line of succession that exists in the Catholic Church today. Another name for this is Apostolic Succession.

This may seem like I am boasting - and I am partially. Wouldn't you be proud to be in the Church that still retains the gift of Jesus Christ through a properly ordained preisthood? But more than boasting, I am simply telling the truth of a historical fact. The lineage of every bishop, priest and deacon can trace back to Jesus Christ, Himself.

God bless...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows

Today, September 15, the Catholic Church recognizes Mary as Our Lady of Sorrows. When I woke up this morning, I thought of this image above. It is one of the few images that I have seen that seems to best depict the pain that Mary experienced, watching her Son die on the Cross for the salvation of the world. Did she know that it would come to this? Did she know that she was going to watch Her Divine Son be tortured, beaten, mocked at, spat on, then nailed on a tree to die? Yes, this is Jesus our Savior. Mary's Savior. But also, Mary's Son. Her Son that was announced to her by St. Gabriel. Her Son that she nursed. Her Son that she bathed. Can there be anything more terrible than to watch your child suffer and die?

There are 7 sorrows of Mary. They are:
  • prophecy of Simeon
  • flight into Egypt
  • losing Jesus in Jerusalem
  • meeting Jesus on His way to Calvary
  • standing at the foot of the Cross
  • Jesus being taken from the Cross
  • at the Burial of Christ.
For this reason, you may encounter images of Mary with 7 daggers piercing her heart, like this one:

...each dagger representing a different sorrow.
As a Protestant looking at the Catholic Church, I used to think and wonder why is there so much emphasis placed on Mary. If I would have come across this blog, I would have thought, "there goes another Catholic taking attention away from Christ and placing it on Mary". That claim, no longer has any weight.

Mary is nothing without Christ. We would not even be talking about her, we wouldn't even know who she was, except for her relationship with Christ. Even look at the seven sorrows. They are all in relationship to Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church did not choose to place so much emphasis on Mary. God made Mary an integral part of the story of our salvation. By giving honor to Mary, we are in fact, giving honor to God.

God bless...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

If you enjoyed the last video...

Then you are going to love this one. This video was shared with me by a friend of mine who enjoyed the last video. If you are receiving this post through email, use this link in order to watch the video.

I have been sharing it with my family and friends, and they absolutely love it.

Hope you enjoy it.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Another Amazing Video

Although I had heard this advertisement on the radio, I did not know that there was a video that accompanied it. When I first watched it, I cannot express in words how it made me feel. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.

For those subscribed through email, here is a direct link to the video.