The Reality of Christ, Here, Now

Jesus said that He would be with us always, even til the end of the age. Was He being for real? Can I take Him at His word? If I can’t then, bluntly, I either need to find another faith or give up on faith all together. Because if Jesus isn’t trustworthy Christianity is a shame. But, from experience, I know that He is true to His word. So, how about this being with me always thing?

Remember what Jesus said to Thomas when Thomas saw Him after having doubted? “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” John 20:29. Keep these words in mind.

If Jesus is really here, well, where is He? Why can’t I see Him? Can I go to Him? I mean if He is here someplace I should be able to get there from here otherwise He isn’t here. This could make my head ache. Lets keep it simple.

Given everything else He said and did I know He’s true to His word. So this is a matter of figuring things out. With His help. He doesn’t make His Truth so hard to see, find, or understand that we can’t know it. He was constantly explaining Himself to His followers when, for example, He told a parable. Keep that in mind as well. And considering that I have agreed to follow Him, making me one of His followers, I’m gonna trust Him to help me understand this. “But if any of you want wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men abundantly, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5, Douay-Rheims Bible.

Read the sixth chapter of the Gospel according to John. Jesus makes some rather wild statements here. I’m not going to quote them all, I’m just going to say what He said in my own words. Saves me time and effort AND it should create in the reader a desire to read and find out for sure and for themselves. It’s important for people to do that. Think. If Jesus, God Almighty, your Creator and Savior, is here someplace on earth it ought to be important enough to you to read a Bible chapter.

In John 6 Jesus says plainly that His followers MUST eat His flesh and drink His blood in order to have life. When He said that many questioned the statement and walked away. Many still do. Others, rather than walk away, make Him say something He didn’t. They’ll say that He was being figurative and not literal. They’ll say that if it doesn’t make literal sense it’s not meant to be taken literally. Let me tell you something. No one speaks for God unless He gives them the ok. As far as I know the only people He gave this power to, the power to speak for and represent Him, were the folks who followed Him while He was ministering. See and read Luke 10:16. And I can see from the rest of the New Testament that this authority was handed down. Folks were always going to His Apostles and others, aka the Church hierarchy, for info and clarification and these guys handed this power on to others, in a formal way that was clearly visible and understandable to others, so that things would continue as they should without the world and His followers loosing sight of the Light that is a needed guide for our salvation. (All that means there is a real, visible Church with a real, visible head that has real, visible authority and that authority comes from God.) But back to that eating flesh and drinking blood comment He made.

Consider. In every other instance, when He spoke in a parable, when He meant a thing as figurative, He always explained it to His followers. This time there was no explanation. And that’s because He meant what He said. So, without explanation, He simply repeated what He had said and then, as so many walked away, asked His closest companions if they, too, would leave. Now I don’t doubt that these men didn’t fully understand the import of His words but they did have faith enough to stay. Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:68.

To continue. At what we term the Lord’s Supper, the night before He died, He took bread, broke it and said, “This is my body …” Then He took the cup and said, “This is my blood …” He also said to the Twelve who were with Him, “Do this in remembrance of me.” See Luke 22 and the other Gospel accounts of this meal.

Several things happened here. In telling these men to do this in remembrance of Him he gave them the power and authority to do it. (“DO THIS …”) If He didn’t it was a pretty lame statement. Consider also that He did not say anything about anyone else having the power or authority to do it. And He said nothing about it being figurative. (“THIS IS MY …”) Just like John 6 He offered no explanation because He was speaking literally and no explanation was needed. The other things that took place at that point were the literal transformation of that bread and wine into His Body and Blood. Don’t tell me He can’t do that or that He can’t give men the power to do it. He gave these guys the power to cast out demons, cure the sick, raise the dead, speak for Him with binding authority (Luke 10:16 and Matthew 18:18 along with Matthew 16:19), and forgive sins. (See John 20:23 for a clear statement as per the forgiveness of sin by the power of Christ through men. And remember what disbelieving folk said when Jesus forgave sins in Luke 5. See Luke 5:21. People, some anyway, still repeat this claim. In doing so they limit God’s power and deny His word, teaching as “doctrine” their own conceptions. Don’t fall into this disbelieving group. *!whew!* Enough of that. Sounds like fodder for yet another post. 🙂 ) He can do what He wants, He’s God. Lets not limit Him, ok?

Lots of well-meaning people say that we should take the Bible literally unless to do so makes no sense. But they give themselves the authority to decide what makes sence and what doesn’t. Funny how they can give themselves that right and deny it to others. Think: Papal authority. Well, food for thought and another post. Anyway … The result of their personal authority to define doctrine and explain scripture? Hundreds upon hundreds of denominations all teaching something different, all claiming to teach God’s truth. Fella, somethin’ just ain’t right here.

The only real reason to reject the Real Presence of Jesus in that bread and wine that gets changed into His Body and Blood (Hey! We just figured out how Jesus stays with us, how to find Him, and where He is! Yeah!) is to say it makes no literal sense. Ok. If I can’t belive anything that doesn’t make sense literally then I can’t believe that Jesus cured a man born blind by just touching him, I can’t believe that He raised up a dead man, I can’t believe He changed water into wine, I can’t believe He was/is God in the flesh, and I can’t believe in the Resurrection. Hey, NONE of these things, along with a big bunch of others, make real sense. So how can I believe? Real simple. One five letter, one syllable word: FAITH. It takes faith to believe in the Virgin Birth, faith to believe that God made everything out of nothing, that He loves me, that … I hope you get the point. Don’t be like Thomas. Just because it still looks like bread and wine don’t fall for appearances.

There is one last point. Someone, somewhere will refer to Matthew 24:11 where Jesus warns us about the coming of false “Christs” and how people will say, “He is in the desert!” or “in the secret place!” He said not to be deceived. He said that His coming would be just like lightning that flashes from the east and is seen all the way into the west. Matthew 24:27. Just a thought, an observation here. Sounds pretty visible, in no way isolated, even world-wide in scope. I understand that He’s speaking about His return here, His Second Coming. But you know, lots of things can be taken more than one way, can have multiple layers of meaning. Lots of depth, you know? Scripture, God’s truth in general, is just like that. Having said that I’ll say this. The last time I checked? His priests, the ones to whom the authority to change that bread and wine into His Body and Blood has been given? The ones who have received, in an unbroken line, (History, Church history, real Church history concerning the real Church. To much to get into here. I invite you to crack a book.) this gift? This Apostolic Ministry? They’re still saying Mass worldwide, 24-7. Kinda like lightning flashing from the east to the west. Highly visible and not hard to find.

One last thing. A couple of lines ago I invited you to crack a book. Know what? The Church Fathers, those  guys the Apostles themselves trained and taught? The ones you would expect to know what they were talking about? They all taught that the bread and wine were literally changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus. The teaching, the doctrine, the truth, the real and abiding presence, goes back two thousand years. I guess He meant it when He said He’d be here with us always.

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Published in: on July 31, 2012 at 9:35 am  Comments Off on The Reality of Christ, Here, Now  

The Immaculate Conception

The Immaculate Conception. A wonderful truth, often misunderstood. Many people think that “Immaculate Conception” refers to the Virgin Birth. This is a misunderstanding. The Virgin Birth refers to, well, the Virgin Birth. The Immaculate Conception is a reference to Mary and her having been conceived without sin in order to prepare her as a proper mother for Jesus, God in the Flesh. This idea, that Mary came into being without sin, draws criticism from some. There are questions about it that sometimes seem to disprove the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. The questions are valid. The real issue is: Are there valid answers to the valid questions? Lets see …

Question #1: “The Bible says that all have sinned. So how could Mary be exempt? It says “all”. To say anything else denies God’s word.”

Answer: Several things come to mind here. First, when a person uses the word “all” do they always mean to be taken literally? An example here. Lets say that when I was 8 years old I got up at 7 a.m., got ready for school, went to school, got back home about 3:30 and went to bed at 8. Later, lets say around 9 p.m., my Grandmother (my grandparents raised me) tells my Grandfather that I’d been a bad boy all day. I’d gotten into trouble twice at school, had been smart with her, hadn’t eaten my vegetables and THEN used a dirty word. I had been bad ALL day long! (Just a note here. All of this is nowhere near far-fetched. You should have known me when I was 8.) Now my Grandfather would understand her meaning. Obviously I hadn’t been bad every second of the day. And the day wasn’t over and I was asleep when she said it. She used “all” to make a point. So we can see that it’s not always meant to be a literal thing or usage. But did Paul mean it to be taken literally? He is the one who wrote it. See Romans 3:23.

It’s important to remember here that there are two kinds of sin aside from mortal and venial. The first is original sin inherited from our first parents Adam and Eve. The second type of sin is personal sin. This isn’t something we inherit, it’s what we do ourselves. So lets take them one at a time.

Did Paul mean original sin? Well, what can we learn from the Bible? Does it teach that everyone is born with original sin? Think about it. Was Jesus born with original sin? No. But someone will say, “That’s not a fair comparison because Jesus is God and besides that Paul says that He was just like us in ALL things EXCEPT sin.” (See Hebrews 4:15.) Ok, that’s reasonable. But was there ANYONE in the Bible born without original sin? And the answer is yes there was. Adam and Eve were created perfect. They never knew original sin, only personal sin. So Paul couldn’t have been speaking literally about original sin.

“Ok, so he wasn’t talking about original sin, he meant personal sin.” Really? Remember that personal sin is a sin that the individual commits. Has there ever been a person who never committed a personal sin? No? What about aborted babies, murdered in the womb? What about people who’ve never had the right use of their mind, aka human “vegetables”?

So the Bible does not teach that everyone, ALL, literally have sinned. There are exceptions. Remember also what the Angel Gabriel said to Mary, “Hail, full grace.” (Luke 1:28.) Full of grace doesn’t leave room for anything else. Which raises another question …

Question #2: If Mary was sinless why did she need to be saved? She said, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” (Luke 1:47.) Why would anyone without sin need a Savior?” Good question. Consider the following example …

You and I are standing next to the street. I step off the curb and I’m hit by a car. You rush me to the hospital and I live when otherwise I’d have died from the injuries. Did you save me? Yes, you did. OK, back on the curb again. I start to step off the curb, you see the car, you pull me back just in time and I escape injury. Did you save me? Yes.

The point to the above is that salvation can be of two kinds. Both are from God, Jesus. One is “curative”. This is what He does for sinners, what He’s doing for me right now. The other is “preventative”. This is what He did for Mary by keeping her FROM sin. He is a needed Savior either way. He was and is her Savior. But that doesn’t have to mean He saved her “in” sin. It could just as easily mean He saved her “from” sin. Either way its HIM Who is the Savior and does the saving. And in either case there is the need to be saved.

So, given the above, we can see the validity (or at least I would hope folks can see the possible validity) of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Just don’t read all this and get the wrong idea about me. I’m not smart and I’m not right. It’s not about me and never has been. Everything I know I’ve been taught. It’s about God who is all-knowing and its His Church, the One Holy Roman Catholic Church, that’s right.

Amen and amen.

Published in: on July 28, 2012 at 8:30 am  Comments Off on The Immaculate Conception  
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The Motorcycle Prophet

I have for decades referred to Jonah as the motorcycle prophet. I began calling him that long before electronic ignitions. You had to kick-start motorcycles back then. Calling Jonah the motorcycle prophet made more sense then. God had to kick-start Jonah to get him going. If you’ve read the book you know what I mean. If not, well, go read it now. Its only four short chapters covering about two pages. I love Jonah. He is so human. So … me. God sends him to Nineveh. What does he do? Jumps a ship going in the opposite direction. I can hardly blame him. Nineveh was famous. Infamous. When they caught an enemy, and the Jews were their enemies, they would skin them alive and tack the human hides to the outside of the city wall as a warning to others. But going in the other direction never leads away from God. He is bigger than direction. Get to that someplace else and guess what? God is there too. So much for running. I’ve done some running, jumped a couple of ships trying to get away, in my life. Where did it get me? Well, I wasn’t swallowed by a big fish like Jonah. By the way, that was a blessing and not a curse because being swallowed like that and then tossed up (and I do mean tossed up) on shore was how God kept Jonah from drowning. And the shore? A lot closer to Nineveh than Jonah’s boat trip would’ve taken him. But back to me and my running. Happily I ran right into the arms of a loving Father. Funny how He works things like that out. I thought He’d be to busy looking after the other 99 sheep to come looking for me. Me, running, looking over my shoulder, trying to get away. Looking over my shoulder, looking at my past, is what tripped me up. God was in front of me where I wasn’t looking. In front. The Good Shepherd always leads the way for His sheep. Me and Jonah. Where’s that electronic ignition when you need it? 😉

Published in: on July 25, 2012 at 6:40 pm  Comments Off on The Motorcycle Prophet  
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Catholic Haydock Commentary – veritasbible.com

Catholic Haydock Commentary – veritasbible.com.

The Douay-Rheims Holy Bible with Fr. Haydock’s commentary. A wondeful resource and I decided to share it here.

Published in: on July 24, 2012 at 1:18 pm  Comments (1)  
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Thinking on the our Last Things: #4

The Four Last Things: #4 … Hell.

Well, here it is. I can’t say I saved the best for last. This is something to fear. And the reason to fear hell, in part, is the same reason for fearing death and judgement. We are not made for hell. That is one of the things that makes it such a horror. I say horror. I can no more understand hell fully here and now than I can Heaven. I’m satisfied with my ignorance of hell. I hope to remain in eternal ignorance of it. To be honest about it I do have to admit that I’ve always wanted to see it. Just a glimpse, like the little shepherd children at Fatima. I’ve always felt that if God would let me look at it I would live better. But I suppose, and this thought comes as I type it (one more good reason for me to blog, I learn as I go), that He wants me to live for Him out of love and not fear. So I guess I shouldn’t want to see it. I ought to draw nearer Him instead. The closer I get to Him the further I am from hell. What is hell? It’s a little hard for me to define. Oh, there are theological and dictionary definitions. Those aren’t what I need. I need this to be personal. I need to know what it is I don’t want. What I don’t want, that is hell for me. I don’t want “alone”. Down time is good, even needed. But this is another kind of alone. No God. Ever. Separated from life and the Author of life, the Source of life, Life Itself, for ever and ever and ever and … This aloneness knows no end, no spring break. Hmmm. No spring. There’s life again. No life. Not just a lack of companionship and consolation but the mock consolation of a myriad others, human and fallen angel alike, and their hate-filled companionship in place of God and His Love for eternity. There are so many other things, words I could use. I don’t want darkness, I don’t want a void from Truth, I don’t want pain and suffering of a type that goes clear through my being for all time and beyond time. I don’t want tears of agony, I don’t want to hear the shrieks of all the others as I add my own. I don’t want … This sounds nightmarish. It should. And more. All the nightmares of all the world for all time would not, could not compare to one one trillionth of a nano second in hell. I exaggerate you say? Maybe. I’m content not to know. I don’t want to ever know. Happily He doesn’t want me to know either. Probably one more reason He doesn’t show it to me. I’m good with that.

Published in: on July 20, 2012 at 4:38 pm  Comments Off on Thinking on the our Last Things: #4  

Thinking on the Four Last Things: #3

The Four Last Things: #3 … Heaven.

Ahh. Things take a turn for the better. Something pleasant. Death and judgement can be, indeed are, scary. There is a valid reason for the fear. We weren’t made for either one. But we were made for Heaven. Probably why we find a variation of it in just about every religion and culture. Earth was to be our school-house, I think, to get us ready for a higher level of being and experience. And it still is. But the point here isn’t earth. It’s Heaven. What is Heaven? A place of perfect happiness. What makes for perfect happiness? We’re with God, we see God, we experience God. God makes for perfect happiness. It would be impossible to live in His presence and not know perfect happiness. The key word here is “live”. A soul that’s dead, even if in a living body, won’t be happy there. It’s own lifelessness would be its own torment. But I don’t want to think about the dead here. Let the dead bury their dead. Here we concentrate on life and the living. Heaven is perfect because God is perfect. All perfection, all happiness, all contentment, all truth, all life, all love originate with Him. Therefore He and He alone is the perfect expression of all these and infinitely more. All of Him and the union of my soul with Him, my having received Him eternally in Heaven even as I do here now on earth via the Holy Eucharist, my being united with God, my “owning” God if you will (for He gives Himself to me even as He gave Himself for me), this and more than the mind can understand, more than the eye can see, more than the tongue can tell given all of eternity to do it, this is Heaven. In Heaven I shall possess God in direct proportion to my growth in Him during this life on earth. This is called “reward”. Rewards vary, but if you are happier than me we won’t know it, it won’t matter because we’ll both be as happy as we can be. All contests of ego, “I’ve got more than you’ve got!”, will have ended. This is to experience God without interruption and without any distraction. This is Heaven. This is the Beatific Vision.

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Published in: on July 18, 2012 at 4:40 am  Comments Off on Thinking on the Four Last Things: #3  
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The Letter From Beyond

The Letter From Beyond.

In today’s world of doubt and the flaunting of both disdain and disrespect for God’s true religion EVERYONE should read this.

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Published in: on July 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm  Comments (2)  

Thinking on the Four Last Things: #2

The Four Last Things: #2 … Judgement.

After death comes the Judgement. Judgement comes twice and at two different times. The first is immediately after death and is refered to as the “personal” judgement. Its called that because that’s what it is. The person dies, the human spirit goes back to God Who gave it, and is judged as an individual then and there. The second judgement, called the “general” judgement, occurs at the time of the resurrection of the dead. I’ve heard it said, and this sounds logical, that the first judgement is very much between God and myself. My life, good and bad, is shown to me and I am allowed to both see and understand it’s impact on me, Him, and our relationship. My Heaven or hell is decided at this point. The general judgement is of a different kind and for a different reason. Everything not washed away by the Blood of the Lamb is seen in its entirety so that we can all see and understand the great effects of sin on not only self, God, and that personal relationship, but so that the true nature and horror of sin with all its reverberations, it’s effects on others and creation as a whole, will be understood so that the justice of God will be seen for what it truly is. His justice is just. Nothing will be a matter of guess-work at either judgement. Both will be flawless, fair, and final. Judgement is not a complicated issue. Every human being can understand the concept. There is, I believe, a reason for that. The understanding of “judgement” is programmed in just like the need for God and the natural fear of the un-natural state we know as death. Again, the individual’s Heaven or hell is settled at the personal judgement right after death. This is the one we need to concentrate on, the one we need to get right. Get the first one right and the second one takes care of itself. Better put: Get the first one right and He’ll take care of both you and the second one.

Published in: on July 14, 2012 at 6:11 pm  Comments (3)  
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Thinking on the Four Last Things: #1

I have, in the past, dealt with the four last things. Death, judgement, Heaven, hell. I feel to dwell on each a little more, to consider them again. These are like all of our Catholic Truths. We can never exhaust their meaning, depth, or profundity. With these things in mind I’ll begin here, in the order listed above.

The Four Last Things: #1 … Death.

Has a rather final sort of ring to it, doesn’t it? And so it should. The great equalizer. It happens to us all, sinner and saint alike. Even Jesus died. So, just exactly what is death? Well, I’m given to understand that death comes in two types. There is spiritual death. This is the separation of the human spirit from God the Divine Spirit. The cause of spiritual death is sin. In the garden of Eden, while they were sin free, Adam and Eve walked with God. He gave them only one commandment and that was to not eat the fruit of a certain tree. That”s all He asked of them. And He warned them that if they did eat it they would die on that very day. Well, we all know the story. They ate the fruit and as a result were no longer able to walk with God as they had before. They were separated from Him. Spiritual death is a separation of man from God caused by sin. Separation. Is it any wonder that God hates divorce? The second type of death is physical death. This seems, in the natural realm, much more blatant because it is so noticable. Physical death raises quit a stink. You can’t miss it. Physical death results when the spirit goes back to God Who gave it. In other words the human spirit leaves the human body. Again, death is a separation. And once again the cause is sin. A good point to make here is that death is not final. Man can be put back in right standing with God through Christ. This means that he lives again in the spirit. Physical death will also be overcome. Every human spirit will, at the Resurrection of the Dead, be put back in the human body it came from and each person will live again. The question is this: When the resurrection occurs, will the spirit that is put back in the physical body be alive or dead? The answer to this question can only be yes or no and can only be settled in this human life upon earth. After physical death the spiritual reality of life or death will be settled once for all and that for all eternity. There are no “do overs”. If I don’t get life right before death there will be no second chance. And that is, in part at least, because God gives me chance after chance here and now. I have heard that God is a God of the second chance. As many second chances as I need so long as I live. So long as I live. Then … Death settles it. Death is a separation, a dividing line if you will. God made His choice for me on Golgotha’s mound. I have this life to decide which side of the line I prefer to be on. Which is more than I deserve. I should keep in mind that He was not obligated to me in any way. What He did and does He did and does out of love for me. This proves His Mercy and Kindness. I should also keep in mind that my next breath is not guaranteed. What He does for me proves His Love for me. What I do with that will prove my love or lack of love for Him and settle my eternity here and now. And after death comes the …

Published in: on July 11, 2012 at 11:26 pm  Comments Off on Thinking on the Four Last Things: #1  
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An Important Thought From Pope Paul VI

Detaching oneself from the past causes uneasiness, anxiety, and instability.

The above links you to a thought from Pope Paul VI. It’s a good thought, worth reading, worth thinking about. Pope Paul VI was the pope when I converted. I have a special attachment to him.

Published in: on July 11, 2012 at 7:40 am  Comments Off on An Important Thought From Pope Paul VI  
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