Tag Archives: Hell

​The Gates of Hell

 

In the castle of Fontainebleu Napoleon forced the Pope to give up the States of the Church, promising an annual income of two million francs. In the same castle Napoleon was himself later forced to sign an abdication and was promised a yearly income of the same amount. When the Pope excommunicated Napoleon, he answered that the words of an old man would not make the arms drop from the hands of his soldiers. In the Russian campaign, because of the intense cold, this actually happened. He kept Pius VII prisoner for five years; he himself was later a prisoner for seven years. Four days after ordering the union of the States of the Church with France, he lost the battles of Aspern and Erlingen.

    What was the end of the leaders of persecution, schism, and heresy? –Many of the leaders of persecution, schism, and heresy came to a bad end. 

  1. Of the first persecutors, several died violent deaths. The death of Judas is the type for his imitators. It is related that: Herod, the murderer of the Holy Innocents, died in unspeakable tortures. 
    Herod, the murderer of James the Apostle, was devoured by worms.
     
  2. Of the persecutors in Rome, Nero was deposed, and in despair stabbed himself. 
  3. Domitian was assassinated. 
    Hadrian became insane. 
    Marcus Aurelius, despondent over the ingratitude of his only son, starved himself to death. 
    Septimus Severus, whose life had been attempted by his only son, died in despair. 
    Decius died miserably in a swamp, during a battle. 
    Valerian was flayed alive by the Persians. 
    Maxentius was drowned in the Tiber. 
    Diocletian died from a loathsome disease. 
    Julian the Apostate was struck down by a lance on the field of battle, and died crying: “Galilean, Thou hast conquered!”
     
  4. The case of Napoleon is instructive.
    Drunk with power, Napoleon seized Rome in 1808, declaring himself the “successor of Charlemagne”. He banished Cardinals and bishops, and carrying off Pope Pius VII, held him prisoner in Savona. Enemies of the Church exulted: “The Papacy is ended! The Emperor has devoured the Pope!” They forgot the divine promise to Peter: “The gates of hell shall not prevail!”; on that promise was based the ancient saying: “Who eats of the Pope dies like a beast.” On the same day that Napoleon died in exile at St. Helena, Pope Pius VII was celebrating his own feast day in Rome.
     
  5. Heretics and schismatics have shared the same fate. Arius burst asunder during a triumphal procession. Voltaire died in despair. The Greek Schismatics fell under the Turkish yoke in 1453, on Pentecost, the feast of that Holy Ghost about whom they had expressed doubts.Truly history has shown the truth of the words of Holy Scripture; “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31).
    Why can no other church except the Catholic Church be the True Church of Christ? –No other church except the Catholic Church can be the True Church of Christ, because no other church possesses the marks of unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity.Truth cannot change; hence the constantly changing doctrines of non-Catholic churches can not be true. They also differ in their government. Some recognize the temporal ruler as their spiritual head. Others have ministers whom they call bishops, deacons, elders. The majority reject such titles.

  1. There are hundreds of churches and Christian denominations, each different from the others; they do not possess the mark of unity. They differ in even the essentials of faith. They cannot agree, and keep dividing and subdividing year by year. Their only similarity appears to be their opposition to the Catholic Church.Such churches are multiplying. In the United States there are over two hundred religious bodies. They arise, then pass away, to give place to other denominations. Realizing the great handicap of disunity, efforts have been made by various groups of churches to organize. General councils and conferences of different bodies have been held; but there is no vital result for unity. This is of course because, though agreement may be general concerning matters such as social work, beneficent societies, and the like, no agreement can be found in the essentials of faith and doctrine. This is the result of free interpretation of the Bible, and the repudiation of Peter’s successor, Vicar of Christ. 
  2. The denominations and their founders are not holy in the same sense or degree as the Catholic Church and its Founder are holy. Many non-Catholics are upright and good because they have retained many doctrines and practices of the Catholic Church.Many founders of non-Catholic churches were far from holy. Luther, the founder of Protestantism was an apostate friar, who married a nun who had left her convent and turned against her vows. During his life he taught contradictory doctrines, some of them immoral. Henry VIII, the founder of Anglicanism, married five women successively, after divorcing his lawful wife; he had two put to death.No denomination is catholic, or universal. These non-Catholic churches are everywhere, but are different everywhere.A regional or national Church cannot be the true Church, since it cannot teach all nations, as Christ commanded.No heretical Christian denomination is apostolic. The Protestant churches are some 1500 years later than the Church founded on the Rock of Peter.Not even their teachings come down from the Apostles. Their ministers cannot trace their succession from the Apostles. Not one teaches all the doctrines of the Apostles. How then could they be the Church founded by Christ?
    What should be the attitude of Catholics towards those who do not belong to the True Church? –Catholics should observe an attitude of understanding towards them, because the majority of those who do not belong to the True Church are in good faith.

  1. Catholic teachings are not easy to understand at first sight; many Catholic practices require sacrifice. Towards such a religion there is bound to be prejudice.To be obliged to go to Mass every Sunday under pain of mortal sin; to have to confess to a priest, who is another human being like ourselves; to condemn divorce and birth control; to observe fasts and abstinence;-these are not easy doctrines.No wonder in looking for relief, man often, however unconsciously, seeks motives for not accepting the Church that commands its members to obey such precepts, to accept such doctrines.When Our Lord first announced the institution of the Holy Eucharist, many of the disciples said, “This is a hard saying. Who can listen to it?” (John 6:62). And they no longer went with Jesus. 
  2. Catholics should above all try to give good example; nothing is more effective in the eyes of non-Catholics than the exemplary lives led by good Catholics.“Behave yourselves honorably among the pagans; that, whereas they slander you as evildoers, they may through observing you by reason of your good works glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12). Catholics should often pray for the conversion of those outside the Church, praying with the Good Shepherd for only one Fold. 
  3. While avoiding useless discussions that generally end in bitter quarrels, Catholics should try to show the beauty, the truth of the Catholic Church.In our friendly discussions with non-Catholics we should not be always on the defensive, but should try to see whether they can trace the origin of the authority of their ministers to the Apostles, whether their church can be proved the True Church by the possession of the four marks. Often our non-Catholic friends criticise the Catholic Church on account of some devotional practices like holy water, candles, etc., as if such practices belonged to the essentials of faith.

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.God Bless BJS!!

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​Salvation and the Catholic Church

 

Christ said: “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it remain on the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me, he shall be cast outside as the branch and wither; and they shall gather them up and cast them into the fire, and they shall burn” (John 15:4-6). Time has continually proved the truth of what Christ predicted about schisms and their divisions. This is the reason for the fact that they change so often and finally disappear: they are branches broken from the tree, and must wither as He said.

    What do we mean when we say, “Outside the Church there is no salvation? –When we say, “Outside the Church there is no salvation”, we mean that those who through their own grave fault do not know that the Catholic Church is the true Church, or knowing it, refuse to join it, cannot be saved.

  1. All are obliged to belong to the Catholic Church in order to be saved. Christ said: “Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into, the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).The Catholic Church is founded on the Apostles, to whom Our Lord gave the commission to baptize; by Baptism one is made a member of the Church. If then Baptism is indispensable, the Church must be indispensable. 
  2. Christ did not die for a part of, but for all mankind. He did not leave His legacy the Church for the benefit of a few, but for all. Our Lord said: “He who hears you hears me; and he who rejects you rejects me” (Luke 10:16).Since God commanded all to be members of His Church. those who deliberately disobey His command will not be saved. Whoever, through his own fault, remains outside of the Catholic Church, will be lost eternally. 
  3. One who, knowing the Catholic Church to be the true one, leaves it or does not join it because he wants to make a good marriage, to advance his business, or for some other worldly motive, will not be saved. He is a willful and malicious unbeliever.One who leaves the Church or does not enter it because of human respect, or because its doctrines require personal sacrifices, will not be saved. One who belongs to another church and has doubts about the truth or falsity of his own church, but takes no pains to find out the truth will not be saved. “If you believe not that I am he, you shall die in your sin.” 
  4. It is not enough to belong to the Church. We must also live up to our beliefs, otherwise our membership will only work to our greater condemnation. Only those Catholics who, live according to the teachings of the Church will be saved.The Church is a guarantee of salvation to those only who obey it. Unfortunately, there are bad Catholics. We must therefore study our religion and then practice it. God has given us the grace to be members of the true Church; we must not waste that grace. 
  5. Catholics who have committed grave sins such as murder, arson, adultery, etc., are still members of the Church. As long as a Catholic does not deny a doctrine of the Catholic faith, or is not excommunicated, he is a member of the Church.Catholics in grave sin are called dead members, for their soul dead in mortal sin. Nevertheless they remain members, and have the privilege of receiving the sacraments to wash away their sins. Christ Himself predicted that in the Church there would be bad people with the good, cockle among the wheat. Mother Church is a good mother that patiently awaits the return of her sinful children, and does not exclude them from her gifts. 
  6. An excommunicate is one who has been cut off from membership in the Church for some serious sin against faith. He is excluded from the sacraments, from Catholic burial, and from being prayed for in the public prayers of the Church. In order to become once more a, member of good standing in the Church, an excommunicate has to obtain the absolution of the bishop.Catholics who join Masonry, or marry before a non Catholic minister, are automatically excommunicated, if they knew the serious nature of their action.
    NOTE: Some revisions have been made to this 1956 edition watering down the Catholic Doctrine: “Outside the Church there is no Salvation.” Some clarifications need to be made. The use of the word “outside” refers to those who are in the state of Invincible Ignorance of the Church and Invincibly Ignorant of the Doctrine: “Outside the Church there is no salvation”. These invincibly ignorant souls, who cooperate with all the graces God sends them are implicitly INSIDE the Catholic Church. Invincible ignorance is quite rare considering the great availability of the truths of the Catholic Faith in today’s information age.Can they be saved who remain “outside” the Catholic Church[[not official members of the Church, but Invincibly Ignorant of the Church and obey the natural law through the use of their reason, are implicitly INSIDE the Church(RMO)] because they do not know it is the true Church? –They who remain “outside” the Catholic Church[not official members, but Invincibly Ignorant of the Church are implicitly INSIDE the Church(RMO)] through no grave fault of their own, and do not know it is the true Church, can be saved by making use of the graces which God gives them.NOTE: TECHNICALLY, NO ONE CAN BE SAVED WHO IS OUTSIDE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. INVINCIBLY IGNORANT SOULS, WHO COOPERATE WITH ALL THE GRACES GOD SENDS THEM, WHO ARE INVINCIBLY IGNORANT OF THE CHURCH ARE IMPLICITLY INSIDE THE CHURCH. Honestly, in today’s information age, the typical Invincibly Ignorant soul would have to be a native on a primitive island. Most people know the Catholic Church’s basic Doctrines. After all, Protestants protest many Catholic Doctrines so they are very familiar with Catholic Doctrines.

  1. God condemns no man except for grave sin. Therefore He will not condemn those who through no fault of their own are unaware of His command to belong to the True Church[which is quite RARE], provided they serve Him faithfully according to their conscience[However they will be responsible and culpable for what they should know given the information available to them], have a sincere desire to do His will in all things, and therefore implicitly wish to become members of His Church. They are members of the Church, in desire [and they must also be INVINCIBLY IGNORANT of the Catholic Church and the Catholic Church’s Doctrine: “Outside the Church there is no salvation”].baptized Protestant, of Protestant parents, lives all his life a Protestant without ever having a doubt that he is in the wrong. Before death he makes an act of perfect contrition for the sins he has committed. Such a man will be saved, for he dies in the state of grace.[However this Protestant is responsible and culpable for what he should know, given the information available to him. It is unthinkable that this Protestant has never heard the Catholic Doctrine “Outside the Church there is no salvation”.] 
  2. It is possible for one that has never even heard of Jesus Christ to be saved, for God “wishes all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4) and “Christ died for all” (2 Cor. 5: 15) . In order that such a one may be saved, it is required that he observe the natural law; with the help of God; everyone having the use of reason can do that.Whoever then obeys the natural law will be enlightened by God, at some time in his life, with the grace with which he can make an act of Divine faith. If he makes good use of this grace and firmly believes whatever God has revealed, he will receive the further graces with which he can make the acts of hope, repentance, and charity that must precede before God will bestow on his soul sanctifying grace, with which he can merit eternal life. 
  3. The fact that it is possible for those “outside” the Church to be saved[those who are not official members, but are INVINCIBLY IGNORANT OF THE CHURCH, which is quite RARE, are actually implicitly INSIDE the Church, for if anyone is to be saved, it will ONLY be BY and THROUGH the Catholic Church] should not make us lose sight of the great disadvantages they are under, as compared with Catholics who live in the full light of Divine revelation. Such persons have not the infallible Church to guide them in what they are to believe and do in order to serve God. They have to live without the Sacraments, Holy Mass, and Holy Communion, and the other countless sources of grace which the Church supplies for the sanctification of its children, those professed Catholics who are members of the body of the visible Church.These disadvantages should make us Catholics realize more fully the many reasons we have for humbly thanking God for the priceless blessings we have received without any claim or merit of our own. They should also spur us on to give Him a more worthy service, and help spread our Faith.

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.God Bless BJS!!

​Indefectibility of the Church

 

The Catholic Church will endure to the end of time, for it is founded on a rock. The powers of evil will beat in vain against it. They will break themselves and perish, but the Church will remain, indefectible. The testimony of almost two thousand years proves the perpetuity of the Church. Nothing that malice and envy could invent; nothing that the world, the flesh; and the devil could do have been left untried in the past 1900 years. Still the Church is with us, exactly as Christ founded it, and stronger than ever.

 

    What is meant by the indefectibility of the Catholic Church? –By the indefectibility of the Catholic Church is meant that the Church, as Christ founded it, will last until the end of time.The Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary that Christ “shall be king over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:32-33) 

  1. Christ meant His Church to endure to the end of the world. It is to be indestructible and unchanging,-to possess indefectibility. Christ, God Himself, could scarcely have come, and with such incredible pain and labor have founded a Church which would die with the Apostles.He came to save all men. Those to live in future ages needed salvation as much as the people of Apostolic times. 
  2. Christ said to Peter: “Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). By the “gates of hell”, He meant all the power of the devil-all kinds of attacks, physical violence as well as false teaching.Christ promises here that the Church would be assailed always, but never overcome. This promise of Our Lord has been proved for almost 2000 years by the facts of history. Not one of the persecutors of the Church has prevailed over it. On the contrary, many of them have come to a fearful end. There will always be Popes, bishops, and laity, to Compose the Church; the truths taught by Our Lord will always be found in His Church. 
  3. After telling His Apostles to teach, all nations, Christ said: “Behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world” (Matt. 28:20).As the Apostles were not to live to the end of the world, Christ must have been addressing them as representatives of a perpetual Church. 
  4. The Apostles themselves understood Christ to mean that His Church should endure. After organizing Christian communities, they appointed successors in their place, to live after them and carry on the Church.The Apostles instructed these successors to ordain in turn other bishops and priests. All these acts were to assure the perpetuity of the Church. 
  5. Christ intended the Church to remain as He founded it, to preserve the whole of what He taught, and the shining marks which He gave it in the beginning. If the Church lost any of the qualities that God gave it, it could not be said to be indefectible, because it would not be the same institution. Indefectibility implies unchangeability.Our Lord promised to abide by the Church, to assist it, and to send the Holy Ghost to remain in it. God does not change: “Behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world” (Matt. 28:20). 
  6. Because of its indefectibility the truths revealed by God will always be taught in the Catholic Church. St. Ambrose said: “The Church is like the moon; it may wane, but never be destroyed; it may be darkened, but it can never disappear.”St. Anselm said that the bark of the Church may be swept by the waves, but it can never sink, because Christ is there. When the Church is in greatest need, Christ comes to its help by miracles, or by raising up saintly men to strengthen and purify it. It is the bark of Peter; when the storm threatens to sink it, the Lord awakens from His sleep, and commands the winds and the waves into calm: “Peace; be still!”
    Has the Catholic Church actually proved itself indefectible? –The Catholic Church has, throughout its long history, proved itself indefectible, against all kinds of attack from within and without, against every persecution and every heresy and schism.As its Founder was persecuted, so the Catholic Church has been and ever will be persecuted. “You will be brought before governors and kings for my sake” (Matt. 10:18). “And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake” (Matt. 10:22). “No disciple is above his teacher, nor is the servant above his master” (Matt. 10:24).They will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues” (Mark 13:9). “They will arrest you, and persecute you” (Luke 21:12).

     

  1. The Church survived three hundred years of incredible persecution under pagan Rome. Of the 33 Popes that ruled before the Edict of Milan, 30 died as martyrs. That mighty Empire, with its colossal strength, before whose standard the nations quailed, could not kill the infant Church or stop its progress. In a short time the Popes were ruling where the imperial Caesars had issued edicts against the Christian Church.The Roman Empire waged ten fierce persecutions against the Church, but could not destroy it. In the year 313 the Emperor Constantine was converted, and granted the Church freedom by the Edict of Milan. 
  2. Then for two centuries hordes of barbarians swept upon civilized Europe, destroying the old Roman Empire. The Church not only survived, but converted and civilized the barbarians.God’s ever-watchful providence brought about the conversion of the Frankish king Clovis, with a great number of his warriors. This was the beginning of the firm establishment of the Church in the Frankish kingdom, although missionaries had gone there from the first century. In the eighth century St. Boniface converted Middle and Northern Germany, until then the home of violent paganism. 
  3. For nine centuries Mohammedanism threatened Christian civilization. It was the Church under the Popes that urged the nations to league against Mohammedanism.In the sixteenth century the Mohammedan menace was removed. 
  4. Not only non-Christians, but its own rebellious children have persecuted the Church. From the beginning heresy has attacked it from within. And still the Church lives, greater than ever, changeless, indefectible.The long history of the Catholic Church is attended by schism and heresy, but each attack has only strengthened it. It has continued to live and spread in spite of everything and everybody. 
  5. The Church is the Bride of Christ, cast into prison, starved, thrown to the beasts, trampled underfoot, hacked, tortured, crucified, and burned. But this fair Bride emerges from it all in the bloom and freshness of youth, serene, calm, immortal.

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.God Bless BJS!!

​The Resurrection

Fifth Article of the Apostles’ Creed

 

 

“Now late in the night of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary come to see the sepulchre. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord come down from heaven, and drawing near rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment like snow. And for fear of him the guards were terrified, and became like dead men. But the angel spoke and said to the women, Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen even as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord was laid’ ” (Matt. 28:1-7).

    What do we mean when we say in the Apostles’ Creed that Christ descended into hell? –When we say that Christ descended into hell, we mean that, after He died, the soul of Christ descended into a place or state of rest, called limbo, where the souls of the just were waiting for Him.

     

  1. Christ did not go to the hell of the damned, but to the “hell” of the just. In Holy Scripture, it was called “Abraham’s bosom”. St. Peter called it “a prison”. We call it limbo.

    Among the souls in limbo were Adam, Eve, Abel, Noe, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob; Joseph, David, Isaias, Daniel, Job, Tobias, St. Joseph, and St. John the Baptist. They went to heaven at Our Lord’s entrance upon His Ascension.

     

  2. Christ went to limbo to announce to the souls waiting there the joyful news that He had reopened heaven to mankind.

    “He was brought to life in the spirit, in which also he went and preached to those spirits that were in prison” (1 Pet. 3:19). The souls in limbo could not go to heaven, which had been closed by Adam’s sin. It was only reopened to man by the death of Our Lord, by the Redemption. The souls in limbo did not suffer pain, but they longed for heaven. After the release of these souls from Limbo, and their entrance into heaven, this Limbo for the just souls ceased to exist.

    While His soul was in limbo, Christ’s body was in the holy sepulchre. When man dies, his soul is separated from the body. When Jesus died, His body and soul were separated, but His divinity remained united to both body and soul.

    Christ’s body did not corrupt in the tomb. It was in the holy sepulchre from Friday evening when He was buried, to Sunday morning, when He arose from the grave. This is why we say Christ rose on the third day, although He was in the grave for only three incomplete days.

    When did Christ rise from the dead? –Christ rose from the dead, glorious and immortal, on Easter Sunday, the third day after His death.

     

  1. Christ had often foretold His resurrection.

    He said of His own body; “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). Before entering Jerusalem He said to His Apostles that He would be put to death and “rise again on the third day” (Matt. 20:19). On the night of the Last Supper He said: “But after I have risen, I will go before you into Galilee” (Matt. 26:32).

     

  2. Even His enemies knew that He had predicted His resurrection. This is why they obtained Pilate’s permission to seal the sepulchre and set guards to watch it.

    They said to Pilate: “Sir, we have remembered how that deceiver said, while he was yet alive. ‘After three days I will rise again'” (Matt. 27:63).

     

  3. Today the entire Christendom celebrates Easter Sunday in memory of the Resurrection. It is the Feast of feasts, commemorating the completion of our redemption by Christ.

    Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon of spring; the feast therefore is moveable, and can fall between March 22 and April 25, The Paschal season lasts till Trinity Sunday; till then the joyous alleluia resounds.

    Why did Christ remain on earth forty days after His Resurrection? –Christ remained on earth forty days after His Resurrection to prove that He had truly risen from the dead, and to complete the instruction of the Apostles.

     

  1. Christ’s resurrection is an undoubted fact on which rests the Christian faith.

    St. Paul says: “If Christ has not risen,”vain then is our preaching, vain too is your faith” (1 Cor. 15:14). And according to St. John, an eyewitness: “Many other signs also Jesus worked in the sight of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:30-31)

     

  2. In the first place, Christ really died. His death was witnessed by many, both friends and enemies. It was proved by the soldier who plunged his spear into His side. It was communicated officially to Pilate. His bones were not broken, because He was found already dead. His Mother and disciples would never have buried Him had they suspected the least chance of life.

    Some unbelievers urge that Christ was dead only in appearance and after an interval recovered from His swoon and left the grave. The loss of blood following the scourging alone would have been enough to cause death, not to mention the wounds He received on the cross.

     

  3. In the second place, Christ really came to life. On the first Easter morning He appeared to Mary Magdalen and the other women who sought Him at the sepulchre. Then He appeared to Peter. In the evening He walked with two disciples on the road to Emmaus. At night He appeared to the assembled Apostles.

    Nor were these witnesses easily deceived. The Apostles did not at first believe the women who told them the Lord had risen. They would not even believe their own senses, thinking the risen Saviour was a ghost. Christ had to call for something to eat, to prove that He was not a ghost. St. Thomas refused to believe the other ten Apostles, who had seen Christ first. He only believed when Our Lord appeared to him and bade him touch His wounds.

     

  4. The Jews bribed the guards to say that while they were asleep, the disciples had stolen the body of Christ.

    Such an act was made impossible by Christ’s enemies themselves. They had sealed and guarded the tomb. “So they went and made the sepulchre secure, sealing the stone, and setting the guard” (Matt. 27:66). Even supposing the guards to have fallen asleep, the great stone which covered the sepulchre could not have been moved without waking some at least of the guards. Finally, it is a remarkable circumstance that the guards were not punished for this breach of duty.

     

  5. Christ really arose from the dead. For forty days He appeared to many. He conversed, walked, and even ate with them. He spent much time instructing the Apostles.

    One of His most important appearances was to five hundred disciples on a mountain in Galilee, when He gave the Apostles the command to go forth into the world and teach. The Evangelists have recorded nine apparitions: but it is evident from their writings (for example, Acts 1:3) that there were other and unrecorded occasions when Christ appeared. Countless of Christ’s followers laid down their lives in testimony of the truth of the resurrection. “During forty days appearing to them, and speaking of the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.
God Bless BJS!!

Mortal Sin

 

Mortal sin is the greatest evil in the world. It separates us from God. Because of our mortal sins, Jesus Christ suffered agonies and died on the cross. To strengthen our resolution not to commit sin, we should remember also that even a single mortal sin is enough to send us to hell.

 

What is mortal sin? –Mortal sin is a grievous offense against the law of God.

     

  1. Any wilful thought, word, action or omission, in serious violation of God’s law, is a mortal sin. Examples of mortal sin are blasphemy, wilful murder, adultery, arson, robbery, etc. Mortal sin occurs as soon as God is no longer our final end in our thoughts, words, and actions.

    Each mortal sin we commit is a three-fold insult to Almighty God: it insults Him by rebellion or disobedience, by ingratitude, and by contempt.

     

  2. Circumstances of person, cause, time, place, means, object, and evil consequences enhance or decrease the guilt of the sin.

    Thus mortal sins, although all mortal, differ in the weight of their guilt.

Why is this sin called mortal? –This sin is called mortal, or deadly, because it deprives the sinner of sanctifying grace, the supernatural life of the soul.

     

  1. Without sanctifying grace, the soul is displeasing to God, unclean, and can never behold Him or be with Him in heaven.

    Without sanctifying grace, the soul is without God; and without God, the devil makes the soul his habitation. “Know thou and see that it is an evil and bitter thing for thee to have left the Lord thy God” (Jer. 2:19).

     

  2. The sinner loses charity towards God and his fellow-men, and by the weakening of his will and the darkening of his intellect, is liable to fall into other mortal sins.

    The devil cries to his subordinates, “God hath forsaken him; pursue him and take him, for there is none to deliver him” (Ps. 70:11).

     

  3. Without sanctifying grace, the soul is truly “dead”; and if an adult dies in that state, he will suffer the torments of the damned.

    The word “mortal” comes from the Latin mors, which means death. St. John Chrysostom said, “Sinners are dead while they live, and the just live after they are dead.”

Besides depriving the sinner of sanctifying grace, what else does mortal sin do to the soul? –Besides depriving the sinner of sanctifying grace, mortal sin makes the soul an enemy of God, takes away the merit of all its good actions, deprives it of the right to everlasting happiness in heaven, and makes it deserving of everlasting punishment in hell.

     

  1. Man was made for God, and what an awful calamity it would be to become His enemy! It would be as if the food which was made to support and sustain man should all of a sudden turn to poison him instead.

    Through mortal sin, the sinner becomes a stranger to divine love, and to the love of neighbor; his heart turns cold because he has put out the flame of charity by grave sin. His reason, a gift of God, is obscured, and he fails to perceive the things of God. Thus a sinner the more he sins, becomes more insensitive to evil; his will is finally so weakened that all conscience is lost, and he falls into greater and greater sins more and more easily.

    “Adulterers, do you not know that the friendship of this world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of this world becomes an enemy of God” (Jas. 4:4).

     

  2. During all the time that the sinner remains in mortal sin, all his good works do not help him to heaven: he earns no merits until he gives up his state of mortal sin.

    As the Apostle says, “If I give my body to be burned and have not charity, I am nothing.” One who falls into mortal sin may be compared to a merchant coming into his home port, laden with all kinds of treasures collected from abroad, upon which he has spent years of labor and incalculable wealth. Just as he enters the harbor his ship is torpedoed, and he saves nothing for all his trouble. In a similar manner, one who dies in mortal sin gains nothing, however numerous the good works he may in life have performed.

     

  3. However numerous the merits previously earned by the sinner, however many his good works, if he dies with only one mortal sin on his soul he goes to hell forever.

    Is this not something to be feared? It is because mortal sin presupposes a hatred of God. Let us be reasonable men, and consider the utter folly of selling our birthright, God and heaven, for the mess of pottage that is sin and its effects. “Then he will say to those on his left hand, ‘Depart from me, accursed ones, into the everlasting fire'” (Matt. 25:41).


What three things are necessary to make a sin mortal? –To make a sin mortal, these three things are necessary:

First, the thought, desire, word, action, or omission must be seriously wrong or considered seriously wrong. – The matter must be grave, something very important.

A slight act of vanity or impatience is not serious matter, but murder is. Things seriously evil are known to be such from Sacred Scripture, Tradition, the teachings of the Church, or from their nature.

Second, the sinner must be mindful of the serious wrong. – He must have full knowledge and reflection or attention, and know that what he does is grievous.

The person must know the malice and evil of what he is doing. A man who steals a precious diamond ring in the belief that it is glass has not full knowledge. A man who throws a lighted match thoughtlessly aside may throw it into a gasoline tank and cause an explosion, but he has not full attention. “For I formerly was a blasphemer, a persecutor and a bitter adversary; but I obtained the mercy of God because I acted ignorantly, in unbelief” (1 Tim. 1:13).

Third, the sinner must fully consent to it. -He must do it of his own free will, saying deliberately, “I will do this.”

When one realizing what he is doing, still freely does it, he gives the matter deliberate consent. Therefore infants and idiots cannot commit mortal sin; they cannot fully realize what they do.

Is mortal sin a great evil? –Mortal sin is a great evil, the greatest evil in the world, a greater evil than disease, poverty, or war, because it separates us from God.

“But they that commit sin and iniquity are enemies to their own soul” (Job. 12:10).

     

  1. It is a rebellion against and contempt of God, the blackest ingratitude towards Him.

    Our heavenly Father gave us everything we have, and in return we offend Him. We desecrate His temple. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16). By mortal sin a vile and insignificant creature offends and insults the infinite Creator.

     

  2. It is crucifying Christ again, “since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God and make him a mockery” (Heb. 6:6).

    We can never fully realize the malice of mortal sin. We can get a small idea of it by remembering that God sent His own beloved Son to suffer untold agonies, to save us from its consequences.

     

  3. Mortal sin must be a most terrible thing indeed to make a just and merciful God create hell for the everlasting punishment of the rebellious angels and of sinners who die with even only one mortal sin.

    Even considering only its temporal penalties mortal sin is great folly. Upon it follows moral disquiet; the sinner loses the serenity and cheerfulness of the just soul. “The wicked are like the raging sea, that cannot rest” (Is. 57:20). Sickness and want are often consequences of sin, as well as loss of a good reputation.

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.
God Bless BJS!!

​The Devils/Temptation

 

It was the archangel Michael who led the good angels: “And there was a great battle in heaven; Michael and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels. And they did not prevail, neither was their place found any more in heaven” (Ap. 12:7,8).

 

What happened to the angels who did not remain faithful to God? — The angels who did not remain faithful to God were cast into hell, and these are called bad angels, or devils.

“Depart from me, accursed ones, into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41).

 

  1. We also call them demons or fallen angels. Led by the most excellent of the angels created by God, Lucifer or Satan, the bad angels refused to obey God when He tested them. God did not give them a chance to repent, but cast them at once into hell.

    “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer. … Thou saidst in thy heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, … I will be like the Most High,'” (Is. 14:12-14). Jesus said, “I was watching Satan fall as lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18).

     

  2. God did not create devils, but glorious angels. The rebel angels turned themselves into devils by their sin.

    By one grave sin against God these angels of light became vile demons, and were condemned to hell for all eternity. We should draw a lesson from this and determine never to sin.

     

What is the chief way in which the bad angels try to harm us? — The chief way in which the bad angels try to harm us is by tempting us to sin.

 

  1. The bad angels tempt man and try to draw him away from God. Often the devil appears as an angel of light, and we are tempted by evil which appears good. Under this guise the devil is most dangerous.

    “Be sober, be watchful! For your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet 5:8-9).

     

  2. Without God’s permission, the devil can do us no harm. God sometimes permits the devil to tempt just men, to cleanse them from imperfections.

    Our Lord Himself was tempted by the devil. God permitted Job to be harmed bodily by the devil. Saint Anthony, Saint Teresa, and many other saints suffered from the temptations of the evil one. But these temptations only drive the just to greater love of God. “The life of man is a warfare” (Job. 7:1).

     

  3. Sometimes devils are permitted to enter the body of a man, exercising power over his faculties; this is called diabolic “possession”. At other times devils torment one from without; and this state is called diabolic “obsession”.

    When God permits diabolic obsession or possession, it is to show in some way His glory, or to punish sin, convert sinners, or provide some means for the practice of virtue.

     

  4. In cases of diabolic possession or obsession, the aid of the Church should be sought; for the Church received from Christ the power of exorcism. This is the act of driving out or warding off evil spirits. It is only with the permission of his bishop that a priest is permitted to exorcise evil spirits.

     

  5. The Church forbids Catholics to have anything to do with spiritism. This is calling up the spirits of the dead.

    Some manifestations are spirit-rapping, table-lifting, slate-writing, apparitions, communications through mediums in a state of trance. Most of the spiritist seances are fraudulent, but sometimes the devil manifests himself. God can permit the souls of the dead to return to earth. But there is no indication that He permits Himself to obey mediums. The devil may sometimes impersonate the spirits of the dead. Satan is old and skillful in deceit, and can assume the appearance of an angel of light.

     

Do all temptations come from the bad angels? — Some temptations come from the bad angels; but other temptations come from ourselves and from the persons and things about us.

 

  1. This is what we mean when we say that temptations come to us from the flesh, the world, and the devil.

    The evil inclinations of our weak and corrupted nature tempt us to sin. The world, with its sinful wants and vanities, tempts us to sin. The devil goes about continually tempting us, making use of both our nature and the world for his evil purposes.

     

  2. In itself, temptation is not a sin. It becomes sinful only when: (a) we bring it upon ourselves by carelessness or overconfidence; (b) we play with, take pleasure in, or yield to it.

    The greatest saints have often been most strongly tempted. Our Lord even permitted Himself to be tempted. Thus we see that temptation is not a sin, because we are not responsible for it.

     

  3. God permits us to be tempted in order to try us, to let us win an eternal reward.

    God subjected the angels to a test. Those who passed it are now enjoying Him in heaven, their reward. “Because thou wast acceptable to God, it was necessary that temptation should prove thee” (Tob. 12:13).

    God permitted the devil to tempt our first parents. Temptations serve to keep us humble. God permits all mankind to have temptations but never temptation beyond their strength to resist. “God is faithful and will not permit you to be tempted beyond your strength” (1 Cor. 10:13).

     

  4. The stronger the temptation, the greater the graces God gives for its conquest.

    The conquest by the saints of wicked temptations have made them greater saints. Christ Himself was tempted by the devil, to gluttony, to avarice, and to pride. He wanted to show us that by resisting we may rise to greater love of God. Good men who art worried because so many temptations assail them should remember that ants quickly gather over a jar of honey; the devil strives to catch the good, because he is already sure of the wicked.

     

Can we always resist temptations? — We can always resist temptations, because no temptation can force us into Sin, and God will always help us if we ask Him.

The length of time during which a temptation persists does not make it sinful, if we continue resisting it. A temptation may attack us all our lives, but as long as we fight it, or pay no attention to it, as long as we do not yield, we commit no sin. We have not been conquered, and God will reward us for the good fight.

 

  1. No temptation can do us harm if we obey God’s laws and keep away from sin. If we resist, temptation will flee from us.

    Our lot for all eternity depends entirely on ourselves. God votes for heaven; the devil votes for hell. The deciding vote is ours. Shall we vote for heaven or for hell? “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

     

  2. When assailed by temptation, one must at once resist. It is easier to conquer temptation at the beginning than later on, just as a fire is easier to put out at the outset.

    Since nothing can be done without divine grace, one must pray. One must imitate the Apostles who had recourse to Jesus when a storm arose. Let him say at once, “Lord, make haste to help me!”

     

  3. Some remedies against temptation are:

     

    1. Watchfulness and prayer.

      “Watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation” (Matt. 26:41). Avoid idleness, keeping always occupied, either by work, or by wholesome recreation. If evil thoughts enter the mind, think of other things, in this way ignoring the temptation.

       

    2. Frequent confession and Holy Communion.

       

    3. Devotion to the Blessed Virgin and the Guardian Angels

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.

God Bless BJS!!

Sobriety and Serenity

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I use to think sobriety was just about not drinking and trudging through life and trying to tell people not to do what you did. Today I know that sobriety for me is a simple equation.

Being Dry + Serenity = Sobriety

But what is serenity? Better still how do I find it, reach it, etc? By definition serenity is the state or quality of being serene, calm, or tranquil; sereneness. Serene is calm, peaceful, tranquil; unruffled. The word originated in between the late 1400s to early 1500s. It came from the latin word serenus which was in reference to weather and a clear sky.

For me serenity comes with a realization that the only thing I have power over in many situations is my emotions,  my actions, and most of my thoughts. Serenity is an inner peace attained by letting go and letting God. This is where I come to qualms with the program of AA.

A higher power, is merely a descriptive term for God, it does not identify who the true God is. There is only one God, for all of us, whether one accepts Him as God or not; it is the triune God with His three natures the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. I understand that AA is a program of attraction rather than promotion. And for good reason, to save individuals from the disease of addiction no matter what they happen to believe in.

However what good is it to have a sober life when your soul is damned for eternity?  Let’s be realistic,  when we die we either go to Heaven or Hell, forever. If one used a scale to measure their life, with the things they were suppose to be doing in order to know, love, and serve Our Creator to get to Heaven; and they started at zero (which is untrue from original sin, but lets say we start at zero), then addictive behavior or alcoholism would put them in the negative.

Achieving sobriety therefore, cancels out addiction and removes that distraction from our lives. However, it does not set us on the path that Christ Himself gave us through the Church He established. Sobriety may give us a clearer mindset, but it does not give one the Faith. AA is a program based on mostly charity (which is essential,  but not the only requirement for salvation), and a touch of spirituality.

Sober living is wonderful, in just the short time I’ve been sober I have learned and gained appreciation for so much.  Being sober is the way one should be to make life decisions. But what good is a sober life if it is not used to glorify the One True God? Being sober is not the end all be all. And being sober without the Faith established by Christ is likened to trying to catch up to someone running down the street by jumping on a treadmill.

Another big saying in AA is that it is a program of progress not perfection. I have to disagree here too. Most everyone has heard the phrase, “practice makes perfect” but what if one is practicing (whatever they are doing), the wrong way? Should not the phrase be modified to say, “perfect practice makes perfect?” 

We are not saints, the point is we are willing to grow along spiritual lines…”, A.A. HOW IT WORKS

Why can’t we strive to be saints? Is this not what we are called to be? I understand the humility of this statement, could it be modified to state that we are not saints but we are striving to be in the eyes of Our God?

“Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48

Considering how many examples of saints are across the world in all the ages…even if one were to not believe about one example of a story they hear about a saint; there are too many accounts of people in all places and times, testimonials from Catholics, Protestants, and people from all different beliefs converting because of these Catholic saints!

Saints who so loved God and did His will that they actually had supernatural abilities!! Testimony after testimony after testimony…all over the world!

“Otherwise believe for the very works’ sake. Amen, amen I say to you, he that believeth in me, the works that I do, he also shall do; and greater than these shall he do.” John 14:12

Sobriety is undoubtedly a good thing. When, like all good things, it is used for the glory of God. Why all for Gods glory? Because we have absolutely no right to claim anything as our own. Not even our own bodies, it’s all His, everything is His. We are living on borrowed time, why? Because He loves us and wants us to be with Him.

All good comes from God as we know, but have we given that obvious statement much thought? If all good comes from God then the things that are not good do not come from God. The things that appear as good are deceitful lies that steer us away from God to Hell. Sobriety is the tool we have to see through the lies. This is how we discover objective truths, and this is how we find God and how to serve Him the right way.

Truth is in history, its in day to day activity,  its in everything. The truth about what things really are, what truly matters and what matters not is where you find God and from God and His Will you can achieve true serenity, true happiness, and true life for eternity. His Will is not easy according to the comforts of the world and society, and it’s because the world lies to us. It makes us comfortable so the devil can take us from Him who made us.

True serenity is found in doing the Will of God. Doing otherwise leads to impossible expectations that don’t get met and get people angry, lustful, or drunk. Sorting through the world of chaos and finding His Will for us will lead us to a perfect peace we will never know here.

God Bless BJS!!

Where are the elements needed for Eternal Salvation?

“He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day“.John 6:55

“Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.” John 6:54

If it is a matter of indifference  what a man believes,  assuming he is a “decent person” then it was absolutely  useless for God to make any revelation.  If someone is free to reject what God reveals, what purpose was it for Christ to send forth His Apostles and disciples to teach all nations, if those nations can freely believe whatever they desire? This would be insulting to the very nature of God. If God makes a point to reveal something through Divine Revelation (by miracle or prophecy) He wants it to be believed. Mankind is bound by his conscience among other things, to believe what God has revealed. Man is also bound to worship God with his reason and intellect along with his heart and will.  God owns everything He has given  us, we are only stewards of these gifts in our lives and are to use them for His glory alone and not ours.  There should be no man and certainly not a Christian who rightly asserts that we are not bound to believe what God has has revealed and taught.  This religious indifferentism (more in a later writing), is heretical to everything Christ has put before us as our God, and is a rejection of the one true religion revealed by Him. 
True Faith as stated by the majority of Protestants, is to believe in the Lord Jesus.  Catholics agree with this as well, they share the belief that Jesus is the Son of the Living God and that we must believe all that He has revealed and taught us to have True Faith.  Without which, there is no salvation, no hope of Heaven, and eternal damnation as we have Jesus’ own words for it.  If Jesus under that pains of Hell commands me to believe what He has taught, then He must provide a means in which to learn and understand His teachings.  This has to be a means that is present at all times, through all ages, and to every type of person smart or ignorant, all over the world.  This means must teach without error, because if it did not, it would surely not be a means for salvation at all. Both Catholics and Protestants state that Christ has provided such a means, but where they differ is the means in and of itself.  Protestants state it is the whole Bible and nothing but the Bible, while Catholics state it is the Church of the Living God.

Suppose God had intended for mankind to learn His religion from a book. Would not have Jesus given us all books? Perhaps, He would have instructed His Apostles to “write Bibles and give them to everyone so they can figure out what works best for their salvation.”  Instead Christ said, “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” If Christ had stated the former, there would have been no Christianity, just confusion.  As we can see from history however, THAT did not start happening until the 16th century.  Ever since then, religion after religion, and church after church popped up all fighting against each other due to private interpretations of the Bible.

Christ never even gave His Apostles the command to write anything down.  They went forth and preached everywhere, planted the Church of God throughout the earth, never writing during Our Lord’s time on Earth.  

1.) St. Matthew – wrote about 7 years after Christ left the Earth for the benefit of a few people. So there was a Church that had already existed for 7 years prior to that.

2.) St. Mark – wrote about 10 years after Christ.

3.) St. Luke – wrote about 25 years after Christ.

4.) St. John – wrote about 63 years after Christ. And he wrote the last portion of what is in the Bible, the Book of Revalation, about 65 years after Christ. So the Catholic (comes from Hebrew “Catholo” or universal), Church had existed for 65 years prior to this point.

If anyone during anytime was to be considered Christian, it was these direct followers of Jesus Christ Himself.  They were the pillars on which Christ built His Church.  How were they suppose to know how to achieve salvation if they were in the process of writing parts of the Bible?  Would Jesus have left His Church 65 years without a teacher if the Bible is suppose to be that?  The answer is no, God would not do that.  Out of these men, maybe St. John read the Bible, but no other did, everyone of them died martyrs and heroes for the Church of Jesus Christ.  They knew how to save their souls just as true Catholics do today, from the teachings of the Church of God.

For over 300 years the Church that Christ established at the Last Supper spread itself all over the world without the Bible.  No one even knew what books constituted the Bible at this time.  During the time of the Apostles many false gospels and epistles were being spread.  Gospels such as Simon, Nicodemus, of Mary, of Barnabus, and the Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus were all being spread amongst people who had no way of knowing which were truly inspired and which were false.  Even those more learned disputed their validity.

In the 4th century the Pope of Rome, Head of the Church, succesor of St. Peter, brought together all the Bishops of the world into a council.  The decision was made to decide which books constituted the Bible which is how we Catholics have it now.  The Gospels that did not display sufficient evidence of Divine Inspiration from the Holy Ghost were rejected.  Until this point in history the Bible was unknown to the whole world.  There was no Bible to guide anyone.  It is impossible to believe that Christ would leave the human race without a book for salvation if that was His intended means to learn His religion.  And not just for 300 years was the Christian world left without the Bible but for over 1400 years!

The printing press was invented in the middle of the 1400s, about 100 years before there was a Protestant in the world.  Before the printing press was invented, Bibles were rare and costly things.  Historians will tell you that only about 1,000 years ago, Bibles were so rare and costly that it took a fortune for one to buy himself a copy.  Everything had to be written by hand with pen, upon parchment or sheepskin.  It was very tedious, slow, and costly.  Historians also state that it took approximately 20 years to hand copy a Bible, if someone were paid even just a dollar a day that would amount $8,000.  With todays standards of minimum wage that would be well over $300,000!  How could people afford such a thing so necessary to the salvation of their souls?  Before printing it is estimated that not even 1 in 20,000 people owned a copy of the Bible.  Why would Jesus make it so hard for men if He intended for the Bible to be the end all be all for eternal salvation?

Supposing that every person did have a Bible, what good would it do those who could not read?  As the Bible was also written in Greek or Hebrew, what good would it do for someone who could not understand these languages?  Even as today it is translated into English, French, and many other languages; how are we to know whether or not these translations are faithful to the original text?  If they are not, then it is no longer the Word of God but a false translation.  Most people have to depend on the opinions of the learned.  But if learned opinions vary and often contradict one another on how the Word of God is to be translated, than who is correct?  There are a great number of Protestant layman, preachers, and bishops, who have written whole volumes on errors contained in different versions, the King James Version alone is said to have over 30,000 errors.  How can one be so sure of eternal salvation with 30,000 errors?

Assuming the problem of unfaithful translations is completely out of the picture, and everyone had enough money to procure faithful translations of the Word of God for use in private interpretation; who’s interpretation is correct?  How are you to save your soul if you hesitate and doubt certain people’s interpretation of Scripture?  Throughout the world there are over 350 different denominations or churches that all state the Bible is their guide and teacher.  However, just as truth is one, God is one, there can be no contradiction.  Protestants state that the man who reads the Bible right and prayerfully has truth, and they all say they read it right.

Scenario:

Let us suppose there is an Episcopal minister.  He is a sincere, honest,, well-meaning and prayerful man.  He reads his Bible in prayerful spirit, and from the word of the Bible, he concludes that it is clear there must be Bishops.  For without Bishops there can be no priests, without priests no Sacraments, and without Sacraments no Church.  The Presbyterian is a sincere and well-meaning man.  He reads the Bible also, and deduces that there should be no bishops, but only presbyters.  “Here is the Bible to give you the lie,” says the Presbyterian.  Yet both of them are prayerful and well-meaning men.

Then the Baptist comes in.  He is a well-meaning, honest man, and prayerful also.  “Well,” says the Baptist, “have you ever been baptized?”  “I was,” says the Episcopalian, “when I was a baby.”  “And so was I,” says the Presbyterian, “when I was a baby.”  “But,” says the Baptist, “you are going to Hell as sure as you live.” 

Next comes the Unitatrian, well-meaning, honest, and sincere.  “Well,” says the Unitarian, “allow me to tell you that you are a pack of idolators.  You worship a man for a God who is no God at all.”  And he gives several texts from the Bible to prove it, while the others are stopping their ears that they may not hear the blasphemies of the Unitarian.  And all of them contend that they have the true version of the Bible.

Next comes the Methodist, and he says, “My friends, have you got any religion at all?”  “Of course we have,” they say.  “Did you ever feel religion,” says the Methodist, “the spirit of God moving within you?”  “Nonsense,” says the Presbyterian, “we are guided by our reason and judgement.”  “Well,” says the Methodist, “if you have never felt religion, you never had it, and will go to Hell for eternity.”

The Universalist next comes in, and hears them threatening one another with external hellfire.  “Why,” says he, “you are a strange set of people.  Do you not understand the Word of God?  There is no Hell at all.  That idea is good enough to scare old women and children,” and he proves it from the Bible.

And now comes in the Quaker.  He urges them not to quarrel, and advises that they do not baptize at all.  He is the sincerest of men, and gives the Bible for his faith.

Another comes in and says, “Baptize the men and leave the women alone.  For the Bible says, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. “So,” says he, “the women are all right, but baptize the men.”

Next comes in the Shaker and he says, “You are presumptuous people.  Do you know that the Bible tells you that you must work out your salvation in fear and trembling, and you do not tremble at all.  My brethren, if you want to go to Heaven shake, my brethren, shake!”

End

So in this scenario we see seven or eight different denominations, all differing from each other as to what is essential for salvation.  All using whatever version of the Bible, illustrative private interpretation to justify their reasoning, and opinions.  What if one were to bring over 350 different denominations that exist in the world?  All taking the Bible as their guide and teacher, and all differing from each other.  Are they all right?  Some believe in Hell, some do not.  Some believe Christ is God, others do not.  Some believe Baptism is essential, some do not.  All cannot be true.

Who, then, is correct?  He who has the true meaning of the Bible?  The Bible never tells us who holds the true meaning, it never settles that quarrel because it is not the teacher.  The Bible is a good book, we Catholics admit the Bible is the inspired word of God (Jesus being the actual Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us), the language of inspiration, but your explanation of the Bible is not the language of inspiration.  Your understanding of the Bible is not inspired, for surely you do not pretend to  inspired!

When the Constitution in the United States was established George Washington did not say, “Let every man read the Constitution and make a government unto himself.  Let every man make his own explanation of the Constitution.”  If Washington had done that, there would have never been a United States, it would have been a Divided States.  Instead the Constitution along with Supreme Law, was given to the American people.  A Supreme Court and Judges were appointed to provide the true explanation of the Constitution for everyone from President to homeless Veteran.  In fact its a three tier check and balance system (3 is a good number, remanant of The Blessed Trinity), if anyone takes the Constitution and laws into their own hands and are not kept in check, anarchy ensues.

Every government is of this way, a Constitution and a Supreme Court or Judge that gives the meaning of this Constitution.  Someone visible that you can go to, lay complaints or questions before.  Our Divine Lord established His Supreme Court, His Supreme Judge, “Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18)  It gives us the true meaning of Scriptures, The Son of the Living God has pledged His Word that His Court is infallible, and therefore, the TRUE Catholic never doubts. 

“I believe,” says the Catholic, “because the Church teaches me so.  I believe the Church because God commanded me to believe her.”  Jesus said:  “Tell the Church.  And if he will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican.”  (Matthew 18:17)  “He that believeth you believeth Me.  He that despiseth you despiseth Me.”  (Luke 10:) Sadly everyone despises the Church nowadays and there has always been great adversity towards it.  The Catholic believes because God has spoken, and upon the authority of God.

Protestants say, “We believe in the Bible.”  They understand it to the best of their opinions as those who came before them (most broke off from the Church for some personal gain), and use private interpretation.  This is only a testimony of man, therefore it is only human faith, not Divine Faith or taking God’s Word for something.  It is Divine Faith alone by which we give honor and glory to God, by which we adore His infinte wisdom and veracity.  That adoration and worship is necessary for salvation.

God Bless, BJS
Parts of this blog were taken, adapted, and abridged from a sermon given by Fr.  Arnold Damen, S.J. (1815-1890)