Category Archives: CATHOLIC SPIRITUALITY

Does the Church Teach That Only Catholics Can be Saved?

In Revelation, the inhabitants of heaven sing to Christ: “With your blood you purchased for God / those from every tribe and tongue, people and nations” (5:9). The Catholic church affirms this wideness of God’s mercy in Christ, embracing the whole world, desiring with him that “everyone … be saved and … come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tm 2:4). Nevertheless, the Church also recognizes that the gift of salvation must be accepted to be effective, and human beings, having free will, may choose to reject or “ignore so great a salvation” (Heb 2:3).
The Church accept Christ’s declaration about himself: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to Father except through me” (jn 14:6). She also recalls his words to her that warn those who would turn away from her: “whoever rejects you reject me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me” (Lk 10:16).
If Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, and the Church is his Body on earth, we can understand why the Church fathers often declared: “outside of the Church there is no salvation.” Or to put it another way: “All salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body” (Catechism 846). Does this mean that only Catholics can be saved?
The Second Vatican Council made the following affirmations about the possibility of salvation for those outside the Catholic Church:
1. Those who know that God founded the Catholic Church through Christ as the necessary means to salvation, yet still refuse to enter it or remain in it, cannot be saved (see Lumen Gentium 14)
2. “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation” (Lumen Gentium 16, emphasis added)
3. “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men” (Ad Gentes 7).

Reference:
The new American Bible Revised edition. NAB. Fireside Catholic Publishing, Wichita, Kansas.

God is knocking the Door of your heart

The church is a hospital for sinners, not a hotel for the saints. So don’t feel like you don’t belong. We all sin, but the goal in life is to do all you can stop yourself prior to committing the sin. Visit the church that feeds your soul.

To know the will of God is the greatest knowledge.
To find the will of God is the greatest discovery.
To do the will of God is the greatest achievement.
God bless and have a long, happy and healthy life.
Stop for 5 minutes in silence, look around, are you happy with what you see?
If you had the ability to make everything around you better, where would you start?
You have the ability to make a positive difference in your life and in the life of another person.
Get back to the basic-a simpler time-a time where praying, talking to God and Thanking God is high priority.
Do you spend as much time studying the Bible as you do working. fishing, sports, watching TV or even yard work?
Going to church on Sunday and Wed is not enough, we need to be fed daily to be satisfied.
The Bible is the instructions will help us have a closer walk with Him and to be able to effectively help others in their daily struggle.
Do you have a friend that you would take a beating for?
or take the place of someone scheduled to be executed? Jesus did.
He took our place, He died to pay the price for your sins.
How do you repay someone’s kindness?’
Are you working hard to repay debt?
Do this out of love and respect not out of obligation.
Live life with devotion not emotion.
Emotion changes, devotion does not!

written by Anonymous from Bangham Heights Babtist Church.

Have a great day! God bless

WHY DO CATHOLICS MAKE THE SIGN OF CROSS?

The prophet Ezekiel has a vision in which he sees great sins committed by God’s people. But at the urging of heavenly messenger, the Godly men and women who lament the wickedness of their people are marked with an “X” on their foreheads. Bearing that mark, they will be spared the divine judgement that is to come (see Ez 9:1-7)

St. John’s vision in Revelation includes a close parallel to this scenario. Before the angels of judgement are allowed to devastate a wicked world, a seal is placed on the foreheads of “the servants of our God”. Later, this seal is described as the name of Christ and of his Father.

In light of these parallels, many early Christian teachers not surprisingly saw in Ezekiel’s vision a foreshadowing of the ancient Christian rite of Baptism. Baptism, after all, is given “for the forgiveness of … sins”, so that those who have been included – as it still does today- the making of cross with blessed oil on the foreheads of those baptized. (In the Greek version of Ezekiel, the mark is actually the letter Tau, which was written more like an upright cross.)

The corresponding scene in St. John’s vision most likely reflects the Christian baptismal ceremony of his day. This rite included (again, as it still does) the spoken words ” in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”. The sign of the cross on the forehead may also have been part of the rite by that time. As early as the second century, making the Sign of the Cross was a common and well established custom.

Today, this gesture is usually made by drawing the hand from forehead to breast and then from shoulder to shoulder. When Catholics apply holy water to themselves with the sign of the cross upon entering a church, they are recalling their baptism “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of The Holy Spirit”. With the ancient Christian, they use the gesture at other times as well, such as when they begin and end prayers. Each time, they point to Christ’s cross, The Holy Trinity, and the need to sanctify every action.

Reference: The New American Bible revised edition.

WHAT IS ORIGINAL SINS?

Much of language in Genesis’ opening chapter is figurative. Nevertheless, the Catholic church affirms that we find there are a reference to a real event in time that took place at the very beginning of the human race- a tragedy unequaled in history, known as the fall (see 3:1-24). We know few details, but the basic realities surrounding that fateful development are clear from teaching of scripture (here and elsewhere) and tradition.

  • God created our first human parents in a state of holiness, an original justice (righteousness), without sin, and thus without shame (see Gn 2:25). They enjoyed the right and harmonious relationship with God, themselves, each other, and the world around them (see Gn 1: 26-31, 2:8-9, 15, 21-25).
  • Through their own free choice, however, they disobeyed God, breaking fellowship with him (see Gn 2: 15-17; 3: 1-13; Sir 15:14)
  • Their disobedience – a turning away from the source of all life and order – necessarily brought death and disorder into the world, and above all within themselves. so they “fell” from their previous condition to a state of sinfulness, misery and ignorance (see Gn 3: 14-24).  Their human nature was deeply wounded, though not totally corrupted.
  • Our first parents, having lost their original wholeness, could not pass on to their descendants what they themselves no longer possessed. This deprivation is consequently inherited by all human beings and is called “original sins” (see Rom 5: 12-19).
  • Unlike personal sin, resulting from wrong choices of individuals, original sins does not result from our own doing. It is contracted, not committed; we are conceived with it. (see Psalm 51: 7)
  • The sacrament of baptism cleanses us from original sin. It restores us to original righteousness and fellowship with God (see Acts 2:38; 22:16). But after Baptism we are still left with a certain moral and spiritual weakness (concupiscence), so that even though our wills are free, we are inclined to sin – an inclination we must continually overcome by God’s grace (see Rom 6: 19; 7: 15-24).
  • The only two human beings (after our first parents) to be conceived without original sin are our Lord Jesus Christ (see 2 Cor 5: 21) and his blessed mother, whose immaculate conception was possible through the merits of her sinless Son (see Lk 1;28; see also “Was Mary Without Sin?”.

WHAT DOES THE CHURCH TEACH ABOUT HEAVEN

Psalm 42-43 sings of the human heart’s deepest longing: “as the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, the living God. When can I enter and see the face of God?.

Even those who aren’t aware of such a longing – even those who don’t believe in God – yearn to see Him, because he created them for this very purpose. They may search for ultimate happiness in other places; they may mistake this deep desire as longing for something else. but in the end, only God himself will satisfy them.

Our desire for God in fact corresponds to his own desire for us. Though we have broken our relationship with him through sin, he woos us to return from our faithlessness, and he delights in our love (see Hos 3: 1-5; Zep 3: 16-20). if we repent and embrace his offer of reconciliation through his son, Jesus Christ, we are called to a life of grace that transform us into Christ’s own likeness. (see 2 Cor 3: 18).

This new life begins in the present world and continues beyond death if we die in God’s friendship. Once we are perfected,it culminates in eternal joyous fellowship with the most Holy Trinity: “we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 Jn 3:2)

The “beatific vision”, as it’s called – the unending sight of God’s face that grants perfect blessedness – is the full and final union with him we know as “heaven”. Such a communion of life and love with God, shared with all his angels and saints, defies description (see 1 Cor 2:9). But scripture speaks of this mystery in imagery that suggests its perfect goodness and glory: the father’s house (see Jn 14:2-6); a river of life-giving water (see Rv 21:6, 22:1); the heavenly Jerusalem studded with Gold and jewels (see Rv 21: 1-4, 10-21); a crown (see 1 cor 9:25); radiant light (see Rv 21: 23-25; 22: 4-5); a wedding feast (see Rv 10: 7-9).

The Christian hope of heaven anchors and transforms our lives even now, for “everyone who has this hope based on [God] makes himself pure as he is “pure” (1 Jn 3:3).

WHY DOES GOD ALLOW EVIL?

If God is all-loving, all-powerful, and all-wise, why does He allow evil – especially in the lives of holy people? A series of personal calamities provoke job to ponder that questions. In the end, he confesses that he simply cannot answer it: “I have spoken but did not understand; / things too marvelous for me, which I did not know” (Jb 42:3) For Christians, too, evil is a problem we cannot figure out. Nevertheless, our faith provides a number of clues that help us begin to explore the mystery. First, we must recognize that much evil has come about because of sin. Creatures with a free will – both humans and angels – have chosen to turn away from God, the source of life, love, joy, and wisdom (see Rm 3:12, jude 6). In doing so, they have fallen into death, selfishness, misery, and ignorance, bringing great ruin to the world in the process. God allows evil in part because it is necessary risk of creating sons and daughters who are free to love or to not love. And he recognizes that free, loving creatures are such a great good, they more than worth the risk. At the same time, no matter how terrible the evil caused sin, God is great enough, and wise enough, to bring about through that evil an even greater good. (see Gn 50:20, Roma 8:28). The resurrection of Christ in fact a glorious example of how God can create joy from sorrow, beauty from horror, victory from defeat, and life from death (see 1 Peter 1:3-5). Why doesn’t God bring all evildoers to an even now, since they have already had their chance to choose good? Because of his mercy, he delays the final over-throw of the wicked to allow every possibility for their redemption (see 2 Pt 3:9-10). In the meantime, he can use the suffering caused by evil to purify us (see 1 Pt 1:6-9). Finally, we must remember that God is not oblivious to the agonies caused by evil. By joining His divine nature to our vulnerable human nature in Christ, he actually made himself capable of suffering with us and for us (see Is 53: 1-12). In fact, our Lord has experienced the pain and horror of evil to a depth we ourselves will never fully know.

IS PURGATORY IN THE BIBLE?

The writer of Maccabees praises the offering of prayers and sacrifices for the dead (see 12:38-46). Why do the departed need such assistance from us? So that their sins “might be fully blotted out” (12:42)

The final destiny of the redeemed is to live in heaven eternally with God, where “we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 Jn 3:2). Since God is holy, to be like Him we, too, must be holy (see Mt 5:48). Without that holiness, “no one will see the Lord” (Heb 12:14), for “nothing unclean will enter” the glory of heaven (Rv 21:27)

Nevertheless, few  people, even among devout Christians, are fully cleansed of sin and its effects when they die. And God will not reject any penitent sinner, even one who has been notoriously wicked yet repents at the last moment before death (see Lk 23:39-43). How, then, can we enter heaven immediately at death if we aren’t yet perfected in holiness?

St. john tells us that everyone who hopes to be holy as God is holy, and to see him at last face-to-face, makes himself pure, as he is pure” (1Jn 3:3). That process of purification begins in this life as we submit in faith to the dealings of God that help to make us whole. “purgatory” is simply the name given to that process of purification as it continues after death. (like “the Holy Trinity” “purgatory” is a term not occurring in scripture; but the reality it refers to is implied by scriptural truths).

God doesn’t purify us instantly in this life by waving a magic wand, bypassing the cooperation of our free will. So we shouldn’t expect him to do so at our death, either. And since his work to heal us of the effects of sin is usually painful now – just as surgery for our bodily health is painful – the purgatorial process will likely painful as well.

The traditional image of cleansing purgatorial fire comes from such biblical passages as 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, which speaks of those who “will b saved, but only as through fire”” (3:15). The bible also speaks of God’s holiness in this regard as “a consuming fire” (heb 12:29). Yet just as the physician’s cauterizing fire burns in order to heal, so does any pain we might experience in purgatory. In the end, it is a work of God’s mercy.

TRINITY

Everyday we receive the warmth and the rays of sunshine, don’t we? of course we do. thanks to God. (metaphor :  1) God is like the great sun, 2) the word=the son=Jesus Christ is the reflecting the light, 3) the holy spirit= the spirit of God is the warmth you feel when you receiving the light. and all together the sun in only one, but it gives rays of light, and warmth of light and we look up and we truly don’t actually see the actual sun. The same way Christ came as the light and he left us the warmth of the holy spirit of God. We don’t have him here physically but we feel Him in us through the Holy Spirit that works in us to do  be righteous by it. We should love Him with all our might, all our heart, and all our spirit not because of what he has done or will do but because he always loves us.that is why we as human also consist of body, spirit, and soul (mind). we are trinity as God is trinity in one. we are spirit, soul and body and when we see ourselves we are one.

it’s very simple but hard if you see it with carnal mind and not the spiritual blessed from above mind. remember that “jesus christ reply on to them, whatever is impossible to man, it’s possible for God” (Luk 18:27). Man, no matter what advances it has done through time, are limited, science could never explain the spiritual and boundless deeds. and unlimited acts, and creations that God has done and continues doing; remember blessed the poor in spirit because to them will be reveal the kingdom of Heaven and faith and hope be with us unto the promises of our Lord and God. (Matthew 24:35). “the heavens and the earth may past away, but the words of our Lord and God will never pass away”.

inspiring by conversation with one man that striving each day towards sanctification.

God bless!

The Secret of the Rosary

“When the designated time had come, God sent forth His Son born of a woman.” —Galatians 4:4

THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE ROSARY, AND HARD TIMES

As we come closer to the end of the world, the emergence of the antichrist, and the mass apostasy (2 Thes 2:3), we urgently need the Spirit to guide us to the truth of the rosary (see Jn 16:13). The Lord is calling us to rediscover why He gave us the rosary as a form of prayer. After developing for centuries, the rosary was given through Mary to Dominic when he was fighting a losing battle against the Albigensian heresy, which denied that Jesus came in the flesh. This is the spirit of the antichrist (1 Jn 4:2-3). Dominic did not know how to pray as he ought, so the Spirit helped him in his weakness by giving him the rosary (Rm 8:26). And, as Dominic prayed the rosary, an impossible victory was won. We likewise need to claim by prayer a victory which seems impossible.

THE ROSARY, PROPHECY, AND THE BIBLE

Throughout the centuries, Jesus’ disciples have asked the Master to teach them to pray (Lk 11:1). Many people have maintained they had received prophecies or revelations from the Spirit about how to pray. Many of these experiences are authentic, and many are not. We must not despise prophecy (1 Thes 5:20), while at the same time we must test the spirit of the prophets (1 Jn 4:1). The revelation of the rosary is possibly one of the most tested in history.

The rosary is of the Spirit because it is Biblical. The “Our Father” and the “Glory Be,” as well as half of the “Hail Mary,” are straight from the Bible. When we pray the rosary, we are for the most part repeating God’s word. The rosary also has a special relationship to the Psalms. The full rosary is 150 “Hail Marys” representing the 150 psalms. Also, the fifteen mysteries that we reflect on during the rosary are either taken from or based on the Scriptures. Because the rosary is a Biblical prayer in thought, history, and word, we have good reason to discern that it is of the Spirit.

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT (Galatians 5:22-23)

“You can tell a tree by its fruit” (Mt 12:33), and the fruit for those praying the rosary has been exceptional, especially for families. I grew up praying the family rosary nightly, and I can testify that “the family that prays together stays together.” The rosary is a means of inestimable blessings for a family. Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II affirm, “There is no doubt that … the rosary should be considered as one of the best and most efficacious prayers in common that the Christian family is invited to recite” (The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World, #61).

The rosary has also been a way of praying for victory (Lepanto), evangelization (Guadalupe), healing (Lourdes), and peace (Fatima). In effect, the rosary is part of the Spirit renewing the face of the earth.

I had largely given up praying the rosary in my mid-twenties. I thought I was too sophisticated for such a simple prayer. But as soon as I was “renewed in the Spirit,” I was inspired by the Spirit to return to praying the rosary. The first time I ever prayed in tongues was during the praying of the rosary. Also, one of the greatest evangelistic explosions I have ever seen began with a rosary march. The rosary in my experience has borne the fruit of the Spirit.

THE SECRET OF THE ROSARY

When I share these experiences, some people are skeptical, because for them the rosary has not been so Spirit-filled. Possibly, they don’t know the secret of praying the rosary. They know the wording and order of the prayers, but they may not know how to pray the rosary in the freedom of the Spirit. The rosary is especially for simple, childlike, and creative people. The rosary was originally a poor, illiterate man’s way of praying the 150 psalms. He substituted part of Luke 1 for each psalm and in this way prayed the psalms in Spirit, even if he couldn’t read. Then he got his hands into the action by carving out some wooden beads, stringing them together, and fingering the beads. Consequently, the rosary is a “hands on” prayer rather than just a “head trip”.

But even so, the Spirit did teach those praying the rosary to reflect on “mysteries” from the Scriptures, in addition to repeating verses from the Bible and praying with their hands. However, this was also done creatively in the Spirit. For centuries there were many different mysteries to pray and, even though the mysteries are standardized today, there’s no reason why we must limit ourselves to these. We should feel free to pray “new” mysteries.

Furthermore, when we pray individually, we need not always pray ten “Hail Marys” every “decade”. We should begin with the “Our Father” and then pray as the Spirit leads. So a “decade” could be five, nine, twelve, or fifteen “Hail Marys.” When the Spirit calls us to move on, we should thank the Lord for what He’s doing with a concluding “Glory Be” and begin another “decade”.

The Lord blesses Spirit-led creativity in praying the rosary. We see this in innovations such as adding the prayer: “O my Jesus, forgive us…” We also see the Lord working through the rosary of Jesus, the Franciscan rosary, the Scriptural rosary, and the rosary in which we add intercessory prayers before each decade or even before each bead. Also there are many chaplets, which are shortened variations of the rosary.

We may be called not only to be creative in how we pray the rosary but also in where we pray. The rosary is a perfect prayer not so much for the church as for the streets. Despite noise and traffic, the rosary is a way to pray together with others. The streets are where the Holy Spirit sent the church. We should be out in “the highways and byways,” leading people to Christ (Lk 14:23). We are called to put our faith on the lampstand (Lk 8:16) by publicly witnessing to the truth and waging spiritual warfare against abortion, pornography, perversions, and injustices of all kinds. For example, some of the greatest rosaries I have ever prayed have been before an abortion chamber where I’ve seen the Lord save babies’ lives.

These examples indicate that the Lord blesses us when we pray the rosary in the creative freedom of the Spirit. Openness to the Spirit is the secret to deep and powerful prayer, including praying the rosary.

THE ROSARY, COMMUNICATION, AND LOVE

In conclusion, the purpose of any prayer, including the rosary, is to extend our communication with God so as to grow in His love. We talk to God in our own words but what we want to express is often beyond words. So we look for a way to extend our power to communicate. We sing, clap, shout, and gesture. But still our power to communicate is inadequate to express our love for the Lord. We receive the gift of praying in tongues (1 Cor 12:10), but still we need more. The rosary gives us one more form of communication with the Lord.

Thank You, Holy Spirit, for teaching us to pray, giving us freedom and creativity, extending our power to communicate with the Lord, and revealing to us the secret of the rosary.

Nihil obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, March 11, 2002
Imprimatur: † 
Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 14, 2002

The Nihil obstat and Imprimatur are a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free from doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil obstat and Imprimatur agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.

source: www.presentationministries.com

Are the ‘seven deadly sins’ in the Bible?

Though people often speak  of the “seven deadly sins”, the more accurate description is “seven capital vices”. A vice is not the same thing as a sin; rather, it is a habit that inclines us to sin.Usually a vice is the result of  repeated sinful actions of a particular kind, so that a truly “vicious” cycle appears: Sins lead to a habit, which in turn leads to more sins.

the word “capital” comes from the latin term for “head”. A capital vise is thus “head” or chief, among other vices in the sense that it leads to others. Though Scripture contains no explicit reference to seven particular vices as “capital”, we find numerous biblical warnings against these seven : pride, envy, sloth, lust, greed, gluttony, and anger. The wisdom books especially- Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Songs of songs, Wisdom, and Sirach – address them repeatedly.

PRIDE, the reservoir of sin (see Sir 10:13), is the habit of thinking ourselves, and our qualities, more highly than we truly merit. ENVY is the sense of pain or misery indulged in when we see someone else prosper (see Wis 2:24). SLOTH (or acedia) is a kind of spiritual laziness that make us reluctant to do good because it might cost us something (see Prv 12:24).

LUST is the inordinate desire for sexual pleasure that inclines us to see others as objects for our personal gratification (see prv 6:25-29). GREED (or covetousness or avarice) is an immoderate desire for material goods or worldly honors (see ps 119:36). GLUTTONY (or intemperance ) is the excessive desire for, or use of, food and drinks (see prv 23:21). ANGER (or wrath ) in this context refers to the tendency to become angry excessively or without just cause. (see ps 37:8).

The best way to cure a vice is to build the opposite habit through practice; this good habit called a “virtue”.

source : catholic bible publishers. (2011). the new american bible revised edition.wichita: Kansas