Tag Archive: Bible


 

 

 

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This weekend was powerful. Yes, that is the word to describe it: powerful. This is the third year in a row where I attended a young women’s retreat with the campus ministry of St Augustine, sponsored by the Universities of Miami and Gainsville, FL. Though I’m long past being a college student, these retreats have been so meaningful, revealing things about God and myself.

Last year was bitter. Bitterness mixed with sweetness in the three days I described as “like holy week” a dismal crucifixion of myself leading to resurrection. This year, praise God, was sweetness, and as I said, power. The goal of this retreat was first, listen to God, be open to his call. This is especially important for my vocational discernment, which has had its fair share of ups and downs, mostly due to my own stubbornness. It seems that even when God puts a good, beautiful thing in front of me, I deny it in my own pride. And this hurts Him more than anything. With this retreat, I vowed no more. No more saying I was too unworthy or not strong enough. We aren’t called because we are worthy or because we can do it. If so, the world would be filled with careless priests, nuns, monks and married couples who are very strong and very worthy but horrible at what they do. There is a certain power in weakness, in saying “No, God I can’t do it but I trust you anyway.”

The second goal of the retreat was to examine my spiritual motherhood of priests. How well have I been praying for the ones God entrusted to me? Have I served their needs selflessly- or used ulterior motives? Unfortunately, along with the selflessness, those selfish motives can trail behind, the awful thought of “Aren’t I so wonderful for doing this?” The first morning reflection coincidentally (or not) was on Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac. I decided to take my spiritual sons and offer them back to God, asking him to even remove them from my care-if it pleased him. The best way we can honor what God gives us is to offer it back to Him.

The retreat had a huge overarching theme that hit me over the head: Behold the Lamb of God. It started at Mass. As the priest lifted up the broken host and chalice, saying “Behold the Lamb of God” I looked into his eyes. Focused on the Eucharistic Lord held up before him, there was longing, anticipation, and excitement. My heart began to pound as I imagine the priest’s excitement. It wasn’t until the second Mass that God led me to understand. This anticipation was Christ’s own anticipation, of communing with us, becoming one with his bride. More specifically, it’s how he feels about me. At last, I could tangibly see and feel the love of God, taste and see the goodness of the Lord and after 6 years in this journey, it led me back to where I began, in the Eucharistic presence.

After the Mass, I drew a picture of what Jesus had conveyed to me. The Ecce Agnus Dei with streams of water pouring out. The book of Revelation (ch 21 and 22) speaks of a spring of water, the water of life, flowing from the throne of God and from the Lamb. In the power of the Mass, the waters of life are opened and pour out upon all creation. We, who are thirsting for God, for life, happiness and meaning, come and drink. It is the only thing that will satisfy us, the only thing for which we are truly made: A glimpse at the face of God. This powerful message is what propels us towards a new way of life and being.

Mixed into the passages about the streams of water in revelation, is profoundly nuptial imagery. At that time, the new Jerusalem is shown to St John, beautiful as a bride bedecked in jewels, free of all stain, lovely to behold! Wherever we hear “behold the Lamb” we should also hear “behold the bride”. Jesus is not only the sacrificial lamb who takes away our sins, he is the Bridegroom who thirsts for us. The great thirst we feel in times of desolation is but a taste of the thirst God has for us. We almost are brought to feel His own passion and thus, it’s in those times, we are conformed to His heart in a special way. The anticipation of Jesus before we receive communion is the same anticipation a bridegroom feels before the moment of the wedding. If we understood how deeply Jesus longed to be in our hearts, we would faint from love! His love for us is unquenchable. He will go to the ends of the earth, through unspeakable torments then to hell and back for us. He did it once before…

 

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.”

And let everyone who hears say, “Come.”

And let everyone who is thirsty come.

Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.”

–          Revelation 22:17

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Late at night, into the wee morning, thinking, I began to reflect on what has always been my favorite story from the Bible: The account of Joseph and his brothers who beat him and sold him into slavery. All out of what? For jealousy… Merciless, cruel and unable to see their own gifts and blessings, Joseph’s brothers attacked him, nearly killed him and sold him to a band of Egyptians to be a servile slave. I always remember feeling such joy at the end of this account, however, as Joseph tricked his brothers, revealed his new-found power to them and forgave them. Joseph’s tale is a curious one, full of coincidences, tragedies, vivid dreams and godly wisdom. The figure of Joseph suddenly stuck out in my mind as a figure of the Catholic Church. Let me explain.

Christ chose the Catholic Church to be his people, an heir to the Eternal Father in heaven. He has adorned her like a bride in a coat of many colors. He has showered favor upon her and the promise, “I will be with you always”.  People outside the Church look on and wonder why God has blessed and favored something so small, so bumbling and unworthy.  “Why not us?” wise men say, “and not this silly child who believes in sacraments, miracles and  antiquated doctrine?”

Back in ancient Rome, when pagan religion was deemed most-sensible and most-sacred, Catholics received mockery, spite and yes, relentless jealousy. “What of these fools who love eachother!” cried the counsel or senator even while handing them over for punishment. The reason for this punishment? Jealousy. How dare these people call themselves blessed, favored of the Father- and yet refuse to worship our auspicious gods? How dare they claim to be reborn when everyone knows death is inevitable? How dare they eat bread called “heavenly” and drink wine called “salvation”?

The Romans were not unique. Every age has hated the Catholic Church and sought to beat it down, or at least sell it into some sort of slavery. How can God’s people be free if the head of state chooses their bishops? How can they call themselves blessed with their necks under the sword? How can they feast if everything is taken away from them- even their lives? Many decry religion for causing bloodshed and oppression while forgetting the numerous religion-less regimes that robbed multitudes of people from dignity, freedom, happiness and life.

The Catholic faith is Joseph, taken into the field, beaten and sold as chattel. Like the younger prince sometimes kills off his older brother, heir to the throne, out of envy, the general brotherhood of people has traded in Christendom for false freedom and glory.

Now, let us approach the second part of Joseph’s story and how it relates to the Catholic Church. Rising somewhat to prominence, the virtuous Joseph is accused of rape after refusing the advances of Potiphar’s wife. For refusing to embrace modernism, secularism, liberalism and materialism, the Catholic faith is falsely accused of treason. For refusing to worship the state, she is accused of rebellion. For resisting the tenets of self-made religion, she is called “oppressive” and for adhering to ancient teaching, she is called “irrevelant”, “inhuman” and “unenlightened”. Because she believes in in a transcendent liturgy, she is called “opulent”, because she embraces celibacy, “unnatural” and because she clings to sacred Scripture, “bigoted” and “backwards”.

Joseph gains a semblance of power and stability only to be falsely accused and thrown into prison. There he dreams many dreams. He is like the Catholic laity, filled with God’s Holy Spirit that envisions a future of godliness. He is like the Catholic religious who listens to the voice of God. He is like the Catholic clergy, pouring forth a river of grace. He remains honest, even when bearing ill tidings and condemnation and eventually is seated at the Pharaoh’s right hand.

How ironic it is that the faith once universally hated, scorned and punished is eventually granted the Emperor’s blessing? How strange that the state which once persecuted the infant, Catholic Church violently, now takes it under its wing? All earthly authority comes of God, none has power that he wills not power and know that even the godless heathen can become a divine instrument! Thus like the young Catholic Church, Joseph is sheltered by the state and given a place of influence. How amazing it must have been for bishops who once worshiped in dark, damp catacombs to have liturgy in palaces! How glorious for priests and acolytes to have a golden chest in which to lay the Holy Eucharist! How heavenly for their hymns to echo off of gilded vaults and ascend amidst clouds of incense!

People often criticize this change in the Church, saying that it betrays the simple Christian message of poverty, that their religion became too state-like and that bishops gained too much power for their own good. One might as well have accosted Joseph for wearing fine, Egyptian linen, learning civilized law and conducting the affairs of his own people. No one called Joseph “worldly” and “extravagant” when he opened up the grain stores for a starving population. No one hated him for mediating between his impoverished people and the great Pharaoh. No one complained of his excessive power when he tricked his brothers so they’d receive fear of God then instruct them in forgiveness.

Do not scorn the Catholic Church because she wears a multicolored cloak. Do not disdain her jurisprudence and gifts to the starving. Stop calling her “traitor” because she learns the world’s laws in order to bring men to God. Just as the circlet on Joseph’s brow evidenced the trustful Pharaoh’s blessing, so the golden altars of Catholicism reveal the steadfast love of God. And just like Joseph, the Catholic Church shall rise with bread and silver in her hands, having patiently borne your persecutions and utter the priceless words of Christ: “Blessed is he who taketh not offense in me.”

No Church, No Bible

From: ( http://allthingscatholic.tumblr.com/ )

 

Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Church decided which books were inspired and which were not, at the Council of Rome in AD 382, under the authority of Pope Damasus I. The same canon was reaffirmed at the Council of Hippo, Africa, in AD 393 at the Council of Carthage, AD 397; also at the ecumenical councils of Florence (1442), Trent (1546), Vatican I (1870), and Vatican II (1965).

When you quote the Bible you accept the authority of the Catholic Church.

Abridging the Bible: Masoretic or Septuagint?
Cleverly, Luther did not remove the books entirely, he merely sidelined them. Initially the seven Books continued to be placed in a section called the Apocrypha. But since it was cheaper to print bibles without them, the seven books were slowly dropped altogether. By the 19th Century, the vast majority of Protestant Bibles did not carry the seven Books at all. Protestants began to get used to not seeing these Books in their Bibles, and to imagine that their Bibles were perfectly complete without them.

Btw, the deuterocanonical (aka “apocryphal”) books are found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Codex Vaticanus, the Codex Sinaiticus, …
…both 1 and 2 Maccabees are in the Gutenberg Bible, published a century before Luther was born, which proves that the Catholic Church didn’t add them at the Council of Trent after the Reformation; they were taken out by Luther during the Reformation.
Catholic Bible 101: Purgatory

[To what extent are Protestant bibles different from Catholic bibles?]
The difference goes beyond the mere deletion of books, such as changes made to specific phrases in in the books of the New Testament. Question is, can we still obtain authenticity from such changes in the Protestant bibles?


I would not believe in the Gospel, had not the authority of the Catholic Church already moved me.

— St Augustine of Hippo (November 13, 354 – August 28, 430) [Contra epistolam Manichaei, 5, 6: PL 42, 176]

It was St. Augustine, you know, who insisted on putting Revelation as well as Hebrews in the New Testament Canon at an African bishops’ council held at the end of the fourth century.
— Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel CFR, foreword to The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth by Scott Hahn

The Bible itself came from the Liturgy of the Church.
— Dr Scott Hahn, ex-Presbyterian minister

Whenever we take up a Bible we touch Saint Irenaeus’ work, for he played a decisive role in fixing the canon of the New Testament.


How can the Bible be infallible if the Church who compiled it isn’t as well?

The Church or the Bible?
Christ sent His Apostles with authority to teach all nations, and never gave them any command of writing the Bible. And the Apostles went forth and preached everywhere, and planted the Church of God throughout the earth, but never thought of writing.

Apostolic Tradition — Jesus commissioned the Apostles to “go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations. Baptise them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you” (Mt.28: 19-20). He promised that the Holy Spirit would “instruct you in everything and remind you of all that I have told you” (John 14:26). Just before his ascension into heaven Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation” (Mk 16: 15). He commanded them to do precisely what He himself had done, namely, deliver the Word of God to the people by the living voice and granted them, through the Holy Spirit, the gift of tongues. He told them, “He who hears you hears me and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects Him who sent me.” (Luke 10:16) It was by this oral Apostolic Tradition that the Church discerned which books should be included in the New Testament. Many were already in use in the house churches (Christianity was “underground” for three centuries and much persecuted) St. Augustine endorses the same position when he says: “I should not believe the Gospel except on the authority of the Catholic Church” (Con. epist. Manichaei, fundam., n. 6). As St. Paul urged in his epistle, 2 Thessalonians 2: 15, “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.” The books of the New Testament were written between about A.D. 45 and as late as A.D. 100 but were not put into a defined canon or single collection until the end of the fourth century. Why not? The Holy Spirit protected the oral Tradition or Apostolic Tradition taught by the true Church, which by A.D. 100 was already known as the “Catholic Church.” See the seven letters of Ignatius of Antioch, accepted by both Protestant and Catholic scholars as legitimate. Sacred Tradition has for its subject the Holy Spirit, indwelling the Church as the soul animates the body. The Spirit guides the Church in her interpretation of the Word and in her liturgy.
http://www.catholicfaithandreason.org/the-bible-in-the-church.html

“I realised I had to break an old habit that, despite my newfound awareness of sacred Tradition, had continued up till then to affect the way I thought about Catholic Marian teachings. It was the habit of looking for a biblical basis for this and that Catholic teaching. For the simple fact was that the authors of the New Testament did not base their faith on the Bible. They based it on apostolic Tradition, both written and unwritten, which is incarnate in the Church. For them, this Tradition is a unified whole, like a weave. And it maintains its integrity even as it grows from mustard seed to mustard plant. Because of that, the question that always faced the Church was not ‘Is this Bible based?,’ but ‘Is this apostolic?’”
— Mark Shea, ex-Protestant

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.”
 Proverbs 3:5-6

“It is, then, undoubtably true to say that, in the present order of Providence, it is owing to the Catholic Church that we have a Bible at all. And no-one will be a bit the worse Christian and Bible-lover if he remembers this notable year that it is to the Mother Church of Christendom he must look if he would behold the real preserver, defender, and transmitter of the ‘Word that endureth forever.’
— The Right Reverend Henry Grey Graham, Where We Got the Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church


Indulgences
 granted for reading the Bible:
http://www.yenra.com/catholic/passages/indulgbible.html


Extra nugget of info:

Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton (1207-1228) painstakingly numbered all the verses of the Bible. Anytime we mention a Bible verse like “John 3:16”, we are taking advantage of his great labour of love.

Back in my college days when I played Dungeons & Dragons, there was a term amongst my friends known as “rules lawyering” which implied a person so rigidly stuck to the rule-book that the game became slowed down and less fun. Today, I see many Christians who do the same. Well-meaning, they insist every single thing pertaining to faith and belief must be spelled out explicitly in Scripture. If the Bible does not state it, they don’t do it. They insist that the entire faith must “be Biblical”.

Certainly, there is nothing wrong with consulting Scriptures and I don’t intend to say that at all. The word of God was truly given to us for instruction, edification and correction. But when Christian faith becomes a matter of defining and limiting everything to written Scripture, the meaning is lost. There exists an entire array of beautiful Christian thought, symbolism and devotion that doesn’t appear underlined in bold.

Scripture itself says “Not everything that Jesus did and taught was written down” – John 21:25. It shows us that the apostles preached by word and oral tradition instead of toting a Bible everywhere.  Paul says that the Gospel comes by hearing. His spoken words struck hearts to believe- not looking at scrolls. Paul’s 2nd letter to the Thessalonians says “He called you to this through our gospel that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which were taught, whether by word of mouth or by epistle.” (2:14-15). Paul teaches Timothy, his disciple to preach orally (1 Tim 4:14 and 2 Tim 1:6,)

For the early Christians, faith was an expression of a new life and a new fulfillment of God’s law, through Christ. Christ often speaks against those who “rules lawyer” who hold every little thing up to the Law. He teaches us that God’s law is more than just a rule-book; it is something that must be written in the heart.  In fact, the Pharisee’s question “Is this according to the Law?” sounds an awful lot like the modern Christian’s protest “Where is this in the Bible?”

For some Christians, it must all be in the Bible. What we sing, what we do, what we think. I can’t say, “Blessed virgin Mary” or “Holy Trinity” unless those words appear in the Bible. I can’t call the church “our mother” or Christ “our brother” unless the Bible states it first. This rules-lawyering becomes hampering to our own spiritual growth. The integral message is slowed down and our flame of love burns less bright. We loose sight of the “game”, so to speak, and can’t remember why we are “playing” it in the first place. If God wished us to strap a Bible to our foreheads and consult it before every single action, He would have dropped a fully-bound King James Version from the sky! But instead, Our Lord chose 12 apostles and sent them into all corners of the world preaching orally. While Jesus attested to the Law, He perfected the Law. He became the Law and gave it all a new meaning, a fulfilled meaning in Him. Jesus took upon human flesh so that we don’t have to beat eachother over the head with a rule-book. He gave us an active, living faith.

 

As Christians, we preach the Gospel and live it. No one needs a Bible in order to feel the presence of God protecting them from grave danger. A Bible verse isn’t necessary for someone to repent and reject a life of sin. Sometimes, the sweet name of “Jesus” helps one who is deeply suffering; sometimes a simple sign of the cross drives away demons. The power of Christ isn’t limited to written Scripture. God isn’t bound by words. The Bible is important and we should study our Scripture often however, we can express love for God without it. We can sing a hymn in the woods without worrying if it’s Biblical or not, we can call the church “our mother” and call Christ “our brother”, we can freely say “Blessed virgin Mary” and “Holy Trinity” because God is present in those things. It’s difficult to run a race when one constantly holds the rule-book in their hands. That VCR will never get fixed if we don’t lay aside the instruction manual and get to work! Instead, we should let our Holy Scripture be a gentle guide and a lamp unto our feet- and not a heavy stone in our shoe.

  • The Scriptures say we become new in Christ but does this mean we no longer need to lean on others for strength?I think we need to continually ask Jesus for strength. We will not figure it all out in a day. true strength is in falling down and getting back up again, which we can only do through his grace.

    Even after 5 years of being a practicing Christian, I still struggle. I get doubts, I even ask “does God love me” Yes I know God loves me but being human we struggle with temptations and emotions. Its a journey, a hard, tough journey and thankfully we don’t have to do it alone.  …And when I sin badly and fall down, I know I can go to Jesus for forgiveness. I know a pastor is always there to hear me out and give advice. He does not leave us orphans. What we need to do is find those avenues of grace and seek them out

A Rant

 

They say that a person who has knowledge should have a commanding voice and an awesome presence, well not me. I have studied the Catholic faith for over 5 years and know the Bible very well but do you think anyone would let me correct them on any one of their thousands of misconceptions they carry around about the Catholic Church? No.

 

I can say till I’m blue in the face that the pope is not some filthy, rich pig, that he actually has no salary and his clothes are mostly HAND-ME-DOWNS- and they will not listen.

I can type till my fingers bleed that I do not worship idols, that I worship the True, Living God in His Son Jesus Christ- but they will not listen.

I can shout and carry on till Kingdom come that my religion is not evil and cite sources showing the great amount of good we have done, I can tell them our good has far outweighed our bad- and still, mine is that small voice.

 

This ignorant folks of this world can go on carrying their precious misconceptions about the pope and the Catholic faith, touting them and showing them off like precious jewels.

They can declare “No one tells me what to do!” all while swallowing the bittersweet drugs that mainstream media constantly pumps down their throats.  You can’t be an independent thinker when you reject one form of poison only to gleefully drink down another. It doesn’t work like that!!

Maybe you are enlightened, maybe you are progressive and humanistic, it still doesn’t change the fact I have studied this more than you and I know what I’m talking about.

You cling to a caricature of the Catholic religion dreampt up by the media, your parents, your “cool” friends, I hold fast onto the true faith passed down by the apostles and the martyrs. Yes the martyrs, who were torn apart limb-from-limb for their trust in Jesus while you dismiss it as an annoying obligation on Sunday morning.

Don’t tell me you are better than me, don’t judge me, You don’t know me or my religion and maybe once you start figuring out the reality from the dream-world that you live in and get rid of the dream-Catholicism that you fear and loath… you can come back down off your horse and meet me in some real conversation.