First Saturday Devotion to The Immaculate Heart of Mary

We  have hit the half way point of the year, we are already six months into 2018… at the front door of June. A perfect time to begin the First Saturday Devotion, if you haven’t already done so. To start now  would take you right up into October… the month that we will celebrate the next anniversary of the Miracle of the sun and Our Lady’s visit at Fatima. 101 years since the Blessed Mother visited Portugal and the sun danced over 70,000 people … Do you think the Blessed Mother is pleased with how the people responded? Do you think She is pleased with the way the things of the world have gone?  What about Her Dear Son? Is He happy with what you have done? Have you done all that She has asked for Him? Could you have done more? It’s not too late.

We need to remember… if we aren’t close to Mary, we will have a difficult time getting close to Her Son…’Mary’s soul does magnify the Lord‘… (Says so right in the Bible…) She will draw you closer to Jesus than you could ever get on your own. Not only does She enlarge our praise to God…She also magnifies His mercy on us… She doesn’t change God… She just helps us, who are blind, to see better… Her Immaculate Soul acts as a telescope for us… She helps us to see God more clearly… She helps us to see His love more fully… This is one thing that the Protestant community is so missing out on… As Catholics we need to  pray the Rosary… everyday. Practice the First Saturday devotion, it’s only once a month. But it’s a way to honor the Lord… Remember, by honoring the Immaculate Heart of His Dear Mother… we are loving the Lord. Aim for conversion. For yourself. For your family. For the whole world.

 

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Saint Justin Martyr and Blessed Giovanni Battista Scalabrini

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God isn’t particular about who he chooses. He isn’t biased or prone to pick one person over the other. We all know this. God loves us all. Equally. The good as well as the bad. The pagan and the pious. He calls each of us to Him. To love Him. To know Him. To serve Him. So that we can be happy with Him in the next. The calendar of the Holy Mother Church reflects exactly this. We have a list of saints and blesseds who come from all over, and from all times… Many of them so different from one another, yet called by the same Lord.

First we have Saint Justin the Martyr. He was a pagan for the first thirty years of his life. Raised in a pagan town by pagan parents. He was well educated and yearned for the Truth. He sought knowledge on a theological level. He was looking for something he could believe in. He went through several philosophers but was still left longing for something more. He wandered about, engaging anyone he could. At one point he met a philosopher who taught him about Platonism. He was overpowered with the abstract ideas and felt that finally his mind had been given the wings it needs so that it could soar…but there was still something missing…he was still left longing for something more.

One day as he was at the beach he happened upon an old gentleman. They struck up a conversation and the old man spoke with him about the existence of God and shared with him the testimony of the prophets. Saint Justin was enthralled. The wisdom of the prophets was far more reasonable than the reasoning of the philosophers he had been wasting his time with...he was hooked…This ‘Christianity’ was the something that had been missing. From “Justin’s Dialogue With Tryphor” we read:

There existed, long before this time, certain men more ancient than all those who are esteemed philosophers, both righteous and beloved by God, who spoke by the Divine Spirit, and foretold events which would take place, and which are now taking place. They are called prophets. These alone both saw and announced the truth to men, neither reverencing nor fearing any man, not influenced by a desire for glory, but speaking those things alone which they saw and which they heard, being filled with the Holy Spirit. Their writings are still extant, and he who has read them is very much helped in his knowledge of the beginning and end of things, and of those matters which the philosopher ought to know, provided he has believed them. For they did not use demonstration in their treatises, seeing that they were witnesses to the truth above all demonstration, and worthy of belief; and those events which have happened, and those which are happening, compel you to assent to the utterances made by them, although, indeed, they were entitled to credit on account of the miracles which they performed, since they both glorified the Creator, the God and Father of all things, and proclaimed His Son, the Christ [sent] by Him: which, indeed, the false prophets, who are filled with the lying unclean spirit, neither have done nor do, but venture to work certain wonderful deeds for the purpose of astonishing men, and glorify the spirits and demons of error. But pray that, above all things, the gates of light may be opened to you; for these things cannot be perceived or understood by all, but only by the man to whom God and His Christ have imparted wisdom.”

Filled with this new knowledge, Justin abandoned his pagan ways and decided to rededicate himself to serving God. He found great courage when reading about the early Christians and martyrs. He was convinced of the superiority of the Christian doctrine through their exemplary examples of heroic virtue. Hr decided that his only option was to travel throughout the lands spreading the Faith….spreading Christianity through the lands. Becoming one of the first great Christian Apologists. He became one of the most notorious writers for the Faith, often combining his Christian Faith with the best elements in Greek philosophy.

Taking on the dress of the ancient philosophers, Justin traveled about preaching and sharing the Christian Faith with everyone. It comes as no surprise that he was arrested with four of his students, Chariton, Charites, paeon and Liberianus. They were brought before the Roman Prefect Rusticus. Their crime? They were accused of not making sacrifices to pagan idols. When Rusticus demanded that they obey the pagan gods at once, Justin responded, “To obey the commandments of our Savior Jesus Christ is worthy neither of blame nor of condemnation.”

When Justin and his companions were questioned about their beliefs, each one admitted that he was a Christian, even though doing so would mean certain death. Then when the prefect tried to encourage the others to blame Justin for their conversion to Christianity, they replied; “It was not Justin who made us Christians, but God.

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Just before Rusticus sentenced them he asked Justin, “If you are killed do you suppose you will go to heaven?” Justin said, “I do not suppose it, but I know and am fully persuaded of it.”

Justin and his fellow martyrs were beheaded in the year 165 and went to be with the God Who made them. The God that Justin had longed for all his life.

https://i1.wp.com/www.scalabrini.asn.au/sites/default/files/JB%20Scalabrini%201.jpgThe next saint or ‘Blessed’ on this great list is Blessed John Baptist Scalabrini. Now unlike Justin, Blessed Giovanni Battista Scalabrni, came from a deeply religious family. But like Justin, he too studied philosophy and theology. But he was afforded the correct view from the beginning. He was learning how the two intertwined…how they complimented each other. He was a good student and was soon ordained a priest. He became a bishop at the early age of 36.

Called to evangelize, he traveled extensively, visiting all 365 parishes he served, many of which, could only be reached by foot or on the back of a mule.

He was very devoted to the Eucharist and held a Synod dedicated to Christ in the Eucharist. He encouraged the faithful to love the Eucharist and encouraged Perpetual Adoration among all the faithful.

He was devoted to his people. Giving of everything he possessed. He gave away his money and helped farmers who were struggling. At one point he even sold his pectoral cross that Pope Pius IX had given him so that he could provide food and care for the needy. He helped immigrants and the poor. No one’s suffering went unnoticed. He helped everyone, convinced that the Church was the answer for all of society’s ills. He wanted everyone to be catechized. To make sure of this, he planned and presided over the first National Catechetical Congress in 1889.

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Like Saint Justin, Giovanni worked tirelessly, helping people find their vocation in life. He worked with the notion that everything one did could be used to sanctify them… he wasted nothing. He felt that everyone was called to sainthood, and he wanted to help everyone heed that call.

Blessed Giovanni is not remembered so much because of the fact that he was a bishop, no, he is remembered because he lived his vocation to the best of his ability. He never gave up. His motto in life was the same one that St Paul had: “Make yourself everything to everyone.” He was a pioneer of sorts, often times thinking outside of the box. Confronting any obstacle with faith and perseverance. Using any setback instead as an opportunity to turn it around and advance. He once said, “Without doubt, we are in the hands of God, but we must not sit there idly.”  Blessed Bishop Giovanni Battista died on June 1st, 1905. He was proclaimed blessed by Pope Saint John Paul II on November 9, 1997.

These two holy men are great example for us today. Saint Justin…because we need to remember that sometimes we may have to keep searching for the Truth… and once we find it…(in the Church) it will take an even greater courage and determination to  go out into this ever increasingly pagan world and spread Christ’s ‘Good News.’ And perhaps we may never be the kind of great theologian that Saint Justin was, but we can still be a witness of the Truth…a beacon of Christ’s Light in the world.

Also, as people who are living in an age when we have so many technological advances, we have so many opportunities to spread Christ’s message without too much effort... We should all be striving to do something for God. We should never sit idly by…thinking that the job we are being called to, will be filled by someone better suited… someone more wise… No, it may be that God wants you… exactly as you are, with just your amount of intellect to do a job that far out classes you… We just have to trust and submit ourselves to His Will, having faith that God will use us exactly as He wishes… trusting that He will provide the graces that we need…

Sometimes, we may be called to teach or to preach… and at other times, He may just use us as an example of how to handle the agony of suffering… or the pain of humiliation… We don’t know…Unfortunately, we may never know just what God will want from us… but our response to Him has to be the same…it has to be “Yes”… regardless of the circumstance…. regardless of the situation…We have to have Trust…We have to have Hope… We have to believe that God just may be calling us to something great… No, let me rephrase that, as Christians, we have to believe that God is calling us…each of us… to greatness. So, don’t waste this time sitting idly by.

 

 

 

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The Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Mother

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On this final day of May…this final day in the Month of Mary, we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Mother. In Luke we read an account of Mary when she visits her older cousin Elizabeth. We are keyed in to witness the power of the Holy Spirit. As It moves through Mary.. .with the previous overshadowing… and we also witness the power of the Holy Spirit as it moves in Elizabeth and her response to Mary with Jesus in her womb. We are also given a peek at the great power that is at work, because even St. John the Baptist who is but a babe in his own mother’s womb…is rocked with joy and leaps in the presence of His Lord!… This Gospel is such an awesome testament to the power of the Holy Spirit at work…and it is a wonderful reminder of the power of God…in all of His magnificent glories! And yet it is also a beautiful reminder to all of the faithful that indeed Mary holds a place of favor among men with Our Dear Lord. Any one who denies this is denying the very Word of God. Happy Feast Day!

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

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Mary’s Song

46 And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49     for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.”

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

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Holy Ghost Power

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Drive down any country dirt road here in the south and you’re bound to see a small wooden sign hanging from a tree, with the words “HOLY GHOST POWER,” hand painted on it. Or the other favorite, “REPENT- THE END IS NEAR.” Personally I like the Holy Ghost Power sign, it reminds me of the movie “The Apostle,” with Robert Duvall, and the fantastic scene that shows an inside peek at a tent revival. In the movie all of the ‘preacher men and preacher women’ are taking turns rousing up the crowds, screaming into the mic, dancing around raising their hands..invoking the ‘Holy Ghost Power.’ There’s music…and prayer…there’s a man jingling the keys that Jesus used …it’s quite entertaining and stirs up the crowds…and there appears to be a real power moving inside that tent...a power moving through the crowds…but is it really the Holy Ghost or the Holy Spirit? Is that really the way It works? I’m not sure. As a Catholic, I have never seen this type of jumping around..this type of full body filled with the Holy Spirit… As traditional Catholics, we are much more reserved…much more quiet…but what I do know, is that the Holy Ghost is a tremendous force of such a power and without this ‘Power’ of the Holy Spirit, man has no power. That without the Holy Spirit, there is nothing of value in man.

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Just recently, the Holy Mother Church, in all Her glorious wisdom, celebrated the Feast of the Pentecost and then the Feast of the Holy Trinity…. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. As Christians we all realize that we have a Triune God. We say our prayers to God the Father in Heaven …and we trust in the Divine Mercy of Jesus, but how do we honor the Holy Spirit? Do we all believe in this Holy Ghost Power?

We must understand that since the beginning of time, everything good in the world has come from God… All of it being directed towards Him as well. If we just look around in nature we can witness this first hand… The way plants grow…the way animals live and behave…the weather…everything is of God and is directed by Him. And it is good. Except for man. We have free will and are free to listen to His direction…His movement in this world through the Power of the Holy Ghost. But so many times we choose to turn away from the Holy Spirit…the good of God... and we become distracted  towards evil.

The devil is a cunning character. And his power to manipulate our emotions is something that we must guard against… with prayer... We must always remember that without the movement of the Holy Spirit…without the ‘Holy Ghost Power’ we are powerless. This next sentence might upset some people…but it is the Truth…We….as in man… can do no good on our own. Every bit of our goodness comes from the Lord….through the Power of the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Spirit is the only One capable of cleansing those who are stained…freeing those who are burdened by sin. It is the Holy Ghost that can heal the sick… and soften the hardest of hearts … the Holy Spirit is as powerful today as it was in the times of the Bible. But man is different… we have changed. We have become indifferent to God and His Power… to His Spirit. Then when we witness the Power of the Holy Ghost we don’t even recognize it! We have become so distracted by our sin. So manipulated away from the Truth. We have got to change.We have got to regain our faith. The “I’m all in” kind of Faith. The True Faith of Christ.

We have to be active members of His Church… the Holy Catholic Church. It is only then that we will be able to have the kind of faith that will allow us to see the Holy Ghost in the world today. It is only then that we will witness it moving through people.. moving through us…as it did with His disciples…. building up the Holy Mother Church…Reviving  the Body of Christ on earth. And it is only then that we will see the Holy Spirit of Christ being revealed to a world that has grown too weary…. grown too cold….

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St. JoséMaria Escriva wrote, ” There cannot be faith in the Holy Spirit if there is not faith in Christ, in His sacraments, and in His Church. A man cannot act in accordance with his Christian faith… cannot truly believe in the Holy Spirit unless he loves the Church and trusts It.”

 

I recently wrote about the Crucifix or the Cross, and I stated how we must always remember that it was Christ’s suffering on that Cross that brought man his redemption, well, if you think about it, It was also His death on the Cross that reconciled man to God. Before that, God had become angry with man and his constant sinfulness. But after the death and the Resurrection, God revealed himself to man in His fullness… as God the Father, God the Son and finally…God the Holy Spirit. And He left us the Holy Mother Church as a sign of the Holy Spirit in the world…St. John Chrysostom said that the Catholic Church is the outward sign to the world that the Holy Spirit still exists!! It is alive and breathing…pouring out to all the world through this great institution…baptizing men in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost…the Holy Ghost Power!

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Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

 

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The sign of the Cross.. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. So simple…yet, so complete… the basis of the Christian faith…the foundation upon which all is built. One God, Three distinct Persons.  On this first Sunday after Pentecost…which was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the faithful followers of Jesus, the Holy Mother Church calls us to gather and  to celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, which is at the very core of the Christian belief… the Trinity or the Triune Godhead… God the Father…God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. It’s a hard idea to grasp, that’s for sure… and yet, it is this fundamental Truth that is at the base of our Christian Creed…. Even with all the ‘fracturing’ and all the splintering from the Truth… If you belong to a Church or a community and call yourself a Christian, yet, don’t believe in the Trinity… you are not a Christian. Period.

Throughout the gospel, this mystery is revealed to the faithful. And although the word ‘Trinity’ is not actually used, we can find references to this ‘Triune’ nature of God in several different passages. One such instance is in the Gospel of Luke 3: 21-22, during the Baptism of Jesus; “Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, / and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

We also find  reference to the Trinity in the writings of Peter:  “who have been chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with his blood: May grace and peace be yours in abundance. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!”  The Trinity is never fully explained, but in the Gospel of John we find several times when Jesus is speaking to His disciples and the language that He uses stresses the Oneness of He and the Father. Such as in John 10:30, 38:-

“The Father and I are one.” / “…the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”

And again in John 14: 8 -11 we read:

“Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’ / Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? / Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. / Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me…’ “

There are other references to the Trinity in the New Testament but also in the Old Testament as well. And even though it is not something that we can fully comprehend, it is one of those beliefs that we have to rely on our Faith to embrace. We have been told that it is a Mystery… one of those things which we will never fully understand until we are there with God in Heaven. Yet, it is so very  important, even so, many still get it wrong. In order to help us understand, I will rely upon those great men of the past..those great saints of the Holy Mother Church who lived through so many difficult times in the history of the Church… Who so often had to defend this Truth when a heresy would spring up, trying to destroy what Jesus Christ had built. Just as God worked through the writers of the Holy Gospels, He also has worked through many of the Church’s great and holy saints …giving them the grace…and the words they needed to try and explain the un-explainable.

“The Church, though dispersed through out the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: [She believes] in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of God, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and His [future] manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father “to gather all things in one.”Saint Ireneaus – Against Heresies

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Saint Augustine wrote much on the Most Holy Trinity,and  since he is perhaps one of the most gifted theologians, he tried to help the faithful to understand the Mystery of the Blessed Trinity, devoting much of his writings to this absolute dogma of Faith.

The true objects of enjoyment, then, are the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, who are at the same time the Trinity, one Being, supreme above all, and common to all who enjoy Him, if He is an object, and not rather the cause of all objects, or indeed even if He is the cause of all. For it is not easy to find a name that will suitably express so great excellence, unless it is better to speak in this way: The Trinity, one God, of whom are all things, through whom are all things, in whom are all things. Thus the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and each of these by Himself, is God, and at the same time they are all one God; and each of them by Himself is a complete substance, and yet they are all one substance. The Father is not the Son nor the Holy Spirit; the Son is not the Father nor the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is not the Father nor the Son: but the Father is only Father, the Son is only Son, and the Holy Spirit is only Holy Spirit. To all three belong the same eternity, the same unchangeableness, the same majesty, the same power. In the Father is unity, in the Son equality, in the Holy Spirit the harmony of unity and equality; and these three attributes are all one because of the Father, all equal because of the Son, and all harmonious because of the Holy Spirit.”
On Christian Doctrine Book I. Chapter 5.5

And finally, one more quote from the great Saint Augustine of Hippo, we get this beautifully written paragraph found in his book, ‘On the Trinity Book.‘ Please enjoy and have a blessed feast day.

All those Catholic expounders of the divine Scriptures, both Old and New, whom I have been able to read, who have written before me concerning the Trinity, Who is God, have purposed to teach, according to the Scriptures, this doctrine, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit intimate a divine unity of one and the same substance in an indivisible equality; and therefore that they are not three Gods, but one God: although the Father hath begotten the Son, and so He who is the Father is not the Son; and the Son is begotten by the Father, and so He who is the Son is not the Father; and the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son, but only the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, Himself also co-equal with the Father and the Son, and pertaining to the unity of the Trinity. Yet not that this Trinity was born of the Virgin Mary, and crucified under Pontius Pilate, and buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven, but only the Son. Nor, again, that this Trinity descended in the form of a dove upon Jesus when He was baptized; nor that, on the day of Pentecost, after the ascension of the Lord, when “there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind,” the same Trinity “sat upon each of them with cloven tongues like as of fire,” but only the Holy Spirit. Nor yet that this Trinity said from heaven, “Thou art my Son,” whether when He was baptized by John, or when the three disciples were with Him in the mount, or when the voice sounded, saying, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again;” but that it was a word of the Father only, spoken to the Son; although the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as they are indivisible, so work indivisibly. This is also my faith, since it is the Catholic faith’.
On the Trinity Book I. Chapter 4.7

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In Praise of the Trinity

 

With our whole heart and voice we glorify Thee, we praise Thee, we bless Thee, God the Father unbegotten, the only-begotten Son, the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete, the holy and undivided Trinity.

For Thou art great, and dost wonderful things: Thou alone art God. To Thee be praise, to Thee glory, to Thee thanksgiving forever and ever, O blessed Trinity!

(Roman Missal)

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The Cross or the Crucifix

Wooden Cross (CRO2-009) – Catholic Centre

It might seem like a ridiculous question, almost as ridiculous as  the ever popular ‘Are you Catholic or Christian?‘ question, which many of the Protestant groups like to toss  around every so often, almost as if they are trying to justify how they belong to a Christian community that Protested the Church that Christ established. Unfortunately, there are many Protestant communities out there that refer to themselves as ‘Christian’ but they don’t like the Crucifix… or more importantly they don’t like Catholics because they think that Catholics ‘like Christ’s dead body’ and thus keep It hanging from the Cross. They find the Crucifix annoying, since ‘we all know’ that Jesus resurrected, and that honoring Him ‘dead on the cross‘ is just plain stupid.

Unfortunately so many of these same ‘Christians’ don’t know the Faith. They don’t understand that it is only the Catholic Church that can trace it’s roots all the way back to Jesus… and then to Peter, whom Christ appointed as His successor…

“And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” – Matthew 16:18

…The Apostolic line that continues all the way to our present day Pope. No other Christian ‘group’ can do that... all of them are just some sort of breaking away from the Truth

Did you know, that everyone who considered himself a Christian in the early days was in fact a ‘Catholic’? They were one and the same….Christian equals Catholic, and it remained that way for over fifteen hundred years. Sure, there were periods when heresies against the Faith popped up and people had misunderstandings about what to believe, but for the most part, everyone who considered himself a Christian…was Catholic, that is until King Henry wanted to divorce his wife in 1509. Since he could not get the approval of the pope, he broke away…and became the head of his own church.

Then in 1517 Martin Luther, who was catholic, became concerned with some of the actions being taken by several corrupt priests and so he nailed his now famous ‘Thesis’ to the Church door, pointing out problems with some of these members. Most people never mention the fact, that the Catholic Church agreed with him on many of these same problems and worked them out without throwing the fit that Luther threw. But this action of Luther, caused  an even further splintering or a breaking away from the True Church… Thus breaking the line of Apostolic succession…and creating ‘church communities’ that fail to encompass the True faith that Jesus Christ came to share. An interesting thing to note, is that when Martin Luther was on his death bed, he repented of his actions. He said that what started out as him trying to fix the actions of one bad church leader, only resulted in creating many more bad church leaders…. He realized that no good would come of this splintering… he realized too late that his own ego had stood in the way of the Truth.

As a result of this falling away, there are several tenants of the True faith that were lost among those who protested Jesus’ Church. Many of the Truths that had been handed on by Christ Himself were dismissed and abandoned all together… such as the truth about the Blessed Mother and her virginity. But the main Truth that they fail to believe is that the Eucharist is in fact the actual Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ… instituted at the last Supper…

The list of things that protestants have rejected through the years goes on and on… furthering the separation of these groups from the Body of Christ... which is His Holy Catholic Church. And unfortunately there are now so many wolves in sheep’s clothing out there who are pretending to be preachers of the Lord’s Words, when in fact they spend all of their time bashing Christ’s True Church instead of actually bringing others to Him. This deserves our prayers because when you think about it… it is really quite sad.

This leads me to the title of this post… the Cross or the Crucifix… Many protestants dislike the idea of the Crucifix. They have a twisted view of Catholics over this. They profess that Jesus Christ has been resurrected and that we no longer need to have His ‘dead’ body nailed to the Cross for all eternity…they seem to think…or perhaps they have been told… that Catholics don’t accept Christ’s Resurrection…and that Catholics worship a dead Lord…. when in fact, nothing could be further from the truth… for Catholics… at least for this Catholic… witnessing Christ’s dead body on the Cross helps me to focus my love on Christ’s Living Body which is the Eucharist…

It is precisely for this reason that throughout the years the Crucifix has remained a center point for worship and prayer…it helps the human mind to understand…to somehow comprehend the enormous sacrifice that was made by Christ in His suffering and death on the Cross. It helps us to love the Lord… We must realize that it was not the bare cross that saved us… but it was the death of Christ on the Cross that brought man his salvation. With Christ’s Crucifixion, our sins have lost their power over us. Without this sacrificial death, we would still be un-forgiven, un-redeemed, unsaved… we would be lost. To have the Crucifix instead of the plain Cross, is by far the better way to instill this Truth in the hearts of all men. By using the Crucifix as a sacramental… a point on which to meditate, we can ‘witness’ the pain and the immense suffering our sin caused Jesus…

For those who call themselves ‘Bible’ Christians, this link between Jesus’ death on the Cross and His Resurrection from the tomb can be found in Scripture, Catholics just didn’t make it up.…And as faithful Christians we must maintain this link. We must not hide the brutal force our sin has against Our Dear Lord… We must not deny ourselves the Truth that it was our sin that Crucified our Dear Lord. Even to this day, it is a reminder for us to not allow ourselves to become seduced by the lies of the evil one… Think about it…the devil would like us all to forget that Jesus died for us…in fact, it was the devil himself who didn’t want Christ to get nailed to the Cross in the first place… there would be no redemption without it! It is that powerful... that important… and it helps us to remember the fullness of Christ’s message.  The Crucifix helps convey to the faithful, the intensely personal nature of Christ’s death and redemption. The Crucifix has the power to open even the most hardened of hearts, revealing to the soul, the depth to which Our Lord loved each one of us. It is a message that just can’t be conveyed with bare wood. To remember only one aspect of Christ’s redemption would be to believe in a false gospel that cannot save us. For Christians who preach the Resurrection…you need to remember this;  if we embrace the Resurrection we must also embrace the Holy Cross of His Crucifixion.

https://i0.wp.com/museumartpaintings.com/pic/Jesus-Christ-Painting-The-Crucifixion-9227-95136.jpg

‘He who displays the cross, which was the instrument used by the Romans as a method of a most painful execution, in which the condemned is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross, left to hang until death, such a person who worships the plain cross…worships a wooden idol. But he who displays the Crucifix, with the Body of Our Dear Lord, he worships the Redeemer…That Who is present on the Cross…It is He who suffered an enormous amount of pain and suffering as payment for our sins.’ (Paraphrased from a quote by Cecil Dewars.)

 

 

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Blessed Stefan Grelewski/ Blessed Casimir Grelewski – Brother Priests of Poland

Most Nazi crimes suspects, including Heydrich's widow ...

The 1930’s into the 1940’s were tough years. There was unrest in many areas of the world, particularly in Europe. The evil of Nazism was spreading out of Germany… spewing its poison to the surrounding countries… borders were being threatened and the evils of man were contaminating the beautiful countrysides with widespread death and destruction.

Lot Detail - 1940s MVD HOLOCAUST & CONCENTRATION CAMP ...Poland was one such land to be threatened and consumed by this angry monster that wished to destroy everything in its path that didn’t fit into its political narrative…Not only were the Jewish people persecuted and killed, but many, many  Catholics were rounded up and sent to these same internment camps of death. Many priests and religious were killed and tortured… merely for the fact that they were Catholic. The Grelewski brothers were two such men. After the invasion of Poland in 1939, the Nazis began to persecute any of the Catholics they could find. In January of 1941, Father Stefan Grelewski and his younger brother, Father Kazimer Grelewski were arrested.

Born in Poland in 1899 and 1903, the brothers came from a Catholic family. He and his brother both followed their vocations to the priesthood. Stefan was ordained in 1921, and his brother was ordained in several years later. Father Stefan earned his doctorate in canon law and was the general secretary of the Christian Workers Union in Radom Poland. He was a prolific writer and founded the magazine ‘Catholic Truth’ in 1930. The magazine dealt with many  issues that were religious and social in nature.

Bł. ks. Stefan Grelewski – męczennik z Dachau – Prawy.pl

Blessed Stefan Grelewski

Though he suffered from ill health he did not let his health issues dissuade him from working tirelessly for the Lord. He worked with the group Catholic Action and also with the Association of Polish Intelligence. He also was instrumental in organizing the first diocesan Eucharistic Congress in his diocese of Radom.

Wanting to help the young and the poor, he was the prefect of both a boy’s elementary school and a boy’s grammar school, up until war broke out in 1932. Even after the Nazi occupation of Poland, he covertly continued teaching religion. Then on January 24th of 1941 he and his brother were arrested. First they were sent to Auschwitz where they were tortured in the concentration camps right along with the Jewish people.

 

Blessed Casimir Grelewski

They were then sent to the concentration camp of Oswiecim in Poland and finally sent to the death camp of Dachau in Germany. The two brother priests prayed together and prepared for their deaths by administering the sacraments to each other. Father Stefan and Father Casimir were tortured extensively, both of them dying on May 9th, 1941 from injuries they suffered while being  interrogated by the Nazis. Blessed Stefan and his brother Blessed Casimir were beatified on June 13, 1999.

 

 

 

 

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