Category Archives: Christian

God. Not God. These are the Only Choices!

“The strength of the soul consists in its faculties, passions and desires, all of which are governed by the will. Now when these faculties, passions and desires are directed by the will toward God, and turned away from all that is not God, then the strength of the soul is kept for God, and thus the soul is able to love God with all its strength.”

— St. John of the Cross, p. 259 of “Ascent of Mt. Carmel.”

Not everyone is going to heaven.  Let’s get that out of the way.  And, there are probably people who are going to hell who, at this moment, don’t think that it is possible for them.  After all, they were baptized and received their First Holy Communion (especially if they are Catholic) or they have accepted Jesus as their personal Savior (if they are Protestant.)  It’s not enough, though.

We have to make the choice to act like we are baptized or Jesus is our Savior every single minute of our existence on this life.

Dr. Italy likens this to a door.  On one side is Jesus (who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and the only way to the Father) and on the other is not-Jesus.  The idea is at the end of our life the door will close and depending upon which side of the door we are standing when it slams shut and locks will determine where we spend eternity.

I don’t know about you, but I tremble when I think about it.  St. Paul told us that we need to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.  Pretty scary words.  I mean, have you read Matthew, Chapter 5 and 25?  We all fall short of the beatitudes.  Oh, and by the way, the door is narrow that leads to heaven.  More complications.

And, yet, there is so much hope if (and this is a big “if”) we trust Jesus.  Trust Him in everything, everyday.  Put our daily lives into His loving Hands.  Sometimes, I feel like the woman with the hemorrhage and I touch the hem of His garment and hold on for dear life.  Everyday, we make the choice for God because we don’t know when that door is going to shut.

Choose wisely, friends.

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Filed under Beatitudes, Catholic, Christian, Faith, Jesus, St. Paul

Okay. What Now, Lord?

On October 31st, I officially stopped doing all paid work.  I’ve been cutting back my hours with Georgia Right to Life for about seven years now; from 4 days a week in the office to three; then, two days from home to one.  It’s been a gradual “retirement.”  And, now I will be going on to their Executive Committee as the Treasurer for the next two years.  Since I’m not ready to leave my active pro-life work this will provide another transition.

I don’t know what will happen at the end of the two years, however, that is not what I’m thinking about tonight.  I’m trying to decide what I’m going to do for the next twenty.  Praise God, I am in excellent health and have longevity in my genes.  So, Lord, what’s the plan?

There have been ideas swirling around in my head for at least the past month or two.  Should I write that novel I have been wanting to write since I’ve been 15 years old?  Maybe, I should teach again.  After all, I am a PhD in Psychology and have taught in Universities.  Perhaps it’s time to give talks about my Catholic faith journey and do some of that formal evangelizing stuff.  Or, I could live the life of a Benedictine Oblate.  (Just kidding. . .maybe.)

God’s plan for this end part of my life has not been revealed to me yet.  So I keep praying, “What now, Lord;” then write a list of Christmas cakes and cookies that I’ll be baking this year.  Now, that’s something that I haven’t done in about five years and am going to really enjoy.  Yum!

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A Reasonable Hope?

Just finished watching Wolf Hall and am contemplating the eternal fate of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell. This is in light of the Reverend Robert Barron’s, now famous, statement that we can “have a reasonable hope that all are saved (no one goes to hell.)”

Henry was an adulterer, a murderer, and an apostate.   Historians say he wanted to be Catholic just not a Papist. However, whether or not he intended to do so, he founded the Church of England on divorce and murder. Thomas Cromwell, the King’s trusted adviser, who was partial to Protestantism, most notably Lutheranism, carried out Henry’s nefarious plans. These included the murder of Anne Boleyn, her brother, and two of her household servants, because Henry “wanted” Jane Seymour and Cromwell wanted more power. He was also responsible for the deaths of John Fisher and Thomas More because they were “Papists.” Thomas Cromwell deeply despised the Catholic Church and Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More were his way at getting back at that Church. According to 1 John 3: 14-15, “no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”

I think it’s pretty unreasonable that people like Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell were saved if that means they are not in hell with Judas. (Jesus, Scriptures-both old and new- the Apostles, and the early Church fathers all tell us that Judas is in hell.) I know. I know. I shouldn’t judge individual souls. However, the only people that we can be sure are in heaven are those that the Church has officially called Saints.

In order for someone to go to hell, it is necessary to willfully turn away from God and be unrepentant and persistent in sin until the end. In light of scriptures and Jesus’ teachings about the existence of hell, why would we ever have a reasonable hope that hell is empty, except for Satan, his minions, and Judas?

I would also think it unreasonable that anyone who rejects God, denies Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life can get into heaven. Of course, when the Apostles asked Jesus, “then who can be saved?” He responded that with God all things are possible. Do Satanists, witches, pagans, people who sin against the Holy Spirit ( a sin that can’t be forgiven in this world or the next, according to Jesus,) and those who despair and have no hope, reasonable or unreasonable; do they all go to heaven?

It would appear that I have so many questions and so few answers that my head is about to explode. I guess I’ll have to heed St. Paul and work out my salvation with fear and trembling and hope in the promises of my Savior. And that is the only hope that I feel is  very, very reasonable!

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Filed under Catholic, Christian, Faith, Gospel, Jesus, New Testament, Old Testament, Papacy, Sacred Scripture

What’s the Difference?

There was a little dust-up about a Michael Voris video that I shared called “Do Non-Catholics Go to Heaven?” I thought it was an interesting take on the question especially since we have been hearing so many unorthodox things from priests like the good Reverend R. Barron that we can have a reasonable hope that no one goes to hell.

In my immediate family that includes brothers, sister, their children, and grandchildren and my children and grandchildren—all who were baptized in the Catholic faith—there are only a handful that still attend Mass and believe in their faith and this handful includes my husband and myself.

This hurts me in my soul, because, as we believe, and that video pointed out, in order to get into heaven one has to be in the state of grace (no unrepentant, un-forgiven mortal sins) when one dies. Of course, there is an act of perfect contrition but I am going to say that an act of perfect contrition is probably beyond my feeble attempts because of pride so I need the Sacrament of Reconciliation or as those of us, who aren’t PC, call it, Confession; Just like I need all the sacraments that Jesus gave us as a means to sanctifying grace which we all need to get into heaven. Only the Catholic Church has these sacraments instituted by Christ to give grace. To me, it’s simple to say that I want everything I can have in my arsenal to get to heaven when I die.

I also believe that with God all things are possible so I pray each day for all of my family to return to the faith of their baptism and for some of my grandchildren to actually be baptized. Do I say anything to them personally about my fears? Do I tell them that I cry tears over their apostasy? No, I just love them where they are and pray for their reversion. Of course, I make no apologies for my Catholic Faith and don’t compromise my faith for their sake, so, of course, there are liable to be a few “dust-ups” when I post something that is hard for them to read or hear.

So, a good Protestant friend asked “what is the difference between a faithful Catholic and a faithful Christian?” I’m not sure she is serious about it or if it was meant as a “gotcha” question, so I’m not sure if I will answer it or not. I’ll probably find out first why she asked the question. However, there are some things that I will say.

We believe in Purgatory. We believe that there is a place where we have to be refined like gold in order to enter heaven and be in a Holy God’s presence. Now, no one can judge the individual soul just like I don’t judge my family’s individual souls, however I have a real problem with assuming that all my Protestant brothers and sisters are automatically with Jesus when they die. Sorry, we can only know who is in heaven when the Church has declared them saints. So I continue to pray for them as if they weren’t and are in Purgatory instead. My husband always kids me about how much I pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. I tell him that I am building an army of saints in heaven to pray for me so that I might avoid Purgatory all together.

We believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist. We believe that it isn’t only Scripture (Sola Scriptura) but Scripture and Apostolic Tradition passed down from the Apostles to the Catholic Church. We believe that faith without works is dead. No Sola Fides for us. We take to heart Matthew 25 and the Sermon on the Mount. We want to be numbered among those who gave our Lord drink when He was thirsty, food when He was hungry, visited Him when He was in prison. . .you know the rest. No, our works don’t “save us.”   We boast in Christ and Him crucified just like Paul but we also believe like James, show me your works and I will show you your faith.

These are just some of the differences between a Protestant Christian and a Catholic Christian.

However with great blessings come great responsibilities! I believe that it will go worse for Catholics who had the faith and fell from it than those who never had the faith to begin with. That is why I pray for all my family to return to the One True Faith before they die.

Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

May all the Faithful Departed through the Mercy of God, rest in peace!

 

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Filed under Catholic, Christian, Faith, James, Jesus, reconciliation, Sacraments, Sacred Scripture, Simon Peter, St. Paul

Fickle Sunday

Holy Week begins with “Hosannas” on Sunday and ends with “Crucify Hims” on Friday.

What fickleness!  What fecklessness!

We are all like this when it comes to following Jesus.  We try to avoid sin, ask forgiveness when we do sin, and accept grace.  However, we vacillate between wanting Him and rejecting Him.  We can’t make up our minds whether we hold Him in regard or if we are going to sin regardless of the consequences to our relationship to Him and the state of our immortal souls.

Then, there’s the whole focus on the Cross this week.  We hate to be reminded that Jesus tells us that we must pick up our cross and follow Him.  Jesus didn’t just pick up His cross though.  He embraced it.  He kissed it.

And what do we do when God sends us a little bit of suffering.  ( I truly believe that there is no comparison with our sufferings and the brutality of being crucified; not even mentioning the cruelty of the scourging and crowning with thorns.)  We whine and ask Him to take our suffering away as quickly as possible.   Holy Week should remind us that we all are going to have our crosses to bear.  How do we accept them?  Do we embrace our suffering with all the love for Christ that we can because we know that Easter Sunday always follows Good Friday?

I leave you with a wonderful quote from the Cure de Ars, St. John Vianney.  I plan on using this all week long to remind me of what the the Christian life is really all about.

“There is no doubt about it: a person who loves pleasure, who seeks comfort, who flies from anything that might spell suffering, who is over-anxious, who complains, who blames, and who becomes impatient at the least little thing which does not go his way–a person like that is a Christian only in name; he is only a dishonour to his religion, for Jesus Christ has said so: Anyone who wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross every day of his life, and follow me.” ~St. John Vianney

 

 

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Filed under Catholic, Christian, Holiness, Palm Sunday, suffering, The Cross

Jesus and Temptation

Jesus was tempted because He willed it.  Wow!  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way for us.  Because of concupiscence, we are constantly tempted.  In fact, if we aren’t being tempted we’re probably dead.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the devil doesn’t exist.  He still goes about the world like a roaring lion devouring souls.  Jesus showed us how to do battle with the devil, however.

Jesus had been fasting rigorously for 40 days when the devil showed up.  So Jesus was very, very hungry and the devil wanted Him to turn some stones into bread.  Jesus responds with something that we quote all the time in our house.  “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  I love this, because here is the Word of God; the bread of life really sending a smashing volley back to Lucifer.  So Jesus shows us that immersion in His Word and partaking of His Body and Blood at frequent Holy Communion, is a good offense against the devil during times of temptation.

The devil wasn’t finished yet.  Unable to tempt Him with bread; he tempts Him with power.  This fails, too.  Jesus knows that a miracle such as being borne on the hands of angels if He cast Himself down from the high place, would win the admiration and the enthusiasm of the people; but that is not to be the Way for Jesus.  His Way will be the way of the Cross, so he very resolutely rejects this temptation to pride.  Jesus shows us that the way to conquer temptations to pride and vanity is by choosing what humiliates us in the sight of others.

Finally, the devil, undaunted by this second failed attempt, offers the King of Kings the whole world with all its riches, if He would just bow down and worship him (the devil.)  Jesus replies “The Lord thy God shalt thou adore and Him only shalt thou serve.”  Smack down!  Jesus: 3.  The devil: 0.  Jesus is showing us that a heart that is firmly anchored in God will not be drawn away from His service by attraction to or envy of worldly goods.

What’s the final lesson?  The devil exists; however we have weapons for combat.  First, remember that our virtue does not consist of being exempt from temptations, but in being able to overcome them.  Second, we must have great confidence in God.  We must entrust everything to Him:  our whole life and everything in it.  Thirdly, and finally, turn to God with prayer and fasting and use faithfully the grace that God always gives when we are being tempted.  He won’t let us be tempted beyond our strength to resist especially if we trust in Him and His love and mercy.

Remember, He has commanded His angels to watch over all our paths, and they will bear us up in their hands lest our feet strike against a stone.”   What more can we ask for?

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Filed under Catholic, Christian, Faith, Fasting, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Lent, Love, Prayer, Sacraments, temptation, Uncategorized

Do I Really Care About His Golf Handicap?

The short answer is “no.”

I’m going to rag and brag on our Archbishop today.  I’ll try to be fair and balanced. Ahem!

The Archbishop is celebrating 10 years as our bishop.  In our archdiocesan newspaper, there was much lauding his accomplishments and praising of his tenure here.

I wish that I could join wholeheartedly in the chorus that is singing his praises.  However, I have my own little list of his accomplishments that aren’t so good in my mind.  Over the years, there have been times when he has given awards to pro-abortion attorneys and health workers at annual “red” and “white” Masses.  He stopped a 20 plus year tradition of the the archbishop giving an invocation and short speech at an ecumenical “Together for Life” Memorial Service and Silent Walk on January 22 each year.  The move that he made seemed to make sense because the small church where Mass was held on that day couldn’t hold the 1000 Catholics that were there.  I know, though, because I am an insider to the event, that it was prompted by political differences with the organization that has sponsored the event since 1974.  I guess that is another problem that I have with him.  Politics seems to trump principle with our Archbishop; a lot!  He still allows Girl Scouts to use our schools for meetings.  He gives unabashed support for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development that pours money into organizations that should be anathema to good Catholics everywhere.

So, now, what about some good things.  In my opinion, he earns many points for continuing our Eucharistic Congress every June.  He is doing his best to build schools and churches while others are having to close and merge.  He is a very personable guy and I think I might like to have a beer with him.  I just wish that that he was a little more motivated toward tradition and a lot less political.

I was here first so I have watched him and prayed for him over these 10 years.  I can’t say that he is on my list of favorite prelates and there are times when I pray that God changes his mind or changes his location so we could have a less progressive shepherd.  Lord only knows though where such a bishop would come from in this country!

Finally, the newspaper was running a contest.  The winner would be drawn from all entries where all 10 questions were answered correctly.  Curiosity “made” me look at them.  There were the usual.  How long has the Archbishop been a priest?? A bishop? Where was he born? Go to school?  The one that made me laugh was “What is the Archbishop’s handicap in golf?”

I pray he says his Rosary and has a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother.  I pray he believes in Judgment, and Heaven and Hell.  I pray he would be a martyr rather than deny the Real Presence in the Eucharist.  I pray he eventually gives us more opportunities for the Traditional Latin Mass.  I pray that he will defend the defenseless even when everyone around him is giving in to unprincipled, political expediency.  I pray he will abandon the “Church of Nice.”

But, his golf handicap?  Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn.

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Filed under Catholic, Christian, Eucharist and Mass, Holiness, Latin