Christ’s whole earthly life—his words and deeds, his silences and sufferings, indeed his manner of being and speaking—is Revelation of the Father. Jesus can say: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father”, and the Father can say: “This is my Son, my Chosen, listen to him!” Because our Lord became man in order to do his Father’s will, even the least characteristics of his mysteries manifest God’s love…among us.
Catechism of the Catholic Church 516
Posts Tagged With: Christianity
So what does a desert of prayer look like? What should I do once I’ve gotten away from the world?
Well there isn’t really one single way of praying. However, there are some really good ways of praying.
There is one prayer [besides the Mass] that is a perfect summation of all prayers, The Our Father (The Lord’s Prayer). Look at what two of the greatest theologians of all time say about it:
Run through all of the words of the holy prayers, and I do not think that you will find anything in them that is not contained and included in the Lord’s Prayer.
The Lord’s Prayer is the most perfect of prayers….In it we ask, not only for all the things can rightly desire, but also in the sequence that they should be desired. The prayer not only teaches us to ask for things, but also in what order we should desire them.
St. Thomas Aquinas
In this prayer we find how we should model all of our prayer and what we should be asking for. We should begin by humbling ourselves by praising God for the holiness of his name and asking him to send his kingdom now, within our hearts. We ask him that his will be done here and now. These are the most important things and are the first things we should do in our prayer lives: praise the glorious majesty of God and desire that his rules, his ways come and penetrate our lives so that his will is accomplished on earth. The subsequent petitions fall into place, we ask for our daily bread (Jesus, the Bread of Life), the forgiveness of our sins, the grace to forgive others, and the grace to be holy and resist temptation.
In this model of prayer that the Lord Jesus himself taught us, we find the beginning of the making of a desert of prayer. So, let us begin by contemplating this simple prayer. Pray it in the quiet of our hearts and really contemplate the words. “Our Father…” God really is my Father. “who art in heaven…” God is not of this world but transcends this place and this time. ”hallowed be thy name…” God is holy and his name is to be reverence and feared.
Like I said, there is no one single way to pray, however, this is a prayer that comes straight from the lips of God, so why not build our desert of prayer on this prayer, letting it penetrate our hearts, our minds, and our souls?
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
It is said that Christ calls us to be faithful.
It is also sometimes said that Christ came to eradicate religion, usually meaning rituals, rules, penance, and liturgy.
However, I would like to make a simple observation.
Being faithful implies a certain steadfastness, a loyalty. It is thoroughness in a performance of a duty. It is an adherence to certain facts or standards. By eliminating the religious aspect of Christianity, we eliminate the ability to be faithful. When we eliminate the rituals of religion, such as the rituals of Holy Communion, Baptism, Confirmation, and the rest of the Sacraments, you lose something to be faithful towards. If we eliminate the rules such as fasting before Communion, abstaining from meat on Fridays or attending Mass every Sunday, we suddenly have nothing to be faithful towards. It is not unfaithful to skip church on Sunday because there is no rule about going to church. I can be just as faithful sitting on my rump on Sunday playing video games as sitting in a pew because Jesus abolished the rules.
When we’ve eliminated every outwards sign of Christianity because they are “religious” we have nothing to which we can be faithful or unfaithful.
“We’re faithful to Jesus.”
Woo hoo. That’s nice. But what does that entail?
You see part of being in a relationship is having boundaries and guidelines. There are certain rules and expectations to a relationship. There are certain customs and rituals that define relationships. For instance, some of my good friends and myself have this annual spring ritual of riding an old bike to the Red River and tossing it in. It is one of the things that defines our relationship. But when there are no boundaries or guidelines in a relationship, there is no faithfulness, nor is there faithlessness. You really have nothing.
Because the relationship we have is with Jesus Christ, the Son of God, we must remember that while we are brothers of Christ, God, the Father is still our master, and so our side of the relationship involves submission and obedience.
And because God is always the same, never changing, the core of every Christian’s relationship with God ought to be the same. The things that God loves and the things that God commands are the same always and everywhere because is always and everywhere the same because he is without time or space. These things that define the relationship with Christ are first and foremost obedience to God’s commandments (1 John 2:3-11). This includes the moral law (the ten commandments, the sermon on the mount) and the ceremonial law (the Seven Sacraments which fulfill the Old Testament sacrifices) and the precepts of the Church (which replaces the old Levitical preisthood).
“Oh you! Nobody really means that there are no duties that a Christian has when they say that Jesus came to abolish religion.”
I say then that you need to say what you mean. If you don’t mean that there no religious precepts with Jesus than don’t say that there aren’t.
The point is that it is impossible to faithful to a relationship with no rules or structure (a.k.a. religion) because such a relationship is not really a relationship at all.
Jesus came to pay the penalty for our sins. He did not come to abolish religion.
The last time that I checked the Scriptures say nothing about Jesus dying “to end religion”. In fact he died so that we might have eternal life. These are two very different things. He died to pay the price attached to our sins. There is nothing in the Bible about Jesus ending religion, nor is this belief prominent until the rise of Evangelical Christianity.
Why do certain groups of Protestants insist on religion being bad? Why are dogmatic definitions bad? Why is structure bad? Why is a moral code bad? Why is repetition bad? These things aren’t bad. Jesus didn’t treat them like they were bad. So why do certain groups insist that he came to abolish religion?
Furthermore, why do we specifically treat the Mosaic law as if it were bad and evil? WHO invented the Mosaic Law? God himself! So why do we treat it so poorly?! It’s insane.
The “Jesus died to end religion” theory is a theory that is used to free us from obligation towards God, to free us from submitting to something, to free us from having to go with the flow. It frees us to do our own thing without any regard to a “religious institute”. None of these things are things that are found in Scripture or the vast history of Christianity, so perhaps it is time to re-examine this theory.
Christianity is a relationship. It is also a religion.
The first 400 years of Catholicism.
0 – Christmas. The word is derived from Middle English Christemasse and Old English Cristes mæsse; Cristes is from Greek Christos (“Christ”) and masse from Latin missa (“holy mass”). Christmas literally means “Crist’s Mass.”
33 – The Last Supper (the first Holy Eucharist) followed by the death and resurrection of our Lord.
51 – The Council of Jerusalem.
67 – Martyrdom of St. Peter, the first pope. St. Linus succeeds him as the second pope.
69 – Fall of Jerusalem.
76 – St. Anacletus (Cletus) becomes pope.
88 – St. Clement I becomes pope. During his pontificate, he issues a letter to the Corinthians, urging them to submit themselves to lawful religious authority. He writes “Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry.”
96 – The Didache is written. It is the first Catholic Catechism. It describes the liturgy of the Mass, the requirement for confession before receiving the Eucharist and even the prohibition against abortion.
97 – St. Evaristus becomes pope.
c100 – Death of St. John, the last apostle ending the period of Public Revelation.
100 – Birth of St. Justin Martyr, a Church Father. In his writings, he bears witness to a number of Catholic doctrines. In one famous passage, he describes the Order of the Mass.
105 – St. Alexander I becomes pope.
107-117 – Martyrdom of St. Ignatius of Antioch, apostolic Father and bishop. Theodoret, the Church historian says he was consecrated bishop by St. Peter, who was at first bishop of Antioch before going to Rome. It was during the journey to Rome that he wrote his famous letters about the early Church. His writings are the first known to use the term “Catholic” to differentiate the Christian Church from heresies of that time.
115 – St. Sixtus I becomes pope.
125 – St. Telesphorus becomes pope.
136 – St. Hyginus becomes pope.
140 – St. Pius I becomes pope.
144 – Marcion of Pontus is excommunicated for heresy. He believed the God of the Old Testament was a different God.
155 – St. Anicetus becomes pope.
156 – Martyrdom of St. Polycarp, a disciple of St. John the apostle.
160 – Birth of Tertullian, a Church Father.
166 – St. Soter becomes pope.
175 – St. Eleutherius becomes pope.
177 – St. Irenaeus of Lyons, writes Against All Heresies, a work of apologetics refuting Gnosticism, which claimed salvation through an esoteric knowledge. Irenaeus argues that this belief counters the universal tradition handed down from the apostles, and that the bishops are the successors of the apostles who have the authority to transmit Revelation. To make his point, he lists the succession of popes beginning with Peter.
189 – St. Victor I becomes pope.
189 – Pope Victor ordered Bishop Polycrates of Ephesus to call a synod for which the bishops of Proconsular Asia refused to attend resulting in their excommunication. St. Irenaues protested this action as too harsh, but did not say the pope had overstepped his authority. This is the first record of an episcopal council in the post-apostolic age.
199 – St. Zephyrinus becomes pope.
200 – Death of St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Church Father and bishop.
208 – The first record of prayers for the dead in the writings of the Church Fathers. Tertullian writes that a good widow prays for her dead husband’s soul in On Monogamy.
217 – St. Callistus I becomes pope.
220 – Pope St. Callistus I excommunicates Sabellius, a priest who taught that the Son of God did not exist before the Incarnation, and that God exists in three “modes” but not in three persons, therefore the Son and the Father suffered at the passion.
222 – St. Urban I becomes pope.
230 – St. Pontain becomes pope.
235 – St. Anterus becomes pope (for only 40 days).
236 – St. Fabian becomes pope. When it came time to elect a new pope, the assembly put forward several names of prominent people, but a dove rested on Fabian’s head, whom no one had considered for the office. The assembly took it as a sign of divine favour and selected him as the new pope.
250 – The devotion to martyrs, once a more private practice, becomes widespread after the Decian persection due to the great numbers of martyrs it produced.
251 – Council of Cartage under St. Cyprian allows those who lapsed during the persecution to be readmitted after a period of penance.
251 – St. Cornelius becomes pope.
253 – St. Lucius I becomes pope.
253 – The death of Origen of Alexandria, a Church Father.
254 – St. Stephen I becomes pope. He is the first pope known to have specifically invoked Matt. 16:18 as evidence for the authority of the Chair of Peter.
256 – Pope St. Stephen I upholds the baptisms administered by heretics.
257 – St. Sixtus II becomes pope. He was arrested very shortly after his election and beheaded for his faith.
258 – Martyrdom of St. Cyprian of Carthage. In his writings, he defended the primacy of Peter as the source of unity in the Church. He remained the foremost Latin writer until Jerome.
260 – St. Dionysius becomes pope.
265 – Three councils held at this time in Antioch condemn Paul of Samosata, bishop of Antioch, for his heretical teachings on the relationship of God the Father and God the Son. He maintained that Jesus the man was distinct from the Logos and became the Son of God through adoption because of his merits, and that God is only One Person. His teachings were a pre-cursor to the Arianist heresies of the fourth century and beyond.
269 – St. Felix I becomes pope.
270 – Death of St. Gregory of Neocaesarea, a/k/a the Wonderworker and Thaumaturgus, a Church Father and bishop.
275 – St. Eutychian becomes pope.
283 – St. Caius becomes pope.
296 – St. Marcellinus becomes pope.
297 – Birth of St. Athanasius, Doctor of the Church. Archbishop of Alexandria. He was a staunch defender of the Divinity of Jesus Christ against Arianism, and was exiled sevral times for his orthodoxy.
305 – The Council of Elvira, Spain approves the first canon imposing clerical celibacy.
306 – Birth of St. Ephraem the Syrian, Doctor of the Church. Known as the Harp of the Holy Spirit. Author of the Nisibene Hymns, some of which are Marian.
308 – St. Marcellus I becomes pope.
309 – St. Eusebius becomes pope.
311 – St. Miltiades becomes pope.
312 – Constantine defeats the Emperor Maxentius at the battle of the Milvian Bridge. The night before the battle, Constantine has a vision of a cross in the sky and the words “In this sign you shall conquer.” After the victory, Constantine orders that the cross be put on the soldiers’ shields and standards. Once Constantine enters Rome, he offers the Lateran Palace to the Pope as a residence.
314 – St. Sylvester I becomes pope.
315 – Birth of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Doctor of the Church. He fought Arianism in the East.
315 – Birth of St. Hilary of Poitiers, Doctor of the Church.
318 – Beginnings of the Arianist controversy. Arius taught that the Father and the Son were not of the same substance, and therefore the latter was inferior; and that the Word (Logos) is a creature and that the Holy Spirit is a creature of the Logos.
325 – The Council of Nicea. Presided by Emperor Constantine and Hosius of Cordoba. Pope St. Sylvester I sends papal legates, being too old to make the journery from Rome. Many of the bishops in attendance had been physically injured in the persecutions of previous decades. The Council defines trinitarian belief in God. The Father and God the Son are declared of the same substance against the teachings of Arius.
329 – Birth of St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church and father of Eastern monasticism. He was the first to draw up a rule of life and he developed the concept of the novitiate.
330 – Building of first St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome (it was re-built in 1506).
330 – Birth of St. Gregory Nanzianzus, Doctor of the Church. One of the Cappadocian Fathers.
336 – St. Marcus becomes pope.
336 – The earliest record of the celebration of Christmas in Rome.
337 – St. Julius I becomes pope.
340 – Birth of St. Ambrose of Milan, one of the four traditional Latin Doctors of the Church. He baptized St. Augustine. He fought the Arian heresy in the West and promoted consecrated virginity.
343 – Birth of St. Jerome, one of the four traditional Doctors of the Latin Church. He translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek texts into Latin and produced the first authoritative translation, the Vulgate. At that time, Latin was still a vernacular language.
347 – Birth of St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church and Bishop of Constantinople. He is the foremost Greek Doctor of the Church, known especially for his homilies on Scripture.
352 – Liberius becomes pope. He was the first pope not to become a (cannonized) Saint.
354 – Birth of St. Augustine of Hippo, Doctor of the Church.
360 – Scrolls begin to be replaced by books.
366 – St. Damasus I becomes pope. He is most famous for compelling St. Jerome to undertake a faithful translation of the Scriptures, the version known as the Vulgate.
376 – Birth of St. Cyril of Alexandria (d. 444), Doctor of the Church. Opposed Nestorianism.
379 – Theodosius, a devout Catholic, becomes the Eastern Roman Emperor. For the first time in half a century, the State would favour Catholicism over Arianism. Theodosius is the first emperor to legislate against heresy. The churches of heretics are to be confiscated and handed over to the Catholic Church.
381 – The First Council of Constantinople. Presided by Pope Damasus and Emperor Theodosius I. It proclaimed the divinity of the Holy Spirit.
382 – Pope St. Damasus I issued the Decree of Damasus officially setting the 46 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books of the Holy Bible. Before this time, various canons of scripture were used by different bishops. Pope St. Damasus I (the 37th Catholic pope) established the Holy Bible.
383 – Roman legions begin to leave Britain. British Christians gradually disconnected from Rome until St. Augustine of Canterbury re-introduces the faith in 590.
384 – St. Siricius becomes pope.
386 – St. Ambrose refuses to hand over a church to the Arian sect when ordered to do so by the Emperor. In a sermon he says a famous phrase ” The emperor is within the Church, and not above the Church.” He says of the Arians: ” it has been the crime of the Arians, the crime which stamps them as the worst of all heretics, that “they were willing to surrender to Caesar the right to rule the Church.” The Emperor backs down.
393 – Birth of Theodoret of Cyrus, Church Father, bishop and historian. He opposed St. Cyril of Alexandria in the Nestorian controversy, but he eventually submitted to the Council of Ephesus on the matter.
397 – The Council of Carthage formally accepts St. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate Bible (which remains the unchanged, official Catholic translation to this day).
397 – Death of St. Martin of Tours. He was the first saint honoured for his asceticism, not for martyrdom, and whose prayers were invoked in liturgy. He is considered the founder of monasticism in the West.
399 – St. Anastasius I becomes pope.
401 – St. Innocent I becomes pope.
HT to Convert Journal
It is actually fine with me if you don’t believe in Jesus. It is not my fault. God gives each person sufficient grace to take the leap of faith and believe in him. Whether you cooperate with that grace is your own free choice.
However, if you don’t believe in him, you absolutely have zero ability to understand what he taught in his words and actions. If we are not baptized in Christ we just don’t have that gift. Therefore, all you non-Christian gay atheists would do well to stop preaching t hat Jesus taught us to love, meaning “be nice”. Jesus taught radical discipleship. He taught us to repent from our sin and turn to Christ. He had no tolerance for the obstinate sinner who refused to repent. Nowhere dies he teach that we are to encourage sin, but rather that we are to point out error so that we are not guilty of their condemnation. He upheld the entire moral law INCLUDING HOMOSEXALITY’S SINFULNESS (silence on his part in the gospels is not an affirmation).
If you don’t believe in him, stop trying to interpret him. You only fail and look like a fool to those who wear the mind of Christ, and most especially to God who will judge us according to our deeds.
big•ot noun: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.
ha•tred noun: prejudiced hostility or animosity.
in•tol•er•ant adj.: unwilling to grant equal freedom of expression especially in religious matters.
hos•til•i•ty noun: deep-seated usually mutual ill will.
an•i•mos•i•ty noun: ill will or resentment tending toward active hostility : an antagonistic attitude.
Let’s do a little reality check. I opened this post with the definition of bigot because as Catholic Christians we are often accused of being bigots because we don’t support homosexual “marriage”. (The other words were defined in order to clarify any inconsistencies in the definition of bigot.)
The first half of the definition says that a bigot is one who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his own opinion. Are Catholics obstinate in this regard? Yes. But are we intolerant? Perhaps some are, but as a dogmatic whole, we are not. As the definition of intolerance goes, we are not. We do not advocate any kind of restriction on freedom of expression. Every human being has the right to express their beliefs and ideas. Before I go on, though, I will ask if the first half of this definition does not apply to the opposing viewpoint. Does it? Yes, it absolutely does! Gay rights activists are extremely obstinate. That’s ok, we are too. It is better to stick to your guns than be a mushy load of crap. But are they intolerant? Holy hell! Yes they are! They aren’t satisfied with the simply having the right to be publicly gay, but opposition must accept their lifestyle as valid, must not speak out against it. They demand that private business owners, such as B&B’s hosting gay “wedding” receptions, or wedding photographers photograph their “weddings” even if the photographer is opposed to such an idea. If that weren’t enough, Catholics Charities have to cease adoption services if they refuse to place children in the hands of homosexual couples. In. Tol. Er. Ant.
Let’s get on to the second part of the definition which mention hatred and again, intolerance. We’ve already established the fact that the Catholic position is not intolerant, but that the homosexual agenda is. What about hatred? Certainly we’ve heard that Catholics hate gays because we don’t support gay marriage. I’ve further expanded the definition of hatred and the two components mentioned in the definition. It all comes down to ill will and an antagonistic attitude. Does Catholicism have ill will against gays? Again, I cannot speak for individuals, but as a whole, no. The Catholic Church’s only will for any human, gay, straight, or bi, is the well-being of their soul. Because homosexuality is not in the soul’s best interest, the Catholic does not support such activity. So far from being a vicious ill will towards gays, it is the exact opposite. Does the Catholic Church have an antagonistic attitude? Perhaps I should define antagonistic.
an•tag•o•nism noun: opposition of a conflicting force, tendency, or principle.
Yes. I suppose we do have an antagonistic attitude because there are two opposing principles at work. Antagonism in and of itself is not a bad thing, though. Until all things come into perfect unity there will always be antagonism, especially in a country that is under a republican form of government. The other question then is whether the homosexual community is hateful. Do they have ill will towards us? I will not say that any particular individual is hateful towards us, but as a whole, I tend to see the homosexual movement as hateful. Why? Simply because of the animosity I demonstrated earlier in regards to private business owners and Catholic agencies. If we look at the violence and vandalism that came from the proposition 8 campaign, or at homosexual disrupting church services, it is clear that homosexual activists are extremely hateful people.
It’s actually quite funny that they will call us hateful bigots, when by the very definition of the words, they are bigger bigots and more hateful haters than we are. But the truth is, none of that matters. Morality and truth aren’t based upon who is the lesser bigot, or who hates who less. It is based upon an ancient word that none of us have the power to change. It is based on rules that we don’t write, but that are given to humanity from something outside of ourselves.
*definitions were taken from the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
There are some pretty clear signals right now that things are happening in my family. The rumblings and tremors we feel right now are just the beginning. As Ke$ha might say, this place about to blow! Everyone thought that the initial quake of my conversion was a once in a lifetime unfortunate event. One building would sway and fall, but the rest of Baptistville would be okay. That initial shock ended abruptly, but there is no denial that there have been continuing aftershocks since that very day. I knew that it wasn’t the end. I knew that this day would come, I just didn’t knew how long it would be. Now my sister has shot the Richter scale up again and now there are all kinds of aftershocks. Aunts and cousins are getting involved, even if at a distance. My mom is getting involved and is even trying to instigate other tremors for some reason that is unbeknownst to me.
In any case, I predict that my family will not make it out of this next event alive, at least not living the same way that we have been. I have a feeling that if this particular quake pulls all the way through to Easter Vigil and the heaven-opening events of Confirmation and First Communion take place in my family again, a whole avalanche of events may be triggered. What are these events? I don’t know. Mass conversion? Maybe, maybe not. More heated theological discussion? Very likely. Tense emotion? Practically guaranteed. Breaking of relationships? I really hope not. Whatever happens, though, my family is being transformed. The light of Christ, the dawn of Truth is trying to pierce into our lives. Some are resisting, some are cooperating, others are waiting to see how things play out.
In the end though, there is no doubt that this place about to blow!
The news today is that the Presbyterian Church USA has just adopted an amendment to their constitution that removes the call for ordained ministers to live a life of fidelity within heterosexual marriage or chaste singlehood. This change opens the door not only for active homosexuals to serve as ordained ministers, but adulterers, fornicators, prostitutes and anyone who practices any sexual activity outside of the marriage covenant.
The unsurprising fact here is that it just so happens that the Twin Cities presbytery became the swing vote that lead to this heresy/apostasy. It seems to me that the Twin Cities are consistently at the forefront of changes in ordination requirements in various Christian denominations. Two years ago, the ELCA met in Minneapolis and approved a measure to allow gays to serve openly in ordained ministry. In 1976, St. Mark’s Cathedral in Minneapolis played host to the historical convention of the Episcopal Church (Anglican Communion) during which, woman were given the right to be ordained to the priesthood.
Why is it that the Twin Cities, my homeland, is constantly playing a large part in the destruction of orthodoxy in contemporary Christianity? Even within the Catholic Church, the Twin Cities fights against Church teaching. It was only last fall that Archbishop Nienstadt of St. Paul-Minneapolis sent dvds to the faithful (and not so faithful) of the Archdiocese urging them to support the authentic Christian understanding of marriage, only to have a huge uproar among non-Catholics (expected), but also Catholics themselves! (shameful).
Despite being a liberal area, the Twin Cities doesn’t really strike one as being revolutionary, which is what makes it so dangerous. Minneapolis and St. Paul really need our prayers. Clearly the other kingdom has a good hold on the area and is using it as a tool to destroy Christianity from within. Keep the people in your prayers!