Posted by: tpangle | January 10, 2011

Top 5 Attacks against Catholicism You Will Hear in College

1. There is no proof Jesus ever existed / No one ever believed Jesus was divine

2. Catholics added extra books to the Bible to prove their points / The Church burned books so that they could keep the “truth” away from the people.

3. Catholics believe the Pope is sinless / Catholic worship the Pope

4. Catholics are intolerant

5. The Eucharist is only a symbol of Jesus’ body & blood

1. There is no proof Jesus ever existed and no one thought he was divine.

Important to note the logical fallacy: The second half of the opposition nullifies the first half. ii.  The reason why we have both arguments lumped together is because the evidence from the first argument (Jesus’ existence) lends itself to the creation of the second argument if your goal is discrediting Christianity.

1a. Did Jesus exist as an actual historical figure?

Yes. Jesus existed as an historical figure; we can know this just as well as we can know that any other historical figure existed 2000 years ago. The majority of what we know to be ancient history comes from sources who wrote much later than the earliest documents of Christianity, even centuries later than the events they describe. Accounts of Jesus by non-Christians are no different. Most historians take the New Testament and the Gospels as historical record because it can be corroborated by other documents and histories. The Gospels were traced back to 65 and 110 A.D, while Paul’s letters were traced back to 48-68 AD. The ones who normally launch the claim that there is no historical evidence the Jesus existed are not historians. They are philosophers, or in other humanities branches. There aren’t many actual-disciplinary historians who would ever claim that Jesus of Nazareth never existed.

The Jewish historical sources are by far the best evidence that the person of Jesus of Nazareth, who claimed to be the Messiah of the Jewish tradition, existed. Jesus was a man who came and disrupted the Jewish tradition for many. It would make sense that if Jesus didn’t exist, Jewish sources would shout that fact from the rooftops! However, they did not. Rather, the Jewish sources account for Jesus in their histories and try toexplain away all of his miracles and following. This is a huge difference. Why wouldn’t they just claim Jesus as a hoax? Because they could not; because he existed. Each of the sources below (with the exception of Julius Africanus who is quoting the anti-Christian Thallus) is anti-Christian!

Jewish Sources: Flavius Josephus, who died in 98 A.D., was a Romanized Jewish historian. He wrote books on Jewish history for the Roman people. In his book, Jewish Antiquities, he made references to Jesus. In one reference he wrote: “At this time there appeared Jesus, a wise man. For he was a doer of startling deeds, a teacher of people who receive the truth with pleasure. And he gained a following among many Jews and among many of Gentile origin.” Josephus also reported the execution of St. John the Baptist [XVIII 5.2] and St. James the Just [XX 9.1], even referring to James as ‘the brother of Jesus who was called Christ.’ . . . Another Jewish source, the Talmud, makes several historical references to Jesus. . . .“It has been taught: On the eve of Passover they hanged Yeshu. And an announcer went out, in front of him, for forty days (saying): ‘He is going to be stoned, because he practiced sorcery and enticed and led Israel astray. Anyone who knows anything in his favor, let him come and plead in his behalf.’ But, not having found anything in his favor, they hanged him on the eve of Passover.” (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 43a) Roman Sources Thallus, a Samaritan historian (ca 52 A.D.), wrote attempting to give a natural explanation for the darkness which occurred at the crucifixion of Jesus. Thallus’ words as recorded by another historian Julius Africanus: “A most terrible darkness fell over all the world, the rocks were torn apart by an earthquake, and many places both in Judaea and the rest of the world were thrown down. In the third book of his Histories Thallus dismisses this darkness as a solar eclipse, unreasonably, as it seems to me. For the Hebrews celebrate the Passover on Luna 14, and what happened to the Saviour occurred one day before the Passover. But an eclipse of the sun takes place when the moon passes under the sun. The only time when this can happen is in the interval between the first day of the new moon and the last day of the old moon, when they are in conjunction. How then could one believe an eclipse took place when the moon was almost in opposition to the sun? So be it. Let what had happened beguile the masses, and let this wonderful sign to the world be considered a solar eclipse through an optical [illusion]. Phlegon records that during the reign of Tiberius Caesar there was a complete solar eclipse at full moon from the sixth to the ninth hour; it is clear that this is the one. But what have eclipses to do with an earthquake, rocks breaking apart, resurrection of the dead, and a universal disturbance of this nature.” Tacitus, who is respected by modern scholars for historical accuracy, wrote in 115 A.D. about Christ and His Church: “The author of the denomination was Christ[us], who had been executed in Tiberius’ time by the Procurator Pontius Pilate. . . .” (Annals, XV 44)

1b. Did anyone think Jesus was divine?

Yes and no. There were many people who did not believe Jesus was divine or that he was not as divine as we believe he is, but this is not a matter of historical fact, it is a matter of belief, just like today. People take someone that they have only heard about, have never met and decide for themselves who he is. What is important is that Jesus’ followers, their disciples and the bishops of the early Church who were “discipled” by the apostles believed he was divine. Whenever you analyze the belief of people who were disciple by Jesus (or any historical figure), you can come to understand what the teacher believed. Online Sources for quick reference: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/asbook11.html http://www.textexcavation.com/thallustestimonium.html

2. Catholics added extra books to the Bible to prove their points / The Church burned books so that they could keep the “truth” away from the people?

Rather than getting involved in polemics, let’s take a look at what history provides. The leaders of the Church came together in a series of conferences which eventually produced the Canon (the official books) of the New Testament that we know today at the Synod of Hippo in 393. However, many modern objections claim that all of the ancient text written about Christianity should be given “equal worth and validity” when determining who Jesus really was. This fallacy is absurd! Just as today, many people can write many conflicting things about what they believe happened during the moon landing, however, the most probable source is not someone watching the moon landing on TV, but someone who actually experienced the moon landing or studied under someone who did. Correct? If the TV-watcher and the astronaut both wrote a book about what occurred on the moon. Although both authors may write at the same time, clearly one source is more reliable than the other. This is not “intolerant”, this is just responsible discernment of sources.

The Church has a record of the rigors by which it tested the legitimacy of the ancient documents which is the same as what historians use today when they judge ancient sources.

i.            Apostolic origin: attributed to and/or based on the preaching/teaching of the first-generation apostles (or their closest companions)

ii.            Universal acceptance: acknowledged by all major Christian communities in the Mediterranean world (by the end of the fourth century)

iii.            Liturgical use: read publicly along with the OT when early Christians gathered for the Lord’s Supper (their weekly worship services)

iv.            Consistent message: containing theological ideas compatible with other accepted Christian writings (incl. the divinity and humanity Jesus)

The Church – collectively – did not burn heretical texts (although some individuals may have gone off the deep end). We can know this because the “heretical” texts still exist to this day!

3. Catholics believe the Pope is sinless / Catholic worship the Pope

Most of the misconceptions of the Papacy come from incorrect deductive reasoning. People hear the term “papal infallibility” and they assume that means either that the Pope is sinless or that he is perfect. So first we will determine what “papal infallibility” is not:

i.            It does not mean that the Pope is sinless or “cannot sin” once he becomes Pope (Pope John Paul II admitted that he went to confession once a week)

ii.            It does not mean that everything the Pope says or does is perfect or even correct. There are many actions of previous Popes that were absolutely wrong: there were popes who had mistresses and illegitimate children, who were driven by greed and power. However, these are not actions of the Pope as leader of the Church; they are actions of the MAN who is the pope. (Read Matthew 13: 24-30: Jesus knew men within his Church would not be perfect, but he also promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against it)

iii.            It does not mean that the Pope cannot be held responsible for his actions. Example: St. Peter (Matthew 16: 15-25), Galatians 2: 11-13 (St. Peter – our first Pope, instituted by Christ Himself – had been previously eating with the uncircumcised Gentiles. Once a group of pro-circumcision Christians came into town [believed that in order to become Christian, non-Jewish must fulfill all the Jewish laws, like circumcision], he stopped eating with the Gentiles for fear of upsetting those pro-circumcision Christians. This action taken by St. Peter was incorrect and hypocritical and St. Paul held him accountable.)

What “Papal Infallibility” is as Vatican II remarked, it is a charism the pope “enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith (Luke 22:32), he proclaims by a definitive actsome doctrine of faith or morals. Therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly held irreformable, for they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, an assistance promised to him in blessed Peter.” When he declares a teaching from the seat of Peter. In layman’s terms, what does this mean? It means that the Pope can only speak infallibly under four conditions:The pope must speak ex cathedra (from the Chair of Peter) in his official capacity. The decision must be binding on the whole Church. It must be on a matter of faith or morals. He must be intending to teach.

The infallibility of the pope is not a doctrine that suddenly appeared in Church teaching; rather, it is a doctrine which was implicit in the early Church. It is only our understanding of infallibility which has developed and been more clearly understood over time. Read the Early Church Father’s on the authority of the Pope. This papal authority promise to Peter by Jesus (Matthew 16: 18) means that the Catholic Church is not “majority rule”. It is also important to point out that when the Church puts it’s “stamp of approval” on something, it is not proclaiming that it is now, all-of-a-sudden true. It is confirming that it is true, was true and will always be true.

4. Catholics are intolerant

This means that the Catholic Church is intolerant because it believes that it is the fullness of truth and that no other religion is “as true”. The response to this is simple: EVERY religion believes that it is the MOST true doctrine. That’s why people practice it! Even religions that say that every religion is equally true, believe that statement to be the MOST TRUE form of belief! This objection is just a tricky maneuver that people use to get people illogically angry at their own religion.

The Catholic Church says that no one is saved outside of the Catholic Church, however, Catholics do not necessarily believe that people of other religions go to Hell. The Catholic Church has never stated one person who has definitively “gone to Hell”. Why? Because it cannot! God, in His infinite Mercy, can “save” whomever he wants, as far as He is concerned. But as far as WE are concerned because God came down to earth and assumed human flesh to unite us completely with His Divine Self and that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life  – because of God’s revelation to us, we would say that *as far as we are concerned, we cannot say that anyone is saved outside of the Catholic Church*. However, as far as GOD is concerned, He can save whomever He wishes – that is not up for us to know or decide. That is why we as Catholic Christians have a responsibility to LOVINGLY and RESPECTFULLY share that reality with others while being respectful of the paradigms they hold. It is not intolerant, it is actually the epitome of tolerantly holding a personal belief.

5. Communion is only a symbol of Jesus’ body & blood

Rather than belabor John 6: 22-71 (which all of you should read before going any further), we chose at Going Deeper to look at the historical beliefs of the Earliest Christians (for a full list of excerpts click here):

“Consider how contrary to the mind of God are the heterodox in regard to the grace of God which has come to us. They have no regard for charity, none for the widow, the orphan, the oppressed, none for the man in prison, the hungry or the thirsty. They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness, raised from the dead.” –Ignatius of Antioch 80-110 AD, student of St. John the Apostle.

“This food we call the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake except one who believes that the things we teach are true, and has received the washing for forgiveness of sins and for rebirth, and who lives as Christ handed down to us. For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God’s Word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the Word of prayer which comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus.” –Justin Martyr 148-155

“So then, if the mixed cup and the manufactured bread receive the Word of God and become the Eucharist, that is to say, the Blood and Body of Christ, which fortify and build up the substance of our flesh, how can these people claim that the flesh is incapable of receiving God’s gift of eternal life, when it is nourished by Christ’s Blood and Body and is His member? As the blessed apostle says in his letter to the Ephesians, ‘For we are members of His Body, of His flesh and of His bones’ (Eph. 5:30). He is not talking about some kind of ‘spiritual’ and ‘invisible’ man, ‘for a spirit does not have flesh an bones’ (Lk. 24:39). No, he is talking of the organism possessed by a real human being, composed of flesh and nerves and bones. It is this which is nourished by the cup which is His Blood, and is fortified by the bread which is His Body. The stem of the vine takes root in the earth and eventually bears fruit, and ‘the grain of wheat falls into the earth’ (Jn. 12:24), dissolves, rises again, multiplied by the all-containing Spirit of God, and finally after skilled processing, is put to human use. These two then receive the Word of God and become the Eucharist, which is the Body and Blood of Christ.” –Irenaeus of Lyons 180 AD

“You shall see the Levites bringing loaves and a cup of wine, and placing them on the table. So long as the prayers of supplication and entreaties have not been made, there is only bread and wine. But after the great and wonderful prayers have been completed, then the bread is become the Body, and the wine the Blood, of our Lord Jesus Christ. ‘And again:’ Let us approach the celebration of the mysteries. This bread and this wine, so long as the prayers and supplications have not taken place, remain simply what they are. But after the great prayers and holy supplications have been sent forth, the Word comes down into the bread and wine – and thus His Body is confected.” –Athanasius 373 AD

It’s pretty explicit that the Earliest Christians believed in the substantial true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist!

Posted by: tpangle | November 11, 2009

Prepare ye the way of the Lord!

Advent Season: How to Prepare for Christmas????

hallEvery year I find it harder and harder to really prepare for Christmas. I remember as a child it seemed like Christmas would never arrive! Every day we would open up a new door on the Christmas calendar and the anticipation was almost too much!!! Now, it seems like we just barely begin the Christmas season and it just zips by and before you know it – Christmas is here and gone! Maybe our days are more rushed than they were when we were children or maybe we have become disillusioned when we were told that our parents were the ones “magically” supplying the gifts under the tree.

However, now since I began practicing my Catholic Faith and I understand the liturgical significance of Christmas in the Church, I have this strong desire to do everything possible to prepare for baby Jesus being born into my heart at Christmas Mass!!! Each year, however, the same thing happens: I lovingly and with all fervor begin a daily preparation for Christmas. But as the days zoom by and the hectic schedule of Christmas ensues, I notice that I haven’t prayed formally in days! What happened?! This year is no different than the rest at this point. I sincerely desire to do everything I possibly can to prepare for Christmas and make this Advent different than the failed ones of the past. To make this Christmas more like my childhood, where the anticipation of the birth of Christ welled up inside me until I felt like I would explode with joy!

This Advent, I would like to take some practical steps to ready my heart for the Incarnation of Christ. I would like to challenge everyone who reads this blog to do the same, by following me on this path during Advent:

monks1) I propose that we first “FIND SANCTUARY”…Doesn’t that sound nice? Is that really possible in “today’s world”.  The answer, it’s just as possible today as it was for people 1000 years ago to find peace and solace – you just have to know where to look.

Let’s begin the “pre-Advent” season by reading Finding Sanctuary: Monastic Steps for Everyday Life. Abbot Christopher Jamison, head of the Benedictine monastery at Worth Abbey in Sussex, England, recently entered the spotlight when his monastery hosted 5 every-day men who lived the life of monks for six months in the BBC show “The Monastery.” After the 5 men experienced amazing lifestyle transformations and Christian spirituality was seen as something to be desired rather than mocked or shunned as “antiquated”, Abbot Jamison wrote Finding Sanctuary to help people who are lost in the “business” of the world find peace and learn how to connect with God.

If you are the kind of person who says it’s hard to find silence because of the “noise” or “distractions” in your head…this is the book for you!!!

I would encourage us to order this book off of Amazon.com (click here) and spend the rest of November “Finding Sanctuary.”

2) I propose that the beginning of Advent start also with the reading of a timeless classic, Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales (which can also be ordered on Amazon.com by clicking here). Less of a “book” than a daily retreat, Introduction to the Devout Life is perfect for the season of Advent, because it is designed for an “Extreme Soul Makeover”🙂 Many people don’t know, but Advent, like Lent, is a season of Penance. It is not as severe of a season of penance as Lent, but small acts of penance are recommended. Introduction to the Devout Life is a perfect book for preparing our soul for the birth of Jesus and for making reparation through penance.

3) I would suggest reading these books in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament each day, if at all possible, or at least in a quiet place where you can be absorbed in God’s Presence. Savor the words on the page and really allow them to speak Wisdom to you and not just learning for the sake of knowing. Really focus on coming to know God while reading these books.

So…..Who’s with me??!!!!

May God fill us all with Hope, Joy and Love in anticipation for the greatest miracle of all!!!

December 5, 1985 “Dear children! I am calling you to prepare
yourselves for Christmas by means of penance, prayer and works of
charity. Dear children, do not look toward material things,
because then you will not be able to experience Christmas. Thank
you for having responded to my call.” – Our Lady of Medjugorje

Posted by: tpangle | October 29, 2009

Gossip and Slander

Andrew Reinhart spoke to Going Deeper this last Sunday and it was so great that I decided to make it our main-page blog post! Enjoy ~

hanging_noose_310Why is Gossip bad?

(references: Theology of the Body by Pope John Paul II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Humans have reason. This reason creates an internal life. This is what makes us different from the animals. (i.e. Animals feel pain, but they do not suffer – humans are able to recognize that they are suffering more than they were before and that their pain could go on into the future; animals cannot realize that. Animals feel happiness, but they cannot experience joy. This all stems from an “interior life” caused by the ability to reason.)

Our ability to reason has given us the capability and desire to produce words. Words not merely to command (like the barking of a dog), but words to express the interior life we experience. So there is something already significant about words. They are the means by which we reveal something about ourselves that is not visible in the body and this allows us to enter deeper into communion with one another.

Adam and Eve after the fall, immediately begin to slander one another when they are asked to answer for their actions. They began to hide not only their nakedness, but their interior life as well, because they were immediately aware of the fact that they could be used by one another. In another story in Genesis, The Tower of Babel, communication again is altered by the fall (sin). Communication through words is more important than most Christians recognize.

This importance of a reputation is also more than one would think. A reputation is “the truth of our interior life as others understand it.” When someone reveals themselves through words, they are choosing to reveal their interior life to that person. That interior life is our great human dignity. An abuse of the interior life of another person is an abuse against their dignity as a person. It is an abuse against the very core of what it means to be human. This is why gossip can become a grave offense (a mortal sin). You become responsible for killing the interior life of another person in the eyes of others.

Gossip: any time when you reveal the facts of the interior life of another person.

Slander: Same as gossip, but the things that are “revealed” are not true or are said with a malicious intent. Slander is either done intentionally or unintentionally (ignorance…you believe something to be true of a person, but you have no proof), but either way, you want the person to whom you are speaking to think badly of the person you are revealing.

Detraction: any time when you reveal the true facts of the interior life of another person without an objectively valid reason. (CCC2477)  An objectively valid reason would be someone just confessed to you that they murdered their grandmother, you can (and should) tell the police. However, if someone confesses to you that they killed their grandmother and you tell the authorities and then tell everyone else you meat, that is not a valid reason.

Calumny: this is the same as slander: telling a falsehood about someone else. This includes lying and telling things that you may believe to be true, but of which you have no proof. (Example, spreading a rumor that someone hates you and is trying to ruin your life because you can just “feel” it. You have no proof of this other than your “gut” impression. That is not a valid enough reason to “murder” the person’s reputation.)

Calumny is of a higher gravity than detraction, but the gravity of the situation determines the gravity of the sin. This is why you must examine the intention of your heart.

“Delectatio Morosa”: Delighting in the faults of others (i.e. making fun of celebrities).

Idle Chatter: speaking without revealing your interior life; wasting time; time in conversation that has no purpose. We all have the responsibility of building the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Every moment is a gift from God and we are called to use this time wisely. This is not a sin, but it is an attachment and is not productive.

Two excellent books to read on this topic of “attachment” are

Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Salles

Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila

The Goal of Christian Conversation in a Fallen World:

We are called in all of our faults and imperfections, to learn how to trust; to stand before others without “fig leaves” covering our most vulnerable areas. Many times we take the focus off of ourselves by talking about others. We need to work on revealing our person in the way that is appropriate to our state of life.

Is there any room for “venting”?

Yes, but we must be careful to cherish other people’s reputations. The best way to do this is to not reveal identities of other people, but to simply stick to the your own feelings (how things made you feel, why it hurt you, etc.).

esseffAs a Catholic community, we have been very blessed here at BGSU over the years! God has done wonderful things for us and HOLY IS HIS NAME!!!

This Thursday, October 22, Monsignor John Esseff, retired exorcist for the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, will be visiting our campus. He will be speaking in the multipurpose room of the Student Union at 8:00PM. He will also be celebrating Mass at 5:15PM at St. Thomas More University Parish.

Msgr. Esseff was confessor and retreat director for Mother Teresa of Calcutta and many of her sisters around the globe. Currently he travels the world leading retreats for religious and teaching bishops and priests about exorcism. He was favored by St. Padre Pio and thus has been blessed with special charisms in the confessional. I knew nothing of this when I asked Msgr. Esseff to come and speak at our school. It has been such a surprise to learn more and more about this man.

I absolutely encourage you to learn more about Msgr. Esseff before he arrives. You can do so by watching the videos or reading the links posted below.

 I would also ask you to pray, pray , pray!!!!

Pray for Msgr. John Esseff and his ministry!

Pray for his visit to BGSU and all of the student s who will attend!

Our Catholic student organization, Veritas, will be hosting a follow up meeting on October 29 on the second floor of the McFall Center at BGSU at 7:30 PM. Fr. Martin Conner will be joining us to answer any questions that are raised with Msgr. Esseff’s talk and questions about the Spiritual Battle we are all engaged in, in general. Please consider joining us for this event as well.

Osama bin Laden, listen to the priest! (The most amazing video! Best example of balanced respect and accountability)

Msgr. Esseff remembers Padre Pio

Msgr. Esseff remember Mother Teresa  video 1  video 2  video 3 video 4

FatimaSun-skybestfatimapic

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 13th has always been my “lucky day”, ever since I was a child. Every time I looked at a digital clock and it read 10:13 I would get really excited. After I came to St. Thomas More, I found out that another girl shared this same childhood obsession! As it turned out, this girl and I were both extremely dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. And, as it turned out, October 13th (10:13) is one of the most miraculous days of the last two centuries!!! Known most notably in the Catholic world for the “Miracle of the Sun” in Fatima, Portugal, October 13th was the day when 70,000 people – Catholic, atheists, international media, bystanders, and people in other villages on the Portuguese countryside – all witnessed the sun dance in the sky!

You can read an excellent collection of the newspaper accounts online at EWTN’s Fatima mini-site.

michaelfrExactly 33 years prior to the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, October 13, 1884, Pope Leo XIII had a the diabolical vision of Satan and God speaking – the occasion after which Pope Leo XIII instituted the Prayer of St. Michael the Archangel to be prayer after every mass.

It is absolutely incredible to me now to understand that my obsession with the date and time October 13th may have had some strange significant meaning…some way of Our Lady keeping her eye on me even when I was far from God.

Thanks be to God for sending us His mother! Because even when our pride and hardness of heart keeps us from turning back to God, he knows that our hearts can be softened through the bonds of motherhood. No one can refuse a mother! No one is capable of feeling scorn or judgment from the Holy Mother of God! God, in His infinite Mercy, knows we will come back to Him through the heart of His Mother!!!FatimaPicture

Posted by: tpangle | October 6, 2009

Veritas on International TV!!!

Just a reminder, on October 8th, JonMarc Grodi and Marley Silvestri will be on EWTN’s “Life on the Rock,” an INTERNATIONALLY-AIRED TV Program, representing our Catholic student organization, Veritas! If you have satellite TV that allows you to access EWTN, please tune in at 8:00PM (EST) to watch our students! If you have access to a computer you can watch them LIVE online at: http://www.ewtn.com/audiovideo/index.asp in streaming video.

Posted by: tpangle | September 23, 2009

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

Reporter: “What will convert America and save the world?”

Mother Teresa: “My answer is prayer. What we need is for every Parish to come before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in Holy Hours of prayer”

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

(Please respond to this post or contact me if you would like to sign up for an hour of adoration at St. Thomas More parish.)

john-paul-ii-with-monstrance-201x300

John Paul II: “The best, the surest and the most effective way of establishing everlasting PEACE on the face of the earth is through the great power of Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.”

jesusCan we deny what Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II have said? We can, if and only if, we do not truly believe that Jesus is present in the Blessed Sacrament. If we really believed that Jesus – God, the Creator of the whole universe, the Infinitely Glorious One Who IS – we would never ever doubt that anything we ask for in His presence will be granted (in accordance to His Divine Will). We would spend our first moments of the day in His presence and He would be the last one we would speak to at night. We would NEVER miss daily Mass if we are able to attend. We would enter a church and fall flat on our faces, before His Divine presence in the tabernacle. He would be constantly on our mind.

But who am I kidding?! It is hard enough to even get me into the chapel once a day and I live just steps from the church! Why is this? My thought is, because we don’t spend enough time with Jesus. Ladies, say your friend introduced you to a man and told you definitively that he was your husband. You accepted this fact, exchanged your hellos and then left. You made no effort to visit, set up a date, or even call him. Your mind doesn’t even daydream about him. You are more happy hanging out with your friends and really don’t desire to be around him at all. Frequently you’d pass him on the street and, knowing that he is your husband, you’d stop and give him a hug and say, “I love you, my dear!” and then continue on. Someone looking at you from the outside would say, “Why doesn’t that woman spend time with her husband? She barely even speaks to him! Doesn’t she know that she is supposed to be in love with him?!” So then, even if you recognize that he is your husband, why don’t you love him or desire to spend any time with him? The answer is simple: you don’t know him. You may recognize him, but you haven’t formed a deep bond with him.

In my own life, I ask the same question with my relationship with Jesus. Why don’t I desire to be with Him always? Why is it so easy to brush Him off and do other things? Why do I say, “Jesus understands that I am busy”? The sad, simple fact is: I don’t spend enough time with Him! I don’t make Him a priority. When I look back at my life and see the times when I was most in love with Jesus, was when I was spending 2-3 hours a day praying (at least 1 hour in His presence).

kneelingMy next question to myself would be: “How do I make myself spend time with Jesus when I don’t want to?”

1) Exercise your will. We live in a society where we rarely have to exorcise our will – we never have to be hungry, cold, bored, chaste, thirsty… What we don’t realize is that the will is a muscle. If we don’t use it, we begin to theorize that we are unable to. That is why we now have “determinism” taught as truth in our schools. If you know you should spend time with Jesus, even though you don’t want to, make an act of will to do it! It won’t kill you! (And even if it does, you’ll be a martyr :o)

2) Fast. What?! It’s not even Lent! Good. Pick something you cannot live without and for a day…live without it! TV, coffee, Facebook. Also remember you can’t fast from sin, so if your first response is “I’ll go a day without having sex with my girlfriend” or “without watching Internet pornography”, you probably should…but for more than just a day! Offer up your fast for the Love of God! Tell Him that you want to get to know Him better. Just like a guy on a first date would bring his gal some flowers, bring Jesus a bouquet of “fasting” flowers. (If you like this idea, you should probably read Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Salles)

3) Sign up for a Holy Hour! Call or email your local parishes for information about Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. St. Thomas More has holy hours available!

For information about Adoration follow these links:

What is Adoration?

Basic Terminology and Explaination

Biblical reasons for Adoration

Real Time Adoration and Info

EWTN Info on the Holy Eucharist

For information about what to do in a Holy Hour follow these links:

What to do for an hour?

Litanies for a Holy Hour

A Holy Hour for Peace

Prayers during Adoration

Make the Real Presence of God a priority in your life. He is the source of your existence. And the only reason he created you was to love you!

monstrance

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Our parish is beginning again our 21-Hours of Adoration. This opportunity has brought so many graces to our parish, but this year it has been so hard to fill the time slots. I know that at times when our schedules fill up, especially when they fill up with Church obligations and volunteer projects, it is hard to remember that prayer really comes first. In terms of accomplishing our goals, prayer may not seem like the best way to get assignments done, but I assure you that one hour of prayer it is even more beneficial to any of our efforts than working for 10 hours! Can we expect any of our efforts to succeed – especially when our efforts are focused on evangelization – when we are not committed to prayer? I would like to call all of us to seriously consider prayer for one hour a day. You can break it up between a half hour in the morning and a half hour at night. If you attend a daily Mass, sneak a half hour before Mass in preparation for reception of the Lord or after Mass in thanksgiving and for healing.

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A Bolivian Mystic, Catalina Rivas, whose writings carry the Imprimatur of the Church, describes what Jesus tells her are the benefits of Eucharistic adoration:

1) Every petition that is presented before the Altar of God in favor of the Church, the Pope and consecrated souls.

2) The annulment of Satan’s power over its person and its loved ones.

3) Special protection in case of earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters which otherwise would affect it.

4) It will be lovingly withdrawn from the world and its attractions, which are the cause of perdition.

5) The elevation of its soul, desiring to attain sanctification, in virtuous eternal contemplation of My Face.

6) Relief of its loved ones from the pains of Purgatory.

7) My blessing on every material and spiritual project it undertakes, if they are for the good of its own soul.

8.) The receiving of My visit in company with My Mother at the moment of its death.

9) To listen to and to look after the needs of the persons for whom it prays.

10) The intercession of the Saints and Angels at the hour of its death, in order to diminish temporal punishment.

11) That My Love will cause holy vocations consecrated to God among its loved ones and friends.

12) That the soul which preserves a genuine devotion to My Presence in the Eucharist will not be condemned or die without the Sacraments of the Church.

“To the priests and nuns that propagate the devotion of Adoration, I will grant many special graces, the complete recognition of their sins and the Grace to amend them. I will help them to form communities of devout and holy faithful, and they will attain many privileges.

“I promise these things to all persons, under only two conditions which are the fruit of genuine love towards My Real Presence in the Eucharist, and which are absolutely indispensable for My promises to become a reality in their lives:

a) That they strive to preserve the dignity of My Altars.

b) That they be merciful towards their neighbor.”

 

Posted by: tpangle | September 3, 2009

First Saturday Devotions

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ…” (Col 1:24)

First Saturday Devotions

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(This Saturday, September 5th, is a first Saturday and there is Mass at 9AM at St. Thomas More)

fatima

When the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children at Fatima, she asked the world to make reparation for the sins of all people. She offered a little devotion to the children that would help repair the damage that had been done to the world through sin; this has become known as the “First Saturday Devotions”. This is an opportunity for all people to “offer up” a portion of a month to help Good triumph over evil in the spiritual battle that truly ensues around us constantly.

Since the Ascension of Jesus, authentic private revelation has shown the world the love Jesus has for His Mother and the special place she holds in Heaven to intercede for us to her Divine Son. In many appearance of Mary on this earth, she has come to help her children (us) avoid a chastisement that is impending due to our many sins. She holds back the arm of her Son and God allows her to give methods of reparation for our sins, in order that our souls may be turned back towards God.

In the First Saturday Devotion, Mary asked that the following habits be performed the first Saturday of every month for five months:

1. Make a “good confession” (within 8 days before or after the first Saturday)
2. Receive Holy Communion
3. Recite five decades of the Rosary*
4. “Keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on fifteen mysteries of the Rosary” (separate from the Rosary itself)*
(*Preferably done in the presence of the Lord in the Tabernacle or at Exposition)

Through this devotion that God had allowed the Blessed Mother to offer to mankind, God would permit that:

1. The Virgin Mary’s assistance at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation for those who practice the devotion.
2. Salvation of souls and peace as a result of promoting of the Devotion to the Immaculate Heart.

Sacrileges Committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary

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(for which this devotion most especially makes reparation)

1. Attacks upon the reality of Mary’s Immaculate Conception
2. Attacks against her the reality of Mary’s Perpetual Virginity
3. Attacks upon Mary’s Divine Maternity and the refusal to accept her as the Mother of all mankind
4. Those who try to publicly implant in children’s hearts indifference, contempt and hatred for Immaculate Mary
5. For those who insult Mary directly in her sacred images.

How Can I Practice This Devotion?

St. Thomas More has Mass and Confession every First Saturday!!!

Mass on First Saturdays is at 9:00 AM and Confessions begin at 4:00 PM (the 5:00 PM Sunday Vigil Mass follows the hour of confession, which is also an opportunity to receive Holy Communion on the First Saturday).  

“How to Pray the Rosary” pamphlets can be found in the kneelers by the Mary & Joseph statue in the main body of the church.

Posted by: tpangle | August 25, 2009

Birthday Present for the Blessed Mother!!!!

 

 SET YOUR PHONE ALARM CLOCK TO RING AT NOON

AND GIVE A BIRTHDAY PRESENT TO OUR LADY!!!!

 angelus

Isn’t it beautiful to kick off a post with a birthday?!!! September 8th is the day the Church celebrates the Nativity of Mary. 

The Church only celebrates two miraculous births: the birth of the Immaculate Conception (Mary) and the birth of St. John the Baptist (June 24th) who was sanctified in the womb at the moment Mary’s greeting reached the ears of his mother, St. Elizabeth. 

I am proposing, in order to prepare for this event, that we begin praying the Angelus at noon everyday! This is an age-old tradition that has helped the faithful “live liturgically”. 

The Angelus prayer is said in honor of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ (the moment when God took on human flesh in the womb of Mary). Its words are derived from the Gospels of Luke and John. The Angel Gabriel’s words to Mary at the moment of Mary’s Fiat have been immortalized in this Gospel, in the Hail Mary and in the Angelus. 

The words of the Incarnation of Christ: “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” are so holy, that one must bow when they are uttered. 

(that’s the reason why people bow at a certain point during the Creed at Mass…) If you live near a church, you may notice that the church bells ring everyday for an extended amount of time, maybe even with a more beautiful song. That is a very old practice to remind peasants in the field or merchants in the town to stop and pray the Angelus.  Historically, it is prayed at 6:00 AM, Noon, and 6:00 PM.

I am challenging you, as a birthday present to Our Lady,

to set your phone alarm to ring at 12 o’clock noon

in order to remind you to pray this prayer.

 Print this prayer off or send it to your phone via text message. However, you choose to remember this prayer, let’s do this together!  You can pray the words in a group or by yourself (just say all the parts yourself); and when your alarm goes off, you can even encourage those around you to pray it with you!!!

 The Angelus

Leader: The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: 
Response: And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

 Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of
our death. Amen.

 Leader: Behold the handmaid of the Lord

Response: Be it done unto me according to Thy word.

 Hail Mary . . .

 Leader: And the Word was made Flesh

Response: And dwelt among us.

 Hail Mary . . .

Leader: Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God

Response:  that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

Let us pray:

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

Amen.

Posted by: tpangle | August 20, 2009

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Welcome to all who have found you way to this blog (whether it’s because I handed you my card, mercilessly evangelized to you at my bar, or just because this popped up on your Google search)!

The purpose of this blog is to help you to live your Catholic faith along with the Church’s liturgical seasons.

“Why would I want to do that?”

Good question! (I knew there was a reason why I invited you here!)

We are all God’s creatures. He created us. God has inscribed His love and His will into each one of our hearts. We are all destined to return to Him, because He is our heart’s greatest Lover…He created us out of Love alone! This world we are in is a place of decision. God will not force his love upon us (forced love is not authentic love – if we do not want to be with God for eternity, He will honor our decision), so God has given us free will to choose whether or not we want to be with Him for all eternity. Choosing to live for Jesus means choosing the Truth of reality. We must recognize that this life is passing and that where we will spend eternity is much more real than the “reality” of this life. We are made to choose Heaven because it is the One Who is in Heaven who created us! We are made to choose Him and end up in Heaven – that fact is “order”.

Well, on this earth we are given free will (I know…I already said that). When we use our free will to choose disorder and make objectively bad decisions, our choice for the opposite of God’s order (sin) causes us to be scarred a little. This scar becomes callous. So little by little, all of the scars from sin form a veil over our eyes and we are unable to see the reality of God’s world. These scars do not just affect us personally (just as when we make a bad decision, we are not the only ones who suffer because of it), but they begin to affect other people and eventually all of creation. “Original Sin”…this sin of Adam and Eve or, logically speaking, the first human sin (the first time a being with a rational soul was tempted by the Devil and gave in to that temptation) has affected the whole world up until now…but now its effects have snowballed, which is why we are sometimes weak in the face of temptation.

When we strive to make good decisions, even when it causes suffering for the greater good, we align ourselves with that Good and with order and we are given grace. Grace, to put it simply, “lifts the veil” that is cast over our eyes by the effect of the bad choices. Grace helps us to see the world as it really is. Grace helps us to spot the temptations of Satan and gives us the Hope that there is a greater power than evil that we can rely on to save us from falling time and time again into the same bad choices.

Because God’s Love is so vast (as vast as God Himself, because God IS Love) humans would never be able on their own to understand fully the love God has for us. That is why when you read the old testament, God seems like a very different God…an angry God. That is because God send His word to us through humans (the Prophets) and they tried as hard as humans could to understand something that our lesser intellect could never grasp. So humans became corrupt, and in the greatest foreshadowing of Jesus’ Passion, God told them to offer sacrifices of animals to cleanse them from their sins (Actually, the animals that God prescribed them to kill and sacrifice were animals that they worshiped instead of God while slaves in Egypt! God asked them to slit the throat of that which they had called God for 400 years! Anyway…). However, in the greatest act of a Lover, God Himself assumed the human flesh of Mary, in order to save us from constantly turning our backs on God. (This is why we bow during the Creed when we say, “For us men and for our salvation He came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit He was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.” Because he condescended to earth only because He loved us and wanted us to spend eternity being loved by Love Itself). Jesus – God Himself – became human in order to offer His own Body and Blood for even our most petty act of selfishness. Regardless of how brutal and tedious the Old Testament was, it was a preparation for the coming of God Himself for the ransom of all mankind. Before He died, He established His own Church on the “Rock” of Peter, the apostle. And no matter how hard evil tries to destroy it, Jesus promised, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” We must remember: The battle is already won! We do not have to fear if we cling to the Rock of Peter. However, if we attempt to “free ourselves” from the authority of the Holy Spirit Who guides the Church, we will surely become oppressed by our scars of sin and “free” ourselves from Eternal Life. (This is the reality that God preached while on earth. Be wary of those who preach a “Barney Jesus”. Jesus was merciful, yes, but there are so many occasions in the New Testament in which Jesus really lays into people…Loving, Merciful and Just is our God.)

Really? Still you haven’t answered my question: WHY IS LIVING LITURGICALLY SO IMPORTANT?

The Church of Jesus, built upon the Rock of Peter, has bound here on earth (which is then bound in Heaven) particular occasions where God pours His grace down upon us like a waterfall…like an endless ocean. These occasions correspond with the Liturgical Seasons of the Church.

We need God’s grace to continuously choose him every single day! Let us cling close to His Church, His Mystical Body on earth, so that the occasions of grace may not pass us by!

The liturgical seasons of the Church are the context by which the Mystical Body of Christ lives. If the Catholic Church were a human body (which it is ), the liturgical calendar would be the environment in which it lives. We are a part of this Body of Christ.

Whether or not we believe it or choose to live by it (if we do believe it), the liturgical seasons do affect our daily lives. It is because there is a reality in the spiritual world that changes at every liturgical season. Some seasons are seasons of grace (the Octaves of Easter and All Saints, Marian and Saints feast days). For those who are open to that grace, God showers its down upon them. There are also seasons of testing (Lent, Advent, Holy Week) designed to help us deepen our faith. During those seasons temptations become stronger and our will needs to be exercised more regularly.

In an interesting and related note, people (especially those who work in the ER and Labor & Delivery wards) also claim that strange things happen on Halloween or during full moons. Satanic practices often occur on these specific days.

This blog is designed to help us better understand and live according to the mystical environment of the Church, to ensure that we never miss an opportunity of grace because of ignorance, to help guard ourselves against the attacks of the Evil One and his minions.

“Dear children! Today I call you anew to conversion. Little children, you are not holy enough and you do not radiate holiness to others, therefore pray, pray, pray and work on your personal conversion, so that you may be a sign of God’s love to others. I am with you and am leading you towards eternity, for which every heart must yearn. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

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