Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mother of My Lord

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One of the things which always astounded me.  Astounds me to this day, really, is the fact that a Protestant and a Catholic can look at the same verse and come up with two radically different understandings of that verse.

The difference, in my opinion, stems back to how we read the Bible.  Protestants DISCOVER the meaning of a Bible verse every time they read it.  They, in good faith, endeavor to read the Bible without any presuppositions cluttering their mind.  At least, that's what many of them have told me.  They suggest that I do the same.  That I shed the Catholic presuppositions and approach the Bible as though I had never seen it before.

That, however, would be precisely against Catholic Teaching.  The Catholic Church instructs us to read the Bible according to the Traditions of the Church.
113 2. Read the Scripture within "the living Tradition of the whole Church". According to a saying of the Fathers, Sacred Scripture is written principally in the Church's heart rather than in documents and records, for the Church carries in her Tradition the living memorial of God's Word, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives her the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture (". . . according to the spiritual meaning which the Spirit grants to the Church"81).
I have thought about why, the Catholic Church and the Protestants approach Scripture reading with such disparate methods.  And I have come to the conclusion that the Catholic Church is the only Church which can legitimately approach Scripture with presuppositions.

You see, God did not drop a Bible down to earth and say, "You guys read that and figure it out."  No.  God inspired holy men to preach and then to write the Scriptures (2 Peter 1:19-21).  Remember the day of Pentecost?  We just celebrated it and are still within the Octave.

What I mean is this:
1.  Christ taught the Apostles and commanded them to preach (Matt 28:20).
2.  The Apostles obeyed and went into the world preaching and baptizing (Acts 2:38).
3.  The Church then began to write the New Testament Scriptures (2 Peter 1:19-21).

Therefore, the New Testament is based upon the Traditions of Jesus Christ.  The Traditions are the presuppositions with which the Church approaches the Scriptures.  And that is why Catholics and Protestants can look at the same verse and see totally different things.

I was reminded of this reading the words of St. Elizabeth to Our Lady:
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

There we see an explicit declaration of the title, Mother of God, being used in Scripture.  But Protestants won't admit it.

The Gospel reading today is this:

Lk 1:39-56

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
"Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled."

And Mary said:
"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever."

Mary remained with her about three months
and then returned to her home.


De Maria

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Refuting Protestant false assumptions

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Anonmymous John has asked me how I would respond to Dr. Mizzi's objection to the doctrine of the Assumption of Mary.

Hi John,

Thanks for your interest.  Before I begin, I'd like to isolate some of the false "assumptions (i.e. presuppositions)" by which lead Protestants to erroneous conclusions of the meaning of the Scriptures.  These are some of the reasons that, in my opinion, a Protestant and Catholic can look at precisely the same Bible verse or Church doctrine and come up with completely different understandings.

What came first, the chicken or the egg?

Refuting Mizzi's assumptions about the Assumption of Mary

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Enoch and Mary and the Assumption

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The Bible seems explicit to me concerning the assumption of Enoch. The Bible also seems explicit in explaining why Enoch was assumed into heaven:

Hebrews 11:5 ....for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
Now it seems to me that this sort of gives us a guideline or Biblical principle. Apparently, God will translate to Himself those who please Him. We know that we all await our translation to heaven body and soul, eventually, in the Resurrection. But apparently, God will translate some to Himself who please Him extraordinarily. Such as, Elijah and Moses ( 4 Kings 2:11;   Jude 1:9).

Now, if He did this in the past, why would God not do it in the future. After all, God is absolute and does not change. And isn't Scripture clear that Mary pleased God:

Luke 1:28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women....42 And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.
Additional texts which support the translation of Mary to heaven body and soul are these:

Rev 11:19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven: and the ark of his testament was seen in his temple, and there were lightnings, and voices, and an earthquake, and great hail.
 Rev 12:1 And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars:

John 17:24 Father, I will that where I am, they also whom thou hast given me may be with me; that they may see my glory which thou hast given me, because thou hast loved me before the creation of the world.
Psalms 132:8 Arise, O Lord, into thy resting place: thou and the ark, which thou hast sanctified.
I guess your next question is "what does the ark have to do with Mary?"

I'll let Scott Hahn answer that:

The most prominent scriptural theme in the liturgical text of the Church when it comes to the feast of the Assumption, which we are celebrating happily today. You can see, if you had a missalette that the reading for the Vigil of the Assumption has some text that at first might seem to be rather odd and out of place. For instance, we had a reading from 1st Chronicles 15. It doesn't mention Mary. All it talks about is how David assembled all Israel and Jerusalem to bring the Ark of the Lord to the place which he had prepared for it. .... And you're thinking, "Why choose this text? There are literally thousands of texts to choose from, why a text about a box? And all of these guys jumping and singing and dancing around a box, and putting it in a tent and then singing and dancing and offering sacrifices and blessing people in the text?" 
Kind of unusual. But then for the Responsorial Song in the Vigil Mass from Psalm 132, the responsorial is , "Lord, go up to the place of your rest, you and the Ark of you holiness." Now, this isn't Noah's ark, this is the Ark of the Covenant. We'll get a little bit more into the background in just a minute, but why the Ark of the Covenant, and this is an ancient liturgical tradition. These are texts that have been included in the liturgy of the Assumption as far back as we can trace it, and this is like 7th Century, 6th Century. We can't trace it back much farther than that, but all this historical evidence points to the fact that this has been celebrated from ancient times. So you can't just say, "Well it popped out of nowhere in the 6th and 7th Century," because back then Churches were liturgically hyper- conservative. I mean you didn't just innovate and then say, "Well, we've got a new feast." Then all of a sudden have it catch on in the Church all around the world.

I hope the helps,


De Maria

The Spirit blows where it will.

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IN MY OPINION, there is one thing which Catholics need to learn from Protestants.   It is the confidence in their individual prayers being heard by God.

There are Catholics who tell me that there is a book which says that all blessing must be done by a ministerial Priest.   I say, ministerial, because we are all baptized, priests, prophets and kings.  But ministerial Priests have the further consecration of service for the people of God and to God.

Who is more faithful, women or men?

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People frequently confuse me for a woman because I call myself after Our Lady, Mary (i.e. Maria).  But  I'm a man.  Anyway,  one thing that has been proven to me in my life is that women are more faithful to God than men.  Every Church I've ever been to, women outnumber men two to one.  From the time I was young, I remember the men dropping the women off on Sunday, they would sit on the stoop or go to the bar and come back to the pick up their wives, moms and sisters when Mass was over.

The faith of Christ

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For many years, I had a wrong understanding of faith. I thought it meant believing in God's existence. But Jesus did not have that kind of faith. He was "certain" of God's existence, He is God. But Scripture says that faith is:

How do I prove the Assumption from Scripture?

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A few years ago, I was asked,
Is there a way to prove the Assumption of Mary other than saying "the Church says so" to a Protestant?
Lets try this:

Marcus Grodi's Journey Home program on Youtube

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Maybe you guys already knew about it, but I didn't.  I recently discovered that my favourite program, Journey Home, is on Youtube.

I don't have cable or satellite.  So, I used to have to wait to see the program when I was out of town (I travel a lot) if I was in a Catholic area and the hotel carried EWTN.  I could sometimes get it on my computer, if I could figure out how to hook in through EWTN's website.  But I'm afraid that either takes more computer expertise than I possess or I've got the wrong kind of computer (a Macbook).

I don't know if they have all the titles on Youtube.  But they have a bunch.  This week, I watched the episodes with Brian Robbins, Debbie Herbeck, Marie Joseph and Peggy Bowes.

Everyone of the programs was great.  But I especially enjoyed how Mr. Robbins connected the dots between the Old and New Testament as it pertained to the Liturgical Calendar.

Anyway, I'll be taking advantage of this new found gem very often.


De Maria

He is talking about the Mass

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The Church teaches us to understand the Scriptures through the lens of Church Tradition.

113 2. Read the Scripture within "the living Tradition of the whole Church". According to a saying of the Fathers, Sacred Scripture is written principally in the Church's heart rather than in documents and records, for the Church carries in her Tradition the living memorial of God's Word, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives her the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture (". . . according to the spiritual meaning which the Spirit grants to the Church"81).

This has been very helpful to me in understanding the Word of God.  But more recently, I've learned to look at the New Testament through the lens of the Sacraments.  There are so many verses which we can't understand completely unless we recognize the Sacraments.  I was reminded because today at Mass, the first reading said:

1 Pt 1:10-16
Beloved:Concerning the salvation of your soulsthe prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yourssearched and investigated itinvestigating the time and circumstancesthat the Spirit of Christ within them indicatedwhen it testified in advanceto the sufferings destined for Christand the glories to follow them.It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but youwith regard to the things that have now been announced to youby those who preached the Good News to youthrough the Holy Spirit sent from heaven,things into which angels longed to look.
Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly,and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to youat the revelation of Jesus Christ.Like obedient children,do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorancebut, as he who called you is holy,be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct,for it is written, Be holy because I am holy.
Do you recognize the Mass in this reading?  It's in these words.
Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly, and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Unlike the Protestants, we are not simply awaiting Jesus Christ at the Second Coming.  We, who understand our faith, are yearning for Christ revealed to us on the Altar, in the Mass, in the Holy Eucharist.


De Maria

Apostle of the Sacraments

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It has only been recently, I guess since the year of St. Paul, that he became a more profound influence on my life.  Before that time, I was sort of irked by St. Paul, because I blamed him for the Protestant Revolution.

That's funny, huh?  Well my logic was this, if he had been less confusing in his epistles, St. Peter wouldn't have said about him:

2 Peter 3:16
King James Version (KJV)
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Obviously, Martin Luther was one of those, I figgered, who had wrestled with these confusing things which St. Paul said and had succumbed, been led astray and as a result, revolted against the Church.  Ergo, the Protestant Revolution.

Lol!  Thank God that I had long ago cultivated a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and all our brethren, the Saints.  Because, in my prayers, I told him so, directly.  I was sincerely angry with him and told him so.  This was before the Church declared the year of St. Paul.

Then, my son became a missionary for Net Ministries.  And, he asked us to pray to St. Paul on their behalf, because he is the Patron of missionaries and because the Pope had just declared the year of St. Paul.  So we did.

So, as a family, we made a year long novena to St. Paul.  In fact, we continue to pray to St. Paul everyday to this day.  

Suddenly, however, I began to see the Sacramental aspect of St. Paul's teachings.  Far from being confusing, his topics are hard to be understood because they are explanations or descriptions of the mysteries of Our Lord. 


De Maria

Monday, May 28, 2012

Brief exchange with a Messianic Jew

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I was talking to a fellow who claims to be a Messianic Jew.  I have noticed in previous discussions with Messianic Jews, that they hold some sort of grudge towards St. Paul.  I've yet to understand that part of their religion.  Anyway, this fellow seems to hold such a huge grudge against St. Paul, that he even considers the Gospel of St. Luke and the Acts of the Apostles as straw because of St. Luke's association with St. Paul.  In our last exchange, he was again calling into question the works of St. Luke.  He said:
And who is Ananias? Was he the cousin of the Ananias who was killed by the Spirit of God for lying to Peter? And who wrote Acts? Was it Luke, who said he was not an eye witness to anything (Luke: 1-3)? And who told Luke about Ananias? Was it Paul? You have a problem. Acts is not a first person witness of anything, which would not meet the standards given by Yeshua in Mt 18:16, and in Dt 19:15 to establish any matter. It all comes back to Paul, who is his own witness, which Yeshua disregards in John 5:31.
This is how I broke it down in my rebuttal.

He wrote:
And who is Ananias?
A disciple from Damascus.

Was he the cousin of the Ananias who was killed by the Spirit of God for lying to Peter?
Is everyone who shares your first name your cousin?
And who wrote Acts? Was it Luke
, who said he was not an eye witness to anything (Luke: 1-3)?
He said he spoke to those who had been there from the beginning.
And who told Luke about Ananias? Was it Paul?
Since St. Luke was immersed in the Christian Community and traveled not just with St. Paul but with all the Apostles, I'm certain he had more than one source.
You have a problem.
Your skepticism is not my problem, but yours.
Acts is not a first person witness of anything,
In fact, it is:
Acts 16:
10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them. 11 Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis; 12 And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days. 13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made ; and we sat down , and spake unto the women which resorted thither.

The fact that St. Luke traveled with St. Paul is also confirmed in St. Paul's epistles.
2 Timothy 4:11
Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
which would not meet the standards given by Yeshua in Mt 18:16, and in Dt 19:15 to establish any matter.
The evidence satisfied the Apostles and they were fervent believers in Jesus and the Scriptures.
It all comes back to Paul, who is his own witness, which Yeshua disregards in John 5:31.
You, are mistaken. You think that someone must have to witness Saul, falling off his horse, in order to believe his story. But the falling off the horse is besides the point. His conversion to Christ is the point.

1. Saul of Tarsus was not an unknown person in his time.
2. He was especially notorious in the Christian community because he persecuted the Church.
3. He was also wellknown in the Jewish Community because he studied under the renowned Gamaliel. Possibly the greatest Jewish Theologian ever.

So, the entire Christian community knew him by reputation and many by face. So, when he converted, many suspected him of a ruse. They ran from him and hated him.

And the entire Jewish community did as expected also. They hated him and began to persecute him.

And 4. No one, in the Jewish or Christian communities or in any communities of the time, ever read the writings of St. Luke and said, "that didn't happen." And, if it is true that he made it all up, as you claim, they certainly would have said so. But, the Apostles and Disciples who walked with Jesus were all aware of the writings and did not object.

The only people who object, are like yourself, 2000 years removed from the events. And like "flat earthers" living on a round earth, refusing to accept any evidence to the fact. But your skepticism does not constitute evidence of anything but your own state of mind. 

I hope that makes sense.  Let me know if there is anything which needs further explanation.


De Maria

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Forgiveness of sins

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It is so hard to understand how Protestants can claim that the forgiveness of sins comes through "preaching" only and not through the Sacraments when Scripture is outright:
Acts 22:16
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Washing away one's sins must mean to "forgive their sins" in Baptism.

I guess I can understand how they question the Sacrament of Confession as I don't see it explicitly in John 20:23. However, this is where the understanding of the Traditions is invaluable to me. Especially, in this case, the Tradition of the Sacraments. When we present ourselves to the Priest in Confession, it is as though we present ourselves to Christ, who said:
Matthew 9:5
For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?

Christ can wash away our sins with water, Christ can wash away our sins with a word, Christ can wash away our sins through the ministry of reconciliation which He appointed to the Church:
2 Corinthians 5:18
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

Yeah and Amen! It is the Sacraments by which we become citizens of Sion, in this life:

Hebrews 12:
22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.


De Maria


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One thing which had troubled me for a long time, was the fact that Jesus refers to this episode as a Baptism:

Acts 1:4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Obviously, Jesus is speaking to the Apostles and disciples whom I assume had already been Baptized in the Sacrament of water and the Holy Spirit.

However, the Church considers this episode as a reference to "Confirmation". It is here that the Apostles and disciples were empowered to teach the whole world (CCC 1302).

This is when I began to wonder about the meaning of Hebrews 6:2 and the mention of doctrine of baptisms. Since both Baptism and Confirmation are outpourings of the Holy Spirit and since Christ calls both "Baptism", then why would it not be correct to call all the Sacraments "outpourings of the Holy Spirit" and therefore, Baptisms?

In other words, the doctrine of Baptisms is the doctrine of the Seven Sacraments.

What do you think?


De Maria

Friday, May 25, 2012

Romans 7:25

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What is Paul saying in Romans 7:25?

Well, let's see:
Romans 7
King James Version (KJV)
1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,)

St. Paul is speaking to everyone, but he is emphasizing that this is something which those who are from a Jewish background, should know.

how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?

So, then, the law of Moses, he says, has dominion over the Jews as long as they live.

2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.

Now, he compares that to matrimony. What some find confusing here, is that the woman has not died. The woman continues to live.

So, let's look at this in detail. The woman in the matrimony is subject to her husband as the Jewish man is subject to the Law.

3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress:

So then, if the woman marries another while her husband is still alive, she commits sin.

So, if the Jewish man changes religion, while that religion is still in effect, he commits sin.

but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

But now, if the husband dies, the woman is free to love another an marry him.

So, if the Jewish religion has died, the Jewish man is free therefore from the Law of Moses. Let's look at another Scripture:
Hebrews 9:
15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

Note the twist. Suddenly, everyone is dead.

The woman is dead and the husband as well. The woman is dead and her husband resurrected and she is resurrected in her husband. Is she therefore marrying another? No, it is the same God. But He has brought with Him a New Law.

And so, the Jewish man has become died in Christ, but is resurrected in Christ and may then become married to Christ and thereby embrace the Law of Christ.

5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

This is an interesting metaphor because it is saying, before we died in Christ, we were dead in the flesh because of our sins.

6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

Now, then, we are dead to sin and freed from the law because we are alive in the Spirit.

7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid.Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

Is the Law evil? Of course not. It is the Word of God which highlights for us what is sin so that we may avoid it. As the Scripture says elsewhere:
1 Corinthians 6:9
King James Version (KJV)
9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.

This is a reference to childhood. Before we know the difference between good and evil, while we are still children, we commit no sins.

9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

But when we are older, we learn to discern right and wrong and we learn the Commandments, the will of God and we die. Because we sin.

10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.

The Commandment was supposed to guide us to righteousness, but since we could not uphold them, led us to dead instead.

11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.

Therefore, Satan deceives us as he deceived Adam.

12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

The Law and Commandments of God are holy. They are the Word of God.

13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.

14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

The Commandments are good, but sin continued in the flesh.

15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

Sins temptation is so strong, that even when I don't want to do it, I succumb.

16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.

But if I sin even when I don't want to sin, I admit that the Law which leads to righteousness is good, because it reveals sin.

17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

But I no longer commit sins, even though sin dwells in me.

18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

And yet, I do nothing good.

19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

But the good I want to do, I don't, but the evil I don't want to do, I wind up doing.

20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

Therefore, since I do what I don't want to do, it isn't because of me.

21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

Therefore, there is a law at work.

22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

I delight in God's law in my heart.

23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

But there is another law at work in my members which is against that law.

24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

How then, can I be saved?

25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

By the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Romans 8
King James Version (KJV)
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Therefore, we must walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh.

2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

For the law of the Spirit. The law of Christ has freed me from the law of sin.

3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Because I was too weak to overcome sin by knowledge of the Law. Therefore God sent Jesus Christ to save me.

4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

So that we could fulfill the Law of Moses, the Commandments of Christ, by walking after the Spirit of Him who died for our sins.

5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Those that pine after the deeds of the flesh are dead. But those who live according to the Spirit are alive.

7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Because the flesh is against God and will not submit to His law.

8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

So, all who live according to the temptations of the flesh will be condemned.

Essentially then, this whole treatise is summarized in Rev 22:13-15:
Revelation 22:13-15
King James Version (KJV)
13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.


De Maria

PS  See also updated version, here.  And see my commentary on Romans 8 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Justification, forgiveness and works

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Justification, literally, is to be made righteous (or just) in the eyes of God.  It is simultaneously, the process of Sanctification.  Being made right in the eyes of God, we are made holy.  Sanctified.

The entire process begins, in my opinion, with the process of "sanctification".  Turning to and seeking God.  At this point, one begins to seek justification but has already begun the process of sanctification because in seeking God, one acts in a holy manner.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Christ's Corporation?

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I don't know how much sense this will make, but I liken the Catholic Church to a "corporation". The very first ever created. 

The word, "corporation" comes from the word "corpus" or "body". We are the Body of Christ. When Jesus established the Catholic Church, He started an "ongoing concern". He appointed a Chief Executive and a board of Directors. And He gave them a mission.

This Corporation then appointed directors and officers as "She" saw fit from then on. And continues to perform Her mission to this day.

Its just a metaphor. And metaphors don't fit all situations. But it seems easy to grasp and helps explain the governing of the Church.


De Maria

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Is the Canon of Scripture closed?

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I love debating.  I learn so much.  Recently, while researching my "Response to Russell, DID THE CATHOLIC CHURCH GIVE US THE BIBLE?....", I was reading the Council of Trent on the Canon of Scripture.  It dawned on me that the Church only validated the canon in the Vulgate but did not condemn or invalidate any other canon of Scripture in Christendom.

For instance, the Orthodox Canon is different than that which we use. Some Ortthodox have 78 books in their canon.  Some 81.  But, taking the Council of Trent literally, those canons are not invalidated by Trent's decree.

The only thing condemned by the Council of Trent is that anyone should claim that the canon of the Vulgate is invalid.

Read it yourself and let me know what you think:


De Maria

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Grace, justification, sanctification, and divinization.

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In a recent discussion with a potential convert, we had this exchange:
When that day comes I want to hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"
With that in mind, I have to tell you a few things because I want to hear those same words.

1. You are right about the difference between you and I in that metaphorical room. You said, "You know for certain, but I don't."

(Note:  What I meant was, that I know for certain, that the Catholic Church is the Teacher of the Wisdom of God.  I have no doubts.)

Twenty five years ago, I was like you. I was trying to understand everything before I believed. After many years of testing and probing, I came to the conclusion that the Catholic Church is always right. Therefore, I have come to a point where I trust the teaching of the Church implicitly. 

2. Ironically, by testing and probing and relying upon my own understanding, I came to the point where I believe the Scripture which says:

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

St. Augustine puts it really well, "believe that you may understand".

3. You ask:
Yes, but isn't the answer to that question the key to knowing the truth really is true?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but you just wanted to find a quote from an early Church Father didn't you? 

And the answer to that question is merely, "Yes, that would be good evidence. But it certainly wouldn't be the key."

(note:  The reason being that even early Church Fathers could err.  Only the Catholic Church is infallible.)

Now, for me, Tradition (Baptism in this case) is just as helpful in understanding the doctrine of Grace as an explicit quote from an early Church Father. Here is how I arrive at the solution.

First. The Holy Spirit is also known as the Power of God (Luke 1:35).
2nd. It is in Baptism that the Holy Spirit is given us (Acts 2:33; 38-39).
3rd. The Holy Spirit then is He who infuses in us His grace (1 Cor 12:1-4).

(Note:  If that syllogism is not enough for you.  Scripture also says that we are saved in Baptism.  Mark 16:16; 1 Pet 3:21; And it is in Baptism that we receive grace by the Holy Spirit, per #2 above.)

Earlier you also said:
But if we are saved by grace alone,
I would say we are saved by grace. The term "grace alone" carries too many erroneous suppositions.

and grace is God's power to make us like Christ, then are we saved by allowing this power to make us like Christ? 

We call that the process of Sanctification. It is the other side of the coin which is Justification. We consider them to be the result of one and the same process of coming closer to God. I actually prefer the Orthodox terminology in this case. They call it "divinization". I believe it is St. John Chrysostom who said, "God became man that we might become gods."

St. Thomas Aquinas put it like this, "If an iron poker is thrust into a hot fire, though it never itself becomes fire, still it begins to glow red-hot, white-hot, with the characteristics of fire. It gives off light and heat. It shares in the nature of the fire. Our God is a consuming fire. When the Son united human nature to Himself in the Incarnation, He plunged human nature into the consuming fire of God."


De Maria

Monday, May 14, 2012

Being good without God

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An atheist said:
I am better than Christians.  Christians are good because they fear the pains of hell.  I am good because I believe it is the right thing to do.
Good luck doing that without God.

The reason for our existence is that we should love God in this life in order that we should be with Him in the next.

Did you notice the continuity? There is no real separation between this life and the next.

If you love God in this life, that entails obeying Him and keeping all the Commandments. By definition, that means being righteous. Then:

Hebrews 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

Even though you are still alive, you are already walking with the Saints. When you die, you will continue walking with the Saints in the presence of God.

However, if you deny the existence of God in this life, it then becomes very difficult to sustain an attempt at righteousness. In addition, those who deny God's existence will not ask for His grace which He grants to all who pray.

The main thing though, is that you have denied Him in this life and therefore He will deny you in the next. Unless you change your mind between now and the end of your life, you have made your destiny.
Deuteronomy 30:
19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

Romans 6:
15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

I hope that helps.


De Maria

Is Salvation caused by works?

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As a Protestant I learned that good works are a result of salvation.  But does the Catholic Church teach that works cause salvation?

Good works are a result of faith. 

The causes of salvation are explained in the Council of Trent (Session VI, chapter 7) and boil down to the Mercy of God.

I'll quote the pertinent portion below:

The causes of this justification are:
the final cause is the glory of God and of Christ and life everlasting;

the efficient cause is the merciful God who washes and sanctifies[31] gratuitously, signing and anointing with the holy Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance,[32]

the meritorious cause is His most beloved only begotten, our Lord Jesus Christ, who, when we were enemies,[33] for the exceeding charity wherewith he loved us,[34] merited for us justification by His most holy passion on the wood of the cross and made satisfaction for us to God the Father, 

the instrumental cause is the sacrament of baptism, which is the sacrament of faith,[35] without which no man was ever justified finally, (Note: Remember, Baptism is the work of God to which we submit. It is not our work.)

the single formal cause is the justice of God, not that by which He Himself is just, but that by which He makes us just, that, namely, with which we being endowed by Him, are renewed in the spirit of our mind,

In other words, God is the cause of our salvation. No one and nothing else.


De Maria

Who is saved?

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If we have two groups of people:

The first group, composed of people who obey God, keep the Commandments and feed the hungry, clothe the naked and do good deeds.

The second group, fornicators, adulterers, liars, and all around ne'er do wells. 

Which group will have the right to the tree of life? (Rev 22:14-15). 

Don't get me wrong. We are not saved by the works. But only those who do the works will be saved.

Someone might ask, what if someone does nothing good and nothing bad, but claims to have faith in Christ? Scripture is absolutely clear about that person, he is condemned (Matt 25:31-46). 

John 15:2
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.....If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.


De Maria