Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Show me from Scripture that we shouldn't attempt to save ourselves.

Hence the problem.
Show me from Scripture. Here's what I see:
1 Timothy 4:16

King James Version (KJV)

16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

Show me from Scripture that we shouldn't attempt to save ourselves.


De Maria

Monday, September 29, 2014

Rewind: JUST FOR my fellow CATHOLICS

McVey wide skyscraper.jpg

There's a famous website called "Just for Catholics" which seeks to turn Catholics from the way of Truth.  I will begin a study of the arguments presented in that website and give my opinion as to where Dr. Mitzi has erred in Christian doctrine.

Lets begin with the essay, "Mama, What is Grace?"

My wife sings choruses to our son when she puts him to sleep. (He asks me to tell him a story about Fireman Sam but for some reason he never asks me to sing!)
One of his favourite songs is the first stanza of Amazing Grace,
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
John has practically learned it by heart, but this week he stopped his mum during the song and asked, ‘Mama, what is grace?’
Now that’s a good question! 

That was a nice intro.  I believe that is called a "segue".

Grace is a common word in the Bible, 

So far so good.

and Christians often include it in their conversation. But what does grace actually mean? 

We're going to see if your idea of grace conforms to Scripture and Catholic Teaching.

The apostle Paul illustrates its meaning in Romans 4:4; for clarity it is worth comparing different translations of this verse:
  • Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due (ESV).
  • Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt (NKJV).
  • Now to him that worketh, the reward is not reckoned according to grace, but according to debt (Douay Rheims).
  • A worker's wage is credited not as a gift, but as something due (NAB).
Note that there are some Catholic Bibles included in this mix, the Douay and the NAB and they contain the same statement.  I would say they are identical, wouldn't you?

The illustration is clear. The salary that I receive at the end of the month is not given to me as a favour. I have every right to the remuneration for which I had laboured. The employer is indebted to me; he owes me the payment.

Very good.  Now, lets see what Scripture says about the laborer and the agreed upon amount:

Notice that the Lord had agreed upon a wage with the first group of labourers.  

So?  Is St. Paul contradicting Jesus?  I say no.  But lets keep studying.

Grace is the very opposite to the debt owed to a worker. If I deserve something, it is not grace! Grace is unmerited and unearned. In fact some Bible versions translate ‘grace’ simply as ‘gift’, for indeed, grace is a free gift.

Another good place to stop.  Certainly a gift is free.  But not always in the sense of free of all conditions. It is simply free because it is given by the giver's free will.

Let me illustrate.  Suppose a child is graduating from school and his rich uncle says, "if you graduate from school, I'll give you a car."

That's a conditional gift.  But it is still a free gift.  It is not given to the child if the child doesn't graduate.  But it is given to the child if he does graduate.  The uncle has obligated himself.

In the same way, God swore an oath:
Hebrews 6
12That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
 13For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,
 14Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.
 15And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
 16For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.
 17Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:

We, Christians, are the children of that promise by which God obligated Himself.  Note the conditions, "faith and patience".

The concept of grace is easy enough to understand but it is much more difficult to accept. We readily understand the biblical teaching that God rewards his children on the day of judgement for their good works (albeit he himself helps us to perform them). But we naturally offer resistance to the truth that salvation is by grace, an unmerited favour, a free gift.

The reason we offer resistance is because it isn't true.  Only those who merit the gift, like the child who graduated from school, will receive the gift.

In our case, it is those who by exercising faith and patience inherit the promise.

Scripture is very clear in that regard:

Revelation 22:14

King James Version (KJV)

 14Blessed 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.

That seems very plain spoken.

Here's another:

Matthew 7:21

King James Version (KJV)

 21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

So, yes, the gift of salvation is a free gift.  But it is not without conditions.

We would rather think that salvation was the reward for our good deeds. Maybe that is why the Bible insists on different occasions that since salvation is by grace and not by our works (Ephesians 2:8,9Romans 11:6,2 Timothy 1:9).

This is true.  Neither our faith nor our works merit the gift of salvation.  But that doesn't mean that those who have no faith and produce no good works will be saved.  Far from it:

John 15
 1I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
 2Every 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....
 6If 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.

Note that if a man bears no fruit, that is, if he does not produce good works, the Father will cut him off the vine.  And since he no longer abides in Christ, he will be burned.

So, although we can do nothing to equal the grace of salvation.  God, because He has obligated Himself and promise to reward us with salvation if we obey Him, He will consider take into account our works:

Hebrews 6:10

King James Version (KJV)

 10For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

This truth is received only by a humble heart. When we seek God for salvation, we cannot approach him as if we deserve anything. 

That is Catholic Teaching.  It is Protestants who approach God as though he owes them salvation.  We are taught that we are unprofitable servants, we only do our duty:

Luke 17:10

King James Version (KJV)

 10So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

We should come to him as poor beggars, pleading for his kindness and generosity. We must admit that we are guilty and deserving punishment, imploring only for mercy rather than justice.
But how do you explain these profound truths to a 3-year old boy? I like my wife’s explanation.
‘John, you know that mama and papa loves you. What do we give you when you’re a good boy?’
‘A present,’ he replied.
‘Jesus loves you much more than mama and papa. Jesus gives you a present even though you have not been good. Jesus gives you a gift simply because he loves you. That is grace’

That is also true.  But he's mixed concepts.  Salvation is a conditional gift of God.  Only those who obey Him will be saved:

Hebrews 5:9

King James Version (KJV)

 9And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

However, God wills that all men be saved:
Why Be Catholic?

1 Timothy 2:4

King James Version (KJV)

 4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Therefore, the absolutely free gift of grace which God offers to all mankind, is the opportunity to be saved.  Salvation is there for all.  But only those who obey God and thereby cooperate with His Grace, will be saved.

John also liked his mum’s explanation, for he told her, ‘Sing, mama, sing!’
We too, when we we experience the amazing love of God in Jesus his Son, who saves us freely even though we are undeserving, we too will happily sing to the praise of the glory of his grace. His gift is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord! (Romans 6:23).

There's a big IF there.
Romans 6  
5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:...

8Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:...

16Know 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?...

 23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

A conditional gift.

Let me know what you think.  


De Maria

*This article was originally posted on

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Show me where Scripture says you can proclaim yourself saved by judging the merit of your faith alone?


Catholics say that the flesh which the Son of God received from His Mother at the Incarnation is the same flesh into which He changed bread at the Last Supper;

Jesus didn't' change the bread into anything. Nor did He ever say the bread CHANGED. 
"But you are talking about mystics or saints, and I am neither. I am just an ordinary Catholic trying to save my soul."
Hence the reason Catholics are so lost....they are trying so hard to save themselves....
It is Protestants who save themselves. We rely upon God. The proof. It is not we who claim to save ourselves by our faith alone. When asked whether we are saved, we respond, "I don't know. It is God who knows. God is my Judge."

And that is a response straight from Scripture:
1 Corinthians 4:3-4

King James Version (KJV)

But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.
For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

Show me where Scripture says you can proclaim yourself saved by judging the merit of your faith alone? I see only this:
James 2:24

King James Version (KJV)

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.


De Maria

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Announcing Catholic365.com

We've launched Catholic365.com and need your help to spread the word.

We would appreciate it if you would take a look athttp://www.Catholic365.com and announce the site to your readers and share it with your social media connections. If you see an article that your readers or friends would particularly enjoy, please share that with them too. 

Catholic365.com is a Catholic-focused article and information portal from Catholic writers and bloggers who write about things Catholics are interested in, with 3 main categories - Faith, Life and What's Going On, from a perspective consistent with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. We strive to spread the word of God and the Catholic faith by highlighting both the articles and the writers through internet and social marketing campaigns. Our goal is to engage and support the Catholic faithful to evangelize to all Catholics using modern technology. Our mission originated with Pope Saint John Paul II's call to Catholics for a "New Evangelization".

Catholic365.com is owned by Catholic365 LLC. Any realized profits will be donated to Catholic evangelizing charities.

Catholic365.com was founded by Robert B. Trussell, Jr., the retired founder and CEO of Tempur-Sealy International. He has served as a member of Tempur Sealy International's Board of Directors or its predecessors since 1992, and has served as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors since April 2006. Currently Bob is involved in various Catholic evangelization projects and is chairman of Catholics Come Home Inc, Catholic 365 LLC, and Real Life Radio 1380AM & 94.9FM (Lexington, KY's only Catholic Talk Radio Station).

We are also looking for more contributing writers. If you, or someone you know, are interested in being a contributing writer, and write articles consistent with the teachings of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, we would love to discuss including your writings on this new site.

If you have any questions or need any additional information just let me know.


Pray that you will be admitted to heaven and quit bearing false witness against Christ's brethren


DM - The teaching of the Roman Catholic Church has been proven sufficiently because it is routinely acted out in the lives of a majority of Roman Catholics who display the RC's teachings and practices by their acts of sex upon children, drunkeness in all forms, adultry, fornication, divorce, child endangerment, serial and mass murders, theft, extortion, lies and cover-ups, and the list goes on and on and on. Yes, RCs have proven for centuries what they have been taught.
Then the very same sins perpetrated by Protestants have proven the teachings of Protestants.

Drink to get drunk, vomit, fall and wallow in his vomit seems to be the jolly alcoholic Romcan Catholic motto. Sounds exciting don’t it? That is the wonderful picture of a Roman Catholic seeking to let Christ shine in their lives. The Roman Catholic Church does not teach their 'flock' that the character of a child of God does not fit with drinking. The RCC does not preach that believers in Christ Jesus are commanded to “not be drunk with wine, in which is excess, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). Christians who drink grieve the Holy Spirit (but then with all their pious pontificating, Roman Catholics don't know a thing in the world about what it means to grieve the Holy Spirit - the 'spirit' they are more interested in following are the ones that come out of a bottle.)
We live in a Protestant country. The majority of people who surround me are Protestant. And they all fit the same description. Drunkards who wallow in their vomit.

Now, learn this teaching from Scripture:
Matthew 13:24-30

King James Version (KJV)

24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

The Kingdom of heaven is the Church. And it is God who will judge who is unfit for the Kingdom and who isn't. At that time, He will send His Angels to separate the two. And one set will be sent to hell. The other admitted to heaven.

Pray that you will be admitted to heaven and quit bearing false witness against Christ's brethren.


De Maria

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fall Festival St Jerome Catholic Church, Spring Branch Texas

Come to the Fall Festival at St Jerome's Catholic Church at the corner of Kempwood and Hollister.

Today 3pm to 9pm
Tomorrow 11am til 9pm

Address:  8825 Kempwood
                    Houston, TX 77080

Book Review: Something other than God, Jennifer Fulwiler

something other than god fulwiler What Im trying to say is: MY BOOK COMES OUT ON TUESDAY!!!!
Like Jennifer, I'm a convert to Catholicism from atheism.   I was also baptized at infancy.  In fact, I was baptized and confirmed when I was 6 months old.  And, ever since I discovered her blog about 6 months ago, I found that many of her themes struck a cord with me.  In that blog, she talks about homeschooling her children, about how to speak to homosexual friends, and other very interesting topics.  And she does it in a very open and touching manner which reveals all the poignancy of actual moments when this occurs in real life.  
While reading her current blog, to which I linked above, I also discovered her original blog, which is still on the internet and which chronicles, in real time, her journey to the Catholic Church from atheism.  What I mean by "real time" is that you get the sense that she's typing her posts in between errands and appointments.  Its a really fun read and it whets your appetite to read more of the foils and foibles of Jennifer Fulwiler.
After reading her blogs, I knew that I would enjoy reading her book.  So when I was traveling near Austin and saw the Credo Catholic bookstore, I stopped in to buy it.  And I was not disappointed.
Although the book also chronicles Jennifer (and Joe's) journey to Catholicism, there are some details in the book which are not mentioned in her blogs.  The way I felt while reading this book after reading the blogs, was like the blog was a mere outline.  And all the details of the outline were being fleshed out.  For example, their first time at Church and they saw a poster which I didn't remember being mentioned in the blog.  And their step by step examination of the Mass.  Which I thought was mind blowing.  Something, I think we should do for everybody at least once a year in order to remind them of the glorious history of our Church.  
So, anyway, I don't want to write a book about her book.  I just want you to know its an excellent book which you should read.
De Maria

It is illogical to say comparison of your church to the Catholic Church voids the teaching of Scripture

Ah yes, and I also remember kneeling at the communion rail and the Roman Catholic priest bearing the chalice that would whiz to and fro the inner sanctuary to distribute communion, and as he would pass by the stench of alcohol that radiated from him permeated the air - passing out communion thru blurry, bloodshot eyes and with a shaking hand to hold the "body of Christ" that just hours before was holding booze-filled containers pressed to his lips as he guzzled down his favorite liquor. And they blasphemously call themselves "another Christ".
The teaching of the Catholic Church has been proven sufficiently by the Catholics who posted before me. If you know of some priest who does not obey the Church, why do you blame it on the Church?

In my life, I met several misbehaving Protestant ministers. One of them was a drunkard who loved to force himself on his female employees. Should that be blamed on his Protestant upbringing and faith?


Comparing Catholic priests to Protestant ministers means there goes out the window of the Catholic Church being the self titled 'One True Church' and the 'fullness of anything'.
Non Sequitur.

It is illogical to say that my comparison of any aspect of your church to the Catholic Church would somehow disqualify the teaching of Scripture:

1 Timothy 3:15

King James Version (KJV)

15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

Obviously Catholic apologists don't believe the faith they pretend to embrace.
This is a false conclusion based upon a false premise. Since your premise above is false, you have been led to a false conclusion.


De Maria

Friday, September 26, 2014

Rewind: Mary, Ark of the New Covenant

Originally posted:  Monday, August 22, 2011

Ark of the New Covenant (Rev 11:19-12:1)

I have, in the past, discussed this passage with several of our Reformed brothers and sisters.  And they are of the opinion that this verse does not describe the Blessed Virgin Mary.  So, I'd like to visit some Scriptures of which they might not be aware, to perhaps get some understanding as to why the Blessed Virgin Mary is considered the Ark of the New Covenant. Why we consider her so important to our faith. And why we believe she is our mother, given to us by God the Father.

The Virgin Mary Revealed Through Scripture
Revelation 11:19
19And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

Revelation 12:1
1And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

Perhaps you will agree with me that the Jews considered the Ark, made of wood, a very important part of their faith. In that Ark of the Old Covenant, were contained the Word of God written by the finger of God on stone tablets, the Rod of Aaron, symbol of the Aaronic High Priesthood and the Manna from heaven (i.e. Bread of heaven).

Perhaps you will also agree that those three things are symbols of Our Blessed Lord, Jesus Christ, who was contained in the Ark which was not made by human hands, the womb of our Blessed Mother.

Hebrews 9:4
Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;

Luke 1:30-32

King James Version (KJV)

30And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

The Israelites had a great deal of reverence for this wooden box. They even bowed before it:
Joshua 7:6
And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads.

And they considered it the Glory of Israel:
1 Samuel 4:22
And she said, The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken.

Of course, Catholics are frequently berated by Protestants for bowing before images of Our Blessed Mother:

Meet Your Mother: An Introduction to Mary
Luke 1:48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

Power flowed from this wooden box. So much so, that the Philistines, when they stole it, were forced to return it even though the Israelites did not intervene at all (see 1 Sam Chapter 5).

Reformers berate Catholics because we believe that power now flows through the Virgin Mother.
Revelation 12:17

King James Version (KJV)

17And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
There are so many parallels between Mary and the Ark of the Old Covenant, that it would take a small book to list them all. For the sake of time, I'd like to simply post a small snippet from a Catholic source:

Compare David and the ark to Luke's account of the Visitation:

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord" (Luke 1:39-45).Here are the parallels:
    Mary: Handmaid of the Lord
  • Mary arose and went to the hill country of Judea. Ein Kerem (where Elizabeth lived) and Abu Ghosh (where the ark resided) are only a short walk apart. Mary and the ark were both on a journey to the same hill country of Judea.
  • When David saw the ark he rejoiced and said, "How can the ark of the Lord come to me?" Elizabeth uses almost the same words: "Why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" Luke is telling us something — drawing our minds back to the Old Testament, showing us a parallel.
  • When David approached the ark he shouted out and danced and leapt in front of the ark. He was wearing an ephod, the clothing of a priest. When Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant, approached Elizabeth, John the Baptist leapt in his mother's womb — and John was from the priestly line of Aaron. Both leapt and danced in the presence of the ark. The Ark of the Old Covenant remained in the house of Obed-edom for three months, and Mary remained in the house of Elizabeth for three months. The place that housed the ark for three months was blessed, and in the short paragraph in Luke, Elizabeth uses the word blessed three times. Her home was certainly blessed by the presence of the ark and the Lord within.....
Catholic Culture

I'd like to ask this. Is Scripture telling us that St. Mary's role in salvation history is much more important than Protestant theology teaches? And also, for those who do not believe that she is the ark of the New Covenant, are all these verses merely coincidence?


De Maria

7 QT's on Prayer for the dead

The Protestant object that we should not pray for the dead.  They claim that those dead who are in heaven, don't need it.  And those dead who are in hell, don't want it.  And they deny the existence of Purgatory.
How do we respond?  Have you ever thought about why you pray for your beloved dead?

The most beautiful response I've ever heard is from C.S. Lewis, he said:

Of course I pray for the dead. The action is so spontaneous, so all but inevitable, that only the most compulsive theological case against it would deter me. And I hardly know how the rest of my prayers would survive if those for the dead were forbidden. At our age the majority of those we love best are dead. What sort of intercourse with God could I have if what I love best were unmentionable to Him? . . .(Mere Christianity).

And I think, that should suffice.  We pray for our beloved dead, because we love them.

But Protestants want more than that.  They don't, generally, accept the Spiritual groanings of God:

Romans 8:26King James Version (KJV)

26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
They live by the letter and not by the spirit:

1 Corinthians 2:14King James Version (KJV)

14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
So, they claim that God has never permitted the living to intercede for the dead.  And they have taken great pains to remove any vestige of such an idea from the Bible.  The one book which has an explicit statement on the matter was removed because of that teaching.  Luther said:
 "I am so great an enemy to the second book of the Maccabees, and to Esther, that I wish they had not come to us at all, for they have too many heathen unnaturalities."
The so-called, "heathen unnaturalities" to which he refers are found in 2 Maccabees 12:41-46.
41 Then they all blessed the just judgment of the Lord, who had discovered the things that were hidden.
42 And so betaking themselves to prayers, they besought him, that the sin which had been committed might be forgotten. But the most valiant Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves from sin, forasmuch as they saw before their eyes what had happened, because of the sins of those that were slain.
43 And making a gathering, he sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection,
44 (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead,)
45 And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them.
46 It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.
 Notice several Catholic doctrines here confirmed.

1.  Prayer for the dead.  The Jews who survived immediately began to pray that the sin of those dead might be forgotten.  "Forgotten by whom?" you might ask.  By God, of course.  Forgotten meaning forgiven.

But for the valiant Judas Maccabaeus, this wasn't enough.  He also ordered a monetary offering, a sacrifice of 12 thousand drachmas, to sent to Jerusalem in the name of the fallen.  What do Protestants say to that?  "BLASPHEMY!  We can't buy our way into heaven!  You can't buy anyone's way into heaven!" 

But what does Jesus say? 

Matthew 19:21King James Version (KJV)

21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
What?  Did Jesus just counsel someone to buy his way into heaven?  Of course not!  But giving of your wealth for the good of the people of God is a good deed, a sacrifice, a form of prayer,  which God takes into account for your soul and for those whom you love.

Notice how this falls perfectly in line with the Maccabean verse. 
 45 And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them.
Because of the treasure which they offered in the name of the fallen, the fallen had treasure laid up for them.  This is the reason why the Protestants had this book taken from the Bible. 
Aside:  There's a whole 'nother argument where Protestants claim that Luther kept the book in a separate section.  They will try to side step the issue that he did not regard it the Word of God.  Essentially, if not literally, removing the book from the Bible because the Bible is the Word of God, isn't it?  Anyway, back to our proof for prayer for the dead….
So, what other Catholic Doctrines are here confirmed?  We just mentioned "prayer for the dead" above.

2.  We also mentioned the Treasury of merit and we confirmed it in the New Testament.  Here's another confirmation for the Treasury of merit:

Mark 12King James Version (KJV)

43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:  44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
 In a very real sense, the poor widow was giving her life for those whom she loved.  And her sacrifice was stored in the treasury in heaven.  That isn't explicit, but where else would it be stored?

3.  Indulgences.  The Treasury of merit is key to understanding the Doctrine of indulgences because indulgences, the idea that the merits of the Saints can be offered for the souls of those in Purgatory or anyone whom we love.  This rests upon the idea that the graces of the saints are stored up for us in heaven.

Many, unfortunately, limit the idea of "merits of the Saints" to Jesus and the canonized Saints.  But that isn't true.  The Church teaches that all the baptized are saints.  Our merits are also stored in that same treasury.  Otherwise, it would not make sense for us to "sell all we have and give to the poor and we will have treasure in heaven." 

Where does 12 Macc mention indulgences?  Here:
And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them.

4.  And the entire idea of praying for the dead stands firmly upon the Doctrine that the dead will rise to eternal life.
44 (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead,)

Well, that's a great explanation for Catholics.  We believe in praying for the dead.  And we accept  2 Macc and all the Deuterocanonicals as the  Word of God.  But Protestants have set these books aside, if they have not cast them out altogether and do not believe them to be the Word of God.

Its difficult and complicated to address this question.  Its very easy for Protestant to flick their wrist and deny the truth.  All they have to do is dismiss it.  In this regard, they remind me very much of atheists.  It is easy to deny anything.  All they have to say is, "I don't believe it." 

But we are called to proclaim the truth, and that is more difficult.  CS Lewis said it this way:
It is no good asking for a simple religion. After all, real things aren’t simple. They look simple,but they’re not. The table I’m sitting at looks simple: but ask a scientist to tell you what it’s really made of—all about the atoms and how the light waves rebound from them and hit my eye and what they do to the optic nerve and what it does to my brain—and, of course, you will find what we call “seeing a table” lands you in mysteries and complications which you can hardly get to the end of. …

Reality, in fact, is always something you couldn’t have guessed. That’s one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It’s a religion you couldn’t have guessed. If it offered us just the kind of universe we’d always expected, I’d feel we were making it up. But, in fact, it’s not the sort of thing anyone would have made up. It has just that queer twist about it that real things have. So let’s leave behind all these boys’ philosophies—these over-simple answers. (Mere Christianity).
So here we go. 

First, prayer for the dead and prayer to the Saints are related Doctrines.  They both fall under the Communion of Saints.  But they are not identical.

Prayer to the Saints rests upon the idea, that all who die in Christ are alive in Christ. 

John 11:25King James Version (KJV)

25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
Therefore, we are permitted to pray for their intercession in our behalf because they are, in a certain sense, more alive than we, since they are closer to the source of life.

Prayer for the dead rests upon the Doctrine of Purgatory.  The idea that the dead do not all go directly to heaven or to hell, but some go to an intermediate place of purification.

In the second place, prayer for the dead also hinges upon the idea that even if Purgatory does exist, as we believe it does, that our prayers would be of any benefit to them.

And, of course, we have to prove this from the 66 book Protestant Bible, because they generally accept no other proof.

The Existence of Purgatory

First of all, it seems rather strange to me that they would object to such a pure expression of the mercy of God. In Purgatory, it is God, the All Consuming Fire, which purifies us of our sins. We do nothing except yearn to be purified that we may admitted to His Presence.

God, could, of course, leave us to our sins and let us be condemned. But then, the majority of human beings would be condemned. 

This is what Scripture says:
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Matthew 7:13-14

King James Version (KJV)

 13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
 14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Does that mean, do you think, that God will destroy most of the world? After all, most of us die with sins on our souls, do we not?

But Scripture also says:
1 John 5:17All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

So, then we can be comforted that not all sin is mortal.

How is it then, that anyone with any kind of sin can enter heaven?  They can't:
Revelation 21:27And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Therefore, in order to enter into heaven, one must be purged of sin.  Scripture says so:

1 Corinthians 3:15
King James Version (KJV)
 15If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Saved by fire?  What?  How is it that the righteous are burned?
Revelation 2:10Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

Yeah, before we enter heaven, those of us who have incurred the temporal punishments for sin, we must be purified. Whether we do this in heaven or here on earth, that is our decision to make:
Luke 11:41But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.

But that doesn't answer the question, "Does Purgatory exist?"  As much as the question of, "Why do you believe that Purgatory exits?  What is the reason for Purgatory?"

Scripture, however, points to a place of suffering which we call Purgatory.  I say, "suffering" because it isn't spelled out that this place is for purification.  The closest we come to that idea is:

1 Corinthians 3:10-15King James Version (KJV)

10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.  11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;  13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.  14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  15 If any man's work shall be burned,he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Protestants will deny this is Purgatory because they don't see the word, "purgatory".  All I can do is continue with my logical proof. 

This is the place where those who die in an imperfect state of grace are purified by suffering.  Scripture says:
1 Peter 4:1King James Version (KJV)
Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;  
And, in several places, Scripture reveals the existence of a spiritual prison where good men go to suffer at the hands of Satan:
Revelation 2:10
King James Version (KJV)
10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
 What is this prison?

Revelation 20:5King James Version (KJV)

But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Where did the rest of the dead go for a thousand years before they lived again?

1 Peter 3:19King James Version (KJV)

19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
Where were these spirits to which Jesus preached?

Protestants have no answer except to deny that it is Purgatory.  We can g on providing proofs of the existence of Purgatory til we're blue in the face, but Protestants will simply deny them because they don't say, "p-u-r-g-a-t-o-r-y".  Here's what I said to one of them regarding this attitude:
In this discussion over whether Purgatory is in Scripture, you seem to require an explicit text. Yet, when asked to provide an explicit text for Sola Scriptura, you and others on this blog, denied that explicit texts were necessary to prove doctrine.  Is there an explanation for this seeming discrepancy?
 The question was erased, no answer was provided.

So, I think I've provided a good case for the existence of Purgatory.  Catholics will probably agree.  Most Protestants will probably not agree.  But maybe, some will ask,
 Even if Purgatory does exist, 
what makes you think your prayers 
would be of any benefit to them? 

The short answer,  Infant Baptism.

The Catholic Church teaches that because of the faith of the parents, their children will receive the promised Holy Spirit when they are baptized.

What?  How is this related to prayer for the dead? 

Good question.  Before we are baptized, the Church teaches that we do not have sanctifying grace in our souls.  It is sanctifying grace which gives our souls the life of Christ.  When we are baptized, we share in the eternal life of Christ.
1277 Baptism is birth into the new life in Christ. In accordance with the Lord's will, it is necessary for salvation, as is the Church herself, which we enter by Baptism.
Therefore, I believe we can say that the dead are brought to life.  And when we pray for the dead, we are praying for them to be brought to eternal life, are we not?

Ok, but infants aren't dead.

True.  But in the Sacraments, we encounter Jesus the same way that the Canaanite woman encountered Him:

Matthew 15:22-29King James Version (KJV)

22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.
27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.
28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
29 And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there.
Note that Jesus healed her daughter because of her faith.  The daughter never said anything.  Here's another example:

Matthew 9:18-25King James Version (KJV)

18 While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.
19 And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples…..
23 And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise,
24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.
25 But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.
 Note that Jesus gave life to the daughter because of the faith of the parents.

And that is why I believe that God will listen to us when we pray for our beloved dead. 

Is there any explicit text which shows a Christian praying for the dead?

We believe there is, but Protestants deny it.  We believe that St. Paul prayed for the dead Onesiphorus when he said:

2 Timothy 1:16-18King James Version (KJV)

16 The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:
17 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.
18 The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.
But, since the text doesn't say, "Onesiphorus is d-e-a-d!"  Protestants deny it.

For more on prayer, see the difference between prayer, worship and liturgy or 7QT's on prayer.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


Thursday, June 5, 2014

In a manner of speaking

Born Again? Faith Alone?Catholic doctrine says:
...we are therefore said to be justified gratuitously, because none of those things that
precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace of justification. (Trent VI, Chapter VIII)

Therefore, it is true, that we are saved by faith and works, but only in a manner of speaking.

Our faith does not save, we don't save ourselves.
Our works do not save, we don't save ourselves.

God saves those who demonstrate their faith in works of love. God grants eternal life to those who keep His Commandments.

Romans 2:13
(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

Revelation 22:14
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.