Posts Tagged 'hell'

Depression Sucks

As the title says, depression sucks.  I’m stuck in a spiral, out of control, everything is getting worse world where no one even notices that I’m hurting or refuses to acknowledge it or want me to hide everything I feel because making them feel bad is the unforgivable sin.

I’m too fat.  Jeans I only bought two months ago have become too small.  I seem to gain weight even though I don’t eat bad food full of sugar.

I’m so bad that I deserve to go to Hell just like my mother and the traditionalists always say.  I starting to really believe it.  I must not be lovable or likable and I certainly don’t have any talents or gifts.  I’m just a useless, worthless, waste of space that deserves to die.  People would be much happier if I was gone.   I’m not even a person.  I don;t matter.  No one notices or cares if I’m here or not.  People say God does but it He cares about everyone so I’m not even a blip on the radar.  People say they at I’m doing this for attention, that I stay this way because I like being a victim.  No I fucking to do not want to be this way.

I want to be loved,  I want to be good at something.  I want to be a person.  I want to be cared for.  I want to be noticed and remember.  I want to go to Heaven not be damned to Hell.  I want to be special.  I want to be the go to person.  I want to be perfect.  I want to be more than a stupid mental illness. I want not to cry anymore.  I want to have actual dreams that actually come true rather than having to squash them in order to make everyone else happy or because I always make bad decisions.  I want to make good decisions.  I want to be thin.  I want to be pretty instead of the real ugly idiot that I am.  I want to be more.  I don’t want to have to settle for scraps.  I want to be free.  I don’t want to be like my mother.  I want to be me whoever that is.  I want to be a real woman not the fake woman everyone else wants me to be.  I don’t want to be the boy my parents wanted and so when they were disappointed that I wasn’t they abused and neglected me.  I don’t want to be abused or hurt.  I want to be accepted for who I am.  I want traditionalists to shut up and get lost.  I want to be something.  I want to be a federal agent.  I want people to take me seriously.  I want people to stop ignoring me.  I want people to acknowledge that a single woman is not a heresy or bad person or a failure or not a person because she isn’t married or has kids or what not.  I don’t want to keep eating emotionally.  I don’t want to be fat.  I want to be real.

 

 

 

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Warning: Traditionalists are Hazardous to Your Health

It’s true.  Reading “Tradionalist” material is seriously dangerous to your mental and physical health.

It will cause you to get angry because you start thinking you have been lied to, deceived, and that you aren’t a good enough Catholic.

It will cause you to get depressed because you start thinking you are a bad and horrible Catholic that will never be good enough, that you aren’t being heard or loved by God because you aren’t praying in Latin/veiling/not wearing skirts/homeschooling/praying the Rosary five times a day/attending only the EF and putting down and calling everyone else who attends the OF heretics and horrible Catholics and name calling priests and bishops because they aren’t forcing the EF on everyone and supressing the OF outright.

It will cause you to get angry because only you see how the world will be saved by going back to the EF and destroying the OF because it isn’t pretty enough Mass with horrible translations when you know that praying in Latin is the only way God will hear you and answer your prayers otherwise you are just babbling.

It will cause you to get angry that women have rights, can wear pants, work, drive, etc. when they should be confined to the home, barefoot and pregnant and if they get out of line, beaten to keep them in line because they are second class creatures that God created to serve men entirely and not to be individuals of their own.

It will cause you to start thinking that you are doing everything wrong because you not obeying these “wise and all knowing” “traditionalists” who seem to have it all together and are perfectly holy and even can read the mind of God.

It will cause you to beat yourself up, start starving yourself and calling it fasting since you didn’t go far enough during Lent, saying yes to everyone who asks you for a favor even though it will cause you great harm to agree, and allow everyone to walk all over you and abuse you because you’ve come to believe that this is what a “Good Catholic Woman” looks like.

It will cause you to start looking for all the sin in other people’s lives from not wearing skirts (which lead a man to damnation since it is a woman’s fault he sins), to sending their children to public schools which “traditionalists” all know are bastions of pagan homosexual anti-Catholic propoganda that will lead poor Johnny straight to Hell if you don’t perform an exorcism according the pre-Vatican II rite to using NFP which says that you are distrusting God and his command to be fruitful and multiply to women enjoying sex to talking about sex at all to women not submitting like a slave and doing whatever their husband commands and do it right now or you are going to Hell and taking the whole family with you.

It will cause you to start thinking of seriously beating yourself with a whip  show that you are sorry for all the mortal sins you committed just today (which since you are a woman means you commit more mortal sins and more horrible ones at that then men who are nearly perfect and women are demons from Hell) (women commit a mortal sin just by existing).

It will cause you to get very angry because you realize that no matter what you do or don’t do or dress or pray that you are going to Hell anyway, just like your mother always predicted.

I wish “Tradionalist” Catholics would learn that all they are doing is hurting people and the Church.  NO one wants to be hurt especially not in the name of Jesus.

Signs/Symptoms of a Radical Traditionalist

Having come across so many radical traditionalists in my time on CAF and even one or two in real life, I thought I’d come up with a set of diagnostic criteria for a radical traditionalist, not unlike the diagnostic criteria in the DSM-IV for psychologists and psychiatrists.  This isn’t perfect and I know I probably forgot things but this is what I have so far.

For a diagnosis of Radical Traditionalist, three or more of the following criteria may be met (OB is obscure):

-Believes the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, usually referred to as the Tridentine Latin Mass (TLM) is the only valid form of the Mass.  Everything else is inferior, heretical, or Protestant.

-Holds the 1917 Code of Canon Law above the 1983 Code of Canon Law.

-Believes Latin in the only language of the Catholic Church.  All prayers, private or public, are to be said in Latin.

-Believes God only understands Latin.

-Believes Palestrina and Gregorian chant that is sung by an all male choir is the only form of music, esclesial or secular, allowed.

-Believes the Rosary is the supreme and highest devotion.  It is the only prayer, besides the Mass, that is necessary for salvation.  Believes anyone who does not pray the Rosary is not a Catholic.

-Believes the Ordinary Form of the Mass, normally referred to the Novus Ordo and refuses to use the forms of the Church, in the vernacular is inefficacious, is invalid, does not present a valid Eucharist, is inferior, and Protestant.  Believe people who attend the OF are either Protestants or heretics.

-Believes communion on the tongue while kneeling at a communion rail is the only way to receive the Eucharist.  People who are unable to kneel are deemed irreverent.  Communion in the hand is considered heretic and pagan.

-Believes the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima is the only Marian apparition or at least the highest.   Believed to be the best Marian devotion and the only one worthy of belief.  Believe Catholics who do not believe it, follow what was said, or refuse to acknowledge it are heretics.  Requires automatic believe in this apparition as a criteria as to being a real Catholic.

-Believe Confession is required every week.

-Believe most things are a mortal sin, especially if they say so.

-Believe no woman is allowed anywhere near the sanctuary.  This even means the first pew unless they are a nun/sister praying the Rosary.

-Believe there is a strict dress code for every occasion.  This only applies to women and children.

-Believes women are required to veil at all times.  Mantillas only.  Hats and other forms of headcovering are not allowed.  No hair is allowed to show otherwise a woman will be inciting a man to sin.  She is at fault if a mans sees even one strand of hair.

-Believes women are required to wear dresses or skirts (dresses are the preferred option) down to the floor with full length sleeves and extreme high collars.  The prefered style is fundamentalist Mormon.

-Believes women who dress in pants or skirts above the toe are inciting men to lust and other sexual sins and just asking to be raped.

-Believes women are responsible for men’s sins, especially sexual sins.

-Believes the Church does not go far enough is legislating modesty and dress.  Believes the Church should dictate a strict dress code for everyone that must be strictly adhered to at all times.

-Believes women are to be minimally educated.

-Believes women should never work outside the home.

-Believes no one should go swimming do to the immoral form of dress required.

-Believes women are meant only to be wives and mothers, and occasionally sisters but nothing else.

-Believe Natural Family Planning (NFP) is contraception and goes against God’s will.

-Believes the number of children a couple will have is should be entirely left up to the providence of God.  Any abstinence, NFP, or any other method is contraception and a mortal sin.  A mother’s health, a family’s finances, etc. are irrelevant to family size and having children.

-Believes all children should be homeschooled.  All other forms of schooling are tools of the devil.

-Believes colleges, universities, high schools, elementary schools, public and Catholic are bastions of radical feminism, secular humanism, and atheism.

-Believes sheltering children from every interaction with the world and especially other people will make them strong Catholics.

-Believes TV, radio, movies, computers, and any other media that is not explicitly Catholics is immoral, a tool of the Devil, and never allowed in the home.

-Believes EWTN doesn’t go far enough.

-Believes most Bishops, priests, and Catholics to be outright heretics and have no knowledge of the faith.

-Believe Michael Voris is the second coming and like his in the face style and name calling of bishops and fellow Catholics.

-Believe Colleen Hammond is the go to authority for dress and follow her rules exactly.

-Believes if the book is not the Bible, the Early Church fathers, or one of  a select few writers then the books are immoral and advocating devil worship.

-Believe only young earth creationism.

-Believes they must call all behavior not exactly like theirs a sin and everyone who does not believe like them a heretic.

-Believes they are the only one on the right path to Heaven.  Everyone else, except for a select few, is going to Hell.

-Believes having fun is a sin.

-Believes contemporary music is immoral regardless of the lyrics.  Some classical music by some Catholics composers is acceptable.

-Believes the organ is the only instrument.  All other instruments, regardless of use, is profane.

-Believes that quoting documents from Vatican II is sinful and will only cite pre-Vatican II documents to support their arguments, even if they are off topic or have nothing to do with a topic or are out dated.

-Will ignore, put down, or trash Vatican II.

-Believes happiness and joy are useless and pointless especially in the spiritual life.

-Believes it is necessary to point out every little flaw and mistake a priest makes as necessary to stop liturgical abuse.

-Believes liturgical abuse is extremely rampant in OF/NO parishes and have never existed in EF/TLM parishes.

-Believes the Baltimore Catechism is the only necessary catechism.

-Believe the 1950s were the Golden Era of Catholicism in America.

-Believes the 1960s were the end of the Catholic Church in America.

-Believes Council of Trent trumps Vatican II.

-Wants all Catholics to be exactly like them.

-Believe unity is the sam thing as uniformity.

-Believe the EF/TLM would solve all the problems in the Church, including but not limited to sex abuse by priests, lack of vocations.

-Believe a college education is worthless unless you are going to be a lawyer or a doctor.

-Believe they are the only true Catholics and everyone else is a Protestant heretic.

(OB)-Believe women who dress in pants or in skirts above the toe are guilty for their own rape.

(OB)-Believes all Protestants are going to Hell.

(OB)-Believes Jews were abandoned or are ignored by God.

(OB)-Believe Eastern Catholics and the Orthodox are to be Latinized.

(OB)-Believe that is a person receives any sort of spiritual consolation, you are doing something wrong or are possessed by a demon.

 

This is not an exhaustive list but it does include what I have seen, read, and heard.

Let’s Just Beat People with a Stick, Why Don’t We?

Again, CAF seems to be full of people who would rather smack people down than help lift them up.  There’s a thread on how a “priest was harsh in confession” (harsh? define harsh) plus threads on cafeteria catholicism, soft catholicism, etc. and there are people who are going on about how priests today are weak and that nobody talks about hell and damnation anymore.  There are people advocating holding people from receiving the Eucharist (wow, even Christ isn’t that mean) for months to even years at a time, to arguing that people should have to recite multiple Rosaries, to saying that no priest preaches hell and damnation and that since most people are damned anyways (where does it say God on their drivers license) that people should know what to expect after they die.

I will admit there are people who have no concept of sin let alone their own sin.  But to advocate withholding Sacraments and fire and brimstone teaching deviates way past any truth about the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Reconciliation is not about the priest hitting the penitent over the head for not being sorry enough or not confessing every sin as if it were mortal sin or for scaring the penitent into fearful obedience.  Reconciliation is about admitting our sins to Jesus and being forgiven, being absolved of our sins, and receiving the grace that comes from that sacrament that grants us the gift of being in a state of grace to receive the Eucharist.  Reconciliation reconciles us with Jesus and strengthens our relationship with him.  It’s not meant as a means of forcing the penitent into doing what the Church expects of him/her.  It’s about repairing a relationship not reinforcing an abusive dictator.

Scaring somebody straight doesn’t work.  They tried that with juvenile delinquents.  Didn’t work and there are studies to prove it.  Yet people want people to be afraid of GOD.  Why?  A fear of God doesn’t mean you obey him out of love. It means you obey him out of fear of punishment.  That’s not a healthy relationship.  As somebody who was raised in a fear filled environment, fear only made me tense and hypervigilant to my mother’s moods and words.  It made me unable to trust people and I definitely don’t understand how to love. I was always afraid that I was doing something wrong or did something or even just breathed funny and my mother would start screaming at me for being a bad girl that’s going to Hell.  Many times it didn’t even need to be something I did.  It could be one of my sisters or something on TV or some imagined slight my mother came up with.  I was going to be screamed at no matter what and there was nothing I could do about it.  To this day I cringe when anybody says my name or I hear a loud noise or people speak in a certain way because I’m expecting to get screamed at for something I did.  Or blamed.  And I know I have to take it because there’s no arguing.  They are right and I am wrong.  Remember, this is conditioned into me from nearly 20 years of abuse.

So I have a hard time accepting that yelling and screaming and making people afraid will get them to cooperate and do good.  Oh, it might work in the short term but eventually, in the long run, it will backfire.  The Bible doesn’t just speak about God’s wrath, which usually happened after several chances to repent and change their ways but also God’s mercy.  Why do people want God’s wrath for everyone else but God’s mercy only for themselves, if that?  There is more justice in God’s mercy and mercy in God’s justice than anything we can conceive.

Why do we have to smack people down and hurt them all in the name of religion?  Jesus didn’t do that.  He criticized the Pharisees but he didn’t hurt them or say they weren’t loved by God.  He did call for them to repent and that the people should listen to them, just not act like them.  Yet people want to condemn people to Hell all for not agreeing with them or not being sorry enough in their eyes or for the priests not smacking the pulpit while preaching hellfire and brimstone and hell and damnation.  Each priest deals with a unique congregation and unique needs specific to that congregation.  Don’t put down priests just because they don’t preach what you want.  They aren’t there to please you.  They are they to be in persona Christi and to offer the Mass, not to satisfy your need to put down others and hold yourself as a superior model of Catholic living, because you aren’t with that attitude.   What the priest may not deal with in public, he may deal with in private.  It is not your place to determine which priests are acting like priests and which aren’t.  They are priests and that is all you need to know.  You are not God.  You have no place to judge for you judge Jesus himself when you judge a priest.

You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.  Just a though.

Judge Not Salvation

Luke 6:37

“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (NKJV)

I point out this particular passage because I find, especially on the Internet in blogs and other venues on the Internet, the words and conclusions of those that declare someone intelligent or stupid, beautiful or ugly, saved or damned.  The last particular dichotomy is one I see the most especially from those who believe in a very narrow, out there set of beliefs though there are those who are supposedly who seem “mainstream” (thinking and believing like everyone else) who also determine people’s eternal fates.  Now, this is nothing new, judging people acceptable or rejectable by some arbitrary set of definitions.  The concept of us versus them has been around since we humans have had the ability to classify and assign value to those classifications.  How else would our ancestors have known that one group was an enemy or another group was a friend or that a friend had turned into an enemy.  But it is more than that.  It is a matter of fear but also of pride.  If Person A says the Person B isn’t a person or less than a person because they (I’m going to use an absurd example here) use the color purple to color in a picture of a flower and that by doing so they reject the superiority (as defined by Person A) of the color red, then Person A is operating from a place of pride.  Now Person A may also be operating from a place of cultural influence but even then it is still a matter of pride.

Christians, in some cases especially American evangelical fundamentalists, certain American developed Protestants (I refer to those Protestant sects that were created in the US after 1800 and especially those groups that developed in the 1900s like Calvary Chapel and non-denominational churches) predicate much of their interactions with Christians who don’t belong to their church in determining their likelihood of becoming a notch on their belt (“winning souls”) or damning them to Hell for not having the “correct beliefs (read “Not agreeing with exactly every word, small thing, and made up rules and regulations that the “pastor” and/or “elders” have come up with) (usually done to Catholics because they believe in a “false gospel” and “added beliefs and kept pagan ones”).

This determining of the eternal destination of others is not only problematic but un-Christian.  It attempts to place the judger in the place of God.  Only God alone can determine if a person is to go to Heaven or Hell.  No one can know if they are saved (there is no assurance of salvation i.e. no one knows if they are bound for heaven or hell) (CCC quotes 1741, 456-460).  From the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), “By his glorious Cross Christ has won salvation for all men. He redeemed them from the sin that held them in bondage. “For freedom Christ has set us free.” In him we have communion with the “truth that makes us free.” The Holy Spirit has been given to us and, as the Apostle teaches, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Already we glory in the “liberty of the children of God.””  Now there is more to salvation but it is important to understanding that salvation isn’t just about one specific thing be it saying a prayer or having a relationship or “being saved” or being freed from sin.  Salvation isn’t simple and it is not complex either.  It is, however, wonderful and desired of all men.  Not just a select few who dress the right way or say prayers in a certain way.  Further in the CCC 456-460, “

456 With the Nicene Creed, we answer by confessing: “For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.”

457 The Word became flesh for us in order to save us by reconciling us with God, who “loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins”: “the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world”, and “he was revealed to take away sins”:70

Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again. We had lost the possession of the good; it was necessary for it to be given back to us. Closed in the darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Savior; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator. Are these things minor or insignificant? Did they not move God to descend to human nature and visit it, since humanity was in so miserable and unhappy a state?71

458 The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God’s love: “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.”72 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”73

459 The Word became flesh to be our model of holiness: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.” “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”74 On the mountain of the Transfiguration, the Father commands: “Listen to him!”75 Jesus is the model for the Beatitudes and the norm of the new law: “Love one another as I have loved you.”76 This love implies an effective offering of oneself, after his example.77

460 The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature“:78 “For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.”79 “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.”80 “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.”

Many err on this because they want to be in “the right” and determining someone’s eternal destination gives that person a smug feeling of superiority, smug satisfaction of knowing that they and they alone have the truth and Jesus, and that they are better than everyone else because they have the “correct” beliefs, the “correct” behaviors, the “correct” “interpretation” of the Bible, and that Jesus and God speak to them all the time and reveal all that they need to know and what to decide.  They have a very narrow view of the world.   Sounds a bit like Gnosticism doesn’t it?  It is but it is also lack of charity, not loving one’s neighbor, pride, selfishness, not loving God.

With recent celebrity deaths and the deaths of loved ones, neighbors, friends, and others, I have seen in the blogosphere several posts where the poster has unequivocally determined the final eternal judgment without any input from God.  They determine where this person had gone based on their own criteria, usually what that particular poster believes.  They refuse to entertain let alone respect the fact that judgment is God’s and God’s right alone.  He gives that right to no one else yet there are those who certainly talk and believe that they have and use this un-given right to judge others, usually quite harshly and with great venom.  Many times they cast them into Hell for doing something the poster doesn’t like even if it is not a sin.

Then there are those who judge others not to be Christian because they don’t believe what they do, they belong to a different theology or sect, they are Catholic, or they aren’t in communion with the Catholic Church (I’ve seen this from many Catholics in regards to Eastern Catholics and the Orthodox, calling them names and saying they are schismatic or even heretics (which is false)).  Again, many who do this belong to or adhere to evangelical fundamentalist ideology.  Actually, many are likely to be weak in faith and understanding of their own faith.  They may know a few basics and are sent out or even forced out to “win” converts, i.e. make members for that group.  This tends to be more common.  Way of the Master is a good example.  They use a flawed opening question, “Are you a good person?” to break the ice.  It’s a loaded question meant to start the ‘sales pitch.  If the questionee answers yes, then the questioner follows up with more questions and into the Ten Commandment (note they use a different numbering order than Catholics and Lutherans use where 2 is not to have idols where as Catholics have you shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (the first reads like legal definition if you were to look at a section in the criminal code for a state you would have the offense (I am the Lord you God. You shall have no other gods but me) and the elements that make up that offense (no other gods, no graven images, etc.)).  They then go through the Ten Commandments to see if you have broken any of them, which everyone had at least at one point in their lives.  However, it’s a trap.  They continue through the sales pitch to get you to say a prayer to accept Jesus as you personal savior (remember, they’re selling a product and they have to” make a sale” to be a good Christian).  That’s it.  They don’t follow up, usually.  They tell you to join a “Bible-believing” church and that’s it.  Way of the Master only believe, or limits their definition of a Christian to somebody who had gone through this process (accept Jesus as savior, say a prayer, join a “Bible-believing church) so Catholics and even liturgical Protestants such as Lutherans are considered apostate because they follow a false gospel and added pagan elements in their worship (because organized worship like a liturgy is pagan, apparently).

Those who consider people not to be Christian because don’t believe as Group A does.  Group A’s definition of a “Christian” will be defined not by essentials but by non-essential or even disciplines rather than doctrine.  For example, no dancing, no smoking, no playing cards, no pants on women, no watching movies, long hair on women, no partying, no mixing between genders, marriage only (no single life), mandatory Bible reading for a set period of time a day, no wearing makeup, no jewelry, women aren’t allowed to work, women aren’t allowed to serve in any kind of ministry or service, praying in tongues, praying in a specific manner, not praying spontaneously, must win converts, contemporary worship songs, no musical instruments, etc.  These are all disciplines (subject to change) and some are even deliberate misreading of the Bible (marriage only, women have no place, praying in tongues, no musical instruments, anything with regards to women).  Catholics are typically called apostates or heretics for:

-supposedly adding to the Bible (which is laughable since the CATHOLIC CHURCH put the Bible together!),

-believing in false or pagan doctrines such as Mary as the Mother of God (Nestorianism, a heresy, denies that Mary is the Mother of God),

-Mary as the Queen of Heaven (again, Biblical; just look to the mother of kings in the Old Testament where the mothers were Queens and sat at the King’s right hand and offered advice and supplications/petitions) (if you ask someone else to pray for you, you can certainly ask a saint to pray for you),

-the Mass (which can be found in parts of Saint Paul’s letters and in the Book of Revelation),

-praying to saints (again in Revelation) (if you ask someone else to pray for you, you can certainly ask a saint to pray for you otherwise you would never be able to ask anyone to pray for you since you can only pray to Jesus, according to that logic),

-salvation by works (Ephesians 2:4-10) (“4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Good works were set aside for us to complete for our salvation.”)(again, not true and very Biblical that we can’t just say a prayer and we’re saved; we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12)). We are not saved under the Jewish law, true enough, but we must obey Jesus’ commandments: love God and neighbor, and to eat His Flesh and Drink His Blood (John 6:51-58) (“51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”  52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”  53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”)

Yet there are Christians who don’t look to Jesus’ words but to Saint Paul.  They have to be read all together rather than in isolation and separate.  Plus, they have to be read in context.  Paul is writing to a specific audience in a specific place about a specific problem.  Many who read the Bible assume the Bible can be read and interprets (everyone interprets what they read) that it can be done the same today as it was when it was written.  That the meaning and application of a passage is the same then as it is today.  Not true.  Some passages are very specific for the time and have no real application to today (passages referring to slavery for example) and so cannot be applied or used in a contemporary sense.  Others are misinterpreted, deliberately in some cases, to support a specific belief or practice that isn’t Biblical at all (Ephesians 5:22 is used by some men and some “churches” as a means to oppress and abuse women when the meaning of the verse is more than just submission; you have to read the verses before and after to understand the whole meaning and context). (emphasis mine)

Catholics are the first Christians.  Catholics believe in Jesus and have a personal relationship with Him in the Eucharist.  Yet, many say Catholics aren’t Christians because they don’t believe exactly as Person A or Group B, etc.  They do not determine if someone is Christian or not.  Only the individual and God truly know.  Anyone else is just guessing or making false judgments against their neighbor which is a sin and lack of love for their neighbor.  It bothers me but mostly it saddens me when I read posts or blogs or what not by people who accuse or vilify or condemn others for not believing as they do or calling Catholics apostates and heretics and condemning them to Hell for nothing more than a lack of understanding or deliberate ignorance on the part of the poster.  Most people do not want to learn the Truth.  They are satisfied with the little truth they have and so stay in their comfort zone.  If they learned that Catholics are truly Christians, that the Catholic Church was founded by Christ and gave us the Bible and preserved it and all the beliefs such as the Trinity and Jesus’ divinity down through the ages it would destroy some people because they can’t handle change especially in their world view.  They would refuse to believe because it means they were wrong (coming from pride) and wouldn’t accept the Truth.  They would hang on to that pride because it gives them false comfort and a false sense of superiority.  They want their own easy truth to swallow.  They don’t want The Truth handed down and preserved by the Apostles to the Bishops and the Priests of the Catholic Church for over 2000 years.  They don’t want to be wrong.  They would lose their sense of self especially if their identity is built upon a specific belief system or set of beliefs (Mrs. Smith is a Baptist preachers wife and will always be one and if she didn’t have that, she wouldn’t know what to do with herself because being a Baptist preachers wife is all so knows; it’s who she is).

With regards to Catholics who don’t consider Eastern Catholics and the Orthodox as Catholics, this again comes from pride.  All contain the fullness of Truth and have preserved that Truth for over 2000 years.  Praxis, meaning actual practice, varies and has always varied by culture and region.  The Latin Rite of the Church is not the normative right of the whole Church.  It is only normative in the Latin West.  Latins are not superior or better or holier than Eastern Catholics and the Orthodox.  While there are divisions, there are similarities and the fullness of Truth.  All hold the fullness of Truth, as I have already stated.  Yes there is a difference is ecclesiology (how the church is organized and governed) but the Sacraments are the same and the graces available are the same.  I’m not up on the differences but in some ways it doesn’t matter because I am to love my neighbor.  I have no need to convert them to the Catholic faith because they already have it.  Unfortunately, many Latins don’t see this or refuse to see this and it leads to prideful posts and behaviors and even in some cases, attempts to proselytize (convert or perish mentality of evangelization).  They will even damn them to Hell.  Unfortunately, some Orthodox and Eastern Catholics are no better and refuse to see the similarities and that they are all brothers and sisters in Christ and rather resort to name calling (calling Latin Rite Catholics Protestants) or resorting to nationalism (there are divisions along ethnic and nationality but I’m totally not up on the differences but again comes down to pride and lack of love of neighbor rather than a love of the Truth).

Judge not lest ye be judged.  Remember that rather than falling into sin.  It isn’t easy but it is possible.  Love your neighbor.

Four Things continued

Here are the Catechism references to the post I made last night.

Death: http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p123a11.htm#II “Dying in Christ Jesus”  “Death” “The Meaning of Christian Death”

Particular Judgement, Heaven, Hell : http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p123a12.htm

I also suggest reading the preceeding sections since they deal with the Creed.

Have a Blessed Lent.

The Four Final Things

I meant to start this much earlier so as to go into fuller depth but at this point I’ll just post what I intend to blog about and write the depth tomorrow.  Hopefully.

Yesterday morning as I was driving into school, waiting in traffic, and listening to Evanescence, I thought about the Four Final things: Death, Judgement, Heaven, and Hell.  We as Catholics do not give as much emphasis on these topics as we used to.  Now that is not to say they are never mentioned but rather the depth and consideration they are due have been lacking.

Now we will all die.  That’s a fact of life and cannot change, regardless of those that search after immortality and super long lives.  It ain’t gonna happen folks.  Now death is not something to be feared.  We should always be aware that at any moment we could die.  Everyone dies.  Jesus died and did so for us, to save us from death.  From the consequences of our sin.  To save us from ourselves.  Lent reminds us not only about physical death but about spiritual death caused by sin.  Lent is a season of repentence, penance.  We walk the path that Jesus did: through temptation (1st Sunday of Lent Gospel reading) which leads to sin, His entrance into Jerusalem (Passion/Palm Sunday), to the Institution of the Eucharist (Holy Thursday), His handing over to be crucified (Holy Thursday and Good Friday), His Crucifixion (Good Friday), and His Resurrection (Easter Vigil, Easter Sunday).  His Death broke death’s hold over us.

We are reminded that we are sinners in need of a Savior and that that Savior is Jesus who knew what it was like to be human, who understands our weaknesses.  We are called to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to repair the damage, the death to our souls caused by sin.  Not only that but to repair the “death” in our relationship with Jesus that was caused by our sin.  When we sin, we kill our relationship with Christ.  His grace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation heals that death, that injury to make us whole again, to heal our relationship with Him.  He understands that there are temptations and that by making use of this Sacrament and of Holy Communion along with prayer He will give us the grace and ability to fight these temptations and for us not to choose sin.

Judgement comes when we die.  There is the Particular Judgement which we will face completely on our own and the Final Judgement comes when Jesus returns.  When we die it will not matter if we made millions of dollars or wore the latest fashions or belonged to the best clubs or attended the best schools.  It will come down to how we lived our lives.  Did we follow Jesus’s command to Love God and Love our Neighbors as Ourselves?  Did we clothe the naked, feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, visit the imprisoned, care for the sick?  In essence, did we just talk the talk or did we actually walk the walk?

Heaven and Hell are the two possible places we could end up.  We want Heaven, to be in God’s presence for eternity.  But there are those through their own choice who want to go to Hell because they do not want to be in the presence of the Loving God and God will not force His presence on those who do not want it.  We choose are destination through our actions, our desire to love God or our decision to be disobedient and reject God.  We have free will.  I suggest a reading of the Catechism for a better understanding of the Church’s teaching on Heaven and Hell.  We don’t know what Heaven or Hell will be like, only that they exist.  God desires us to be with Him but He won’t force us to love Him or follow Him.

As for Lent and Holy Week, which I briefly touched on earlier, they model many key events in our faith.  I hope to write about them in other posts.

I will clarify and add Catechism references tomorrow, hopefully.

Have a Blessed and Prayer-filled Lent.


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