Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

Reintroducing Logic and Reason to the Age of Sentimentalism

Baptism

All of the posts under the "Baptism" category.

Celebrate Your Feast Days

As Catholics, we have a lot to celebrate: Baptisms, Confirmations, Anniversaries, Saint Feast days, and of course, the many Holy Days that are attributed to our faith.

Celebratorial Balloons

But, how often do you actually celebrate your Baptismal Day or your Confirmation Day or even the Feast days of your favorite Saints or Confirmation Saint?

We really should get in the habit of making the time to celebrate these days. If you are married, you celebrate your Anniversary, which is a Sacrament. If you are ordained, you celebrate your ordination day, which is a Sacrament. Likewise, we should begin to celebrate the days in which we were Baptized and Confirmed.

Baptism is a day to be celebrated, as it is the day in which you were washed clean of the stain of Original Sin. God marked you as one of His own, one of His children. If you do not know the day you were baptized, you can call the parish that you were baptized at, assuming they have good record keeping. If that doesn’t work, you should be able to contact your diocese as they usually keep track of this as well.

Confirmation should be celebrated as it was the day in which you reaffirmed your baptismal vows and promised before God and those in attendance that you would continue walking the Catholic faith. Similar to above, you can call the parish or the diocese to find out the date.

If you are married, I won’t even bother mentioning why you should celebrate your anniversary, especially if you are a guy. Likewise, if you are ordained, you should celebrate as well.

The Saints are great examples to us, as they have lived a life here on Earth, and have gone before us into Heaven to intercede for us. It is wise to celebrate your confirmation Saint and any other Saints that you admire.

There is much to celebrate in our faith. Enjoy your “feast days” and celebrate your faith. There are many hard days out there, so enjoy these days so that you might one day grow in Holiness and intercede for those here on Earth.

Jeff April 15, 2014 Leave A Comment Permalink

What Does It Mean to “Live the Gospel”?

There appears to be much confusion as to what the Gospel is today. Many Catholics and Christians alike will say that we need to go out and “Live the Gospel”. The thing is, there is no record throughout Catholicism or even in Protestantism about “living the Gospel” until the last hundred years or so.

From what I have noticed, the phrase “Live the Gospel” is a very vague phrase that can be used depending on what the individual person wants to convey with their own interpretation. However, in general, it appears that there are several components to what they want to do by “living the Gospel”. It generally includes helping the poor, giving people what they want (not what they need), being nice to people and affirming them in their sin, not correcting anyone if they are incorrect, and in general just being a “good person”. There is no emphasis on helping people realize their sin and repenting of it, not being a good Catholic, proper worship and reverence and obedience to Christ and His Church and the like.

It is important to understand what proper definitions of words are so that we use them correctly. The Concise Catholic Dictionary of 1943 has several definitions of what the Gospel is:

1. Literally “good news”. A recording of the life and works of Jesus written by an evangelist. 2. Collectively, the writings of the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, contained in Sacred Scripture. 3. The reading of an extract from Sacred Scripture, taken from the gospel narrative, which takes place in the ceremonies of the Mass just before the Offertory. There is a second Gospel right after the final blessing of the Mass which is of the feast day or vigils, days of special commemoration, and days in Lent when a feast is celebrated, but usually this second gospel is the first fourteen verses of the Gospel of St. John, first chapter.

If you are to actually look into what the Gospel is, you would understand that the phrase “Live the Gospel” makes logically no sense. After all, the Gospel is literally the “Good News” as noted above. So what is the Good News you ask?

The Good News in its simplicity is that we are all horrendous sinners, worthy of the eternal damnation and punishment of Hell. We are unworthy of the rewards of Heaven. Jesus Christ, being the Son of God, came to forgive all of us so that we may have (a chance of) eternal life. He came so that we may be baptized and washed clean of original sin. He came so that we may repent of our sin and through Him, reconcile ourselves with God. Jesus died on the cross, taking up all of our sin, becoming the sacrificial lamb, so that we can attain Heaven. He died and rose again from the dead to show that when we die, we too will rise again in our glorified bodies to show-off to Satan, that even though he introduced death into the world, that Jesus Christ has conquered death, so that we may have everlasting life.

When you understand properly what the Gospel is, you realize that “living the Gospel” is a modernist heresy introduced to cause confusion among the faithful. “Living the Gospel” as is used today is about reducing Jesus Christ, who came for all the reasons mentioned above, to just a mere man who was a “nice guy” who did “nice things” for “some people”. That is not what He did.

Everything Christ did was for the glory of His Father who art in Heaven. To reduce Jesus to this “nice guy” is an insult to the Holy Trinity.

If we are to truly “live the Gospel” as is properly understood, we are to live the commandments as Jesus taught us, following Him, His bride the Church and making disciples of all nations. This is what living the Gospel is all about. Sharing this Good News, so that others may have the chance at eternal and everlasting life. To withhold this from others, is selfishness.

Jeff March 21, 2014 Leave A Comment Permalink

The Necessity of Baptism

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can do these signs that you are doing unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?” Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you, ‘You must be born from above. The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:1-8

Jesus is very clear in John 3:5 (the emboldened verse) about the necessity of the Sacrament of Baptism, in order to enter into Heaven. He doesn’t speak in parables, or in ambiguous wording, but in clear, concise and understandable language that leaves no room for error. Truth is not kind to error.

We need baptism because we are born with original sin, thanks to our first parents Adam and Eve. Original sin is what cuts us off from the state of grace that we need to be in. Baptism cleanses us from original sin, and removes it, we are born anew. Without this we have nothing.

The Church recognizes 3 types of Baptism.

  • Baptism by water and spirit, that is the baptism that we pour water over the head of the individual to be baptized and baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. That’s what makes a valid baptism. Not following this marks an invalid baptism, read, not baptized.
  • Baptism by blood, is when you are not baptized but are martyred for the Catholic faith. You must have full remission of sins in order for this baptism to take effect.
  • Baptism by desire, is when you are not baptized, are wanting to receive the sacrament, but die before receiving the sacrament. As the Catechism states: For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament.” CCC 1259

As a convert, I can attest that receiving the Sacrament of Baptism marks a change in the person. I have less fears and have a stronger sense that God is with me. I have the mark and branding of God, so I am claimed by God as one of His own. Prior to receiving the Sacrament, the fear of Satan was very strong.

Jesus is very clear that we need baptism in order to enter into Heaven. These are Jesus’ words not mine. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to comment below, or email me.

Jeff March 11, 2014 1 Comment Permalink

Following Christ Without the Church is a False Dichotomy

So that I am not accused of being hypocritical and “picking and choosing” which of Pope Francis’ things I dislike to make him look bad, here is something good that came out of his Thursday morning Mass.

pope-francis-600

I caught this over at the National Catholic Register.

Pope Francis said in his Thursday morning daily Mass that “It is an absurd dichotomy to love Christ without the Church; to listen to Christ, but not the Church; to be with Christ at the margins of the Church,” he said. “One cannot do this. It is an absurd dichotomy.”

Yes, it is absurd to say that one loves Christ but does not want to belong to His Church, that is, the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis also added: “The first fruit of Baptism is that you belong to the Church, to the People of God. One cannot understand a Christian without the Church” and “A person that is not humble, cannot hear along with the Church. He hears only what she likes, what he likes,” noted the Pope, adding that this humility can be seen in David’s prayer, when he says “Who am I, Lord God, and what is my house?””.

Read the full article over at their website, they provide a very good in-depth analysis of the homily there.

Its definitely a step in the right direction, however, if you remember way back in August when talking about converting others he said specifically ““Do you need to convince the other to become Catholic? No, no, no! Go out and meet him, he is your brother. This is enough. Go out and help him and Jesus will do the rest.”” Keep that in mind.

Continue to pray for Pope Francis and the Church. Offer up your sufferings and joys for them.

Jeff January 31, 2014 2 Comments Permalink

My Conversion Story

For the sake of the blog and the internet, I am going to keep this as the short version. My conversion story is incredibly long (I’ve told the whole story in about an hour and a half), so I will not bore you with all of the details.

Growing up, I didn’t really practice a faith. My parents were of two different faiths (mom grew up Methodist, dad grew up Jewish), and so they never really raised me anything. Luckily for me though, they did teach me morals while I was growing up. They did teach me to basically follow the Ten Commandments.

When you are a little kid and you celebrate both Christmas and Chanukkah and then Easter and Passover, it is super cool. You are unique because you get to see two sides. Now, I never went to church growing up, in fact, I think the only time I ever stepped in one was when I went to an aunt’s wedding, but, I was about 3 or 4, so I don’t really remember it.

Through most of my life as a kid and teen, I didn’t really think I needed to be in worship of God. I believed in Him of course, but I had to fill in some of my beliefs with what I saw on movies and TV. I got a lot of my beliefs from the Simpsons (I know, great catechesis there) and then a whole slew of different things.

As I got older and into middle school, I started listening to society and how society tells us we are to live within the world. Having no proper moral catechesis, I fell deeply into the trap.

When I got into high school, I really didn’t care much about religion. Though, I was a freshman when 9/11 occurred, and I became really intrigued about religion. In my social studies class, we began learning about various religions around the globe. I recall spending much time on Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam, though I recall very little on Christianity and Judaism. For a little while, I thought Buddhism was the way to go. The idea of meditation really appealed to me. I told my mom one day while we were driving that I wanted to become a Buddhist. She laughed at me and told me that, no, I really didn’t, and then that was it, I no longer wanted to become one.

The following year as a sophomore, I had decided that I was going to start my own religion. It was going to include what I liked from Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism. I still really liked the whole meditation aspect of Buddhism, so I was going to incorporate meditation in my Christian/Jewish religion. Ironically, looking back now, it is obvious that I was looking for Catholicism as we are fully Christian, with our roots in Judaism, and we meditate when we pray. Needless to say, I did not start my own religion (and thank God I didn’t).

As a Junior, we took a quiz in our government class to find out where on the political spectrum we fell. I scored 100% conservative. I realized that because I now stood out from my peers at school, that I needed to start having solid talking points in defending my beliefs. I started reading more, watching the news and just started getting good at debating. It was something I really enjoyed and was successful with it. I had many liberal friends that thought I would make a good president.

During this time I became more hostile towards Christianity and began publicly denouncing Jesus Christ as the Son of God. My logic was what I thought simple. God created Adam and Eve. We are all descendants of Adam and Eve. Thus, we are *all* sons and daughters of God. To some extent this is true. However, I now know that Jesus is THE Son of God, a direct line of God.

When I entered in my last year of high school, I met a girl in my class who I really liked, and began questioning what she would think of me. This led to deep reflection of what I personally believed and such. I wanted her to like me and I actually cared more about my actions.

I began talking with my friend Stephen on a very deep level about faith and religion. I knew he was Catholic and teased him all the time about it. Whoa, you’re Catholic? That must suck, you can’t do anything without it being a mortal sin! (How little did I really know). He took the teasing in stride, truly very humble and charitable. How many times do I get over somebody’s case when they tease me about being a Catholic?

One thing I used to do was go on websites that talked about haunted houses and ghost stories. It was very addictive and also very demonic. Looking into stories like this, you are inviting Satan and his minions to come and torment your life. Needless to say, this would be the turning point of my conversion process.

Stephen and I were talking on AOL Instant Messenger one day and he told me he was reading about Marian Apparitions.

“What’s a Marian Apparition?”

Stephen came up with a reply that really surprises me to how open he was to letting the Holy Spirit sink me in. “Its when the ghost of Jesus’ Mother comes and talks to people.” Hook, line and sinker. Yes, we both know that this is not truly correct of what a Marian Apparition is, however, Stephen took me where I was at, and gave me what I could understand. Conversion is after all, a step by step process.

We talked a lot about Mary and Stephen lent me a book on Our Lady of Fatima. He said it was a short read and it would take only a few hours to read it. I said okay. I also asked him some questions that I was personally struggling with. He pulled out the Catechism of the Catholic Church and read out exactly what the Church taught. I was floored. The answer I heard was the answer that I knew was right deep down into my heart. It rung of Truth. The Catholic Church was right about something. My thirst kept growing and I wanted to know more, but, I of course fought it, after all, who wants to be Catholic?

A few days went by and Stephen asked me if I had read the book. I told him no, I hadn’t had time. Another few days went by and again Stephen asked if I had read the book. Again, I told him no, but was planning on it. Finally a few days came by and sure enough, Stephen was wondering if I had read it. Again, the answer was no. He then asked me if I was going to read it and if I wasn’t then he would like it back because he wanted to read it again. I told him I’d read it and felt like a jerk for taking so long (since it was such a short book). That night would change everything I previously thought.

Our Lady of Fatima

I was just coming down with a cold, and when I was growing up, my colds lasted at least 2-3 weeks. I read the book in about 4 hours and was absolutely amazed by what I read. Never before had I heard that we could offer up our suffering for those in need and not only that, but we could pray for others. The common theme was, if we pray for others, we can prevent them from going to Hell. I found this very admirable. I can save others from Hell, just by praying for them.

The next morning, I awoke, and realized I had just had a miracle occur to me. My cold, which was only 2 or 3 days in, was completely gone. I gave Stephen a call and he agreed, that sounded like a miracle.

Over the next few months, Stephen and I talked more about the Catholic faith. Stephen was incredibly patient with me and slowly allowed me to realize how much Jesus and I shared in common. He would more or less show me a Bible verse here or there on what Jesus actually said. The twist though, was that I would always agree. Stephen knew me well enough that He pointed out what Jesus and I had in common, so that Jesus and I became close and had similarities. I even began praying at night before going to bed, something I had never done before.

Stephen took me to a Mass one Sunday. On the way to Mass, Stephen gave me a Rosary, informed me that it had been blessed by Pope John Paul II and gave me a card that taught me how to pray. The Mass was very interesting to say the least. I had absolutely zero clue as to what was going on, so I watched Stephen the entire time. I felt holier just by being there, like I was a part of something sacred.

At this parish, the priest was from Sri Lanka, and I couldn’t understand anything that he said. However, during the consecration at communion, I noticed his voice changed. Every single word became distinct and clear, and his voice to me had changed. It was like someone had taken over. Stephen informed me that I couldn’t receive communion because I wasn’t Catholic and that I could either approach Father for a blessing with my arms folded, or I could stay in the pew. I asked if he could stay with me, but, yeah, that wasn’t happening. I went up for a blessing and felt weight come off my shoulders.

For me, it was incredibly difficult to accept Jesus as my savior. I had absolutely no problem with Mary as she is my mother and loves me deeply. I had no problem saying the Our Father, the Hail Mary or the Glory Be. Even the Fatima prayer (O my Jesus…) was of no problem for me to say. What was difficult for me was saying the Creed. When I got to the part though, when we say “And I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord”, I immediately panicked. I didn’t know what to do.

The next day I talked to Stephen, and he basically told me that he couldn’t understand how after everything we had talked about thus far, that I couldn’t make this claim. I felt bad. I had no problem accepting God the Father or even God the Holy Spirit, but accepting Jesus as the 2nd part of the Trinity was difficult.

That night, I really wanted to pray the Rosary for Mary. But, perfectionist me wasn’t going to skip the Creed. It was either all or nothing. Before I prayed the Rosary, I knelt alongside my bed and said the following to the Father.

“God, I’m not sure if you are going to accept this or not, but, I’m going to say the following words. If you are not approving, I am really sorry and I will stop. However, if you want me to say the words, allow me to know.” I said the creed, specifically “I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son…….Our……..Lord…….” and immediately, felt a peace come over me. So, I continued.

Stephen and I kept talking more and more about the faith. We went to another Mass where Father must have been in his late 20s or early 30s. He seemed pretty cool and made it feel that being Catholic was actually really cool. This inspired me more. I watched Stephen like a hawk to make sure I didn’t stick out like a sore thumb. Again, at the consecration, Father’s voice changed. Every word was distinct and clear and his voice was not his own. I knew something was happening when these words were spoken, but didn’t understand what.

After Mass, Stephen went to confession with Father and asked if I wanted to go. We had talked about confession before, and yes, I wanted to go! My sins get forgiven??? Heck yes! As a disclaimer, Stephen didn’t know that you had to be baptized in order to go, and I didn’t tell Father that I wasn’t a Catholic and I thought Stephen had told him. Needless to say, I made an unsacramental confession and Father went through all of the steps. I felt all of the weight come off of my shoulders. Even though my sins weren’t absolved due to the confession (because I wasn’t Catholic) I felt as if I had and knew that confession was real.

I went home and told my parents (remember, neither of them are Catholic) and needless to say, they flipped out. They couldn’t figure out why I would tell some strange man my sins. I was feeling such a high, that I just told them that he has the ability to forgive them, and I want that.

About a few weeks later, the travelling Fatima statue of Our Lady was in town. This is the statue that is said to have been seen crying during times. Stephen and I went and I was blown away. Her eyes were so life-like and I had never seen anything like this. How can a statue’s eyes look so real, that is, how does it look like she has tears in her eyes? It was incredible. Afterwards, Stephen introduced me to a family friend of his, his friend David’s mom. She welcomed me with such love and tenderness that I was amazed that a stranger could feel this way towards another stranger. I told her a bit of my story, up until that point, knowing that she wouldn’t judge me, but rather encourage me to seek deeper.

statue-of-our-lady-of-fatima

That summer, I met Stephen’s friend David and his parents (though I had already met his mom). We started a weekly catechetical class where we learned more about Catholicism. Each week I desired more and more to be Catholic. Eventually, my younger brother joined in and was learning more as well. David’s parents taught RCIA at the parish that I first went to Mass at, and since I was learning so much from them and they were able to answer all of my questions, I knew that that was where I wanted to go. I was concerned that some of my beliefs (though many were changing over to Catholic) would prevent me from being a Catholic in good-standing. They told me I should go through anyways and that I would learn more and my desire to want to be in accordance with the Church, would help me get there.

That Fall, I started up at Michigan State University studying Computer Science. Stephen had started up college out of state and David went back to college out of state. I was alone. Luckily, David’s older brother Jonathan was wrapping up his final year at Michigan State also studying Computer Science. We clicked really well as Jonathan was learning more about his faith and was able to teach me more.

I started up in RCIA and was learning a lot. I had several spiritual warfare episodes throughout my conversion, that I will tell only in person. Describing them would take too much time and this is a long story for a blog.

Jonathan and I became increasingly close as friends. He got me to pray the Rosary daily. He helped me grow so much spiritually that I still remember some of the fun conversations we had at his apartment, not to mention how I learned much about the faith and the issues that I was struggling with were aided by really good answers. He got me introduced to a Young Adult group from the area and they also assisted with good answers and great fellowship. I know it was Jonathan and another friend Julie who helped me to realize why contraception was not part of God’s plan.

I was finally received into the Roman Catholic Church on April 15, 2006 (tax day in America, yuck). This was truly the best day of my life. Yes, I am married, but I can honestly say that choosing to follow Jesus Christ was the smartest thing I have ever done (I wouldn’t have my wife if I hadn’t). I was baptized, received confirmation and first communion at the Easter Vigil. It was powerful.

Every step of the way, my friends who all aided me (Stephen, David, Jonathan, their parents, Julie, and a few others) were incredibly patient with me. They were never judgmental, condescending or impatient. They constantly took me where I was at, and guided me to where the Truth was. For this I am eternally grateful. If you enjoy this blog, you can thank them with prayers.

In closing, I really do enjoy telling my conversion story. If you would like me to tell my conversion story (there is much more detail I left out for the sake of the internet), please don’t hesitate to contact me. This story isn’t just about me, but rather, how God, in His infinite love and mercy, can rescue the most unworthy of sinners, and bring them home to His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Jeff August 21, 2013 4 Comments Permalink

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