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Divine Mercy Sunday

Today is Divine Mercy Sunday! (April 23, 2017)  The Sunday after Easter.  Don’t let this beautiful opportunity pass you by.  If you go to Confession, Communion and praying for the Intentions of the Pope (saying an Our Father and a Hail Mary), you will receive a plenary indulgence.  This plenary indulgence rids us of our sins and also our punishment for those sins after our death.  This is Jesus’ Mercy.  Learn the small phrase, “Jesus, I trust in You.”  It is in this trust we have for Him that He gives us His oceans of Mercy.  We certainly don’t deserve His Mercy but He wants to step forward to us and give us that Mercy and help our unbelief.  We can’t be like St. Thomas, needing to put our fingers in the nail holes before we believe.  We need to have child-like hearts of trust and have faith in His power and Mercy.  Even though the doors to our hearts are locked, Jesus will come in and love us.

Check out this video by Chris Stefanick about Mercy.  Click on the video called Ocean of Mercy.

Check on the What is Divine Mercy page or the Divine Mercy page for more information.

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Bible Alone? Or is There More?

Bible Alone as the sole authority for faith is called Sola Scriptura.  This came from the Protestant doctrine during the Reformation revolt in the 1500’s AD.

The Bible does not teach Sola Scriptura or Bible Alone.  Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the Bible is the sole authority of the faith.  Jesus, the Apostles, and the early church never taught Bible alone and never practiced it.  The Bible wasn’t even written when Jesus was on earth.  That  wasn’t until about 400 years later.  Bible Alone wasn’t even taught until the Reformation in the 1500’s.

The whole truth is that Sola Scriptura is a false doctrine.  Sola Scriptura creates the sole interpreter of the Bible as the Bible itself, causing an interpretation based on human opinion and multiple errors.

I was at a Lutheran Church awhile back for an occasion.  The pastor stated that “we don’t need the Catholic Church to interpret scripture.  We can do it ourselves.”  This is a serious error.  We can’t pick and choose what scripture says, we need God to make the decision of the truth and Jesus gave the authority of interpreting the Scriptures to His Church…the Catholic Church.  He did this by giving the “keys of the kingdom” to St. Peter.

Now that we know that the Sola Scriptura is not a true doctrine worthy of belief, let’s look at the Biblical truth and importance of Apostolic Tradition instead.  Apostolic Tradition will lead us to the true meaning of Scripture because without it, the meaning will become distorted and full of errors.  This is why there are so many churches who can have the same scripture on Sunday but can preach something so different.  They are interpreting it on their own.

We need Jesus’ authority and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to interpret Holy Scripture so we don’t get it wrong.  If we follow the true interpretation of the Scriptures from the Catholic Church, we will get so much more out of the Scripture.  It opens up new doors that we never knew were there.  One example is John chapter 6.  If you read it with the eyes outside of the Catholic Church, you will see Jesus speaking of a symbol but if you read it with the eyes of Catholic interpretation, you will see the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  You may say, yes but every church has their own ideas about what it means.  I say to you that truth has only one interpretation.

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Lutheran vs. Catholic

Communion:

  • Lutheran – Communion is a symbol or Jesus is only there if the person believes.  Bread and wine are blessed.
  • Catholic – Communion is the Real Presence of Jesus’ Body and Blood, is not a symbol.  Bread and wine are transubstantiated by the Holy Spirit, changed into Jesus and remains so forever.

Sacraments:

  • Lutheran – (2) Baptism and Communion
  • Catholic – (7) Baptism, Holy Communion, Confession, Confirmation, Holy Orders, Matrimony, and Anointing of the Sick

Authority:

  • Lutheran – The Synod, or if labeled “Free”, they do not belong to the Synod.  Some have Bishops but there is no unifying authority.
  • Catholic – The Magistrate consisting of the Pope, Cardinals, Bishops and Priests.  They are all connected by the Apostolic Succession down from St. Peter and Jesus.  They have the authority from Jesus to forgive sins, consecrate the Eucharist, serve Mass, administer Sacraments and interpret scripture.

Origin:

  • Lutheran – Martin Luther started the Lutheran Church about 1517 when Martin Luther, an ex-monk of the Catholic Church, revolted against the authority of the Church, and started his own church but changing doctrine and the Bible.
  • Catholic – Jesus started the Catholic Church in 33 AD by giving authority (the keys to the kingdom) to St. Peter.  The Catholic Church has remained consistent in teaching since.

Authority to Interpret Scripture:

  • Lutheran – Relies on personal interpretation and may be different from someone else.
  • Catholic – Relies on the authority of the magistrate, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, to interpret scripture producing a uniform interpretation.

Prayer to Heaven and Saints:

  • Lutheran – Believes in Jesus alone for prayer.  Does not believe in praying to saints.
  • Catholic – Believes in the Communion of Saints to pray for us as a family, like we ask for our loved ones to pray for us.

In time of Death:

  • Lutheran – The Pastor offers prayers for the dying person.
  • Catholic – The Priest offers the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.  This Sacrament offers sanctifying grace, forgiveness of sins, and prayers for the dying or sick person.

Baptism:

  • Lutheran – Forgiveness of sins (Original and personal sins) and the person becomes a child of God.  A Sacrament.
  • Catholic – Forgiveness of sins (Original and personal sins) and the person becomes a child of God.  A Sacrament.  This is one of the similarities between the two faiths.

Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary:

  • Lutheran – Martin Luther had a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary but currently the Lutheran Faith does not recognize the Virgin Mary as more than the Mother of Jesus. Does not pray to the Virgin Mary.
  • Catholic – The Virgin Mary is honored as the Mother of God and is prayed to asking for Her intercession for us.  This is not bypassing Jesus, it is asking Her to ask Jesus for us because He would listen to His Mother.  She is our Mother because Jesus is our Brother so therefore; the Virgin Mother is also our Mother.  Jesus gave us the Virgin Mary as our Mother when He was on the Cross, when He gave Her to John.  When Catholics say the rosary, it is said in request of intercession and in meditation of Jesus’ life.  Catholics do not worship Mary.

Bible:

  • Lutheran – King James Version, (7) books removed, contains 66 books, some scripture has been changed by Martin Luther.  Much of the Bible is similar to the Catholic Bible.
  • Catholic – New American Bible, Catholics put together the Bible, contains 73 books.

What’s done with leftover Communion?

  • Lutheran – leftovers are put back in the cellophane back, cooked with, disposed of in the garbage.  A plate of bread can be placed anywhere, including on a seat or whatever is available.
  • Catholic – leftovers are reserved reverently in the Tabernacle to give to the sick, those in need of the Blessed Sacrament, or reserved for Adoration.  The Tabernacle is either in the center of the Church or in a prayer chapel for veneration.  The Eucharist is only placed on the altar, in a pyx (gold holder for the Eucharist), or in the Tabernacle.  The Eucharist is treated reverently because it is Jesus.

Purgatory:

  • Lutheran – do not believe in Purgatory.  Martin Luther removed the book of Maccabees from the Bible because he didn’t believe in Purgatory.
  • Catholic – Believe in Purgatory as a place of purification before Heaven, based on scripture, once a person is in Purgatory they go to heaven for sure after purification.  Catholics pray for the dead so that they will get to heaven sooner from Purgatory.

Statues:

  • Lutheran – don’t believe in statues.  Many Lutheran churches have a picture of Jesus or a cross but no statues.
  • Catholic – Statues are holy reminders of the saints and Jesus.  It is like having pictures of family in your wallet.  Catholics do not worship statues. Statues teach about the lives of the saints.

Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament:

  • Lutheran – Churches do not contain the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  Contains the symbol of Jesus in Communion or blessed bread.
  • Catholic – All Catholic Churches contain the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in every Tabernacle all over the world.

These are some of the similarities and differences between the Lutheran and Catholic faiths.  Much of the good in the Lutheran faith comes from the Catholic faith; however, there is much that is not the same.  The Catholic Church has the fullness of the faith and all are called to communion with the Catholic Church.

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Who Started Your Church?

Below I would like to be able to show little snippets of when many denominations of Christian churches were started.  This might give you a good idea of how to find the one, true, church.

Church                          Date started   Who started it                Where started  

Lutheran                       1517                 Martin Luther                    Germany    (Martin Luther was an ex-monk of the Catholic Church and rejected the authority of the Church)

Anglican                        1534                 King Henry VIII                  England      (King Henry started this church because he wanted a divorce and the Catholic Church would not grant him one)

Calvinist                         1555                John Calvin                          Switzerland

Presbyterian                 1560                 John Knox                            Scotland

Protestant Episcopalian 1789            Samuel Seabury               American Colonies  (branch of the Church of England)

Congregationalist       1582                  Robert Brown                      Holland

Methodist                     1739                  John and Charles Wesley  England

Unitarian                      1774                  Theophilus Lindley            London

Mormon Latter Day Saints  1830        Joseph Smith                       New York

Baptist                           1609                  John Smyth                          Amsterdam

Dutch Reformed          1628                  Michaelis Jones                   New York

Salvation Army            1865                  William Booth                     London

Christian Scientist       1879                 Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy        Boston

Seventh Day Adventists 1863              James White                        Michigan

Jehovah’s Witnesses    1874               Joseph “Judge” Rutherford & Charles Taze Russell     United States

Church of the Nazarene, Pentecostal Gospel, Holiness Church, Pilgrim Holiness Church were all started in last century.

Catholic                           33 AD               Jesus Christ                   Jerusalem                                 (It’s the still the same church)

I ask you the question…Do you want to belong to a church that a human person started because they splintered off from another church or wanted to change doctrine, or do you want to belong to the only church that Jesus founded?  When someone says that it doesn’t matter which church you go to, I would say that history makes all the difference.  I would want to be in the church that started with Jesus.

For more information, do your own research into the Early Church Fathers.  They were all Catholic.  You can find more here.

Also, check here for more information on discerning the true Church.

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100th Anniversary of Fatima

Back in 1917 in Fatima, Portugal, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children on the 13th of each month from May through October.  The children were Lucia, who was nine years old, and her cousins, Francisco who was eight, and his sister, Jacinta who was six.  This apparition of the Blessed Virgin is one of the few apparitions approved  by the Catholic Church.  To be approved, it has to go through scrutiny and investigation by the Church.  You are not obligated to believe in this apparition even if you are Catholic but if it strengthens you faith, then learn more about it.  This is a long story and there is a lot of details so I encourage you to look for more on the story but I will try to do it justice.

The Angel of Peace came to the children in 1916 (possibly early spring) and taught them prayers and gave them Holy Communion.  He taught, “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, I love Thee.  I ask pardon for all those who do not believe in Thee, do not adore Thee, do not hope in Thee, do not love Thee.”  In the summer, the Guardian Angel of Portugal appeared again to them, asking them to “Offer up everything within your power as a sacrifice to the Lord in an act of reparation for the sins by which God is offended…”  In Autumn, the Angel appeared again, holding a chalice and a Host was hovering over it from which drops of Blood were falling into the chalice.  He let go of it and it suspended in the air while the Angel prostrated himself on the ground in adoration, while he prayed this prayer, “Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee profoundly, and I offer Thee the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the same Son Jesus Christ, present in the Tabernacles of the world, in reparation for all the sacrileges outrages and indifferences by which He Himself is offended.  And by the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.”  He gave Lucia the Host and the contents of the chalice to Francisco and Jacinta as he said, “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men.  Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.”

(First Apparition) On May 13, 1917, the children were out in the Cova de Iria where the sheep grazed, they saw a flash of lightening so they were going to start for home when they saw a small holm oak tree and above it was this beautiful Lady.  She was “dressed all in white, more brilliant than the sun”.  She said to them, “Fear not! I will not harm you.”  She wanted them to come to the same spot for six months on the 13th of each month.  She asked them if they wanted to offer themselves to God to “endure all the sufferings that He may choose to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended and as a supplication for the conversion of sinners?”  They agreed.  She said, “Then you are going to suffer a great deal, but the grace of God will be your comfort.” and “Say the rosary everyday to bring peace to the world and the end of the war (This happened during WWI).”

On the second apparition on June 13th, Our Lady taught the children another prayer to be said between the decades of the rosary, “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need.”  She stated that she would take Francisco and Jacinta soon (to heaven), Lucia, however, is to stay here a longer time.  Jesus wants to use Lucia to make Our Lady known and loved…”

(Third Apparition) One July 13th, Our Lady wanted the children to say the rosary daily, in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, for the end of the war “for She alone can save it.”  She promised them a miracle she would perform in October “so that they would believe“.  She asked again for them to sacrifice themselves for sinners.  She opened her arms and the light from her opened up the earth.  The children saw a “sea of fire and immersed in that fire were devils and souls with human form, as if they were transparent black or bronze embers floating in the fire and swayed by the flames that issued from them along with clouds of smoke, falling upon every side…amidst wailing and cries of pain and despair that horrified and shook us with terror.  We could tell the devils by their horrible and nauseous figures and baleful and unknown animals, but transparent as the black coals in a fire” according to the words of Lucia.  Our Lady told them “You have seen Hell–where the souls of poor sinners go.  To save them God wants to establish throughout the world the devotion to My Immaculate Heart.”  She predicted WWII and persecution of the Church, which came true.

On August 13th, the Chief Magistrate told the children he was taking them to the Cova in his carriage. Lucia realized he had lied to them and was stealing them.  He took them to the County House and questioned for the secret the Lady told them.  They were threatened with many punishments including being boiled in oil but wouldn’t tell the secret.  They were thrown in jail with hardened criminals.  The children prayed the rosary in the jail and got the criminals to pray with them.  The Magistrate released them because of an angry mob outside.  Our Lady came to the children on August 19th instead and told of the miracle that will happen in October.  She said that “St. Joseph will appear with Baby Jesus to give peace to the world“.  She wished for a chapel to be built in the spot of the apparitions.

September 13th, Our Lady told more about the miracle that was to take place in October and asked for the rosary to be said.

October 13, 1917 is the day of the “Miracle of the Sun”.  It was very rainy that day and the night before and everyone’s clothing was drenched and the ground was thick with mud.  There were about 70,000 people there in the Cova.  The sun danced for about 10 minutes and appeared to come closer to earth as if it were crashing but then went back up to the sky.  After the sun danced, the ground and all of their clothing was dry when before this they were all muddy.  St. Joseph and baby Jesus appeared and blessed the world.  This miracle has been documented accepted by the Catholic Church.

Please click on the link below to see a poster about the miracle.

poster_fatima_miracle_of_the_sun_11_x_17[1]

The message of the Virgin Mary is to

  1. Go to Confession often
  2. Say the Rosary daily
  3. Repent of sin
  4. Make sacrifices and reparation for poor sinners and for our sins
  5. Go to Mass
  6. Make the Five First Saturday devotion (Go to confession, Holy Communion, Rosary, and 15 minute meditation on the mysteries of the rosary, in atonement for the sins of the whole world on the First Saturday of each month for five Saturdays.)

This May 13, 2017 is the 100th Anniversary of the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the shepherd children.  October 13th will be the 100th Anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun.  Please consider beginning a devotion of honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary for She will lead you to Christ and you will see Him for the first time through her eyes as a mother.  You may say, I don’t need His mother to lead me to Jesus, but in this world of instant gratification, we need to slow down and contemplate the many facets of Jesus and this is one of them that many people miss.  Jesus loved and honored His mother and we should too at the very least out of respect for Jesus, but also for the Mother of God.

The Blessed Virgin Mary wants us to amend our lives, pray the rosary for peace, sacrifice for poor sinners and come to the Her Son in the Eucharist to change the world.  This has been her consistent message for about 150 years in all of her apparitions, yet she has been rejected repeatedly.  When will we listen…when it’s too late?  She is the Arc of the Covenant, like the Arc of Moses.  When things get tough, will we turn back to her after the door of the Arc is closed?  It’s too late then.  Please pray the rosary for peace and please don’t reject her.  She comes to you softly and lovingly as your Mother too.  (And you don’t have to be Catholic to ask for Her intercession and to honor Her.)

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What is a Novena?

A novena (no-vee-na) is a devotion that you can do for an intention.  You say a particular prayer every day for nine days in a row to Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit , the Virgin Mary or a saint.  When your nine days are done, then you say another nine days of the prayer in thanksgiving regardless of the outcome.  This has been a very effective form of prayer when someone is really in need of something.  There are some good apps in the Google play store you can download on your phone if you put in the search bar “novena”.

This form of prayer shows persistence and obedience in your prayer life.  I have also found one novena prayer to the Infant Jesus of Prague that you say for either nine hours (once per hour) or nine days.  This is not vain repetition of prayer, this is asking for the intercession of the saints or going to Jesus or God for help.

What kind of prayers should you say a novena for?  Well, you can’t make anyone fall in love with you or have selfish intentions.  You have to have good intentions and God’s will in mind when you pray.  Ask yourself, “What would God want?”  Praying for sinners to turn to Jesus is always a good choice.  Another one is, “God, please give that person or myself the graces that others refuse.”  Saying a novena to a saint or the Holy Trinity, for their intercession is always a good idea.  The saints are always there for us, to intercede for us on our behalf.  There is strength in prayers in numbers.

I have been saying a novena for the last five days and already I have received part of my prayer.  It also helps if you can get others to say the novena with you.  I have two others saying the novena everyday for the same intention.  My novena has produced a deeply moving answer for me in reply.  I couldn’t have asked for a better reply.  I was praying to St. Joseph, Patron of the Church.  He always answers your prayer because he is the earthly father of Jesus and He would listen to him.  Blessed be St. Joseph!  Thank you St. Joseph!

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Little Book but Big Answers

I would recommend a little yellow book for anyone who wants answers to many questions about the Church.  It’s an easy read.  You can read a question or two per day.  It only costs $3.00 American dollars.  This website also has many other resources for those searching for answers.

The Catholic Church Has the Answer can be found at Tan Books.

Another little book that is great is Confession of a Roman Catholic.  It is similar to the yellow book but from a person who went through a conversion and why he found the Catholic Church to be true.

I love this book also, The Protestant’s Dilemma.  It addresses many issues that people struggle with and helps them figure out the truth.  It’s a longer read than the little books but is divided up so that it is easier to understand in segments.  It is presented in each chapter with a question from a protestant view and belief, then the Catholic view and the truth of scripture interpretation is offered.  It is a great way to reason your way to the true Church of Jesus.

Dynamic Catholic website has a great offer for anyone to receive free resources if you promise to pass it on.  This is a wonderful website and has some great books for your faith journey with Jesus.

I have found these little books very helpful in my faith path.  I hope they are also as helpful for you.

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