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The Apostle’s Creed Points the Way

The Apostle’s Creed’s history comes from the Apostles 2000 years ago.  These were some of our Early Church Fathers giving us a road map to help us find the way to what Jesus taught us.  It’s a faithful summary of the Apostle’s faith.

It starts out with the words, “I believe…”.  This is a profession of faith.  We profess our belief in God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Forgiveness of Sins, the Resurrection of the Body and Life Everlasting.

  • I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth;
    • (God is one, loving, living, merciful, gracious, truth, love, the first person of the Trinity, Almighty, and created everything for His glory and it is ordered and ruled by His laws.)
    • (The Trinity is one God but three separate persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The Trinity is NOT three Gods.)
  • and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
    • (Jesus is the second person of the Trinity.  Jesus, in Hebrew, means “God saves”.  The word “Christ” comes from the Hebrew “Messiah” which means “anointed”.  “He descended into Hell” means that Jesus descended “into the depths of death so that the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those that who hear will live”.  Remember that Heaven was not open at this time and Satan had the power over death and evil.  All those who had died were waiting for the Messiah to open Heaven because of the Fall of man.  The Hell we think of where Satan is, is not the same place Jesus went.  Jesus ascended into Heaven 40 days later after His Resurrection.)
  • I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
    • (The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, is a who and not a what, is symbolized by water, anointing, fire, dove, cloud and light, the seal, and the finger of God.)
    • (The Holy Catholic Church is the church that Jesus founded through the apostles 2000 years ago.  It is a visible church.  It possesses the four marks of the true church: one, holy, catholic (universal) and apostolic.  No other church on earth possesses all of these four marks.)
    • (Communion of Saints, means a communion of faith, sacraments, charisms, charity in the faithful to form one body with Christ as the Head of the Church.)
    • (Forgiveness of Sins, means the power given by Jesus in John 20:22-23 for the Apostles to forgive or retain sins.  This power is only for the apostles and their successors.  This is the Sacrament of Confession)
    • (In 1 Cor 15:12-14 it states that “…if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain…But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”  Those alive in Christ will raise again body and soul and have life everlasting in Christ.)
    • Amen means “I believe”.
    • Many non-Catholic churches say the Apostle’s Creed but might hold a different meaning than what the apostles or Jesus meant.  Do your research and find out if your church truly believes what the apostles believed in the Early Church.

The Four Marks of the True Church are as follows (CCC 866-870):

  1. The Church is one: acknowledges one Lord, confesses one faith, is born of one Baptism, forms only one Body, is given life by the one Spirit, for the sake of one hope (Eph 4:3-5) at whose fulfillment all divisions will be overcome.
  2. The Church is holy: the Most Holy God is her author; Christ her bridegroom, gave himself up to make her holy; the Spirit of holiness gives her life.  Since she still includes sinners, she is “the sinless one made up of sinners”.  Her holiness shines in the saints; in Mary she is already all-holy.
  3. The Church is catholic: she proclaims the fullness of the faith.  She bears in herself and administers the totality of the means of salvation.  She is sent out to all peoples.  She speaks to all men.  She encompasses all times.  She is “missionary of her very nature.”
  4. The Church is apostolic.  She is built on a lasting foundation: “the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Rev 21:14).  She is indestructible (Mt 16:18).  She is upheld infallibly in the truth: Christ governs her through Peter and the other apostles, who are present in their successors, the Pope and the college of bishops.
  5. The sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic,…subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him.  Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines.  (This means that many, not all, elements of truth are found outside of the Catholic Church but the fullness of faith is found within the Catholic Church.)

CCC stands for Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Please see the Catechism paragraph numbers 194-1065 for reference.

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Great Media Explaining What Jesus Taught

There’s a website called FORMED, that has many audio programs, movies, video programs, and eBooks on it of Catholic content.  This is a beautiful website that contains so much information about the life of Jesus and the truth of what He taught.  There are movies you can show your family without worry, for movie night and popcorn.  You can download the eBooks to your device and take them with you.  The audio programs are wonderful to listen to and explain many interesting topics, some with a little humor.  When you go onto the website, scroll down and you can play the little video explaining the website.

There’s programs for youth, Spanish-speaking, and sacramental preparation.  It contains documentaries, faith formation and Bible studies.  It even contains programs explaining the Church’s true teaching on topics such as pro-life and abortion, homosexuality (program is called “Called to Courageous Love”), God and Science, and how to be truly happy.

I have found this website to be extremely helpful in my faith path and I love the movies and their good quality content.  Their content is added to frequently.  I absolutely love the program called “Convinced”.

It costs $9.99 per month (American money) and you can receive a 7-day free trial also.  You can call your parish and see if they have a subscription.  If they do, the parish would give you a code to put in so that it is free for you to access.

Click here to find www.formed.org

I don’t receive any kickbacks or paid advertisements from this website (or any other advertising) but I just feel that it is such a good way to help people to find the truth.

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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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Can’t Get to Mass?

If you can’t get to Mass, you can still watch it online at the following links below:

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What are the Stations of the Cross?

The Stations of the Cross or Way of the Cross are a devotion that takes you through each part of the Passion (suffering and crucifixion) of Jesus.  This devotion typically has 14 stations although some add his resurrection to the end for a 15th station.  This devotion helps us to understand and “walk” with Jesus during his Passion and Crucifixion.  Most often, there are pictures, sculptures or statues along the walls of the Catholic Church depicting each station.  Some are very beautifully ornate.  These are not worshipped but used as a reminder of what Jesus went through for us.  These stations are all Bible based.  Typically the Stations of the Cross is done during Lent but can be done daily or weekly.  This is not done to re-crucify Jesus but to understand and devote oneself to the love of Jesus for what he did nor us.  Try this devotion this Lent and see if you don’t have a new appreciation for Jesus’ suffering for you.

  1. Jesus is condemned to death
  2. Jesus takes up his cross
  3. Jesus falls for the first time
  4. Jesus meets his mother
  5. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry his cross
  6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
  7. Jesus falls a second time
  8. Jesus comforts the women
  9. Jesus falls a third time
  10. Jesus is stripped
  11. Jesus is nailed to the cross
  12. Jesus dies on the cross
  13. Jesus is taken down from the cross
  14. Jesus is buried

A good webpage to help you pray the Stations of the Cross is http://www.ourcatholicfaith.org/stations/menu.html    You can go through each station with a click of the mouse.

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Who’s Your Authority?

This is a deep question to ask yourself and others.  No matter what your religion, ask yourself “Who’s the authority in my/your church?”  You might say, the pastor, the Synod, the Bible, or a leader who started your church.  If someone comes to your door and wants to offer you literature or talk to you about your religion, ask them the question of authority.

If the answer is the Bible, then lets look at the history of the Bible.  The Bible was put together in the year 382 at the Council of Rome, in the Catholic Church.  The Catholic Church is still the authority of interpreting Scripture.  There is nothing in the Bible that states that the Bible is the only authority and source of truth.  The Catholic Bible is the New American Bible.  Other translations of the Bible such as the New World Translation or the King James Version have had books and parts of Scripture removed or changed to fit their doctrines.  The King James Version has had seven books removed.  Most people think that the Catholics have added books but this is not true.

If the answer is a pastor, Synod, or leader of your church, then this can create a pitfall of individual interpretation of the Scriptures.  If we all interpret the Scriptures on our own, then we can end up with several different meanings. These people are well-meaning but how can you be certain that you have the right interpretation? I found an exercise in the book, Where Is That in the Bible? by Patrick Madrid. See below:

If someone wrote the words:  “I never said you stole money.”  Sounds like it would be simple to understand, right?  I’ll write all possible interpretations with different emphasis and see what you think.

  • I never said you stole money.  Meaning someone else said that you stole money.
  • I never said you stole money.  Meaning he thought it but didn’t say it.
  • I never said you stole money.  Meaning he said that someone else did.
  • I never said you stole money.  Meaning he thought you lost it.
  • I never said you stole money.  Meaning he thought you stole something else but not his money.

See how just a little emphasis on a different word can cause a different interpretation of the small simple sentence.  Patrick Madrid asks, “Which would you say is more likely to be open to misinterpretations, this six-word sentence or the Bible?”  You can go to 4 different churches on the same street, on the same Sunday and get four different interpretations and sermons on the same Scripture reading.

If your authority is the Catholic Church, then you are following the Bible which says, “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”  Luke 10:16   “I am writing you about these matters, although I hope to visit you soon. But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.”                  1 Timothy 3:14-15   The Catholic Church was given the authority through Jesus when he said, ” I will give you (Peter) the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  Matthew 16:19

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St. Peter with Keys to the Kingdom

 

 

The Protestant churches reject the authority of the Catholic Church but yet declare that the Bible, that the Catholic Church put together 1500-2000 years before their existence, is their sole source of Scripture and authority.  The true authority is the Catholic Church, including the magisterium (Apostolic line of Popes, Bishops, Priests) and the Catholic Bible.  In rejecting this authority, a person can easily be led to error in their faith because of individual interpretation.  When you read the Bible with the understanding of the Church, you see faith in a different light and it makes much more sense.  There is a universal understanding of Scripture and Tradition instead of scattered meanings.

So when you ask the question, “Who’s your authority?”, be sure you get the answer of the only church Jesus gave authority to…the Catholic Church.  If not, then it falls flat.

 

Photo credit: The Vatican

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Why do Catholics go to Reconciliation/Confession?

One of the seven sacraments is called Reconciliation or Confession.  Catholics have a gift that can be found no where else, going to Confession.  In Confession, we go in to the Confessional and receive great blessings and graces from God in this sacrament.  These graces help us to perfect our virtues and to detach ourselves from sin.  The priest sits in Persona Christi, or in the person of Christ.  This means that the priest acts as Christ on earth.  This doesn’t mean he’s God, he’s doing what Jesus would do and he’s also acting on the authority of Jesus.  Jesus gave the apostles the authority to forgive sins.  ” I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19  This authority is only given through the Catholic Church passed down through Jesus.  Contrary to beliefs in other churches, this is not a valid authority in other denominations.

Can’t I just go directly to God for forgiveness?  You can for smaller sins, if your life is in danger, or you can ask for forgiveness directly from God but if you go to Confession, you will receive so much more.  You will receive large amounts of grace to resist sin and you will also be affirmed hearing the priest say the words of absolution.  God and Jesus meant for all to go to Reconciliation and to benefit from the sacrament by putting it into place through the apostles.

When we go into the Confessional, we can either sit facing the priest or we can go behind a screen in anonymity.  We make the sign of the cross and say, “Bless me father for I have sinned.  It’s been ( how many months or years) since my last confession and these are my sins.  (State your sins here and their severity or frequency)  For these sins and the sins I can’t remember, I am sorry for.”  At this point, the priest counsels the person on the sins and gives them penance, then absolves them of their sins.  The words of absolution are very comforting to hear and you have a sense of relief that your sins are gone.  You don’t get that when you confess to a minister of a different church.

The Seal of the Confessional is the absolute vow that the priest will not reveal what is discussed in the confessional.  Even if a person confesses they committed a grave sin, that sin cannot be revealed to anyone else.  The priest can’t even reveal anything if they are subpoenaed to court.

When we sin, we separate ourselves from God.  When we go to Reconciliation, we “Reconcile” with God again because we repent and amend our lives, detaching ourselves from sin.

Penance is given by the priest to maybe help us with understanding a teaching or some prayers.  Penance is meant to “make up” or in reparation to God for what we have harmed with our sins.

Reconciliation/Confession is a wonderful gift from God to people who want to rid themselves of the shame, guilt and burden of sin.  You can walk out of the Confessional feeling refreshed, lighter, relieved and knowing the true gift of God’s mercy when we really don’t deserve it.

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Photo credit: Pinterest