The Catholic Defender: Feast Of The Holy Trinity

Posted by Donald Hartley - May 22nd, 2016

Trinity 1“Brothers and sisters, rejoice. Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the holy ones greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” (2 Corinthians 13:11-13)

The Baptism of the Lord not only begins Jesus public ministry, it reveals the Trinity as the Father says, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).

The Holy Spirit descending “like a dove and coming upon him” (Jesus).

I wrote the following as a tribute to my Mother:

I was reading the Scripture readings preparing myself for Mass. This was the 4th anniversary of my Mother’s death and I was simply wanting to be at Mass. Everything I do in His name I want to dedicate for my Mother’s honor. I would not be where I am if it were not for my Mother. As I was reading the second reading from St. Paul to the Colossians, I read these passages:

“Brothers and sisters: If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God”.

paulA light bulb just clicked on as I read that. The letter to the Colossians was written by St. Paul, sometime in the springtime of 57 A.D.

Jesus was crucified on April 3, 33 A.D.. By the time St. Paul was traveling, many in his audience were, by this time, RAISED from birth or early childhood in the Catholic Faith. The reference “For you have died” in Christ, implies they were already baptized perhaps many of them as children. That is what “raised” implies as to differentiate from those who were converts at an older age.

As I pondered this revelation, I realized that the truths of the Catholic Faith go all the way back to the Apostles. What a great gift we have that through the Apostolic Tradition, the truths of Christ can still be perpetuated all of the world. The Sacraments are the visible signs of Gods grace being poured forth upon those requesting them.

Baptism is one of the seven sacraments Jesus established. It grew out of the Old Testament cleansing of impurities (Ezekiel 36:25). John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus, began to baptize people, calling for repentance. Regarding the coming Messiah, he told the crowds, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming…. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Luke 3:16)

Jesus teachingJesus prepared the apostles through three years of teaching and enlightening them to the truth of scripture, during which time He opened their eyes to His commandments. Jesus told them, “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

Baptism has always been an important sacrament. St. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, spoke to the Jews who were celebrating Passover.

They had arrived from all over the Roman Empire. The Holy Spirit moved people to accept Jesus the crucified through the words of St. Peter.

St. Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38,39)

peter 2It is clear St. Peter taught that baptism washed away sins. St. Peter makes this more clear as he writes, “For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the spirit. In it he also went to preach to the spirits in prison (purgatory), who had once been disobedient while God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water. THIS PREFIGURED BAPTISM, WHICH SAVES YOU NOW. It is not a removal of dirt from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3 Vs 18-21)”.

The Catholic Church teaches that baptism takes away all sin, original sin in the case of children and actual sin of those old enough to understand the concept of sin. St. Paul described baptism this way; “we were indeed buried with Him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.” This baptism could not be only a symbol! Christ was not raised symbolically! (Romans 6:4)

St. Paul could tell you from experience what this meant. He had persecuted the faith and was on the road to Damascus to hunt down Christians when Jesus appears to him asking, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” St. Paul ends up with the priest Ananias who states, “Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and his sight was restored. He got up and was baptized….” (Acts 9:17-19)

soverThe early church saw the faithful as “one body and one spirit, as you were called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all.” (Ephesians 4:5-6). The Church as always tried to echo Jesus as he states, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and spirit.” (John 3:5). About baptism our Lord warns, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15,16).

There are two authorized methods for water baptism. Immersion is when the believer is taken and submerged fully under water. Pouring is when water is poured to flow out and run across the head of the recipient. In both cases the water must be flowing. It is valid if the person administering baptism repeats the words; “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

BaptismThere are three kinds of baptism. The most common form is water baptism. Usually a candidate studies the faith through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program. This instruction helps give the candidate preparation and the opportunity to say ‘yes’ to our Lord.  Another type of baptism is related to the water.  It is called baptism of desire.  The classical case of baptism of desire is the good thief on the cross (Luke 23: 42,43).  St. Dismis would have desired salvation and baptism.  The third type of baptism is called the baptism of blood. It is a martyr’s death. Only the Lord knows how many have died for His namesake.

Division first arose in England concerning baptism. During the aftermath of the Protestant Reformation, two Lutherans, Thomas Munzer and Nicholas Storch, founded the Anabaptist movement in 1605.  They began to re-baptize their adult followers because they rejected infant baptism. Much of the protestant movement treats baptism as a symbol, and renounces its necessity. It has become a public witness the individual makes before the community.

This picture was taken by a photographer who had promised the mother of the child he would give her a copy as she could not afford a picture.

baptizzedThe practice of infant baptism began during apostolic times.

In the book of Acts, the households of Cornelius and Jason were all baptized.  About the year 250 A.D., the Church, during a council, addressed the question concerning the baptism of infants.

Should infants be baptized on the eighth day after birth, or could it be any day?  The point took issue with baptism replacing circumcision, as was the Old Testament Law.

This was done on the eighth day! To baptize on the eighth day recognized the need for baptism in the New Testament.

The Church favored any day to be appropriate but stressed the importance to baptize as soon as possible. The Catholic Church recognizes the value of symbolism in baptism, but, she maintains the function of grace and the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38, 39).

trinity“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)

God the Father, the Creator, God the Son, the Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit, the Sanctify-er.

To my Mother, I thank God for you and I ask for His blessing. May you forever enjoy the happiness of heaven with Our Lord and Our Heavenly Mother! Amen!

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The Catholic Defender: The David French Story, His Conversion To The Catholic Faith

Posted by Donald Hartley - May 21st, 2016

David 9I met David French one Sunday Morning at Mass as he and his wonderful family were sitting in the pew right behind me. What really struck me about David was that he could really sing. After Mass, I asked him if he was a convert to the Catholic Faith which at first surprised him. I then (jokingly) told him most Catholics can’t sing like he does. It turns out that David was in fact a convert to the Catholic Faith. David will appear on Deepertruth (5/21/2016) sharing his story of conversion.

David’s parents raised him in a Protestant home where he learned about Jesus. His Father served in the Army (we at Deepertruth want to thank him for his service to our Country) and as a result, like many military families, moved a lot.

David would go to various churches growing up as his Mother ensured that they religiously went to church. It was during these years that David developed a love for music, his senior year he began singing for his high school.

David 6David went to Auburn University majoring in Engineering but his love for singing continued to grow, so did his talent. Something else happened to David while at Auburn University, he found himself interested in the Catholic Faith which led to his conversion. David will share his conversion story, but after college, David continued singing in musical theater.

Today, David works as a software developer for Army Aviation at Red Stone Army Base in Huntsville Alabama, mostly dealing with training devices. That is his work, but his most cherished love is following Jesus Christ in the Catholic Faith and his wonderful family. He will share all of this beginning 20:30 (8:30) Central 5/21/2016 and you can hear it live here or archive following show.

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The Guardian Angel: The Bleeding Host Betania, Venezuela on December 8th, 1991

Posted by Donald Hartley - May 16th, 2016

Jesus I thirstEucharistic Miracles – Facts, Research, Videos

“This is my Body which will be given up for you…”

Throughout Christian history, our Lord has shown us that he is really present as the Blessed Sacrament. Most Eucharistic miracles involve incidences in which the Host has “turned into human flesh and blood”. Of course we as Catholics believe that the consecrated Host is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord, under the appearances of bread and wine. Therefore, Jesus, through these miracles, merely manifests His Presence in a more tangible way.

Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.‘” (Jn 20:27-29)

Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano

HPIM1316.JPG“Take this, all of you, and eat it: This is my body, which will be given up for you.” Then he lifts the cup and says, “Take this, all of you, and drink from it: This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me.”

The doctrine of transubstantiation, which is the teaching that bread and wine are converted into the actual flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, is difficult for many to understand. When Christ first told his followers of it, many rejected him believing it was an outrageous claim. But Jesus did not back down, he did not try and clarify his statement or correct their misunderstanding. He simply repeated his command to the disciples at the Last Supper. “This is My Body…. This is My Blood.” Some Christians today still have trouble accepting this teaching and don’t quite understand it. The bread and wine turn into the Body and Blood of Christ. A physical sign of the new covenant between God and Man, reminded through the sacrifice of Christ, that redemption can be had.

Eucharistic Miracles 0Throughout history, though, many people have reported miracles that brought them back to the truth. The Church has recognized over one hundred Eucharistic miracles, many of which occurred during times of weakened faith in transubstantiation. To Jesus through Mary, GregoryMary

The Bleeding Host Miracle 1991

Excerpted with permission from Daniel Sanford

The Bleeding Host Miracle occurred in Betania, Venezuela on December 8th, 1991 (The Feast of the Immaculate Conception) during the celebration of the Holy Mass at midnight. The celebrant, Father Otty Ossa Aristiza`bal, the Betania Chaplain, had just finished the Consecration, had broken the large Host into four pieces, and took one piece of the Host for his consumption and placed the remaining portions on the plate on the altar. When he looked down at the remaining Host, to his amazement he saw a red substance coming out of it which he described as if it was spurting from a wound. He placed the Host in a Chalice and put it in the Tabernacle until 6 a.m. the next morning. When he looked at it again it was still bleeding, so he placed it in a Monstrance and took it to show the people at Mass.

Bishop Ricardo of Los Teques was advised, and he had the Host tested in Caracas. He was told that the red substance was IN FACT human blood. Subsequently, the Miraculous Host was taken to the convent of the Augustinian Nuns in Los Teques for safekeeping, adoration, and visitation by pilgrims.

Betania 1Eyewitnesses saw the Host bleeding and blood accumulating on the bottom of the Monstrance. Some filmed it on their camcorders. 

Daniel Sanford of New Jersey journeyed to Betania, Venezuela from 11/12/98 til 11/15/98 on a pilgrimage with an organized Prayer Group from Medford Lakes, NJ. On 11/13/98, as part of the pilgrimage, they went to see the Bleeding Host of Betania at the Chapel of the Augustinian Nuns in Los Teques. Our Spiritual Director, Father Mazzarella, said Daily Mass.

betania 2When we finished, he opened the Tabernacle door, which contained the Bleeding Host. The Host was in flames, bleeding, and there was a pulsating heart bleeding in the center of the Host. The Group watched this for about 30 seconds or so, then the Host returned to normal.

HOWEVER, Daniel did manage to film this miracle with his camcorder!There were 10-15 other people standing next to me also taking still pictures, but, they saw nothing, and nothing was recorded on their pictures except the normal condition of the Host, seen everyday.I rewound the film right away and played it back to all present, including the Nuns, the Tour Guide, and the Bus Driver, and the tape revealed the Host just as I saw it: burning, bleeding, and a pulsating heart in the middle!

The tape was sent to the Bishop of Los Teques, Pio Bello S.J. Bishop Emeritus of Los Teques asking his advice as to what to do with the Video Vision I was given. You can view his Letter of Response on the left in the Directory.

When I spoke to him, I informed him that I would be in strict obedience to his advice and hoped what I witnessed was not just my mind playing tricks on me. His response was that “you can fool the mind, but the camera only films what it sees!”. He advised me to evangelize the True Presence, and this has been my ministry since 11/13/98 and WILL be until my last breath.

What a testimony coming from Daniel Sanford. Acts 2:17-20 says, “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth beneath…”

CameraDr. Gregory Thompson and I am honored to share these stories coming from the Bible and Our Holy Catholic Church. Jesus is the head of the Church and He continues to manifest His presence among us through the mystery of the Breaking of Bread>

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

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The Catholic Defender: Defending Basic Women’s Right’s

Posted by Donald Hartley - May 10th, 2016

Transgender 1The Federal Government today has been pushing a terrible liberal agenda that is affecting every State in the Union.  The recent attack being levied upon the State of North Carolina should be a wake up call for all Americans.  The Obama Administration has been pushing some of the most outlandish things. Obama’s Attorney General, Loretta Lynch is trying to pass off trangender’s proposed rights to use public restrooms, locker rooms, and public showers in place of women’s rights of privacy.

Ms Lynch is wanting to discriminate against women’s rights by legalizing men to be able to use women’s public facilities. A man who thinks he has a right, who actually thinks he’s a woman in a man’s body, according to Ms Lynch, his rights out weighs the women’s right of privacy.  This is not coming from America’s foundations where there have always been the expectation and norms of society.  Who taught him that he has a right to use a woman’s facility? This is a new phenomenon coming out of a ultra-left agenda.  As they want to have open borders into the United States, that would now include our bathroom facilities.

It is a woman’s right to be able to use public facilities without the worry of having men invading their privacy. Women should have the right of privacy.

transgender 2People commonly worry about the possibility that perverts will purposely go into these facilities as a prowler, a predator. That might be a concern, especially where children are concerned, but the argument should be based on protecting women’s rights of expected privacy. As a husband, I personally do not want any man showering next to my wife for ANY reason!

It is common courtesy that “transgender” people use the facilities that their biological, physical appearance would agree. If they have a man’s attributes, he should be using men’s facilities.

It’s hard to take this seriously but this is what families are facing today because of an ultra-left agenda. Target has taken a loss because Americans are burning their cards because of their allowing men to go into women’s bathrooms.

transgender 3American businesses will be hurt as people will buy and sell more and more using the internet. That is what I see taking place because of the disgrace being pushed by Obama and Ms. Lynch. They are wanting to redefine what discriminating based on sex means. If you “discriminate” against men who think they are a women in a man’s body Obama want’s to apply this against Title VII,” a section of the Civil Rights Act prohibiting discrimination against workers on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion.

What is at the heart of this problem being thrown on the American people is the issue of modesty. Traditionally, women in society have always been protected by men because women were the weaker sex. St. Peter, the first Popes states, “Likewise you husbands, live considerately with your wives, bestowing honor on the woman as the weaker sex, since you are joint heirs of the grace of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered.”

transgender 4Foreign invaders would often times break the will of the conquered by demoralizing women to show them who their masters were.  It was a disgrace placed upon any civilization to destroy resistance.   Consider Isaiah’s warning, “Their infants will be dashed in pieces before their eyes; their houses will be plundered and their wives ravished.” (Isaiah 13:16)

Usually these things happen when a nation is invaded such as what happened in Kuwait when Saddam Hussein launched the 1990 invasion. The atrocities committed were outrageous. We have seen this in Europe with the Muslim invasion taking place today. Women have been molested and it has somehow become politically incorrect to speak out against this.

How unfortunate that the enemy seems to be attacking our society from within our own boundaries on the pretense of personal “right’s”. The right’s of women specifically and men in general are now secondary to the “right’s” of those who want to force their agendas on all of us.

transgender 51 John 2:16 teaches us, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world.” Society should be defending the dignity of every person, that is why society has norms for how people should act in public. Titus 2:6-7 states, “Show yourself in all respects a model of good deeds, and in your teaching show integrity, gravity, and sound speech that cannot be censured, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say of us.”

What the Obama Administration is trying to do through Judicial activism is a disgrace and a complete infringement on women’s rights who by the vast majority are very uncomfortable with showering around men in public places. The fact that this is even part of our politics today is incredible. Donald Trump would be wise to pick up the mantle to protect and defend this right of women against Hillary Clinton who will strongly support the Democrat’s pro-LBGT bath room agenda.

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The Catholic Defender: He Will Come Again In Glory To Judge The Living And The Dead

Posted by Donald Hartley - May 8th, 2016

judge 1At the end of time when the Lord Jesus Christ returns, he will judge the living and the dead. We will all have to face this judgment.

Psalms 1:1-6 states, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by the streams of water, that yield its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor the sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish”.

I have heard many times people quoting Matthew 7:2, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get”.

judge 2

Instead of this being a verse of warning to those who “judge”, it becomes for many a scapegoat or license to sin.

When you present something clearly shown in the scripture as sin, the response is “Do not Judge”. There is a fine line between judging a person to hell, from judging what is right and wrong in a person’s life.

If the people of Nineveh would have told Jonah not to “judge” them, they would have been destroyed.

In fact, in the Old Testament the prophets were killed by the people because they spoke the Word of God and the people rebelled.

The real purpose of this writing is more for self inventory, we need to look at ourselves and see how we measure up to the teaching of Christ.

judge 3We know there is a “Personal Judgment” when a person dies and then there will be the “General Judgment” at the Parousia when Jesus returns at the end of time.

Jesus states, “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoesoever kills shall be liable to judgment’. But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift”.

From this scripture, it is a judgment of the heart. We must work towards forgiveness and that is not always easy. We must condition ourselves as this requires work. It requires surrender to God’s will, it requires our readiness to serve God with a clean heart. An upright heart. It is a condition of the heart.

What are going to be some issues that will bring down judgment?

Matthew 10:12-15 states, “As you enter the house, salute it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town”.

What is the meaning here? It is obvious that judgment will be more severe for those who have more opportunity to hear and see the truth.

judge 4The more that a person is given the more accountability there will be. Jesus teaches this point very clearly Matthew 12:38-42, “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, ‘Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you’. But he answered them,’An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Johah. For as Jonah was three days and three night in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of Man be three days and three night in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here”.

We have the revelation of Jesus Christ and his Catholic Church which is the voice of the Lord until Jesus returns.

judge 5The Catholic Church is graced with many signs and wonders of the Lord Jesus Christ for the sake of his people, the Church.

Even so, many will refuse to obey the Church? People will not obey the Word of the Lord. Many will reject the works of the Lord,

Matthew 11:20-21 states, “Then he began to upbraid the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. Woe to you Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes”.

I have more than once been told that someone would not believe unless Mother Mary would appear to them. They have abandoned Christianity for secular science.

In the last times a great deception would challenge many people to fall from their Faith. No question about it, secular humanism has had a terrible impact on our society and judgment is coming.

judge 6St. Peter warns about this scurge saying, “First of all you must understand this, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own passions and saying, ‘Where is the promise of his coming” (2 Peter 3:3-4)?

The signs of the Lord are many, Marian Apparitions, Eucharistic Miracles, the Incorruptibles, Healings, and many many more.

We live in a perverse generation where children learn to imitate the foul language of their parents, the media in movies and music.

Rebellion is everywhere. Jesus warns of this Matthew 12:36-37, “I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned”.

Foul language is condemned in the scripture.

judge 7St. Paul states, “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it impart grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).

Out of the heart, the mouth speaks! It is still a condition of the heart.

There are some serious signs that need to be understood as terrible reasons for judgment.

Apostasy is a very serious sin. St. John states, “Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the anti-christ is coming, so now many anti-christs have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out, that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:18-20).

Today, there are many millions of fallen away Catholics representing the second largest religious body second to only the Catholic Church.

judge 8Hosea 4:6 states, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children”.

I had given a talk in Nothern Texas when I asked the people present if they knew of family members or friends who had abandoned the Catholic Faith. Practically everyone without exception raised their hands.

If I was to look at this as a disease, it would be an epidemic.

James 5:19-20 states, “My brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins”.

judge 9The Prodigal Son who returns to the fold can be totally restored to the Church. The Lord would leave the 99 to find the one who had gone astray.

Sin has it’s consequences, especially if they are not confessed. There are Mortal sins and Venial Sins which all lead to death. Mortal sins being serious or damnable. There are the 7 deadly sins (wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony).

Galatians 5:19-21 states, “Now the works of the flesh are plain: immorality, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, pary spirit, envy, drunkenness, corousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God”.

There is so much regarding warning to include those who are faithless, disobedience, traitors, apathetic, faithless and filled with heresy.

judge 10St. John states, “By this we know that we love the children of God. when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” 1 John 5:2-3).

Jesus will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. We will all be held accountable for the works we did. Our faithfulness to our Lord.

St. John is given a glimpse of of what heaven will be like for those whose judgment brings them home:

judge 11“And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light shall the nations walk; and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it, and its gates shall never be shut by day and there shall be no night there; they shall bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:22-27).

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The Catholic Defender: Priscilla and Aquila, Friends of St. Paul

Posted by Donald Hartley - May 7th, 2016

apollos 1After staying in Antioch some time, Paul left and traveled in orderly sequence through the Galatian country and Phrygia, bringing strength to all the disciples. A Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, an eloquent speaker, arrived in Ephesus. He was an authority on the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord and, with ardent spirit, spoke and taught accurately about Jesus, although he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the Way of God more accurately. And when he wanted to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. After his arrival he gave great assistance to those who had come to believe through grace. He vigorously refuted the Jews in public, establishing from the Scriptures that the Christ is Jesus.

There is a lot of history written in between the lines of this scripture coming from Act’s 18:23-28. Antioch became an early Christian center as a result of the great persecution of the followers of Jesus which began with the stoning of St. Stephen (Act’s 7:54-60). In fact, it was Antioch that the followers of Jesus first became known as Christian (Act’s 11:26) and first called Catholic (Act’s 9:31 Greek Translation). Acts 9:31 states, “Then the church throughout all* Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.” In the original Greek, it is: “Acts 9:31 ἡ μεν ουν εκκλησια καθ᾽ ὁλης της ιουδαιας και γαλιλαιας και σαμαρειας ειχεν ειρηνην οικοδομουμενη και πορευομενη τω φοβω του κυριου, και τη παρακλησει του ἁγιου πνευματος επληθυνοντο.”

ignatius 1The term in bold commonly translated as ‘church throughout all’ is in Greek ‘”εκκλησια καθ᾽ ὁλης”—pronounced “Ekklesia Kath olos” (Catholic) or the Church Universal, since Kath olos is the same term used by St Ignatius of Antioch for the Church in his letter. St. Ignatius (3rd Bishop of Antioch-follower of St. John) later would write the Smyrnaeans on his way to Rome as a prisoner, “Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” St. Ignatius would be thrown to wild beasts giving his life for Christ and would not abandon the Catholic Faith.

Notice a familiar name, Apollos, who was known by the apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 3:1-23) who originally brought division in the Corinthian Church. Appollos was a Jew from Alexandria, Egypt, who was well learned of the Old Testament Scripture (Septuagint specific from Alexandria 256 B.C.) arrived in Ephesus. Apollos was being instructed in the “Way of the Lord” and learned of Jesus through the prism of the baptism of St. John (Matthew 3:1-6). As a new Christian, being an authority on the Old Testament, Appollos began teaching in the synagogue. He had great zeal, but he was ill-prepared to preach without knowing or understanding the fullness of truth (the Catholic Faith).

apollos 2It was about this time that Priscilla (wife of Aquila) and Aquila ran into Apollos. Now, Priscilla and Aquila were companions of St. Paul traveling from Corinth to Syria (Ephesus) (Acts 18:1-22) when they ran into Apollos in Ephesus (Acts 18:24-26). Once Apollos had met St. Paul and learned the whole teaching of Jesus, Apollos became a dynamic witness and defender of the Faith (Jude 3).

Think about this text, how important it is to continue to learn about Jesus and our Catholic Faith? Today there are many like Apollos, who have a zeal to proclaim the “Way of the Lord” with what they believe. Apollos was considered an authority on the scriptures (Old Testament) but without knowing or understanding the concrete meaning coming from the Apostles, he caused division.

Ephesians 2:19-22 states, “So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

apollos 3To be a prophet, it is not a matter of competing to be the best witness or follower of Jesus (1 Corinthians 3:5-9), but it is a team effort that brings us together by the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:1-31).

Now there are over 40,000 plus new (Christian) religions (Galatians 1:6-9), so many voices, the truth of the Catholic Faith can sometimes be blurred by the many Apollos who see themselves as their own authority who preach through the prism of their own understanding. This is why it is important that as Catholics, we hold fast to that apostolic faith (2 Thessalonians 2:15, 3,6-7), and be a sign and a witness like Priscilla and Aquila that will lead many to the deeper truth of following Jesus. Living the life of Grace through the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, we want to pass it on.

Acts 16:9-18 gives the example of the missionary fervor of St. Paul to reach people for Christ, “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing beseeching him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And when he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. Setting sail therefore from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Ne-apolis, and from there to Philippi, which is the leading city of the district of Macedonia, and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days; and on the sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together.
apollos 4One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to give heed to what was said by Paul. And when she was baptized, with her household, she besought us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us. As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by soothsaying. She followed Paul and us, crying, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. But Paul was annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, “I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.”

Great signs and wonders accompanied St. Paul and his Co-workers. Here on Deepertruth, we are graced to share many of these signs and wonders on our radio show covering Eucharistic Miracles with Dr. Gregory Thompson and Marian Apparitions with Marianologist John Carpenter. There are many signs and wonders of the Lord (Act’s 2:17-19) from the great work coming from Joesph Martone Jr in Colorado always in battle saving unborn children to Judy Alciatore who shares poems from the Lord.

apollos 5What a great thing it is when we are friends with the friends of Jesus, St. Paul sent greeting to Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. Onesiphorus was a co-worker with St. Paul who found Paul in chains in Rome when most abandoned him (2 Timothy 1:15-18). Onesiphorus had by this time of St. Paul’s writing passed away and we find St. Paul interceding for him before the Lord Jesus on that great Day of judgement.

We who believe today because of the great missionary activity of St. Paul and the early Church, we too have received the same blessed Grace poured out by Jesus through His friends today.

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The Catholic Defender: Out Of The Heart The Mouth Speaks

Posted by Donald Hartley - May 2nd, 2016

sin 2There is pollution in the air that is effecting the hearts and minds of many people all over the world. Children often are the target of much of the pollution taking place which is seated in the deepest recesses of the heart. Rebellion digs deep into the soul when it turns away from God for the beautiful side of evil.

Ephesians 5:1-5 says, “So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma. Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is fitting among the holy ones, no obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place, but instead, thanksgiving. Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person, that is, an idolator, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God”.

St. Paul takes this deeper writing to the Galations 5:16-21, “I say, then: live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want. But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warned you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God”.

Eye 1St. John 5:16-17, refers to these as “deadly sins” from which the Catholic Church calls “Mortal Sins”. St. John states, “If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and he will give life. This is only for those whose sin is not deadly. There is such a thing as deadly sin, about which I do not say that you should pray. All wrong doing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly.”

When St. Paul speaks about sin that will prevent a person any “inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” that is a mortal sin.”

Consider Jesus (Matthew 12:36-37) clear warning. “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak. By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Basically, the Lord is saying, out of the heart, the mouth speaks. I will say, garbage in, garbage out. It does matter what a person accepts and brings in. The sad thing is that many are being raised by this standard from their own parents. Children will imitate whom they admire and grow into what they imitate.

millstoneJesus gives a clear warning on this as well, Matthew 18:6 says, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of things that case sin! Such things must come, but woe to the one through whom they come!”

How sad it is when it is from the parents that a child learns to sin. It is especially important that Fathers lead by example, the good things of God.

Consider Colossians 3:5-8, “Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry. Because of these the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient. By these you too once conducted yourselves, when you lived in that way. But now you must put them all away: anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths.”

Ephesians 4:29 states, “No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear.”

Is there a constant theme in all this? It is clear that we must reform our lives and transform our lives to the way of the Lord. The Church calls us to constant conversion. Bad habits is a choice, it is important to see yourself as a work in progress and work on cleaning yourself up. To cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit implanted in your life through Baptism and Confirmation.

angel_earlHebrews 13:1-2 states, “Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels”. When I see a small child, what an opportunity for God’s grace and yes, God’s angels are present! Which leads to another warning of Jesus. Matthew 18:1-5 states, “At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, ‘Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.” Jesus would continue, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”.

Consider the Angels at Sodom to get Lot and his family out of the city, do we respect the messengers of God or do we cry out for evil upon them?

How terrible it is to teach a child to sin, and there is great evil out there. Just this morning, I remember once being at the Thomas Moore Troop Medical Clinic (Fort Hood Texas) and CNN was talking favorably of a singing artist who has a song about a man with a love for another man. How terrible this is and woe to those who promote this kind of sin and place it in the hearts and minds of the young.

The Culture of Death is far more reaching than abortion and the killing of innocent human beings. It is also anything that leads to death.

The Talking Dead is very dangerous because they seek only selfish desires from the recesses of their heart.

sin 11 Samuel 15:23 states, “For a sin like divination is rebellion, and presumption is the crime of idolatry. Because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he too, has rejected you…” Romans 1:32 echos all of the above saying, “Although they know the just decree of God that all who practice such things deserve death, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

Hosea 4:6 warns, “My people perish for want of knowledge! Since you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you from my priesthood; Since you have ignored the law of your God, I will also ignore your sons.”

That is scary, I do not want the Lord to ignore my Sons and Daughter, not at all.

If we think about it, hopefully, none of us would. By virtue of your baptism and confirmation, you can truly echo Isaiah, “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord and a day of vindication by our God…”

mercy 6The Catholic Church is celebrating this “Year of Mercy” to inspire hope in a hopeless world, to inspire mercy in a mercy less world, to inspire real love in a perverted world.

Let us aspire to the true gifts of God, “The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon you, a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.” Let us seek out the higher gifts of God!

Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

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The Catholic Defender: And forgive us our trespasses

Posted by Donald Hartley - May 2nd, 2016

jesus-prayingOur Father who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name;
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.

The Lord’s prayer is the most recognizable prayer that gives the basic tenet of Christian. “And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” As simple as this sounds, we all know this is easier said than done. How easy it is to allow ourselves to let anger set in. Families are torn a part and friends turn into enemies.

Even with the greatest examples known to man, Luke 23:34, “Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, they know not what they do”. Jesus gives a teaching on the importance of forgiveness. Matthew 18:21:22 states, “Then Peter approaching asked him, ‘Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” In each one of us there is a part of us that wants to hold onto anger. This can have serious spiritual, health consequences.

forgivenessCatherine Ponder, a prosperity writer, once said, “When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”

Coming from the field of Psychiatry it is becoming more understood that the affects of not forgiving has potential serious health risks. Bitter resentments, hatreds can lead to psychosomatic illnesses and disorders that can affect the mind and emotion. This most certainly can play a tremendous toll on the body. Healing is not only of the body, but also the mind and spirit. It is important to forgive your self and others.

St. John Paul II met with his Turkish terrorist Mehmet Ali Agca, the would-be assassin, in Agca’s prison cell in Rome. I’ll never forget the day when the Pope was shot. I had seen Pope John Paul II in October 1979 when he was in Chicago.

forgiveness 1What a great witness and testimony the Pope gave to all the world, as he imitated the Lord’s forgiveness from the cross. That is the perfect example.

Christian Author Lewis Smedes said, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

How true this quotation really is. The only way to be set free is to give the situation to God and let Him take it.

We are not always strong enough to forgive on our own. I have counseled people who had terrible things happen to them to give it to God.

Ephesians 1:7 states, “In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us.” Because Jesus died on the cross and His forgiveness is for all, Jesus empowers all of us the power to forgive in his name.

Bryant McGill, a public speaker and activist said, “There is not love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.” Without love we really do not gain anything.

forgiveness 2First Corinthians 13 is known as the “love” chapter in the Bible.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

forgiveness 3The importance of finding strength to confess your sins and allow God to heal you inside and out, to plug the holes.

To find healing from God, this requires humility and the ability to admit that we have sinned, fallen short.

We all need God’s help. Pride is a terrible road block to this, we must subdue our own personal pride and embrace the Lord’s plan of salvation. To create a clean conscience.

This is important in making a good Confession. If Catholics practiced going to Confession, there would be less need for Psychologists.

It is important in our relationships to love unconditionally so that there are no conditions. I love my wife without reservation. We choose to forgive without being asked to forgive. If we are building a foundation that God can build upon, love has to be the major ingredient.

We are to humble ourselves before the Lord, this is important in giving restitution to those we have offended. To correct wrongs, we will have to be willing to see within ourselves our own limitations. Matthew 5:23-24 states, “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” I have seen this mostly with divorced couples who must wait for their annulment to go through before they can receive the Eucharist. Sometimes they will come up for a blessing. What I think is so awesome is when a child receives this blessing.

forgiveness 5Many times the problem of forgiveness stems on the fact that we tend to be hardest on ourselves. I know that I am. Sometimes people develop a heart of stone because they refuse to face life. Their hearts grow cold and they do not allow God or anyone else to enter their life deeper than the surface. How great it is when a person finally goes to Confession and releases the chain they have been making link by link. At Marriage Encounter, I will never forget the person coming out of the Confessional for the first time in 10 years. He was in tears as he realized the chains he bore fell to the floor.

The forgiveness of memory is something I have promoted a lot among those I encounter who have had terrible violence happen to them. Bondage is a terrible place to be, even if it is within our own mind. Addictions, suicide, false philosophies, drugs and alcohol will certainly bury us deeper and deeper away from what God’s forgiveness offers. Luke 4:18 states, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”

baptizzed 1We are called by virtue of our Baptism and Confirmation to bring the light to the world, to bring Christ to a dark world. Life is so good to not utilize it for the Glory of God. To find true happiness is to find yourself within the heart of Christ, His Sacred Heart, where Jesus offers His Divine Mercy. About forgiving, one of my Facebook friends (Frank) said, “When it is “hard” to do so, begin by praying for God’s mercy for yourself and for your “enemy.” (For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.) That is great advice!

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*Best of DTB #309* The Catholic Defender: The Ascension Begins A New Birth

Posted by Donald Hartley - April 29th, 2016

“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, To announce a year of favor from the Lord and a day of vindication by our God, to comfort all who mourn; To place on those who mourn in Zion a diadem instead of ashes, To give them oil of gladness in place of mourning, a glorious mantle instead of a listless spirit” (Isaiah 61:1-3).

We see this scripture fulfilled at the baptism of Jesus. It is at this point that Jesus begins His public ministry.

The Gospel of Matthew records what happens, “The Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. John tried to prevent him saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?’ Jesus said to him in reply, ‘Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed him. After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased “ (Matthew 3:13-17).

This is a most important connection that St. Matthew reveals because Jesus is truly the Messiah that Isaiah bore witness to.

This scene in Matthew is also important because we see a glimpse of the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

We will again see this image at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8). After the Resurrection, Jesus will send the Catholic Church to go to all the nations to baptize in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).

This is important for all of God’s people because we have the means to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit through our own Baptism (Acts 2:38) and receive the power of the Holy Spirit through the “laying of hands” (Hebrews 6:2).

St. Paul instructs St. Timothy, “Do not lay hands too readily on anyone, and do not share in another’s sin. Keep yourself pure” (1 Timothy 5:22).

Why do we see this caution from St. Paul? St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians is key!

He writes, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory. It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me” (Colossians 1:24-29).

St. Paul is instructing us to prepare our converts, preparing them to receive the gift and power of the Holy Spirit. St. Timothy is instructed not to “lay hands” too readily.

They must be prepared and instructed in the Faith.

St. Paul says “The aim of this instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5).

Regardless if you are a catechuman, a candidate, or you are a life long Catholic, the Church calls us to take self inventory.

Jesus was tempted, He began His public Ministry being “led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1).

The 40 days has a symbolic meaning for Christians. We see the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years.

Jonah warned the Ninevites that God would destroy the great city in 40 days (Jonah 3:4) and the people responded by covering themselves with sackcloth and ashes.

God spared them because of their repentance. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, a 40 day season of the Church.

It is at the Easter Vigil that millions around the world are be recieved into the Catholic Faith. Catechumans are baptized and along with the Candidates, are confirmed into the Catholic Faith.

They will receive the Eucharist and share at the Table of Plenty with the whole Church!

Ascension Thursday is so important because it is the birth of the Papacy.

Daniel 7:13-14 states, “As the visions during the night continued, I saw One like a son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven; When he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, He received dominion, glory, and kingship; nations and peoples of every language serve him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.”

Consider what Jesus Promised to St. Peter, “Blessed are you Simon son of Bar-Jonah.  For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.  And so I say to you, you are Peter (Kapa), and upon this rock (Kapa) I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.  I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and what ever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:17-19).

Consider Jesus, the Son of Man, giving the keys to his “Royal Stewart” once He received this dominion at the appointed time with the Ascension of Jesus.

Jesus is the stone that destroys the great statue of Babylon.  “In the lifetime of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destoyed or delivered up to another people”.

Ascension Thursday is a very important feast of the Church!

 

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The Catholic Defender: The Chair Of St. Peter In Rome

Posted by Donald Hartley - April 28th, 2016

ChairFebruary 22 is the Feast of the Chair of Peter. This morning, two Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW’s) stopped by to give me a call. I knew who they were instantly and I surprised them by sharing with them why they came by to see me! And I was ready for them  sharing with them Matthew 16:16-19:

“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Words to gleam from this scriptural text: Christ (Messiah), Rock (Kepa), Church (Εκκλησία/ekklēsía), keys, bound (bind), and loose. From this text we see who Jesus is, Jesus is truly the Messiah, the Christ. We see Jesus identifying who Simon, Son of Bar-Jona is, the Rock (Kapa) and we see Jesus as the Son of David transferring the keys of authority from the household of David (Isaiah 22:22) now to Simon Peter and the household of God (1 Timothy 3:15).

Peter 3Peter alone was given the Keys, the office of the keys, plus in this text, Peter alone was given the power to bind and loose (Matthew 16:16-19), Notice in this text, Jesus speaking to Peter as “You” speaking to Peter seven times in this text. Clearly, Jesus was speaking to Peter! We see Matthew bring in the rest of the apostles with Peter representing the Church with this authority together (Matthew 18:18).

John 21:15-17 Jesus commissioned St. Peter as Shepherd of the sheep given the charge three times.

Acts 2:14-41 On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles in the form of tongues of fire, it was Peter who gave the first Papal discourse in which 3,000 were converted and baptized to the Catholic Faith that very day.

Acts 5:3-10 It was Peter’s word spokem to Ananias and Sapphira who had attempted to deceive the Apostles and thereby the Holy Spirit, causeing them to drop dead!

Acts 5:15 People came just to have Peter’s shadow pass over them and the sick were healed.

simon-magus-money-peterActs 8:18-23 St. Peter rebuked Simon Magus, the sorcerer, who thought he could buy the power of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 9:38-41 St. Peter raised Tabitha (Dorcas) from the dead. This was through the power of God but it also shows God’s anointing on Peter.

Acts 11:1-18 St. Peter instructed the other apostles how God had granted power through their word to include what was clean and unclean. We can now enjoy bacon for example, how the Holy Spirit revealed to Peter that the Gentiles were being accepted and received by God into the Church.

Acts 15:7 At the Council of Jerusalem in 49 A.D., there was much debate until Peter stood up and spoke, that ended the debate. Some will look at this text and claim that James was the first Pope as he took control of the Council (Acts 15:13-21) but people do not always understand how the Bishop of Rome, the Pope respects the Bishop of any diocese he visits? The Apostle James was regarded the first Bishop of Jerusalem. Naturally Peter would respect that call. James was not over Peter.

Peter 41 Corinthians 15:5-7 After Jesus resurrection, Jesus first appeared to Peter then to the Twelve. This really ties in with Matthew 16:18 and John 21:51-17.

Galatians 2:6-10 St. Peter was given charge the gospel for the circumcision, here is this text:

“And from those who were reputed to be something (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)–those, I say, who were of repute added nothing to me; but on the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for the mission to the circumcised worked through me also for the Gentiles), and when they perceived the grace that was given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised; only they would have us remember the poor, which very thing I was eager to do.”

What can we gleam from this? St. Paul is defending his right as an Apostle because Christ called him (Acts 9:1-19) to reach out to the Gentiles (uncircumcised) and Peter the mission to the circumcised. Notice St. Paul admits that Peter with Paul also worked for the Gentiles. This is important as both St. Peter and Paul would give their lives in Rome under the Roman Emperor Nero.

jesus_washing_apostles_feet_parson_lTo better understand St. Peter’s role among the Apostles and the Church, it is best to see it from an Old Testament family structure, not a modern constitution like we have in the United States. God the Father is not seen as some court judge, but as a loving Father. Jesus is not some kind of lawyer who defends the right of the sinner, but as a brother, the first born. Yes, God is Judge, and Jesus died for sin, but the Church is a family, a household, so the judgement will be fatherly and the Lord’s passion will be for love of His people. The Church is born out of this understanding.

Jesus is the Master Builder, He is the Rock that the builders (Israelite) rejected who has become the corner stone (Psalms 118:22/Acts 4:11) and 1 Corinthians 10:4. St. Peters confession did not come from him, it came from God the Father and Jesus institutes upon St. Peter, this new name which is significant. When ever the Lord would change the name of someone, this was always significant. Firstly, in Genesis 17:5, He changed Abram’s (Father) name to ‘Abraham,’ (Father of many nations) as part of God’s Covenant making Abraham the ‘Father’ of a host of nations.

jacobSecondly, in Genesis 35:10, God changed Jacob’s name to Israel and stated, ”I am God almighty, be fruitful and multiply. A nation indeed an assembly of nations shall stem from you.”

Thirdly, He changed Simon, Bar Jona, to Peter, the Rock. This is important because we are now moving into the New Testament, a new Covenant and Jesus is preparing His Apostles for this great new season in human history.

Again, this very morning, Jehovah Witnesses arrived at my door and I was pleased to share with them the foundation of the Chair of Peter, the authority of the Catholic Church Jesus founded nearly 2,000 years ago.

I was recently challenged by a number of ministers from the Baptist, Church of Christ, Seventh Day Adventist, and some Non-Denominations on St. Peter even being a leader in the early Church. And with this group, using early Church Fathers will not fly high with them, so can we gleam anything from the New Testament that reveals St. Peter’s primacy?

From the discussion, some might concede that St. Peter was the “Chief Apostle”, consider Matthew 10:2 which lists St. Peter first among the Apostles. 1 John 35-41 tells us that St. Andrew, first a follower of St. John the Baptist, was at the baptism of Jesus and from that point on began to follow Jesus. It was then that Andrew informed his brother Simon about Jesus who is depicted by the Gospels of Matthew (4:18-20), Mark (Mark 1:16-18), and Luke (Luke 5:3-11) calling St. Peter and the others to follow him.

netsIt is interesting that in the Gospel of St. John, Jesus first refers to Simon as “Cephas” which means “Peter” (John 1:42). Is this an example where St. John viewed St. Peter as the head of the Church? Consider the following story:

“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first; and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.” John 20:1-9

Peter 6What can we gleam from this text? Peter was a much slower runner than John? Perhaps, but it is interesting that John reaches the tomb first but waits until Peter gets there and enters first. That is very significant to the respect John has for Peter’s role as the leader.

Following St. Peter during the early years after the Passion, death, and Resurrection of Jesus we know that he was present at Pentecost. He gives the first Papal dissertation in Acts 2:14-41 when 3,000 people were baptized the first day.

A short time later, St. Peter gave a second speech at the portico called “Solomon’s Portico”. St. Peter and John were taken from there to the Sanhedrin where the Pharisees wanted to punish them but feared the people who were praising God (Acts 4:21).

Peter 7We know that St. Peter was still in the Holy Land when persecution broke out against the Christians.

After St. Stephen was stoned to death, people went everywhere to escape Saul of Tarsus. Everyone except the Apostles. St. Peter gives a third speech and Baptized Cornelius near Caesarea.

St. Peter received a vision and message from an angel while in Joppa when three men came to see him to take him to Cornelius.

This would be very important for the early Church as God reveals to St. Peter his plan of salvation for the Gentiles.

St. Peter begins to speak when the Holy Spirit came upon the house of Cornelius.

St. Peter ensures the baptism of the entire household (Acts 10:9-48).

This would become important for the early Church and infant baptism.

King Herod captures St. Peter and puts him in prison, but God had other plans for St. Peter getting him away from the clutches of Herod (Acts 12:1-17).

We know that St. Peter was in Jerusalem for the Council of Jerusalem (49 A.D.), “After much debate had taken place, Peter got up and said to them, ‘My brothers, you are well aware that from the early days God made his choice among you that through my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness by granting them the Holy Spirit just as he did us. He made no distinction between us and them, for by faith he purified their hearts”.

Peter 8After this scene, we do not see much of St. Peter in Jerusalem. This is the last time we see St. Peter in the book of Acts. St. Paul becomes the dominate figure from this point on.

So where does St. Peter Go? Does he ride his donkey into the sunset into retired life? No, not at all!

According to Tradition, St. Peter went to Antioch and ordained St. Evodius a bishop.

St. Peter appears to have gone immediately to Antioch after being released from jail by the angel. St. Ignatius of Antioch was a disciple of the Apostle John, who died around AD 110 AD.

St. John Chrysostom (c. 347 – 407 AD), grew up in Antioch, learned the history which taught that St. Ignatius had been ordained at the hands of Apostles, including St. Peter.

ignatius 2According to ancient tradition, St. Ignatius was the child whom Christ had held, as described in Matthew 18:4. It is also from here that St. John Chrysostom learned the history and tradition that Christ was born on December 25th, 2 B.C.

St. John Chrysostom would preach on the subject literally on Christmas day. It is important to understand from this tradition, St. Peter was in Antioch at one point. What about St. Peter in Rome?

Writing in his Annals circa A.D. 116, Tacitus a Pagan Historian, describes the response of Emperor Nero to the great fire that swept Rome in A.D. 64:
“But not all the relief that could come from man, not all the bounties that the prince could bestow, nor all the atonements which could be presented to the gods, availed to relieve Nero from the infamy of being believed to have ordered the conflagration, the fire of Rome. Hence to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind.”

Nero 1Suetonius, another Pagan historian also confirms Nero’s persecution of Christians at Rome (c. 120 A.D.): “Punishment by Nero was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition.” (Lives of the Caesars 26.2)

One of the Early Church Fathers who heard from St. Peter personally, was ordained by St. Peter would become the third successor to St. Peter. St. Clement of Rome about 95 A.D. wrote:

“Let us come to the heroes nearest to our times. . . . Let us set before our eyes the good apostles; Peter, who by reason of unrighteous jealousy endured not one or two but many labours, and having thus borne his witness went to his due place of glory. Paul, by reason of jealousy and strife, pointed out the prize of endurance. . . . When he had preached in the East and in the West he received the noble renown of his faith. Having taught righteousness to the whole world, even reaching the bounds of the West, and having borne witness before rulers, he thus left the world and went to the holy place, becoming the greatest pattern of endurance.”

St. Clement writes of Peter‘s stay in Rome, “I do not command you, as Peter and Paul did”.

Peter and paul 1Ignatius of Antioch wrote: “Not as Peter and Paul did, do I command you [Romans]. They were apostles, and I am a convict” (Letter to the Romans 4:3 [A.D. 110]). Such a comment would only make sense if Peter had been a leader, if not the leader, of the church in Rome.”

Later in the second century, Irenaeus of Lyons believed that Peter and Paul had been the founders of the Church in Rome and had appointed Linus as succeeding bishop.

Tertullian also writes: “But if you are near Italy, you have Rome, where authority is at hand for us too. What a happy church that is, on which the apostles poured out their whole doctrine with their blood; where Peter had a passion like that of the Lord, where Paul was crowned with the death of John (the Baptist, by being beheaded).”

St. Dionysius of Corinth also serves as a late second-century witness to the tradition. He wrote: “You (Pope Soter) have also, by your very admonition, brought together the planting that was made by Peter and Paul at Rome and at Corinth; for both of them alike planted in our Corinth and taught us; and both alike, teaching similarly in Italy, suffered martyrdom at the same time”.

Later tradition, first found in Saint Jerome, attributes to Peter a 25-year episcopate (or apostolate) in Rome.

Peter-upside-downSt. Peter’s crucifixion in Rome is the only recorded traditional account of St. Peters death. John 21:18 states, ” Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go. He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God”.It is interesting to note that there are no viable examples or traditions of St. Peter having this experience anywhere else.

The grave that is claimed by the Church to be that of St. Peter lies at the foot of the aedicula beneath the floor under the main Altar. DNA testing reveals that the bones found were the bones of a 60-70 year old man.

vatican_stOn June 26, 1968, Pope Paul VI announced that the relics of St. Peter had been discovered. The evidence through scientific analysis found St. Peters name more than 20 times at the site, the bones had a purple and gold fabric.

From Scripture, tradition, history, from the very beginning, the evidence is clear that St. Peter was the first Pope, chief apostle, leader, Bishop of Rome, Royal Steward, Prime Minister, or any other name you can give this “office” that Christ commissioned Him as “Fishers of men” and “Shepherd of the Sheep”.

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