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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*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 Guardian Angel: Eucharistic Miracle of GRUARO (VALVASONE) ITALY, 1294

Posted by Donald Hartley - April 27th, 2016

Jesus and FaustinaJesus to Faustina, “My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world. Who can measure the extent of My goodness.” Wow, and through the Eucharist he gives us His love and mercy. The Eucharist is central to our faith. Listen to catechesis again from Father Hardon, what a joy, and followed by another Eucharistic Miracle. To Jesus through Mary, GregoryMary

The center of the whole Catholic liturgy is the Eucharist. The Eucharist is most important in the life of the Church because it is Jesus Christ. It is the incarnation continued in space and time. The other sacraments and all the Church’s ministries and apostolates are directed toward the Eucharist.

The word “Eucharist” means “thanksgiving”. This is explained by the fact that Christ “gave thanks” when He instituted the Eucharist and this is the supreme act of Christian gratitude to God.

Eucharist 2The Eucharist is the sacrament which really, truly and substantially contains the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ under the appearances of Bread and wine. It is the great sacrament of God’s love in which Christ is eaten, the mind is filled with grace and a pledge is given to us of future glory.

Christ instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist at the Last Supper on the night before He died on the cross. This is recorded by St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians (cf. I Corinthians 11:23-26) and in the Synoptic Gospels of Matthew (26:26-28), Mark (14:22-24), and Luke (22:19-20). St. John omitted the institution because he wrote his Gospel to supplement what the other evangelists had already written. The Eucharist was instituted in this way: “Jesus took some bread and when He had said the blessing He broke it and gave it to the disciples. ‘Take it and eat,’ He said, ‘this is my body.’ Then He took a cup and when He had returned thanks He gave it to them. ‘Drink all of you from this,’ He said, ‘for this is my blood’” (Matthew 26:26-28).

Like Baptism, the Eucharist is necessary for salvation to be received either sacramentally or in desire. Christ’s words, “if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you will not have life in you” (John 6:53), means that Holy Communion is necessary to sustain the life of grace in a person who has reached the age of reason. Those who, through no fault of their own, do not realize this can receive the necessary grace to remain in God’s friendship through other means. This is similar to what happens with the baptism of desire to first receive the state of grace.

EucharistThe sensible sign in the Eucharist is the appearance of bread and wine, that is, anything in these elements that fall under the senses such as size, color, shape, taste, weight and texture. After consecration, however, this sign contains the whole Christ, His Body and Blood, His Soul and Divinity.

The material necessary for the sacrament is wheaten bread and wine. In the Latin Rite, the bread must be unleavened; in the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church, leavened bread is used. The wine is mixed with a little water before consecration. Christ chose bread and wine for the matter of the sacrament in order to teach that as we daily partake of food for the body so we should daily receive this heavenly food for the soul. The necessary words for producing the sacrament of the Eucharist are “This is my body”. “This is my blood”.

Christ is present in the Eucharist not only with everything that makes Him man, but with all that makes Him this human being. He is therefore present with all His physical properties, hands and feet and head and human heart. He is present with His human soul, with His thoughts, desires and human affections. He becomes present in the Eucharist by means of transubstantiation.

Mass 2Transubstantiation is the term used to identify the change that takes place at the consecration of the bread and wine at Mass. Therefore after the consecration, nothing remains of the bread and wine except their external properties. By this we mean the bread still looks like bread and tastes like bread, and the wine still looks and tastes like wine, but they are no longer bread and wine. Their substance becomes the living Body and Blood of Christ.

It is a matter of faith that Jesus Christ is contained under each particle of the species of bread and wine. No matter how great the number of parts into which the species are divided, the whole Christ is present in every portion. He is present in the Eucharist as long as the species remain. Therefore, we worship the Blessed Sacrament as we would worship the person of Jesus Himself.

The Eucharist is the most excellent of all the sacraments because it contains Christ Himself. All the other sacraments are channels of grace but they do not actually possess Jesus Christ, the Author of Grace. Moreover, the other sacraments point to the Eucharist as their purpose or end. Baptism enables us to receive the Eucharist; Confirmation perfects the Christian so that his faith in the Eucharist may remain strong; Penance and Anointing of the Sick cleanse the soul from weakness and sin and prepare it for the reception of the Eucharist; Holy Orders ordains the priests necessary to consecrate and offer the Eucharist; and Matrimony is the earthly sign of the purpose of the Eucharist, to unite the faithful with Christ in selfless love.

Bible 2The doctrine of the Real Presence is, first of all, proved from Sacred Scripture. At the Last Supper, Christ simply declared that He was giving the disciples His Body and Blood. Nothing in the context of His words indicates He was speaking figuratively, whereas everything shows He meant it to be taken literally (cf. Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19-20).

In the Gospel of John, when Christ foretold He would give His Body to eat and His Blood to drink, many of His disciples left Him because they would not believe this. Yet, instead of taking back what He said or qualifying His statement, He repeated the promise and even asked the Apostles if they also wanted to leave Him (cf. John 6:47-67).

Sacred Tradition from the earliest times teaches the Real Presence. St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote in A.D. 107, “The Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ” (Smyrneans, 6:2). And St. Justin wrote in A.D. 145, “As Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him …is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnate Jesus” (I Apology, 66).

vatican 1The teaching of the Church on the Real Presence is defined revealed doctrine according to the Council of Trent. It declares that the whole Christ is truly, really and substantially present in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist immediately after consecration. It also declares that the whole Christ is present under each form, and under each part of particle of each species of both bread and wine. By the “whole Christ” in the Eucharist, we mean He is present in the fullness of His divine and human nature. He is present under the sacramental veils with the fullness of His divine attributes as well as all His human qualities.

We should worship Jesus in the Tabernacle because He is present there under the appearance of bread and wine as truly as He is in heaven. We should give Him the adoration given to God alone because of His infinite perfection and His supreme domination over all things created. The Church fosters devotion to the Real Presence through public adoration of the Holy Eucharist, notably exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Benediction and Forty Hours Devotion.

BenedictionBlessedSacramentBenediction of the Blessed Sacrament is a special devotion that dates from at least the fifteenth century. It consists of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, hymns, readings, prayers and the blessing of the people with the Holy Eucharist. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is the solemn placing of a consecrated Host in a monstrance, on the altar, to be viewed and adored by the faithful. The exposition is opened with a hymn and incensing by the priest or deacon. During the Exposition, public or private prayers are said, and the ceremony is commonly concluded with benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Forty Hours Devotion is the public exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance for forty hours, either consecutively or over a period of three days.

The sign by which the people know that Christ is present in the tabernacle is the sanctuary light which burns night and day before the tabernacle. Also a tabernacle veil or other suitable means may be prescribed by competent authority. We manifest our adoration outwardly by genuflecting before the place where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved.

No doubt, Christ is present in other ways besides the Real Presence:

He is present when the Church prays;
He is present when the Church performs her works of mercy;
He is present in the Church as she governs the people of God;
He is present in the pastors who exercise their priestly and Episcopal power;
He is specially present in the Church when she offers in His Name the Sacrifice of the Mass;
priestchaliceHe is present when the Church administers the sacraments.
But the Real Presence is absolutely unique. It is the physical presence of Christ in our midst, no less truly present than He is now present at the right hand of the Father of Heaven. It is called the “Real Presence” because it is presence in the fullest sense possible. It is a substantial presence by which Christ, the God-man, is now on earth, no less truly that He was during His visible presence in history in the first century in Palestine.

Editors Note: I would simply add to that we recognize that God is omniscient (God is eveywhere), we recognize His Presence when His Word is proclaimed, we recognize Him through the authority of the Church, and we also recognize him in the breaking of bread (Luke 24:30-35).

Eucharistic Miracle of GRUARO (VALVASONE) ITALY, 1294

Among the most authoritative documents which describe the Eucharistic miracle which took place at Gruaro in 1294 is that of local historian Antonio Nicoletti (1765). A woman was washing one of the altar linens of the Church of St. Giusto in the public wash house of Versiola. Suddenly she saw the altar linen become tinged with Blood. Observing more closely, she noted that the Blood was flowing from a consecrated Particle remaining among the folds of the cloth.

Gruaro 1The relic of this miracle is kept in the Church of the Most Holy Body of Christ in Valvasone, but the miracle happened in Gruaruo. In 1294, a young housemaid went to the public wash-house of Versiola to wash the altar linens of the Church of St. Giusto in Gruaro. Suddenly, the woman noticed that a consecrated Host had remained by mistake among the folds of the cloth and that Blood was flowing from the Host.

Frightened by this inexplicable event, she immediately ran to alert the pastor who then informed the Bishop of Concordia, Giacomo di Ottonello from Cividade. The Bishop, having learned the facts, asked to be able to keep the cloth of the miracle in his Cathedral in Concordia. However, the pastor of Gruaro and the family of the Counts of Valvasone, patrons of the churches of Gruaro and of Valvasone, wanted to keep the cloth.

Gruaro 2No agreement was reached, and so it was decided to seek recourse with the Holy See. In the end, Rome let the Counts keep the relic, on the condition that they would build a church dedicated to the Most Holy Body of Christ. The construction of the church was completed in 1483.

The oldest and most authoritative document describing the miracle is a decree of Pope Nicholas V written in 1454. The title of the parish church, formerly St. Mary and St. John the Evangelist was thereby changed to the Church of the Most Holy Body of Christ (March 28, 1454). Today, the cloth is kept in a crystal cylinder, held by a precious reliquary of silver made by master craftsman Antonio Calligari. The celebration of the Holy Cloth is commemorated on the 5th Thursday of Lent, at the end of days of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, with the participation of the priests and of the community of Valvasone. During the celebration of Corpus Christi, the reliquary is carried in procession with the Most Blessed Sacrament.

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences whereby He is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.

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The Catholic Defender: Jesus Holy Face

Posted by Donald Hartley - April 22nd, 2016

Jesus ArgentineAccording to the miracles that have taken place in Argentina (1983-1990), this is the face of Jesus, the Holy Face of Jesus.

Gladys Herminia Quiroga de Motta, the seer of Our Lady of the Rosary of San Nicolas, stated that this picture of Jesus, is the face of Jesus.

This photo took place as a result of a miracle of the Eucharist.

It was during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) when havoc hit Spain, looters took to the streets stealing what was thought to be worth money.

Unfortunately, the Churches were broken into, so, when a priest safeguarded a ciborium containing the Consecrated Hosts by taking it home, he took a picture of it and this picture of Jesus materialized on the photo.

Ms Gladys began seeing the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 25th 1983 where Our Lady called for a “Sanctuary” to be built. As a result, miraculous healing began taking place as pilgrims flocked to Argentina. Conversions, the rapid growth of religious vocations flourished as hearts turned to God.

Our Lady warned, “Mankind is endangering the earth. Open your eyes and you will see that you are blinded pursuing illusions. Until now you have not realized this; you wanted to silence the voice of the Lord that is warning you. But now, my children, you are witnessing that God, in these days, is seeking you; go to encounter Him. Mind that the Lord is beside you. Praise be to Him.”. (Message 244)

Looking at this picture, does it not seem that Jesus is looking right at you?

Akiane-Kramarik-Prince-of-Peace-age-8Here is another image of Jesus that was given to us through believed supernatural means, this story is interesting as this painting of Jesus was through the hands of a little girl who had never had one class of instruction how to paint. Akiane Kramarik (from Morris Illinois), who at age four, claimed to see visions of Jesus, heaven, and creation.

At age four, Akiane began drawing pictures and writing poetry and claims that God was her teacher how to paint and write her poetry. In this picture she was eight years old at the time. This picture of Jesus was recognized to be the face of Jesus by another young four year old, Coulton Burbo, whose story influenced the making of the movie, “Heaven is for real”.

It is interesting to see these two pictures that have both been identified to be the face of Jesus. What strikes me looking and comparing these two pictures, what grabs my attention is the similarity of the nose. Then the eyes, this is very interesting. Jesus has longer hair in the first picture, which is black and white, in the 1930′s color photos were not readily made available. With the Akiane story, here is the drawback that I’ve been able to find. She states of her own spiritual road, “We went through being Christian, being a Catholic, we studied Buddhism. At this point every one of my siblings have their own path toward a spiritual enlightenment.”

This recalls an interesting scripture, John 14:6-10 states, ” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.”

Jesus is lordTo know the Son is to know the Father! Jesus is the image of the Face of God! He is the Word made Flesh that ALL might KNOW Him. The truth of Jesus is embodied in His Holy Catholic Church.

This is very important, St. John warns, “Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” To say that all religions are equally the same is a particular heresy. People accept this in an attempt to respect others. We are to respect others, that is for sure, but without compromising the truth.

It is the spirit of compromise that leads to moral relevance. Jesus is Lord and He is Sovereign.

Psalms 119:135 States, “Let your face shine upon Your servant; teach me Your laws.”

St. Faustina had difficulty finding someone who could paint the image of the Divine Mercy as Christ has wanted done.  I also recall St Paul writing about “being caught up in Paradise and heard ineffable things, which no one may utter…  But I refrain, so that no one may think more of me than what he sees in me or hears from me because of the abundance of the revelations.”  2 Corinthians 12:4, 6

Is it possible that this four year old little girl, whose father was a lapse Catholic and her mother an Atheist, that despite seeing visions, the truth as a journey still needs to be discovered? In the first story, the picture of Jesus came about through a picture taken by a priest, then identified by a woman who the Virgin Mary began appearing to, which lead to thousands of miracles. To me, that is a credible support to what Gladys  proclaimed.

Turin_shroud_positive_and_negative_displaying_original_color_information_708_x_465_pixels_94_KBThe Eucharist is not simply a truth for some, that it is really up to the believer to make up their own mind. No, not at all, it is the very revelation of God so I have to maintain that any such heavenly visions especially when they claim to hear instruction from heaven, those things should reflect that truth which Christ gave his Church.

That for me is very basic, so please pray for Akiane and her family, especially in regards to their Catholic Faith. The Mass would become all the more important to anyone having true visions from heaven.

The Shroud of Turin is another important icon that is believed to be the face of Jesus. When you see the Shroud as it looks from the naked eye, we have learned that you see what seems to be a negative image. After taking a picture of the Shroud, Secondo Pia discovered this positive image that has caused great interest in the Shroud and the research done on it. The Catholic Church accepts this image of Jesus to be included as part of the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus. Fat Tuesday, also known as “Shove Tuesday” that is–Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, was approved by His Holiness Pope Pius XII (On April 17th, 1958) as the observance of the Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus.

2 Corinthians 3:18, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

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*Best of DTB #295* The Catholic Defender: Do Whatever He Tells You

Posted by Donald Hartley - April 6th, 2016

Wedding_at_Cana_cropped-279x300“On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:1-5).

The mother of Jesus has been echoing this message ever since.   Are there times in your life that you feel your running out? What is it you are running out of? Time, money, patience, happiness? Are you being challenged? What are some things Jesus said?

“Come follow me”!

Are you following Jesus? My Son Nathan wrote a song in 2000 called “No Tomorrow” which says, “What would you do if today was your last, what would you do if you knew it was true? Would you follow Christ”?

netsThat is an excellent question.   Are you like one of the Lord’s Disciples who dropped their nets to follow Christ or are you like the rich man who could not part with his many possessions?

Are you ashamed to be identified as a follower of Jesus?

Are you ashamed to be Catholic? Jesus said, “Come Follow me”!

When the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary, she accepted the will of God based on faith, hope, and love.

We should imitate Our Lady in following our Lord regardless the cost. Eternal salvation is far more important that any earthly good that separates us from the love of God. Love God, hate sin!

shineJesus said, “your light must shine before others”!

Do you give witness to the gospel by the way you live your life? We are known primarily by what we say, by what we do, and by what we love!

Early Catholic tradition says, “If you were going to be arrested for being a Christian, could you be arrested upon evidence”?

Our example is far more important, St. Francis encouraged us to go preach the gospel and when necessary, use words”! Are you giving witness to Christ through your life?

When I was deployed in another Country, I tried to represent my Country by being respectful to the local people. I wanted people to have a good image of America.

Our faith experience should be something like that. Jesus continues saying, “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father”.

This is so important for the family, especially children. It all starts at home!

teachJesus said, “This is how you are to pray”:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not suject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one”.

Does this prayer mean anything to you? Do you pray this reflecting on the words.

Do you forgive those who have wronged you? Sometimes we just got to let it go. It is not healthy to hold things in by not forgiving those who wronged you.

Sometimes you have to give it to God. Sometimes the wrongs are so terrible, you have to find a way to release yourself from the wrong done to you.

This is easier said than done and it might take a lifetime to get over something, but you must not go by feelings or emotions. You have to go by the will because it is the right thing to do.

sacred heartJesus said, “Do unto others whatever you would have them do to you”.

The famous “Golden Rule”, are we killing someone because of hurtful remarks we say about others, are we persecuting people because we think we can?

How do you want to be treated? Are you fair in your judgments. In my experience in the Army, I tried to make every decision based from my core values.

I tried to see things as Jesus would see things, that famous bumper sticker, “WWJD”, “What Would Jesus Do”?

We are to judge people fairly.   Does this mean that we are to be a punching bag for those who seek to take advantage over you, that you can’t defend yourself?

No, not at all, but we should use wisdom and understanding in dealing with those who seek to attack you.   I’ve been told that the “pen is mightier than the sword”! Truth is important and we should defend it.

sinnersJesus said, “I did not come to call the righteous but sinners”.

Do we think we are better that everybody else? Do we think we are perfect?

The challenge is that we come before God in humble thanksgiving, to “humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord.” Let Jesus raise you up.

Jesus would leave the 99 to go after the one who who has gone astray.

We should not be filled with compromise, but committed to pick up our cross and following the Lord.

Do we ask for a price? Do we look to those who might pat us on the back and shake our hand? Do we really seek justice and mercy towards the sinners.

My heart dances when a fallen Catholic returns home to the vineyard, the holy Catholic Church.

shroud 1Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind”.

Do you place the Lord as #1 in your life, to you seek to do his will in all things.

Jesus said that no greater love that a man can have than to lay down your life for your friends. This is an action to live by. To die to self everyday.

Pope Pius XII said that in the later part of the 20th century and beyond, to be a true Christian, they would have to be a “living martyr” because the attack on the family will be so severe.

Whose side are you on? Do you cave in to the social norms that encourages you to fall to the least line of resistance to temptation?

Do you obey the Commandments, the precepts of the Church? Do you offer the Lord you heart, soul, mind, and strength?

Do you offer him your sword, your life? Or do you cave in to Hollywood and the drive by-media? Do you walk by faith and not by sight?

jesus-break-breadJesus said, “do this in memory of me”.

Do you go to Mass? Do you renew the Covenant with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords?

Do you honor the Commandments to honor the Lord God and to keep holy the Lord’s Day?

Do you participate often and receive the Sacraments? Do you go to Confession and strive to live a holy life?

From the Mass we are to take the Lord whom we received out into the highways, the streets, the world at large.

Do you have family devotions and instill prayer into your children. How blest it is when a young child says they love God!

cross-water-bloodJesus said, “It is finished”.

Do we reflect what Christ did on the cross for our salvation?

Sometimes, when I look at the crucifix, I think of the crowning of thorns, the physical abuse Jesus absorbed for love of us.

For the sins of men whose minds thought only the pleasure of sin.

How men refuse to submit their hearts to God. When I think of the nail that pierced his right hand, how that represents the things I did that hurt others, those sins that cause my Lord to suffer in those I hurt.

When I think of the nail that pierced his right hand, I am reminded of those things I should have done but didn’t because I was afraid what others would think.

Maybe its just because of my own laziness.  When I think about the nail that pierce our Lord’s feet, I am reminded of the times I refused to go where Jesus wanted me to go.  Like Jonah, I chose to go the other way.

When I think of the spear that penetrated the heart of our Lord, he emptied himself out completely on my behalf.

Jesus 1May I receive strength from the Lord when I honor his passion for my sake. “For the sake of his sorriful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world, Amen”.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me will never die”.

Do you believe? When you walk up to receive the Eucharist, do you believe? Do you say, “Amen”?

Jesus said, “If you forgive men’s sins, they are forgiven them”, do you believe?

Do you go to Confession? Jesus said, “Yes, I am coming soon”, will you be ready?

Like St. John, do you say “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus?”

viet nam 11Like St. Paul, “let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith.”

Mother Mary said, “Do whatever He tells you”, may the children of God recognize these words of their Mother, and follow the whole word of God.

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

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The Catholic Defender: St. John Chrysostom’s Homily for Good Friday

Posted by Donald Hartley - March 25th, 2016

doctor3The Power of Christ’s Blood, Homily for Good Friday, St. John Chrysostom (349-407) Feast day celebrated 13 September.

“If we wish to understand the power of Christ’s blood, we should go back to the ancient account of its prefiguration in Egypt. Sacrifice a lamb without blemish, commanded Moses, and sprinkle its blood on your doors. If we were to ask him what he meant, and how the blood of an irrational beast could possibly save men endowed with reason, his answer would be that the saving power lies not in the blood itself, but in the fact that it is a sign of the Lord’s blood. In those days, when the destroying angel saw the blood on the doors he did not dare to enter, so how much less will the devil approach now when he sees, not that figurative blood on the doors, but the true blood on the lips of believers, the doors of the temple of Christ.

If you desire further proof of the power of this blood, remember where it came from, how it ran down from the cross, flowing from the Master’s side. The gospel records that when Christ was dead, but still hung on the cross, a soldier came and pierced his side with a lance and immediately there poured out water and blood. Now the water was a symbol of baptism and the blood, of the holy Eucharist. The soldier pierced the Lord’s side, he breached the wall of the sacred temple, and I have found the treasure and made it my own. So also with the lamb: the Jews sacrificed the victim and I have been saved by it.

cross-water-bloodThere flowed from his side water and blood. Beloved, do not pass over this mystery without thought; it has yet another hidden meaning, which I will explain to you. I said that water and blood symbolized baptism and the holy Eucharist. From these two sacraments the Church is born: from baptism, the cleansing water that gives rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit, and from the holy Eucharist. Since the symbols of baptism and the Eucharist flowed from his side, it was from his side that Christ fashioned the Church, as he had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam. Moses gives a hint of this when he tells the story of the first man and makes him exclaim: Bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh! As God then took a rib from Adam’s side to fashion a woman, so Christ has given us blood and water from his side to fashion the Church. God took the rib when Adam was in a deep sleep, and in the same way Christ gave us the blood and the water after his own death.

Do you understand, then, how Christ has united his bride to himself and what food he gives us all to eat? By one and the same food we are both brought into being and nourished. As a woman nourishes her child with her own blood and milk, so does Christ unceasingly nourish with his own blood those to whom he himself has given life.”

Source: The Liturgy of the Hours – Office of Readings For Good Friday

saintj25When you read the context of the Early Church Fathers, this sermon given by St John Chrysostom is very typical of a purely Catholic preacher.

St John Chrysostom clearly is connecting the New Testament with the Old Testament. Consider the line, “Now the water was a symbol of baptism and the blood, of the holy Eucharist.”

It is clear that St John Chrysostom is connecting the water and blood that flowed from the side of Christ with the Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist.

This is no symbolic belief, but a very real foundation. Transubstantiation is not specifically named here, but it is being taught. I love the connection given between Adam and Jesus, no question that we are addressing St. Paul’s letter letter to the Romans chapter 5:12-21.

We believe the actual date of Jesus Christ’s death is April 3rd and in the year 33 AD.

Let’s look at the evidence.

jesus-carrying-cross (1)First, The third chapter of Luke’s gospel tells us that Jesus was about 30 years old in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar.

Although Tiberius actually took power in late 14 AD, the common ascension method of dating starts counting at the beginning of the Jewish Ecclesiastical calendar on 1 Nisan, 15 AD. This means that Jesus is about 30 in April of 30 AD.

However, what exactly does about 30 mean? 25-35? 28-32? 29-31? or closer?

John Chapter 2 tells us that at the start of Jesus ministry, the temple in Jerusalem had been under construction for forty six years. When the temple was destroyed in 70 AD, it was said that it had been under construction for 84 years. Subtract 84 years from 70 AD and you arrive at 16 BC. The project to rebuild the temple was commissioned about 19 BC and it would have taken at least three years to accumulate the builders and stone.

If the Temple had been started in 16 BC, Jesus would indeed have been about 30 years old 46 years into it’s construction in 30 AD.

Jesus sheepFinally, if Jesus was born in December of 2 BC, then Jesus was, indeed, about 30 years old in 30 AD (30 years and about 3 1/2 months to be exact)

Since there are 4 consecutive Passovers mentioned in the Gospels, with the first starting His earthly ministry and the last ending it, we know that his ministry lasted 3 years.

Now let’s look at what we know about the day Jesus died.

It was on a Friday that was the preparation day for the Sabbath. That is, we have to find a year when the Passover begins on Saturday.

It was a day approximately 3 years from the start of Tiberius 15th year, either by calendar method or direct ascension method (this could only be 32 or 33 AD).

It was a day where there was an eclipse.

The date would have to fit all 3 of these criteria.

Can such a date be found?

Yes. First there are only two dates during this time period when the Passover is immediately preceded by a Friday. One is 30 AD. There is no plausible way you can put Christ as 33 years old in 30 AD because, he would have been 30 in Tiberius’ 12th year. Secondly, there is no record of an eclipse on this date.

eclipse-1However, there was an eclipse on April 3rd, 33 AD, the Friday immediately preceding the passover, when Jesus would indeed have been 33 years old.

There is one final piece. In the 9th chapter of the book of Daniel, there is a prophecy that stipulates 483 Jewish years from the decree of King Artaxerxes of Persia to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem until the Christ is cut down. This decree was issued approximately 444 BC which, converting the calendars, takes us to about late 32/ early 33 AD.

Along with the other clues, we believe the case is clear- April 3rd, 33 AD as the date of Our lord’s death and April 5th as the Resurrection.

 

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The Catholic Defender: The Catholic Church Was Established Necessary For Salvation

Posted by Donald Hartley - March 21st, 2016

AbrahamRecently, I spoke with a lady who is from Poland who told me that she is Catholic, but has been going to a Non-Denomination church because of where they live. I asked her if she looked for a local Catholic Church, she replied that she did not. After talking with her about the importance of the Catholic Faith for Salvation, she quickly went to correct her current situation. She did not understand the consequences of not going to Mass. I run into this kind of situation a lot because many people take faith like a smorgasbord, Christ is not comparable to McDonald’s or Burger King. He is the King of kings and his truth is not subject to our opinion. We are subject to his Will. Like a colorful snake that draws your attention, if you get to close you just might get bit.

It seems that every now and again, Apostates like Mike Gendron and others want to raise their voices to reach out after Catholics. Just coming home from a mission in Kentucky, I found on the internet Mike Gendron continues to promote his attacks of Catholics on his website “Proclaiming the Gospel”.

Abraham 1The whole debate over the bible, faith, works, really are side trails that steer people down a wrong road. One lady promoting Gendron’s website started to respond to me by saying that she does not see anywhere in the bible that teaches the need of the Catholic Church?

Think about that very question. In the Old Testament, the very nature of the Catholic Church was foretold by God to the Patriarchs. Genesis 17:5 God changes Abrams name to Abraham depicting this truth. Abram spiritually means “Father”, while Abraham means “Father of a host of nations”.

This change from Abram to Abraham is very significant because it points to the seed that would ultimately come, it is a foreshadowing the Messiah: Isaiah 11:1, “But a shoot shall spout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him”.

Jesse: David’s Father. Stump: After the Babylonian exile, only a stump of the Davidic Dynasty will remain; from it will arise the new shoot, the Messianic King. Also the root meaning of the word bud refers to the word NESER which hits the root of NAZIR which translates to NAZARETH. Jesus would be called Jesus the Nazarene!

Jesus Himself fulfills the prophecies of the Old Testament. What I am addressing at this point is the work that Jesus did. Isaiah spoke of the Lord’s servants: “no weapon that is fashioned against you shall prosper, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, says the LORD.” Isaiah 54:17

pickCan you pick out your own scripture and cherry pick them to formulate your own way of Salvation? No, that is certainly not the ordinary means of Salvation. Jesus did establish a Church giving it His Authority. Consider the following: “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.” Matthew 16:18-19

“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

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” John 20:21-23

Am I cherry picking verses to build a case? No, not at all, I can share scripture that relates to a spiritual truth, but it is clear that Jesus did in fact founded a Church. The fact that Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter is very significant. The giving to Peter the Keys adds even more foundation to this truth. Consider the following:

“and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your girdle on him, and will commit your authority to his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. (Isaiah 22:22)

keysrevelation (1)“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.” Matthew 16:18-19

In the household of David, the one who held the keys of the kingdom was the Royal Steward. Jesus as the Son of David, has the power to transfer the keys to His Church, the office he founded upon Peter.

Let’s take a quick look at a verse that the Gendron Clan might throw out to attempt to confuse a Child of God. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17

It is common for the Gendron Clan to pull out a scripture like Romans 10:17 that when taken out of context, they will challenge you to find the Catholic Church there. I will respond that I am hearing the word of God that is teaching me and building in me the Faith of the Apostles. I am not bound by the false application of your interpretation Mister Gendron or Jason Hauser!

Romans 10:17 is very simple, The word of Christ has been faithfully safeguarded by the Church that Jesus established. It is that Church that presents the word of Christ as it has been handed down from the Apostles. It is interesting that when I went to Gendron’s Baptist church in Tyler Texas, that they would not allow us to refer to the Apostolic Authority. That is because they have none. If you ask them pointblank for someone of the second or third century that reflects their faith, THEY DO NOT EXIST.

Everything that the Catholic Church teaches was embodied in the Great Commission by Christ: 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.”

This command of the Lord cannot be usurped by Mike Gendron through his own personal interpretation of scripture. The Catholic Church is the arbiter of truth: “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.” James 5:10-20

graceThe Catholic Church is the dispenser of Grace for our benefit: “For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles–assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly.

Stewardship of God’s Grace? Very interesting. Not only was St. Paul called by God to dispense Grace, but all the ordained: “Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophetic utterance when the council of elders laid their hands upon you. Practice these duties, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress. Take heed to yourself and to your teaching; hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 1 Timothy 4:14-16

So, we see the Church being the arbiter of truth and grace is very significant. Anyone who challenged the Apostles authority in the New Testament went off the bandwagon: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel–not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:6-9

What the Gendron Clan does is to misrepresent what the Catholic Church teaches. They do that in pamphlets and booklets. Ms. Jane, who I later was told was Mike Gendron’s wife, handed me their pamphlets that they handed out to Catholics on Christmas Eve. Just to give you an example how they are deceptive, Mr Gendron, when looking at Jesus the Savior, he points to Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not because of any righteous deeds we had done, but because of his mercy.” That is how he quoted it.

baptizzedNow, check out the actual quote, “Here is Titus 3:5 in it’s full context, “But when the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy, he saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life”.

Do you notice that Mike Gendron is not giving the fullness of the truth of Titus 3:5! This is typical when you start digging into Mike Gendron’s teaching.

Why would Mike Gendron purposely leave out the phrase, “He saved us ‘THROUGH the BATH of REBIRTH and RENEWAL by the HOLY SPIRIT?”

What Mr. Gendron is doing is reshaping the format. All Catholics recognize what Christ accomplished on the Cross for our salvation is sufficient, but we are to be baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Faith.

As for the name of the Church being in the bible, I like the Greek text of Acts 9:31:

TOPSHOTS-VATICAN-RELIGION-POPE-CANONISATIONActs 9:31 “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.

The term in bold commonly translated as ‘church throughout all’ is in Greek ‘”εκκλησια καθ᾽ ὁλης”—pronounced “Ekklesia Kath olos” or the Church Universal or some might say The Catholic Church, since Kath olos is the same term used by St Ignatius for the Church in his letter.

The Catholic Church is necessary for Salvation, it even helps extends God’s grace to those who reject it by offering forever the Prodigals who return home to the Sacraments. The reason why the Catholic Church has this power and authority is through the founder of the Catholic Faith, Jesus Christ.

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The Guardian Angel: St. Zosimus Incredible Story Of St. Mary Of Egypt

Posted by Donald Hartley - March 2nd, 2016

woman-wiping-feet_1409220_inlIn the Gospel stories found in the Holy Bible, we read the great mercy and forgiveness of God. Consider the story of the woman who washed Jesus feet (Luke 7:36-38), Jesus said, “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he forgave them both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, to whom he forgave more.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house, you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

woman-at-the-wellAnother powerful example of Jesus compassion for sinners is the story of the woman at the well (John 4:7-8), Jesus said, “Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?” Jesus said to her, “Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and he whom you now have is not your husband; this you said truly.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ); when he comes, he will show us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

woman-caught-in-adulteryProbably, the most well known of these stories come from the Gospel of John 8:1-6, the woman caught committing adultery and brought before Jesus. To challenge Jesus, Jesus responds, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.”

St. Luke writes that many signs and wonders will accompany the Saints through the mercy of God (Mark 16:17-18, Acts 2:17-19), we give testimony of many stories given by great Saints of God. The following story comes from St. Zosimus of Palestine (5th Century Hermit) of another women who received the forgiveness of God.

egypt M 1St. Mary of Egypt was a typical girl many today can relate too. St. Mary was a twelve year old girl who found herself bored with life. She became a runaway leaving behind her family and loved ones because she wanted to be a singer and an actress. She loved to perform so she left for Alexandria Egypt where she became a prostitute. How tragic this is as we see this happening today.

At some point in her young life, her lifestyle was taking a heavy toll on her life and she began to cry out for help. Do we not see this today? People just hide themselves in drugs and other things that helps them cope with their lifestyle. St. Mary, after about 17 years of this lifestyle she left Alexandria and found herself wondering in Palestine looking for answers, looking for help when she noticed a large crowd of people gathering. At first, Mary thought she might be able to find customers to help her find food and drink.

But this crowd was different from then men she had known for so long, this particular day was a major feast celebrating the Holy Cross of Christ. Mary goes into the Church and coming upon an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, something tremendous takes place within her. Just like the woman Jesus spoke to at the well, Mary found herself thirsting for that water that will never run dry. Like the woman caught in adultery, Mary found herself among Jesus family and she too wanted that forgiveness. Like the woman who washed Jesus feet with her tears and dried Jesus feet with her hair, Mary found forgiveness through the Sacraments of the Catholic Church.

Egypt M 5Mary being overcome with remorse and sorrow for her sin, she prayed to Our Lady asking for guidance. The Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus and Our Mother as well, loved her wayward child who just found her way home. The Virgin Mary told Mary, “If you cross the Jordan River, you will find peace.”

The following day, St. Mary did cross the river and ran into St. Zosimus who had been living there for almost 50 years. It was like the Virgin Mary was sending St. Mary to St. Zosimus which leads to a greater point. Like St. Zosimus, it is important for us to be accountable and ready should the Lord send someone our way to teach then and show them the truth. St. Mary did indeed find peace as she fell more and more in love with Our Lord and His Mother.

St. Zosimus was in the desert following a Lenten penance when St. Mary called out to him asking him to met her at this place next year and to bring her Jesus in the Eucharist for her. A year did pass when St. Zosimus did come by the rivers edge, but St. Mary was still on the other side of the river without a means to cross over. There was no boat, nor was there a bridge nearby, so St. Mary took a leap of faith. She did the sign of the cross and began to walk across the water, what a great sign and wonder that even St. Zosimus was praising God as he gave St. Mary Holy Communion.

Egypt M 4With such a great experience the two Saints made another agreement to meet again the following year. Being a hermit, St. Zosimus kept socializing to a minimum, but he came to love this young woman who grew to love Jesus so much. As before, St. Zosimus made good his promise to meet St. Mary once again but when he came to see her, he found her dead, the Lord just took her, but he did find a note for him to bury her.

As St. Zosimus began to bury St. Mary, a lion came out of the desert and assisted digging her grave. Revelation 5:5 states, “Then one of the elders said to me, “Weep not; lo, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” Jesus is the “Lion of Judah, the Son of David, who has victory over the grave. The Story of St. Mary is a great reminder that we can overcome sin and death through the mercy and forgiveness of God.

Egypt M 3This is a great story as we are celebrating this year of jubilee, the Jubilee of Mercy and St Mary offers her example for all those today who find themselves lost and forsaken. Jesus loves you and will forgive you through your Confession and repentance.

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.”

Egypt M 2Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1

Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them; and those who are ill-treated, since you also are in the body. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for God will judge the immoral and adulterous. Hebrews 13:1-3

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The Catholic Defender Receives A Phone Call

Posted by Donald Hartley - February 29th, 2016

phoneRecently I woke up one morning and began my day like most ordinary days getting myself together, waking up just having a lazy kind of day. I didn’t have to work that day, sitting back enjoying an episode of Daniel Boone. Boonesborough was under attack by Indians and could Daniel save the day. Just as two Indians were about to attack Mingo, the phone rang and I answered it wondering who might be calling me this early on a Saturday morning. I answered the phone:

Hello, how may I help you?

The response: Is Mrs. Hartley available?

I responded that she was not present. She is not home at this time.

I was asked, are you the husband of Mrs. Hartley?

I responded “Yes”, most certainly, how may I help you.

caller 1The Caller asked me for my Wife’s last four of her Social Security Number. I was able to give it.

With all the traveling that my Wife was doing trying to work as a traveling Nurse, we were late for a payment. In talking with the Caller, I was quickly able to make the appropriate response taking care of the problem.

Because the Caller was so helpful and courteous, I came right out with it: “Your Catholic are you not”?

The Caller paused for a second and admitted, “Yes” he was.

I asked him why he had not been practicing his faith as he should?

His response was that he tried to get to Mass as often as he could.

I asked him when he last went to confession?

confession 3He admitted that he had not gone to confession since he was a sophomore in high school, he was now 31 years old.

I told him that in the past couple of weeks I met a woman who had made he first confession in 55 years. She was a survivor of the Nazi occupation of Poland and escaped to the United States through the efforts of Pope John Paul II who at the time was studying to become a priest. Through the years, in American Culture, she had lost her Catholic identity only to finally re-discover it.

I then told the Caller the importance of going to confession and getting his life totally in line with Christ’s Church. I told him the scripture, James 5:19-20: “My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should 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.”

The Caller became very interested in what I was telling him and asked for our information. I went back to the Apostles, their successors right down to today.

CD 1 (1)I told him that I was known as the “Catholic Defender” and he could find me simply by Google. That he could find www.deepertruthblog and listen to our radio programs and read our articles. The Caller became very interested and promised to me that he would follow through and re-discover the roots of his faith. We must of talked on the phone for more than 20 minutes as we talked about the Catholic Faith. I
also encouraged him to ask about Cursillo  in his Parish and Diocese. That would be a great shot in the arm!

Ladies and Gentleman, the Caller reminds me that you may not always know when the Lord might send someone to you to help them in their footsteps. The Lord’s mission could come to you through a million different ways, just like this morning’s Caller! How easy it could have been to either let it ring or even hang the phone up.

HEB opened a new mega-store in Copperas Cove that just opened up this weekend. There were thousands of people and so I went there to get some odds and ins getting ready for the Superbowl Sunday. Even Deepertruth needs to be ready for the Superbowl! While looking through the cheese and meats section, a staffer was planted near by so I struck up a conversation with her. She was from another area HEB who was helping out with this opening weekend. She was a strong believer in the “Non-denomination” groups, but by the time I left the scene, she had a much better understanding of the Catholic Faith! How wonderful it is to give witness for the Faith of the Apostles.

Spiritual-hungerThere is much hunger out there and the Lord is calling us to be His hands, His feet, and His voice. At the end of the day, it has been a good Deepertruth day as hopefully, the seeds of faith were sown and the Lord most glorified. Jesus said, “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice” (John 18:37). “Jesus also said , “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:8).

Jesus speaks through His Church. St Paul wrote, “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 3:15). May the Lord bless us this Easter Vigil with many conversions and reversions! Amen!

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The Catholic Defender At The Checkout Line At A Local Grocery Store

Posted by Donald Hartley - February 3rd, 2016

hebOne day I was at the local HEB (Grocery chain in Texas) grocery store to pick up some odds and ins for my wife who had made a quick list for me.

The store where I lived is just a couple of minutes away so I usually run up there for my wife when she needs something.

While I was going through the check out line, I was speaking with a lady who was behind me waiting her turn to check out her purchases.

I struck up a conversation with her on the importance of holding on to our Faith. She agreed with me but from a totally different perspective.

She was raised a Lutheran but had for some time claimed to be non-denominational.

She was huge in talking about the Rapture. Well, we ended up taking the discussion outside where we spoke for an hour in the HEB parking lot.

The Lady was surprised to hear a strong rebuttal from a Catholic.

She became interested in what I was telling her and I invited her to check out our website here at Deepertruthblog.com.

The next week, Sara and her Son  (changed the name)  were signing up for the RCIA and I became the Sponsor for both of them. What a great opportunity this became as they were both very involved in the RCIA.

That Easter Vigil, both of them were received into the Catholic Church. Sara’s Son received the Sacramental Grandslam, Baptism, Confirmation, and received his first Holy Communion.

heb 1What a blessing this was.

Recently her son just began college and he is very involved with the youth campus ministry. He is helping serve in the Mass. What a joy to see this taking place.

Sometimes we plant seeds, and what a grace it is to see the growth and maturity take place that is making a difference.

What a great blessing this was to watch the growth of this family in their Catholic Faith.

As we grow closer to the Season of Lent, I am reminded that this season of the Church Calender is not so ordinary.

You never know when the Lord will call you for one of those HEB experiences at the check out line.

The key is being available to do God’s will at any time a situation presents itself.

This next coming Easter Vigil will be filled with many stories that will inspire us as many more people will accept Christ in His holy Catholic Church.

There is a lot of hunger out there and many people are interested in finding something that is real, something with a strong foundation.

heb 2“Be watchful (keep your eyes open), stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love”. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Proverbs 20:13: “Love not sleep, lest you be reduced to poverty; eyes wide open mean abundant food”.

Matthew 25:13 states, “Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

There is the constant theme that we are to keep our eyes open, to keep watch and to stand firm in our faith.

In today’s world, it seems that compromise is everywhere. People are totally all over the board not caring much for the Word of the Lord. Who is listening? Who is awake?

This is one of the important missions of the Shepherds of the Church, to stay awake and protect the flock from predators.

david (1)Young David told King Saul, “Your servant used to tend his father’s sheep, and whenever a lion or bear came to carry off a sheep from the flock, I would go after it and attack it and rescue the prey from it’s mouth. If it attacked me, I would seize it by the jaw, strike it, and kill it. Your servant has killed both a lion and a bear, and the uncircumcised Philistine will be as one of them, because he has insulted the armies of the living God” (1 Samuel 17:34-37).

Similarly, Job states, “Whoever heard of me blessed me: those who saw me commended me. For I rescued the poor who cried out for help, the orphans, and the unassisted; the blessing of those in extremity came upon me, and the heart of the widow I made joyful. I wore my honesty like a garment; justice was my robe and my turban. I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame was I; I was a father to the needy; the rights of the stranger I studied, and I broke the jaws of the wicked man; from his teeth I forced the prey” (Job 29:11-17).

Job went out and sought the Lord’s work. He was not apathetic to the needs around him and he was a champion to those oppressed.

Like David and Job, St. Peter and his successors are called to protect the sheep even those within the clutches of the lion and bear.

We are to stand up for the Lord’s justice against injustice, even when the evil is coming from those of authority.

wolves 1Jesus states, “Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves. But beware of people, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you”

(Matthew 10:16). Consider Zechariah 4:6, “Then the Lord says, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”

If we had the faith the size of a mustard seed, we could move mountains, we must stay alert and keep our eyes open. To keep watch and not to let go of the wheel.

Our generation has fallen asleep, the Church is seen like a “sleeping giant”.

It is important to be open to do the Lord’s will when ever the opportunities come your way, even should that be in a check out line in a store. You never know when someone who is genuinely searching for the truth might be open to the truth through you.

It is important to strengthen true marriage, to bring back the family unit, to bring back a culture of life and respect and honor of God.

Courageous 2011 DVD English Christian Movie screenshot a christian family prayer before a mealFathers, it is time that we stand up for our Faith, to love our wives and Children.

Children are more likely to hold on their Faith when Catholic Fathers are faithful.

Over 90% of the children compared to about 35% when the Mother is trying to do it all.

We cannot continue to be a sleeping giant if we are going to have a chance of returning America back to God.

Please continue to pray for the Church, that more people will seek to start a flame. It only takes a spark to get a fire going.

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