Bread of Life

BREAD OF LIFE
 this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. (john 6: 50)
The miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him. Jesus Christ celebrated the first Mass with His disciples at the Last Supper, the night before He died. He commanded His disciples, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). The celebration of the Mass then became the main form of worship in the early Church, as a reenactment of the Last Supper, as Christ had commanded. Each and every Mass since commemorates Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross through the Holy Eucharist. Because the Mass “re-presents” (makes present) the sacrifice on Calvary, Catholics all around the world join together to be made present in Christ’s timeless sacrifice for our sins. There is something fascinating about continuing to celebrate the same Mass—instituted by Christ and practiced by the early Church—with the whole community of Catholics around the world…and in heaven.

THE REAL PRESENCE

Why does the Catholic Church believe Christ is really present in the Eucharist?
The Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence is the belief that Jesus Christ is literally, not symbolically, present in the Holy Eucharist—body, blood, soul and divinity. Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist because Jesus tells us this is true in the Bible:

“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh." The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ 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” - John 6:48-56
Furthermore, the early Church Fathers either imply or directly state that the bread and wine offered in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper is really the body and blood of Jesus Christ. In other words, the doctrine of the Real Presence that Catholics believe today was believed by the earliest Christians 2,000 years ago!

This miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

WHY BE A CATHOLIC?

The Fall

It is difficult — it has always been difficult, I think—to find a worldview that makes perfect sense. For example, if we believe the universe is created and governed by an all - loving God, we have trouble explaining natural and moral evils.

But if we believe we are not created and there is no God, we have trouble explaining our own sense of right and wrong, our innate fear of judgment, and our yearning for something that transcends nature and endures beyond it.

In Orthodoxy, G. K. Chesterton wrote that he accepted the traditional claims of orthodox Christian doctrine because that doctrine fit perfectly into all the openings, chasms, protrusions and fissures he found in examining the world. It all interlocks, he said, like a vast and exquisitely designed machine. Only when coupled with Christian doctrine does the universe make a complete and intelligible whole.

These ideas led him into the Catholic Church. The great John Henry Newman also reflected on his own experience of the world. To him, it was impossible to explain the constant conflict between human aspirations and human failures—the deep sense everyone has that there is a great deal wrong which ought to be right— unless man is somehow fallen from an ideal state which is still embedded in his consciousness. Newman too became a Catholic.

For both Chesterton and Newman, then, Catholicism presented a worldview which fit reality. Catholicism required them neither to deny their deepest aspirations (as does secularism), nor to make a monster out of God (as do Deism and Islam).

Rather, Catholic teaching takes things as they really are, including taking ourselves as we most deeply perceive ourselves to be (when we aren't engaging in special pleading to satisfy our flesh or our egos), and then Catholic teaching explains exactly what is right and what is wrong, and why, through the doctrine of Original Sin.

The Church teaches that we were created for God and designed to live in close union with Him. But through rebellion against him, we have lost the perfect integrity that comes from living in that unity. The results are plain to see

Happily, this Fall was not sufficient to thwart our destiny. Rather, it stimulates us to a sort of divinely inspired frustration with our weaknesses and limitations, and a divinely inspired dissatisfaction with all the natural and moral problems in the world.

Our sense of frustration and dissatisfaction causes us to look again to God for the means to restore our unity with Him — a means that we can find only in Jesus Christ. There is a sort of inescapable logic in this account of fall and redemption. It may not always speak perfectly to what we’d like to believe or like to do at any given moment, but it does speak perfectly to what we most deeply perceive of reality when we’re being honest with ourselves.

To Deists and some simplistic Christian sects, because the hand of Providence guides things perfectly, it follows that whatever is is right; those who fail to accept this are justly doomed. To secularists, by contrast, whatever is is wrong; insofar as we can engineer something better, especially to ensure our own temporal satisfaction, we must do

It is not surprising that many secularists regard religious people as a threat, because religious people don’t place much confidence in man’s ideas about how to make a perfect world. They are likely to keep trying to help others, one by one, out of love; they are not likely to trust programs to end all programs, or wars to end all wars.

For the deeply religious person, and in particular the person who has tuned in to the Catholic vision of reality, everything is right with God but human sin has mucked up the world

Christian doctrine fits what we see of the universe as a hand fits a glove, or as the hand of God fits the world He created. Therefore, it makes sense to the Catholic to seek first the Kingdom of God, and to expect that everything else will follow (Mt 6:33).

At bottom, in the recesses of our hearts, I suspect all of us know we need something more to save us than the plans of the intelligent, the rich, the famous and the powerful. This is because we know we need someone to save us not just from this or that situation but from ourselves. Initially we perceive the goal but dimly, because we are fallen, but that we are fallen becomes increasingly obvious as we mature.

The fundamental mission, the only mission that will work, is to restore man’s lost integrity. This integrity can exist only in union with God, without Whom perfection is impossible. But if the problem is that we are fallen, then who can lift us up? Only the Son can draw us back to union with the Father.

Only Jesus Christ can restore our integrity, and with it the integrity of the entire universe. Only Jesus Christ, the Son of God, can honestly say the words we most yearn to hear: “Behold, I make all things new” (Rv 21:5).

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Originally published February 2, 2010.
Previous in series: Why Be Catholic? 8: Incarnation
Next in series:Why Be Catholic? 10: Reason

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I AM GOING STRAIGHT TO HEAVEN

"I Know that I am Going Straight to Heaven when I die!"

So I was told by a non-Catholic recently. He would not tell me which denomination he belonged to but did say that he was an elder. He immediately started with his litany of criticism of the Catholic Church and said that he liked Martin Luther. When I realized that this was headed towards being a one sided conversation on his part, I replied that I would be happy to answer any question that he may have if he would first answer only one very simple question of mine.

"Please name the person who founded the Catholic Church?" He ignored it and continued with his litany. So I turned my simple question around with: "Please name the Church that Jesus Christ founded?" Again he refused to answer my simple question and continued with his agenda, so I ended the one sided conversation promptly.

You see we all must obey Holy Scripture: Titus 3:10-11, "As for a man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned."

I believe he knew very well the answer to my question but was likely one of those who taught that the Catholic Church fell into apostasy as many denominations teach. Also by telling me the truth he would be admitting that Jesus Christ was the founder of the Catholic Church.

If he did admit that then I could see him as being a new Saul who persecuted Acts 9:3-5, "Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"" And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting."

Why did Jesus say "why do you persecute me" instead of saying 'why do you persecute My Church'? It is because His Church is His Body, Ephesians 1:22-23, Colossians 1:18,24.

Now let us go back to his remark, the title of this page... His remark of "I know that I am going straight to heaven when I die", is in reality the deadly 'sin of presumption', and I will explain. He is guilty of a false Protestant teaching, that is to grab one Bible verse that sounds goo exegesis, that is of context, context, and context.

Case in point: The entire Bible is harmonious. There are no errors within it, only 'apparent' errors as seen by those who seek the truth but not by those who have a contrary agenda. Here is the verse that they use mostly to try to justify their false belief in their 'guaranteed' salvation: Romans 10:9, "For if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved."

Now if they would only read the very next verse there is a stumbling block therein that is ignored: Romans 10:10, "For, with the heart, we believe unto justice: but, with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation."

Now let us see what one of the best Bible commentaries has to say about Romans 10:9, Haydock's 1859 edition:"Ver. 9. Thou shalt be saved. To confess the Lord Jesus, and to call upon the name of the Lord, (ver. 13.) is not barely the professing of a belief in the person of Christ: but moreover implies a belief of his whole doctrine, and an obedience to his law; without which the calling of him Lord will save no man.
(St. Matthew vii. 21.) (Challoner) --- This passage must be understood like many others of this apostle, of a faith accompanied by a good-will ready to perform what faith says must be practised; as it is required in this very place, that what we believe in the heart, we should confess with our mouth. (Estius)"

Now since we all know that the Bible is harmonous from beginning to end, did you notice that Haydock's steered us to another verse that has more to say regarding Romans 10:9? Matthew 7:21, "Not every one who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

Is that verse a contradiction of Romans 10:9? Not at all. It is merely adding to its c context. Not every verse can contain every condition associated with it for obvious reasons. For one, the fact that other Biblical authors had written regarding the same subject, but from a different point of view and their differences are an addition to the context of the whole subject.

Here are many more verses regarding the 'sin of presumption'.

James 4:13-16, "Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and get gain"; whereas you do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that." As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil."

Isaiah 13:11, "I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pride of the arrogant, and lay low the haughtiness of the ruthless."

Romans 12:3, "For by the grace given to me I bid every one among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith which God has assigned him."

2Timothy 4:3-4, "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths."

Luke 9:23, "And he said to all, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me"."

James 4:10, "Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you."

1Peter 5:5, "Likewise you that are younger be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

Numbers 15:30, "But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people."

James 4:6, "But he gives more grace; therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble"."

Deuteronomy 18:20, "But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die."

Philippians 2:12, "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;"

Luke 14:10-11, "But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, 'Friend, go up higher'; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

1Corinthians 10:11-12, "Now these things happened to them as a warning, but they were written down for our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall."

Rom 2:4-6, Or do you presume upon the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not know that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. For he will render to every man according to his works."

"Hebrews 10:26-27, "For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire which will consume the adversaries."

Deuteronomy 6:16, "You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah."

1Corinthians 10:9, "We must not put the Lord to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents;"

2Corinthians 10:18, "For it is not the man who commends himself that is accepted, but the man whom the Lord commends."

Oh yes, remember at the beginning of this message that elder who contacted me and would not answer a single question of mine? He said he liked Martin Luther. Well it is too bad that he either did not read the writings by Luther, or did and ignored much of what Luther wrote. Here is a gem that Luther wrote, complete with references:

Letter to Melanchthon, August 1, 1521 Luther's Works, vol. 48

"If you are a preacher of grace, then preach a true and not a fictitious grace; if grace is true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly.... as long as we are here [in this world] we have to sin.... No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day."

Written by Bob Stanley

December 7, 2015

Friday, July 1, 2016

THE LONG LONELINESS QUOTES

The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist by Dorothy Day

The Long Loneliness Quotes (showing 1-9 of 9)

“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.”
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“It is people who are important, not the masses.”
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“We cannot love God unless we love each other, and to love we must know each other. We know Him in the breaking of bread, and we know each other in the breaking of bread, and we are not alone anymore. Heaven is a banquet and life is a banquet, too, even with a crust, where there is companionship.”
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“I felt that the Church was the Church of the poor,... but at the same time, I felt that it did not set its face against a social order which made so much charity in the present sense of the word necessary. I felt that charity was a word to choke over. Who wanted charity? And it was not just human pride but a strong sense of man's dignity and
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“Once a priest told us that no one gets up in the pulpit without promulgating a heresy. He was joking, of course, but what I suppose he meant was the truth was so pure, so holy, that it was hard to emphasize one aspect of the truth without underestimating another, that we did not see things as a whole, but through a glass darkly, as St. Paul said.”
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“I felt, even at fifteen, that God meant man to be happy, that He meant to provide him with what he needed to maintain life in order to be happy, and that we did not need to have quite so much destruction and misery as I saw all around and read of in the daily press.”
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“For to Ade,...the holy man was the whole mad, the man of integrity, who not only tried to change the world, but to live in it as it was.”
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“There was no attack on religion because people were generally indifferent to religion. They were neither hot nor cold. They were the tepid, the materialistic, who hoped that by Sunday churchgoing they would be taking care of the afterlife, if there were an afterlife. Meanwhile they would get everything they could in this.”
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“I was lonely, deadly lonely. And I was to find out then, as I found out so many times, over and over again, that women especially are social beings, who are not content with just husband and family, but must have a community, a group, an exchange with others. Young and old, even in the busiest years of our lives, we women especially are victims of the long loneliness.
It was years before I woke up without that longing for a face pressed against my breast, an arm about my shoulder. The sense of loss was there.
I never was so unhappy, never felt so great the sense of loneliness. No matter how many times I gave up mother, father, husband, brother, daughter, for His sake, I had to do it over again.
Tamar is partly responsible for the title of this book in that when I was beginning it she was writing me about how alone a mother of young children always is. I had also just heard from an old woman who lived a long and full life, and she too spoke of her loneliness”

THE LONG LONELINESS QUOTES

The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist by Dorothy Day

The Long Loneliness Quotes (showing 1-9 of 9)

“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.”
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“It is people who are important, not the masses.”
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“We cannot love God unless we love each other, and to love we must know each other. We know Him in the breaking of bread, and we know each other in the breaking of bread, and we are not alone anymore. Heaven is a banquet and life is a banquet, too, even with a crust, where there is companionship.”
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“I felt that the Church was the Church of the poor,... but at the same time, I felt that it did not set its face against a social order which made so much charity in the present sense of the word necessary. I felt that charity was a word to choke over. Who wanted charity? And it was not just human pride but a strong sense of man's dignity and
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“Once a priest told us that no one gets up in the pulpit without promulgating a heresy. He was joking, of course, but what I suppose he meant was the truth was so pure, so holy, that it was hard to emphasize one aspect of the truth without underestimating another, that we did not see things as a whole, but through a glass darkly, as St. Paul said.”
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“I felt, even at fifteen, that God meant man to be happy, that He meant to provide him with what he needed to maintain life in order to be happy, and that we did not need to have quite so much destruction and misery as I saw all around and read of in the daily press.”
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“For to Ade,...the holy man was the whole mad, the man of integrity, who not only tried to change the world, but to live in it as it was.”
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“There was no attack on religion because people were generally indifferent to religion. They were neither hot nor cold. They were the tepid, the materialistic, who hoped that by Sunday churchgoing they would be taking care of the afterlife, if there were an afterlife. Meanwhile they would get everything they could in this.”
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“I was lonely, deadly lonely. And I was to find out then, as I found out so many times, over and over again, that women especially are social beings, who are not content with just husband and family, but must have a community, a group, an exchange with others. Young and old, even in the busiest years of our lives, we women especially are victims of the long loneliness.
It was years before I woke up without that longing for a face pressed against my breast, an arm about my shoulder. The sense of loss was there.
I never was so unhappy, never felt so great the sense of loneliness. No matter how many times I gave up mother, father, husband, brother, daughter, for His sake, I had to do it over again.
Tamar is partly responsible for the title of this book in that when I was beginning it she was writing me about how alone a mother of young children always is. I had also just heard from an old woman who lived a long and full life, and she too spoke of her loneliness”

Saturday, June 18, 2016

JESUS, THE BREAD OF LIFE

White bread, rye bread, wheat bread, pita bread, zucchini bread, and pumpernickel! Perhaps no food comes in as many varieties as bread, known as the staff of life. Because bread is so basic to our life, God was wise to nourish us with divine life in the form of bread, the Eucharist.

Jesus foretold this marvel when he claimed, “I am the bread of life….I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (John 6:48, 51). This was not just a figure of speech.

Jesus meant the words literally. At the Last Supper the night before he died, he held bread in his hands and said to his friends, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24).

Ever since then Christians have been celebrating the breaking of the bread. We come together to share a meal and be fed with the bread and wine that is Jesus. The Eucharist is a gift of Jesus' love through which we remember his death and resurrection and share in them.

When Jesus called himself the bread of life, his listeners no doubt thought of Moses. Through Moses God sent down manna, bread from heaven that fed the chosen people for 40 years before they reached the promised land. Jesus explained, “Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die” (John 6:49-51).

God prepared us for the mystery of the Eucharist in several ways. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, a town whose name means “House of Bread.” His mother laid him in a manger, a feeding trough, a hint that someday he would be bread for the world.

All four Gospels tell the story of the miraculous feeding of crowds, which foreshadows what happens at Mass. Jesus fed thousands of people by having the disciples distribute five barley loaves and two fish. After everyone had enough to eat, there were still 12 baskets of leftovers (and in some accounts seven).

Even the time Jesus gave us the Eucharist was a clue to its meaning—the time of Passover. At this feast the Jewish people celebrate their salvation from death in Egypt by a meal that includes unleavened bread and wine.

When we partake of the Eucharist, Jesus feeds us with his body and blood. We enter into communion with him and with one another. Unlike other food, which becomes part of us, Jesus in the sacred bread and wine makes us more like him. Therefore we, too, are to be bread for the world.

The living bread sustains us and prepares us for that day when we will come to the heavenly banquet. It is a pledge of future glory. It is the means by which Christ fulfills his promise, “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

† Give us this day our daily bread! †