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.


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.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012



Why Is Masturbation Sin?

Masturbation is a sin because a person consents in their own heart to take sexual gratification from impure thoughts. It is sinful to indulge in the sexual pleasure that is derived from the satisfaction of using one's imagination to FIXATE upon obscene images, or obscene actions, or forbidden sex. Lustfully fixating upon genitals, or sexual acts, is idolatry. This is called: the worship of obscenities. This is the sin of those addicted to pornography. That's often a "guy" thing. Alternatively, taking delight in the lust of another, or consummating a fantasy of forbidden sexual romance, is the sin of adultery in the heart. That's often a "girl" thing. The act of masturbation is an outward act that confirms that one's heart and mind has consented to an inward act of impurity. Only by consenting to an imagined act of impurity can one attain orgasm. To attain sexual release, a person's will consents to LOVE something that is sexually impure.

A sin consists in loving something that God hates, or in hating something that God loves. Because God is pure love, in one sense there is no hatred in God. But there are actions that God regards with a COMPLETE ABSENCE of love. There are many things that men can do that God does not love. In so far as God does not love a human action, according to our way of thinking it can be said that God hates it. These actions are sins. They are often as hateful to men as they are to God! What are some things that God does not love? What are some things that, according to our human way of speaking, we might say that God hates??

Above all, God hates falsehood. God hates any form of lie, rejoicing in cruel lies, or in telling harmful lies about others. He hates any kind of injustice perpetrated upon his children! God hates cruelty, or the defrauding of a worker of his just wages. God hates it when one person entices another person to do something harmful to himself or others: like to worship evil, or to steal, or to lie, or to take drugs. God also hates impure sexual lust because lust is a false pretense of love. It is a gross and disordered counterfeit of what should really be a sentiment of holy love. Lust consists in fixating on the body of another human being as a sexual object - solely for sexual gratification. When a person lusts, he is making no lasting commitment to the other human being. He is regarding the other human being's body as a sexual object to be used for his own gratification - but nothing more! Outside of marriage, a person who lusts is acting as if he would take another person sexually to be his spouse: but he has absolutely no intention of actually doing so. That is why LUST IS A LIE.

When the subject of masturbation arises, it always refers to stimulating one's self for the gratification of sexual lust, or in stimulating one's self sexually while fantasizing about the lust of another person. In impure sexual fantasy, a person uses his own imagination as a pornographic tool to give his body the ability to attain sexual gratification. In reality entertaining lustful fantasy is embracing a falsehood of the heart and mind, in an act of abuse of his own body in order to attain selfish sexual gratification. This is sexual idolatry! God hates falsehood - especially worshipping a false god! This is why God hates impurity in all it's forms.

God hates the worship of ugliness, or obscenity, or bestiality. A person who might sexually gratify himself while looking at bestiality is acting as if bestiality is a good thing - when it is a hateful thing! In the same way: lustfully fixating upon lurid sexual pornography is a behavior that pretends that some obscene sexual image, or a lurid posture, or an obscene action is a good thing, when they are nothing but obscene and hateful images! These images are used as objects of false worship. These obscene images, be they real, photographic, or imaginary, are the objects of the "worship of obscenities" specifically referred to in the Bible. Do not be deceived! Those who willfully, and habitually indulge in these acts of impurity, without repentance, will incur eternal damnation. (Rev. 21:8)

God hates pornography because it is used to degrade human beings: both men and women. The sole purpose of hard-core pornography is to create and inflame degrading sexual lust, or to invoke unholy gratification by the enjoyment taken in the degradation of another person. Indulging in impure lusts, or taking delight in the lust, or degradation of another person constitute the sins of impurity. Masturbation severely damages a person's ability to accomplish the intended purpose of loving marital sexuality.

Holy sexuality is the loving donation between a man and wife of their own bodies to one another. In marriage it may be enjoyed for holy procreation, or to express romantic love, or simply for the delight that the freedom marriage affords the spouses to release the tensions of life. It may even be an act of charity! But it is always a privileged act of special intimacy reserved for spouses alone. Masturbation, by it's very nature clouds and degrades the purpose and privilege of married sexuality. Masturbation is a solitary act of gratifying one's own physical urge. Performed as a solitary act, even in the married state, it degrades the place of honor of the spouse! It often serves to sexually replace the spouse entirely! This is because masturbation trains a person to abuse his own sexual powers outside the intended order of God, in a selfish solitary way.

If a Catholic has committed sins of masturbation, he must confess these sins in the confessional in this way: "I have committed sins of impurity with myself (mention a specific number)." If a non Catholic has committed sins of masturbation, he must humbly kneel down and beg pardon for his sins, and pray to be delivered of such temptations in the future. Preferably, he would seek out a trusted person who understands this sin: and confess this sin or habit: as is appropriate. "Confess your sins one unto another, and you shall be healed." One must NEVER describe his sexual sins in such a way that it might be an occasion of sin to the confessor! One must never mention names, or details: just the generic name of the sin: and nothing more. If there are circumstances which make any sin more especially grievous, then one must mention WHY his sin is more grievous - but must never he be graphic or explicit about the acts themselves.

One must never provide images which would pollute the soul of a confessor. A trained confessor has heard these sins tens of thousands of times. He does not want graphic details: nor is the divulging of details appropriate at all! Rather - the confessor is there for the sinner who must honestly accuse himself before God, by submitting in humility to the witness of the confessor. Here, honesty is critical. Intentionally withholding any grievous sin renders a confession null. It is only the sinner who is healed by his forthright admission of his sin in the presence of a person who only acts as a witness of his remorse. There are many sins which, at first, seem to be most embarrassing to confess. But there is no sin that in it's nature is not common to all men. Every confessor has heard every variant of every sin hundreds, if not thousands, of times before. Absolution, and sacramental forgiveness comes only from Christ. For Catholics this is always assuredly accomplished by sacramental absolution given by the priest, who speaks not for himself, but for Christ - as an assurance to the person that his sins are indeed forgiven by his humble confession, and by the power of this sacrament.

This particular sin is the most frequently mentioned sin by men in the confessional. It IS a very common sin. Usually, it is a mortal sin. If a person is in a state of grace, and is striving to remain pure, it may not be a mortal sin if suddenly, almost spontaneously, one looses control at a moment of weakness. In such instances a person may not have given "full consent of the will." These unplanned venial wounds, however, are often followed by acts that ARE mortal sins. Once the spontaneous physical impulse has passed, a person may continue to masturbate only to satisfy unnecessary carnal lusts that are intentionally entertained! If these acts are done with decided forethought, then the will has certainly fully consented to commit them. As such, they are definitely impure and mortally sinful. Therefore, ordinarily, if Catholic people have committed sins of masturbation, they should NOT receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion until they have gone to Confession.

Holy Communion is a very private thing - and no one should ever feel compelled to receive Holy Communion: no matter what the circumstance. It is most inappropriate to ask another "why did he not receive communion?" Such questions are ignorant, inappropriate and absolutely outside the bounds of any relationship whatsoever. Such matters are between the soul and God alone. Even wondering about such things is absolutely ignorant and inappropriate. A teen who feels he should decline to receive Holy Communion in the company of nosey parents performs an act of heroic virtue! Attending weekly mass is always an obligation. But, receiving Holy Communion is not! In Hispanic communities, usually only about 1/4 of the assembly actually choose to receive Holy Communion. It is more ordinary for Hispanics NOT to receive communion, than it is to do so. Their reasons are their own: and their reasons are absolutely private and of no concern at all to anyone else.

To fully understand why masturbation is sinful, one must appreciate the holiness of one's own body, and believe in the true and sacred purpose of human sexuality. The "spiritual union" known as "a state of grace" consists in God's uniting himself with the body and soul of a human being. The sanctification of a soul by the grace of God is a spiritual divine union: it is as sacred as marriage itself! The hearts and minds of Christian people must not be defiled by gratifying themselves by indulging in impure sexual fantasies, or by abusing their own physical sexual powers. One's body is the temple of the Holy Spirit! One can no more masturbate in private without the defiling the temple of the Holy Spirit, than one could masturbate inside a Church without defiling it! If one believes that his own body is less holy than a physical building, then he does not at all understand the meaning of the holy gospel, or the awesome holiness of Christian grace.

The relationship of Christ with his Church is a supernatural marriage. Christ espouses his Church as a bride. The marriage of a man and a woman is but a reflection of how intimately God espouses a soul through the indwelling of his divine grace: which is the indwelling of his Holy Spirit. All are united to God through Christ, and through Christ all souls are united with each other. This holy union of souls is called: the "Mystical Body of Christ" - or- "The Church". Christ espouses his Church as a bride. Christian marriage is only a reflection of this more perfect, and eternal marriage: that of Christ with his Bride, the Church.

God is jealous of what our hearts and minds consent to indulge in. This is because his love is intimately personal! God longs to be loved with the affection and loyalty of a spouse! God desires and intends to enjoin in a spiritual, even matrimonial union with the soul. The union with God of a soul in a state of grace is a very real participation in God's own divinity! In a state of grace, the soul mystically participates in the divine life of God himself through the Holy Spirit dwelling within him. Like committing adultery within a marriage, acts of masturbation break the souls covenant of fidelity with God. That is why, usually, acts of masturbation are mortal sins.
Masturbating in public is a criminal act! Why is this so? Because It is a disgusting and grotesque display of lust which is morally offensive to all! Masturbation is no less morally offensive to almighty God when it is done in private. On the contrary, the marital act of sexual intimacy is holy, which means: "set apart". It is reserved for privacy precisely because it is holy, intimately personal, and sacred. But, how would YOU feel if you knew that your spouse was masturbating while fantasizing about being with someone else? If you are a Christian you would be offended! You would be jealous! You would be angry! God regards the idolatry of consummating lusts in much the same way. In a state of grace, God has espoused the soul in a precious spiritual divine union. This spiritual union is EXACTLY what a "state of grace" consists in.

The essence of the Christian Gospel is God's loving call to all human beings, to accept His complete forgiveness for past sins, and to enter into a new kind of life, sanctified and empowered by divine grace. This is truly a wonderful new life of spiritual union with God. The supernatural power experienced by souls who are truly come to know God in this way is awesome! This is why so many thousands of martyrs chose to spill their blood for Christ, rather than to renounce him. They were not choosing death - giving up their very lives - for some false, imaginary experience! When a soul is truly sanctified the supernatural power of divine grace: the soul is 'born again'. With every passing day, the soul is drawn ever deeper into union with God. This process of being born again is not something that happens only once: it is an ongoing process of supernatural sanctification through the continuous infusion of divine grace. The soul is renewed daily, as it is continuously perfected as a new creation. This 'metanoia', this rebirth of new life in Christ occurs by an ongoing renewal of the mind and heart, through continually increasing in the grace of God. The grace of God is first planted in the soul like a seed: then the soul continues to grow in the life of grace - in spite of blight, and freeze, and sin. There are many difficulties, and crosses, and sins - which confront the soul in it's spiritual journey.

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