Happy Thanksgiving!

First Thanksgiving
[Image from Smithsonian.com here]

When we think of Thanksgiving, we usually think of Puritans or Pilgrims and the Indians having a feast in thanksgiving for a good harvest in 1621.  But I read a post by Dr. Taylor Marshall about some things on should know about Thanksgiving.  Here I outline the 6 facts but you can read his full article here.

l.  The actual first American Thanksgiving was celebrated September 8, 1565 in St. Augustine, Florida.  It was the Feast of the birth of the Virgin Mary and the Spanish had Mass and a feast with their native American friends.

From: http://www.texasgopvote.com/tags/thanksgiving

2. The second American Thanksgiving was celebrated April 30, 1598 when the land north of the Rio Grande was claimed by Don Juan de Onate for the king of Spain.

3. The Pilgrims left England because they thought the Church of England was too Catholic.  Being strict Calvinists, who did not celebrate Christmas, did not dance, play music in church or sing hymns.

4. Squanto was a baptized Catholic.

5. The same injustices that caused the Pilgrims to leave England were the same ones that caused the martyrdom of many Catholic saints in England.

6. “Thanksgiving” in Greek is eucharista–Which is the center of the Catholic Mass.

More information on Thanksgiving and its Catholic roots by Dr. Taylor Marshall:
Squanto was Catholic
The Catholic Origins of Thanksgiving

Our view of Thanksgiving became a Puritan American myth long ago, but it is still a time for all of us to remember Our Lord and all He has blessed us with during the year. 

Advent starts Sunday!  We await the joyful coming of the Lord (at Christmas and His Second Coming). 

Where has the year gone?  God Bless.

Posted in Catholic Thanksgiving, Taylor Marshall, Thanksgiving | Leave a comment

Happy Anniversary!

To my bride, today we celebrate 32 years!  

May our memories continue in escalation 
As we watch our children mature 
And grandchildren in anticipation.
Our future as one cannot be brighter,
The burdens we share,
Are always lighter.
Another year goes into the books,
The photos and albums,
Get still more looks.
So here’s to another year!
With my bride by my side,
I give a loud cheer!
November 27, 2013
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Advent 2013: Reflections


Today is the first day of the liturgical season of Advent during which the Church prepares, by prayer, fasting, almsgiving, in the Mass and other forms of expression, for the return of our Savior at His second coming in which the first coming in His incarnation reminds us.

St Charles Borromeo, bishop, once said that “In her concern for our salvation, our loving mother the Church uses this holy season to teach us.  She shows us how grateful we should be for so great a blessing, and how to gain its benefit:  our hearts should be as much prepared for the coming of Christ as if He were still to come into this world.”

Indeed, one of the ways the Church prepares us is through the readings in the Mass.  Each Sunday of Advent has a theme to help us in our journey towards salvation.  Today, the first Sunday of Advent, the Church chose Scriptural passages to accentuate the fact that many of us slumber through life and that we need to wake up.  Jesus said that we must “be watchful!  Be alert!” because no one knows the day or time of His return, His Second-Coming.  And so He councils us to “Wake up!”

This coming Sunday, the second Sunday of Advent the Church chose Scriptures that accentuate our need to be instructed so that we are prepared for this unexpected return.  As was prophesied, Jesus His coming, and as we see in the New Testament Readings He will return.  And so we are instructed by our past through our traditions and Scripture in passages that speak of the voice crying out in the desert proclaiming “Prepare the way of the Lord, and make straight his path” (Mark 1:3)[1] as John the Baptist did.    


But in the third Sunday of Advent the Church changes gears so-to-speak.  Instead of looking at our lack of perfection, or our failures the Church points to the fact that the battle is already won so as to re-invigorate our hope of salvation.  Jesus defeated death and therefore we are to “Be strong and fear not!” (Is 35:4) as the first reading says.   The Gospel reading of that day tells us to rejoice because we are clothed with the garments of salvation as procured by Jesus and proclaimed by John who came “to testify to the light, so that all might believe through Him.”

 In the last Sunday before Christmas, the fourth Sunday of Advent, the Church show us that we are to be assured of the imminent coming of our Lord by giving us a sign, that a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel (which means ‘God with us’).  This coming of the Son of God is found in the incarnation narrative, where He was conceived in her womb and bore a son that she was to name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father (Luke 1:31-32).  God is indeed ‘with us’.  The Lord God has come, and the Lord God will come again.

So let us begin our preparation of His second coming as we celebrate His first.  For the first week of Advent the Church reminds us to wake up and be alert.  And so we are to work out our salvation by becoming spotless, by being perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect.  This goal is extremely difficult to attain and yet we know that the longest journey begins with a single step.  And so I challenge you to persevere and to do what is good and right.  As a first step of this journey, will you take responsibility for the freedom God gives you?  Will you make a space within each day of Advent to go off with Jesus, listening in the silence for the Word?

 
God Bless

Nathan



[1] A quote taken directly from the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint.  Which is a collection of Old Testament books that have, together with the 27 books of our New Testement, 73 books in it as opposed to 66 in the popular Protestant Bible.

 

Posted in Advent, Christmas, reflections | Leave a comment

An Example For All

Regarding the “witness” Catholics give to Muslims…

Pope Benedict XVI praying to a statue of Mary.  Even though Roman Catholics say, “we are not worshipping Mary, we are not giving her Latria, we are only asking her to pray for us and giving her “hyper-dulia” (extra veneration and honor).  Well, it looks like worship to me.  It is wrong; and it has been a bad witness to Muslims for centuries.

The Muslim quotes Surah 5:116-118.  
I left a comment:  
Indeed, this is exactly why Muhammad thought the Trinity was “Father, Son, and Mother”, as Surah 5:116 and 6:101 and 5:72-75 makes clear.
Because of the churches at that time had “left their first love” (Rev. 2:4-5) and they later exalted Mary too much and prayed to her and had icons and statues.
Those practices which included heretical churches and nominal Christians and also later developed into full blown Roman Catholicism and the iconography emphasis in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and other Oriental Orthodox Churches were a terrible witness to the Muslims.
Even to this day, most Muslims don’t even know what the Trinity is.
Since Muhammad and whoever compliled the Qur’an did not accurately know the doctrine of the Trinity, this proves that the Qur’an is not God’s word.

Posted by Ken at 12:30 AM

Well, first off, what Ken “thinks” when he “looks” at something is truly irrelevant when he states, “Well it looks like worship to me.  It is wrong; and it has been a bad witness to Muslims for centuries.”  Ken gives an accurate, be it partial, accounting of latria and hyper-dulia.  For the reader who may not know, “latria” is the honor reserved for and given only to God, Almighty; “dulia” is honor given to the Saints who have been officially recognized as such and “hyper-dulia” is an elevated honor given to the Blessed Virgin Mary above the rest of the Saints.  So, while he is “right” in so far as this goes, he is wrong in his prejudicial judgment of Catholic motive and intention.

Now, just because “Ken” sees this ignorant comment on a Muslim blog, Catholicism is wrong and to be shamed?  In reality, Ken, the practice of Pope Benedict XVI is completely in line with Scripture in Luke 1:42 and Luke 1:48.  The Blessed Virgin IS honored above all women and every generation, including this one of Pope Benedict XVI, calls her “Blessed.”  The “shame” is upon those who do NOT honor her with the hyper-dulia she deserves and was prophecied she would receive.   

So, what does the Qur’an say in this reference to Surah 5:116?

And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah ?'” He will say, “Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen.

It does not say “Father, Son and Mother,” though one can see where Ken concludes this from the Muslim misunderstanding – but again, just because a Muslim believes wrongly does not make the Catholic practice of giving the Blessed Virgin her due honor, wrong.  Actually, what is written here in the Qur’an is correct!  Anyone who would make the Blessed Virgin out to be a deity along side of God is, indeed, wrong in doing so.  Now, the equivocation of Jesus to Mary here, again, it is wrong of anyone to do this – demonstrates the Muslim denial of the divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  I repeat, because they get this wrong does not mean Catholics need to stop giving due honor (hyper-dulia) to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

As for Surah 6:101:

[He is] Originator of the heavens and the earth. How could He have a son when He does not have a companion and He created all things? And He is, of all things, Knowing.

Again, clearly Islam does not understand the Mystery of the Blessed Trinity and in their ignorance they attack what they do not know – it is common for men to fear what they do not know, but to one who has faith, they have confidence in God who surpasses all human understanding.

And Surah 5:72-75:

72 – They have certainly disbelieved who say, ” Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary” while the Messiah has said, “O Children of Israel, worship Allah , my Lord and your Lord.” Indeed, he who associates others with Allah – Allah has forbidden him Paradise, and his refuge is the Fire. And there are not for the wrongdoers any helpers. 
73 – They have certainly disbelieved who say, ” Allah is the third of three.” And there is no god except one God. And if they do not desist from what they are saying, there will surely afflict the disbelievers among them a painful punishment.
74 – So will they not repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
75 – The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers have passed on before him. And his mother was a supporter of truth. They both used to eat food. Look how We make clear to them the signs; then look how they are deluded. 

Yes, on this Ken and I would agree – Islam does not have the faith necessary to accept the dogma and mystery of the Blessed Trinity – but again, because they do not understand does not mean Catholics need to change their practices!  Ken’s argumentation here is a complete non sequitur.  For clarity, since the Qur’an was quoted, God (or “Allah”) is not the “third of three,” for God is ONE in being, yet THREE in persons.  NO ONE can know EXACTLY how this mystery works – but we BELIEVE it because Scripture implies it and THE Church which Jesus Christ Himself built has dogmatically defined the nature of the Blessed Trinity.

AMDG,
Scott<<<
 
    

Posted in Beggars All, Dulia, Hyper-Dulia, Latria, Mary, Muslim, Pope Benedict XVI, Praying to Saints | Leave a comment

The Noahs Ark Debate

Before I begin here, let me begin with another topic, and that being the age of the world and how do the myths of the Old Testament “fit?”  Yes, I said “myths.”  Now before all the Fundamentalists get up in arms, a “myth” does not mean something is not true!  It simply means it is not verifiable.

This article stems from an on-going discussion on the Catholic Debate Forum (CDF), I encourage your comments either here on the blog or in CDF.

What is a Myth?

Full Definition of MYTH
1a :  a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon

b :  parable, allegory

2a :  a popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone; especially :  one embodying the ideals and institutions of a society or segment of society <seduced by the American myth of individualism — Orde Coombs>

b :  an unfounded or false notion

3:  a person or thing having only an imaginary or unverifiable existence
4:  the whole body of myths

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/myth

Tradition

Tradition has it that Moses wrote the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, sometime after the exodus from Egypt.  Secular history from Moses forward can pretty much vouch for the “history” found in the Bible, but prior to Moses putting the Torah to writing, it was an oral tradition among “God’s Chosen People.”  Outside of Moses’ writings we have very little “proof” to base these stories on, therefore they can rightly be referred to as “myths.”  Again I must stress, just because it is a “myth” does not mean it is not true!

The Myth of Noah’s Ark

So, did Noah’s Ark float approximately 4600 years ago (as Bible literalists believe), or was this only possible tens of thousands if not millions of years ago?  Keeping in mind, the Torah was strictly an oral tradition prior to Moses – so “time” is not so much the important factor here – but the underlying or ultimate truth of God’s Word is.  So, just because scientists (not even all of whom are in 100% agreement here, many supporting the “Young Earth” view too) have logical arguments for how old things are and how long ago any such flood(s) may have taken place doesn’t mean the Biblical stories from Moses are false.

Who Borrowed from Whom?

Some would argue that Moses “borrowed” from other myths going around, like the Epic of Gilgamesh where in “Tablet 11″ we find a story remarkably similar to the Noah’s Ark story (see link below).

In WRITING, the Epic of Gilgamesh predates Moses’ writing of the Torah – but one must keep in mind, the story of the Torah is strictly related to the “Chosen People of God,” those who would become to be known as the Children of Israel.  The problem in stating the Epic of Gilgamesh must have come first ignores the fact that the Children of Israel were without a written language when the stories of Gilgamesh were first recorded.  It is just as logical to argue that the Sumarians “borrowed” from the Children of Israel to write their myths of Gilgamesh.  Just because the skeptic (be he Agnostic, Atheist or otherwise) would more easily accept the Sumarian story predates the stories from the Torah doesn’t mean they are right.  Even if a majority of researchers believed this to be so, logically speaking it is just as possible for the minority to be correct.  Truth doesn’t play the odds, truth just is.

Old Earth v. Young Earth

In this debate we find some who will argue that the alleged 6000 year old Earth is not possible.  When asked about seashells found on mountain tops, one answer is “plate tectonics” caused this.  The argument being that at one point the tall mountains were at the bottom of the sea, where seashells were deposited and through plate tectonics (continental plates colliding with each other) that which was once at the bottom of the sea is “lifted up” into the high mountains.  What this doesn’t explain is how we find relatively YOUNG fossils along side those OLDER ones we would expect to find due to the theory of plate tectonics.

We must also consider 2Peter 3:8 as well where we are told that for the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day.  Keep in mind for the Apostle Peter, 1000 years would seem as huge to him as a billion years would seem to a modern scientist.  In a sense, St. Peter is lending an explanation for just how Scripture, written a couple thousand years before him, can be applied to science, which would be a couple thousand years after him.

So, could it be a relatively young Earth?  Well, it could be – but if it is a relatively old Earth, we’re alright with that too.  The important factor is not the literal amount of time – but that the scriptural stories are true. 

From A Creationist Perspective

Consider this possibility… God created Adam as a man, not as a fetus or a child, but a mature man.  In the same manner, God could have created a “mature Earth” that while it may have only been 6000-7000 years ago, “maturity” was created along with it so that this Earth would have things like dinosaurs, fossils, etc. and organic materials from ancient “pre-historic” days so that the modern age would have things like coal and oil.  Others would argue (see “Arguments for a Young Earth” link below) that it is impossible to have something like oil kept under pressure for more than 10,000 years as under such pressure the porousness of the rocks would absorb any such oil deposits.

Can The Myth of Noah’s Ark Be Verified?

Well, not yet!  And of course, once it were to be verified then we could no longer refer to it as a myth, but rather a fact.   Do we have evidence of an artifact that just might be Noah’s Ark?  Well, many believe such evidence does indeed exist!  According to Gen. 8:4 – the Ark came to rest on the mountains Ararat. (The Douay-Rheims says “mountains of Armenia” and Mt. Ararat is in Turkey near the borders of Iran and Armenia). 

Frozen and Preserved or Dry and Petrified?

In the pictures below you can see “something” which, in the first, has been broken in half and part of it lies higher up in the glacier than the other part.  This photographic evidence I first saw many years ago.
http://www.genesis6giants.com/index.php?s=484

The following video alleges Noah’s Ark found in the glacial ice of Mt. Ararat:

Recently, however, I came across this second set of photos – which are not in the glacial part of Mt. Ararat, in fact are found about 4300 ft. above sea level.  In this second set of photos we find “something” which is not in the glacier at all, but has the shape and size of a huge boat/ship!  In Photo “B” we see “something” which resembles huge apparently man-made “ribs” which could very well be the ribs of the hull of a huge ship!  Not only that, the dimensions of the artifact found below correspond precisely to the dimensions found in Gen. 6:15. 
http://beforeitsnews.com/christian-news/2012/04/shocking-discovery-noahs-ark-found-2044569.html

So, is this evidence enough to “convince” the skeptic?  Probably not – but it IS evidence which supports the “myth” of Noah’s Ark.  This article is not intended to be the end-all or an exhaustive accounting, but moreso a starting point.  Keep looking, keep searching for our Lord and the mysteries of Sacred Scripture.  Seek honestly and objectively and I truly believe you will find Him.

Young Fossils on Mountain Tops:
http://www.creationconversations.com/forum/topics/even-if-evolutionary-theory-should-be-used-to-explain-fossils-in
http://creation.com/giant-oysters-on-the-mountain

Arguments for Young Earth:
http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v7/n4/ten-best-evidences
http://www.earthage.org/youngearthev/evidence_for_a_young_earth.htm

Epic of Gilgamesh Tablet Eleven:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_of_Gilgamesh#Tablet_eleven

Posted in Ark, Catholic Debate Forum, Flood, myth, Noah, Scripture | Leave a comment

The Passover Lamb

Is there a connection between the original Passover lamb and the Lamb of God (Jesus)?

 

Yes, there is a very strong connection between the two lambs.  First, let us go back to the begining.  It all started on that fateful night when the Angel of Death came to kill the first-born son of every family whether Egyptian or Hebrew.  The Hebrew people were to sacrifice an unblemished lamb and mark the posts of their door so that the Angel of Death should ‘pass over’ their household. That night marked the birth of the nation of Israel but it also was a picture of a greater birth and a greater sacrifice to come many centuries later; the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and his sacrificial death upon the cross as the true Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  But before going on let’s see what John wrote about the circumstances of Jesus’ death, the death of the Lamb of God (John 1:29).

 

John is at the foot of the Cross holding Mary, suffering a mothers grief at losing ones son.  John tells us in his account of Jesus’ death that although they broke the legs of the other two being crucified they didn’t break those of Jesus “so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled: ‘Not a bone of it will be broken.’” Here John is referencing the requirement that the bones of the Passover lamb were not to be broken as found in Exodus 12:46 “You shall not break any of its bones.”

 

We can confidently say that John wants us to link the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross to the first Passover because not only does John mentions ‘not breaking any bones’ but even before that statement John still points to this night of the first Passover when he mentions how Jesus was given wine to quench His thirst by using a sprig of hyssop, the same type of plant used to mark the doorframes with the blood of the sacrificial lambs on that fateful night (Exo 12:22).

 

So what happened at the first Passover that John would bring us back to this point in time while Jesus is being crucified?  Maybe so we see the connection between the sacrificial lamb (John 1:29) who saved us from the bondage of sin with the lamb who saved the Israelites from the bondage of the Pharaoh in Egypt.  Maybe because he believed the same as Paul did when he wrote to Timothy that “All scripture is…useful for teaching… and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16).  So we know that the sacrificial system of the Jewish liturgy of the Passover celebration teaches us, trains us in righteousness.  We also see in Malachi that this liturgy will be changed and fulfilled or brought to fruition through his prophecy that: “For from the rising of the sun, even to its setting, my name is great among the nations; And everywhere they bring sacrifice to my name, and a pure offering; For great is my name among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 1:11)

 

First, we see that at the time the book of Malachi was written, God’s name was NOT great among the nations, therefore this is a prophecy of things to come.  Second, at the mention of “a pure offering”, what is the only pure offering ever brought to His name?  Jesus.  Third, we see that at that same event incense is also brought.  This rules out most Evangelical and Fundamentalist groups as they cannot and do not fulfill this part of the prophecy because they don’t use incense in their worship/liturgical ceremonies. And finally, “from the rising of the sun to its setting”.  All day long in other words.  Which worship ceremony uses incense and brings a pure offering all day long (from rising to setting of the sun) all around the world?  The Catholic Church is the only church which can claim this. 

 

But what about the pure offering?  What are we to do with it when we offer it to God?  Well, just look at what John was pointing to when Jesus was dying on the Cross.  Look at what the Israelites had to do at the first Passover sacrifice – they had to kill the lamb and then eat it (Exo 12:7-8 or Exo 12:43-47).  It wasn’t enough to sacrifice the lamb and to put its blood on the door frames.  To save the first-born sons of each household, they also had to eat the lamb as well.  How can we be sure of this?  By listening to Jesus’ own words of John 6 which states I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world(verse 51).  And to confirm this suspicion, the account of the Last Supper as described by Matthew, Mark, Luke and Paul all say the same when holding the unleavened bread once it was blessed.  Jesus says “This IS my body…this IS my blood”.

 

God Bless

Nathan

 
Posted in Eucharist, Passover, Passover Lamb, True Presence | Leave a comment

Why Is This OK?

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