Prayer for lost nephew
I would like to ask for all of your prayers for a nephew who is scheduled to have sexual reassignment surgery in the middle of June.
Although it appears inevitable that the mutilation will take place, there is still hope as long as he has breath that he could find salvation in Jesus.
He has always been psychologically unbalanced (narcisistic personality disorder and OCD among others), but is very intelligent (genius IQ but zero wisdom). He became an atheist, then communist, and is now working on a law degree to support radical left wing causes.
He has constantly mocked my brother's faith, takes contrarian views seemingly for fun and hasn't even contemplated the suffering he has put others through. Yet my nephew has acted as if everything was just hunky dory between him and dad.
My brother is a gem of human being: kind, gentle, loving and a very devout man of faith. He was not an enabler at all. He has tried everything to help his son reverse this obsession, even spending a small fortune on psychological counseling.
My brother is one of the main instruments that God used to bring me home. He doesn't deserve the torture that this kid has put him through, but has handled it about as well as anyone could expect. His faith in God and the support of his wonderful, God-fearing, spirit-filled wife are the only things that have allowed him to persevere through these tumultuous years.
Please pray for my brother and his wife also. They really need it more than my nephew.
If you have any time left, I would appreciate if you might also offer one up for me. I am having difficulty letting go of some anger and forgiving my nephew for what he has put my brother through. I have tried, but I can sense that my sincerity is still lacking. Any suggestions for letting go would be much appreciated.
Thank you so much.
Painting from Almighty God
Recently, in conversations with some friends of Mexican descent, they were lamenting the fact that their children didn't know if they believed in God and wondered what they could do to help bring them back.
The first thing I mentioned to them was personal testimony by example. Did how they live reflect their own personal faith and walk with God through Jesus. I only said this as something for them to ponder. I didn’t ask for answers.
After I left the gathering, I started thinking about things that might speak to a younger generation of jaded doubters and skeptics that are bombarded by an increasingly relativist society that is becoming more hostile to people of faith.
I came to think that maybe some sort of miraculous evidence might be one way to at least get their attention.
Then I recalled something that might speak to this younger crowd and very specifically for those of Mexican/Indian descent. A miracle that was at the center of the conversion of their descendants to Christianity. In fact, the greatest mass conversion to Christ in the history of the world.
I am referring to the story of the Spanish conquest of Mexico and the mass conversion of the native people through a miraculous event - the 1531 apparition of the Blessed Mother to St. Juan Diego and his Tilma with her image that she left behind as evidence.
So I began to research the history behind this apparition. I knew there were some unexplainable details concerning the Tilma, but to my utter amazement, found that the image was really and truly “painted” by God Himself. The Tilma has been subjected to extensive scientific experimentation in recent decades which has only confirmed that it is not made by human hands. The fact that this image exists nearly 500 years later on agave fiber which normally deteriorates completely in 20 years is a miracle in itself. This is just scratching the surface of the inexplicable details.
Skeptics may be able to claim coincidence if we are only talking about a few details, but in the end, they will just put another head shaped dent in the sand and move on to safer ground.
Instead of just rattling off the unexplainable details, I will provide some links:
Brief history and details of the Tilma:http://www.maryourmother.net/Guadalupe.html
Five part article with photos and scientific results:http://www.catholic-legate.com/Apologetics/MaryAndTheSaints/Articles/PDF/GuadalupeAcheiropoietos-1.pdfhttp://www.catholic-legate.com/Apologetics/MaryAndTheSaints/Articles/PDF/GuadalupeAcheiropoietos-2.pdfhttp://www.catholic-legate.com/Apologetics/MaryAndTheSaints/Articles/PDF/GuadalupeAcheiropoietos-3.pdfhttp://www.catholic-legate.com/Apologetics/MaryAndTheSaints/Articles/PDF/GuadalupeAcheiropoietos-4.pdfhttp://www.catholic-legate.com/Apologetics/MaryAndTheSaints/Articles/PDF/GuadalupeAcheiropoietos-5.pdf
Catholic Church started 300-600 years later
G4 continually states that the Catholic Church didn't start until 300 - 600 years after Christ.
No evidence is ever cited except a blanket statement that there are no Catholics in the bible.
One thing he claims is that the Church never believed in a Catholic Eucharist because it isn't in the bible.
Instead of going through all of the bible passages that show this (Old Testament prefigurements, the prophecy of Malachi, Instution Narratives, Road to Emmaus discourse, 1Cor 10&11, John 6, The Epistle to the Hebrews, the liturgy in Revelation, etc., etc.),
I will list the writings of the Early Church before the year 600 to show that the Church unanimously held to the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist; that the Eucharist was truly a sacrifice and that the bread and wine were transformed into the body and blood of Christ.
These writings come from every corner of the Christian world.
Whether G4 wants to call all of these men liars is on him. What he can no longer say is that this uniquely Catholic and Orthodox teaching was not believed by the early church.
Predestination Debate Catholic/Calvinist
Here is a link to a 9/10/2010 debate between Catholic Robert Sungenis and Reformed Baptist James White on the issue of predestination.
These two are among the very best at debating and representing the orthodox teachings of their respective faith traditions.
I think they both did well and each left a few questions unanswered or not followed up on.
I always try to listen to these with an open mind, but I won't lie and act as if I didn't have a favorite in this debate.
What struck me most about White's (my surname coincidentally, but no relation) presentation was the idea that all of the warnings, admonitions, exhortations and conditionals in the bible can be swept into the category of descriptive instead of prescriptive.
In other words, when Jesus says "he who perseveres until the end will be saved" He really means the saved will persevere until the end. Now if you take the other 50+ passages that similarly appear to put an obligation upon the believer, and make them descriptive, you have solved most of the problems concerning the believer's security. However, IMHO, you will also make most of those passages redundant, meaningless and full of empty rhetoric.
Prayer for souls
A couple that assisted in the RCIA classes that I attended last year were killed in a motorcyle/car crash this past Saturday. An 85 year old woman suddenly decided to make a U-Turn from the far right lane right into their path.http://www.abc15.com/content/news/phoenixmetro/story/Victims-identified-in-fatal-North-Valley/I9hhEPDRO0i3MOT-3Wwh_A.cspx
Ramon and Margaret Villa were two of the sweetest people I've ever met. Completely in love with each other and with Jesus. They had the kind of spirit that just draws one to them.
If any of you have room in your prayer books, please pray for the repose of their souls. Their family could also use our prayers at this time. Please also add prayers for the woman who caused the accident.
Justified Before Men by works?
In the epistle of St. James, chapter 2 we read:
Jam 2:14 What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food,
16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?
17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
18 But some one will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.
19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe--and shudder.
20 Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar?
22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works,
23 and the scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness"; and he was called the friend of God.
24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.
From a Catholic, Orthodox and some Protestant point of view, the text is quite clear that one must have works (in Christ) to be justified and eventually saved.
Understanding the implications of these verses, many Protestants, most notably represented by Baptists, Evangelicals and Non-Denominationalists have explained that the sort of justification that James was talking about was Justification before Men to show or prove your justification before God.
We all know what Martin Luther thought of this epistle because of its obvious conflicts with his new theory of "Sola Fide" If was relegated to an appendix in his bible translation along with several other NT books.
I believe St. James can't be talking about justification before men for several reasons.
The example of Abraham being justified by works by offering Isaac was only between Abraham and God. Isaac had no clue what was going on. How can this be said to be justified before men?
Another problem that this poses is that it indicates that Abraham was justified well after Genesis 15:6, when the bible declares:
Gen 15:6 And he [Abraham] believed the LORD; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness.
Did Abraham increase in righteousness by being obedient to the Lord?
Was Abraham justified prior to the declaration in Gen. 15:6.?
Does being justified before men allow one to boast?
Is there a conflict between doing your good deeds in private and letting your good deeds be seen before men?
What does Jesus mean by this verse?
Luk 16:15 But he said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts; for what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
What kind of works is James talking about?
What kind of works is Paul generally talking about in places like Romans 3:28 and Eph. 2:8-10.
Does it make a difference what kind of works they are?
Are Paul and James really talking about different types of justification?
Please pray for my father and my family
My father, Basil has been ill for the last year after complications from a heart valve operation. He subsequently developed Parkinson's disease, osteoperosis, lung cancer and diabetes. He also fell and broke his hip. He went through chemo and radiation which did work, but has had several bouts with respiratory problems since.
Now he is back in the hospital with a respiratory syndrome and a collapsed lung. The doctors say he is not strong enough to recover from this. They have him on morphine, but he is still struggling mightily.
He lives 2000 miles from me, but I was blessed to have spent some quality time with him just two weeks ago. Thanks be to God!
Needless to say, I am on my way back to be with him.
Please pray for him and that God may have mercy on him and peacefully release him into His light.
Please also pray for my seven siblings and me to be unified in making the right decisions in Dad's best interests.
Sorry for the detail.
Thank you and God Bless all of you.
Qualifying for the Sacraments
Just wondering what are the qualifications for receiving the Sacraments.
Example: A person raised and baptized a Catholic (has received first communion, but not confirmed) gets married to a staunch NCC outside of the Church. The NCC refuses to have the marriage blessed by the Church. There are children produced by this union that will not in all likelihood be raised Catholic without some sort of miraculous intervention.
Now, the ex-Catholic wants to return to the Church, risking life, limb and marriage.
Is there any way that this person can ever receive the sacraments?
I have heard two completely different answers on this "hypothetical" from two different priests. Anyone have an answer? Please expand on other reasons why the sacraments may be withheld.