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Never Old, Ever New

If one were to ever imply that the Church’s doctrines were old and unrelatable to current affairs, or needing to be revised, so as to be brought up-to-date with the modern culture, this person reveals [indicates] a complete ingorance of the One God, His Church, and the Holy Canon of Scriptures so many take for granted, also known as the Bible.

One who stands with such a statement has declared God unreliable and irrelevent.

Nothing could be further from the Truth. I have found no other topic worth discussing that brings adventure, sense of purpose, or inspiration like that of the Church’s mission and journey through the ages, to share the Gospel Truth throughout the entire Earth, without shame or fear. Only the Truth will remain after all has come to past, and the very elements of the Universe have run their course.

Choose to not only find the Church, which is the Bride of Christ, His Body, but learn to share the Church with others.

 Matt.16:18-19, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

We see that Simon’s name is changed to Peter (Petros) meaning “Rock”. And so we read it as thus in (Matt. 16:18), “You are Rock, and upon this Rock I will build my church.” Then Jesus, the Eternal King whom sits on the Throne of David, places His Keys on the Apostle Simon, now Peter, to serve as Vicar, just as the Kings of the Davidic Dynasty.

 Isaiah 22:20-22, “On that day I will summon my servant Eliakim, son of Hilkiah; I will clothe him with your robe, and gird him with your sash, and give over to him your authority. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; when he opens, no one shall shut, when he shuts, no one shall open.” (shows a parallel to Matthew 16:18-20)

In this passage from (Isaiah 22:22) we see the Old Testament connection to the “keys.”

The Bible further explains the position of Eliakim in Isaiah.

 2 Kings 18:37, “Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace…”

Never doubt the role of the Pope as Vicar of Christ, to rule over the House of God on Earth, as the entire scenario was presented to the prophet Zechariah.

 Zechariah 3:9, “For behold, upon the stone which I have set before Joshua, upon a single stone with seven facets, I will engrave its inscription, says the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the guilt of this land in a single day.”

Seven facets? Yes, seven flat spots on a solid rock… interesting, but what for?

 Proverbs 9:1-6, “Wisdom has built her house, she has set up her seven pillars. She has slaughtered her beasts, she has mixed her wine, she has also set her table. She has sent out her maids to call from the highest places in the town, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” To him who is without sense she says, “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Leave simpleness, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”

Walking in the way of insight is exactly what the Church invites all to faithfully partake in by sharing in the Lamb’s Supper, which is the New and Everlasting Covenant. Wisdom [God] has established the Church, and it is here that we, Catholic Christians, come to the fullness of Truth in Jesus by eating the Bread [His Flesh], and drinking the Wine [His Blood], to which He instructed as our Pass-over meal for the New Exodus from bondage of the world, to find New Life in the world to come. We become a New Creation in Christ, sharing not only in His death, but also His resurrection to New Life.

The ways of this world are Old and passing. Let go of the world, embrace what is New and Everlasting, for the New has come, and the Old has past, and is still passing. All that is shaken will fall away, so come and partake of what is unshaken.

YOUCAT Series 3 – What We Believe: Man Is Receptive to God

Questions 3 to 6
This chapter of the YOUCAT: Man Is Receptive to God, draws heavily on an understanding of the metaphysical, which in layman’s terms is; what is not physical, what is invisible or the spiritual element of existence.

Q. 3
Joel Hodge writes about our yearning for God in an article called The value of theology and the mystery of life;

What Christian faith involves is completely natural to human living: we place our faith in an Other who shows us what it means to be human by his living. We all do this in some form. Christianity is explicit about it, so much so that we devote an academic discipline – theology – to the rational study and explication of our faith. This is, in part, why theology is ‘queen of the sciences’ as it is concerned with the most important and fundamental human questions and experiences. It is the love of God in Jesus that has also allowed Christians to know their lives better, and so flourish in terms of art, music, knowledge, and so on. In this regard, the works of Rodney Stark and René Girard, amongst others, have shown how Christianity has revolutionised human thought and culture.

Q. 4
Moving on to human reason;

The most regarded document on the link between faith and reason is Fides et Ratio by Bl. Pope John Paul II:

Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves (cf. Ex 33:18; Ps 27:8-9; 63:2-3; Jn 14:8; 1 Jn 3:2).

In reading this text we begin to see just how important a solid grounding in the field of philosophy is to fully appreciate our faith and to be able to have meaningful dialogue with others about what we believe and, moreover, to understand the principles of theology.

Q. 5
Indeed, if you have ever had dialect with a non-believer, you would have an insight into this question and just how important a knowledge of philosophy, and consequentially, the appeal to human reason is.

If for instance, every day we struggle with wanting to do our own thing and especially if in the past you have had a lapse of faith or weren’t a religious person, you will know how easily we can convince ourselves that because it is hard to live a life close to God, such a life would limit our freedom and therefore must be wrong. In reality though, only a life in Christ guarantees our freedom.

The Pope’s Message for 2011 World Youth Day does a lot to explain this;

Dear friends, the Cross often frightens us because it seems to be a denial of life. In fact, the opposite is true! It is God’s “yes” to mankind, the supreme expression of his love and the source from which eternal life flows. Indeed, it is from Jesus’ heart, pierced on the Cross, that this divine life streamed forth, ever accessible to those who raise their eyes towards the Crucified One. I can only urge you, then, to embrace the Cross of Jesus, the sign of God’s love, as the source of new life. Apart from Jesus Christ risen from the dead, there can be no salvation! He alone can free the world from evil and bring about the growth of the Kingdom of justice, peace and love to which we all aspire.

However, as he points out in this article, we must remember that ‘[i]t is better to be a searching agnostic than a false believer.’

Q. 6
Yes, we must tell others about our faith!

It is our responsibility to engage with non-believers firstly by appealing to their faculty of reason, vouching for the existence of God and the truth of His Church.

How do we do this seemingly impossible task? Firstly we must remember that when a person outrightly denies or is ambivalent about the existence of God, as the question says, they hope deep down that beyond this life they cannot have come from nothing and go back to nothing. This gives us the confidence to undertake this task, but also, we must remember the value of prayer and the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we have been given, especially in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation – These inspire us to do what is right.

Here is a website on evangelization called Ask a Catholic a Question which has some helpful advice.

Lastly, as Archbishop Chaput said, ‘teaching the truth should always be done with patience and compassion, as well as firmness.’

Reflection Questions
• What is the meaning of the word ‘theology’?

• With the notion of freedom, what are we free from?

YOUCAT Series 2 – What We Believe: Why We Are Able to Believe

Forward
What more could one say about the YOUCAT? I agree, it is really well written, it covers a lot, it is based on the Catechism and even references it.

I don’t want to change any of that in this series. What I intend to do here is what Pope Benedict XVI has asked of us – share on the Internet. This way it will become interactive, intelligible, alive!

So what a book can not do, we can do here; share, discuss, reflect, and learn to love our faith more and more.

I want to provide you with some great links that people have written on the topics as we go through them; some are blog posts, some web pages, others official Church documents. I want to leave you with lots to think about and I hope you will find out more about the topics and share this knowledge back with us.

So let’s begin with Section One: Why We Are Able to Believe.

Questions 1 to 2
Here we look at why we are here and what our purpose is.

Right from the get-go in the YOUCAT we get into some pretty in-depth topics: What does it mean to be human? Why are we here? How does God show His love for us?

Seriously, if you have been looking for more in your life, then a study of Catholicism is definitely for you!

Now you may have guessed that sometimes the answers to these tough questions are not so easy to hear, it means that to agree with Catholic doctrine and live your life accordingly can be hard work. Anything worthwhile though requires hard work, does it not?

As this post from VirtuousPla.net says,

The problem with the way we think about our human nature and the Church’s teaching is that we somehow see the sacramental, dogmatic, and devotional life of the Church as being separate from the fulness of human reality. We think we can be sufficiently human without these things–in a secular world, independent of all the so-called “shackles” of Church dogma, “oppression,” “patriarchy,” and all the other bogey-man buzzwords that so get us moderns shaking in our boots. But the truth of the matter is that secular modern culture is a front-running candidate for the most inhuman of all structures, the most idiotically oppressive, patriarchal, and barbaric of all cultures to have ever existed! If cultures of the past forced man to think only about the hereafter and the things above, then our culture forces man to think only about the present and the things below. If ancient cultures robbed the masses of their livelihoods, then our present culture robs the masses of that one so-very-human quality we all seek: their very reason for living.

This reminds me too, of an article that I read a while back: ‘Pope to young people: Don’t be afraid to ask the big questions in life’;

“Man cannot live without this search for the truth about himself; truth that spurs us towards new horizons and to go beyond what that is merely material, not to escape from reality but to live a more authentic life, richer in meaning and hope,” he said.

So to take away from that, let’s not be afraid to ask the big questions, let’s face them head on together. Some questions I will leave you with to think about are below, and I’ve also added a few links to some great blog posts as well.

Reflection Questions
• What does the term ‘metaphysical’ mean?

• When Jesus said, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life’ (Jn 14:6), What did He mean?

Further Reading
Meaning of life – Why did God create us?

Would you want a book with missing pages?

Is your Bible Catholic? This sounds like a silly question but I mean it in all seriousness. I asked because there are so many versions of the Bible, and it is hard to tell them apart. Most people don’t understand the difference between a Kings James Bible, Protestant Bible, and the New American Standardized Bible.

What prompts this question was when I was asked, “What is the Pillar and Foundation of Truth?” I thought for a moment and answered, “Jesus.” But I was wrong. What would you have said?

I learned that the Pillar and Foundation of Truth is the Church. In 1 Timothy 3:14-14 it states “I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.”

What church is Paul talking about in this verse? Paul is referring to the Catholic Church, the church founded by Jesus Christ. Through the Catholic Church, along with the teachings of the Bible, we have the resources necessary to understand “truth” and fullness of Christ.

I want you to understand the importance of the Church because it practices and perpetuates the values and traditions not written in the Bible. The Catholic Church has preserved sacred traditions and practices established by Jesus.

“I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.” Revelations 22:18-19

A Catholic Bible is the complete Bible. No books were omitted or added. A Catholic Bible contains all the teachings of Christ, in its fullness.

Mariella’s Introduction: “Study.”

Hi. I’m glad you stumbled into Universal Faith. It’s my prayer that you learn much, make friends, and begin your journey to sainthood with renewed vigor while you’re here. We’ve tried to make our movement as homey and accessible as possible; we are a family, after all.

My name is Mariella Cecilia, but I also go by my Confirmation name, Catherine-Rose. Somehow I was blessed enough to get two patron saints for my Confirmation: Catherine of Siena and Rose of Lima. Back then I didn’t know them very well, but now I understand how these two great saints are going to help me through life. I also consider St. Cecilia one of my patron saints; we share a name, and I attached to my Rosary a St. Cecilia relic medal (yes, they do exist) so she prays with me. Recently I’ve had an increase in my devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and I turn to St. Faustina for advice on all my religious projects–reading her diary, I’ve found we have a lot in common as far as devotions, goals, and fears. But everything I do is for the sake of Jesus and His Sacred Heart, because He died for me and loves me more than I deserve.

Among many other things He gave me, the LORD gifted me with a passion and talent for writing novels. I discovered this talent early, when I was eight–I remember hiding under the table with a notebook because it felt so epic. In the years between that and my 17th birthday, I’d written 16 novels and even more unfinished drafts. I abused the gift GOD gave me, and wound up with a severe case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome that put all my projects to a halt when 2011 came. The last significant thing I achieved with my writing was getting one of my novels to the top 5 on a website called inkpop; it got reviewed by a HarperCollins agent, and then all my projects just…stopped.

My hands hurt too much to write anything else.

May through August 2011 was excruciating. If you’re an artist, you’ll probably understand the agony of having to drop your art–and only means of expression–completely, after having let it define you all your life. I felt empty, devoid of personality or purpose. I sank into a depression that I still struggle with now. All I could do was read, but reading Young Adult Fiction only gave me more ideas that I could not write; they would torment me. I put all those books away.

That left my shelf full of books about Jesus and the Church. Here’s an old blog post from back in those awful days, where you can see how my perspective changed.

Go back three years. I was clueless about my religion, and all my friends were Christians of different denominations who would pull me into debates which I would lose. Without meaning to, my beloved friends damaged my faith in Catholicism, so I was left to wander without a clue regarding the spiritual life. When I searched the Internet for answers, I ran into anti-Catholic websites that rubbed salt into the wounds and sometimes made me cry. Where was I? I can say now that nothing hurts more than damaged faith–not even Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

But GOD gave me strength from nowhere and whispered, “Study.”

So I gathered up books on Catholic theology, joined Catholic Answers Forums, and finally learned the reason why I’m Catholic. Nothing can shake my faith in the Church ever again, and while I was suffering with CTS I read about her and fell even more in love with her. I dedicated my life to sharing this beauty with other teens going through what I did.

That’s why I started this movement, with the prompting of Jesus. There aren’t enough people trying to be saints anymore, and this saddens Him greatly.

The Church helped heal me when I had nothing to look forward to, and was at the verge of losing hope. Now, I want you to discover this beauty too.

I live in the United States, somewhere in the west. I’m 17 years old, 18 on December 14. I’m obsessed with country music. Every single day, I love Jesus more. I was baptized in 2005, and I’m grateful for my parents and brother. I love them all dearly. I have lots of stories to tell, and I can’t wait to share them with you. I pray that you warm up as we get ready for Christmas Eve, and ready to change the world.

Through a great miracle and the wonderful mercy of GOD, I finally got surgery for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome on September, and am still recovering; in the meanwhile, I remain in prayerful study, waiting for my chance to serve the LORD and His Church. Thank GOD for my mother and father, and my brother, who saw me through this agonizing episode of my life. Now, on the verge of my 18th birthday, I’m ready to start anew–a different creation in Christ.

Thank you for reading, and God Bless. My other blogs are:

A Catholic Sheep
MariellaCecilia (the Tumblr)
The Escapism Project