Jesus

The Mystical Body of Christ – How does one become part of the Church?

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The Mystical Body of Christ – the Church

A lot of questions, contentions and assertions, often contradictory, have arisen lately about the matter of who is, or is not, part of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. Some have been correct. However, by far, the larger part of the contentions and assertions have all been either just partially correct or flat-out wrong. Some have been fueled by inadequate knowledge; others have been fueled by partisan denominational agendas. Misunderstandings and misrepresentations abound. Let us look, therefore, at who and what constitutes the Church.

The Church is made up of three parts: the (1) Church Triumphant, which consists of all those persons who are now in Heaven, enjoying the Divine Family in a direct manner. The (2) Church Suffering, which consists of all those souls who are still being purified in Purgatory, but who have now attained the assurance of reaching Heaven once their purification has ended. And (3) the Church Militant, the visible Church that consists of all those people on earth who are part of the Body of Christ.

How does one become part of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church?

Entrance into the Body of Christ is through baptism of which there are three kinds: (1) the baptism of water, (2) the baptism of blood, and (3) the baptism of desire. Any person who receives any one of the above kinds of baptism is Christian, hence part of the Mystical Body of Christ (Paul VI, 1964. Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church). This is the official teaching of the universal Church, the fullness of which resides in the Catholic Church.  (more…)

The intermediate coming of Christ

Christ3At an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come . . . Do not just think about his first coming when he came “to seek and to save the lost;” think, too, of that other coming when he will come to take us with him . . . But there is a third coming between the two to which I have referred and those who know of it can rest in it for their greater happiness. The other two are visible but this one is not. In the first, “the Lord has appeared on earth and has spoken to us;” . . .  in the last, “all mankind shall see the salvation of God.” But the one that comes between them is secret; it is that in which the elect alone see the Savior within themselves and their souls find salvation. In his first coming, Christ came in our flesh and in our weakness; in his coming in the midst of time, he comes in Spirit and power; in his final coming, he will come in his glory and majesty (Saint Bernard, Sermons 4 et 5 for Advent).

Icons as Resistance

The Father and the Mother sacrificed their only Son

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Return, O Israel, unto HaShem your God, for you have stumbled in your iniquity (Hos 14:2).

Not even a spark of reverence exists in His Presence any longer. All is dead, despite the appearance of being alive, for love in the hearts of this people has grown cold and bitter. Love Himself is neglected and abandoned. Nothing is offered to Him that He desires and has ceaselessly begged for. Only that which He does not desire is given to Him, if at all.

The flame of true love and true life has gone out in the hearts of this people because love in Persona is unwanted. You who know Him, love Him “with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Dt 6:5; Mt 22:37; Mk 12:30; Lk 10:27). For the most beautiful, tender, patient and loving God is neither loved nor wanted any more.

Discerning the true Church from the false church

1024px-Pope-peter_pprubensThe question has been asked, “How can we know which one is the true Church and which one is the false church in the confusion that is arising?” The short answer is simple.

As evidenced in Sacred Scripture, Jesus Christ said, “I say to you, ‘You are Peter and on this Rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. Whatsoever you shall bind upon the earth, it shall be bound also in Heaven, and whatsoever you shall loose upon the earth, it shall be loosed also in Heaven'” (Mt 16:18-19). Thus, Saint Ambrose said, “Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia, ibi Deus [Where there is Peter, there is the Church and there is God],” because Peter – the Pope – is the Rock, the guarantor of the Faith, and this by divine appointment. Christ Himself prays to the Almighty Father for the Pope.

Several, over the past few days, cognoscenti and otherwise, with an attempt at ‘strength in numbers,’ have claimed that the current Peter – that is, Pope Francis – is “propagating heresies.” But the very premise upon which their claims stand is false, because Christ Himself, Who is God, has declared the true Church to be indefectible. The Pope is, thus, himself indefectible in terms of the Faith and what is needed to be saved, precisely because the Church is indefectible. This is true not just when the Pope teaches ex cathedra under the charism of infallibility, as so many have both failed and keep failing to understand, but also when he teaches non-infallibly, albeit not at the personal level.

The guarantor of the Faith, the Rock, can never fall into the grave sins of apostasy, heresy or schism, because he is safeguarded from doing so by the prevenient grace of God – the operating grace, not the cooperating grace. Throughout the entire history of the Catholic Church, in which resides the fullness of the Church that was established by Jesus Christ while still on earth, no canonically-elected Pope has ever fallen into any one of these three sins or combination thereof while reigning as Pope, despite repeated claims to the contrary, precisely because of the ongoing gift of prevenient grace. Those who would claim otherwise are either inadequately schooled in the actual particulars of history or wilfully misunderstanding said history.

The above-referenced gift of grace, which has been granted to Peter and each one of his successors, and will keep on being granted to their successors until the end of all time, is not provided by God for the personal benefit of the Pope. It is provided for the benefit of all humanity, in order that the ark of salvation, which is the Church, never fails and the gates of Hell do not prevail.

The true Church, therefore, can easily be discerned to be where the Pope is, not where some might claim it to be or even desire it to be, because it is the Pope and no one else who has been granted the divine gifts of the charism of truth and the charism of a faith that never fails.

Veneration of the diptych icon of the Divine Heart of God the Father

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Picture of the diptych icon of the Divine Heart of God the Father visiting and being venerated in the humble abode of a Latino family in the United States of America. Also present are a relic of the True Cross of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, and relics of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the apostles.

The scandal of affluent churches in the United States

How I would love a church that is poor and for the poor (Pope Francis, General Audience, 2013).

There are millions of people who are homeless in America. Millions, not thousands; old and young alike. Yet newly built, protestantized churches like the above abound – and they call themselves Catholic. Not one flower is to be seen near the tabernacles in which God the Most Holy Trinity resides, or near the statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Yet they pride themselves in being Catholic. Was Christ born in a cold and dirty stable in Bethlehem, because his Mother and foster father were homeless and no one took them in, or was He born in the palace of Herod?

You have left your first love (Rv 2:4).

Where is your love? Do you even know what love means? Where is your devotion and fidelity to God? In the parking lots full of sports utility vehicles and ‘trucks,’ the vast majority of which seem to have been released within the past few years – while your own people, your very own people, sleep in the streets or under bridges, and eat food out of dumpsters behind big box stores? Are you a first world nation, America, or a third world nation? Where are your hearts, O People of God?

Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying (1 Cor 11:27-30).

What about your Masses, often standing room only and with innumerable stations for communion under both species, the distribution of which at times lasts almost 20 minutes – only to find not more than 20 people, if that, for the sacrament of confession on any given Saturday? And that when confession is even offered.

What about not a few of your priests, more often than not prancing around for homilies and during which some, for example, on a Solemnity in the Catholic Church, dare to ask if any of the faithful in the pews have dressed up as a lobster on Halloween? Not to mention a narration by one cleric, during the homily, about how much he enjoyed visiting Graceland and the house of Elvis Presley, ‘the King.’ What King? Who is the real King? Where is God? Is this “very reverent” as was said? Is this the “return to the solemnity of the Mass” as was claimed?

And the king will say to them, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me’ (Mt 25:40-45).

And what about the ‘welcome packets’ that are sent by these kinds of churches – packets containing nothing more than a thick stack of envelopes for tithing? Is this the desire of the heart of the Divine Father toward those who cross your thresholds? Do you even know what God wants from His people in relation to others?

Christ, on His visit to the temple centuries ago, flew into a rage, made whipping cords and used them to drive the marketeers out of the house of the Heavenly Father, as the anti-priests of the time had turned the temple into a veritable marketplace (Jn 2:15). And it is happening again. Saint John Paul II, when a simple parish priest, had nothing but a single change of clothing and one pair of shoes to his name. He did not even own a coat, despite the hard, cold weather. Benedict XVI has stated without equivocation that the spirit of the liturgy has been lost in such places. Francis has called without hesitation on a number of occasions for a poor Church for the poor.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” (Mt 19:23-24).

Yet the affluent churches in the United States do not hesitate to call themselves Catholic.

By their fruits you shall know them

It has become the fashionable custom in developed societies, first world nations, to identify as a Christian, in particular in the face of perceived or actual not-so-friendly secular governments. Hard identity Christianity or hard identity Catholicism, they call it. And it is considered both a counter-cultural statement in the public sphere and one of the ‘solid’ markers of a true Christian or Catholic – as though a strong denominational membership identity and its oft-resultant oneupmanship attitude win one an automatic pass to heaven. But this begs the questions, Who or what is a true Christian? Who or what is a true Catholic?

Our Lord, Jesus Christ, has left us a very simple yardstick with which to discern the answer to the above questions. “By their fruits you shall know them,” He said (Mt 7:16), adding that “Not all who call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 7:21).

Who, therefore, is my brother and who is my sister? Who is a true Christian? Who is a true Catholic?

Jesus Christ, Savior of the world

It is Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God the Almighty Father, who is the Savior of the world. Not politicians, right or left, elected or appointed, and not kings and queens, no matter what all the aforementioned created human persons may claim. Only Christ is the Son of God. Only Christ come again, this time into the hearts of humankind – the coming of the Kingdom on earth – can give hope to a fast dying world.

The vileness of the shepherds

There You were all alone, abandoned in an open exposition tabernacle that was dark, with no one in attendance – except for two street cats. The lights would not turn on, the flowers were not real; the room smelled strongly of mold, but the windows were shut tight. No human person was there to adore You – not even one single, withering soul; yet outside there was non-stop chatter and traffic all around.

Mortal sin – what is that? Fidelity – what is that? Worship in Spirit and in Truth – what on earth are those?

So there You were, O Trinitarian God of the universe in the Eucharistic Heart of Christ, but abandoned in Your lonely jail by those You called to be Your very own. All You ever wanted from any and all of Your human creatures was love – but it is precisely love that they have refused to give.

The Sacred Thorns bleed again with the Precious Blood of Christ

Two of the Sacred Thorns that were part of the Crown of Thorns that Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, was forced to wear during His Passion – one in Andria (below), the other one in Bari, Italy – have commenced bleeding again with the Precious Blood of Christ. This miracle, which has been happening for centuries, occurs whenever Good Friday and the Solemnity of the Annunciation fall on the same day as they did two days ago.

The Will of the Almighty Father

Christ said, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, ‘For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Mt 19:4-6).

The Divine Will of God the Almighty Father in relation to marriage, for those who are baptized Christians, is that one man and one woman give themselves to each other, with the intent for life, in and through the covenant of sacramental marriage. Anything else is neither of God, nor from God, despite man-made revisionism and precludes grace, because the Holy Spirit Who is God cannot live where the darkness of sin resides.