Christianity

Christianity 101 – The ‘elder brother’ syndrome

christianity-1012

It seems to have become the fashion these days, particularly in the US, to tell other Catholics who might disagree with one’s particular take on Catholicism that, “You are not Catholic.” The phrase, “You are not Christian,” tends to be hurled in a parallel manner by those of Protestant bent, in particular the evangelicals. Both phrases, however, are theologically incorrect, not to mention that such phrases are often used as weapons toward the ‘undesirable’ other Catholic/Christian by the ever-so-correct under the rationalization of evangelization. An analogous weapon seems to be the phrase, “You are not part of the Body of Christ.”

Leaving aside, for the moment, that the word Catholic means universal, not parochial, thus any parochialism or tribalism under the name of the Faith is to be eschewed, one becomes a Catholic Christian by being baptized with the Trinitarian formula in the Catholic Church. In a similar manner, one becomes a Christian, as the term has been appropriated and is understood by several evangelicals, by being baptized by another Christian using the Trinitarian formula. And let us not even consider here the baptism of desire and the baptism of blood.

So who is a ‘real’ Catholic? Who is a ‘real’ Christian?

Both of the above persons given as example are real Christians and the first is a Catholic Christian. This ontological change occurs no matter whether one of them professes what is either to the liking or the disliking of the other. Both of them form part of the Body of Christ, since both have been validly baptized with the Trinitarian formula – irrespective of whether the self-righteous like it or not, or if they can or cannot prop up their own egos. Whether one is a practicing Christian or a practicing Catholic, or a good/bad Christian or a good/bad Catholic, does not enter into the equation.

For Catholics, therefore, to tell other similarly baptized Catholics, “You are not Catholic,” because the former disagree with the latter, is an oxymoronic, but highly misleading, statement that is unreflective of the truth. The widespread use of these phrases also reveals what seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding on the part of the ‘phrase-throwers’ (who would ‘evangelize’ others), in relation to what and who constitutes the Church and the Body of Christ. This leaves one wondering if the situation is not one of the proverbial case of the blind leading the equally blind. The same holds true for those who consider themselves just Christians.

Can a person become evil? Correcting the inadequate catechesis of some Christians in the United States

Michael (3)A tendency has arisen and seems to be increasing these days among some Christians, Catholics included, in the United States to regard human persons and their personalities as evil in themselves. Discourses and language such as, for instance, a “distorted and evil soul” or “becoming evil” is being used more and more often to describe “evil people,” or “evil personalities,” who are regarded as “lost souls.” Apart from the fact – obvious even to children – that no Christian, no Catholic, should ever use such language these days in relation to other persons, to consider an individual or a group of individuals as evil per se does not reflect the teachings of the Church.

To give a succint example that is easily understood by the many, not even in the case of a person who is perfectly possessed by evil spirits does the Church consider that individual 100% “evil,” despite the actions he or she may have carried out while under the influence of personified evil. Let alone in the case of people who are not possessed in such a manner, or even harassed by evil or obsessed.

Hence for some Christians and Catholics to consider and describe their fellow human persons in terms of the language referenced above is to manifest inadequate catechesis in the teachings of the universal Church, including Patristics, at best. And to manifest unexpunged self-righteousness – spiritual pride – at worst. The use of such language, therefore, in relation to fellow man does not bring people closer to God. It just calls down His judgment upon oneself, since the judgment of human persons is arrogated to God alone.

Christianity is not what you are trying to make it out to be

img_0201“Arrest him/her!”

“Attention Patriots!”

“Demand action!”

“Fascists!”

These are just a tiny fraction of the calls coming out of the mouths of many Christians – in particular, nationalist-minded White Christians and Catholics – in the United States of America at present; a nation that used to pride itself on the greatness of its heart and its Judeo-Christian heritage. But Christianity is neither what you think it is, nor what you are trying to make it out to be, as Jesus Christ became incarnate to bring love, not hate, to a suffering world and the above samples of calls are nothing but examples of hate and/or incitements to hatred. Restoration, true life, and love have zero relationship to hatred.

By their fruits you shall know them (Mt 7:16).

Christianity has never been, nor is, neither will ever be about the dehumanization and scapegoating of the other – in particular, the disagreeing, the disagreeable, the non-White, the non-believing, or the differently-believing other, as God has granted free will to every human person. Violence in any way, shape, or form, and weapons are never the answer; never! Neither is attempting to restore Christianity as the order of the land through the end of a legislative barrel. God does not act like that; neither should the People of God.

Look at how much they love each other (Tertullian).

When self-identifying Christians and Catholics act or speak in the above-referenced manner, it should be noted that this is not genuine Christianity by any means, no matter what these persons may write or say they are and/or profess. That such individuals tend to do so under the name of Christianity, under the name of Catholicism even, makes it more of an abomination! Only a perversion of Christianity can produce such statements, such declarations, such calls, in accordance with the darkest desires of their hearts, not genuine Christianity illuminated by the Spirit of God. It is a deception at best.

Peace, love, charity, and unity shall not return to the land until We, the People – both left and right; Christians and non-Christians of all stripes – return to God with sincere repentance in the heart, because only Him Who Is Peace can grant the grace of true peace to the land and to the world. Only the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit can re-gather the people, the nations, into unity and fraternal love. Nothing else; no one else.

Christians in America – Am I my brother’s keeper?

With joy you call yourselves Christians and Catholics both in the public and in the private spheres. Indeed, you wear these labels proudly as an identity. You declare that you raise your children, if any, in the faith; even homeschooling them if necessary, and attend Mass in accordance with the holy days of obligation of the Catholic Church. You reportedly receive the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharistic with regularity and “do good works” whenever you can. 

But are you – Christian?

You are blind to the plight, sorrows, sufferings, and tribulations of the people in your midst including the fatherless, the orphaned, the widowed, the isolated, the lonely, the grieving, and the strangers. You speak about Catholicism with authority, especially in relation to the need to give, the need for solidarity, the hot button issues of abortion, euthanasia, same-sex unions, communion for the divorced-and-remarried, and so on and so forth. But do you know how to give your life for others? 

Do you know how to give one half of everything that you possess, like the widow with the mites and with joy in your heart, so that less fortunate others may start living in the dignity that befits all human persons? Or do you just give from your ready surplus, if even that?

You place a premium on strength as an indicator of adulthood and maturity, including spiritual maturity, considering those who are weaker, more vulnerable, as “losers” rather than “winners.” You do this all the while thanking God in your heart that you are, thanks to His grace, “not one of them.” But Christ came to eloquently anoint human weakness or human strength? How can the divine strength enter into a human person and become manifest throughout their being and actions, except in the presence of weakness, littleness, and vulnerability – the very qualities of losers according to your way of thinking?

You are deaf to the repeated pleas and cries for help from those suffering among you. You sleep at night; they do not sleep. You eat during the day; they do not eat except perhaps for the crumbs left over by the dogs. It is suggested that you actively help others who need your assistance, but you displace your responsibility to do so by responding “there are programs for that.” 

Who is a Christian?

Actions, not words, manifest the genuine Christian

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father (Mt 7:21).

It is actions, not words or official affiliations, particularly in the little necessities of everyday life, that manifest who is the true Christian at heart, because anyone can say words and a multitude of them at that. It is only he or she, however, who truly holds the Spirit of God in their heart and soul, who can genuinely act as a Christian in the true sense of the word.

Is Hell reserved only for Satan and demons?

The question was asked, “Is Hell reserved only for Satan and demons?” The answer is in the negative. Hell is also reserved for human persons who die with mortal sin/s on their souls, for which they do not feel contrite. Hell is very real and everlasting.

A question to ponder

When is the last time you have been to confession – the sacrament of Reconciliation with God? How often do you go? If infrequently or not at all, why is that? What slowly led to that? Do you think you can truly live life to the full without the sanctifying grace of God? What do you think happens to you, in your daily life, when you lose sanctifying grace and remain unwilling to regain it?

Discerning true from false teachings in relation to God

Paul, an apostle not from human beings nor through a human being, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead, and all the brothers who are with me, to the churches of Galatia: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins that He might rescue us from the present evil age in accord with the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by [the] grace [of Christ] for a different gospel (not that there is another). But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach [to you] a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed!

Am I now currying favor with human beings or God? Or am I seeking to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ (Gal 1:1-10).

Knowing God as My Father by Fr Abraam Sleman

Almighty God is Father not mother – 2

“There never was a time when the Father was and the Son was not, but always the Father and always the Son, Who was begotten of Him, existed together. For He could not have received the name Father apart from the Son: for if He were without the Son, He could not be the Father: and if He thereafter had the Son, thereafter He became the Father, not having been the Father prior to this, and He was changed from that which was not the Father and became the Father . . . [Moreover] He is also the Father of all His creatures, for God, who brought us into being out of nothing, is in a stricter sense our Father than are our parents who have derived both being and begetting from Him” (John of Damascus, De fide orthodoxa).

The Almighty God is Father not mother – 1

As some keep asking the same question, whether willfully or out of lack of sufficient knowledge, here is the first repost of some posts on why God the first Person of the Holy Trinity is Father and not mother:

Israel has not known Me and My people have not understood Me (Is 1:3)

It has become common these days, especially among modernists and feminists, to conceive of God the first Person of the Holy Trinity as mother rather than Father, even using the term “She” rather than “He.” However, regardless of who may write it, say it or claim it, such socio-theological revisionism is not based in fact, being therefore an implicit if not explicit distortion of both doctrine and the deposit of Faith, because “the Father therefore establishes the Son in eternity by His integral self-giving, while the Son continually affirms the Father as Father from all eternity by the fact that He both accepts His own coming into existence through the Father and also gives Himself to the Father as Son” (Staniloae, D. 1994. The experience of God: Revelation and knowledge of the Triune God, p. 257).

Jesus Christ specifically referred to God the first Person as Father and even Abba throughout Scripture (e.g., Mt 6:9-13, 11:27, 25:34, 26:39-42; Mk 14:36; Lk 2:49, 10:22, 11:2-4, 22:42, 23:46, 24:49; Jn 12:27, 17:1, 17:6, 17:25, 20:17) – in Aramaic tradition, an intimate name that only a natural son or daughter would use in relation to their father. Christ also referred specifically to the Virgin Mary as Mother whom She really was. Moreover, God the first Person Himself specifically expressed His desire to be known as and called Father by His human creatures, namely “I thought you would call me, ‘my Father’ (Jer 3:19) and as confirmed by the Apostle Paul (Gal 4:6; Rom 8:15, 8:29).

More on mortal sin

For whomever does not know, has forgotten, willingly or unwillingly; or just plain does not presently care, mortal sin is:

  • a sin of grave matter;
  • committed with full knowledge;
  • committed with deliberate consent.

1) Saint Paul on what mortal sins are:

“Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:19-20). Paul also tells the Corinthians, “know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor the effeminate, nor liars with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards nor railers, nor extortioners shall possess the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 6:9-10).

2) Sins of anger, blasphemy, envy, hatred, malice, murder, neglect of Sunday obligation, sins against faith, sins against hope, and sins against love.

3) Voluntary murder (Gen 4:10); the sin of impurity, i.e., sodomy and homosexual relations (Gen 18:20); taking advantage of the poor (Ex 2:23); and defrauding the workingman of his wages (James 5:4).

4) Pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth.