This Catholic Journey
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Name: Amber
Location: Reno, Nevada, United States

I am a 34-year-old single mother of three. I am a convert to Catholicism and came into the Church on April 7, 2007. This blog is a collection of thoughts and things I learn in my journey of faith. All comments are welcome!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Scripture in the Mass


Catholics are often accused of not being Bible-centered, or Bible-based, etc. However, the Catholic mass proves to be quite the opposite. One might be surprised to learn that every aspect of the mass IS from from Scripture. Additionally, more Scripture is read in one mass than in any Protestant service I've ever attended. It is ignorant and unfair to assert that Catholics aren't Bible-based.


Commentary appears in green.


Greeting:

Priest: In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Matt. 28:19)

People: Amen (1 Chr 16:36)

Priest: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Cor 13:13)

People: And also with you.

Penitential Rite:

All: I confess to almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault. (Jas. 5:16) In my thoughts and in my words, (Rom. 12:16) In what I have done and what I have failed to do; (Jas 3:6) and I ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, all the angel and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God. (1 Thess 5:25)

Priest: May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life. (1 John 1:9)

People: Amen (1 Chr 16:36)

All: Lord have mercy. (Tb 8:4) Christ have mercy. (1 Tim 1:2) Lord have mercy.

Gloria:

All: Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth. (Luke 2:14)
Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, (Rev 19:6)
we worship you, (Rev. 22:9) we give you thanks, (Eph. 5:20)
we praise you for your glory. (Rev 7:12)
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, (2 John 3)
Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us; (John 1:29)
You are seated at the right hand of the Father, receive our prayer. (Rom 8:34)
For you alone are the Holy One, (Luke 4:34)
You alone are Lord, You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ. (Luke 1:32)
with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. (John 14:26)

[The Liturgy of the Word consists of four readings from Scripture: the first is typically from the Old Testament, the second a psalm, followed by a reading from one of the epistles. Finally, the Gospel is proclaimed during which the people stand out of respect for the Word. The chosen readings change daily.]

Click here to get today’s liturgical readings from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

[A Sermon on the readings follows.] (2 Tim 4:1-2)

Profession of Faith: [the Nicene (or Apostles) Creed]

All:

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, (Gen 14:19) of all that is seen and unseen. (Col 1:16)
We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, (Luke 1:35) eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, begotten not made, one in being with the Father. (Heb 1:3) Through him all things were made. (John 1:2-3) For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: (John 3:13) by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, (Matt 1:18) and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, (John 19:16) he suffered, died and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures. (1 Cor 15:3-4) He ascended into heaven (Luke 24:51) and is seated at the right hand of the Father. (Col 3:1) He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead (2 Tim 4:1) and his kingdom will have no end. (Luke 1:33)
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of Life, (Acts 2:17) who proceeds from the Father and the Son. (John 14:16) With the Father and Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the prophets. (1 Peter 1:10-11)
We believe in one holy, catholic and apostolic Church. (Rom 12:5) We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. (Acts 2:38) We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. (Rom 6:5) Amen

Liturgy of the Eucharist:

[The gifts are brought to the altar. These include the bread and wine and the offering collected from the people.] (Malachi 3:10)

Priest: Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made. (Eccl. 3:13) It will become for us the bread of life. (John 6:35)

People: Blessed be God forever. (Ps 68:35)

Priest: Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this wine to offer, fruit of the vine and work of human hands. It will become our spiritual drink. (Luke 22:17-18)

People: Blessed be God forever. (Ps 68:36)

Priest: Pray, brethren, that our sacrifice may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father. (Heb. 12:28)

People: May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of his name, for our sake and the good of all his Church. (Ps 50:23)

Eucharistic Prayers:

Priest: Lift up your hearts.

People: We lift them up to the Lord. (Lam 3:41)

Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord Our God. (Col 3:17)

People: It is right to give him thanks and praise. (Col 1:3)

Preface acclamation:

All: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. (Is 6:3) Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest. (Mark 11:9-10)

Eucharistic prayer:

[There are four of these, based on ancient prayers of the Church. Eucharistic Prayer Two follows as an example:]

Priest: Lord, you are holy indeed, the fountain of all holiness. (2 Macc. 14:36) Let your spirit come upon these gifts (water and wine) to make them holy, so that they may become the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Before he was given up to death, (Phil 2:8) a death he freely accepted, (John 10:17-18) he took bread and gave you thanks. He broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said: Take this all of you, and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you. When supper was ended, he took the cup. Again he gave thanks and praise, gave the cup to his disciples, and said: Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this is memory of me. (Mark 14:22-25) Let us proclaim the mystery of faith.

All: Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life, Lord Jesus, come in glory. (Heb 2:14-15)

Priest: In memory of his death and resurrection, we offer you, Father, this life-giving bread, this saving cup. (John 6:51) We thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you. May all of us who share in the body and blood of Christ be brought together in unity by the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor.10:17) Lord, remember your Church throughout the world; make us grow in love together with our Pope and our bishop, and all the clergy. Remember our brothers and sisters who have gone to their rest in the hope of rising again: bring them and all the departed into the light of your presence. (2 Macc 12:45-46) Have mercy on us all; make us worthy to share eternal life with Mary, the virgin Mother of God, with the apostles and with all the saints who have done your will throughout the ages. May we praise you in union with them, and give you glory though your Son, Jesus Christ. (2 Thes 1:4-5) Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.

All: Amen. (Rom 11:36)

Communion Rite:

The Lord’s Prayer:

All: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matt 6:9-13)

Priest: Deliver us, Lord, from every evil and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our savior, Jesus Christ. (John 17:15)

All: For the kingdom the power and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen

Priest: Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles; I leave you peace, my peace I give to you. (John 14:27) Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom where you live forever and ever.

Priest: The peace of the Lord be with you always! (John 20:19)

People: And also with you!

[The priest then directs the people to exchange a sign, such as a handshake or a kiss, or a word of God’s peace to one another.]

Breaking of the Bread:

All: Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, grant us peace. (John 1:29)

Communion:

Priest: This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper. (Rev. 19:9)

People: Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed. (Matt 8:8)

[Communion is distributed to the faithful at the altar by the priest and lay ministers.]

Dismissal:

Priest: Blessed be the name of the Lord. Now and forever. (Dan 2:20) May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Luke 24:51) Go in peace (Luke 7:50) to love and serve the Lord. (2 Chr 35:3)

[During the blessing the people make the Sign of the Cross, the traditional sign of the baptized and a public sign of their belief in the power of God.]

People: Thanks be to God. (2 Cor 9:15)

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Acts 2:42

Acts 2:42
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.


There was a time, when I was just getting "soft" on Catholicism, when my mom asked, "Is the Catholic Church the church in Acts 2:42?" At the time, I really didn't know. I was just beginning to set aside my misconceptions about the Church so I could learn what they actually teach instead of what I'd been led to believe my whole life. This question, of course, nagged at me for quite some time.

Is the Catholic Church the church in Acts 2:42?

Well, let's take a look...

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship...

For one, it's interesting to point out that this does not say they devoted themselves to Scripture. The apostles at this time weren't necessarily writing down everything they were teaching. They didn't say, "Hey, you can't believe this until it's written in Scripture!" The passed on the teachings orally and the early church devoted themselves to these oral teachings. Today, the Catholic Church devotes themselves to Scripture AND Tradition (the teachings passed on by the apostles')... the word of God comes to us through both means. We see this in other passages like 2 Thess 2:15 where it says, "So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter."

One cannot sit through Mass and not hear the word of God throughout! The entire Mass is a prayer of thanksgiving! More Scripture is read in Mass than in any other church I've attended... In fact, the entire Mass is based in Scripture. How could anyone say we're not devoting ourselves to the apostles' teachings? They simply cannot!

Fellowship is an association of people who share common beliefs or activities. Catholics gather together every day of the week throughout the entire world. There isn't a time when a Mass is not being said. It's like one continuous prayer making it's way to heaven without ceasing. This was prophesied in Malachi 1:11: "My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations," says the LORD Almighty." At the time this was written, God's name was not great among the nations. What other church today has incense and a pure offering (the representation of Christ's sacrifice) in EVERY place, from the rising to the setting of the sun?

...to the breaking of bread...

Every Mass includes the breaking of bread! Holy Communion is offered at every Mass throughout the world. Malachi 1:11 also applies here. This is the pure offering as we continuously remember Christ's sacrifice... It isn't once a month or once a week on a Wednesday... It's EVERY day throughout the entire world! We're definitely not leaving out the breaking of bread in Acts 2:42!

...and to prayer.

The Mass IS a prayer. And within that prayer we say more prayers! Prayers of thanksgiving, prayers of repentance, prayers of praise, prayers of song!

Growing up, I'd have a symbol only communion once a month or so. We'd usually have an opening prayer and a closing prayer for each service. We'd sing a few songs and then a pastor would discuss a topic, read a few verses and give us his interpretation of them, which I generally accepted without question. But how could I know that his interpretation was correct? or that it matched what was taught by the apostles and the earliest of Christians? I often wonder why it never occurred to me to find out if what I was being taught was historically understood the same way.

So, is the Catholic Church the church of Acts 2:42? Without a doubt! In fact, it fits this description more fully than any other. I am so thankful to be Catholic!

Thank you, Jesus, for bringing me into the church of Acts 2:42 in all it's fullness! Amen.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

The First Church

This entry is in response to a question asked by "Melissa".

Here are a few points to get you started:

The first time that the words "Catholic Church" were used in writing was 110 AD.

Ignatius of Antioch - "Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains [i.e., a presbyter]. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church" (Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 [A.D. 110]).

It is important to note here that that way this is read, indicates that there is already an understanding that those he is writing to already know this term. He is not addressing a new concept, requiring explanation or definition. So, it can be assumed that this term has already been in use for quite some time before this writing...

For other quotes from Early Church Fathers using the term "Catholic Church", you can go here: http://www.theholymass.com/catholic.htm

Also, Catholicism has a history of succession that can be traced all the way back to the apostles. No Protestant church is able to do this. While the founder of Protestantism is Martin Luther, the founder of Catholicism is Jesus Christ.

There is no historical evidence, in writing or otherwise, that any other Christian "denomination" existed at the time of Christ or for the first 1500 years:

St Augustine wrote: "[T]here are many other things which most properly can keep me in [the Catholic Church's] bosom. The unanimity of peoples and nations keeps me here. Her authority, inaugurated in miracles, nourished by hope, augmented by love, and confirmed by her age, keeps me here. The succession of priests, from the very see of the apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after his resurrection, gave the charge of feeding his sheep [John 21:15-17], up to the present episcopate, keeps me here. And last, the very name Catholic, which, not without reason, belongs to this Church alone, in the face of so many heretics, so much so that, although all heretics want to be called 'Catholic,' when a stranger inquires where the Catholic Church meets, none of the heretics would dare to point out his own basilica or house" (Against the Letter of Mani Called "The Foundation" 4:5 [A.D. 397]).

If you read the Early Church Fathers, you will also find that they are very Catholic in theology and practice.

The Early Church Fathers can be read online here: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.html

If you would like to find quotes on more specific topics, you can find them on catholic.com. Just go the left-hand side of the screen and find the general topic you are looking for. Anything that says "(Fathers*)" after it, will contain the quotes.

Some will admit that the Catholic Church was the first church but then they will throw out another attack claiming that the Catholic Church eventually became corrupt and that the Reformers brought back the apostolic church as it was intended. The major problem with this concept is that it would essentially make Christ a liar.

Matthew 16:13-16
13When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"
14They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
15"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
16Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
17Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19I 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."


This passage shows us that Christ clearly established a Church... not just an "invisible-body-of-Christ" church but a visible church, with authority to bind and loose. Take special notice, though, of verse 18, where Christ tells us he will build a church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it! If Christ kept his promise then what church did he protect? The only available answer is the Catholic Church because it was the only church in existence until the Reformation (outside of Orthodoxy 1054AD).

Christ has protected his Church. In 2000 years, the Church has NEVER changed on issues of faith and morals. They have a solid doctrine that does not change with the whim of society.

It is undeniable that, if you dig deep in history, you will find the Catholic Church. I encourage you to keep seeking God... and continue learning more about the Catholic faith. A word of warning, however... MANY people are out there making all sorts of false claims about Catholicism. At all costs, learn about Catholicism from well-informed Catholics. I would also encourage you to call your local parish and talk to a priest. They have classes you can take called RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults). In RCIA, you will be able to learn basics of the faith. There is no obligation to join the church until you are ready to do so. Some people take RCIA for a couple of years until they feel God is truly calling them into the Church.

Before the Reformation, if you were a Christian, you were Catholic or Orthodox and if you were born in the first 1000 years, you were only going to be a Catholic Christian. The Reformation did a lot to destroy the unity within the body of Christ that existed for 1500 years. Perhaps you are being called to return to that unified body of Christ. Perhaps God no longer wants you separated from the Church He established. Seek Him and His will. He will not let you down!

Personally speaking, I have grown much closer to Jesus since I stepped forward in faith toward Catholicism. I have had a lot of confirmation from the Lord that I am moving in the right direction. I won't look back and I have no doubts or regrets.

If you have any more questions, Melissa, feel free to ask. You can also contact me via email through my website: This Catholic Journey

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Salvation through the church?

*This post is refuting an attack on the Catholic Church posted on a website that was forwared to me by a friend, who wanted to know my thoughts. This was my response to him via email.*

Admittedly, this one was a bit of a concern for me when I read it. I had heard it before but was confident that this idea has been taken out of context. I was correct... and like many times before, examination of this topic has further affirmed the direction God has been taking me.

First, the website quotes the catechism (816): "The Second Vatican Council's Decree on Ecumenism explains: "For it is through Christ's Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained." (Again, this is only a partial quote of this paragraph...)

We have to take careful notice here that this says that the "fullness of the means of salvation is obtained". This is not saying that those outside the Catholic Church are damned.

I will explain this in more detail after I examine the next argument from this website.

The website also quotes the catechism (846): "...all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his body: Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation..."

Unfortunately, it leaves out some other essential parts that bring greater understanding to what the catechism is staying and what the Church means by this. In full it reads:

CCC 846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.


Wouldn't you agree that the body of Christ is made of up believers who have a saving faith? Is it necessary to be a member of the body of Christ in order to be saved? Absolutely! So, how do we know that the body is the Church? Scripture tells us!

Colossians 1:18
And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

Ephesians 5:29-30
After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.

Romans 12:4-5
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

1 Corinthians 6:15
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself?...


So, I'm sure we can agree that those outside the body of Christ are not saved. And according to Scripture, we know that the body of Christ is the church. Therefore, those outside the "church" are not saved. How is this read in light of the first point that those outside the Catholic Church do not have the "fullness"?

Those outside the Catholic Church who have a saving faith in Christ are joined to the Catholic Church through baptism and faith, since there is only ONE body of Christ, and are not considered damned.

The Church spells this out in the catechism:

CCC 838 "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter."322 Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."323 With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord's Eucharist."324

I heard a wonderful explanation of this yesterday on the radio:

It's as if Christ put us all on a big ship (Catholicism) destined for heaven. At some point (1500 years after the time of Christ), some people decided to leave the ship and ride in a raft along-side the ship (Protestants). Everything good they have on the raft, they got from the ship originally (like the Bible!), but they do not have the full benefits of being on the ship (like the sacraments and the Eucharist). However, they are all still destined for heaven!

Those outside the body of Christ, or the church, are not destined for heaven. But those inside the body of Christ, though they may not be fully united to the Catholic Church, receive God's grace and forgiveness due to the blood Christ shed on the cross! But, we must remember that we are called to be united: one Lord, one faith, one baptism (Eph 4:4-6). We must also remember that if Christ established ONE body, and the body is the church, then he only established ONE church. Which church? Look at all the division within Protestantism... How can this be when it is so contrary to Scripture (Rom 16:17, Phil 2:2)? If the church is the "pillar and foundation of truth (1 Tim 3:15)", which Protestant church fits this? Or could it be the one church that can trace its beginning to the time of Christ?

Many argue that "the church" is just the invisible body of Christ... believers all over the world regardless of denomination... But this is not a fair characterization of the church.

The church is not merely an invisible (spiritual only) church but one that is quite visible (Mt 16:18-19, Mt 18:17). A body is a physical thing, just as Christ was a physical being... you cannot separate the body from the spirit (James 2:26)... the physical from the spiritual. If Christ is physical and spiritual, and the body is physical and spiritual, then the Church is physical and spiritual - visible and invisible!

But I think, at this point, I'm leading into a completely new topic!

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