Sunday, November 28, 2010
Dr. Scott Hahn who once an influential Anti-Catholic Presbyterian pastor one day wakes up, shocked to discover the Biblical grounds of the Catholic Church. The more Dr. Scott Hahn studied scripture, the more serious questions arose in his mind about such issues as sin and redemption, the nature of the Church, the meaning of the Last Supper, biblical authority and revelation.
Dr. Scott Hahn's dedication to follow the truth wherever it led him, even if it led him to Rome, cost him dearly. He lost his job, his position in the evangelical society, many of his friends and his vocation as a public minister. But he gained much more than he lost: the full truth of the Gospel. The former persecutor becomes a great champion and defender of the faith.
Dr. Scott Hahn is now a renowned contemporary theologian and Catholic apologist. His works include Rome Sweet Home and The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth. He currently Professor of Scripture and Theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, United States.
Watch this videos on Dr. Scott Hahn's conversion story:
Dr. Thomas Howard's Testimony
Alex Jones' Testimony
Drake and Crystal McCalister's Testimony
Please post your comments.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Divine Retreat Centre India - Meet the Holy Spirit by Jude Antoine of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.
Watch more here.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Eddie Russell is an officially commissioned and canonically avowed full time Catholic Evangelist / Preacher in the Archdiocese of Perth, West Australia and the founding director of Flame ministries International, a Catholic Charismatic Renewal ministry.
Please post your comments.
The Prosperity Gospel versus the Poverty Gospel.
Money is the root of all evil?
2 Timothy 6:10, does not say that 'money' is the root of all evil. It says that the 'love' of money is the root of all evil. There are many people who think that the rich will not enter the Kingdom of God. They seem to believe in a Gospel where only the poor are blessed and do not seem to understanding the fulfilment of Isaiah 61:2. Jesus read this text at the beginning of his earthly ministry when he declared that he was anointed to bring glad tidings to the poor. (Luke 4: 18-30). Good news for the poor presumably meant that the poor do not have to be poor any longer.
Blessed are the poor?
Many of those who believe in a gospel of poverty often have no idea what it is like to live on the streets freezing in winter and going without food for days on end. A case in point is Julie, a young lady who asked me for a lift one Saturday afternoon. She was spaced-out on drugs and was looking for a fix. She made her money by prostitution and was on her way to a hooker area for the day.
I noticed that she was in pain with severe bruising over her legs and face. She was totally confused but managed to tell me what had happened: She had been beaten mercilessly by her girlfriend and sent out to earn money. I spoke about what Jesus could do for her, but confusion and the desire for drugs were too strong. I gave her a contact number and dropped her off at the park. To see Julie was to see real poverty, and I can tell you, Julie was not in any way blessed by it. There is a world of difference between 'real' poverty and 'elected' poverty.
Are the rich damned, and the poor really so blessed?
Matthew 19: 16-26, tells about a rich young man who came to Jesus one day, "a man came up to him and said, 'Teacher, what good must I do to possess eternal life?' Jesus questions him about what is good and says, "If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." In a nutshell, that's it! There is no mention about his money! However, the rich young man tells Jesus that he has kept the commandments since his childhood and he asks, "What more do I need to do?" Up to this point his eternal salvation is not in question.
This rich young man could have walked away with his wealth and eternal life. It is only when he begged the question that Jesus said to him, "If you seek 'perfection' go sell all your possessions, and give to the poor." That's when the young man is downhearted because of his wealth. Jesus was now referring to perfection, not just his salvation.
There are two values here.
Only after the young man questioned Jesus did he challenge him regarding 'elected' poverty. It is then that Jesus turned to his disciples and said, "I assure you, only with 'difficulty' will a rich man enter into the Kingdom of God. I repeat what I have said: it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God." This overwhelmed the disciples and they asked him who can be saved? Jesus tells them, that for man it is impossible, but for God all things are possible, which, of course included this young man in spite of his wealth.
A wrong conclusion.
Many will read this text and imagine a tiny hole in a sewing needle compared with a huge camel. Naturally, the word, "impossible" comes to mind and they mentally reinterpret the text to read, "It is impossible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God." Of course this is not what Jesus said at all! He mentions nothing about it being impossible, in fact he says that with God it is possible, Jesus simply said that it would be difficult. I see this misinterpretation as one of the root causes of a 'poverty consciousness'.
What did Jesus mean when he compared the eye of a needle with a camel?
The "eye of the needle" was not referring to a sewing needle, but to the trade entrance in the city wall through which the merchants would bring in their camels laden with merchandise. If the camels were overloaded, they couldn't get through the gate, so the merchant would have to unload some of the goods enabling the camels to continue.
Jesus seems to be saying that success is not the problem. Rather, if it is going to keep you outside the City of God, then it is better to dump the 'love of money' so that you can enter in freely. To have a 'love' of money is to place it above the first commandment and you cannot serve two masters. The rich man could have kept his wealth and still had eternal life. Jesus seemed to have no problem with that. He was warning about wealth because it is the 'love' that is the root of all evil, not the money itself: The poor can love money just as much as the wealthy.
To illustrate the point: Jesus' attitude to money.
Jesus says in Luke 16: 9-13. "What I say to you is this: make friends for yourselves through your use of this world's goods, so that when they fail you, a lasting reception will be yours." He was referring to money and goes on to say that if we cannot be trusted with this world's wealth that is elusive, then we cannot be trusted with everlasting wealth. We are asked to be good stewards of the things we have in this life, including money.
The parable in Luke 16:19-31, about the 'Rich Man and Lazarus' does not seem to be an indictment regarding the rich man's wealth. It is because he did not share it with Lazarus. The rich man knew what was expected of him under the Abrahamic Covenant relating to giving Alms, Tithes and Offerings. He ignored his responsibility and caused Lazarus to starve. That seems to be why he was severely dealt with,
Born in a stable yes, but was Jesus really poor?
When we look at the life of Mary and Joseph we may accept that they lived in humble circumstances but we cannot conclude that they lived in poverty. Joseph ran his Carpentry business and his major client was most likely the Roman army as well as others. When they were coming home from Jerusalem after the census, they stopped at Bethlehem for the night. The first thing that Joseph did was to book a room in whatever Inn had a vacancy.
The Inn was the equivalent of a hotel today. They ended up in a stable because there were no rooms available in the town. It was not because they couldn't pay their way. Obviously Joseph had enough money to pay for any hotel in town, One Star, or Five Star. Jesus' parents were not poverty stricken and neither was Jesus. He was born in 'humble' circumstances not 'poor' ones.
Jesus elected poverty.
Saint Paul tells us that Jesus laid down His Godhead, taking on the form of a slave and becoming as men are but without sin. (Phil 2: 6-8). Christ, the King of the universe, laid down his Godhead of his own free will, and, by his own free will, he took it up again. This is what I call 'elected poverty'. It is not that poverty which comes through deprivation, misfortune injustice, greed or pure laziness.
On earth Jesus had a full time job. He worked for Joseph in the family business. I am sure he received payment for his work because Joseph would have adhered to the Biblical principle that the workman is worthy of his hire. "Sell everything that you have, give it to the poor and come follow me" is a call to those who are not necessarily poor and who are called to the consecrated life through 'elected poverty'.
Saint Francis also elected poverty.
Saint Francis of Assisi was a rich young man who enjoyed life in the fast lane. By an act of his free will he gave up his wealth and devoted his life to 'Lady Poverty.' Saint Francis 'elected' poverty as a way of life and yet it was Saint Francis himself who pointed out that his way of life was not for everyone. He said that a married man cannot live that way because he must work and provide for his family. That was his first responsibility. Never-the-less, in spite of his love for lady poverty, Saint Francis finally admitted at the end of his life that he had been too hard on brother ass: His attitude to poverty had caused him considerable ill health and blindness.
Elected poverty is when we, like St. Francis, and many others, freely choose to leave behind our wealth and the security of a well paid job, take up our cross and follow Jesus Christ in the service of the Gospel.
How blessed are the poor?
Death squads stalk the streets and shoot street-kids like vermin. In some places people live on garbage dumps, and others sleep on the streets and in cardboard boxes. Even in the most affluent countries the poor are obvious even with the most cosmetic disguises to the contrary.
Can we honestly say that these people are blessed? When we see children with their bellies swollen with malnutrition, can we say these are blessed? When a derelict falls in the gutter, addicted to alcohol or drugs and sleeps in his vomit on an icy pavement, can we say he is blessed? Children sell their bodies in prostitution because their families are so poor, are these blessed? Was Julie blessed? No dear reader, the poor are not so blessed! Poverty is the most disgusting evil on this planet! This is real poverty, and bye and large, it is caused through the 'love' of money which selfishly ignores the plight of the poor, just as the rich man did with Lazarus.
If the poor are not blessed, who are the poor that are?
What did Luke really mean when he says, "Blessed are the poor"? because Matthew says of the same beatitude, "Blessed are the poor in spirit." What is the difference? The key word in both Gospels is the word 'poor.' To understand what this means, we need to look at the original Greek word used by Matthew and Luke. The "Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible" identifies the Greek word used here as "ptochos" which means; "trembling, poor." In the "Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words" it tells us that "ptochos" is an adjective that is used "metaphorically".
According to "Websters International Dictionary of the English Language", "metaphor" means; "a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable, in order to suggest a resemblance, such as: she is the flower of my life."
The "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary On The Whole Bible" says, "The poor in spirit are happy. These bring their minds to their condition when it is a low condition. These are humble and lowly in their own eyes. They see their want, bewail their guilt, and thirst after a Redeemer. The Kingdom of grace is of such; the Kingdom of glory is for them." This is talking about anyone, rich or poor, who understand their need of God; these are the truly poor in spirit.
The poor in spirit: in the Old Testament, the poor (anawim) are those who are without material possessions and whose confidence is in God. See Is. 61,1; Zep 2, 3:
In the NAB the word is translated lowly and humble, respectively, in those texts. "Matthew added in spirit in order either to indicate that only the devout poor were meant, or to extend the beatitude to all, of whatever social rank, who recognise their complete dependence on God. The same phrase "poor in spirit" is found in the Qumran literature (1QM 14, 7)". (NAB Study Bible Footnotes). It seems clear therefore, that poverty is not the criteria for salvation, but rather the trembling, lowly and humble of heart who know their real need of God, regardless of their wealth or social class.
God tells us to put him to the test.
Malachi Chapter 3 is the only place in the Bible where God challenges us to put him to the test and it is relating specifically to money. Malachi 3 is a reproach to us when we, like the Rich Man to Lazarus, defraud the worker of his wages, reject strangers, deprive the widows and orphans, and, who do not fear the Lord.
We may well ask 'how have I done this?' and the Lord's answer will be the same, "Dare a man rob God? Yet you are robbing me! And you say, 'How do we rob you?' In tithes and offerings! You are indeed accursed, for you the whole nation, rob me." This is a powerful indictment that we can ignore at our peril.
What is a tithe and what is an offering?
The word "tithe" means a tenth. In other words 10%. In biblical terms it relates to the 10% of our gross income that is given into the work of God. That is, into where you are being fed with the bread of the Word of God. For the Israelites this meant giving 10% of their gross income and produce.
This was first collected for a famine in a time of abundance. It didn't make sense at the time, but some years later famine struck. The whole lands including Egypt were literally starving. The Israelites of course had more than enough in store. So much so that they were able to feed the Egyptians, their former slave masters. The Blessings of Abraham said that by keeping the Covenant they would "lend to nations and borrow from none." (Deuteronomy 28: 12).
In Malachi 3: 10 it says, "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and test me in this says the Lord of hosts: Shall I not open for you the floodgates of heaven, to pour down blessings upon you without measure?" The Blessings of Abraham belong to you because you have a Covenant through the Blood Sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary (Galatians 3: 7-14). This gives us a key to releasing these particular blessings in our lives too.
Many people tithe on the premise that it will bring them an increase. It is certainly preached loud, long and strong in certain churches, and yet many do not see it. There is a simple reason for this: The tithe belongs to God; it is his portion and so it is not a gift or sacrifice from us. The purpose of the 10% tithe is to bless the 90%, and so it is the sacrificial generosity in our offerings from the 90% that causes the increase. God's rebuke in Malachi was to those of that failed in their covenant duties; if people failed to tithe, the 90% was not blessed and so all were robbed including God.
When we tithe we should not consider so much that 10% is a lot of money and so a sacrifice to gain more, but that we profit in the 90% increasing under God's blessing. Under that blessing, we have more than enough to put into every good work through our gifts and offerings; it is in the giving that we receive, and so it would seem that it is this portion under God's blessing through the tithe that causes the increase. While a tithe remains fixed at 10%, the offering and gift can be any amount.
In the case of a gift, we can give as often as we wish and to any amount we wish, and so it is understood as one off offering. In the case of an offering, it can be any amount and it is given regularly, and commonly held that whilst the tithe is to maintain the church, the offering is for the minister's work as we see in the case of Saint Paul in his letter to the Phillipians.
According to God, money is an indescribable gift.
Incredibly, two whole chapters (eight and nine), in Saint Paul's 2nd Letter to Corinth are devoted specifically to "Offerings." There is no room here to quote two chapters. I recommend that you read them for yourself. God's attitude to money will surprise you.
Towards the end of chapter nine Saint Paul says, "Consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." This was a divine spiritual law which Jesus had taught them when he said, "Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you". (Luke 6: 38)
Saint Paul continues, "Each must do as already determined, without compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work." "Every good work" is referring to the work of preaching the Gospel from which works of charity come and, to which Saint Paul was committed. Offerings are given over and above the tithe and are for the ministers of the Gospel.
Saint Paul values this so highly that he calls it an "indescribable gift". This is because, "The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness." According to saint Paul it is an act of righteousness to give generously into the preaching of the Gospel for which God, who cannot be outdone in generosity, will more than supply all of our needs when we do so.
A fragrant aroma, acceptable to God.
Have you ever considered your giving into the "Love Offering" as a "fragrant aroma" which God will receive as an "acceptable sacrifice"? In Saint Paul's letter to the Philippians, this is exactly what he calls it. In this letter we find that the church in Philippi had been the only ones who had ministered to him in the manner of giving offerings as well as his material needs whilst he was with them. The fact that they had done this on more than one occasion makes this significant: the Philippians had actually taken to supporting a ministry that they believed in.
"You Philippians indeed know that at the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, not a single church shared with me in account of giving and receiving, except you alone. For even when I was at Thessalonica you sent me something for my needs, not only once but more than once. It is not that I am eager for the gift; rather, I am eager for the profit that accrues to your account. I am very well supplied because of what I received from you through Epaphroditus, "a fragrant aroma," an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accordance with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.".
Did you realise, that every time you support the ministry of the Word (that is, the ministry of the pastor, preacher, teacher and evangelist) by your tithes and offerings, you literally share in every grace and blessing that is credited by God for the salvation of souls? By doing this, you become, as Saint Paul says in Philippians 1: 7, "Partners in Grace." Every time someone accepts Christ because the Gospel is preached, you share in the blessings for their salvation just as much as the evangelist does.
Money is not the root of all evil, but the love of money that is the evil root.
If we love money so much, we will hold onto it and become stingy in our tithes and offerings and, we could well reap a harvest of poverty upon ourselves. Whereas, if we trust God's Word and his attitude towards money, we will receive abundant blessings because of it. There will always be more than enough for giving into every good work, especially to the preaching of the Gospel. However, if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better to enter heaven lame, than to lose your whole self to the fires of Gehenna. Therefore, if your money and success causes you to sin, then you really must reconsider their true value.
I was told of a man whose business was on the verge of bankruptcy when he heard about tithing. He misunderstood the message and began to tithe 90% instead of 10%. God so blessed him that he now has a multi-billion dollar company. He still tithes 90% and the Lord still blesses him. He supports numerous Christian communities and organisations in various countries. God doesn't seem to have a problem with money. In fact he wants to bless you through it. His problem is with poverty that is, bye-and-large, caused by ignorance, selfishness greed and, the 'love' of money.
If you are doing well, enjoy your wealth, but do not neglect your tithes and offerings. If you are not well off or on Social Security Payments, do not neglect your tithes and offerings either. God cannot be outdone with generosity and he desires to bless you so that you will not have to remain poor.
You see dear friend, the poor may well be able to help the poor, but only a man with bread can feed the hungry. After all, you cannot give what you do not have.
Source: Blaze Magazine
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One of the most solemn ceremonies of the year is when the Pope proclaims new saints, who serve as shining life examples for catholics worldwide. In order to declare someone a saint, the Church launches an intense investigation that can take years. During this time, the postulator examines whether or not the candidate really lived like a hero of christian virtue.
Silvia Correale is from Argentina. She is one of the few female postulators in the world. She is currently reviewing 20 beatification cases, including that of Vietnamese cardinal François Xavier Van Thuan and world-renowned architect Antoni Gaudi.
“The truth is that I haven't counted all of them. I know that I have a significant number of upcoming cases that cover a little bit of every vocation, in the life of the Church.”
In order to open the beatification process, five years have to pass after the candidate's death. This time period is necessary to evaluate if this person's saintly legacy is kept alive or forgotten.
“That sense of God's people among which this person was a saint. We would say we have the public opinion, that common feeling of the people, of the ordinary people of God... this is already a sign.”
The next step involves gathering testimonies from people who knew him or her, in order to demonstrate their virtues with concrete facts and not just opinions. With this information, a detailed biography called “Positio” is compiled.
“It is a book that contains the biographical synthesis of the Servant of God, and information on each of the cardinal virtues that we receive in baptism: faith, hope and charity. Justice, prudence, fortitude and temperance and also virtues like humility.”
The postulator will ultimately have to prove a miracle occurred in order to validate that the candidate intercedes between man and God. The Church considers this a sign from God that certifies that this person is in heaven.
The last step before being canonized is being beatified, which means that a person can be venerated in their diocese. In order to declare someone a saint, an additional miracle has to be proven.
Every time that someone is proclaimed a new saint, it is a milestone marking the end of years of work from a postulator and his or her staff. Correale says it is like giving birth: you suffer a lot but in the end it is a great joy.
“It takes many years, a lot of work and when the moment finally arrives, it is a great joy in which one has already forgotten the years of labor and working hard to convince the superiors of the Congregation of all the various motivations.”
Benedict XVI says that saints are like the jewels that adorn the Church. Because of this, the work of the postulators like Silvia Correale is like that of a goldsmith, whose vocation is about making each and every one shine.
Source: Rome Reports
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Not only do modern people think little of death, but even less do we think of the judgment to follow. The Book of Hebrews says, It is appointed to man to die once, and after this the judgment (Heb 9:27). Even Church-going Catholic largely pass over any notion of judgment after death. This is most evident at Catholic funerals which are dominated by gleeful canonizations of the deceased and never a mention of jjudgment or the need to pray for the one who has died. Our neglect to pray for the dead is a terrible dereliction of duty.
At every funeral I spend almost half of the homily reminding the assembled mourners that they are going to die and that they must ready themselves for this fact. At most funerals, the majority of those attending have little spiritual roots in their life and I use the opportunity to urge them to a greater sobriety about their condition and ultimate appointment with God. Indeed, too many people today are not serious about their spiritual life. They do not pray, they do not go to Mass, receive the sacraments or read scripture. They go on laughing and playing and goofing off like life were some big joke. But it is not and we must ready ourselves to meet God and face judgment.
Over and over again Scripture reminds us that we will face judgment.
1. I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell (Matt 5:22)
2. Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison (Matt 5:25)
3. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you (Matt 7:2).
4. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you (Matt 11:23)
5. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. (Mat 12:26)
6. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now something greater than Jonah is here (Matt 11:23)
7. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son (John 5:22)
8. I have much to say in judgment of you. (Jn 8:26)
9. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead (Act 17:31).
10. Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. (Matt 25:11-13)
11. But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. (Rom 2:5)
12. When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. (Matt 25:31)
13. This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares (Rom 2:16).
14. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart (1 Cor 4:5).
15. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad (2 Cor 5:10)
16. For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people (Heb 10:30)
17. Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral (Heb 13:4)
18. Judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful (James 2:13)
19. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead (1 Pet 4:5)
20. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? (1 Pet 4:13)
21. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books (Rev 20:12)
Well, by now you get the point, to ignore judgment is to ignore a LOT of Scripture. And this is only a partial recording of the judgment texts here. Despite the voluminous Scriptural affirmation, little is said of judgment by modern Christians. The problem must certainly be laid at the feet of many clergy who seldom mention judgment or warn of it. While this is not true of all, it is certainly true of many.
The Catechism speaks of Judgment in the following way:
Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ. The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. The parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul–a destiny which can be different for some and for others. Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through a purification or immediately, — or immediate and everlasting damnation. (CCC 1021-1022)
The Scripture often emphasizes the suddenness of death and judgment.
1. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour (Matt 25:13)
2. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matt 24:44)
3. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” (Mk 13:35-37)
4. When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape(1 Thess 5:3)
Hence we must live our lives in readiness. Our central priorities must be prayer, the reading of Scripture and other spiritual works, devotion to the Sacraments, holy fellowship and weekly Mass. We must repent of serious sins and seek seriously to grow in holiness. Scripture says that we must Strive for peace with all men, and that holiness: without which no one shall see God (Heb 12:14). Some of us have to bury the hatchet and offer forgiveness to others for the Lord warns sternly, If you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matt 6:15) and James also warns: Judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful (James 2:13). We cannot go on living in presumption that the judgment we face is of little account for Scripture gives no basis for such a casual attitude. Neither should we despair for God is rich in mercy and does not spurn those who are humble and contrite. Perhaps the best approach is simply to have a kind of sobriety about the fact that we will all face judgment and to thoughtfully prepare for it.
A word about the nature of judgment we face. None of us can say for sure what that moment will be like. However it would seem that the key word to describe what must go on is “honesty.” In that moment, before the Lord, all masks will be removed. All the little excusing lies we like to tell ourselves will be set aside. We will see ourselves as we really are. Perhaps too we will also see more clearly some of the grief and trouble we have been carrying and have a truth compassion for our self even as we have a sober understanding of our faults and incompleteness. For a true believer the judgment is not simply between heaven and hell, but even more so, an assessment of what remains incomplete in us. The Lord promised us perfection (Matt 5:48) and St. Paul wrote: May God who has begun a good work in you bring it to completion (Phil 1:6). Hence our judgment must also certainly include the question of what, if anything, remains incomplete in us. For it is impossible that a promise of God would remain incomplete for us or anything be less than perfect. Whatever is judged to be incomplete or imperfect is set right in purgatory which is for us not against us.
But the fact is, judgment awaits us all and we must soberly prepare for it. Death will come (perhaps when we least expect) and thereafter the judgment. Prepare for your own judgment and pray for those who have already gone there. Judgment is certain. Prepare and pray.
Here’s a little video I put together on the topic of death and judgment and the end of the world. It is rooted in the Song by Credence Clearwater Revival “There’s a Bad Moon on the Rise” The refrain says, “Hope you’ve got your things together, hope you are quite prepared to die.”
Source: Archdiocese Of Washington
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Sunday, November 14, 2010
He is a devout Catholic who prays the rosary. He'd kneel over to his corner, makes the sign of the cross and prays before and after a fight.
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Saturday, November 13, 2010
Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., in Baltimore on Friday at a conference on exorcism. He organized the two-day event.
There are only a handful of priests in the country trained as exorcists, but they say they are overwhelmed with requests from people who fear they are possessed by the Devil.
Now, American bishops are holding a conference on Friday and Saturday to prepare more priests and bishops to respond to the demand. The purpose is not necessarily to revive the practice, the organizers say, but to help Catholic clergy members learn how to distinguish who really needs an exorcism from who really needs a psychiatrist, or perhaps some pastoral care.
“Not everyone who thinks they need an exorcism actually does need one,” said Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., who organized the conference. “It’s only used in those cases where the Devil is involved in an extraordinary sort of way in terms of actually being in possession of the person.
“But it’s rare, it’s extraordinary, so the use of exorcism is also rare and extraordinary,” he said. “But we have to be prepared.”
The closed-door conference is being held in Baltimore before the annual fall meeting of the nation’s bishops. Some Catholic commentators said they were puzzled why the bishops would bother with exorcisms in a year when they are facing a full plate of crises — from parish and school closings, to polls showing the loss of one of every three white baptized members, to the sexual abuse scandal flaring up again.
But to R. Scott Appleby, a professor of American Catholic history at the University of Notre Dame, the bishops’ timing makes perfect sense.
“What they’re trying to do in restoring exorcisms,” said Dr. Appleby, a longtime observer of the bishops, “is to strengthen and enhance what seems to be lost in the church, which is the sense that the church is not like any other institution. It is supernatural, and the key players in that are the hierarchy and the priests who can be given the faculties of exorcism.
“It’s a strategy for saying: ‘We are not the Federal Reserve, and we are not the World Council of Churches. We deal with angels and demons.’ ”
Pope Benedict XVI has emphasized a return to traditional rituals and practices, and some observers said the bishops’ interest in exorcism was consistent with the direction set by the pope.
Exorcism is as old as Christianity itself. The New Testament has accounts of Jesus casting out demons, and it is cited in the Catholic Church’s catechism. But it is now far more popular in Europe, Africa and Latin America than in the United States.
Most exorcisms are not as dramatic as the bloody scenes in films. The ritual is based on a prayer in which the priest invokes the name of Jesus. The priest also uses holy water and a cross, and can alter the prayer depending on the reaction he gets from the possessed person, said Matt Baglio, a journalist in Rome who wrote the book “The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist” (Doubleday, 2009).
“The prayer comes from the power of Jesus’ name and the church. It doesn’t come from the power of the exorcist. The priest doesn’t have the magic power,” said Mr. Baglio, whose book has been made into a movie to be released in January, starring Anthony Hopkins.
There is plenty of cynicism among American Catholics — even among priests — about exorcism. Mr. Baglio noted that there are hucksters who prey on vulnerable believers, causing them physical or spiritual harm. As a result, he thought it was helpful that the church is making an effort to train more priests to perform the rite legitimately.
With so few priests who perform exorcisms, and the stigma around it, exorcists are not eager to be identified. Efforts to interview them on Friday were unsuccessful.
Bishop Paprocki said he was surprised at the turnout for the conference: 66 priests and 56 bishops. The goal is for each diocese to have someone who can at least screen requests for exorcisms.
Some of the classic signs of possession by a demon, Bishop Paprocki said, include speaking in a language the person has never learned; extraordinary shows of strength; a sudden aversion to spiritual things like holy water or the name of God; and severe sleeplessness, lack of appetite and cutting, scratching and biting the skin.
A person who claims to be possessed must be evaluated by doctors to rule out a mental or physical illness, according to Vatican guidelines issued in 1999, which superseded the previous guidelines, issued in 1614.
The Rev. Richard Vega, president of the National Federation of Priests’ Councils, an organization for American priests, said that when he first heard about the conference on exorcism, “My immediate reaction was to say, why?”
He said that he had not heard of any requests for exorcisms and that the topic had not come up in the notes of meetings from councils of priests in various dioceses.
The conference on exorcism comes at a time, he said, when the church is bringing back traditional practices. The Vatican has authorized the revival of the Latin Mass, and now a revised English translation of the liturgy, said to be closer to a direct translation from the Latin, is to be put in use in American parishes next year.
“People are talking about, are we taking two steps back?” Father Vega said. “My first reaction when I heard about the exorcism conference was, this is another of those trappings we’ve pulled out of the past.”
But he said that there could eventually be a rising demand for exorcism because of the influx of Hispanic and African Catholics to the United States. People from those cultures, he said, are more attuned to the experience of the supernatural.
Bishop Paprocki noted that according to Catholic belief, the Devil is a real and constant force who can intervene in people’s lives — though few of them will require an exorcism to handle it.
“The ordinary work of the Devil is temptation,” he said, “and the ordinary response is a good spiritual life, observing the sacraments and praying. The Devil doesn’t normally possess someone who is leading a good spiritual life.”
Source: New York Times
Read this related story:
Exorcists wanted: apply to Catholic Church
Overwhelmed with requests for exorcists, U.S. Roman Catholic bishops are holding a special training workshop in Baltimore this weekend to teach clerics the esoteric rite, the Catholic News Service reported.
The church has signed up 56 bishops and 66 priests for the two-day workshop that began on Friday, seeking to boost the small group of just five or six American exorcists that the church currently has on its books.
"There's this small group of priests who say they get requests from all over the continental U.S.," Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, was quoted as saying.
"Actually, each diocese should have its own" exorcist, he added.
Paprocki did not say why there was increased demand for exorcisms, which he noted were rarely performed.
While solemnly regarded by the Catholic Church, exorcism is a staple of Hollywood fright films -- most notably the 1973 film "The Exorcist" -- and regarded by many as superstition that lends a chill frisson to festivals like Halloween.
Catholic Church law stipulates that only properly trained priests can perform the rite -- and then only with the permission of their bishops.
Possible signs of demonic possession include scratching, cutting, biting of the skin; profound displays of strength; and a strong or violent reaction to holy water.
Listen to prominent Catholic theologian and exorcist Fr. Malachi Martin on The Nature Of Evil, Exorcism & Possession http://bit.ly/bZqbrb and watch a real video on an exorcism http://bit.ly/cwG3fP
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Thursday, November 11, 2010
There's something calm and comforting about the way Francis MacNutt heals the sick. He rarely raises his voice except when confronting evil spirits. Yet when the 79-year-old priest gently lays his hands on a sick person's head or shoulders, they often say God touches them at the same moment he whispers the name "Jesus."
In the 37 years that MacNutt has claimed the gift of supernatural healing, he has seen people cured of everything from asthma, allergies and heart disease to high blood pressure, cancer and torn arches. He once prayed for a woman and then watched as her foot grew to its normal size, from size 5 to 7-1/2. In 1982 a woman's brain tumor disappeared when he prayed--and after she returned home to South Carolina her doctor documented the miracle.
MacNutt's methods are not always orthodox. Often he will stand in front of an audience and sing in an unknown language. He doesn't know what he's saying, and neither do the people in the crowd, but listeners are sometimes healed just by hearing the heavenly glossolalia.
"I feel stupid doing it," he says of the unusual practice. "I've been doing it for 25 years and it still feels funny."
Once, a woman was healed when MacNutt simply looked at her. What's more common in his services is the phenomenon he calls "resting in the Spirit." After he lays hands on people, they fall to the floor and lie there for several minutes while they undergo soul surgery. A priest he prayed for in England lay on the floor for two hours and got up healed of depression.
MacNutt refers to depression as "the common cold of the mental health field," and he has lost count of those healed of it in his meetings. In recent years, people in MacNutt's services also have been cured of mental disorders as well as delivered of demons. A Brazilian woman who had consecrated herself to the devil--and signed the pact with her own blood--was freed after MacNutt spent an hour with her.
Despite his successful track record, however, you won't find this priest staging mass healing crusades in stadiums or broadcasting his meetings on Christian television. Sensationalism turns him off. He prefers the quiet approach.
And besides, MacNutt's research shows that only 1 percent of people are healed at large healing services. In contrast, 20 percent or more are healed when there is more time for individual prayer. He is not exactly sure why, except that he knows healing is not always instantaneous.
"Healing takes time," he says, speaking like a true veteran from his years of experience at the altar. "This is what is missing in most healing ministry today. We always want everything to be instant."
MacNutt prefers the slower, personal, hands-on approach. So much so that he once wrote a book about the therapeutic power of touch.
"I just listen, love and pray," he says of his simple formula--which he hopes to teach to the church worldwide before he dies.
Stranger in a Strange Land
MacNutt does not look 79. Although his gait is a bit slower these days and his voice sounds slightly worn, his blue eyes still beam as if electrically charged. He is plugged in to an invisible source of power.
Those who have followed him since the early days of his ministry know that he has clocked a lot of mileage since the peak years of the Catholic charismatic movement. After 14 years of college and seminary (he has degrees from Harvard University and The Catholic University of America) MacNutt was baptized in the Holy Spirit in 1967 through the influence of charismatic healing pioneer Agnes Sanford.
She prophesied that the enthusiastic Dominican priest would take supernatural healing to the Catholic Church worldwide--and the prediction rapidly proved accurate. He took his newfound Pentecostalism to 30 countries, and a book he wrote in 1974, Healing, went on to sell 1 million copies.
Catholic nuns, priests, bishops and laypeople all embraced MacNutt's nontraditional teachings about healing, speaking in tongues and deliverance from demons. When he preached at a clergy retreat in Australia in the 1970s, all 220 priests in attendance were filled with the Holy Spirit. By the time he left his native St. Louis in 1980, the majority of priests in the city were involved in charismatic prayer groups.
He was as much of a phenomenon in Catholic charismatic circles as flamboyant healing evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman was among mainline Protestants. In fact, Kuhlman prayed for him at one of her meetings in Pittsburgh in 1969. (MacNutt apologetically insists that Kuhlman pushed him to the floor, though admitting that he has fallen under the power of the Holy Spirit more than 75 times in various meetings.)
MacNutt's glorious days of favor and applause ended abruptly in 1980 when he did something his Catholic brethren could not accept: He married.
And to complicate the matter, he married not a Catholic but a Southern Baptist psychologist, Judith Sewell, whom he had met at a Catholic charismatic community in Clearwater, Florida.
The Catholics may have been open to a priest who spoke in tongues and healed the sick, but they certainly would not stomach one who broke his clerical celibacy vow to marry a woman young enough to be his daughter. A scandal erupted that sent shock waves all the way to the Vatican.
MacNutt remembers the pain he felt when the church rejected him. "There was a lot going against our decision [to marry]," he says. "The leaders were mostly against it. I was 54 and she was 32.
"Everyone was saying to me: 'You can't do this! You've made a vow! This will destroy the great ministry God has given you!' One Catholic leader just cried."
It was difficult for Judith to watch her husband suffer. "It's a deep sadness that a person like Francis had to lose the fellowship of a church he loved so much," she told Charisma.
Doors were slammed in MacNutt's face from that point on. He was officially excommunicated, denied the sacraments and stripped of all clergy privilege. But the newlyweds couldn't just stop preaching about the new life of the Holy Spirit they had discovered. So they found other places to minister.
Some Catholics were still open to their message of healing, but after the excommunication the MacNutts began to receive speaking invitations from Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Pentecostal groups. And because MacNutt's clerical collar was gone, Protestants who might have been wary of his Catholic ways found him more acceptable. One door had closed, but several new ones opened.
Mike Evans was a Baptist when he heard MacNutt speak in Bakersfield, California, in 1987. He was as skeptical of Catholics as he was of charismatics, but when he heard MacNutt speak on healing he embraced the charismatic experience and eventually became one of MacNutt's closest colleagues.
"Francis is the most gracious, humble man I've ever met," Evans says today. "I believe his greatest contribution is his ability to move among a variety of churches and groups, bringing reconciliation and healing."
By 1987, when the MacNutts moved to Jacksonville, Florida, at the invitation of an Episcopal priest, their ministry was welcomed more in Protestant circles than in Catholic ones. The couple purchased an unused Episcopal church building and turned it into the headquarters for Christian Healing Ministries, where they now operate a school of healing with a staff of 18.
The move to Florida was by no means a step toward retirement--a term MacNutt avoids. His travel schedule today is rigorous, although he manages to fit in time for his favorite hobby of bird watching. (He personally has identified 540 birds in North America and once traveled to the Florida Keys to spot the rare frigate bird.)
Today, the MacNutts' goal is to train as many Christians as possible to heal the sick the same way Jesus did.
"We wouldn't have to have this healing center if all churches were fully empowered to minister healing," says Judith, who was healed of a precancerous condition the year before she married. Doctors told her she may have to have a hysterectomy, but after her marriage she conceived.
"The sad thing is that people fly here from all over the world because the church isn't helping them," she adds.
Judith eventually wrote a book with her husband, titled How to Pray for Your Unborn Child. Her prayers obviously worked. Today the MacNutts' two children, Rachel and David, are 22 and 20 respectively.
Partners in Healing
MacNutt's Catholic colleagues may or may not agree today, but it's obvious that Judith is the best thing that ever happened to him aside from his dramatic encounter with the Holy Spirit years earlier. In his case, marriage was a very good idea--even if it violated an antiquated tradition and upset the Catholic hierarchy in the process.
Before the MacNutts met, Judith worked as a psychologist at a Boston hospital. After one of her mentally ill patients committed suicide, she cried out to God in frustration--discouraged that her counseling efforts hadn't made a difference.
She says God answered her clearly and gave her a strategy: "Bring them to Me, and I will heal them."
"I realized then that people would not be made whole just through psychology," she told Charisma. "Psychology can give us skills to help others, but it doesn't heal people. If you have been severely wounded, it is not enough to change you."
Judith began to blend her psychological training with biblical principles of healing and faith. Eventually she became an expert on emotional healing, and she taught others how to use prayer to heal mental disorders, phobias, painful memories and even sexual disorders at a time when few Christians talked about homosexuality--and fewer believed Jesus actually could heal a gay person.
When the MacNutts married in 1980, they began a union of two uniquely gifted healers. While doors of opportunity were slamming in their faces because of their marriage (the Catholic Church finally recognized their union 13 years later), their anointing for healing seemed to be increasing. They also started to encounter more sinister forces during their praying and became experts in deliverance without aspiring to such an odd vocation.
The MacNutts have seen it all since they began casting out demons. They've confronted spirits of lust, perversion, violence and occultism. They've prayed for victims of satanic ritual abuse but are quick to note that they don't go looking for Exorcist-style spinning heads, projectile vomiting or other sensational manifestations of the devil.
"We are ministering to people, not demons," Judith says in her faint Kentucky drawl. "Deliverance ministry is not all about people writhing on the floor, although we have seen that."
What motivates their deliverance ministry is not a taste for the sensational but a love for people. "People have told me: 'Francis, why do you waste your time [with the mentally ill]? You're just holding hands with a bunch of nuts.'"
But the MacNutts have solved too many "nut" cases to be deterred by the skeptics and the armchair critics. What they want the church to know is that healing and deliverance ministry is not an exotic ritual reserved for the chosen few. It is the call of every believer.
That was their message in late 2003 when they took a small ministry team to Scotland to introduce Presbyterian leaders to the work of the Holy Spirit. Although MacNutt's preaching style was soft-spoken, as usual, the results he witnessed in Scotland were anything but mild-mannered.
A healing service at St. Cuthbert's Presbyterian Church in Edinburgh drew 400 people and lasted until 2:30 a.m. Before it ended, dozens of Presbyterian ministers had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. After a two-day lecture on healing held at a university in Edinburgh, the MacNutts held a deliverance service during which they prayed for a distinguished-looking elderly woman. Before her deliverance she was propelled backward several feet on the platform while baffled Presbyterians watched.
MacNutt intends to stage similar demonstrations of God's power everywhere he goes, especially among more traditional-minded Christians. He is especially grieved that churches in the West, including his own Catholic Church, have quenched the Holy Spirit's work.
"In this country the move of the Holy Spirit has been domesticated," MacNutt told Charisma. "But in other parts of the world it's growing so explosively that the largest group of Christians next to the Roman Catholics are the Pentecostals.
"Most mainline Protestants in this country don't realize they are outnumbered. They still see charismatics and Pentecostals as fringe groups. They don't realize that the main centers of Christianity 25 years from now will not be Rome, Geneva and New York but New Delhi, Lagos and other exotic centers."
Comments like those may not get MacNutt an audience with the pope or curry favor with traditionalist leaders from any denomination. That's OK with him, provided that he can reach the people in the pews--anyone who's hungry to know more about the deeper things of God.
As long as Francis MacNutt has breath in his body and healing in his hands, he will spread the life of the Spirit to those who need a touch.
Veterans of Healing
Francis and Judith MacNutt believe every Christian can be taught to minister.
Francis MacNutt's hands are not as steady as they were 30 years ago, but he is as eager to pray for the sick today as he was during the heyday of the charismatic renewal movement.
At the same time, however, MacNutt knows his limitations. He can't go everywhere and heal everybody, and he'll be passing his mantle to someone else one day. That's why he and his wife, Judith, have focused their energies on training a new generation of Christians to heal the sick.
"Healing is a gift, but we have to learn how to use it," Judith says. "We have to train prayer ministers, and churches need to empower them."
The MacNutts offer that empowerment through an extensive series of training videos as well as a School of Healing Prayer, offered at their Jacksonville, Florida-based headquarters. The course covers everything from "Healing of Abortion and Miscarriage" to "Healing of Addictions" to "Healing Our Image of God."
The MacNutts teach that emotional healing is an often-ignored tool. They have promoted their message in numerous books including The Prayer That Heals and Deliverance from Evil Spirits.
"In a lot of churches there is still no understanding of the need to bring all the healing disciplines together," Judith says. "In some denominations you'll find an understanding of deliverance ministry, but they have no clue about inner healing. Yet 90 percent of all demonic activity is based on trauma or wounding. Many will cast a demon out of someone, but they won't do the inner healing work that heals the wound, so the demon comes back."
Francis MacNutt wants to pass on several important principles of healing prayer. Among them:
1. Prayer requires discernment. The key to effective healing, he says, is knowing what to pray for. This understanding only comes by the power of the Holy Spirit.
2. Healing requires time. The MacNutts advocate what they call "soaking prayer"--in which prayer ministers lay hands on a person and pray for an extended period. "Healing takes time, and that is what is missing in a lot of healing ministry," he says.
3. Emotions need healing. The MacNutts believe that grief, shame, panic attacks, mental disorders, sexual hang-ups and addictions can all be healed by Jesus. Often the healing requires the affected person to renounce hurtful vows, forgive those who hurt them or invite Christ to heal a painful memory.
4. Demons are real. Francis has never shied away from confronting spiritual darkness, and he challenges Christians today to learn how to cast out devils.
Source: Charisma Magazine
Francis MacNutt, Ph.D., is an author of books on healing prayer, including 'Healing', 'The Healing Reawakening' as well as 'Deliverance from Evil Spirits'. Born in 1925, he grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1950, Francis joined the Dominican Order, the Order of Preachers, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1956. As a young Roman Catholic priest, he was prominent in the charismatic renewal in the 1960s. He left the priesthood and married his wife Judith in 1980 and settled in Clearwater, Florida, where they established Christian Healing Ministries that same year. While he and his wife are both still in the Catholic Church, his work has allowed him to minister in and out of the Church.
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010
At a young age of 17 Magellan sailed around the Cape of Good Hope and he sailed for the King of Spain.
He got five ships and left Seville on September 20, 1519. He sailed around the tip of South America. He found the westward passage and it was named the Strait of Magellan in his name. He also found the new ocean and named it the Pacific in honour of its calm and peaceful waters, and crossed it East to West.
He also gave a large sum of money to the monks of the monastery in order that they might pray for the success of the expedition.
He landed in Guam and then in the Philippines (then called the Archipelago of San Lazaro) where he was received in a friendly manner by the chief of the island of Cebú, who, after eight days, was baptised Catholic along with several hundred other natives.
He persuaded Rajah Humabon and his wife Hara Amihan, to pledge their allegiance with Spain. They were later baptized into the Catholic faith, taking the Christian names Carlos and Juana.
The above is a chapel containing a replica of Magellan's Cross, containing the remnants of the original one planted by Ferdinand Magellan on Cebu's shores. It commemorates the conversion of the first Filipinos to Christianity. Ceiling murals depict the first Catholic mass celebrated on Philippine shores.
Magellan presented the Santo Niño to the newly-baptized Queen Juana as a symbol of the alliance. To her husband Carlos, Magellan presented the bust of the "Ecce Homo", or the depiction of Christ before Pontius Pilate. He gave an image of Our Lady to the natives who were baptised with their rulers.
The annual Feast of Santo Niño de Cebú
The Santo Niño de Cebú ("Holy Child of Cebu") is a Roman Catholic figure of the Child Jesus highly similar to the Infant Jesus of Prague. Like the image's counterpart in Prague, the figure is clothed in expensive textile robes mostly donations from fervent devotees in the Philippines and abroad. The statue is the oldest Catholic relic in the Philippines and permanently housed since 1565 at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño in Cebu.
Numerous miracles have been wrought by the power of the Santo Niño. It is said that a voluminous book is needed to contain all the attestations and testimonials of the goodness and mercy of the Infant Jesus of Cebu. Considered as the prime of all Christian relics in the Philippines, the image of the Infant Jesus continues to shine as the lodestar that attracts the hearts of the Filipino people.
Stories of the Miracles of the Señor Santo Niño spread like wildfire in the Seas, placing Cebu as the Cradle of the Santo Niño devotion in the Philippines. His devotion spanned to the nearby island-provinces of the Visayas, then advanced to the north to as far as the Ilocandia and reached down south in Mindanao.
Magellan's exploration provided the first positive proof that the world was round, and that opened up trade routes to explorers all over the world, he also introduced Christianity to the Philippines.
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Fr. Jeremy Davies, 75, an English Roman Catholic priest, a former medical doctor and also a leading exorcist, says Yoga can lead to possession by the Devil.
Fr. Jeremy Davies studied English Literature at St Edmund Hall, Oxford and studied Medicine at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London. He spent much of his life in medical missions in demon-haunted Africa before being ordained a priest.
Read this article published 2 years ago:
Pic from here.
It is a physical workout enjoyed by millions and its devotees include Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sting.
But yoga enthusiasts have been warned by a leading Roman Catholic clergyman that they are in danger of being possessed by the Devil.
Father Jeremy Davies, exorcist for Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the leader of Catholics in England and Wales, says that activities such as yoga, massage therapy, reiki or even reading horoscopes could put people at risk from evil spirits.
In a new book, he also argues that people with promiscuous lifestyles could find themselves afflicted by demons.
And he says that the occult is closely linked to the scourges of ‘drugs, demonic music and pornography’ which are ‘destroying millions of young people in our time’.
The 73-year-old Catholic priest, who was appointed exorcist of the Archdiocese of Westminster in 1986, was a medical doctor before being ordained in 1974.
He has carried out thousands of exorcisms in London and in 1993 he set up the International Association of Exorcists with Fr Gabriel Amorth, the Pope’s top exorcist.
In Exorcism: Understanding Exorcism In Scripture And Practice, which is published by the Catholic Truth Society, Fr Davies compares militant atheists to rational Satanists, and blames them for a rise in demonic activity.
Yoga enthusiasts 'are in danger of being possessed by the devil'. He adds that ‘perversions’ such as homosexuality, pornography and promiscuity are contributing to a growing sense of moral unease.
He writes: ‘Even heterosexual promiscuity is a perversion; and intercourse, which belongs in the sanctuary of married love, can become a pathway not only for disease but also for evil spirits...young people especially are vulnerable and we must do what we can to protect them.
‘The thin end of the wedge (soft drugs, yoga for relaxation, horoscopes just for fun and so on) is more dangerous than the thick end because it is more deceptive – an evil spirit tries to make his entry as unobtrusively as possible.
‘Beware of any claim to mediate beneficial energies (eg reiki), any courses that promise the peace that Christ promises (eg enneagrams), any alternative therapy with its roots in eastern religion (eg acupuncture).’
Fr Davies argues that occult practices such as magic, fortune-telling and holding seances to contact the spirits of the dead are ‘direct invitations to the Devil which he readily accepts’.
But the Oxford-educated priest, who is based in Luton, Bedfordshire, says there are different degrees of demonic influence, and the most extreme forms occur rarely.
Source: The Daily Mail
Keith, from the UK, left the Church of England at 21 years of age. He then delved into spiritualism and ended up in one of the spiritual healing sections of the Great White Brotherhood where he eventually encountered demons.
This is his testimony:
I am not a Catholic but I certainly agree with Fr. Davies because I have personal experience of this.
43 years ago [now 45] I sought spiritual healing from the Great White Brotherhood for my dying father. The doctors had given up on him and his miraculous healing led to think this brotherhood was of God. Three years later as an Outer Brother I was invited to the groups UK headquarters for a pre-initiation test for Inner Brotherhood.
During this test the founder was transfigured by a satanic spirit snake that was reaching out to touch my forehead. Although frozen with fear I mentally called out to God (in whom I then disbelieved) to come and save me. Miraculously He did and I never went back to the group. But first I had to last out the week’s Retreat I was on.
Amazingly confirmation of the transfiguration came with the first lesson next morning. We were taught (I closed my mind to the lesson) how by deep meditation we could bring alive the spirit snake that lies dormant at the base of all our spines. When this happens, we were told, it crawls up our spine to our head where it develops wings to carry our soul to Heaven!!!
This spirit snake we were told was called the Kundalini of Yoga and the physical exercises of Yoga were part of the spiritual purpose to bring the snake alive. At that time I had no idea of what Yoga was about and had never heard of the Kundalini. Thus I can give living testimony of what the exorcist warns about. The spirit snake doesn’t go to Heaven it lies in wait within the medium until a victim is lulled into a sense of false security when it is able to transfigure the medium and strike out to enslave a soul for eternity with the Devil.
Watch his videos here:
Part 2 and Part 3.
Fascination with evil and the occult can cause people to be oppressed or possessed by diabolic powers. Listen to prominent Catholic theologian and exorcist Fr. Malachi Martin on The Nature Of Evil, Exorcism & Possession http://bit.ly/bZqbrb and watch a real video on an exorcism http://bit.ly/cwG3fP
"[Tempering with the occult opens] a doorway. It’s tampering in the spirit world, and you do not know who’s going to show up. So when someone gets into Wicca, black magic or white magic, psychics, séances, Tarot cards, spells, or all that other idolatrous stuff, they don’t know what’s going to happen. They’re tapping into a realm they know nothing about, most of the time." Father Gary Thomas, a renown Exorcist priest. Read more here.
If you need help pertaining to cases of demonic possession or oppression, please contact a deliverance prayer group in your area listed in [this worldwide directory].
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