A Biblical Defense of Catholicism

October 27, 2011 § 3 Comments

I just recently got a Nook Color e-reader as a gift to myself. One of the books I’ve read so far is A Biblical Defense of Catholicism, by the excellent apologist Dave Armstrong. Dave already has quite an in-depth website with many blog-style posts defending Catholicism, with the intent of providing Biblical evidence for the veracity of Catholic doctrine; one can safely assume that this is for those Protestant brethren who refuse to believe any doctrine that they are not aware is found in the Scriptures. This e-book conveniently brings together many of the Biblical proofs for Catholic doctrines, including Mary and her role as Mediatrix and Co-redemptrix, the Real Presence of the Eucharist, Tradition, the Priesthood and role of the Papacy, Purgatory, the Communion of Saints, Penance, and all the things that have traditionally been misunderstood, misinterpreted, and distrusted by Protestants. Those unfamiliar with Dave Armstrong and his apologetics should definitely read this book. He is one of the best, but little-known, apologists today, especially in the area of Scripture. He is right up there with Dr. Scott Hahn, with an in-depth knowledge of both Scripture and Doctrine.

Dave Armstrong clearly and effectively lays out all the wealth of Scriptural evidence for Catholicism, while pointing out that Catholicism needs no Scriptural evidence to back it up, since it has nothing less than the original teachings of Christ and the Apostles, passed down from master to student for thousands of years. Whether you are a Catholic who wishes to learn more about the Bible as an important part of Christian life, or you know a Protestant who demands Biblical proofs for your beliefs, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism e-book version by Dave Armstrong is essential. Well researched and written, with a wealth of Bible-based apologetics, this e-book comes at a great price from Aquinas and More, your source for all things Catholic, including e-books.

You can purchase this e-book here.

I wrote this review of A Biblical Defense of Catholicism for the free Catholic Book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, your source for Baptism Gifts and delicious Opłatki Christmas Wafers.

Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases.

I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

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World Youth Day still relevant

August 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’ve been following the 2011 WYD in Madrid on Telemadrid (as recommended by the Vatican’s new Twitter account). It’s great to see so many people, especially young people, gather together in the name of Christ. Let’s face it, the Pope still draws larger crowds than anyone, though nobody could draw a crowd like JPII. It proves that Christianity and the Church are still relevant no matter how strongly attacked by the agents of Satan- Freemasons, atheists, Zionists and child molesters. Reading some of the comments on news sites, however, brings into focus just how much those agents are still working against Holy Mother Church. I hear things like “The Catholics have a World Youth Day? What do they call it, ‘buffet’?” It is disgusting, to be sure, but let’s face facts again- the Church has only Herself to blame. If more were done to rid the Church of modernism, homosexuality, Masons and Zionists, then we would have no crimes to be ashamed of, and detractors would have less ammo- ammo that priests, bishops, and cardinals seem all too eager to provide. Let’s remember, in the face of these attacks and, especially, attacks like those planned and thankfully not carried out, that we have big issues in the Church which must be dealt with. Pray for our priests and shepherds. And pray that these millions of faithful youth will never have occasion to lose that faith through the actions of their pastors.

Secular Franciscan Companion

June 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

The Secular Franciscan Companion, published by St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2009, is a  handbook on Franciscan spirituality as practiced by the Secular Franciscan Order. Though published specifically for Secular Franciscans, this book is invaluable for any lay Catholic who is interested in practicing Franciscan spirituality in his or her daily life. It includes a short history of the Secular Franciscan Order as well as the full text of the Secular Franciscan Rule at the front for easy reference. The rest of the book is comprised of two sections; the Secular Franciscan at Prayer, which makes up most of the book and includes several subsections, and a Calendar of Franciscan Saints. The primary subject of the book, and indeed of Franciscan spirituality, is that of prayer. First come the daily prayers, many of which are familiar to every Catholic, such as acts of contrition, the Creed, morning and night prayers, etc., but also includes uniquely Franciscan prayers, such as the Franciscan morning prayer, the Crown Rosary, and many other prayers penned by Saint Francis himself, on a variety of subjects. There follow prayers to Saint Francis, such as a prayer for fidelity to the Rule, and those of devotion and perseverance, and a selection of prayers to Franciscan Saints, including St. Bonaventure and St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

Next come meditations. There are beautiful meditations for before Holy Mass, meditations of adoration and praise, of thanksgiving and penance, and the Creed of Pope Paul VI. Following is a section on liturgical prayer, with many familiar prayers like the sacrament of penance and the Office of the Passion, yet, again, enriched by many specifically Franciscan prayers, such as the Liturgical Office of the Twelve Our Fathers. This section also features the entire text of the ordinary parts of the Mass. Seriously! Even if you can’t make daily Mass, you can follow along in spirit. Non-liturgical prayers such as the Seraphic Office, the Office of Praise, and, of course, the Office Prayed with St. Francis, follow. The next section is devoted to devotions; prayers before the Blessed Sacrament, the Stations of the Cross, and the Mysteries of the Rosary included, as well as many novenas and litanies, like the Chair of Unity Octave and Novena to Saint Francis, as well as the Litany to Saint Francis and many other litanies. Finally, there is the Calendar of Franciscan Saints, with the feast days of very many Franciscan Saints for every month of the year. Franciscans will have no lack of reasons to celebrate when consulting this calendar.

This small book, which can easily be carried in a pocket or purse, is absolutely packed with everything one needs to put the faith of Saint Francis to work in their daily lives. Incredibly, the print is large and easily readable on the almost three hundred pages in this little book. For those Catholics who love prayer and devotions, the Secular Franciscan Companion is an invaluable resource that is sure to bring many graces to the reader. It is hard to get across just how much is packed into this small book, so I recommend that you get your own copy today and see for yourself. You won’t be disappointed!

 

You can purchase this book here.

I wrote this review of The Secular Franciscan Companion for the Tiber River Blogger Review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, your source for Baptism Gifts and First Communion Gifts. For more information and to purchase, please visit Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.

Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases.

I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

True Tradition

May 30, 2011 § 2 Comments

One of the main things that drew me, at an early age, toward the Catholic Church, was the incredible solemnity, beauty, and reverence of the Mass. Not just any Mass, but the one that they still celebrated in my grandfather’s parish- the Latin Mass. Eventually, the ‘reforms’ brought about due to confusion about the meaning of the Second Vatican Council, took away the high stone altar, the communion rail, the beautiful Latin prayers, and the reverence of the Mass. My grandfather hated the changes and, though he remained a faithful Catholic to his death and assisted at Mass every Sunday, he never again felt the pure joy that he used to feel at Mass. I didn’t even know about any council or changes- I was not Catholic. My mother was a lapsed Catholic, and my father a Southern Baptist. It was my father’s church that I was raised in and taught about. The only experience I had at a Catholic church was when I would visit grampaw in the summers. He would take me to Mass every Sunday, and these times were my favorite part of my visits. I stopped visiting every year for financial reasons (we lived several hundred miles from El Paso, where my grandparents lived), but I never forgot the beautiful liturgy of the Catholic Church.

During my teenage years I gave up on religion. I had no use for it. I was a teenager, after all- I knew everything, and I knew religion was a sham. However, I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of my Bible, or to outright condemn religion. And I, thinking myself learning of all the fallacies of religion, began an in-depth study of the Scriptures. Later, in my mid-twenties, I joined a very fundamentalist, evangelical church. I couldn’t find peace there with their doctrines. Though they held the Bible up as almost a Eucharist, Christ in the form of a book, their doctrines were based on a few cherry-picked verses and were negated by the  very book which they seemed to hold in such regard. So, after much reading about Christian history, and especially the Catholic Church, and, helped along by God’s word, I had a renewal of faith, and decided that Christ lived, and that He resided in the Holy Catholic Church. So I decided to convert. That was the beginning of my struggle. Upon going to Mass for the first time since my youth, I didn’t recognize the Church. It was not the same Mass that I remembered with such fond affection. There was no Latin. There was little reverence. Guitars and drums distracted me from the state of worship I tried to maintain. I honestly didn’t like it.

Nowhere in this new church could I see the signs of those things I had read about in classic works by the Saints and other Catholics, nor even the Catechism. Reverence for Christ in the Eucharist was gone, almost as if nobody knew the doctrine of the Real Presence. In fact, there was little reverence at all. People came in dressed as if they were ready to go and enjoy their weekend- as soon as church was over. Jeans, football jerseys, short skirts- all the clothing we wore to our evangelical church, because, hey, God doesn’t care what you look like, man! Maybe not, but I do, and I want to look my best for Him. But whatever, I kept it up, and entered RCIA. It was in RCIA that I discovered the instructors didn’t even understand the Church! I continually found myself having to correct the teachers! Our class was told that baptism was just a symbolic thing, for instance. They did still understand the Real Presence, but in a kind of watered down form. They knew nothing of traditional prayers and beliefs. I wanted to quit. This wasn’t the Church I had learned about and been drawn to!

But I didn’t quit, because, like it or not, the Church is, and will always be. Just like in the days of Luther, the church was in turmoil, with Satan trying his hardest to divide it. That same Satan that my RCIA instructors laughingly said was more of a “symbol of evil” than an actual entity bent on the destruction of Christ’s church. But, just as in the days of the misguided monk, were I to leave the Church, to give up on her, I’d only be doing the Devil’s work for him. You see, the Church in Luther’s time had problems, just as she has had since day one. But she was already in the process of reforming herself. Luther, had he taken an example from St. Catherine of Siena, could have worked for change while still being loyal to Christ and His Church. Instead, he gave the Devil a hand and left, taking millions of misguided souls with him, their itching ears wanting to find an easier way to Christ. So I realize that being a “traditional” Catholic means remaining loyal to the magisterium, the pope, and the Church. After all, Christ promised that Satan would never destroy His Church. Don’t I trust Christ? Of course I do. That’s why I patiently wait for the Church to reform herself again, ridding herself of the taint of the Satan-inspired few who, misunderstanding the documents of Vatican II, proceeded to Protestantize the Church. And it’s going along nicely, I think. Our Holy Father, Benedict, is bringing back the traditional Mass for those who want it, just as his predecessor had begun. The dogmas of the Church are still set in stone, just many Catholics are no longer educated about what it is the Church actually believes, and this is in part due to the influence Satan has exerted over many Bishops and priests. Child molestation is a fruit of the spirit of Vatican II, for example. As is an ecumenism that doesn’t attempt conversion, and a modernism which leaves sound doctrine on the bookshelves. But if I want to be truly Catholic, I must be like St. Catherine, not Martin Luther. There is a reason that Luther is called a heretic and Catherine a Saint and Doctor. St. Catherine worked for change from within, guided by the Holy Spirit and trusting in Christ, while Luther did the Devil’s work and caused a schism that the world still reels from. I do want the Church to return to the right path. But I want to guide her and help work for change from within, rather than be another source of division. That, in my opinion, is true traditional Catholicism.

Secular Franciscan Companion

April 10, 2011 § 1 Comment

I’ve been trying to become a Secular Franciscan for a while now, but there is no community in my area, and none of those nearby have responded to my inquiries. But that doesn’t mean I can’t still live as a Secular Franciscan. The Secular Franciscan Companion is used by all Secular Franciscans as a companion on their spiritual journey, but one needn’t be religious or a third order member, or even Catholic, to benefit from the wisdom of one of history’s most popular and well known saints.

The Secular Franciscan Companion is filled with prayers, devotions, litanies, offices, and a wealth of Franciscan Spirituality. Prayers by and to St. Francis and St. Clare, the Office of the 12 Our Fathers, Crown Rosary, a calendar of Franciscan Saints; all kinds of wonderful Franciscan prayer on all 280 plus pages of this book. All of this in a pocket-sized, lightweight format that still has a good-sized, readable font. I definitely recommend this book to any Catholic who wishes to strengthen their spiritual walk the Franciscan way. Even Protestants can find a wealth of spiritual edification in this book by a Saint many of our separated brethren know and respect. The best part is, this little big book comes at an amazing price. Try Aquinas and More for your purchase, and support Franciscan spirituality.

For the Life of the World

March 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

Gifts/ Bookstore | Marytown – National Shrine of Saint Maximilian Kolbe.

St. Maximilian Kolbe is my patron saint; as a consecrated Knight of the Immaculata, I like to read about St. Max and his spirituality as much as possible. For the Life of the World, by Jerzy Domanski, OFM Conv., takes some of the focus off St. Kolbe’s Marian spirituality (but in no means diminishes it), focusing instead on Kolbe’s relationship with Jesus in the Eucharist. Some would accuse St. Kolbe of too fervent a devotion to the Queen of Heaven, but Father Domanski shows us how in every way, Jesus is the end and Mary the means, and devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through Mary is the best way to unite our will to that of Christ, whose will is identical to his mother’s.

Many people, even Catholics, do not fully understand the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception- an infallible doctrine that will never change or diminish. This book helps to correct many of the misunderstandings and remind the reader that Jesus Himself gave us His mother as an example of the perfect disciple, to be imitated and honored, in imitation of Christ.

End your day the Ignatian way!

February 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Portrait of St. Ignatius of LoyolaI have been discerning a vocation for many years, but am the type of person that likes to take a lot of time when facing such an important decision. I have looked into the spirituality of many monastic groups, especially that of my patron, St. Maximilian Kolbe, who was a Franciscan. I don’t feel myself drawn to any one in particular, so I end up mixing in elements of each into my personal prayer life. One practice engaged in by St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order, is the Examen. I like to make the Examen nightly, just before bed, but before the rosary. The Examen consists of looking back upon the day and examining it through the eyes of the Church. Have I sinned today? How and why? What caused me to sin? What were the circumstances that led to any sins or stumbles this day, and what can I do tomorrow to avoid the same thing? What emotions do I feel when thinking about certain events of the day, and what can I learn from this?

I find it very helpful to do this nightly, striving always to understand myself and my actions, resolving to align myself more and more with the teachings of the Church, and therefore the the will of Christ, strengthening my faith and becoming a better Catholic along the way. Here are the steps of this very easy yet fulfilling devotion, from the Ignatian website.

1. Become aware of God’s presence. Look back on the events of the day in the company of the Holy Spirit. The day may seem confusing to you—a blur, a jumble, a muddle. Ask God to bring clarity and understanding.

2. Review the day with gratitude. Gratitude is the foundation of our relationship with God. Walk through your day in the presence of God and note its joys and delights. Focus on the day’s gifts. Look at the work you did, the people you interacted with. What did you receive from these people? What did you give them? Pay attention to small things—the food you ate, the sights you saw, and other seemingly small pleasures. God is in the details.

3. Pay attention to your emotions. One of St. Ignatius’s great insights was that we detect the presence of the Spirit of God in the movements of our emotions. Reflect on the feelings you experienced during the day. Boredom? Elation? Resentment? Compassion? Anger? Confidence? What is God saying through these feelings?

God will most likely show you some ways that you fell short. Make note of these sins and faults. But look deeply for other implications. Does a feeling of frustration perhaps mean that God wants you consider a new direction in some area of your work? Are you concerned about a friend? Perhaps you should reach out to her in some way.

4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it. Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to something during the day that God thinks is particularly important. It may involve a feeling—positive or negative. It may be a significant encounter with another person or a vivid moment of pleasure or peace. Or it may be something that seems rather insignificant. Look at it. Pray about it. Allow the prayer to arise spontaneously from your heart—whether intercession, praise, repentance, or gratitude.

5. Look toward tomorrow. Ask God to give you light for tomorrow’s challenges. Pay attention to the feelings that surface as you survey what’s coming up. Are you doubtful? Cheerful? Apprehensive? Full of delighted anticipation? Allow these feelings to turn into prayer. Seek God’s guidance. Ask him for help and understanding. Pray for hope.

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