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Posts Tagged ‘Pope Benedict XVI’

My older brother caused quite a stir on Facebook this week when he posted a meme of Pope Benedict with the quote: Dancing is not a form of expression for Christian liturgy … None of the Christian rites includes dancing – Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (future [Pope] Benedict XVI.

Immediately, the non-Catholic Christian Facebook community took my brother to task and began quoting 2 Samuel 6:14-22 and Psalm 150 from the Old Testament.

First, let me just say that this blog and my books always try to focus on the positive.

However, when people attack my Faith, I get a bit defensive and sadly may appear to sound negative when countering false statements. That is not my intent. My intention is always to try to shed light on the subject in the hopes that this correction will lead to Christian Unity if not in the form of praise and worship, at least in love and respect.

Here’s a short list of my past works in apologetics, for lack of a better word:

Let me begin by saying that Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI was one of God’s most humble creations. Based on his works, I believe that he also stands with Aquinus and Augustine as one of the Creator’s most significant Christian minds.

To think that he was unaware of 2 Samuel or any of the Psalms reminds me of two of the most telling words in scripture, Ecce Homo; the words Pontius Pilate ignorantly used, according to the Gospel of John, to present the King of Kings to an unenlightened crowd.

Second, it literally perplexes me how uneducated Christians are when it comes to the rituals and practices of fellow Christians. Aren’t we brothers and sisters? Shouldn’t we be interested in how each other loves and praises our Father? Matt Pratt and Matt Whitman offer the best example of this curiosity for mutual understanding that I’ve seen. (Watch: A Catholic and a Protestant Walk Into a Bar.)

Instead, we bicker and feud like the sons of Jacob and the latter Tribes of Israel and have become more like the Judahs and Samaritinas than members of the body of Christ.

In 2 Samuel, David’s dancing was a spontaneous, expression of joy — much different than the kind of choreographed dancing for which Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was expressing his disdain. Second, when it came to how David worshipped God, let me draw your attention to 2 Samuel 6:17.

And they brought the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place in the midst of the tabernacle, which David had pitched for it: and David offered holocausts, and peace offerings before the Lord.

Notice, in 2 Samuel 6:17, that David was no longer leaping and dancing when he was in the great tent, known as the tabernacle.

I won’t bore you with all the particulars of the tent known as the Tabernacle or the Mishkan in Hebrew, except to point your attention to a part of the Mishkan known as the Holy of Holies, the inner room. The Holy of Holies was the actual dwelling place of the God of Israel, who sat invisibly enthroned above a solid slab of gold that rested on the Ark of the Covenant.

Every Catholic Church, no matter the Rite, has a re-creation of the Holy of Holies, a place where the Tabernacle rests. As in the true Holy of Holies, in our Tabernacle, Our Lord presides in the form of consecrated bread, which we call the Real Presence.  Now, I’m not asking you to believe it. I’m just asking you to respect what we believe.

Sadly, because of poor catechism over the last 40-50 years, many Catholics today don’t understand this teaching either; and because of this, a great many Catholics no longer believe in the Eucharistic teaching that is called the source and summit of our Faith. (That’s a story for another day.)

Are you still with me?  Good!  Let’s continue…

The Liturgy of the Catholic Latin Rite, which many call Roman Rite or Roman Catholicism, is broken into two parts: The Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Biblical references in the Mass are too many to number, so I’ll just put a link to the references here.  Here’s a link to the percentage of the Bible in the Lectionary, our Reading.

So, to say we are not a Bible-based Church is just a lark.

When one looks at the Liturgy of the Word, one will see Catholics do what we do because the Bible tells us so.  To show this, I’ll use the Gospel of Luke 4:16-20.

16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

In Luke 4:18-19, Jesus reads from the book of Isaiah. So, just like Jesus, we read from Scripture.

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down.

Notice, no dancing.

In the Catholic Latin Rite, after the Gospel is read, the priest sits down and the Liturgy of the Eucharist begins. What does Luke tell us about how this originally took place?

19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

In fact, at every Mass, the priest says those same words — and we do exactly as Christ instructed, in remembrance of him. Notice again, there was no dancing at the Last Supper. Next, the priest prays at the altar, as the congregation prays along silently. Again, Luke explains what happened next.

39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly….

Sadly, I’m sure there are some in the pews who have fallen asleep or even would betray Christ. But there we are, praying and still not dancing.

Finally, the Priest lifts up the Eucharist.

46 When he had said this, he breathed his last … 49 But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

If that’s not evidence enough, one could argue that the complete trip to Emmaus was a Mass.

On the Road to Emmaus

Again, the Catholic Rites, of which there are over 20, start with the Liturgy of the Word.

 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

Catholics read all the Scriptures concerning Him. In fact, if you attend Mass every Sunday for three years, you’ll hear all four Gospels. Can you say that about your worship services? Hopefully, you can. Along with the Gospel is an Old Testament reading that foreshadows the events in the Gospel — just like the Risen Lord did on the Road to Emmaus.

Again, after the readings, Catholics move on to the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

Finally, the priest then gives us a blessing by invoking the Sign of the Cross (the Trinity) and finally, we come to the words, Ite Missa est.” These words are rendered most literally as, “Go forth, the Mass is ended.

33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

The Latin word “Missa” is the origin of the English word “Mass,” and it carries the sense of mission. (Maybe, that’s why non-Catholic Christians called their gatherings a “service”?) It’s our mission to tell others about Jesus, the Risen King!

Here’s where we can now go forth to sing and dance, showing our joy for Christ to the world. In fact, I belonged to a Catholic Church in California that did just that! After Mass, we all went outside and continued to sing and praise the Lord.

Finally, all this is recorded clearly in early Christian texts. A first-century convert, St. Justin Martyr wrote this about traditional Christian worship.

Having ended the prayers, we salute one another with a kiss. There is then brought to the president of the brethren bread and a cup of wine mixed with water; and he taking them, gives praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and offers thanks at considerable length for our being counted worthy to receive these things at His hands.

And when he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all the people present express their assent by saying Amen. This word Amen answers in the Hebrew language to ge’noito [so be it].

And when the president has given thanks, and all the people have expressed their assent, those who are called by us deacons give to each of those present to partake of the bread and wine mixed with water over which the thanksgiving was pronounced, and to those who are absent they carry away a portion.

Finally, he wrote this about the Bread and Wine, what we call the Eucharist.

And this food is called among us Eucharistia [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined.

For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh.” – (First Apology, 66)

It’s with humility that we worship our Lord as He himself worshipped and as, we believe, He taught the Apostles to worship. We have this understanding based on the writings of those early Christians, such as our brother Justin, who received our Faith directly from the Apostles.

Who are we to deviate from that?

Maybe you are called to worship as you wish? I am not that bold. Until I am, I will humbly worship the way that was passed down to me, through the centuries, by great men and women who intimately knew the Apostles and Our Lord and was preserved through the millennia by such reverent, and holy people as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, who humbly became Pope Benedict XVI.

God bless and go forth to love and serve the Lord.

______________<>________________

James is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the SoulThe Christmas Save, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL 

As a writer, James’s appearances include Newsweek, The Inside Success Show, Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.  

Beyond writing, James worked with At-Risk youth in Southern California for over six years.  His contributions to the classroom — featured on local television and in the LA Daily News and the Los Angeles Times’ Burbank Leader — earned him the honors of “Teacher of the Year”.    James was also twice honored by a CASDA Scholar as the teacher who had the greatest influence on that student.   As an educator, James also appeared twice on America Live with Megyn Kelly. 

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.   Besides his books, you can follow his musing on this blog Corporation You.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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Recently, I received a text with a link to a short clip titled “Jordan Peterson cries talking about Jesus.”

I watched the clip and responded.

Immediately, the exchange continued.

Like Jordan Peterson, I often rely on scientific means to BELIEVE.

Though today I don’t subscribe to the 1960’s Hippie imagine of Saint Francis of Assisi, his writings did inspired me to leave home and study Wildlife Biology at the University of Montana. As my scientific knowledge increased, my Faith grew stronger.

For example, the scientific discovery of Fetal microchimerism better formed my understanding and acceptance of the Catholic Church’s Marian Dogmas. My blogpost The Theology of Jesus’ Blood Type explains how science helped seal my Faith in the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist.

In fact, the Church uses science all-the-time.

The Church calls in scientists to try to disprove every alleged miracle or apparition.[1] For example, the Lourdes Medical Commission, while documenting thousands of extraordinary cures, has only validated only a handful of them. [2] Additionally, the Church sends a Promoter of Faith to interrogate and challenge those who are promoting someone’s sainthood. You might know that person as The Devil’s Advocate.

It is his duty to suggest natural explanations for alleged miracles, and even to bring forward human and selfish motives for deeds that have been accounted heroic virtues.

The ultimate weapon of the Devil’s Advocate: The Scientific Method!

God knew many of us would need more than blind faith to follow Him. That’s why there’s science.

The Church is steeped in science — and always has been. *

Take Saint Thomas the Apostle. Thomas needed evidence to believe and became the first Saint to use the Scientific Method!

Scripture tells us that Christ didn’t leave the Apostles faith to chance so he gave them evidence. He appeared to them, not once, but twice — when Thomas was present.

We all know the story. Thomas couldn’t believe in the resurrected Christ until he personally made an Observation.

Though John’s Gospel has Thomas silent at the moment of Christ’s visitation, Thomas had previously formulated a Hypothesis eight days before when he said, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

Thomas was given a chance to test his hypothesis with an Experiment when Christ had His incredulous disciple reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust [it] into my side.

Thomas had both felt and seen the physical evidence of the Resurrected Christ, and was able to Draw a Conclusion, when he said “My Lord and my God.”

Finally, Thomas Communicated the Results, traveling the four corners of the globe spreading the Good News to the blessed who have not seen, but believe. Tradition, in both the East and West, has Thomas preaching in the regions south of the Himalayans, including India, where he suffered martyrdom in Madras.

This was not the first time that Thomas showcased his inquisitive mind. Earlier, in the 14th Chapter of John’s Gospel, Thomas asked the question: “Lord, we know not whither thou go; and how can we know the way?”

Maybe that’s why Thomas is also known as Didymus, meaning Twin — because he’s the spitting imagine, in heart and soul, of all of us who draw our conclusions by using the scientific method.

Who knew that following the science could lead one to follow Christ.

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul,  and two children books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to All.   For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

* NOTE: I figured some readers would have a problem with the line “The Catholic Church is steeped in science — and always has been” due to the Galileo Affair. With that, here’s a LINK to my blogpost of this incident.

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praying hands collusor
Saint Brother André Bessette had an extraordinary devotion to Saint Joseph.

The eighth of 12 children, Brother André was adopted at 12.  According to Franciscan Media, he had various trades: farmhand, shoemaker, baker, blacksmith.  He was also a factory worker in the United States.

At 25, André applied for entrance into the Congregation of Holy Cross — and the rest, as they say, is history.

      

John Paul II participated in the solemn rite of beatification for Brother André on May 23, 1982 in St. Peter’s Square.  On October 17, 2010, Brother André was canonized in Rome by Pope Benedict XVI. [1]

My first visit to Brother André’s  St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal was life changing.

Built in the Italian Renaissance style, the basilica is set on top of Mount Royal as a model of Christian charity.  It’s shining copper dome — second-largest of its kind in the world, smaller only than St. Peter’s in Rome  — cannot be hidden from the eyes of all people below.  In the nave of L’Oratoire Saint-Joseph, one entire wall is dedicated to crutches miraculously left behind by cured pilgrims for all to see.

However life-changing that experience was, nothing changed my life more than a simple prayer that I found on Pinterest attributed to Brother André.

“When you invoke St. Joseph,” Brother André said, “you don’t have to say much. Say…

If you were in my place, Saint Joseph
What would you do?
Well, pray for this on my behalf.”

It’s a prayer I recite often throughout my day. I have never felt such inner peace since giving this simple prayer a try.

Try it!  Ite ad Joseph. Your life may change as well.

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Kwanzaa Klaus, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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