October 2017

Day 4: Lourdes to Loyola to Burgos Spain

by Steve Ray on October 31, 2017

Early departure from Lourdes and a beautiful drive through the countryside of France and Spain.

Four hours at Loyola Spain as we toured the house of St. Ignatius of Loyola and had Mass in the beautiful church there. For Bishop Archbishop Lucas’ homily click here.

Enjoy today’s video.

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Sherlock Holmes an Idolater – Praying to People?

by Steve Ray on October 31, 2017

Last night my wife and I were watching an episode of Sherlock Holmes on TV. He has always been one of my favorite characters and I can remember reading all the stories to our kids as they grew up. On TV I think Jeremy Brett does the best portrayal and it is always a delightful evening to cuddle up and watch another episode.

Last night we were watching “The Copper Beeches” and Sherlock was interviewing a young lady. Her case bored him. But as her story developed, Sherlock became intrigued. He leaned back and said, “Pray, continue.” 

SherlockPrays.jpgMy wife hit the pause button! “What did he say?” We listened again. Sure enough, the Great Sherlock used the word pray when talking to a woman.

But doesn’t “pray” mean worship? In our old Evangelical Protestant days we assumed PRAY was synonymous with WORSHIP. But that was because we were ignorant of our own English language (blame the public schools). 

In the English language, the word pray is much less ostentatious than we Evangelicals blew it up to be. Here is what Wiktionary says,  

1. To petition or solicit help from a supernatural or higher being.
2. To humbly beg a person for aid or their time.
3. (Christianity) to talk to God for any reason.

The least significant usage of the word is to “talk to God” which is still a far cry from falling on one’s face in adoration and worship—an action reserved for the Trinity alone. 

It primarily means to ask of a higher being—which could certainly mean a superior in business, or law or in heaven—for a favor or for their help. It means to ask any person for aid or for their time.  

What was Sherlock Holmes asking when he “prayed” to this woman? He was saying, “Please, I ask you to continue.” Did he worship the woman? Of course not. 

But if we earthy humans ask the assistance and intercession of those who have preceded us to heaven, are we worshiping them or somehow giving them glory that belongs to God alone? CommunionofSaints.jpg

Well let’s ask this—if I ask my brother or sister in Christ on earth to “pray” for me, am I taking away from the glory of God by “praying” or asking them to “pray” or ask God to help me? Of course not, because prayer (talking and asking) and worship are two very different things. 

If I ask a saint who is already in heaven to petition God for me, am I committing idolatry? What foolishness, or course not. I am simply acknowledging that I am not the only Christian in the universe and that the Church is not just made up of me or many earthlings.

Christians, such as Mary and the Apostles, are not dead and gone. They are very much alive before the throne of God. It is made up of all of us still waiting for heaven, but it is also made up of those who have gone on before us with the sign of faith.

You may get asked, “Where in the Bible does it say we should pray to dead saints?” And my answer is always the same, “Where does the Bible say that saints are dead? We Catholic believe in Eternal Life!” 

Again, it is the Evangelical who not only misunderstands spiritual things, but also the English language. I was the most guilty of all, but I had ears to hear (thanks be to God) and I now understand the cosmic reality of the Church and the Communion of Saints. I am much the richer for it. 

Like Sherlock, I can pray to or ask any human creature for information or intercession or help. But it is God alone that I worship. I will ask or pray to any of his people, on earth or in heaven—asking them to intercede or pray for me to the Lord our God. We are after all a big family and the God whom we worship is the Father of us all.

I am so glad I found the Catholic Church and escaped the muddle of mucked up ideas I used to call “Bible-only Christianity.”

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Mass at Immaculate Conception Church at the eRelics of Saint Bernadette. You can see/hear the homily here.

We also had an incredible opportunity to meet with the doctor in charge of all of Lourdes. He spent two hours with us explaining the detailed history of Saint Bernadette, the site and how miracles are determined by the medical team.

We walked the Stations of the Cross with life-size images up the mountain outside of the shrine and then everyone had free time to enjoy the rest of Lourdes before we leave tomorrow.

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Traveling with Paul, John & Mary in Biblical Times was TOUGH!

October 30, 2017

Jostling through the crowds Paul and Luke pushed their way to the ramp. The wooden cargo ship was ready to leave Caesarea and they had gathered the last of their supplies. They pressed the silver denarii into the hands of the sailer at the dock. They were allowed onto the ship. They rushed to the […]

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Lourdes all Day: Mass at the Grotto, Following Footprints of Young Bernadette, Rosary Procession and more

October 29, 2017

Our first full day started with Mass in the Grotto of Lourdes where our Lady appeared to St. Bernadette in 1858. Archbishop Lucas presided at the beautiful and reverent Mass in the “cave.” You can hear/see his excellent homily here. We then gave people free time until 2:30 for going to the baths (though they […]

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Lourdes All Day: Mass at Grotto, Touring Life of Bernadette, Rosary Procession and more

October 29, 2017

Our first full day started with Mass in the Grotto of Lourdes where our Lady appeared to St. Bernadette in 1858. Archbishop Lucas presided at the beautiful and reverent Mass in the “cave.” You can hear/see his excellent homily here. We then gave people free time until 2:30 for going to the baths (though they […]

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Our Conversion Story in Easy-to-Read Format with Lots of Pictures

October 29, 2017

I can still smell the green vinyl of the used couch in our living room as I knelt with my mom, with my face buried in my hands and my nose pressed into the vinyl. She had decided I was old enough — after all I was four years old. She didn’t want to wait […]

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Our 3 Buses Arrive in Lourdes France – All Excited and Ready to Go!

October 28, 2017

Always good on the first day to see everyone excited, happy and ready for spiritual adventures – and other kinds of adventures too. We had our first Mass with Archbishop Lucas from Omaha Nebraska at the St. Joseph Chapel here at the Lourdes Shrine. Hear the first homily here. Enjoy our first day here in France […]

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What Does the Word Catholic Mean? A History of the Word “Catholic”

October 28, 2017

As a Protestant, I went to an Evangelical church that changed an important and historical word in the  Apostles Creed. Instead of the “holy, catholic Church,” we were the “holy, Christian church.” At the time, I thought nothing of it. There was certainly no evil intent, just a loathing of the Catholic Church and a […]

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Response to a Southern Baptist

October 27, 2017

I received an e-mail from a Southern Baptist and decided to take a few minutes to respond. Thought others might be edifited by it so I have posted it here without using his name. His email is contained in regular text and MY RESPONSE IS IN CAPITAL LETTERS. **************************************************** HELLO FRIEND: I WILL ANSWER BRIEFLY […]

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Jesus was NOT Crucified or Killed: Quran, Sura 4

October 26, 2017

by Fr. George W. Rutler “That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety […]

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Russian Orthodox Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev has a warning for the West

October 26, 2017

By Elizabeth Scalia | Sep 25, 2017 “Before 1917 nobody ever proposed that the collapse of a centuries-old Christian empire would happen…” Participating in a London conference on the topic of “The Christian Future of Europe,” Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, head of the External Relations Departments of the Russian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate, spoke on September […]

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Tears Singing Good Ole Baptist Hymns

October 25, 2017

The old Baptist hymns still stir me and bring tears to my eyes. They take me back to my childhood when the family would dress up, us kids in our little suits with cheesy ties and short-legged pants (I’m the one in the plaid jacket). Dad would always give us candy during the service and […]

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Mary and the Apostles are Dead! Only Jesus can Mediate for Us

October 24, 2017

 Confusion of Many Protestants Too often well-meaning Protestants get confused and accuse of things that are outright nonsense if not lies. It is usually because they never take the time to really understand what the Catholic Church actually teaches and practices. Below is a good example of a kind and well-meaning Protestant pastor who wrote […]

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North Lieutenancy Pilgrimage Comments & Farewells

October 23, 2017
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Fun Day Riding Camels, Floating in Dead Sea, Jericho, Jordan River and more

October 23, 2017

We started out with Mass at the Notre Dame Center. Here the bishops excellent Homily here. Then we went to the Israel Museum, the Jordan River,  Jericho, Qumran, floating on the Dead Sea and riding camels. We had dinner and everyone headed home after marvelous pilgrimage. Watch also our final video with farewells and comments.

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