Holidays/Feast Days

Assumption of the VirginNice article from LifeTeen:

About twelve years ago a teen named Billy asked me this question, “Why do you Catholics believe that Mary ascended into heaven, when it’s not even in the Bible?”

He said “you Catholics” because he went to a local Bible Church but had been coming to a Life Teen Summer Bible Study with some of his Catholic friends.

“Well, first . . . ” I replied, “Mary did not ascend into heaven; the Blessed Virgin Mary was assumed into heaven. Jesus ascended by His own power. Mary was taken up into heaven by God.” That little difference is a big difference, so I wanted to be sure he understood it.

Billy then replied, “Okay, fine . . . but it’s still not in the Bible. The Church made it up.”

This is where the conversation got really interesting.

DID MARY DIE?

Maybe Mary didn’t die. Maybe she’s living in Brazil . . . next door to Elvis. Some people point to the fact that only Elijah and Enoch are mentioned as being carried off to heaven in Scripture, and since Mary is not, then “it must not be true.”

Have you ever noticed that although the Acts of the Apostles is an incredibly detailed accurate account of Sts. Peter and Paul, we do not read of their deaths on the pages of Scripture? Everything we know of their deaths comes from early oral tradition. In fact, the Bible doesn’t say what happened to most of the disciples. The Bible is silent in this area. Many Evangelicals accept the witness of Church history that Saint Peter was crucified upside-down in Rome, that Paul was beheaded, etc. — even though Scripture does not record these events.

We know, from oral tradition, that Mary was taken into the care of St. John (the writer of the fourth gospel and the Book of Revelation) and went to live with him in Ephesus (where he was a Bishop). We know that she was sought out for her counsel and wisdom and that she was exalted and honored throughout the community. Early Church Tradition upholds these facts as true, as do historic and non-canonical writings.

What is different, though, is that we know where the bones of Sts. Peter and Paul and other disciples like Mary Magdalene are because the early Christians took care of them. There is no record of where the bones of Mary are. It seems a little odd that if there had been a body no one would have given her a proper burial or that her tomb would not have become a landmark, does it not?

HOW DO WE KNOW MARY IS IN HEAVEN?

Well, if the woman who God specifically chose to bring His Son into the world and raise Him is not in heaven . . . none of us have a shot.

Seriously, though, is there Scriptural backing for this teaching about the Assumption? Absolutely!

While it does not explicitly state, “Mary assumed into heaven” in the Bible, stop and take a look at the verses from Revelation, written by John, of visions that were seen:

“Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm. A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth. She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod… Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have salvation and power come, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Anointed . . .” – Revelation 11:19, 12:1-6, 10

This revelation is referring to Mary in heaven. Mary is often referred to as the new “Ark of the Covenant.”

Indiana Jones went searching for the Ark of the Old Covenant which contained the Ten Commandments (Law), a pot of manna (heavenly bread) and the staff of Aaron (symbol of Priesthood). You can read about the Ark – but not Indiana Jones – in Hebrews 9:4. The Ark was kept free from all defect and corruption, made from the finest most pure materials to God’s exact specifications.

As the Ark of the New Covenant, Mary carried Christ who is the Law, the Bread of Life, and the Royal High Priest. Her Immaculate Conception and her state as ever-Virgin kept her free from defect and sin, preserving her throughout her life, until her death where she was immediately assumed to preserve her from any bodily corruption on earth. Notice, too, in this passage from Revelation that we see the Ark (which is missing on earth) in heaven immediately preceding our vision of this woman crowned in stars and holding a baby.

Don’t forget – to whom did God give this vision (Revelation)? He imparted it to St. John, the one who was entrusted with caring for Our Mother, Mary (John 19:25-27) for the remainder of her days on earth prior to her assumption.

In 1950, Pope Pius XII defined the doctrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the universal Church. The teaching was not new – only now formally clarified. He affirmed that at the end of her time on earth, Mary experienced immediately the resurrection of the body that is promised to all faithful followers of Jesus.

Basically, since Mary was preserved from original sin by the unique gift of Christ’s grace, she was able to experience the immediate perfect union with her Son in heaven, never knowing, tasting or suffering from bodily corruption or decay (due to death) in any way.

Remember, as Christians we believe in the Resurrection of the Body. As the Papal encyclical Lumen Gentium (68) asserts, Mary’s assumption and heavenly presence preceded and foreshadows our own future glory (1 Corinthians 15). You might want to check out how the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains it, too (CCC 966).

One of the things that sets us apart as Catholics from Christian denominations is that we have a rich understanding of Mary and a tradition of giving her the honor she deserves. She can teach us a lot through her example of virtue and her special role within the Church. Pray with Mary and she will lead you into a far deeper relationship with Her Son than you could ever achieve by your own direction.

I’m reminded of that conversation with the teen every year around this Feast Day, only I no longer call that teen, Billy, my friend . . . now I also call him, Father Bill. He went looking for Mary and found her . . . in the Catholic Church.

Hail Mary!

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SignOfTheCross-58c84de63df78c353c6bf6d1On this feast day of the Triumph of the Cross, heed the words of Church Father, St. Cyril, Archbishop of Jerusalem (c. 315–87) in  his “Catechetical Lectures.”

13. All kings when they die have their power extinguished with their life: but Christ crucified is worshipped by the whole world. We proclaim The Crucified, and the devils tremble now. Many have been crucified at various times; but of what other who was crucified did the invocation ever drive the devils away?

14. Let us, therefore, not be ashamed of the Cross of Christ; but though another hide it, do thou openly seal it upon thy forehead, that the devils may behold the royal sign and flee trembling far away.

Make then this sign at eating and drinking, at sitting, at lying down, at rising up, at speaking, at walking: in a word, at every act. For He who was here crucified is in heaven above.

downloadIf after being crucified and buried He had remained in the tomb, we should have had cause to be ashamed; but, in fact, He who was crucified on Golgotha here, has ascended into heaven from the Mount of Olives on the East.

For after having gone down hence into Hades, and come up again to us, He ascended again from us into heaven, His Father addressing Him, and saying, Sit Thou on My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.

15. This Jesus Christ who is gone up shall come again!

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Feast Day of St. Martha, loved by Jesus

by Steve Ray on July 29, 2020

Martha is often given the short shrift. She lived with her brother Lazarus and her sister Mary in Bethany where Jesus lived when he was in the Jerusalem area. She worked hard, cared for people but was criticized by Jesus, or so it seems.

I don’t think Jesus was criticizing those who serve guests and take care of details. He was commenting on the nervousness, “worry and bother” that was causing Martha to miss the whole point of the gathering. Jesus was there and it is more important to spend time with him than in scuttling about in a nervous tizzy. Mary certainly helped too, but she was aware of the real import of the moment.

Bethany (picture above) is much bigger now than in Jesus’ day. Today it is an Arab town called El-Aziriye, after Lazarus. It was the home of Lazarus, Mary and Martha.

The other picture is of me coming out of Lazarus’ Tomb. We have visited this tomb often. It is incredible to enter this tomb and then reemerge to read St. John 11 and the historical account of Jesus raising Lazarus from this very tomb.

This demonstrates again that the Bible is historical and accurate. The places mentioned in the Gospels still exist. On our pilgrimages, we visit, touch and pray at these sites. You can be proud to be a Catholic and confident in the Bible and the teaching of the Church!

To see these sites on DVD, get our Jesus, the Word Became Flesh where we visit Bethany, the home of Martha and Mary and the Tomb of Lazarus.

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Resurrection Appearances: Places & People

April 15, 2020

In response to my show on Drew Mariani, here is the list of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. Click here for the document: https://catholicconvert.com/wp-content/uploads/Resurrection-People-who-witnessed.pdf For the podcast of my show with Drew Mariani — the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus and the institution and need for Confession, click ? below  or click this link: https://relevantradio.com/2020/04/the-importance-of-sacrament-of-confession/ My segment begins […]

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Exclusive Video: Holy Week inside Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

April 14, 2020

Join the Franciscan Friars for Easter in an exclusive – inside the Holy Sepulchre during the virus lockdown. Thanks to my friends Jeries Majlaton and Fr. Sinisa who provided me with exclusive photos and video footage inside the Holy Sepulchre during the Holy Week Triduum. The Franciscans are on lockdown inside the church and celebrated […]

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Steve’s 1/2 hour podcast: “Witnesses to the Resurrection” on Relevant Radio

April 13, 2020

After counting the different individuals or entities who were at the Tomb or later witnesses of the resurrected Christ, I came up with 15 witnesses in 9 locations. Enjoy the podcast! The interview starts at 02:40 minutes into the show.

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How Long Was Jesus in the Tomb? Another Contradiction?

April 12, 2020

“For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:38-40) Skeptics claim to have discovered an error in the New Testament —claiming Jesus was not in the tomb […]

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The Virus that Stole Easter

April 11, 2020

If you have someone who reads well in the family, have them read this poem aloud. You will all love it and it fits right in with Easter and our current isolation. The Virus that Stole Easter By Kristi Bothur With a nod to Dr. Seuss Twas late in ‘19 when the virus began Bringing […]

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Podcast of Virtual Tour of the Passion with Steve Ray on Relevant Radio

April 10, 2020

We spent about an hour walking through the Passion on Relevant Radio – a conversation with Steve Ray and Drew Mariani. Enjoy!

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When Was Jesus Crucified? How Long on the Cross? Do the Gospels Contradict Each Other?

April 10, 2020

Do the Gospels Conflict? How Long was Jesus on the Cross? (See also Was Jesus Crucified Naked? and How Long Was Jesus in the Tomb?) The question intrigued me sufficiently enough that I spent the best part of a day working on it. On the surface there seems to be a contradiction in the Gospels, mentioning different […]

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Steve’s Past and Upcoming Radio Shows for Holy Week

April 7, 2020

WEDNESDAY: Spirit Catholic Radio “The Passion” at 8:40 AM – 9:00 Eastern https://www.radio.net/s/kvss Terry & Jesse Show “Stations of the Cross, Part II” at 2:15 – 3:00 Eastern https://virginmostpowerfulradio.org/our-shows/the-terry-and-jesse-show/ THURSDAY: Relevant Radio, Drew Mariani Show Virtual Tour of the Passion: 5:00-6:00 PM Eastern www.RelevantRadio.com. Amer and I on Teresa Tomeo show yesterday. It starts at […]

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Special Lenten Bundle for a Great Price

April 6, 2020

Steve Ray’s exciting one hour talk – a virtual tour of the Stations of the Cross from a medical, historical, typological, biblical basis. This is something Steve has actually walked in Jerusalem over 100 times. Also Steve’s 1 hour presentation of every aspect of the crucifixion in graphic detail to help you realize the cost […]

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Feast of Chair of St. Peter: “Chair of Moses, Chair of Peter” Steve’s Article, YouTube Video and Resources

February 21, 2020

St. Cyprian of Carthage (beheaded 257 AD) one hundred and fifty years before the New Testament writings were collected into one book called “The Bible”: “The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ He says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will […]

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Pictures of the Presentation of Our Lord

February 3, 2020

Sunday was the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord. I have two radio shows today on this topic so I put up a few pictures of what I think it may have looked like. ant Radio’s Morning Air on the presentation. You can listen to a podcast id did on the Presentation a year ago here. My […]

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Was Joseph the Father of Jesus? Video of Going to Work with Jesus and Joseph near Nazareth!

January 8, 2020

I thought I would share a few things on the great St. Joseph. The more I’ve studied him and walked in his land, the more I love this guy.  First, a discussion of whether it is correct to call St. Joseph the father of Jesus. Second, I recently ran from Nazareth to the worksite of […]

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Ironic Twist to a Devastating Story; Why Did God Allow Sin?

December 30, 2019

I just finished writing my book on Genesis to be published by Ignatius Press. This section I wrote was so exciting and ironic I had to share it, especially since this is Christmas when God became Man. Here is a small section of what I wrote: But why didn’t God prevent Adam and Eve from sinning? […]

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