26 September, 2009

Discussion with "God's Warrior Princess" about what she has been taught about the Church's teaching

(God’s Warrior Princess) You pray to Mary and bow at statues made to look like her...

(Cristoiglesia) I assume that you believe that doing these things is wrong, is that correct? When we pray to the blessed mother of God we are using the definition of pray in the archaic sense which means to ask. We are asking the blessed mother to pray for us. We do not know what the blessed mother of God looked like but artists through the ages have pictured her as a beautiful young woman most often with the baby Jesus in her arms. The artists do a great service to the Church and the faithful by reminding us of the example of the blessed mother of her obedience to our Lord and her devotion to Him. It reminds us of what we are also called to do as the faithful. Often being in the presence of artists renditions of the blessed mother we are compelled to kneel and pray to our Lord as we are humbled by the thought of our Christian calling to Him and the grace that we have received through our faith and are encouraged by the faith of the blessed mother who gave her whole life to Her Son and sacrificed for humanity by saying yes to be the God bearer for the redemption of mankind. That is why we honor her and call her blessed just as the angel Gabriel proclaimed. We may bow at her statue or picture but not to her statue or picture but instead as an act of devotion to her Son which her picture reminded us.

First of all it is disingenuous to state that the practice of praying for each other has no biblical foundation, we are instructed in Scripture to have a prayer life for others as it is part of God’s commandment to love one another.

(2Co 5:8 DRB) But we are confident and have a good will to be absent rather from the body and to be present with the Lord.

The Catholic Church does not teach that it is absolutely necessary for one to ask for the intercession of saints for salvation. The Church does teach that prayer to God is necessary for salvation for all believers. For a Catholic it would be wrong to ignore the liturgical worship offered to God at feast days for the saints and the prayers asking for their intercession.

The Communion of Saints is a dogma of the ancient Church and is recorded in the apostles Creed. It simply states that the faithful because of their relationship with Christ are alive even after the death of their flesh and worship with us. To us the Church is made up of the Church militant who represents all those believers living out their hope in the flesh.

(Phi 2:12 DRB) Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only but much more now in my absence) with fear and trembling work out your salvation.

(Phi 2:13 DRB) For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will.

It consists of the Church Suffering who are those who are temporarily in need of further purgation from sin so that they may enjoy the presence of God.

(2Ma 12:46 DRB) It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.

Lastly, the Communion of the Saints consists of those who have won the race:

(Phi 3:14 DRB) I press towards the mark, to the prize of the supernal vocation of God in Christ Jesus.

Their immortal souls are in heaven in God’s presence:

(Rev 5:8 DRB) And when he had opened the book, the four living creatures and the four and twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

The universal stream connecting all of God’s creation is His love, which we take on in our baptism into our journey towards sanctification. This is not an emotional but a desire placed in us by the Spirit of God that endures as a desire for those other than ourselves and this love extends even to our enemies. This is truly a love that comes only from God and is a foreign concept and nonsense to those who have not received God’s salvific grace. This desire within our souls does not end with the death of our flesh but continues into eternity where the saints through their intercession in prayer encourage us in our race and assist us to endure unto our union with God.

I think that some people of faith, who do not understand the Communion of Saints, somehow believe that asking saints to pray for us is detracting from our love or our trust in God. In truth it is impossible, if we truly love as God commands and has given us the grace to understand, not to pray to those whom we love and in turn we expect them to return that same love to us by praying for us and presenting our prayers to God.

(God’s Warrior Princess) You ask a human man, or priest for forgiveness,

(Cristoiglesia) Christ instituted the sacraments purposefully. The sacrament called reconciliation or penance is what we call our actions when we go to confession. Going to confession and confessing to a priest is the normative way of reconciling oneself back into God's family when we have committed a mortal sin. It is the biblical way corresponding to Jesus' teaching as recorded by the apostle John in John 20: 22-23. What we learn from John is the authority given to the priests is not only to forgive sins but also to retain sins. Jesus commanded the authority to be used. It is the duty given by Jesus for the priest to measure the contrition of the penitent and act accordingly.

However, one must repent and pray sincerely to God as an act of contrition before one enters the confessional. The priest represents Jesus by acting in persona Christi and for the entire family of God represented by the Church militant who is harmed by the sin of another. No sin is private but all sin affects others. Jesus described this relationship as a vine with Him as the vine and we as the branches (John 15:5). If one member of the branch is sick then all
the branches are affected and suffer as a result. Because of our familial relationship with each other Jesus created a means of confession so that all those affected in His family are represented by the priest as is God. The acts of sin and forgiveness are not private matters.

(God’s Warrior Princess) you pray to saints, you use saints and mother mary as intecessors, as well as jesus, which it does not say to do these things anywhere that i have read inthe Bible. If you can show me in the Bible where it says I should pray to mary because she was sinless, or I should pray to a saint, or I should go ask a priest fr forgiveness I would greatly appreciate it.

(Cristoiglesia) Yes, as I said in the archaic sense of asking, we do ask others to pray for us. Yes when another prays for us they are acting as an intercessor but not as a mediator as the Bible says there is only one mediator between man and God and that is Jesus. If I pray for you then I am a intercessor and if you pray for me then you are an intercessor but being an intercessor or asking another to be an intercessor is not a form of worship as some ignorant of Scriptures proclaim. I have already provided some of the Scriptures that support prayer and the intercession of others for us in prayer. But, we do not do this because of the sinlessness of the blessed mother but because the prayers of the righteous are of great benefit to us.

(God’s Warrior Princess) Note I said in the Bible, not yor man made doctrine.

(Cristoiglesia) Since all of the Church doctrine is inspired by God as He promised His Church then none of it is man-made unless you are speaking of the nature of Jesus being fully man and fully God. It is always sad when I encounter someone who believes in the heresy of Sola Scriptura which is truly man-made and unbiblical as the Bible says that the authority is Christ’s Church and not any book but of course Protestants reject this as they are those prophesied about that can no longer endure sound doctrine and the replace the authority of the Church with the Bible instead. The curiously they accept the Holy book of the Church and the very same authority that wrote the New Testament and canonized the Christian Bible. The Bible will tell you, if you have ears to hear, that not all of Jesus teaching is contained within, as all the books in the world could not contain all that He taught. Yet those lost in the heresy of Sola Scriptura have no desire for the fullness of Jesus teaching that is in His Church. This is truly sad and evidence of Satan at work and using man-made doctrines and heresies to keep some from the truth.

(God’s Warrior Princess) Oh, by the way it also sas that we aren't to judge so qit calling me a sinner, I know I am and so is everyone else. And I will be spending my eternity in heaven thank you very much.

(Cristoiglesia) Yes we are all sinners but we must learn to reject the compulsion we have to sin as sin separates us from the familial relationship with God and so many never reconcile and ask for forgiveness through confession and condemn themselves. Many Protestants tell lies about Christ’s Church out of pride for their man-made churches believing that their doctrines and practices are superior to those instituted by Christ’s authority on earth which is His Church.

Furthermore, you are committing the sin of presumption by assuming your salvation. The Old Catholic Encyclopedia defines the sin of presumption: "It may be defined as the condition of a soul which, because of a badly regulated reliance on God's mercy and power, hopes for salvation without doing anything to deserve it, or for pardon of his sins without repenting of them."

God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

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