(Bro. Michael) Here's some truth for you: Catholics claim you can and must earn your way into Heaven, which directly contradicts Scripture.
(Cristoiglesia) I would like to thank you for the opportunity and the inspiration to discuss and contend for the faith delivered once for all by my Lord Jesus Christ.
Like so many non-Catholic Christians you are mistaking devotion and obedience to our Lord as an effort of earning one’s way into heaven. The belief in faith alone is a heresy condemned the only place it appears in Scripture by St. James. Even the demons believe. The Catholic Church does not teach that works merit salvation but instead we teach grace through faith. You are accusing us of the same heresy we have already condemned which is Pelagianism. Can you agree that works may come as the result of the believer cooperating with the Holy Spirit and being obedient to God and working within His will? Can you also agree that it is the Holy Spirit that makes us desire Him and become in a familial relationship with Him? Jesus did say that unless we eat His Body and drink His blood we have no life (eternal) in us. We desire His great feast and it is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that gives us that desire and hunger to do His commandment. Surely we do desire eternal life but we do not desire His Body and Blood because of this but it is the Holy Spirit that gives us the desire and compulsion to do His will.
GRACE AND JUSTIFICATION
1987 The grace of the Holy Spirit has the power to justify us, that is, to cleanse us from our sins and to communicate to us "the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ" and through Baptism:34
But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves as dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.35
1988 Through the power of the Holy Spirit we take part in Christ's Passion by dying to sin, and in his Resurrection by being born to a new life; we are members of his Body which is the Church, branches grafted onto the vine which is himself:36
[God] gave himself to us through his Spirit. By the participation of the Spirit, we become communicants in the divine nature. . . . For this reason, those in whom the Spirit dwells are divinized.37
1989 The first work of the grace of the Holy Spirit is conversion, effecting justification in accordance with Jesus' proclamation at the beginning of the Gospel: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."38 Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, thus accepting forgiveness and righteousness from on high. "Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man.39
1990 Justification detaches man from sin which contradicts the love of God, and purifies his heart of sin. Justification follows upon God's merciful initiative of offering forgiveness. It reconciles man with God. It frees from the enslavement to sin, and it heals.
1991 Justification is at the same time the acceptance of God's righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. Righteousness (or "justice") here means the rectitude of divine love. With justification, faith, hope, and charity are poured into our hearts, and obedience to the divine will is granted us.
1992 Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ who offered himself on the cross as a living victim, holy and pleasing to God, and whose blood has become the instrument of atonement for the sins of all men. Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just by the power of his mercy. Its purpose is the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life:40
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus.41
1993 Justification establishes cooperation between God's grace and man's freedom. On man's part it is expressed by the assent of faith to the Word of God, which invites him to conversion, and in the cooperation of charity with the prompting of the Holy Spirit who precedes and preserves his assent:
When God touches man's heart through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, man himself is not inactive while receiving that inspiration, since he could reject it; and yet, without God's grace, he cannot by his own free will move himself toward justice in God's sight.42
1994 Justification is the most excellent work of God's love made manifest in Christ Jesus and granted by the Holy Spirit. It is the opinion of St. Augustine that "the justification of the wicked is a greater work than the creation of heaven and earth," because "heaven and earth will pass away but the salvation and justification of the elect . . . will not pass away."43 He holds also that the justification of sinners surpasses the creation of the angels in justice, in that it bears witness to a greater mercy.
1995 The Holy Spirit is the master of the interior life. By giving birth to the "inner man,"44 justification entails the sanctification of his whole being:
Just as you once yielded your members to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now yield your members to righteousness for sanctification. . . . But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life.45
1996 Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.46
1997 Grace is a participation in the life of God. It introduces us into the intimacy of Trinitarian life: by Baptism the Christian participates in the grace of Christ, the Head of his Body. As an "adopted son" he can henceforth call God "Father," in union with the only Son. He receives the life of the Spirit who breathes charity into him and who forms the Church.
1998 This vocation to eternal life is supernatural. It depends entirely on God's gratuitous initiative, for he alone can reveal and give himself. It surpasses the power of human intellect and will, as that of every other creature.47
1999 The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying or deifying grace received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of sanctification:48
Therefore if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself.49
2000 Sanctifying grace is an habitual gift, a stable and supernatural disposition that perfects the soul itself to enable it to live with God, to act by his love. Habitual grace, the permanent disposition to live and act in keeping with God's call, is distinguished from actual graces which refer to God's interventions, whether at the beginning of conversion or in the course of the work of sanctification.
2001 The preparation of man for the reception of grace is already a work of grace. This latter is needed to arouse and sustain our collaboration in justification through faith, and in sanctification through charity. God brings to completion in us what he has begun, "since he who completes his work by cooperating with our will began by working so that we might will it:"50
Indeed we also work, but we are only collaborating with God who works, for his mercy has gone before us. It has gone before us so that we may be healed, and follows us so that once healed, we may be given life; it goes before us so that we may be called, and follows us so that we may be glorified; it goes before us so that we may live devoutly, and follows us so that we may always live with God: for without him we can do nothing.51
2002 God's free initiative demands man's free response, for God has created man in his image by conferring on him, along with freedom, the power to know him and love him. The soul only enters freely into the communion of love. God immediately touches and directly moves the heart of man. He has placed in man a longing for truth and goodness that only he can satisfy. The promises of "eternal life" respond, beyond all hope, to this desire:
If at the end of your very good works . . ., you rested on the seventh day, it was to foretell by the voice of your book that at the end of our works, which are indeed "very good" since you have given them to us, we shall also rest in you on the sabbath of eternal life.52
2003 Grace is first and foremost the gift of the Spirit who justifies and sanctifies us. But grace also includes the gifts that the Spirit grants us to associate us with his work, to enable us to collaborate in the salvation of others and in the growth of the Body of Christ, the Church. There are sacramental graces, gifts proper to the different sacraments. There are furthermore special graces, also called charisms after the Greek term used by St. Paul and meaning "favor," "gratuitous gift," "benefit."53 Whatever their character - sometimes it is extraordinary, such as the gift of miracles or of tongues - charisms are oriented toward sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. They are at the service of charity which builds up the Church.54
2004 Among the special graces ought to be mentioned the graces of state that accompany the exercise of the responsibilities of the Christian life and of the ministries within the Church:
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.55
2005 Since it belongs to the supernatural order, grace escapes our experience and cannot be known except by faith. We cannot therefore rely on our feelings or our works to conclude that we are justified and saved.56 However, according to the Lord's words "Thus you will know them by their fruits"57 - reflection on God's blessings in our life and in the lives of the saints offers us a guarantee that grace is at work in us and spurs us on to an ever greater faith and an attitude of trustful poverty.
A pleasing illustration of this attitude is found in the reply of St. Joan of Arc to a question posed as a trap by her ecclesiastical judges: "Asked if she knew that she was in God's grace, she replied: 'If I am not, may it please God to put me in it; if I am, may it please God to keep me there.'"58
You are glorified in the assembly of your Holy Ones, for in crowning their merits you are crowning your own gifts.59
2006 The term "merit" refers in general to the recompense owed by a community or a society for the action of one of its members, experienced either as beneficial or harmful, deserving reward or punishment. Merit is relative to the virtue of justice, in conformity with the principle of equality which governs it.
2007 With regard to God, there is no strict right to any merit on the part of man. Between God and us there is an immeasurable inequality, for we have received everything from him, our Creator.
2008 The merit of man before God in the Christian life arises from the fact that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. The fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man's free acting through his collaboration, so that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful. Man's merit, moreover, itself is due to God, for his good actions proceed in Christ, from the predispositions and assistance given by the Holy Spirit.
2009 Filial adoption, in making us partakers by grace in the divine nature, can bestow true merit on us as a result of God's gratuitous justice. This is our right by grace, the full right of love, making us "co-heirs" with Christ and worthy of obtaining "the promised inheritance of eternal life."60 The merits of our good works are gifts of the divine goodness.61 "Grace has gone before us; now we are given what is due. . . . Our merits are God's gifts."62
2010 Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life. Even temporal goods like health and friendship can be merited in accordance with God's wisdom. These graces and goods are the object of Christian prayer. Prayer attends to the grace we need for meritorious actions.
2011 The charity of Christ is the source in us of all our merits before God. Grace, by uniting us to Christ in active love, ensures the supernatural quality of our acts and consequently their merit before God and before men. The saints have always had a lively awareness that their merits were pure grace.
After earth's exile, I hope to go and enjoy you in the fatherland, but I do not want to lay up merits for heaven. I want to work for your love alone. . . . In the evening of this life, I shall appear before you with empty hands, for I do not ask you, Lord, to count my works. All our justice is blemished in your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in your own justice and to receive from your love the eternal possession of yourself.63
IV. CHRISTIAN HOLINESS
2012 "We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him . . . For those whom he fore knew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified."64
2013 "All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity."65 All are called to holiness: "Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."66
In order to reach this perfection the faithful should use the strength dealt out to them by Christ's gift, so that . . . doing the will of the Father in everything, they may wholeheartedly devote themselves to the glory of God and to the service of their neighbor. Thus the holiness of the People of God will grow in fruitful abundance, as is clearly shown in the history of the Church through the lives of so many saints.67
2014 Spiritual progress tends toward ever more intimate union with Christ. This union is called "mystical" because it participates in the mystery of Christ through the sacraments - "the holy mysteries" - and, in him, in the mystery of the Holy Trinity. God calls us all to this intimate union with him, even if the special graces or extraordinary signs of this mystical life are granted only to some for the sake of manifesting the gratuitous gift given to all.
2015 The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle.68 Spiritual progress entails the ascesis and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes:
He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows.69
2016 The children of our holy mother the Church rightly hope for the grace of final perseverance and the recompense of God their Father for the good works accomplished with his grace in communion with Jesus.70 Keeping the same rule of life, believers share the "blessed hope" of those whom the divine mercy gathers into the "holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."71
2017 The grace of the Holy Spirit confers upon us the righteousness of God. Uniting us by faith and Baptism to the Passion and Resurrection of Christ, the Spirit makes us sharers in his life.
2018 Like conversion, justification has two aspects. Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, and so accepts forgiveness and righteousness from on high.
2019 Justification includes the remission of sins, sanctification, and the renewal of the inner man.
2020 Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ. It is granted us through Baptism. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who justifies us. It has for its goal the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life. It is the most excellent work of God's mercy.
2021 Grace is the help God gives us to respond to our vocation of becoming his adopted sons. It introduces us into the intimacy of the Trinitarian life.
2022 The divine initiative in the work of grace precedes, prepares, and elicits the free response of man. Grace responds to the deepest yearnings of human freedom, calls freedom to cooperate with it, and perfects freedom.
2023 Sanctifying grace is the gratuitous gift of his life that God makes to us; it is infused by the Holy Spirit into the soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it.
2024 Sanctifying grace makes us "pleasing to God." Charisms, special graces of the Holy Spirit, are oriented to sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. God also acts through many actual graces, to be distinguished from habitual grace which is permanent in us.
2025 We can have merit in God's sight only because of God's free plan to associate man with the work of his grace. Merit is to be ascribed in the first place to the grace of God, and secondly to man's collaboration. Man's merit is due to God.
2026 The grace of the Holy Spirit can confer true merit on us, by virtue of our adoptive filiation, and in accordance with God's gratuitous justice. Charity is the principal source of merit in us before God.
2027 No one can merit the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods.
2028 "All Christians . . . are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity" (LG 40 § 2). "Christian perfection has but one limit, that of having none" (St. Gregory of Nyssa, De vita Mos.:PG 44, 300D).
2029 "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Mt 16:24).
34 Rom 3:22; cf. 6:3-4.
35 Rom 6:8-11.
36 Cf. 1 Cor 12; Jn 15:1-4.
37 St. Athanasius, Ep. Serap. 1,24:PG 26,585 and 588.
38 Mt 4:17.
39 Council of Trent (1547): DS 1528.
40 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1529.
41 Rom 3:21-26.
42 Council of Trent (1547): DS 1525.
43 St. Augustine, In Jo. ev. 72,3:PL 35,1823.
44 Cf. Rom 7:22; Eph 3:16.
45 Rom 6:19,22.
46 Cf. Jn 1:12-18; 17:3; Rom 8:14-17; 2 Pet 1:3-4.
47 Cf. 1 Cor 2:7-9.
48 Cf. Jn 4:14; 7:38-39.
49 2 Cor 5:17-18.
50 St. Augustine, De gratia et libero arbitrio, 17:PL 44,901.
51 St. Augustine, De natura et gratia, 31:PL 44,264.
52 St. Augustine, Conf. 13,36 51:PL 32,868; cf. Gen 1:31.
53 Cf. LG 12.
54 Cf. 1 Cor 12.
55 Rom 12:6-8.
56 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1533-1534.
57 Mt 7:20.
58 Acts of the trial of St. Joan of Arc.
59 Roman Missal, Prefatio I de sanctis; Qui in Sanctorum concilio celebraris, et eorum coronando merita tua dona coronas, citing the "Doctor of grace," St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 102,7:PL 37,1321-1322.
60 Council of Trent (1547): DS 1546.
61 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1548.
62 St. Augustine, Sermo 298,4-5:PL 38,1367.
63 St. Thérèse of Lisieux, "Act of Offering" in Story of a Soul, tr. John Clarke (Washington DC: ICS, 1981), 277.
64 Rom 8:28-30.
65 LG 40 § 2.
66 Mt 5:48.
67 LG 40 § 2.
68 Cf. 2 Tim 4.
69 St. Gregory of Nyssa, Hom. in Cant. 8:PG 44,941C.
70 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1576.
71 Rev 21:2.
(Bro, Michael) Catholics pray to dead saints and to Mary, when the only example of prayer ever given by Jesus was to our Heavenly Father.
(Cristoiglesia) Of course the term “dead saints” is an oxymoron. If the saints are dead truly there is no hope for us. The saints are more alive than anyone any are in God’s presence. The saints are our prayer partners. We ask (pray) for them to pray for 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. Where in the Bible does it state that we should not pray for each other? It does not and Catholic Christians have been praying for each other for 2000 years.
(Bro. Michael) Catholics happily pray the same thing over and over while clutching a string of beads, which also goes against Scripture.
(Cristoiglesia) Well we are in good company because Jesus prayed the same prayer over and over.
26:39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying,O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
26:40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
26:42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
26:43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
26:44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
As you know Jesus taught by words as well as actions and His teaching is without contradiction. Obviously by His words and deed He has violated your admonishment against the Church. He has repeated the same prayer three times. So obviously the repeated praying of a prayer is not the intent of the biblical teaching that you use to criticize the teaching of Christ’s Church and the practice of His faithful.
Now, I assume the Scripture you are using against the Church is the following:
6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
When Jesus prayed repetitively was He doing so in “vain”? Of course He was not and neither is a Catholic Christian when we repeat a prayer. He gave us the “Lord’s Prayer” or what Catholics usually refer to as the “Our Father” but did not tell us to pray it only once in our life. We repeat it out of devotion and remembrance of His teaching which is the model for all Christian prayer. What we see from the verse you are using to condemn Catholic Christians is surely not the fact that the heathens prayed repeatedly but that they prayed in “vain”. The words were not said in sincerity but for the benefit for others. Almost always the Rosary prayer is said in private as a personal devotion to Our Lord. The Rosary prayer is not so much said as a prayer of petition but instead it is a prayer of contemplation about the life and passion of our Lord and His atoning work on the Cross. We pray the our Father taught to us by our Lord, repeat the Annunciation of the angel Gabriel of our Lord’s impending birth and ask for our blessed mother given to us by our Lord to pray for us to her Son. Unless you think that contemplating and offering devotion to the life and passion of our Lord is a “vain” effort then we are in perfect accordance with God’s Holy Word.
(Bro. Michael) The Catholic church has added purgatory
(Cristoiglesia) LOL! No we have not added Purgatory but have only recognized the necessity of its existence. If there is no Purgatory heaven will be an empty place and there is little hope for any of us.
There is a common Protestant misunderstanding of purgatory. At least one protestant minister, John Wesley, spoke of perfectionism in this life, possible but rare. He is one of the few to proclaim that one can be sanctified in this life and he left the Moravian Church over this issue after a rebuke by Count Zinzendorf for this teaching.
People in purgatory are already justified by receiving the supernatural eternal life into our souls through Baptism making us a part of the Body of Christ. Those in purgatory have accepted Christ by faith and have not rejected Him by unrepentant mortal sin. It is a place where one is purified by fire (Mal 3:2). Imagine the joy of being in purgatory and knowing that you are there because you have passed judgment and are assured of being in the presence of God in heaven. Purgatory is not an eternal destination, there are only two, heaven or hell.
We should not think of purgatory as some kind of legal punishment for past sins as it would be under the old law. Those in purgatory are already new creatures changed by Christ’s grace, they are the adopted children and part of God’s family in purgatory one receives final discipline and cleansing preparing one for the perfection of heaven. Catholics believe that sanctification is a process and is not completed when one comes to belief. So purgatory is not a suggestion that Christ’s atonement is insufficient but that we have not yet completed our sanctification through the grace of Christ.
Cleansing or sanctification is a gradual process and we must endure to the end to be saved.
(Mat 10:22 DRB) And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.
(Mat 24:13 DRB) But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved.
(Mar 13:13 DRB) And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake. But he that shall endure unto the end, he shall be saved.
Catholic soteriology recognizes that for some of us the process was not completed at death or that we died with unrepentant sin.
(Heb 9:27 DRB) And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment:
The judgment is our eternal destiny and for those whose name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life, heaven is assured. But we know that one must be free of sin to be in God’s presence.
(1Ti 6:14 DRB) That thou keep the commandment without spot, blameless, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
It may be that one is not prepared to be in our Lord’s presence as we may still be with spiritual shortcomings or temporal effects of forgiven sins on our soul making it necessary for some form of purification to enter heaven in God’s presence. Since this is a process of purgation it is called purgatory and it is in keeping with prophecy of the prophet Habakkuk who said that only that which is holy may enter heaven.
(Hab 1:13 DRB) Thy eyes are too pure to behold evil, and thou canst not look on iniquity. Why lookest thou upon them that do unjust things, and holdest thy peace when the wicked devoureth the man that is more just than himself?
St. Paul also taught of a process of purgation which may involve suffering on the soul of Christians and in his first letter to the Corinthian Church he describes the process of purgation after death.
(1Co 3:10 DRB) According to the grace of God that is given to me, as a wise architect, I have laid the foundation: and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
(1Co 3:11 DRB) For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid: which is Christ Jesus.
(1Co 3:12 DRB) Now, if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble:
(1Co 3:13 DRB) Every man's work shall be manifest. For the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire. And the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is.
(1Co 3:14 DRB) If any man's work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
(1Co 3:15 DRB) If any mans work burn, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.
St. Paul speaks metaphorically that the results of sin that remain on one’s soul is like “wood, hay and straw” and are burned away in the process of final purification to be received in the presence of the Lord. St. Paul also speaks of one’s works as “gold, silver and precious stones” which are refined and retained.
This passage reminds me of what Christ said in the following indicating that some sins may be forgiven after death.
(Mat 12:32 DRB) And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him neither in this world, nor in the world to come.
Purgatory is also related to the parable of the unforgiving servant which is as follows…
(Mat 18:32 DRB) Then his lord called him: and said to him: Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all the debt, because thou besoughtest me:
(Mat 18:33 DRB) Shouldst not thou then have had compassion also on thy fellow servant, even as I had compassion on thee?
(Mat 18:34 DRB) And his lord being angry, delivered him to the torturers until he paid all the debt.
After telling the parable Christ emphasizes His message lest it be misunderstood with this warning……..
(Mat 18:35 DRB) So also shall my heavenly Father do to you, if you forgive not every one his brother from your hearts.
Christ was warning us of the danger of a hard heart or anger making us unwilling to forgive others. We should acknowledge that these are the signs and example of a defective soul in need of purgation so that he that is imperfect may be in the presence of God and dwell in glory. (See CCC 1030-1032)
( Bro. Michael) holy water
Numbers 5:17 says, "And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water.
(Bro. Michael) scapulars, crucifixes
Of course scapulars have biblical support and refer to the story of Esau who sold his inheritance to his brother. If you remember, his mother clothed him in goatskin so that he could receive the inheritance that rightfully belonged to Esau. The blessed mother clothes us in grace so that when we are presented to our heavenly Father we will receive our inheritance of eternal life.
1 Corinthians 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
St. Paul taught it and we follow it.
(Bro. Michael) and of course the veneration of Mary to Christianity even though not one bit of it is supported by a single word of the Bible.
(Cristoiglesia) People do not realize that to attack the blessed mother is to also attack the atoning work of the father for mankind who sent His only Son for the sins of the world. He was born of a perfect vessel that was fitting for God and the Savior of the world, which was the blessed virgin who remained undefiled by man her whole saintly life. It is to her that we look to pattern our devotion to Christ as it is her that led a perfect life of devotion to Her Son, always pointing humanity to Him as the path to Salvation. She is the mother of the Church as Jesus at the Cross not only gave into her St. John but also to the Church. Jesus said to St. John and thus to the whole Church behold your mother. Likewise she was given the responsibility in eternity to be the mother us all. This is the closest of familial relationships which is for those who are “In Christ”. Just as God says to man, I am yours you are mine to believers, so to does He illustrate this relationship with His words from the Cross. This is why Christians from the beginning have called the blessed Mother of God, our mother. While one may be in the invisible church without this relationship with the blessed mother one cannot be of the Church and in God’s will without the fullness of the relationship which our Savior Has established through His grace for us all who are His.
One cannot reject the blessed mother without rejecting Her Son and the Church that He established with Himself as the cornerstone and the apostles as the 12 foundation stones, who themselves will sit in judgment of the twelve tribes of Israel. It is the structure built on these stones that ensures the endurance of His Church for all times as He promised. It is not a faith built on sand where one can attack those in His family in the most vicious, hideous and indeed, hellish of ways without suffering the eternal punishment of not only the separation of God but also the eternal pain and fires of hell in the company of Satan and all His minions, those seduced by Satan as Jesus said who would cry “Lord, Lord” and then be told that He never knew them and be thrown into the eternal fires designed not for them, as Jesus came to draw all men to Him for eternity, but for Satan and those in a familial unrepentant relationship where they do Satan’s will instead of the will of the Father. Woe to those who never knew Him and who have condemned themselves.
It is sad when one becomes so worldly that they cannot even recognize the heavenly and reject the example of the saints who have gone before who have suffered for their faith. Imagine the blessed mother of God at the foot of the cross watching her Son being defiled in the most brutal and humiliating way knowing that He is innocent of the charges against Him and deserving of all praise of mankind. It was such a horrible scene that even the followers, except the ladies who followed our Lord and the blessed St. John, were the only ones present at His sacrifice. No one else could bear it, either out of fear for retribution or out of love for the one they had followed for so long and learned that He was the Godman and the Savior of the world. St. Peter said it best at Capernaum, “where else can we go as you have the Words of eternal life” when they did not fully understand what He meant from His “hard teaching’ which is made clear on the cross when He said, “It is consummated after drinking the final cup of blessing from the hyssop branch. “It is finished” (consummated) meant that His atonement was just beginning bringing humanity into His presence of the New Covenant and out of the Old familial relationship of the Old Covenant. It was truly realized a few days later when He arose to fulfill prophecy as the final sign of the fulfillment of prophecy. The door is opened to heaven.
The blessed mother when referred to by our Lord as “woman” relates to her importance in the salvific plan of our father. It is her act of devotion and obedience that crushed the head of the Serpent (Satan) and defeated his plan for the condemnation of man. Sin entered the world through Eve and Satan and sin was defeated by the blessed Mother of our Lord. If she is not in heaven and saved by our Lord then there is no hope for us for none of us can ever reach the devotion and obedience of the one who is called by the angel of God the most blessed among women and consequently the most blessed of all humanity past, present and future. So do not let those who attack our mother defeat our hope in her Son and His promise for which His sacrifice has provided.
(Bro. Michael) I could go on like this for a while, but you get the idea. Catholics are to Christianity what the Pharisees were to Judaism.
(Cristoiglesia) I understand that this is your contention but you have been unable so far to support your hypothesis.
Thank you again for the opportunity and inspiration to contend for the faith of our Lord and His chosen disciples which is contained in His Church which is called the “pillar and foundation of the truth”. The enduring testimony of the Church for 2000 years proves the veracity of His promise that the gates of hell will never prevail against His Church and He remains with His Church for all times. God bless!