A Look In The Mirror

My hope and prayer is that we(including myself) take time to look into the mirror and ask ourselves a few questions. This message is not to debate Scripture but for each one of us to look into our own hearts.

How are we glorifying God? Do you honestly think God is up in Heaven doing back flips of joy because once a week we dragged ourselves out of bed and grudgingly went to church/mass? What has God called us to do?

I believe that the majority of non-believers (not all!), but many do not believe because they do not see the love of Christ in us. Besides to our own family and cirlce of friends, how have we displayed the love of Jesus to anyone else? Did Jesus display His love just to His family, friends or Apostles? Did the Apostles themselves show their love and giving to just people they knew?

John 15:13 - Are you willing to die for someone? In your heart of hearts, do you honestly think Jesus came down from Heaven, had a crown of thorns shoved on His head, was whipped until His back was shredded, had spikes driven through both hands and both feet and then left to die so we could just show up to church/mass once a week and live our own selfish lives?

What are we doing for other people? Matthew 25:35-40 Is this not part of what we should be doing? How are people going to come to Christ if people do not see Him in us? This is a challenge we all must face…and to do that we must look at ourselves in the mirror.

Ask yourself today…how does God know you? Because He created you? Because He has numbered the hairs on your head? Because He knew you before you were in your Mother’s womb? Many will be separated from God on that last day…did He not create them? Does He not have their hairs numbered? Did He not know them too before they were in their Mother’s womb? Think on this…

Our fear should be these Words…depart from Me, I never knew you!

Laudetur Iesus Christus.

Dear “ServantofChrist:”

Jesus’ love was for His Father. Everything He did and said He did and said for His Father. He did not serve two masters. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” (Matthew (RSV) 6:24; see also, Luke 16:13.)

This principle applies to men as well as to money. You cannot serve both God and man.

Because of this I might further this discussion by responding provocatively to two of your “rhetorical” questions:

Yes: God is pleased more by someone attending the Holy Mass once a week than by any act of human altruism or therapy for other human beings.

Yes: Jesus did just display His love to His Father who sees in secret and not as a display for men.

For thousands of years Israel was prepared, molded, culled, and taught the proper attitudes and assumptions, so that some remnant of the People of God could be ready to hear and grasp the Gospel when it was proclaimed. This preparation did not take the form of ‘giving them something’ so that they could become greedy for more and take the Gospel for their own benefit. Self-indulgence and greed are not the preparations to hear the Gospel.

Good works are important, but only in the context of the Holy Mass and the Liturgy of the Church. “And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:3.) “Charity” is the love of God, not the love of men.

It is Christ’s love for His Father which matters. Outside of this context, our love, either for God or for men, is ultimately meaningless.

This is why the Holy Mass – which is our opportunity to participate in Christ’s love for His Father – is more necessary than all works of service to men. However, when full and actual participation in the Holy Mass is realized, it involves constant acts of service and love, prayer, fasting, and almsdeeds, which specifically glorify God. These form a humble part of the offerings given to Christ at Mass and then offered with Christ to God the Father.

To paraphrase St. Paul, if it is not for God, in the end it is for nothing. Without the Holy Mass it cannot be for God. Fortunately, since the evening of the Last Supper (at the very least) there has been a Mass at least once every week; nowadays, from east to west the perfect offering is made continuously.

“For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts. But you profane it when you say that the LORD’s table is polluted, and the food for it may be despised.” (Malachi (RSV) 1:11-12.)

Pax Christi nobiscum.

John Hiner

My aim was not to show that going to mass/church is important or not. There are going to be many people that goto church/mass that are not going to inherit the Kingdom of God. Jesus Himself said it…"…everyone that cries Lord Lord will not inherit the Kingdom of God…" My hope was that people understand that Jesus called us to reach out to people in need. You do not do this by attending church/mass. Jesus and the Apostles are the perfect examples of this…they filled the needs of the people in the “streets”…they met these people right where they lived. Jesus said (in my words) that when you fill the needs of people, you are doing this to Me.

There is no doubt that those who are regenerate, saved by grace through faith in Christ, are called to good works, to care for the least of His children. The role of the Church is to make available to us the means of grace, by preaching the word and administering the sacraments. The means of grace are essential in preparing us to do His good works. The strengthening of our faith through sanctification makes doing good works pleasing to Him possible.

Jon

However, I can do good works unto Christ without the churches help. I goto church, however, Jesus loved me and called me to love others…God Himself gives His Grace to all that come to Him…and to show Christ’s love to others can be done outside of the church. I can please God without going through the church.

How would you know how to please God without the teachings of the church?

Then you are a better Christian than me. I need to hear His word. I need to receive Holy Absolution after confession. I need to receive His body and blood in the sacrament. These are the things that strengthen me and prepare me to do His good works. I can’t do it on my own. I need His Church, and the means of grace it provides.

Jon

Laudetur Iesus Christus.

Dear ServanttoChrist:

I can understand your desire that this be true. Anyone who loves Odysseus can appreciate this desire to stand before God and have one’s contribution count in its own right. However, this is not the truth. “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us . . .” (1John (RSV) 4:10.) The Church is our link to Jesus, through the Apostolic succession. Only by acting in the Church do our actions become Christ’s actions, and only His actions give proper honor to God. Only through the Sacraments is this possible for us.

Man cannot save himself or the world. Man’s actions, without the Church, are futile and empty. One might as well serve some other pleasure as serve one’s pleasure in doing things for God. It is not our love for God which matters or even which saves us. Only grace saves and grace comes from God and flows to God; “The [Spirit] blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." (John (NAB) 3:8 [revised by JRH].) Christ says this in connection with the necessity for Baptism, which is the means of entering the Church. To “come to Him” is to come to the Church, His embassy on earth.

Spiritus Sapientiae nobiscum.

John Hiner

Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit that is our Helper. The Holy Spirit enables us to all things Who gives us strength. My strength and abilities do not come from the church…they come from Jesus Himself through His Spirit. God gave us His Word for us to read and to follow. He never said you must goto the church to understand His Words. The Holy Spirit does this for us.

If Jesus says …love one another…go out and meet people’s needs…whatever that may be, you are doing this unto Jesus Himself. This is straight out of His Word. Jesus never said you must go through the church…when Jesus met the needs of the people he did not go through any church. As the Apostles set out after Jesus left…they did not go through the church. They heard the Word of Jesus and learned from Him…then went out directly to the people. Jesus Himself said the Holy Spirit would help them understand. The Holy Spirit lives inside born again believers…Just as the Holy Spirit witnessed to the Apostles, He witnesses to us in the same way.

I can follow the Word of God, the commands of Jesus by reading it myself and the Holy Spirit guiding me. God does not have to check with the church first to see if its ok to speak and guide His followers. He has given us all the tools we need and all the power we need through His Spirt to do His will.

To have my sins forgiven, I do not need any man to do this. Jesus said we can confess our sins directly to Him…and He said He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from ALL unrighteousness. Jesus said He is the only way to the Father, and that He is the only mediator between us and the Father…nobody else is required. God said as His children we can boldly come into His throne room and speak with Him…

If your church says you can do none of these things without them, then they are going against what Jesus Himself teaches us. And it’s sad too because you are missing all God has for you not to mention an incredible personal relationship with Him that He longs to have with you.

Your strength does not come from “acts” you do in the church. Jesus gives you this strength from Himself. Find Scriptures in God’s Word with “strength” in them…you will see where your strength comes from. Never once does strength come from outside source…it comes directly from Him. God did not say “go do this” or “go do that” and that will give you strength…no, you can go right to God for strength.

He certainly did! "After he broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "take and eat…"
So many more examples.

Directly from Him: His Word, His Absolution, His body and blood. Everything I told you I needed comes directly from Him, not from my acts. I hear His word, receive His forgiveness, receive His body and blood. This is why He established His church, so I wouldn’t have to rely on my own acts. I would contend to you that trying to go it alone without the Church is an attempt to do things through one’s own acts.

Jon

I agree with all that you wrote. We do need to examine ourselves and how we are living. It isn’t enough to say we accept Jesus as our Lord. If we don’t live according to God’s will, we are demonstrating that Jesus is not really our Lord. We are called to worship in church with others and we are called to be loving and just in our daily lives. Both are necessary.

Laudetur Iesus Christus.

Dear “ServanttoChrist:”

You are underestimating the need for Christ.

If what you say were true, why did Christ teach us to pray, “OUR Father who art in heaven . . . give US today OUR daily bread and forgive US OUR sins, as WE forgive those who trespass against US, and lead US not into temptation but deliver US from evil?”

Or, as St. John Cardinal Newman asked, why would Christ give those alive in the First Century the Apostles and bishops appointed by them, but leave the people alive now alone and without supervision?

Spiritus Sapientiae nobiscum.

John Hiner

Laudetur Iesus Christus.

Dear Claire:

The necessary almsdeeds are part of the Liturgy, they are not two separable things, but one act of worship. I do not disagree with what you have written, but I suggest that the unity of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the good works (which form the temporal offerings made in the Sacrifice) ought be presented together.

It is because feeding the poor honors God that it is worth doing. “Charity” is the love of God. If we begin to think that the “good” we do for the poor is separate from the love it expresses from Christ to God, then we have lost our bearings – our Orientation.

Consider this discussion of the meaning of Liturgy:

What does the word liturgy mean?

1069 The word “liturgy” originally meant a “public work” or a “service in the name of/on behalf of the people.” In Christian tradition it means the participation of the People of God in “the work of God.” Through the liturgy Christ, our redeemer and high priest, continues the work of our redemption in, with, and through his Church.

1070 In the New Testament the word “liturgy” refers not only to the celebration of divine worship but also to the proclamation of the Gospel and to active charity. In all of these situations it is a question of the service of God and neighbor. In a liturgical celebration the Church is servant in the image of her Lord, the one “leitourgos”; she shares in Christ’s priesthood (worship), which is both prophetic (proclamation) and kingly (service of charity):

[INDENT]The liturgy then is rightly seen as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. It involves the presentation of man’s sanctification under the guise of signs perceptible by the senses and its accomplishment in ways appropriate to each of these signs. In it full public worship is performed by the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the Head and his members. From this it follows that every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of his Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others. No other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1069 – 1070.) [/INDENT]
The mistaken severance of these ideas into two separable concepts may have much to do with the mis-appreciation of the need to purify our offerings in Confession and to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. My offerings of service are meaningless. Only when I offer them to Christ, Who takes them up into His offering on the Altar do they become the sanctifying grace which is the life of the Holy Trinity.

Pax Christi nobiscum.

John Hiner

**Jesus said ‘on this rock I will build my church’. Paul’s epistles talk about the Church being the Body of Christ on earth. The unity of Christians in the Church is supposed to be like the unity of parts of the human body. This isn’t a loose invisible unity. One foot doesn’t think about walking in a different direction from the other. They are all under the direction of the head. Jesus is the head of the Church.

We need to think about where is the visible Church that Jesus wants us to be a part of.
**

God will give you strength and many other things by just asking Him. If you feel God gives you strength by doing those things you do in church, then that is your personal experience.

Like I mentioned before, I am not doing this alone…far from it. I have the Holy Spirit living inside of me who strengthens me and works through me. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” I know the strength does not come from me…and I would never be so proud to think so. I goto to church and I worship God and fellowship with other believers…and God blesses me there as well…I am just trying to show you that we can receive anything from God no matter where we are. Because of Jesus and what He did for us, we have direct access to Him…

Wow! You should start a separate thread on the Sacraments forum. I totally understand what you are saying and agree. But I guess I usually don’t think of the everyday acts of service in those terms. I’ll have to read the highlighted part carefully.

The Holy Spirit guides the Church to understand His words. The Holy Spirit guides us individually to insights into the Word but we are not always perfectly open to the Holy Spirit. We may make mistakes or be deceived in understanding the Word. That is why we need to check our understanding with that which has been always taught by the Church which Jesus founded to be sure we are really being guided by the Spirit and not leaning on our own understanding.
I agree, we can make mistakes. And that is how denominations started. However, the “church” as you stated below is the people and not any
particular denomination or church group.

No they didn’t go through the church, they were the church! They were building the church as Jesus had sent them to do.

Exactly, the people are the church, not any particular group or denomination.

Not quite the same way. The apostles were hand picked and taught by Jesus. Jesus formed them to be the leaders of His Church, the first bishops. The Holy Spirit came to them in the form of fire and inspired them to go out and preach who Jesus was and what he had taught them. He reminded them of all that Jesus had said. It is obvious that the Holy Spirit didn’t guide all their followers equally because even in the first century some of them began to teach false doctrines. The church leaders spoke out against them and warned the people not to follow the new teachings.

The Holy Spirit also lived within them. Also, the Holy Spirit did guide everyone equally…the false teachers “chose” not to follow. There is a difference.

This is your own opinion. But if the Catholic Church had not written and passed down the Bible, you would not even have it to read. If you have confidence in the writings in the Bible which God gave you through the Church, it would be logical to trust that same Church which the Holy Spirit still guides to help you understand it.

Again, the church is the people. You limit God…if all the physical churches burned to the ground and were never rebuilt, God would still get His Word to us. There are millions of people today that God has revealed His Word to and saved these people right where they are without them ever stepping foot in a church.

God doesn’t ‘check with the church’, He acts through the Church to guide us. He doesn’t leave us in doubt. If two sincere Christians read the Bible and one says, “abortion is always morally evil” and another says, “sometimes abortion is not morally evil”, they cannot both be right. This is true of other beliefs or behaviors. The Holy Spirit guides the Church to teach truth so we are not mislead.

I agree, but the Holy Spirit can also reveal the Truth to us through Himself and through the rest of His Word.

“Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them; whose sins you shall retain they are retained” "confess your sins to one another"
Jesus said we can confess our sins directly to Him exactly when was this? Why would he have told his apostles that the sins they forgave would be forgiven if he did not expect that people would also confess sins to them. Could he have meant we should confess to God but should also humble ourselves to confess to the apostles and those who later held their office? Catholics do both.

I believe the Scripture above is mistranslated because it does not align itself with the rest of Scripture. The rest of Scripture teaches otherwise…Id rather not
debate this, however, it’s good Catholics do both.

You misunderstand Catholic teachings and practices. I would not be a Catholic if I didn’t have a personal relationship with God. I can go to Him at any time and be sure of being understood. I rely on His mercy and help.
I do not know if you agree or not…but I know many Catholics, Baptists and other members of various churches that do not have a personal relationship with God.
And this is mainly evident in their life. Just because you belong to a church does not mean you have a “personal” relationship with God.

=ServantofChrist;5332557]God will give you strength and many other things by just asking Him. If you feel God gives you strength by doing those things you do in church, then that is your personal experience.

I agree with your first sentence, but I feel like you didn’t read what I said; it isn’t me doing things in Church, it is God.

The I-don’t-need-Church approach reminds of the story of the man who was sick, and prayed God heal him. His wife encouraged him to go to the doctor, but he said, “God will heal me, I asked him to.” When his children asked him to see a doctor, he went, but told the doctor, "God will heal me, I asked Him to."
Not long after he died. When arriving at heaven, he asked God, “why did you not heal me?” God responded, "I tried. I sent your wife and children to tell you to see a doctor, and I even sent a doctor."
God provided the Church as a special place for us to receive His means of grace in word and sacrament.

I was happy to read that you do attend worship.

BLessings,
Jon

At 8:50 this morning I held Jesus Christ in my hands and then followed his intructions to eat his body and drink his blood. I can not imagine how anyone can have a closer realtionship to God than that. Without a central authority(the Catholic Church) to be the teacher and the guardian of the Truth all you have is speculation and guesswork. I do not beleive God would put us in such a predicament.

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