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Scots Catholic

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Is Jesus using symbolism when he tells us to eat his body and drink his blood?

Posted on April 14, 2015 at 8:57 AM Comments comments (1)
For the answer to this common question click the link below to see what Catholic Answers apologist Tim Staples has to say...
 

What’s in a miracle? Does God really reveal Himself to us?

Posted on March 23, 2015 at 10:04 AM Comments comments (0)
Pope Francis reacts to the miracle
 
Isn’t it intriguing that the world pays little attention to supernatural miracles?  For example, if you were to put a no-hoper with the voice of a sick frog on the ‘The Voice’ and they ended up winning the coveted reality TV show’s top prize, the world would proudly announce it to be a “miracle”.  However, witnessing the sudden liquefying of the blood of a near 2,000 year old man or the sudden transformation of a communion wafer to real flesh is something that is given little attention.
 
Perhaps the most disappointing thing is that it is not only mainstream media and sceptics outside Catholicism who are guilty of ignoring such miracles.  Indeed the number of Catholic people who pay little heed to these miracles is quite voluminous.  It sadly means that God’s visible intervention in our daily lives here on earth simply goes unnoticed.  Didn’t that happen before, around 2,000 years ago?  You know, with the one they called Christ? 
 
Indeed, aren’t those sceptics among us, especially the ones of a Catholic persuasion, simply following in the footsteps of the Sanhedrin in Jesus’ time; rejecting any notion of God coming to earth and influencing our world.  They might ask: Why should I believe it?  God coming to earth to reveal Himself?  God making the scientifically impossible happen?  Are you mad?  But then, who would have thought a woman could conceive a child without sexual relations?  Who would have thought water could be turned to wine in an instant?  Who would have thought bread could be turned to flesh, and wine to blood?  Who would have thought a man could rise from the dead? 
 
God has been performing miracles for thousands of years, and He continues to perform them to this very day. In fact, you are a miracle!  You are a gift from God to this world. Without His intervention you wouldn’t be here.  And without His intervention you wouldn’t have the chance to take your place in Heaven for all eternity.  The Eucharist is another daily miracle given to us by God.  Indeed it is Jesus Christ truly present in all the tabernacles of the world; body, blood, soul and divinity! 
 
The reported miracle of St Januarius in Naples at the weekend is just one in a long list of God coming to earth to reveal His true power.  The fact that Pope Francis was present for the miracle has perhaps nudged it slightly more into the spotlight than would normally be the case (after all, this miracle of St Januarius has been taking place for years!).  But it gives us an opportunity to stop and consider how we feel about such miraculous events.  Why aren’t we shouting from the rooftops and telling people about these great happenings? Why don’t we tell the world that God has revealed Himself yet again and encourage them to believe?  Are we perhaps sceptical?  Does it just seem a bit too far-fetched?  If so, why?  Do we outright reject the supernatural?  Will we simply not be satisfied until we hear of authentic scientific evidence confirming that no scientific explanation can be given for the ‘miracle’?
 
There are a lot of questions for us to consider when it comes to miracles such as this.  But consider this….what if the children of Fatima had simply rejected their vision of Our Lady as nonsense?  What if St Bernadette did the same at Lourdes?  And St Juan Diego in Guadalupe?  And what about the disciples when Jesus rose from the dead?  What if they simply considered it all to be scientifically impossible and thus false? 
 
Our role as Catholic people is to spread the Good News throughout the world.  This means taking the Gospel out into our daily lives and living out our faith in love for God and neighbour.  But it also means being full of joy, and what better excuse to be full of joy than to know that God still interacts with His people by performing miracles before our very eyes? 
 
The Eucharistic miracle of Buenos Aires
 
The miracle in Naples is no fluke, no hoax, and it is no lie.  Just consider the Eucharistic miracle of Buenos Aires in the 1990’s (see picture) or the miracle of Lanciano, Italy. There are hundreds of genuine examples of miracles like this throughout history.
 
Don’t let the doubts creep into your mind.  Those doubts come from a sinister source; a source that does not want you to believe in God and His work.  Instead, be open to God’s great power and just enjoy knowing that His presence is near!  Bask in the wonder of God’s glory and His unbroken covenant with His people, with you!  He wants you to know that He is there for you!  Not one person is forgotten by God.  We are all His children and He wants us to experience His presence, His love.  It is for this reason that miracles happen.

What would St Patrick do?

Posted on March 17, 2015 at 9:42 AM Comments comments (0)
St Patrick, perhaps one of the most celebrated Saints in the world, was born in 387 in the little town of Kilpatrick near Dumbarton in Scotland.  He died in 461, aged 74, in Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland.
 
At the tender age of fourteen Patrick was taken from his family in Scotland to be a slave in Ireland, the country he would ultimately become patron saint of.  And it was during this time of captivity that he turned to God, praying fervently day and night and seeking the comfort of his heavenly Father.
 
At age twenty, Patrick had a dream in which he was told to go to the coast to escape his captors. He would heed this call, and by the grace of God some sailors picked him up and took him home to Scotland so that he could be reunited with his family.
 
However, he had another dream not long after, where he experienced the people of Ireland calling him back to them.  Not one to shy away from God’s call, young Patrick once again set off, and it wasn’t long before he set out on the road to the priesthood, eventually being ordained by the Bishop of Auxerre in France.  He returned to Ireland as a Bishop in 433 and settled in Slane, County Meath.  Patrick then preached the Gospel throughout Ireland for forty years, converting many to the Christian faith.  He worked many miracles throughout his life and he always put his love of God first in everything he did.  He was completely devoted to God and put all of his trust in Him. 
 
So what would St Patrick do today?  What would his reaction be to all of the excitement generated by his Feast day?  While he would undoubtedly enjoy some of the celebrations which take place in his honour, he would never have lost sight of the real meaning of the day.  St Patrick would have put God first before anything else.  So while he might enjoy a little celebratory dance with friends, he wouldn’t do this until after he had spent some time praying to God.  He might even enjoy a little tipple, but again, he would only do it after spending sometime with God. 
 
If St Patrick walked among us today as we celebrate his Feast he would, without a shadow of a doubt, want us to celebrate his day; but he would want us to praise God for it. And what better way to give praise to God than to enjoy the gift of His Son Jesus Christ in the Eucharist at Holy Mass?  This is the kind of celebration St Patrick would want.
 
And while St Patrick is clearly a remarkable man, the truth is….he shouldn’t be.  Why?  Because we are all called to be like St Patrick.  We are all called to be holy, to love God, to put God first at all times, and to take the Gospel message to the four corners of the earth.  To be holy should be the rule not the exception. Yet St Patrick is remarkable because he is very much the exception in today’s world.  But we can change this.  We can be just like him if we are prepared to put God first at all times and trust completely in His love for us. 
 

This Lent, Come Home to Christ

Posted on February 17, 2015 at 12:49 PM Comments comments (1)
 
Lent is now upon us and we can all hopefully look forward to spending much time reflecting on our faith and our relationship with Jesus as we embark on a journey of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
 
And while we have the option to develop our relationship with Jesus all year round, there is perhaps no better time than Lent to spend a little more time in the presence of Christ; one to one.  This Lent we are invited to get up and walk a while with our Saviour.  We are asked to pray more often than normal; to fast more; and to give more freely to those in need.  All of this can be achieved with the help of Christ.  If we take up his offer to walk with him he will give us the graces we need to make the most of this special season of Lent.
 
But what if you are far from the Church or have fallen away from the faith?  If this applies to you I would ask you to just consider taking a little time out this Lent to speak to Jesus.  It might be a prayer; it might be a question; it might be a concern or worry; or it might even be a simple hello!  The truth is, anything goes.  Jesus wants to give you the floor so that you can tell him everything that is on your mind.  The most important thing for Jesus is that you need him.  He wants to be the perfect friend; one who doesn't judge, who doesn't argue, and who doesn't impose any conditions on your friendship. 
 
Consider popping into a Church this Lent and spending some quality time with Jesus.  He is right there waiting for you in the tabernacle.  It's no illusion, no trick; he exists right there and he is waiting for you to come home to him.
 
And if your lack of faith relates to the Church, remember that the Church is a hospital for sinners not a club for saints.  If you feel disgruntled or even distrust towards the Church, remember that it is Christ who founded it and it is Christ who waits for you.  He is the most important element of our faith.  It is through him that we will learn to love God, to love one another, to become better people and, ultimately, to be united with the Father in Heaven.
 
This Lent, as you give up chocolate or alcohol, consider spending some quality time with your Saviour.  He has so much love to give and this love has your name written all over it.  Nobody can give the perfect love and peace that Christ can. 
 
Make a special effort this Lent to attend a very special appointment in your local Church.  You may not know it but Jesus already has your name in his diary.  The only question is, will you turn up....?
 
 
For further reading and to see what tips Pope Francis has for Lent, click this link: http://www.focus.org/blog/posts/what-should-i-do-for-lent-pope-francis-ten-tips.html
 

Is there really no salvation outside the Catholic Church?

Posted on February 9, 2015 at 9:26 AM Comments comments (1)
Is the Catholic Church the only way to eternal life?
 
Tim Staples, Director of Apologetics and Evangelisation at Catholic Answers, considers this most crucial question in his latest blog piece at catholic.com. 
 
In a thoroughly detailed and considered view on the matter, Tim comes to the following important conclusions:
 
1. No one who knowingly and deliberately rejects the truth will be saved. It doesn’t matter how good of a Muslim, Jew, Baptist, or anything else he may be. If anyone rejects the truth of Christ and his Church—even one definitive teaching—they will be lost.
 
2. Religions that have as tenants of their respective faiths the rejection of Jesus and his Church have no power to save anyone. It is “the truth that makes us free” (cf. John 8:32), not falsehood.
 
3. In the case of one who is ignorant of the truth of the Catholic Faith, “through no fault of [his] own,” he can be saved, if he is truly “invincibly ignorant, [is] given the supernatural virtue of faith and [has] perfect charity in [his heart]” (cf. Instruction of Holy Office of Dec. 20, 1949).
 
4. We must remember that we are not the judges of salvation. God is the sole and final judge. We do not know who is truly “invincibly ignorant” and who is not. Therefore, we must be careful to “evangelize all men” as the Catechism commands us and leave the judging to God.
 
5. “Whatever good or truth is found amongst [other world religions] is considered by the Church to be ‘a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life’” (Lumen Gentium16). And if they seek the true God given the light they have received, they have the possibility of salvation.
 
6. This does not mean they are not in need of the Eucharist! Without the grace that comes from the sacraments, one is at a decided disadvantage to get to heaven. And if one has rejected the truth, then there is no way he can merit heaven apart from repentance and the acceptance of the truth. The Church makes very clear: “The words bind and loose mean: whomever you exclude from your communion, will be excluded from communion with God; whomever you receive anew into your communion, God will welcome back into his. Reconciliation with the Church is inseparable from reconciliation with God” (CCC 1445).
 
 

Are Catholics Cannibals?

Posted on November 10, 2014 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (47)
 
Catholic Answers' Tim Staples considers the misguided view that Catholics are cannibals as a result of their belief in transubstantiation and the changing of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.
 
 

Encouraging Reverence in the Presence of Christ

Posted on July 29, 2014 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (0)
This article from Integrated Catholic Life considers the need to show reverence in the presence of the 'King of Kings'! 
 
 
 

Common Difficulties with Faith Part 2 - The Duration of the Mass

Posted on July 23, 2014 at 7:27 AM Comments comments (1)
 
Part 2 of our 'Common Difficulties with Faith' series looks at the age old complaint that the Mass is too long.
 
Part 2 - The Duration of the Mass
 
The duration of the Mass is often a topic of discussion in Catholic circles, particularly where Holy Communions and Baptisms are concerned.  It is a common complaint among many and the majority of us may well have complained about it at one time or another.
 
Yet, think of it this way: if you heard that Pope Francis was visiting your parish this weekend would you not happily spend a few hours patiently waiting for an opportunity to get close to him?  Wouldn’t you be desperate to be able to have a personal moment with the pope and put everything else on hold?  Why then should we not do the same for Jesus who is, of course, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament?
 
The Mass is a repeat Christ’s Passion, Cross and Resurrection.  We relive the entire event at each Mass and it becomes no less important and no less significant, even after 2000 years.
How can we ever get bored of reliving something that has given us the gift of eternal life?
 
At each Mass we stand at the foot of the Cross with Mary, gazing up at the broken body of Jesus.  He isn’t hanging there so that we can sneak off early or complain about how long we have to stand there looking at him.  He wants us to gaze up at him with love and with great joy in the sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to come.
 
As we stand at the foot of the Cross at each Mass, let us not fall into the trap of watching the clock.  Let us enjoy spending time with the one who loves us more than any other.  Let us spare a few more moments in the company of someone who was prepared to have nails driven into his hands and feet so that we may live.
 

Dwelling on the Word of God: Supporting your Parish Priest (Thursday 15th May 2014)

Posted on May 15, 2014 at 7:33 AM Comments comments (1)
Hearing Confession is just one of a priest's many duties
 
From today’s Gospel (John 13:16-20):
 
‘I tell you most solemnly,
whoever welcomes the one I send welcomes me,
and whenever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.’
 
 
In this Gospel passage we can clearly see Jesus referring to his disciples. 
 
Yet, fast forward two thousand years to today and Jesus would be talking about our priests and bishops.  So let us ask ourselves this question….how do I treat my parish priest?  Do I welcome him to my home?  Do I treat him with the respect Jesus suggests he deserves?  Do I appreciate the work he puts in to his ministry, in saying Mass, in hearing Confessions, in tending to the sick, in tending to the dying, in tending to the bereaved, in putting in hour after hour of deep and meaningful prayer for my benefit, in dealing with parish politics? 
 
Remember that your priest has been chosen by God to be in your parish, to minister to you and your fellow parishioners.  God has put him in that very place at this very time and He wants you to welcome His servant in the same way that you welcome Jesus in the Eucharist.
 
Yes, it is the task of the parish priest to serve his parishioners and to lead them in faith.  But it is not a one way street.  We too are called to support our priest and assist him in whatever way we can to help him in his ministry.  And from these close, supportive relationships between priest and parishioner we can build up strong, faithful parish communities ready to announce the Good News to the world.
 

Dwelling on the Word of God: Testing Jesus (Monday 17th February 2014)

Posted on February 17, 2014 at 2:20 AM Comments comments (2)
Jesus has already given his whole self on the Cross
 
Today's Gospel (Mark 8:1-13):
 
'The Pharisees came up and started a discussion with Jesus; they demanded of him a sign from heaven, to test him. And with a sigh that came straight from the heart he said, ‘Why does this generation demand a sign? I tell you solemnly, no sign shall be given to this generation.’ And leaving them again and re-embarking, he went away to the opposite shore.'
 
 
The Pharisees were always trying to test Jesus; always trying to force him into a corner to perform tricks for them.  But there intentions weren't exactly good.
 
Why did they need a sign when the Son of Man was right there in front of them?  Why did they need him to perform another miracle when he had already been curing people of serious illness?
 
We don't need a 'sign' from Jesus or from Heaven.  He has already shown the world the Power of God by being raised up from the dead.  That's the only sign we have ever needed and ever will need.  And yet we have been given the great gift of the Eucharist to receive Jesus 'body, blood, soul and divinity' each and every time we go to Mass.  Yet even with this, people in our society will still ask for 'signs'.
 
It is time to get real.  It is time to trust and believe in Jesus, not put him to the test by asking him to give us more when he has already given us his whole self on the Cross.