Tag Archives: scripture

Preaching Biblical Religion…

Saint Polycarp
Saint Polycarp

The Bible and the Fathers

BY DR. SCOTT HAHN ON 10.13.11

It was the Bible that made me read the Fathers.
When I was studying for the Presbyterian ministry, I wanted to understand the world where Jesus lived and where the apostles preached. I wanted to defend the New Testament canon against its latest round of challenges, for example — against those who would place the newfound “Gnostic Gospels” on the same footing as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
My research into that world was my introduction to the Christians who lived in that world: the Fathers of the Church. I first turned to the writings of the men who appeared most often in the Bible commentaries I read, the men who knew the apostles — the so-called Apostolic Fathers. Clement of Rome knew Peter and Paul. Polycarp knew John. Ignatius lived in Antioch, the city where the disciples were first called Christians, and where the Church received the testimony of several of the apostles. Clement, Polycarp, and Ignatius knew the apostles, and they quoted the New Testament books, and they rejected the works of heretics. They were eminently useful to me.
So I eagerly turned to the writers who were the spiritual heirs to these men — the authors of the next generation: Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Melito. And again I found Christians who witnessed to the Bible, preached the Bible, interpreted the Bible. Indeed, they talked about little more than the Bible.
Yet I began to notice that they read the Bible differently from the way I did as an evangelical Protestant. They read the Old Testament in light of the New, the New in light of the Old, and always with the liturgy in mind. They saw the sacraments, especially Baptism and the Eucharist, as the ordinary yet mysterious way that Christians entered the drama of the Bible. In the liturgy, they not only heard the story, they lived it. They received salvation in the way Jesus had provided for them, when he commanded his Apostles to “Do this in memory of me” and “Baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
The Fathers spoke constantly about the Scriptures. They had none of the study aids we have today in libraries, software, and seminaries. Nor could most of them have owned complete editions of the Bible. To have all the books of the Bible copied out would have been terrifically expensive, and would have required months of labor by a skilled scribe.
The Fathers possessed none of the advantages I possessed. Yet they knew the Bible as well as any professor or pastor I had ever met, and they exceeded everyone in their insights. From them — especially the earliest Fathers — I learned a covenant theology that was biblical and Catholic.
Having studied these early Christian texts, I never understood how some of my friends could place the Scriptures in opposition to the Fathers, as if the Fathers were actually opposed to anything in the Bible, as if we should have to choose one or another.
The Fathers preached biblical religion and they lived it, and they led me to find it in its fullness, in the Roman Catholic Church. I’m not the only…    …one who’s followed the Fathers down that road to glory. I’ve encountered countless cradle Catholics who have “rediscovered their roots,” and I’ve been accompanied by countless converts as well.
It was the Fathers who received the Scriptures on our behalf — on behalf of the Church. It was the Fathers who faithfully preserved the Scriptures — copying them out by hand over and over again, since there were no printing presses or electronic media. It was the Fathers who put their lives at risk by using their homes as a refuge for the Scriptures, when to do so was a capital offense.
In the coming months, we at the St. Paul Center will have many opportunities to celebrate these works of the Fathers. The last weekend in October, I’ll be speaking with my colleague Mike Aquilina (author of The Fathers of the Church) at a conference on “The Fathers and the Bible” at St. Lambert Parish in Skokie, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. And the upcoming issue of our journal, Letter and Spirit, will examine the same theme of the Bible and the Fathers, with contributions by many renowned scholars.
You make this work possible — and so much more. You ensure that the “Faith of Our Fathers” is “living still,” in spite of all the obstacles our culture places in the way. I know these times are challenging for you, as they are for everyone (especially nonprofits!), so I am even more grateful for the support you give us: your prayers, your encouragement, your contributions.
If I don’t see you in Skokie this month, I’ll meet you — and the Fathers of the Church — in the pages of Letter and Spirit.

The Village Liar — Deliverance From Evil (Part 4)

“Some things cannot be compromised. The difference between good and evil is one.”

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Deliverance From Evil (Part 4)

by

Vic Biorseth

The many disguises of evil.

From John 8:44:

“You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

213316660YCDPFI_fsThe two names our Lord gave to Satan are murderer and liar. The two names go together. Untruth leads to death, and leads others to death, in more ways than one.

Our sole problem in contemporary America involves truth vs. untruth.

Of course, the biggest, most dangerous and most successful (in America) opposition to truth factor involves the varying levels of acceptance of Marxist ideology. And there are lots of levels. My contention is that there is nothing in Marxism that is of any value to man. But many Americans consider some part of Marxist theory to be of some value. Only one of these positions can be correct.

DachauBabies3Beginning, I think, some time in the thirties, when the world began to be aware of the government brutalities imposed on people in Russia and in Germany, American Leftists – both of the German and Russian variants – began to refer to themselves as moderates, to disassociate themselves and their movements from Marxism. At some point, the new word for Communist became Moderate. The term Leftist has always applied to Marxists. For a number of decades, the term Liberal was favored.

Today, few American Marxists refer to themselves as Marxists. Even Leftist is too strong for most of them. Even the softer Liberal is too strong for some of them. Moderate seems about right for most of them; but note well that they all remain Marxist.

We are mesmerized into thinking that one can be a little bit Liberal, or take some of Marx’s theory to heart, and still be a good Constitutional American. This is false. It is untrue. There is nothing at all in Marxism that is in any way compatible with Constitutional America. Seeking any sort of compromise position between Marxist theory and Constitutional American can only result in a weakened Constitutional America.

2043458907_a919d624f2Some things cannot be compromised. The difference between good and evil is one. Government by Marxism, in any variant or form whatsoever, and government by the American Constitution is another. They are incompatible, to the point of being mutually exclusive. You can either have free markets and a liberated citizenry, or you can have some variant of Socialism, one or the other. You cannot have both.

I therefore regard Communism, Socialism, Fascism, Nazism, Liberalism, Leftism, Moderate-ism and Marxism to all be one and the same thing. For simplification, I refer to them all as Marxism, which is what they all are.

Again, our problem in contemporary America involves truth vs. untruth.

Marxist Driven Public Education.

213316660YCDPFI_fsSo where is all the untruth coming from? Little American children are not learning how to put condoms on cucumbers, and the mechanics of safe fornication, protected sodomy and responsible promiscuity in home schools, private schools, parochial schools, in their homes or in their Churches, Temples or Synagogues. Little American children are being taught these things, solely and exclusively, in the Marxist driven public school system.

FRANCE-RELIGION-POPE-CONDOMHillary has taught us that it takes a village to raise a child. See?

Little American girls are not smuggled in and out of abortion mills without their parent’s knowledge from any home schools, private schools, parochial schools, from their homes or from their Churches, Temples or Synagogues. That sort of thing is done, solely and exclusively, in the Marxist driven public school system.

Judao-Christian religion, scripture, tradition, morality, religious expression, religious exercise and so forth are not strictly and, you might say, religiously censored, prohibited and even opposed in teaching in any home schools, private schools, parochial schools, in their homes or in any Churches, Temples or Synagogues. That sort of thing is done, solely and exclusively, in the Marxist driven public school system.

Pro-Marxist and anti-Capitalist bias is not taught American children in any home schools, private schools, parochial schools, from their homes or from their Churches, Temples or Synagogues. That sort of thing is done, solely and exclusively, in the Marxist driven public school system. That is where American history is taught in the most negative light possible, and Socialism is shown in the most positive light possible.

prop8_13_5-26-09Our so-called public schools are the only places in America where children are exposed to the false rantings of the Femi-Nazi movement, the Homo-Nazi movement and the Eco-Nazi movement. Well, actually, they might see quite a bit of that on TV today, too, and in the public media. Black children are taught to feel victimized, and white children are taught to feel perpetually guilty, in a false and biased racist America slant of American history.

All of this captive audience Marxist indoctrination happens only in American public schools.

Marxist Driven College Education.

213316660YCDPFI_fsThe ‘60s and ‘70s revolutionary, anti-war, hippy-freak, Woodstock generation, which was the first of several truly anti-American American generations, is now in charge of the American college campus. Yesterday’s hippy is today’s dean. They who led and participated in the sit-ins, love-ins, pot parties, orgies, bra burnings, draft card burnings, campus riots, ROTC building burnings, bombings and street-warfare are today’s Ivey League professors and talk-show celebrities.

scacWhatever else may be learned in the typical American university today, American and world history will be dripping with anti-American bias, and Socialism will be taught in the most positive light possible.

On the American college campus, flat out Communist disinformation has gone main-stream. It is the norm.

Even those graduates who are not infected with Marxism are often infected with what the late Jeane Kirkpatrick referred to as the Blame America First Syndrome in which America is always somehow seen to be the cause of whatever is bad in the world. The fact that we consume more than anyone else is grossly over-emphasized; the fact that we produce more than anyone else is forgotten. As is the fact that we export more than anyone else. If we have more than someone else, why, somehow that is unfair, and we owe it to someone else. When Marxism isn’t sinister, it is just silly, but always at the expense of America.

Marxist Driven Mainstream Media.

213316660YCDPFI_fsThese days I’m working as a local delivery driver, and I get to listen to talk radio quite a bit out on the road. I love to listen to Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh. Both of them seem to seek the truth and find it, quite regularly, and they always seem to hit the nail on the head, on whatever controversial topic they are discussing. Rush gets the preferred nod, as the most entertaining of the two, because of his wit. He is funny; he is always good for at least one good belly laugh every day, and sometimes he keeps me laughing through most of his show. This is good for me, these days, with who is running both houses of Congress and the White House, because sometimes I think if I didn’t laugh, I just might cry.

But both Sean and Rush have got something wrong, and it is their view of the mainstream media, which I have labeled the SLIMC. They feel that mainstream media journalists have missed the boat, are making themselves irrelevant, have failed in their duty, are going to be sorry, and so forth. But that is wrong. They know exactly what they are doing.

WALTER-CRONKITEThe SLIMC is every bit as Marxist as Obama is. I’ve been saying that ever since the Vietnam War. If any American profession today is more anti-American, on average, than the American teaching profession, it is American journalism, by an order of magnitude.

As described in several other pages on this site, Walter Cronkite may be the worst example of them all. Cronkite could have been and should have been investigated, charged, tried, convicted and executed for treason. The same could be said of John (did you know he served in Vietnam) Kerry, Hannoi-Jane Fonda and others, but Cronkite takes the highest “honor” because he was so trusted, and so believed, by so many. Cronkite, more than anyone else, is responsible for producing the first of several anti-American American generations. Cronkite, more than anyone else, as we said in the Vietnam War page, is responsible for the loss of the Vietnam War itself.

Other American journalists idolize Cronkite; he is the one they most seek to emulate; he is their hero. They hope one day, following his lead, to somehow destroy Capitalism, and Constitutional America along with it.

END OF POST/DELIVERANCE FROM EVIL by VIC BIORSETH — PART 4 OF 5 — [1 2 3 4 5]

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Message For Lent: Pope Benedict XVI

1. Each year, Lent offers us a providential opportunity to deepen the meaning and value of our Christian lives, and it stimulates us to rediscover the mercy of God so that we, in turn, become more merciful toward our brothers and sisters. In the Lenten period, the Church makes it her duty to propose some specific tasks that accompany the faithful concretely in this process of interior renewal: these are prayer, fasting and almsgiving. For this year’s Lenten Message, I wish to spend some time reflecting on the practice of almsgiving, which represents a specific way to assist those in need and, at the same time, an exercise in self-denial to free us from attachment to worldly goods. The force of attraction to material riches and just how categorical our decision must be not to make of them an idol, Jesus confirms in a resolute way: “You cannot serve God and mammon” (Lk 16,13). Almsgiving helps us to overcome this constant temptation, teaching us to respond to our neighbor’s needs and to share with others whatever we possess through divine goodness. This is the aim of the special collections in favor of the poor, which are promoted during Lent in many parts of the world. In this way, inward cleansing is accompanied by a gesture of ecclesial communion, mirroring what already took place in the early Church. In his Letters, Saint Paul speaks of this in regard to the collection for the Jerusalem community (cf. 2 Cor 8-9; Rm 15, 25-27).

2. According to the teaching of the Gospel, we are not owners but rather administrators of the goods we possess: these, then, are not to be considered as our exclusive possession, but means through which the Lord calls each one of us to act as a steward of His providence for our neighbor. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, material goods bear a social value, according to the principle of their universal destination (cf. n. 2404)

In the Gospel, Jesus explicitly admonishes the one who possesses and uses earthly riches only for self. In the face of the multitudes, who, lacking everything, suffer hunger, the words of Saint John acquire the tone of a ringing rebuke: “How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses to help?” (1 Jn 3,17). In those countries whose population is majority Christian, the call to share is even more urgent, since their responsibility toward the many who suffer poverty and abandonment is even greater. To come to their aid is a duty of justice even prior to being an act of charity.

3. The Gospel highlights a typical feature of Christian almsgiving: it must be hidden: “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,” Jesus asserts, “so that your alms may be done in secret” (Mt 6,3-4). Just a short while before, He said not to boast of one’s own good works so as not to risk being deprived of the heavenly reward (cf. Mt 6,1-2). The disciple is to be concerned with God’s greater glory. Jesus warns: “In this way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Mt 5,16). Everything, then, must be done for God’s glory and not our own. This understanding, dear brothers and sisters, must accompany every gesture of help to our neighbor, avoiding that it becomes a means to make ourselves the center of attention. If, in accomplishing a good deed, we do not have as our goal God’s glory and the real well being of our brothers and sisters, looking rather for a return of personal interest or simply of applause, we place ourselves outside of the Gospel vision. In today’s world of images, attentive vigilance is required, since this temptation is great. Almsgiving, according to the Gospel, is not mere philanthropy: rather it is a concrete expression of charity, a theological virtue that demands interior conversion to love of God and neighbor, in imitation of Jesus Christ, who, dying on the cross, gave His entire self for us. How could we not thank God for the many people who silently, far from the gaze of the media world, fulfill, with this spirit, generous actions in support of one’s neighbor in difficulty? There is little use in giving one’s personal goods to others if it leads to a heart puffed up in vainglory: for this reason, the one, who knows that God “sees in secret” and in secret will reward, does not seek human recognition for works of mercy.

4. In inviting us to consider almsgiving with a more profound gaze that transcends the purely material dimension, Scripture teaches us that there is more joy in giving than in receiving (cf. Acts 20,35). When we do things out of love, we express the truth of our being; indeed, we have been created not for ourselves but for God and our brothers and sisters (cf. 2 Cor 5,15). Every time when, for love of God, we share our goods with our neighbor in need, we discover that the fullness of life comes from love and all is returned to us as a blessing in the form of peace, inner satisfaction and joy. Our Father in heaven rewards our almsgiving with His joy. What is more: Saint Peter includes among the spiritual fruits of almsgiving the forgiveness of sins: “Charity,” he writes, “covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pt 4,8). As the Lenten liturgy frequently repeats, God offers to us sinners the possibility of being forgiven. The fact of sharing with the poor what we possess disposes us to receive such a gift. In this moment, my thought turns to those who realize the weight of the evil they have committed and, precisely for this reason, feel far from God, fearful and almost incapable of turning to Him. By drawing close to others through almsgiving, we draw close to God; it can become an instrument for authentic conversion and reconciliation with Him and our brothers.

5. Almsgiving teaches us the generosity of love. Saint Joseph Benedict Cottolengo forthrightly recommends: “Never keep an account of the coins you give, since this is what I always say: if, in giving alms, the left hand is not to know what the right hand is doing, then the right hand, too, should not know what it does itself” (Detti e pensieri, Edilibri, n. 201). In this regard, all the more significant is the Gospel story of the widow who, out of her poverty, cast into the Temple treasury “all she had to live on” (Mk 12,44). Her tiny and insignificant coin becomes an eloquent symbol: this widow gives to God not out of her abundance, not so much what she has, but what she is. Her entire self.

We find this moving passage inserted in the description of the days that immediately precede Jesus’ passion and death, who, as Saint Paul writes, made Himself poor to enrich us out of His poverty (cf. 2 Cor 8,9); He gave His entire self for us. Lent, also through the practice of almsgiving, inspires us to follow His example. In His school, we can learn to make of our lives a total gift; imitating Him, we are able to make ourselves available, not so much in giving a part of what we possess, but our very selves. Cannot the entire Gospel be summarized perhaps in the one commandment of love? The Lenten practice of almsgiving thus becomes a means to deepen our Christian vocation. In gratuitously offering himself, the Christian bears witness that it is love and not material richness that determines the laws of his existence. Love, then, gives almsgiving its value; it inspires various forms of giving, according to the possibilities and conditions of each person.

6. Dear brothers and sisters, Lent invites us to “train ourselves” spiritually, also through the practice of almsgiving, in order to grow in charity and recognize in the poor Christ Himself. In the Acts of the Apostles, we read that the Apostle Peter said to the cripple who was begging alms at the Temple gate: “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk” (Acts 3,6). In giving alms, we offer something material, a sign of the greater gift that we can impart to others through the announcement and witness of Christ, in whose name is found true life. Let this time, then, be marked by a personal and community effort of attachment to Christ in order that we may be witnesses of His love. May Mary, Mother and faithful Servant of the Lord, help believers to enter the “spiritual battle” of Lent, armed with prayer, fasting and the practice of almsgiving, so as to arrive at the celebration of the Easter Feasts, renewed in spirit. With these wishes, I willingly impart to all my Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 30 October 2007

BENEDICTUS PP. XVI

© Copyright 2007 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana