We are all created in God’s image! Embark on a Spiritual Journey and become a better Catholic, Muslim, Jew, Baptist…
God’s Love can transform your life! If you choose to embark on the Spiritual Journey, your life will slowly transform, bringing your Spirit closer and closer to God. As you learn about (and put into practice) the teachings of Jesus and the early Church, you will slowly transform into a Saint as your Spirit becomes strong and powerful. The spirituality of Buddha, or New Age, etc., cannot do this. Sure, making good choices, reflecting, and meditating will make life easier, but the Power of the Spirit comes from God, not from a candle or a statue of a fat man (sorry). So just how can we truly follow Jesus? The Bible is HUGE and teaches us a thousand things. How do we live the Bible every day? Don’t worry, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Some churches that you might remember from the New Testament are still here today, like the Church of the Caldeans in present day IRAQ. And they are all Catholic/Orthodox Churches. EVERYTHING in the Bible has been fleshed out to form the Catholic Faith. “If you love me you will keep my commands.” ~ Jesus. Take a look:
The Catholic Church guides us to live Holy lives, to become Saints when we leave this earthly home. Just going to Mass on Sunday isn’t going to cut it. Jesus says, “Be Holy as I your God am Holy”, and “Be perfect as your God in Heaven is perfect”, and “If you love me, you will keep my commands”. Many people will try to say that all you have to do is “be saved” or “love the Lord” or just “believe in Jesus” – and that’s it. Actually, the Bible (and Jesus) commands us to do many things, most of which are opposite of societies standards and may seem impossible. But all things are possible with God. As we try to live Holy lives, we become more and more like Jesus. We grow stronger and stronger in The Spirit. When others look at a self-proclaimed “Christian”, they should see Jesus – that’s our goal. And the Catholic Church will help guide us along this Spiritual Journey. Let’s take a deeper look at the tenants of the Catholic Faith. They will help us grow closer to Jesus and grow stronger in The Spirit. IMPORTANT: Reflect on what you might need to change in your life. If your list is long, like it was for me, don’t try to do it all at once. Pick a couple doozies and set yourself 2 or 3 goals. Your spirit will grow stronger, your family will grow stronger, your life will be much happier, fulfilled, and fruitful. Also, you don’t have to go it alone. After a good confession of your sins to a priest, ask for God’s Grace to help you overcome these things and you will be AMAZED! Disclaimer – part of a good confession involves an earnest desire to amend your life, to sin no more, and to avoid the near occasion of sin. For example, if LUST, pornography, self-gratification, etc is your sin, then you will need to clean house of all unchaste things, and probably make a major adjustment in your TV and Movie choices. TV portrays casual sex, divorce, etc, as commonplace, normal everyday behavior. As the old saying goes – “Garbage in, garbage out.”. Remember, you can’t slide into Heaven, but you can slide into Hell. As children, we are told that every relative and every pet that has died is in Heaven. But when everyone goes to Heaven, we’re just kidding ourselves… And let’s not shoot for Purgatory, let’s “Go for the Gold”!
Here we go:
The 10 Commandments quick reference If you break one (or more) of the 10 Commandments your soul is in deep trouble. These are mortal sins against God Almighty and you will need to get to Confession as quick as you can. These sins can also have lasting effects on not only the sinner, but the innocent bystanders. Take for example, the children of divorce. It’s a sad fact of life that “the children pay for the sins of the father”. Nowadays, the Family Tree has gotten so out of whack that it looks like a crazy geometric design. Nowadays, getting married is not the norm, and those who do take that step may get divorced and remarried two or three times. Nowadays, kids have stepbrothers and stepsisters, multiple stepdads, immediate family in multiple cities and may hardly know them.
The 7 Virtues:
Cardinal virtues: Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, Temperance Our society is in dire need of a resurgence in the Cardinal Virtues. We need families and moral citizens with Prudence to guide their lives, to set a good example for all family members and to serve as a beacon of light in this secular world. Our society needs people to stand up for Justice and the Fortitude to stand up for what is right. Our families need Temperance and understanding in this hectic world; and they need to rely on Jesus as the role model, while teaching our children the Faith. Spiritual/Theological Virtues: Faith, Hope, and Love (Charity) ”and the greatest of these is Love”… St Paul “‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.’ This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like it, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:35-40) If you skip Church and later find yourself shopping at the Mall, who do you love? If Jesus isn’t #1 in your life, who do you love? If you help no one but your own family and friends, who do you love? If you have a lot of ‘stuff’, but no money left to give to God, who do you love?
The 7 Capital Sins: Pride, Avarice (anger), Envy, Wrath (vengeance), Lust, Gluttony, and Sloth (extreme laziness) It’s hard to take a swing and NOT hit Pride, Lust, and Gluttony – it’s everywhere! We teach our kids to be proud, pornography and sex appeal seems to be everywhere, and overindulgence is a way of life for many. The other four Capital Sins can be hard to see, as they are usually hiding under the surface. But many folks can be consumed with Anger, Envy, Vengeance and Sloth, perhaps only on occasion, or perhaps not.
The 5 Precepts of the Church:
- Attend Mass every Sunday and other Holy Days of Obligation, and you shall rest from all servile behavior. (Keep the Sabbath Holy) This is part of “Loving Jesus with all your heart, and all of your soul, and all of your mind and all of your body.” Is Jesus just being silly when he says this? Many people say that they “love Jesus”, and think that they can slide into Heaven without taking Jesus’ words seriously.
- Make an earnest Confession at least once a year (to a priest). Remember, that includes the desire to amend your life, sin no more, AND avoid the near occasion of sin.
- Receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the season of Easter. Remember, Apostle Paul says “For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment*on himself. That means, go to Confession first if need be.
- Observe all days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church. This helps Christians grow stronger in The Spirit.
- Help provide for the needs of the Church. Most people have soooo much stuff, yet they have nothing left to give to God. What a shame.
Here is some food for thought. Take a look at these next few items. When these start making sense in your life, you know that your on your way. If these items describe you, then you’re on that straight and narrow path, entering through the narrow gate…
The 12 Fruits of the Holy Spirit: Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Generosity, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Modesty, Self-Control, Chastity – wouldn’t it be nice! This could be you!
The 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit:
- Fear of the Lord
The 7 Spiritual Works of Mercy:
- Instructing the ignorant
- Counseling the doubtful
- Comforting the Sorrowful
- Reproving the Sinner
- Forgiving Injuries
- Bearing wrongs patiently
- Praying for the living and the dead
The 7 Corporal Works of Mercy:
- Feeding the hungry
- Giving drink to the thirsty
- Clothing the naked
- Shelter the homeless
- Visiting the sick
- Ransoming the captive/ visiting the imprisoned
- Burying the dead
The 7 Sacraments: The sacraments are a means to receiving God’s Grace in us. They are a human representation of a Divine reality. The Sacraments have been instituted by Jesus. They are a gift from God: “Baptism is from Above”, it is not a grace given by humans. This is where infant baptism comes form. Many Protestants put off Baptizing their child because they think that their child has to choose to be Baptized. But the Baptism comes from God, not from the person getting Baptized. Confirmation – When a child gets older, he/she confirms their Baptism. Eucharist – The Body and Blood of Christ. I heard a wonderful analogy awhile back – Imagine a string of electric power lines that lead right to Calvary, and you can tap into that power line with the Eucharist. Penance – Confess your sins and do penance and make reparation if need be. Just because your sins are forgiven, doesn’t mean that there are no terrible effects – just think about the children who suffer when their parents get divorced. Anointing of the Sick – Sometimes a sick person can not participate in confession, but a Priest can still come to Anoint them, absolving a faithful heart from their sins. Holy Orders – dedicating your life to God. Matrimony – In a Sacramental wedding, we take an Oath before God. And let no man (or woman) break this apart. Jesus has VERY strong words against divorce. And it’s no wonder, seeing how families are torn apart and children are the victims.
- Blessed are the poor in spirit (sense of humility, opposition to “riches”): for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- Blessed are the meek (a servant of God and man): for they shall possess the land.
- Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted.
- Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.
- Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
- Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.
- Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
- Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The 4 Marks of the Church: ONE, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church Excerpt from “The One True Church” by Fr. Arnold Damen, S.J. (1815 – 1890): ”It is admitted on all sides, by Protestants and Catholics alike, that Christ has established a Church. And strange to say, all our Protestant friends acknowledge, too, that he has established only one Church, only one Church… Call on one of your preachers and ask him which was the first church, the first Christian Church. Was it the Presbyterian, the Episcopalian, the Church of England, the Methodist, the Universalist or the Unitarian? And they will answer you, it was the Catholic Church. But, my dear friend, if you admit that the Catholic Church is the first and the oldest, the Church established by Christ, why are you not a Catholic? To this they answer that the Catholic Church has become corrupted, has fallen into error, and therefore, it was necessary to establish a new church. A new church, a new religion. And to this we answer, if the Catholic Church had been once the true church, then she is still true, and shall be the true Church of God to the end of time, or Jesus Christ has deceived us. If the Catholic Church has been once the true Church of God, as admitted by all, then she is the true Church still, and shall be the true Church of God until the end of time. For Christ has promised that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church.”
The 4 Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell Accidents happen every day. Do you know where you will end up if your time comes? Sin can not enter Heaven. Jesus has a lot to say about this. If you love Jesus, you will keep his commands… but what if you don’t know what they are? Plus, Protestants don’t believe in Purgatory.
6 Sins against the Holy Spirit:
- Despair – Complete abandonment of hope in your salvation
- Presumption – presuming that God will save us with out any effort on our part (Protestants beware)
- Impugning the Known Truth – willfully falsify spiritual matter
- Spiritual Envy – Begrudging another’s hope of salvation.
- Obstinacy in Sin – refusing to fight against our own vices
- Final Impenitence – without regret, shame or remorse for our sins
This looks like a lot, doesn’t it? That’s why we call it a “Spiritual Journey”. Work on one flaw at a time, and as you do, you will feel your life GROWING closer to God and Jesus; the Holy Spirit will become more powerful and more NOTICEABLE in your life. Take for example, the Capital Sin of Lust; it is a plague to our society and societies around the globe. Start by going to Confession and earnestly asking for God’s Grace to overcome that sin. He will give it to you! That Grace is a FREE gift from God, but you have to take that gift. ALSO, part of every confessional prayer involves the intention to “avoid the near occasion of sin”. That means that you need to distance yourself from anything that would let that sin creep back in to your life. For the example of Lust, that is a lot! It is everywhere in our society – the TV shows you watch, movies, advertising, song lyrics, immodest clothing, not to mention the whole of the sex industry, including romance novels. That list can go on and on. If you want to remove sin from your life, part of the solution is to remove the TEMPTATION. I hear quite often from my Protestant brothers and sisters, that all you need is to “Love the Lord”. Well that might be true, if by that you mean: “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and all of your soul, and all of your mind, and all of your strength; and love your neighbor as yourself.” and, “If you TRULY Love Me, you will keep my commandments.” God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit (through the Prophets and Apostles) have given us a lot of commands. And some sayings of Jesus are very hard to swallow, especially to love your enemy, and His teachings on Divorce and Remarriage. So, the Catholic Church guides us in this “Spiritual Journey” with it’s many “rules”. Don’t fight the rules like an angry teenager, but rather, embrace them as teaching tools to help YOU grow in Spirit and in Truth! Remember, it is YOUR eternal soul that is at stake here. You owe it to yourself to seek out the Truth (and follow it). Don’t let your PRIDE stop you from considering the Catholic Church as your home in Jesus. All other Faiths (excepting the Jewish faith), are man made. Think about it. And for my friends who don’t go to any church, simply living a good life is not enough, either. Even Buddhists do that. But YOU have been given the Truth, where a Buddhist may not have. It is far worse to choose Buddha (or choose nothing) over Jesus, than to choose Buddha over Islam, for example. We are not guaranteed tomorrow, the time to get started is now! Need help getting started? Local Services click here. Questions? Learn more at our main website – www.CatholicAnswers.us Email Kevin@CatholicAnswers.us Often Confusing Things About the Catholic Church:
- Those extra books!
- The Bible Alone? (Sola Scriptura)
- Mary, the Mother of God
- Praying to the Saints
Below are some comments from when I had this open for a discussion board. Sadly, I ended up getting over a hundred SPAM messages a day for cheap Ray Ban sunglasses, vacations, junk… So I had to get rid of that functionality for now. Read these great additions that did make it through:
The Way — 4 Comments
Adam Miller on April 6, 2014 at 11:04 pm said:Wonderful! Just to let you know: there are six precepts of the Church. The one omitted in your list is that of obeying the laws concerning marriage. You may also want to include after the four Marks of the Church, the four Attributes of the Church: Authority, Infallibility, Indefectibility, and Necessity. Reply ↓ threeguitarz on April 7, 2014 at 1:03 am said:I should have checked the Catechism. Could you expand on these for me? I’m definitely not infallible! Reply ↓ Adam Miller on April 14, 2014 at 5:58 pm said:Attributes of the Church: 1. Authority: the Catholic Church alone was founded by Christ to represent and continue His teaching and governing authority on earth down through history; and she alone teaches with this same divine authority. 2. Infallibility: As the Catholic Church is Christ’s voice on earth, then to hear the Church (when exercising her universal magisterium -teaching authority) is to hear Christ Who is Truth, who also gave the Spirit of Truth to be with the Church forever. Thus the Church cannot err when teaching on matters of faith and morals. 3. Indefectibility: As Christ promised to be with His Church through all time and that the Spirit of Truth would guide her and never leave her, then she could never fail in her mission to teach, guide and sanctify men down through history. 4. Necessity: The Catholic Church is necessary for salvation. As the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way to God the Father, and there is only one true church that He founded to teach and sanctify all who would follow Him, and that church is the Holy Catholic Church, AND in order to be united to Christ, Who is the Head of His Church, which is His body, THEN one must be a member of that body in order to be united to the Head who is Christ. Hence the thrice defined infallible dogma that outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation. Reply ↓ threeguitarz on April 18, 2014 at 12:04 pm said:Thanks Adam, folks just don’t understand that all these other “churches” were made up by anyone who didn’t like their current church. And they hide these altered beliefs behind Jesus – they say, “as long as we worship Jesus, I can change anything else I want to.”