Early Christians referred to the Good News as “The Way”.
It is The Way to Heaven.
Do you believe in Heaven, Hell, and the immortal soul? Most people do. All religions have some sort of God or Spirituality. It’s hard to believe that everything was just an accident. And the Theory of Evolution has long been disproved by scientists. In short, if we’ve evolved from apes, then what did the apes evolve from? You’d have to trace it all back to the hydrogen atom and the Big Bang. Anyway… here’s The Way:
7 Virtues, 7 Capital Sins, 7 Sacraments, 12 Fruits of the Holy Spirit, 10 Commandments, 2 Greatest Commandments, the 1st Commandment of God, 6 Sins against the Holy Spirit, Works of Mercy, and much more…
You Don’t Know What You Are Missing! If you live the virtues (at least try to) and keep the commandments of God, life will be so much easier. If you give control of your life to Jesus and His teachings, you will be so happy (so long as your spouse is on-board). You will see life in a whole new light. Everything works out just right.
Society teaches us the opposite of what God teaches. Don’t feel bad if you’ve fallen into one (or many) of society’s countless traps. It’s happened to us ALL. Even if you have dug yourself into the biggest ditch ever, like I have, God will help you climb out. It might take a lot of work, but it’s worth it. God’s Love can transform your life! Give it a try, what is there to loose? Start by learning about the Christian Virtues, and all the parables that Jesus taught. Then slowly start to apply those tenets to your own life. You will be amazed! And don’t worry, if you resolve to change WITH God’s help, nothing is impossible. When we try to make these changes on our own, forget it. Remember those New Year’s resolutions?
Life is full of choices. If we make good choices, life won’t be filled with so many problems. However, society has driven it into our heads that bad choices are actually OK, or even good. We don’t know what good choices are anymore. For example, society says that birth control is good. But birth control leads to “free love” (fornication) which is a mortal sin. That leads to unwanted pregnancies which leads to abortion – over a million abortions in a year, just in America alone. And don’t forget about all the broken families from “shacking up” and divorce. Thank you, birth control pill.
So let’s learn how to live the “good life”. If you choose to embark on this 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, 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.
Let’s get started:
Salvation history is fleshed out for us in the Old and New Testament of the Bible. But, hey that’s a lot of information! It would take countless days to just speed read it. And not only would you need to read it and study it, but you would have to remember all of it and be able to interpret each verse in light of other verses, contradicting verses… You’ll need a Doctorate in Theology to accomplish that! Thanks be to God that He gave us FIRST the Church; and the Church Fathers fleshed out all of this information into daily living guidelines – Sacraments, Prayers, Works of Mercy, Virtues, Cardinal Sins and more… to guide us along The Way.
One important thing to realize is that God made Heaven and told us how to get there. He made the rules. When we change those rules, or when we pick and choose which parts we want to believe, then we’ve made our own version of Heaven. But it doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to realize that we can’t make our own Heaven; only God can do that. In a Democratic society, we are used to voting on everything. We are used to having it our way. We are used to choices. We do have a choice, though; we can choose to follow Jesus’ path to Heaven, or we can choose our own path to destruction. So here’s the basics of the Catholic Faith, with some Scripture references (more to come). For more detailed information, see Spiritual Journey.
IMPORTANT: As you read this list, 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.
Let’s start with the BIG ones:
- “If you love me you will keep my commands.” ~ Jesus. Many folks love Jesus, but they don’t follow what He says. In today’s society, love is just a word. Most of us relate love to a feeling; but loving Jesus means a commitment to Jesus.
- The 1st Command of God – “Be fruitful and multiply.”. We can’t do that using any physical form of birth control.
- Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Matthew 22:37-39. If you’ve really applied these two commandments to your life, you would be living Heaven on Earth.
- Keep Holy the Sabbath (Ten Commandments #3) Exodus 20:2-17. What do you do on Sunday? Keep the whole day Holy, not just the hour at church. Get your work finished on Saturday, or Friday… If you forgot the other Commandments: Ten Commandments Quick Reference Guide
- Chastity and the SIXTH COMMANDMENT: You shall not commit adultery. Jesus says, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
- 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. Read More…
- The 7 Sacraments: The sacraments are a means to receiving God’s Grace (God’s Power) 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. Penance and restitution (helping others or paying back) will help heal the wounds in your soul. Anointing of the Sick – Sometimes a sick person cannot 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. A poor translation by King James leads many to think that Adultery is a means for divorce; but remember, it was King James that wanted a divorce. Matthew 5:32 – The word “Porneia” refers to incest (which is unlawful) – but many translations read “sexual immorality” which could be open to many interpretations.
Here are some more wonderful things to do throughout each year to grow spiritually on the way:
- Read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), highlighting the sayings and parables of Jesus. Then, one by one, apply them to YOUR life. Meditate on them with Lectio Divina.
- Meditate on the life and death of Jesus with the Rosary Prayer. The Rosary is highly recommended by the Catholic Church as its most powerful prayer.
- Prayer, Fasting, and Alms-giving: Jesus tells us “when you fast” not if you fast. The season of Lent helps us prepare for Easter with Prayer, Fasting, and Alms-giving.
- Friday Fast – remember Good Friday every Friday, or at least during Lent.
- Friday Penance – remember Good Friday every Friday by helping others.
- Stations of the Cross
- Confession – Confess your sins at least once a year, with a good Examination of Conscience.
- Avoid the occasions of sin. Time to clean house! It may take some time, but you can persevere with the help of God’s Grace and Power.
Now, when you’re ready to go even further on The Path to Heaven:
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
- 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.”