Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Post -Evangelical Blogger Says We Need Sacraments

Rachel Evans, a "post-evangelical" believes that millenials are leaving the church because they crave authenticity, not entertainment. (See her  piece here. ) This, I believe, has been drawing more people to the ancient Church. The Ancient-Future church movement a few years ago was evidence of this.
     Coffee in the foyer, jumbo-trons and high-volume stage productions are hip, but ultimately are not what people need .   They need sacraments.  Though I can't agree with Rachel that the Episcopal church is where one should end up, I hope others are attracted to authenticity and the Church that Jesus started, containing all the grace to live abundant lives pleasing to Him and ultimately attain Heaven.

"You can get a cup of coffee with your friends anywhere, but church is the only place you can get ashes smudged on your forehead as a reminder of your mortality. "

"What finally brought me back, after years of running away, wasn't lattes or skinny jeans; it was the sacraments. Baptism, confession, Communion, preaching the Word, anointing the sick — you know, those strange rituals and traditions Christians have been practicing for the past 2,000 years. The sacraments are what make the church relevant, no matter the culture or era. They don’t need to be repackaged or rebranded; they just need to be practiced, offered and explained in the context of a loving, authentic and inclusive community."

After 31 years as an evangelical Protestant, when I attended my first Catholic mass, I knew I was home. I whispered to my wife, "not one wasted word," meaning I received what I needed, no fancy light shows, worship bands, theatrical preaching, just a 2000 year old liturgy designed to be universal for all times and all ages and all peoples.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Why Catholics Veil the Crucifix and Statues During Passiontide

                                                           Apse of Saint Joseph the Worker, Orefield, PA

The two weeks before Easter Sunday are known as the Passiontide, beginning after mass on the fifth Sunday of Lent. There is a tradition in the Church dating back to the 9th century where the crucifixes and statues are veiled in somber purple cloth. In some parishes, this practice fell away after the 2nd Vatican Council, but still continues  in many parishes throughout the world.

Why does the Church veil statues and the crucifix?
Because the Church is always trying to direct the faithful into deeper participation and understanding of the sacred mysteries of faith. In this case, the passion and death and resurrection of our Lord.  During these two weeks before the celebration of the resurrection, we experience the humiliation of our Lord and are reminded of it by the veiled crucifixes.  "When the Jews picked up stones to throw at Jesus, he hid from them." (John 8:59) But why the statues also?  "The statues of the saints, too, are covered; for it is but just that, if the glory of the Master be eclipsed, the servant should not appear." (Abbot Gueranger)

So once again, the Church invites us during Lent to deeply experience the suffering, humiliation and ultimate passion of our Lord.  But why all this suffering and humiliation? Didn't Jesus suffer and die so I don't have to?  Yes and no. Yes he died so we may have eternal life being freed from our sins by His cross and resurrection.  But no, we must also suffer because he asks us to also take up our crosses and follow him.  "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death."  (Phil 3:10)  

Finally, after the passiontide is over, the Resurrection of our Lord is experienced with even greater joy during the Easter  Triduum when the veils are removed. "And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.(Matt 27:51)

So you can see these Lenten practices of the Catholic faith are not "man-made inventions and meaningless rituals." They are based on Scripture and promoted by the Church to nourish and enhance our love for the savior who suffered and died for us.  Once again, the Church uses the "stuff of earth" to bring us grace from Heaven!
 (Reprinted from my 2012 post)

Holy Saturday

If you listen very carefully, in the most quiet stillness of this day, you will hear the echoes of the clanking shackles falling off  and the ancient prison cell doors creaking open followed by the glad shouts of captives, now set free.  He continues to set prisoners free. We wait for His resurrection.....

"“What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled.”  (Author Unknown, Pontifical University, St. Thomas Aquinas)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Happy Feast of Saint Joseph

For over 1900 years, the Church has venerated (not worshiped) the Foster father of Jesus and has asked his intercession. My baptismal name is Joseph. Since I have become Catholic I have regained a sense of appreciation for this obedient saint who was given  the task of raising up the Son of God.

O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the Throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your Heavenly power I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers. O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen.  (This prayer is 1900 years old)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

March For Life 2015

Heading to DC today with our church to pray to end the holocaust that has imperiled the  soul of this nation for the past 40 years.  Pray with us. Pics to follow.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Evangelicalism Isn't Enough

I recently received a comment on my review of the Rich Mullins movie-

 "I can identify with both Rich and your analysis because for me being evangelical was not enough to face life and to draw closer to Jesus and change things that needed changing in my life. I had to become a Catholic to find the graces that God has provided in the Catholic Church and that I so desperately needed.(Howard)

My blog has always had a "compare and contrast" theme between my life as a devout lover of Jesus  as a Protestant and my life as a devout lover of Jesus as a Catholic . This comment again sums up the difference I have noted.  You can argue the roots of the canon, the causes of the reformation, try to explain the saints and Mary to non-Catholics, but I believe the strongest and most powerful argument is one such as this from converts.
    I do wonder if this comment could have been from former editor of Christianity Today, Thomas Howard, who wrote the classic "Evangelicalism in Not Enough."

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Another Protestant Abandons the Cult "Abolish Human Abortion"

The Westboro Baptists of the Pro Life Movement, "AHA" continue to alienate the body of Christ in both Protestant and Catholic circles. Here's the latest article where the author explains his attempts to speak the truth in love to them. His conclusion is that they have become the enemies of the gospel.
   My take on these folks are that they are only charading  as anti -abortion but fattening their wallets and gaining notoriety with the proceeds from their merch sales and membership fees.  If they were serious about ending abortion, they would protest their own churches that don't lift a finger to end abortion. Rhology, whose real name is Alan Maricle, attends Berry Road Baptist that preaches one watered-down sermon a year on abortion. Why doesn't he direct his Church Repent project  there?  Or his spiritual mentor Dr. James White? His church never does anything to end the holocaust yet Alan continues to receive and promote the teachings of Dr. White, even publishing pictures of him standing with Dr White on his blog. Dr. White's ministry does nothing to save babies and Alan has no problem with that. Yet when there is a Catholic anti-abortion march, guess whose standing on the sidelines cowering in the shadows heckling Catholics? Yep the minions of AHA!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

 "Believing in God, the only One, and loving him with all our being has enormous consequences for our whole life.

 It means coming to know God's greatness and majesty: "Behold, God is great, and we know him not." Therefore, we must "serve God first".

 It means living in thanksgiving: if God is the only One, everything we are and have comes from him: "What have you that you did not receive?"  "What shall I render to the LORD for all his bounty to me?"

It means knowing the unity and true dignity of all men: everyone is made in the image and likeness of God.

 It means making good use of created things: faith in God, the only One, leads us to use everything that is not God only insofar as it brings us closer to him, and to detach ourselves from it insofar as it turns us away from him: 
My Lord and my God, take from me everything that distances me from you.
My Lord and my God, give me everything that brings me closer to you.

My Lord and my God, detach me from myself to give my all to you.
 It means trusting God in every circumstance, even in adversity. A prayer of St. Teresa of Jesus wonderfully expresses this trust:

Let nothing trouble you / Let nothing frighten you
Everything passes / God never changes 
Patience / Obtains all 
Whoever has God / Wants for nothing
God alone is enough."

CCC 222-224

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Home Mass

We had the great privilege of having a priest friend stay with us this weekend. We received the precious body and blood of our Lord and Savior in our living room. I wondered if this is what it felt like for the early Christians who met in their homes to celebrate the "breaking of the bread." ( We didn't have to fear having the door broken down and being imprisoned and killed for our faith though.) By the way, the breaking of the bread was the term they used to describe partaking in the Lord's Supper, not just a common meal.
   The liturgy we prayed today is almost identical to that described by Saint Justin Martyr in the second century.


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