Crossed The Tiber
An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism
- Name: Russ Rentler, M.D.
- 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.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Mary Untier of Knots
The blogfast has been productive so far, thank the Lord! Click Here to hear my first song about Mary. The early Church referred to her as The Undoer of Knots because the first Eve tied the knot of disobedience and Mary, the new Eve, untied the knot by her obedience saying yes to God.
I hope and pray that this song will minister to those reverts and converts like myself who only later in life have begun to "call her blessed." Now back to the studio...
Monday, September 17, 2007
Live at the Sellersville Theater
Saturday, September 08, 2007
I am going to take a break from the blogosphere for a bit. Thanks so much for faithfully visiting and reading. Check back from time to time. If you have an opportunity, watch EWTN on December 10th and keep us in prayer that evening. Invite your non-Catholic friends to watch The Journey Home that evening, (tell'm you "sort of" know the guests) We really covet and appreciate your prayers. I can be reached via e-mail on my musical website. God bless you.
May the LORD make his face shine to upon you, and be gracious to you;
May the LORD turn his countenance to you and grant you peace.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Uriah the Hittite and The Church.
What does Uriah the Old Testament misanthrope who was so poorly treated by King David have to do with the Catholic Church? Prodigal Daughter came up with this idea so she is partly responsible for this post.
Catholics are often asked how we can believe in the validity of the Church in light of the bad popes, corrupt bishops, bad priests, (sinful bloggers) etc and the recent abuse scandal.
Would Uriah the Hittite have accepted what came to be the Word of God if he knew that the man destined to write a portion of it (Psalms) fornicated with his wife and sent him into battle to die? The Jewish people as well as early Christians accepted the Old Testament as God's Word despite the fact that adulterers, polygamists and murderers wrote fairly large portions of it, including Moses, David and King Solomon. We don't believe the sinful actions of these men affected the truth God inspired them to write.
Many of us have no qualms about trusting the Bible as the Word of God despite the many flawed lives God used to write it. (Remember it was not magically dictated through their hands while they were in a trance-like state, nor did it fall out of the sky or was dug up in a field) We trust that the Holy Spirit guided the writers despite their many human imperfections.
In the same way, Catholics believe that Christ promised to lead us in all truth through His Church, which Scripture refers to as "the pillar and foundation of truth."(1 Tim 3:15)
Catholics trust that the same God that used imperfect men to give us His Word is the same God that uses imperfect men (The Church) to continue to lead and guide us in all Truth. Despite imperfect sinful men, God ensures that the deposit of faith (Scripture and Sacred Tradition) remains to this day to guide and speak to His people. The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church despite the sinfulness and scandal of the lives of those in the Church, including its leaders at times.
So the next time someone asks you how can you trust a Catholic Church with such scandal, tell them the same way they trust that the book of Psalms is the inspired word of God.
"The validity of a religion can't be judged based on the lives of those who don't practice it. (Prod Daughter, 2005)"
Pavarotti's Ave Maria
the soul of Thy servant
from every bond of sin,
that being raised in the glory of the resurrection,
he may be refreshed among the Saints and Elect.
Through Christ our Lord.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
More from T. a Kempis
The Eucharist is unfathomable and therefore it is so appropriate for the Church to refer to the Blessed Sacrament as a mystery. What a great prayer Thomas gave us (below in brown) to pray in preparation for receiving Christ in the Eucharist.
To be honest though, there are times when I am not so enthusiastic and after a long stressful day would prefer to sit at home, rather than going to daily Mass. However, once I am there, I have yet to walk out saying, "What a waste of time, I could have been watching the Simpsons."
I have a theory that the more often we receive the graces of God through Communion, the more we continue to desire it. Think about it this way, as a Christian, you spend your life trying to get as close to Jesus as possible. I think we can all agree on that. Then, one day, ZAP! You come to believe that He truly is present in the Eucharist residing in every tabernacle in every Catholic Church. By going to Mass, and being properly disposed, you can receive the Lord God that you have been seeking, searching and yearning for all your life.
So you get home from work and it's 5PM. Mass is at 7 and you need to fast beginning at 6PM. The Mass is usually over at 7:20 PM. So I can stay home and eat supper, play around on the internet making up goofy blog posts/play with the Tibercam and wait until Sunday to receive Jesus. Or, I can walk or drive to St. Anne's and have a personal meeting with the God of the universe and receive grace, forgiveness of venial sins (yes, sins are forgiven in the reception of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament) and the strength to continue the journey. Could I just wait until Sunday to receive once a week and be a devout Catholic? Absolutely!! Many folks because of family or job or location can't receive daily and I am thankful for where we are right now. It may not always be so. I find it providential that when we moved to this new little town, we weren't Catholic. As it turns out, the Catholic Church is walking distance from our home. The name of our town is Emmaus (where Jesus became apparent to his disciples in the breaking of the bread.) God has a sense of humor.
For it is Your work, not the power of man, Your sacred institution, not his invention. No man is able of himself to comprehend and understand these things which surpass even the keen vision of angels. How, then, shall I, an unworthy sinner who am but dust and ashes, be able to fathom and understand so great a mystery?" (Thomas a Kempis)
"O LORD my God, favor Your servant with the blessings of Your sweetness that I may merit to approach Your magnificent Sacrament worthily and devoutly. Lift up my heart to You and take away from me this heavy indolence. Visit me with Your saving grace that I may in spirit taste Your sweetness which lies hidden in this Sacrament like water in the depths of a spring. Enlighten my eyes to behold this great Mystery, and give me strength to believe in it with firm faith.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
More from Thomas a Kempis
These also may be called the two tables, one here, one there, in the treasure house of holy Church. One is the table of the holy altar, having the holy Bread that is the precious Body of Christ. The other is the table of divine law, containing holy doctrine that teaches all the true faith and firmly leads them within the veil, the Holy of holies.
Thanks to You, Lord Jesus, Light of eternal light, for the table of Your holy teaching which You have prepared for us by Your servants, the prophets and Apostles and other learned men."
Monday, September 03, 2007
One Eyed Grandma
I can't imagine what my life would be like without Jesus.
God can break the power of heredity and broken violin strings.
More Snippets from Thomas a Kempis
graciously You dispose of things with Your elect to whom You offer Yourself to be received in
this Sacrament! This, indeed, surpasses all understanding. This in a special manner attracts the
hearts of the devout and inflames their love. Your truly faithful servants, who give their whole life to amendment, often receive in Holy Communion the great grace of devotion and love of virtue.
Oh, the wonderful and hidden grace of this Sacrament which only the faithful of Christ
understand, which unbelievers and slaves of sin cannot experience! In it spiritual grace is conferred, lost virtue restored, and the beauty, marred by sin, repaired. At times, indeed, its grace is so great that, from the fullness of the devotion, not only the mind but also the frail body feels filled with greater strength.
Nevertheless, our neglect and coldness is much to be deplored and pitied, when we are not
moved to receive with greater fervor Christ in Whom is the hope and merit of all who will be saved. He is our sanctification and redemption. He is our consolation in this life and the eternal joy of the blessed in heaven. This being true, it is lamentable that many pay so little heed to the salutary Mystery which fills the heavens with joy and maintains the whole universe in being.
Oh, the blindness and the hardness of the heart of man that does not show more regard for so
wonderful a gift, but rather falls into carelessness from its daily use! If this most holy Sacrament
were celebrated in only one place and consecrated by only one priest in the whole world, with what great desire, do you think, would men be attracted to that place, to that priest of God, in order to witness the celebration of the divine Mysteries! But now there are many priests and Mass is offered in many places, that God’s grace and love for men may appear the more clearly as the Sacred Communion is spread more widely through the world.
Thanks be to You, Jesus, everlasting Good Shepherd, Who have seen fit to feed us poor exiled
people with Your precious Body and Blood, and to invite us with words from Your own lips to
partake of these sacred Mysteries: 'Come to Me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest."
Lord Jesus, help us to deplore the "neglect and coldness" we at times approach your altar with when we receive your body and precious blood. Keep us in awe of the sacred Mystery that "fills the heavens with joy and maintains the whole universe in being."
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Snippets from Thomas a Kempis
The Imitation of Christ is the second most popular book in the world. The writings of Thomas a Kempis are read and appreciated by Christians regardless of denomination. John Wesley listed it as a book that was instrumental in his conversion and A.W. Tozer quotes from it in his writings. In particular, the sections on the Eucharist are excellent for fanning the flames of Eucharistic devotion. I read it years ago before my conversion and can't recall what I thought of the Eucharistic chapters. It takes about six and a half minutes of reading to realize that this guy really believed Jesus really is present in the Eucharist and the key to a vibrant spiritual life is found in the Blessed Sacrament. I am going to be posting some quotes from the Imitation focusing on his Eucharistic chapters. The 7 Secrets of the Eucharist inspired me to go back and read the Imitation.
"I pray for this, I desire this, that I may be completely united to You and may withdraw my heart from all created things, learning to relish the celestial and the eternal through Holy Communion and the frequent celebration of Mass."
with each reception of your precious body and blood. In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Mother Teresa Redux
Dinesh D'Souza has a great article here regarding Mother Teresa's Dark Night recently rediscovered by the popular media after the publishing of her letters. I saw a recording of one of her speeches on EWTN last night. Man could she preach! But it was not with her volume, tone or eloquence, but with the love of Christ. The love she had for God came across very clearly.
Love, not being an emotion, but "a decision of the will."
"The greatness of Mother Teresa is that even when she was deprived of the spiritual satisfactions of feeling God's presence in her life, she did not waver, she soldiered on. She was not deterred in her mission. And what she didn't have by way of feeling, she compensated for by way of will. In doing so, she teaches us all something about love: it is not merely a sentiment, to be set aside when feelings come and go, but rather a decision of the will. That she did what she did in exchange for the love of God is astounding enough. That she did it all even when this love was invisible to her—if this does not constitute saintliness, I don't know what does."
Saturday, September 01, 2007
A Lawyer Makes The Jump
Tertium Quid details a touching aspect of grace in his life after becoming Catholic. Check it out.