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.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

New Catholic Video/Media Site

There is a new website devoted to hosting Catholic music and video teachings.
Love To Be Catholic. I have uploaded a few of my videos there as seen on this post.

"Inspired by the Holy Spirit and motivated by John Paul II’s vision for a new missionary age, we have launched, a new tool for Catholic Evangelization. is a unique and totally FREE Catholic community and media website where you can celebrate, worship, learn, and evangelize the Catholic Faith. Watch, share and comment on Catholic videos. Share videos privately with friends/family or publicly with just about anyone! "

Get your cameras fired up and testimony of what God has done for you in the Catholic Church and start uploading!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

"Nicean Blues"

10/31/07 NEWS FLASH! "Nicean Blues" was chosen as
Catholic Video of the Month!

Thank you Jesus and all you blues fans and fans of the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.

This song is for the folks who believe that the gates of hell have never prevailed against the Church that Jesus started.
A studio version will be on the new album.

We believe in one God, the Father All-sovereign, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, and the only-begotten Son of God, Begotten of the Father before all the ages, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father, through whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from the heavens, and was made flesh of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man, and was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried, and rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures, and ascended into the heavens, and sits on the right hand of the Father, and comes again with glory to judge living and dead, of whose kingdom there shall be no end:

And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and the Life-giver, that proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and Son is worshipped together and glorified together, who spoke through the prophets:

In one holy catholic and apostolic church

We acknowledge one baptism unto remission of sins. We look for a resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come.

Monday, October 15, 2007

On Receiving the Eucharist and Contraception

My good friend Father Bernard J. Ezaki sent me a homily he had preached about the Eucharist. I had recently blogged on a similar theme in my series "Snippets from Thomas a Kempis." St. Bonaventure said that when we receive Jesus in Holy Communion, we are impregnated with the Holy Spirit and Fr. Ezaki uses that as a basis for his insightful homily here:

The Ultimate Contraception by Fr. B. Ezaki

"While studying philosophy in seminary, my classmates and I were taught a Latin dictum which, in hindsight, has proven to be extremely useful:

Quidquid recipitur secundum modum recipientis recipitur.

Translation: Whatever is received is received according to the mode of the receiver. What does it mean? It means precisely this: Whatever we receive in life depends, not only on what is given to us, but also upon our openness to receive. A very powerful insight indeed! I think this is partly what Jesus meant when He said (Luke 6:38), “The measure you measure with will be measured back to you.” Let me give you an illustration.

When I was about seventeen years old, my sister Carol was about eleven. She was, at that time, not what you would call a happy camper. She was, in fact, rather miserable on many occasions, and the rest of us in the family were not exactly sure why. All we knew for certain was that she was not someone we wanted to be around.

Well, that year for Christmas, I gave Carol a stocking stuffer. It was a little booklet of gift certificates from Friendly’s Restaurant. The booklet contained five certificates, and each certificate was worth one dollar. (OK, so I’m not a big spender!) Some clever advertising expert at Friendly’s had entitled the booklet Five Ways to Be Friendly. There were five gift certificates, and thus there were five ways to be friendly.

When my little sister looked into her stocking on Christmas morning and saw what I had given her—a booklet entitled Five ways to Be Friendly—what do you think she did? She jumped to the hasty conclusion that I had given her a booklet on etiquette! The poor girl immediately flew into a hissy-fit: “Bernard, why would you give me something like this on Christmas?” she cried. “Are you trying to tell me I’m not friendly? Who are you to tell me how to behave?” I thought to myself: “Cased closed! If the shoe fits, Honey, wear it!” (Incidentally, this was one of those “Ahah” moments in my life, and I’ve had many, when I realized that maybe celibacy wouldn’t be all that bad after all! Perhaps I have my sister Carol to thank, at least in part, for my priesthood.)

Here is the point: I had given Carol a Christmas gift that I intended to be an occasion of joy for her. Yet because of her sour disposition, it became an occasion of anger, bitterness, and accusation. Quidquid recipitur secundum modum recipientis recipitur. Whatever is received is received according to the mode of the receiver. What we receive in life depends, not only on what is given, but also on our disposition to receive.

By the way, I have five siblings; and of those five siblings, I am now closest to my little sister Carol. She had to go through a whole lot of suffering in her life, but she is a really good person today.

Now let me say something about the Holy Eucharist, and we shall see how our Latin dictum applies. In John 6:54-59, Jesus says:

“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life everlasting and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, abides in me and I in him. As the living Father has sent me, and as I live because of the Father, so he who eats me, he also shall live because of me. This is the bread that has come down from heaven; not as your fathers ate the manna, and died. He who eats this bread shall live forever.”

It is clear that Our Lord intends the Eucharist to be a source of life for us. He has a good intention, just like my intention to give my sister Carol a nice gift for Christmas. Yet I wonder: How often does my disposition to receive Jesus render my reception of Holy Communion, not an occasion of life, but, rather, an occasion of sin and even of death? Am I like my sister Carol? Do I take Jesus’ good intentions in the Eucharist and twist them to my own undoing?

Do you remember the words to the old Communion hymn?

And humbly I’ll receive thee,

The Bridegroom of my soul,

No more by sin to grieve thee,

Or fly thy sweet control.

The mystics tell us that Christ is the Bridegroom of every Christian soul. When we receive our Lord Jesus in Holy Communion, we have the opportunity to be impregnated by Jesus and bear His life. That’s how Saint Bonaventure puts it. He says we are “impregnated” by the power of the Holy Spirit. When we receive Jesus worthily in the Blessed Sacrament, Our Lord comes to us in a manner more intimate than any husband ever could. He offers the privilege of being impregnated by the Holy Spirit and of bearing His life.

Now listen up, mes ami: Here I must confess that I have very much in common with couples who practice birth control, and with the women who go to abortion clinics. Like them, I am afraid of being pregnant. I am afraid to take on the responsibility of bearing Christ’s life within me. Thus I practice a kind of spiritual birth control, what I call the ultimate contraception. How have I done this? To be blunt, I have allowed myself to embrace Jesus in Holy Communion: (1) while using a barrier, (2) after having taken the pill, (3) while being sick in my soul, and (4) while intending to have an abortion.

First: the barrier. Every time I make material possessions and the cares of this world my primary focus, it is as if I allow Christ to embrace me in Holy Communion all the while keeping possessions and worries as a barrier between the Spouse of my soul and me. How shall I ever bear Christ’s life if I allow possessions and worries to act as barriers between Him and me? I am like a foolish bride who, on her wedding night, piles the bed high with wedding gifts and wedding bills! Thus I make true nuptial union with Christ utterly impossible.

Second: the pill. Did you know that the contraceptive pill was discovered by accident? Scientists had originally intended to create a new kind of insecticide, and they ended up creating the birth control pill! The pill is, in reality, a kind of poison. If I allow my very soul to be poisoned by the thinking of this world—by the junk I see on television and on the internet, by the garbage I hear on radio or read in books or magazines—is it any wonder that the life of Christ fails to implant itself within me?

Third: my poor health. Any woman who wishes to become pregnant tries to take good care of herself—through proper diet and exercise. Yet I often fail to take proper care of myself spiritually. I do not allow myself to be properly nourished by prayer or the sacraments. I fail to exercise my heart in charity. Then should I be surprised if the life of Christ does not grow within me?

Finally: abortion. If I receive Holy Communion while in a state of mortal sin, it is as if I deliberately abort the life of Jesus within me. How then can the life of Christ ever enter into the depths of my being? I make up all sorts of excuses for myself as to why I can sin seriously and still receive the Eucharist; but there is no excuse for doing this.

So here I ask you for a favor: When you pray for couples who are using birth control, when you pray for women who are contemplating abortions, pray also for me. For I, too, am afraid to be pregnant with the life of Christ. I, too, am frightened at the prospect of bearing Jesus’ life within me. And if what I have said about myself rings true with you—if you, like me, permit created things and worries to act as barriers between you and Jesus, if you, too, have poisoned your soul with the junk of this world, if you, also, have not maintained yourself in good spiritual health, if you, too, have aborted the life of Christ by receiving Him in Communion while in a state of mortal sin—then let us pray for one another.

Saint Paul (1 Corinthians 11:27-30) underscores the danger of receiving the Eucharist unworthily. Saint Catherine of Siena, the patroness of our diocese, echoes this concern. In her Dialogue, she tells us that, when we receive Holy Communion, it is as if our souls are candles of varying sizes. Those whose love for Christ is great have souls like very large candles. The flame of Jesus’ Eucharistic presence remains long with them. Those whose love for the Savior is slight have souls resembling very tiny candles. The fire of Christ’s love remains with them only a short while. What about those who receive the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin? Their souls are like candles whose wicks have been soaked in water. The flame of Jesus’ Eucharistic love is extinguished the very moment it touches these souls! Saint Catherine sees this as the worst sort of affront to Divine Love.

In the Most Blessed Sacrament, Our Lord promises to give us life. He says, “Whoever eats this bread will live forever.” May we receive the Eucharist as Christ meant us to receive. May this Sacrament be for us an occasion of life, not an occasion of sin and death. Quidquid recipitur secundum modum recipientis recipitur. Whatever is received is received according to the mode of the receiver. It is not only up to Jesus. It is also up to us.

God bless you."

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Thanks for Your Support!

Last night, our Respect Life Ministry had a benefit concert at our parish. The attendees were very generous and the free will offering totaled 1500 dollars. All the money goes to Mary's Shelter, an interdenominational women's shelter to provide support to pregnant woman so they don't choose abortion.

Theo my frequent blog commenter provided harmony vocals and percussion and I introduced some songs that will be on the new album. I played my new National Polychrome Tricone for the Recycled Tin Man Blues. The seller from E-Bay kindly put a rush on the shipping so I could have it in time for the concert!

Anyone who contributed 15 dollars or more received a free CD, Scarecrow's Lament. Three other bloggers were in the audience including Japhy (who lives one state away!), Elois Voice and Omniscient The First.

Thank you everyone for your prayers and support of this most worthy cause.

Thank you Jesus for the generosity of your Church. Bless the Moms who choose life!