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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Vineyard Pastor Comes Home To The Catholic Church

Check out Keith Majors story here.

Devin Rose Writes "Sola Scriptura Should Be True"

Check out another excellent post by Devin Rose, author of "If Protestantism Is True"

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

World Youth Day

Monday, August 29, 2011

How Would You Handle the Kiss of Peace?

The concept of a drive through church is nothing new and I am not quite sure why this pastor gets his 15 secs on CNN for this.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Saint Augustine

1600 years ago in northern Africa, a man was born to a devout Catholic woman and a pagan father. This woman prayed and wept for both her husband and her son's conversion.  Her son was promiscuous and sought every pleasure that was to be found in life. Despite what appeared to be a hopeless situation, God heard Saint Monica's prayers and her son and husband both converted to Christianity. Her son went on to become a priest, bishop and Doctor of the Universal Church. His autobiography, Confessions, has been published in every language and still remains in print to this day!  Today the Universal Church celebrates this great saint and teacher and role model. Yesterday, we celebrated his mom, St. Monica.
(Technically, because today is Sunday, we don't call today the Feast of St. Augustine as we would if it fell on another day of the week.)

“Too late have I loved you, O Beauty of ancient days, yet ever new! Too late I loved you! And behold, you were within, and I abroad, and there I searched for you; I was deformed, plunging amid those fair forms, which you had made. You were with me, but I was not with you. Things held me far from you—things which, if they were not in you, were not at all. You called, and shouted, and burst my deafness. You flashed and shone, and scattered my blindness. You breathed odors and I drew in breath—and I pant for you. I tasted, and I hunger and thirst. You touched me, and I burned for your peace” (St. Augustine, Confessions).

In honor of Saint Augustine, I am offering a free download of Late Have I Loved You, inspired by the writings of St. Augustine . Go here to download the free song and thank God for giving us saints like Saint Augustine and his mum.
(Sorry, offer over now. 8/31 )

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Redstone of Potsdam

This is St. Mary's Parish in the early morning sun.

The Universality of the Universal Church

                                                                      (St. Mary's in Potsdam before mass)
Every year that I have gone on vacation since I have been Catholic, which is 7 years now, I still can't get over the universality of this faith we share. On this past Sunday we were in a small lake town near Potsdam, NY and within a short distance was a Catholic Church. We didn't have to fore go keeping the sabbath command because we couldn't find a church with a theology and worship style we could agree with.

In the olden days, before I was Catholic, when I took my family on vacation, we would make a cursory review of local churches in the yellow pages after settling in.  We wouldn't be comfortable going to the First Pentecostal Assembly of Jesus-Only Believers ( "I think they don't really believe in the trinity there") or the "dead" ______ church ( weren't they the "liberal ones who didn't take the bible literally") or the wishy-washy _____ church ( "I think they just approved of  homosexuality, didn't they?") or  the stuffy 10th _____( "They are 5 pointers and don't believe in free will, aren't they")

Instead, when Sunday came, we would then try to then try to coral the kids together to read scripture and say a prayer. For all those years, there was probably a Catholic Mass being prayed right down the street from where we were staying at our beach rental house.  But with my anti-Catholic bias at the time, I am sure I would have over-looked the Church that was worshiping with the same theology as the early Christians and praying the same prayers over the Lord's Supper that had been prayed for over 1800 years Instead I decided to lead my family to break one of the ten commandments.  This is just one of the many reasons that one universal church makes so much sense and going on vacation now, always reinforces that for me.
One, holy, catholic, and apostolic faith. Yeah, it just makes sense.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Father Barron's Thoughts on World Youth Day

Another World Youth Day has come and gone. Once again, nearly a million young people came together to celebrate the Catholic faith and the focal point was the arrival of the pope and the Mass he celebrated with all the pilgrims. Again, it's important to realize as Fr. Barron points out, it is not about Pope Benedict's charisma (as was said about the success of the WYD's with Pope John Paul 2 in the past) It is the office of the papacy. When the young people looked at Pope Benedict, they saw through time and space to Saint Peter and to the One who commissioned him, the Lord Jesus Himself. This realization is what gives grown men chills and young people tears when they see the pope. This is ultimately what keeps the faith going for almost 2000 years. It is Christ's commission to Peter and his successors to lead the Church by feeding the sheep. During his time at WYD, Pope Benedict had the opportunity to feed the younger members of his flock and the reverberations of this will continue to be seen for years to come.

As Karl Adams says in His Spirit of Catholicism:

"But when he speaks as pope, as successor of St. Peter, then he speaks with a divine authority that demands the obedience of all the faithful; he speaks as the visible basis and pledge of unity, out of the compact fullness of the Body of Christ, as that principle in which the supra-personal unity of the Body of Christ has achieved visible reality for the world of space and time."

Friday, August 19, 2011

"Littorasie" and the Paradigm of "The Bible Only"

 "Have you ever pondered that it would be a rather cruel and/or elitist God to give the all the authority of His church to a book in a time where 90% of the world were illiterate? . . .and where owning a book would cost you more than a year's wages?" 
Michael McCleary on FB
I would also add to this that for the first 360 years of the Church, the contents of that book (epistles and gospels) were not even clearly established. So if the Bible was the only source of truth and the handbook for Christian praxis and theology, how did they muddle along in the dark for almost 4 centuries spreading the faith like wildfire throughout the ancient world?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thanks For All the Prayers

My oldest son returned safely from a two year stint in the Peace Corp in Moldova last night. Thanks for all your prayers these past two years! Thank you Lord Jesus for your loving-kindness and mercy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

More on Mary

The solemn feast of the Assumption, August 15th is over but I still muse about the way the Church encourages the faithful to meditate on Mary and her assumption into heaven. Rightfully understanding Mary is one of the major stumbling blocks in the path of conversion to Catholicism. Doesn't this feast encourage people to glorify Mary more than Jesus? Why did the Church promote the Assumption of Mary as dogma?
Let's here what the pope had to say about it (Pope Pius the 12th who used the power of the keys to make this binding dogma ) said:

"This solemn proclamation and definition of the Assumption will contribute in no small way to the advantage of human society, since it redounds to the glory of the Most Blessed Trinity, to which the Blessed Mother of God was bound by such singular bonds. It is to be hoped that all the faithful will be stirred up to a stronger piety toward their heavenly Mother, and that the souls of all those who glory in the Christian name may be moved by the desire of sharing in the unity of Christ's Mystical Body and of increasing their love for her who in all things shows her motherly heart to the members of Christ's Body. . .  In this magnificent way, all may see clearly to what a lofty goal our bodies and souls are destined. Finally, it is our hope that belief in Mary's bodily Assumption into heaven will make our belief in our own resurrection stronger and render it more effective."

Luther himself had many thoughts about the Blessed Virgin, even quite a long time after he posted on the Wittenberg door . Here's a few:

There can be no doubt that the Virgin Mary is in heaven. How it happened we do not know. And since the Holy Spirit has told us nothing about it, we can make of it no article of faith . . . It is enough to know that she lives in Christ.
The veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart. (Sermon, September 1, 1522).
[She is the] highest woman and the noblest gem in Christianity after Christ . . . She is nobility, wisdom, and holiness personified. We can never honor her enough. Still honor and praise must be given to her in such a way as to injure neither Christ nor the Scriptures. (Sermon, Christmas, 1531).
No woman is like you. You are more than Eve or Sarah, blessed above all nobility, wisdom, and sanctity. (Sermon, Feast of the Visitation, 1537).
One should honor Mary as she herself wished and as she expressed it in the Magnificat. She praised God for his deeds. How then can we praise her? The true honor of Mary is the honor of God, the praise of God's grace . . . Mary is nothing for the sake of herself, but for the sake of Christ . . . Mary does not wish that we come to her, but through her to God. (Explanation of the Magnificat, 1521).

It is the consolation and the superabundant goodness of God, that man is able to exult in such a treasure. Mary is his true Mother .. (Sermon, Christmas, 1522)
Mary is the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all of us even though it was Christ alone who reposed on her knees . . . If he is ours, we ought to be in his situation; there where he is, we ought also to be and all that he has ought to be ours, and his mother is also our mother. (Sermon, Christmas, 1529).

It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary's soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God's gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin" (Sermon: "On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God," 1527).
She is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sin- something exceedingly great. For God's grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil. (Personal {"Little"} Prayer Book, 1522).

Monday, August 15, 2011

New Trailer for The Catholicism Series by Fr. Barron

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today, the Universal Church celebrates the feast of the Assumption of Mary into heaven. Our faith teaches us that she did not suffer corruption of her body and was taken to heaven at the moment of her death. It's hard to prove the assumption of Mary into heaven from just the Bible alone but the Bible doesn't speak very much on the concept of the Trinity either! But it's obvious that the early church must have been talking about it enough so that it found its way into their writings.

Even if one does not agree with these writings because they are not Scripture, it tells us that Mary was held in a place of high regard for the early believers. These writings are like little theological snapshots to give us an inside view of the mind of the early Church.

 Thanks to Stay Catholic for this collection of ECF quotes below.

Pseudo – Melito

If therefore it might come to pass by the power of your grace, it has appeared right to us your servants that, as you, having overcome death, do reign in glory, so you should raise up the body of your Mother and take her with you, rejoicing, into heaven. Then said the Savior [Jesus]: "Be it done according to your will" (The Passing of the Virgin 16:2-17 [A.D. 300]).

Timothy of Jerusalem

Therefore the Virgin is immortal to this day, seeing that he who had dwelt in her transported her to the regions of her assumption (Homily on Simeon and Anna [A.D. 400]).

John the Theologian

The Lord said to his Mother, "Let your heart rejoice and be glad. For every favor and every gift has been given to you from my Father in heaven and from me and from the Holy Spirit. Every soul that calls upon your name shall not be ashamed, but shall find mercy and comfort and support and confidence, both in the world that now is and in that which is to come, in the presence of my Father in the heavens". . . And from that time forth all knew that the spotless and precious body had been transferred to paradise (The Dormition of Mary [A.D. 400]).

Gregory of Tours

[T]he Apostles took up her body on a bier and placed it in a tomb; and they guarded it, expecting the Lord to come. And behold, again the Lord stood by them; and the holy body having been received, He commanded that it be taken in a cloud into paradise: where now, rejoined to the soul, [Mary] rejoices with the Lord's chosen ones. . . (Eight Books of Miracles 1:4 [A.D. 575]).

Theoteknos of Livias

It was fitting ... that the most holy-body of Mary, God-bearing body, receptacle of God, divinised, incorruptible, illuminated by divine grace and full glory ... should be entrusted to the earth for a little while and raised up to heaven in glory, with her soul pleasing to God (Homily on the Assumption [ca. A.D. 600]).

Modestus of Jerusalem

As the most glorious Mother of Christ, our Savior and God and the giver of life and immortality, has been endowed with life by him, she has received an eternal incorruptibility of the body together with him who has raised her up from the tomb and has taken her up to himself in a way known only to him (Encomium in dormitionnem Sanctissimae Dominae nostrae Deiparae semperque Virginis Mariae [ante A.D. 634]).

Germanus of Constantinople

You are she who, as it is written, appears in beauty, and your virginal body is all holy, all chaste, entirely the dwelling place of God, so that it is henceforth completely exempt from dissolution into dust. Though still human, it is changed into the heavenly life of incorruptibility, truly living and glorious, undamaged and sharing in perfect life (Sermon I [A.D. 683]).

John Damascene

It was fitting that the she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the cross and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had escaped when giving birth to him, should look upon him as he sits with the Father, It was fitting that God's Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and as the handmaid of God (Dormition of Mary [A.D. 697])

Gregorian Sacramentary

Venerable to us, O Lord, is the festivity of this day on which the holy Mother of God suffered temporal death, but still could not be kept down by the bonds of death, who has begotten Thy Son our Lord incarnate from herself (Gregorian Sacramentary, Veneranda [ante A.D. 795]).

Now, some may say:  "All these quotes are after the 4th century. What about the first 300 years of the Church? Where is Mary written about then?"

I agree that most of the Catholic beliefs regarding Mary's assumption, immaculate conception and perpetual virginity were "crystallizing" and being written about by the fathers like Jerome, Athanasius, Augustine, Cyril of Jerusalem from the fourth century and onward. Yet we believe there was the seed in these beliefs in the early Church. Justin Martyr and Irenaeus from Lyons in the mid -150's both wrote about Mary in way that tells us she had a special place in the hearts of the early Christians.
Catholics as you know believe in the concept of "development of doctrine" and some protestants, to a degree, do as well. The Marian dogmas that came to be defined by the Church later in history had their "seeds" in the early writings but it certainly would be wrong to say, "Paul and Peter were talking about her but that it never got recorded, it's just passed as sacred Tradition." That's a disingenuous explanation.
Instead we believe that, based on Jesus words, the "Spirit would lead us in all truth", that the Marian doctrines were guided under the inspiration of His Spirit and as the Church grew and developed, the understanding of Mary's role in salvation solidified. They weren't calling her the "theotokos" in the book of Acts, yet, Scripture shows us she was at every important event in the early days, including Pentecost which is considered the birthday of the Church.

At some point I had to say to myself early in my conversion process,

Here's a few earlier quotes from Justin Martyr and Ireneaus from the mid 2nd century:
"As Eve was seduced by the speech of an angel, so as to flee God in transgressing his word, so also Mary received the good tidings by means of the angel's speech, so as to be God within her, being obedient to this word. And though the one had disobeyed God, yet the other was drawn to obey him; that of the virgin Eve, the virgin Mary might become the advocate and as by a virgin the human race had been bound to death, by a virgin it is saved, the balance being preserved- a virgin's disobedience by a virgin' obedience." (Against Heresies, 3, 19) (130 A.D.)

For whereas Eve, yet a virgin and undefiled, through conceiving the word that came from the serpent, brought forth disobedience and death; the Virgin Mary, taking faith and joy, when the Angel told her the good tidings that the Spirit of the Lord should come upon her, and the power of the Most High overshadow her, and therefore the Holy One to be born of her should be the Son of God, answered, Be it don to me according to thy word. And so by means of her was he born, concerning whom we have shown so many Scriptures were spoken; through whom God overthrows the serpent, and those angels and men who have become like to it, and on the other hand, works deliverance from death for such as repent of their evil doings and believe in him (Dialogue with Trypho, 100 A.D.)

Eve was called the mother of the living ...after the fall this title was given to her. True it is...the whole race of man upon earth was born from Eve; but in reality it is from Mary the Life was truly born to the world. So that by giving birth to the Living One, Mary became the mother of all living (St. Epiphanius, Against Eighty Heresies, 78,9  350 AD)

These writings  give  a view of what some of the early church writers were saying about Mary, just a generation or so after the death of the last disciple, John (100 AD)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

St. Maximilian Kolbe

"No greater love is this, that a man should lay down his life for his friends."

Feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe

Today the Church celebrates the virtuous life and heroic death of St. Maximilian Kolbe. A Polish Fransciscan priest with two PhD's and a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother. He died in Auschwitz in 1941 when he volunteered to be starved to death in place of an inmate who had a wife and children. He was placed in a "death cell" with a group of other inmates and was given no food or water.  He led the group in prayers and hymns until he was the only prisoner still standing. When the death cell was needed for new inmates, a guard injected him with carbolic acid to kill him.

He was canonized by Blessed John Paul 2 in 1982. Franciszek Gajowniczek who was saved by this priest's heroic sacrifice of love was at the beatification and spent the last 50 years of his life telling of the virtue and goodness of Fr. Maximilian Kolbe.

St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us that we could learn to love God and others more than our own lives.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Myth Busters

Brent Stubbs, Catholic convert from evangelical Christianity has launched a new series of blog posts called Myth Busters. Kinda like a Catholic Snopes.
Check out his latest post regarding The Myth that Catholics re-crucify Christ in every Mass

Inside Looking Out

Saint Augustine on the Eucharist

We are coming up on the feast of Saint Augustine at the end of this month. One of my favorite "go to" saints to ask to intercede for me and others. His writings inspired the first track on my CD, Way to Emmaus.(Late Have I Loved You)
Here's a few pithy quotes from Saint Augustine on the Eucharist. It is clear that he did not hold to a symbolic view of the Eucharist.

"That Bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God IS THE BODY OF CHRIST. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, IS THE BLOOD OF CHRIST. Through that bread and wine the Lord Christ willed to commend HIS BODY AND BLOOD, WHICH HE POURED OUT FOR US UNTO THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS." (Sermons 227)

"The Lord Jesus wanted those whose eyes were held lest they should recognize him, to recognize Him in the breaking of the bread [Luke 24:16,30-35]. The faithful know what I am saying. They know Christ in the breaking of the bread. For not all bread, but only that which receives the blessing of Christ, BECOMES CHRIST'S BODY." (Sermons 234:2)

"What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your own eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that THE BREAD IS THE BODY OF CHRIST AND THE CHALICE [WINE] THE BLOOD OF CHRIST." (Sermons 272)

“I would not believe the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not compel me.”

El Camino del Santiago - The Way of Saint James

The Way of Saint James is a pilgrimage route dating to the 8th century where pilgrims travel by foot across Europe to Northern Spain to end in the Cathedral that holds the remains of St. James the Apostle.  This pilgrimage is so popular that in the summer, alternate routes have been mapped out to accommodate the large number of pilgrims.
  A group of young people are currently traveling the northern part of Spain starting in Galicia and walking the 100 mile pilgrimage in 5 days. They are led by the bishop of Denver and will end their journey in Madrid for the start of World Youth Day.  Seth DeMoor of One Billion Stories is documenting it all and posting daily video here.  Pray for the pilgrims that they will receive all the graces that are available to them in such an endeavor and that their feet will hold up until the end of the journey!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Feast of St. Teresa Benedicta: Jewish Convert/ Victim of the Holocaust

Saint Terese Benedicta (1891-1942) 


The Church today celebrates the heroic virtue of a modern day saint.

Edith Stein, a young women from a prominent Jewish family, converted to Catholicism before WW2 and became a Carmelite nun. She was gifted in her understanding of philosophy and taught at a university in the Netherlands. Today the Church honors this godly woman. She had forsaken all to follow the Truth leading to her death in the concentration camps at the hands of the Nazis. It was her reading of St. Terese of Avila that led her to conversion. We should never under estimate the power of the saints to change lives.

"In his homily at the canonization Mass, Pope John Paul II said: “Because she was Jewish, Edith Stein was taken with her sister Rosa and many other Catholics and Jews from the Netherlands to the concentration camp in Auschwitz, where she died with them in the gas chambers. Today we remember them all with deep respect. A few days before her deportation, the woman religious had dismissed the question about a possible rescue: ‘Do not do it! Why should I be spared? Is it not right that I should gain no advantage from my Baptism? If I cannot share the lot of my brothers and sisters, my life, in a certain sense, is destroyed.’"
From St Anthony's Messenger, Go here for the full story
St Terese, intercede for us that we too will live our lives in the hands of God as you did.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Baptists at Nicea in 325 AD?

"Does it seem likely that a council of "Evangelical Protestants" (which, remember, is exactly what the Baptist writer of that article in the Journal was arguing they were) would issue a canon laying out the liturgical order for the distribution of the Eucharist? Not likely. Of course, one would expect such a thing at a Catholic council. And that is precisely why we see this and similar canons emanating from this council: It was a Catholic assembly, not a Protestant one."  (An excerpt from Fr. Hugh's article below)

 Father Hugh,  a Catholic patristics scholar, studied the writings and theology of the Early Church fathers and has written an article to answer those who make the claim that the early Christians were protestant in their theology. Here's a link to the article.