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.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pope On The Cover of the Rolling Stone!

Well, he ain't gettin' richer but he just got his picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone!
Praise God that the "vicar of Jesus Christ" (to quote the article), gets a cover photo and story in RS magazine.  It was a clearly biased article trashing our previous pope ("dour academician"), but the fact that the world has placed a spotlight on the vicar of Christ is interesting to say the least. Pray that God will use the world's temporary infatuation with a Catholic pope to bring people home to Him.

NB for the media: The times they are a changin' but the doctrines of the Church won't be anytime soon.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Take the Saint Thomas Aquinas Pledge

A few years ago former Archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahoney, asked his flock to take the "Saint Francis" pledge to do more to save the environment and prevent global climate change. Certainly well and good, however, on this greast feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas, why not renew our devotion to the Eucharist, the Source and Summit of our faith by taking the Saint Thomas Aquinas pledge below?  Would that we all would just have a tincture of the understanding and love of the Eucharist that the great Doctor of the Church, Saint Thomas experienced.  (Please copy and paste and share with your friends and family)

  • I as a Catholic who has agreed to accept and obey all the teachings of the Catholic Church will commit to learning all God wishes to teach me regarding the Most Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Eucharist. As an integral aspect of this pledge, I will seek to grow in my understanding of what the Eucharist is and what place it has in my spiritual life.

  • I hereby pledge to make Christ in the Eucharist the source and summit of my faith and to meditate on the mystery of his Body and Blood offered to me in the appearances of bread and wine.

  • I hereby pledge to study the history of the early Christians and the writings of the Church Fathers to gain an appreciation for the role of the Eucharist in the life and growth of Christendom.

  • I hereby pledge to study the lives of the saints who have made the Eucharist the center of their lives and to ask their intercession that I too will grow in Eucharistic amazement and wonder.

  • I hereby pledge to never receive Christ's body and blood unless I am in a state of grace meaning; I harbor no mortal sin as I approach the altar to receive Him. As a part of this pledge, I resolve to  confess my sins to a priest at least once a month in order to be fully receptive to all the grace Jesus has for me.

  • I hereby pledge to make extra visits to my parish when possible to worship Him in adoration/exposition and/or to spend time before the Blessed Sacrament reposed in the Tabernacle.

  • I hereby pledge to share my understanding and love of the Eucharist with other Catholics and non-Catholics who may be interested in hearing why we wish to live Eucharistically centered lives.

  • I hereby pledge to live a life pleasing to God in profound gratitude for this most ineffable gift He has left His Church.

Thank You Saint Thomas Aquinas!

Today the Church celebrates a great priest and theologian who became both a saint and a Doctor of the Church. Personally, I appreciate the way in which Saint Thomas explains the Eucharist to us. No he didn't invent transubstantiation, but unpacked the richness and depth of the Eucharist so the Church could better understand, appreciate and teach what the sacrifice of the altar is all about.
    Since the very beginning of the Church, the communion meal was partaking in the true body and blood of Christ, his sacrifice on the cross, re-presented in an unbloody fashion on the altar for our sins. Yes, Christ died only once on the cross, yet his sacrifice is perpetually applied to the those who available themselves of it via the partaking of the Eucharist.   Here's Saint Paul: (57 AD)

"Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say.Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ?  Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread. Look at the nation Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers in the altar? What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons."

"For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me." In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."

   Here's Ignatius of Antioch: (111 AD)
"Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God ... They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes." (Letter to the Smyrnaeans)

Saint Thomas Aquinas (13th century):

Word made flesh, the bread of nature
     By his word to flesh he turns;
Wine into his blood he changes:—
     What though sense no change discerns?
Only be the heart in earnest,
     Faith her lesson quickly learns.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Little Sisters Getting Out From Under President Obama's Thumb

At least for now that is. Thank God that the Supreme Court has allowed the Sisters to not comply with the HHS mandate until the final  ruling on their upcoming lawsuit in Denver. This is a significant ruling, even if it's short term. It will save the Sisters from paying the punitive fines that would have prevented them from continuing their exemplary care of the poor elderly in over thirty facilities across the US.
   So keep praying. Yes, this particular battle is won, but the war isn't over.  The lower court of appeals in the tenth district where they are suing could still rule against them.  But, let's hope that this will, at the very least, help to mobilize more even support for the Sisters and allow them to continue to do what they do best- caring for the Least of  These .(Matt 25)
PS: After I wrote this I had to wonder, how in the world did our country get to this point where the President  (who swore an oath to follow the Constitution) is purposely attempting to single out and punish religious organizations for following the tenets of their faith. The government is preventing a group of nuns from doing the work of God caring for the poor! Ten years ago if this happened, there would be a massive uproar and even the mainstream media may have spoken out. God have mercy.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

41st Annual March for Life in Washington DC

Tomorrow marks 41 years since the flawed Supreme Court decision of Roe Vs. Wade and the resulting 55 million souls lost to abortion. One third of Americans conceived after 1973 never got to see the light of day.
    Evangelical leader James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family will be the keynote speaker and Grammy-nominated Catholic musician Matt Maher will be performing. The speeches are going to be shorter this year and there will be a new appeal to get the young people to be involved 24/7, 365 days a year via social media. It is estimated that 50% of the marchers are under 18 years of age. The past few years I have marched, I noted that I was one of the "old folks."

   This will be the first time in many years we aren't going as the weather is against us and the bus was cancelled.  Continue to pray for an end to abortion.

            Download the free apps below to follow the March on your smartphones.

for your iPhone device

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Little Sisters of the Poor "Are Under My Thumb "

Sometimes the best way for me to express myself is through music. I have been so outraged by the President's attack on the Little Sisters of the Poor, I thought of the Stones classic song of domination and manipulative control over a woman in "Under My Thumb." The spirit of this song capsulizes very nicely what the President is trying to do to these godly nuns who only desire to serve God by serving the poor. I changed the words a bit to better describe the current situation. Special guest drummer on the recording was my son! He channeled Charlie Watts very nicely.

Friday, January 10, 2014

HHS Mandate Promotes Death and is Anti-Women

The goal of the HHS mandate is to ensure that women have complete and unfettered access to contraception, abortifacients and abortion services.  At the same time, there are numerous studies proving the link between oral contraceptive use and abortions and breast cancer. Yet another study  with 320 women contracepting showed a ten-fold increase in breast cancer when compared to case matched control group of women who did not contracept. In women who had abortions, there was a six-fold increase in the incidence of breast cancer.  Studies have shown this link for years but they never make headlines in the main stream media outlets.
   So we have our government mandating services/medications that have been proven to increase the risk of cancer leading to early death of women. How is that pro-women? The HHS mandate is ultimately pro-death and anti-women. Where will the government get the money to provide all the medical care to those women who develop breast cancer because of their unfettered access to contraceptives and abortion services?
    If researchers developed a new contraceptive pill for men that would inactivate sperm and cause a ten-fold increase in cancer in those same men, would the FDA approve it?  Would it be promoted by the government? Would our president take it? I doubt it.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Our Visit With The Little Sisters of the Poor

My wife and I have been interested in the work of the Little Sisters of the Poor since we first met several of them at a March for Life in Washington DC a few years ago. They are an order of nuns founded in 1839 by Saint Jeanne Jugan whose mission is to care for the elderly poor. Being a geriatrician and working with the poor in Haiti, their work is near and dear to our hearts.
   It turns out that they have a home for the poor elderly in Scranton, Pennsylvania - only one and a half hours north of us. Several months ago we reached out to them to schedule a visit and today was the visit. It started with celebrating holy mass with the Sisters and the patients in their home. We then had a tour of the facility. These sisters and their staff do the work of God. They treat the elderly and infirm with such love and dignity I rarely see in my field of geriatrics. They continue to carry on the work of their founder with much joy treating each patient as Jesus Christ himself.
    The time for the delay of the HHS mandate ended January 1st and Supreme Court Justice Sotamayor granted an injunction for the sisters to avoid being fined. It is particularly agregious to see that the Justice Department yesterday, under the orders of the Whitehouse, decided to file a brief to end Justice Sotamayor's  injunction.  The sisters will now be facing fines of millions of dollars since they will refuse to sign a paper that essentially gives permission to a third party insurer to provide contraception, sterilization and abortion services. (As an aside, Notre Dame University, signed the paper.)
   Instead of being able to care for the poor and elderly, the sisters now face closing their thirty facilities across the country because President Obama refuses to offer an exemption to the sisters, completely violating their freedom of religion.  Mother Maureen, the head of the Scranton sisters told us they are hopeful that this will be resolved without having to shut down.  Despite this crisis looming over them, Mother Maureen is asking for prayers, not just for this issue but for an increase in vocations to carry on their work for the poor!  All the Little Sisters wish to do is to be able to continue to offer love and support to the Least of These in our society, the poor and the elderly. See this short video to understand their work a little better.
   Please keep the Little Sisters of the Poor in your prayers.

 Saint Jeanne Jugan, intercede on behalf of your sisters that they would be given freedom to continue to carry on the work you inspired them to do.  Amen.

PS1. At the end of our visit, the sisters gave my wife and I each a medal that was blessed at the canonization of Sister Jeanne Jugan in Rome in 2009. Wow!
PS2. We ran into Father Charles O' Conner, who is on many EWTN teaching series!